Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It only takes a short while for Widows to prove to us that we’re in good hands. In point of fact, it takes until the very first cut, and the first cut comes rather sooner than we expect it to. Which is, in fact, part of how it shows us we’re in good hands – […]

I am sorry to say that I didn’t write down the exact phrasing, but The Old Man & the Gun opens with a title card that reads something along the lines of “This story, also, is mostly true”. And what the hell do we make of that? “Also” compared to what? This is literally the […]

You really do have to salute Bad Times at the El Royale for its bravery: not every film would run the risk of just up and putting “bad times” right there in the title. So impressed am I, in fact, that I’m going to dignify the film by not making any of the obvious jokes, […]

The Happytime Murders isn’t good, which is no surprise at all; but it is very close to being good, which is quite a surprise indeed. Basically, the problem is this: it’s poisonously unfunny. The film is an enthusiastic participant in the current wave of adults-only comedy, where cursing is funny, cursing in a sexualised manner […]

The claims that BlacKkKlansman represents a renaissance for Spike Lee are at least slightly overheated. After all, even his very great movies are frustrating and flawed (except for Do the Right Thing, which is frustrating and perfect), and even his very bad movies are still interesting for the complexity and intensity of their ideas. There […]

American Animals is a very good movie that frankly doesn’t seem to understand why it’s very good. This is apparent right from the very start – or rather, it becomes retroactively apparent that the very start is all mixed up. First, there’s a quote from Darwin, talking about “American animals” colonising cave systems in Kentucky […]

As dodgy, doomed to fail remakes go, Superfly actually does a pretty good job justifying its own existence. Obviously, the biggest and perhaps only way it ever had to justify its existence was by providing, after 46 years, a new chance to hear Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” and “Pusherman” on the big screen. And in light […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: to my great chagrin, I have lived on this globe 36 years and more without ever having seen the […]

It’s tough to talk about Hotel Artemis in any meaningful way, because all of the best adjectives to describe it sound like insults. The thing is, it’s a real trashy movie, pulpy and derivative, and these are all good things in this case. It feels very much like the summertime B-movie equivalent of a short […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: after an eleven-year break, Ocean’s Eight revives the finest heist movie franchise in all of cinema. The perfect opportunity […]

Ocean’s Eight finds itself in the heinously awkward position of being a rather middling Ocean’s _____ movie, but a very good generic heist movie, thanks mostly to the things it takes from the franchise in terms of style and structure. So most of its strengths are exactly those things that, by calling attention to themselves, are […]

This review is based on the first released cut of the movie Show Dogs, before the hue and cry against the film’s implicit instruction to young children that “this is how you behave when strangers want to touch your genitals” led to it being recut in time for its second weekend of release. I lead […]