Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is pretty well dumb across the board, but there is one respect in which it’s kind of so unexpectedly smart that I absolutely have to assume it’s on purpose. And that precise combination of “almost entirely dumb, but smart in just enough ways that you can see the filmmakers peering through […]

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: the trope that dinosaurs must always live on the slopes of a volcano about ready to pop is much […]

The Good Dinosaur is, in the first place, a kids’ film. That’s meant to be a categorical judgment, though there’ve been more than a few people out there making it as a value judgment. And that’s fair – it’s been a rocky few years for Pixar Animation Studios, with their first outright bad film, Cars […]

Jurassic World is absolutely the best sequel yet to the 1993 Jurassic Park, which is one of the least-impressive compliments you can pay to a record-setting summer blockbuster. We should not feel obliged to mark it down as a strength when a movie can be confidently declared to be better than not just 1997’s enervating […]

To begin with, let us first point out that One Million Years B.C., Hammer’s 1966 contribution to the caveman genre, rests its success on two qualities that are impossible for a 12-year-old boy to resist: some of the very best dinosaurs found anywhere in cinema before Jurassic Park came along with its CGI creations, and […]

Written in honor of the legendary stop-motion animator and special effects technician Ray Harryhausen, who passed away on 7 May, 2013, at the age of 92. With all my sincerest gratitude for the menagerie of fantastic and prehistoric animals given life by his hands, and the unimpeachable matinee-movie thrills that even now I get when […]

The question of whether Jurassic Park III is a worse movie than The Lost World: Jurassic Park is really mostly pointless, and largely insoluble; both are so extremely far down the scale from the original Jurassic Park that it’s a matter of shading, not true qualitative difference. Or put it another way: one is probably […]

At one point, I suggested on this very site that 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park was “readily the worst thing [Steven Spielberg] has ever made”. I will now freely admit that I was speaking those words from a position of fearless intellectual dishonesty: until re-watching it for this review, I had not actually seen […]

Jurassic Park is a beloved classic of popcorn cinema, still a cultural touchstone two decades on, and as keen a demonstration of Steven Spielberg’s peerless skills at directing clean, effective populist entertainment as anything you could ask for, so I imagine it will be able to survive just fine if a schmuck blogger like myself […]

Every Sunday 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: Cowboys & Aliens. That is some seriously high-concept shit right there. How are you supposed to even start competing […]

An older review of this film can be found here. It is not demanding more of The Tree of Life than it can withstand to call it the defining film of Terrence Malick’s whole life. From the moment he first began drafting the script to what was then called Q, in 1978, it was fully […]

There are more than a few bastard stepchildren in the history of Walt Disney Feature Animation; setting aside the projects like Victory Through Air Power and Pete’s Dragon, movies with significant content produced by the Disney animators, that for this reason or that didn’t get tallied up in the official WDFA canon (e.g. the first […]