Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The killer alligator picture Crawl is maybe the least Alexandre Aja-esque film that Alexandre Aja has directed thus far, which I imagine is even a good thing for some people. The filmmaker’s body of work, to date, has been one of extreme violence and gore, with highlights including the 2003 New French Extremity barnburner High […]

It is well to avoid making absolute statements, especially absolute statements about weirdly idiosyncratic and fundamentally unquantifiable things, but I’m feeling feisty. So here goes: I think it’s entirely likely that the most interesting and important thing happening to cinema anywhere in the world right now is the Chinese film industry’s attempts – largely successful […]

Credit where credit’s due: Skyscraper delivers what it promises. Admittedly, this is because the only thing it promises is green-screened shots of Dwayne Johnson precariously hanging off the edge of things as CGI fire dances in the background. But it is damn good CGI fire, the best incarnation of this sort of VFX work since […]

Three cheers for conceptual integrity: the animated feature My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea is a nigh-perfect marriage of style and narrative content, bringing to life the bored apocalyptic fantasies of a bookish, smart, socially inept high school boy of 16, who takes pleasure in casting himself as the hero and his social […]

The good part first: watching Deepwater Horizon gave me a feeling I haven’t had in a very, very long time. That is, the experience of watching a special effects sequence so impressive in conception and execution that it genuinely seems like something we’ve never seen before. 23 years after Jurassic Park, CGI has evolved from […]

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: because nobody stopped them when the dragged god-damned dinosaurs into the ice age two movies ago, the makers of […]

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 twenty years, Independence Day: Resurgence is upon us. Because why wouldn’t it be. To begin with, it really […]

A review requested by Will T, with thanks for contributing to the ACS Fundraiser. In celebration of the late Irwin Allen on the occasion of his centennial There are very few movies that you can point to that single-handedly killed off a thriving career. The Swarm is one of these. Prior to making this film, […]

San Andreas, a by-the-books disaster movie in which Dwayne Johnson fights an earthquake, is exactly the movie you suppose it to be, except in one, absolutely crucial regard: it’s weirdly allergic to fun. By which I guess I mean that “by-the-books disaster movie” suggests one particular register of sobriety and anguished emotions, where as “Dwayne […]

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: we all know that San Andreas brings back the noble and intensely cliché-happy formula of the all-American disaster picture. […]

1996 – The year that effects extravaganzas went supernova; the year that Hollywood finally figured out how to sell a movie on literally nothing else but the promise of spectacular explosions and other shiny nonsense, depicted with a level of technological prowess that had never before been seen. At least Star Wars had characters and […]

It is not uncommon, when people swan about, cooing with praise for the New Hollywood Cinema and the exciting American cinema of the 1970s, to act as if the whole of the film industry was engaged in thrilling experiments that met with broad favor from audiences, who for once in history were interested in being […]