Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Once upon a time, when the Walt Disney Company released a massively successful animated feature and wanted to wring some sequel dollars out of it, they would have the decency to farm them out to the B- and C-team animators at Disneytoon Studios and bury them on home video. In 80 years covering 56 feature […]

The problems with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil begin right with its title. It’s a reference to a climactic moment in the 1959 Disney animated feature Sleeping Beauty, in which the imperious evil fairy Maleficent, voiced with haughty cruelty by Eleanor Audley, reveals to the protagonists that they have failed in their single goal: “You poor, […]

A cursory perusal of the reviews for Disney’s new remake of The Lion King reveals that even some of the pointedly negative ones will concede that it is, at least, a very visually amazing, even beautiful film. This is wrong. It looks like a dead dog’s asshole on a hot day. I have never been […]

Pragmatically, Disney’s new version of Aladdin only had one bar it absolutely had to clear, and it clears it. While this is anywhere from the sixth to the eleventh entry in this unkillable cycle of live-action remake nostalgia jobs, depending on how you count them,* it’s only the second one based on one of the […]

If we must get these Disney remakes of their animated features done in unattractive, narratively slack live-action/CGI hybrids – and 2019 is making a particularly loud case that we must – I would say that you could honestly do a lot worse than picking up 1941’s Dumbo as a target. The original film is pure […]

By the standards of things that have absolutely no intrinsic reason to exist, Mary Poppins Returns sure is functional. It depicts 24 discrete still images per second and everything. The film is the long-awaited victory dance by the Walt Disney Company on the grave of P.L. Travers, who hated the studio’s 1964 Mary Poppins, and […]

It’s certainly more common knowledge 25 years later than it was at the time of the film’s premiere in October 1993 (when Disney did everything in its power to hide the information), but it still bears mentioning that the film which has been marketed since Day 1 as Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is […]

In the words of Robert Worshow, “A man goes to the movies. The critic must be honest enough to admit that he is that man,” and in that spirit, I will lead with my bias: the 2012 Walt Disney Animation Studios release Wreck-It Ralph, 52nd entry in the company’s official canon of animated features, is […]

It’s not really accurate to suggest that The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is the latest example of Disney’s irritatingly robust program of remaking its animated features in shrieking, shiny CGI and “live-action”. But it’s not really inaccurate, either: the feature makes more than its share of glancing nods back towards 1940’s Fantasia, mostly (though […]

For a company that has spent 90 years now insistently bathing itself in sweetness and light, there’s always been a certain love of dark, spooky shit driving Walt Disney Productions. In 1929, not even a full year after Mickey Mouse made his incredibly successful debut, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks oversaw the creation of the […]

Given the company’s current business model, it makes perfect sense that Disney would finally get around to releasing a film with the explicit message “constantly dwelling in nostalgia is good, and caring about adult things is bad”. I don’t even think I’m being ungenerous to Christopher Robin in summing it up that way; at least […]

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales shouldn’t exist, but as far as movies that shouldn’t exist go, it’s not actually half-bad. Six years after the franchise’s last, worst movie came out – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – it would have taken absolutely nothing for this to have avoided being […]