Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I would ask you, if you please, to consider the 1991 Beauty and the Beast, the crown jewel of the Disney Renaissance. What, pray tell, do you find to be wrong with it? Or let me rather put it this way: is there even one single image in that whole movie that generates the response […]

Disney’s current wave of live-action remakes of its old animated films (or “live-action” in the case of 2016’s The Jungle Book) will have reached its fifth title by the end of the first quarter of 2017. And of those five films, Pete’s Dragon is the clear outlier in all sorts of ways. It is, for […]

Princess musicals. That’s the ticket: Walt Disney Animation Studios just needs to keep on making princess musicals. You can set the starting point of Disney’s second renaissance under the guidance of John Lasseter wherever you want – with 2008’s Bolt, which was the first film for which Lasseter was chiefly responsible for overseeing its production; […]

The third and newest film produced by the Walt Disney Company to bear the title The Jungle Book significantly lacks the greatest strength of Maleficent and Cinderella, Disney’s other recent attempts to remake its animated features as realistic popcorn movies: it does not feature a world-class actress playing one of the studio’s greatest villains (which […]

The unifying characteristic of the vast majority of feature-length films made by Walt Disney Animation Studios has been an unflagging, self-conscious classicism. These films, by and large, exist out of time, adopting folklore from across the world and treating it with a careful remove, with only an isolated gag here or there reminding us that […]

There has been some effort online to stress Damon Lindelof’s presence as co-writer of Tomorrowland and thus somehow save the reputation of the film’s director and other writer, Brad Bird. Which presumes in the first place that Tomorrowland is bad enough to justify insulating the beloved auteur from it, and I think that’s far 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: Disney’s latest effort in brand-mining, Tomorrowland, takes the name (if nothing else) from one of the most famous attractions […]

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 Walt Disney Company is about to make a ridiculous sum of money on a movie about an artificial […]

The unbridled imaginations at Disney have managed to do it again, creating a fantasy beyond belief. With its new live-action Cinderella, the studio has managed to do the impossible, and portray a version of the classic fairy tale heroine who’s even more of an insipid doormat that the one in its 1950 animated classic. For […]

We take Stephen Sondheim very, very seriously around these parts. One doesn’t become objectively the best creator of stage musicals in history without earning the right to have one’s work treated with the gravest respect and unbridled love. This has not, to date, been the attitude shared by Hollywood, which has largely manhandled and mistreated […]

Pirate movies were dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. The pirate movie had died many times since its heyday, from the early-’20s through the mid-’50s. It had a very high-profile death in […]

The once-proud DisneyToon Studios, formerly a mighty machine ceaselessly cranking out sequel upon sequel to the films of the Walt Disney Feature Animation canon, has of late been reduced to listlessly cranking out Planes and Tinker Bell movies at a slow drip. And between these two points, we run almost the whole gamut of the […]