Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The one good thing about living in some godforsaken quadrant of the country where the luscious awards-season heavy hitter Call Me by Your Name took forever and then some to open is that, by the time I had my chance to catch up with it, it had already moved from “rapturous praise” to “mild backlash”, […]

Ordinarily, the fun challenge of reviewing a highly fucked-up movie that does things movies tend not to is to figure out how to describe it in a way that sounds appealing. The Lure has already taken care of that. This is a Polish musical-horror film set in a tacky disco/strip club in the 1980s – […]

Watching Prince Avalanche, it’s not difficult to feel like it’s Christmas morning, and you got almost the present you wanted. I mean, it’s still really great, and you’re glad to have it but… it’s just not right, and the harder you insist that it’s still really good, the harder it becomes to ignore how disappointing […]

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: though it’s technically a remake, what strikes me about Sparkle is its affinity with a much more recent film, […]

Not since the glorious Halloween devolved into the insipid Halloween II three decades ago has a horror franchise managed to squander all of its early potential in quite as few steps as the Paranormal Activity movies: Oren Peli’s 2009 original* was a simple machine perfectly-designed to be as scary as it possibly could; 2010′ Paranormal […]

Let Me In is the best English-language vampire movie in ages. Ages. That must not be denied (though with competition like Twilight, we must ask ourselves: is it that big of an achievement). If it suffers, it is only because of 2008’s Let the Right One In, the best vampire film, irrespective of language (it’s […]

I would not want to be responsible for writing the screen story for the title Hot Tub Time Machine. There are certain ideas which are so awesomely stupid-amazing that no matter what, the execution cannot possibly match the film that the viewer will dream up just upon learning of the project. Recall Snakes on a […]

There is but one thing more annoying than wanting very much to love a movie, only to find out that it kind of sucks: wanting very much to hate a movie, only to find out that it’s pretty good. Other than its atrociously over-compensatory subtitle, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire is at […]

One of the rules by which I select film festival offerings – probably the rule above all others, in fact – is to never see a film that I know is going to open near me within the near future (“near future” = “by the end of December”, for most purposes). But as everyone knows, […]

To judge from the advertisements – and even some of the reviews – you’d be forgiven for assuming that Adventureland sees director Greg Mottola returning to the goofy, dirty comedy blended with sweet nostalgia that made Superbad a big ol’ hit back in the summer of 2007. It is not. Oh my, no. No, no, […]

Some movies are great because they are subtle things, crafted with the precision of a Swiss watch, wielding the visual language of film with supernatural fluidity And some movies are great like a punch in the solar plexus is great. This Is England is a movie like a punch to the solar plexus. Writer-director Shane […]

It is the traditional order of things that movies set in college, and also movies that are set in the mid-1980s and scored entirely with New Wave singles, will be high-pitched and manic. So I do admire the British rom-com Starter for 10 in this way, at least: it possesses a low-key, laid-back energy that […]