Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I’m not going to go around calling 2016’s The Secret Life of Pets a good movie, because it ain’t. At best, it’s a mid-tier film for Illumination, the animation studio best-known for those damn walking yellow Tic-Tacs with the prominent butt cheeks. Considering that Illumination’s top tier only just surpasses “affable mediocrity”, its middle tier […]

The most surprising thing about the new animated adaptation of Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s 1957 picture book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – which, in keeping the the 21st Century’s refusal to even pretend like any of us still has an attention span, has shortened the title to just The Grinch – is that it’s […]

So, Despicable Me 3, then. Why not, I guess. It was almost a given that this was going to be an improvement over the last film in the Despicaverse, 2015’s utterly stagnant Minions. And it turns out to be at least a fractional improvement over 2013’s Despicable Me 2, as well, for the same reason: […]

Buried in Sing is the year’s most harrowing story of a married family life crushing the life out of the people involved. This children’s comedy about singing animals includes a subplot about a pig-woman who only wants out of life to have a chance to sing mediocre pop songs and have any other living soul […]

Four unfathomably long years ago, so long ago that animation studio Illumination Entertainment didn’t much seem like they’d necessarily amount to anything, particularly given that one-third of its output up to that point was the incomprehensibly awful Hop, I remember being impressed by the production design of the studio’s Dr. Seuss adaptation The Lorax. Absolutely […]

Bad movies are one thing. We know how to deal with them. But Minions isn’t bad, exactly. It’s perfectly neutral – the most impressively flavorless movie in many a long age. I’ve found preparing to review it has been something of an exciting race against the clock: would I be able to finish writing before […]

The arrival of Despicable Me 2 so close on the heels of Monsters University is exactly the kind of one-two punch of white-hot competent mediocrity that makes both of the movies seem just a little bit worse than they are individually. Or more disheartening, at least, which might even be worse. They are, both of […]

If you turned off the sound – or better yet, if you saw it, unsubtitled, in a language you don’t understand – The Lorax might even seem like a pretty great animated movie. For it is gorgeous: hardly a single one of its 86 minutes fails to hold some absolutely breathtaking mixture of texture and […]

I will assume that you have been unable to avoid the omnipresent advertisements for Hop, and that you have formed an opinion of it. I will further assume that you have anything like taste, and that your opinion is not positive. In fact, I suspect that you think Hop looks bad – absolutely dreadful, even. […]

With memories of How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 still lingering heavily in the air – to say nothing of the aftertaste of the feature animation annus mirabilis that was 2009 – it’s not hard to want Despicable Me to be better than it is. Yet at the same time, with things […]