Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Midway through Fifty Shades Freed, there is a scene in which a man has just been found creeping through the enormously fancy apartment where newlyweds Ana (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) live and practice their increasingly non-kinky and un-erotic “BDSM lifestyle” (I don’t really know from BDSM, but I don’t believe that “ice […]

The filmmaking in the Maze Runner franchise keeps getting better and better with every new entry. So it’s a damn shame that Maze Runner: The Death Cure is the last one, because maybe by the time they hit, like, number 12 there’d finally be a movie worth watching. Still, let’s not go all-in on the negativity […]

The elephant in the room first: a schlocky haunted house movie with Helen Mirren is peculiar; a schlocky haunted house movie with Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke is so peculiar that it goes back around to promising. Because maybe one of them just made a bad choice for a paycheck, but both of them, simultaneously? […]

Quite independently of the quality of any of the films in question, the Cloverfield series-if-that’s-the-word-for-it has taken one of the strangest routes imaginable to willing itself into existence. Cloverfield was always just Cloverfield, and that was it for eight years, when an unrelated in-production film titled The Cellar was mildly retooled and made into 10 Cloverfield […]

I cannot in honesty say that Forever My Girl is a bad movie that’s only one tweak in the script away from being good. The filmmaking itself is too defective for that. Especially the camerawork, which is full of irritating little shimmies that oughtn’t be there; most egregiously, during a major emotional beat near the […]

Once upon a time there was an individual who was superficially a great deal like other individuals, but had sufficiently different interests than the rest of them that he was ostracised and mocked. And his self-confidence and willingness to be himself held the day in the end, but only after a third-act chase scene that […]

In these times of great social change and a rapidly-shifting baseline for how cinema attempts to position itself in the world, Darkest Hour is comfortingly reactionary bit of nothing. I don’t in anyway refer to its content, though that is too; I’m simply referring to how very much this feels like something that somebody might […]

2017 has been a big year for British-made (or at least, British director-made) movies about World War II, and it takes a lot to be the most fucking stupid out of all of them. But Churchill, written by Alex von Tunzelmann and directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, is amply up to the task. I hope we […]

You ever met that guy, at a party or wherever, who you see before you hear him, loudly (and perfectly!) quoting from some not-very-well-known movie? And maybe you think to yourself “oh, this guy gets it”, and you drift over to chat for a bit about how much you both love that movie, and it […]

So, what do you think used to be the most boring comic book movie ever made? Superman Returns? Iron Man 2? Green Lantern? The Amazing Spider-Man? X-Men: Apocalypse? Anyway, it doesn’t actually matter, because now we have Justice League, and that settles it. For right now (and I’m not optimistic enough to suppose it will stay […]

I suspect, with absolutely nothing to back it up besides anecdotal data and hunches, that Murder on the Orient Express, from 1934, is Agatha Christie’s best-known mystery novel; or at least the best-known title to one of her mystery novels, which is the same thing as far as film producers go. And yet here we […]

There was a time once, and not so very long ago either, when a chainsaw-wielding psychopath in a Madea film would have been Madea herself, as was so memorably, dispiritingly seen in the character’s very first big-screen appearance, 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman. But times change, and with Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, […]