Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The original Brodaway production of the musical Dear Evan Hansen won six Tonys off of nine nominations, making it the single most-awarded production of the 2016-’17 season. In some years this would mean very little, but that season was an atypically competitive one for critically-acclaimed new musicals, meaning that there had to be some actual […]

The Many Saints of Newark is the kind of project that often gets described in a certain kind of news article or film review as “the feature fans have been waiting on for fourteen years”, before going on to talk about whether or not the wait has been rewarded. I have only this to say: […]

With Don’t Breathe 2, it becomes officially impossible not to conclude that co-writers Fede Álvarez & Rodo Sayagues just don’t know how audience identification and sympathy work. Their 2016 thriller Don’t Breathe (directed by Álvarez) was broadly liked, but certainly not by me: I found it to have wantonly miscalculated in assuming we’d effortlessly side […]

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: the myth of Candyman has been resurrected to remind us all of the nightmarish power of storytelling. It’s not the first […]

Every mainstream movie is commercial product, of course, and plenty of the less-mainstream ones as well. But it’s been a good long bit since I’ve been left as incapable of ignoring that fact as I am with PAW Patrol: The Movie, a throwback to a simpler time in children’s animation when cartoons were not merely […]

Free Guy is a film that lives and dies on one consideration: how much do you like Ryan Reynolds’s “thing”? I have grown to dislike it very much. But by all available evidence the movie has turned out to be one of 2021’s most successful crowdpleasers, as one of the few releases in the post- […]

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: David Lowery and A24 have brought us a moody art-film version of most beloved of 14th Century romances in the form […]

Black Widow is, on balance, a largely blank experience: devoid of anything particularly obnoxious other than a 133-minute running time that it seems to view as an obligation rather than an opportunity for expansive storytelling, pretty formulaic in every single element of its storytelling, packed with hollow action scenes that don’t hurt to watch, nor […]

“Why didn’t you make this other movie I would have liked better, instead of the movie you did make?” is one of the shabbiest angles a film critic can ever play, and I do not deny that in my time I have played it, to my shame. But it’s rare to find a film that […]

More than any American animation studio that exists, one gets the feeling that Pixar Animation Studios would love it very much for us to compare all of their movies to the work of Japan’s Studio Ghibli, and especially that studio’s co-founder and most prolific director, Miyazaki Hayao. So first things first: congratulations to Luca, the […]

If there is one nice thing I can say about the threateningly-titled Spiral: From the Book of Saw – and I do think it is just the one thing – it’s that this represents a much braver attempt to haul the old Saw franchise back into the public eye than the last one. 2017’s Jigsaw was a […]

Whatever one things of the seven films to date that make up the Conjuring Universe – I admire their guileless commitment to the “jump out and say boo!” qualities of a good cheesy ghost story, and the thick mountains of period atmosphere they wrap that commitment in – surely we must all agree that the […]