Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

So, his name is Stu, and he drives an Uber. This really is the sum total of what what qualifies for wit in Stuber, a deeply unsatisfying movie that typifies almost everything wrong with comedies in modern American cinema, save one: it appears to have a proper screenplay, by Tripper Clancy, and not just a […]

Part of the Summer 2019 Netflix Jubilee I can think of one thing that’s interesting to me about Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile, a heavy hitter at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival that ended up as one of Netflix’s biggest releases of the year. Namely, it provides an especially clear demonstration of the truth […]

Part of the Summer 2019 Netflix Jubilee At the risk of essentialising the rules of narrative (but what is genre, if not a shorthand for essentialising certain clusters of narrative tropes?), I think there’s only one thing that a romcom actually, definitely needs to do in order to “work”. It might work poorly – it […]

This thing where various Hemsworth brothers show up in profoundly unsatisfying years-later sequels to major Will Smith vehicles is likely nothing more than a coincidence, but I think it leads to a useful analogy: Liam Hemsworth as to Chris Hemsworth as Independence Day: Resurgence is to Men in Black: International. That is to say, MIB:I […]

Ma is the story of Sue Ann Ellington (Octavia Spencer, a fortysomething woman who still lives in the same small town in Ohio where she went to high school. So do several other people, including all of the principle figures in an exceptionally vicious prank by which the shy, introverted Sue Ann was sexually abused […]

The very first thing that happens in Brightburn is- well, technically¸ it’s an establishing shot of a rather nice Kansas farmhouse. So the second thing that happens in Brightburn, I should say, is a tracking shot up a bookcase with several titles about fertility and then one prominently-located book on emotionally dealing with the knowledge […]

The “what went wrong?” behind the scenes exposés of Dark Phoenix, tenth and final film in the X-Men series, appeared with absolutely shocking speed after the film’s franchise-worst opening weekend. In these testimonials, we find the nugget of information that the film exists in its current form largely because, after the drowsy respone critical and […]

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 […]

Pragmatically, Disney’s new version of Aladdin only had one bar it absolutely had to clear, and it clears it. While this is anywhere from the sixth to the eleventh entry in this unkillable cycle of live-action remake nostalgia jobs, depending on how you count them,* it’s only the second one based on one of the […]

Take out the end credits, and UglyDolls is about 80 minutes long. I spent every single one of them trying to figure out what hell was wrong with their mouths. Let’s do an exercise, you and I. Lightly put your hand on your face, right around your cheekbones. I’m serious, please do it. So much […]

I think it’s telling that The Curse of La Llorona takes place in the Conjuring Universe, which is right now the second-strongest brand-name in cinematic horror after Jordan Peele, and the advertising campaign put not one molecule of energy into promoting that fact. It’s not, like, a secret. There’s no astonishing duhn-duhn-duhhnnn! twist where we […]

I’m sure someone, somewhere, was devoting all their time and energy to hoping that the x-treme, edgy, snottily nihilistic strand of ’90s pop culture was going to come roaring back lo these twenty years later, and for that person, I am happy to say that the new Hellboy feature is waiting for them. How x-treme, […]