Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The Upside premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and didn’t receive commercial release in the United States until January 2019 (the demise of The Weinstein Company factored into this). That’s not “commercial release following an Oscar-qualifying run in one Los Angeles theater.” That’s commercial release. There’s such a thing as a distributor knowing […]

There is a thing that costume dramas sometimes do, and it always annoys me, and Mary Queen of Scots does it a whole lot: make characters who weren’t even progressive by their own era’s standards progressive by our own. What we have here is a story about two people who very much existed, and about […]

The following review spoils the movie, but not any more than the movie’s first ten minutes have already done on their own. Still, tread carefully. A world-wide epidemic of suicides, a monster that manifests as ominous blowing wind – of all the fucking movies to take as a primary influence, why would anybody with a […]

By the standards of things that have absolutely no intrinsic reason to exist, Mary Poppins Returns sure is functional. It depicts 24 discrete still images per second and everything. The film is the long-awaited victory dance by the Walt Disney Company on the grave of P.L. Travers, who hated the studio’s 1964 Mary Poppins, and […]

Every now and then we get one of those little mini-cycles of movies that are in no way actually related, but somehow end up occupying the same exact spot in your brain. For me, at least, we have one of those going on right now, with a pair of movies, each with the word “Boy” […]

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 […]

To the ordinary list of problems with the conventional biopic – they are boring, they are shallow, they are pandering, they are formulaic – Bohemian Rhapsody reminds us that they can be even worse still than the none-too-high standard. For on top of all its other shortcomings, Bohemian Rhapsody is something of an official, authorised […]

To the Devil… a Daughter was one of the biggest hits Hammer Film Productions had enjoyed in years at the time of its 1976 release. Paradoxically, it’s also more or less the film that finally killed Hammer off. The studio hung around in a tattered way for a few years before disappearing: it managed to […]

You really do have to salute Bad Times at the El Royale for its bravery: not every film would run the risk of just up and putting “bad times” right there in the title. So impressed am I, in fact, that I’m going to dignify the film by not making any of the obvious jokes, […]

The film itself isn’t nearly important enough to earn this, but you could do a lot worse than holding up 1970’s The Horror of Frankenstein as a summary of all the things going terribly wrong with Hammer Film Productions at the dawn of the ’70s. The studio’s reign across the anglosphere as the premiere home […]

Tom Hardy’s ever-increasing collection of accents – you might love ’em, you might hate ’em, but you sure as hell can’t deny that he sure as hell commits to ’em. I had not even though to live in hope that there might come a day when Hardy would pull up a bigger, loopier, more vivaciously […]

Hell Fest isn’t much as a movie, but there’s one thing I like about it: it’s a good excuse to do some theorising about horror cinema. You know, that thing we all like to do in our spare time. I’ll get to the specifics of what I have in mind in a little bit, but […]