Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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, […]

One wishes to never have to say anything negative about a Laika film. The company only exists because multi-billionaire Phil Knight, founder and former CEO of Nike, is an indulgent father, and his son Travis wanted to run an animation studio; it’s been a possibility with every new feature that this might be the one […]

Sebastián Lelio makes exactly one type of movie, and I like it less every time I see it. Take, on this hand, a terrific performance by an actress playing the kind of character who doesn’t generally show up as the protagonist of a movie. Take, on the other hand, nothing fucking whatsoever. Not dramatic urgency, […]

Wonder Park is about the importance of never giving up your imaginative spark, and always following whatever weird, idiosyncratic passion is yours and yours alone, and in the process showing the world something incredible that it has never seen. That this message is attached to this movie has broken my irony meter so hard that […]

One need not enjoy watching the films produced by Marvel Studios over the past eleven years (as I do not) to acknowledge that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, if nothing else, unfailingly consistent. Producer Kevin Feige rules with a heavy hand, and if that means that it’s almost impossibly rare for one of his movies […]

The story goes that A Madea Family Funeral is going to be the final big-screen appearance by Tyler Perry’s most famous and infamous creation: the bossy, violent, and vulgar Mabel “Madea” Simmons, played by Perry himself with increasingly diminished enthusiasm over the years. Absolutely nothing in the film suggests  that will be the case (it […]