Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

A review requested by Ben Gruchow, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The bar for movies based on video games is low enough so that my judgment of 1995’s Mortal Kombat – it’s not just the best one, but is the best one by a whole lot – […]

Every week this 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 one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: my younger readers are perhaps unaware of the seismic event that was the ninja fad in the U.S. during […]

There’s a notion going around that The Assassin is a hard movie to parse out at the narrative level. This is so. I have now seen The Assassin three times, in fact, and if you were to tell me that I had to clarify what every scene contributed to the overall narrative at each point, […]

Now that we’ve hit film #3, and given that the worldwide box office take so far makes it seem somewhat unlikely that film #4 is in the offing, we are able to speak of the “Kung Fu Panda Trilogy”. And as far as I’m concerned, we are able to speak of it in especially fond […]

In any film genre, however disreputable and totally without merit, there’s still going to be the “best” of its kind. And so, here we are, and I find myself committing in print to the notion that 1995’s Mortal Kombat, the film that put Paul W.S. Anderson on the map (insofar as he ever actually was […]

Every week this 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 one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a movie about turtles. They have mutated, lived to become teenagers, and are trained […]

Every week this 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 one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a movie about turtles. They have mutated, lived to become teenagers, and are trained […]

Every week this 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 one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a movie about turtles. They have mutated, lived to become teenagers, and are trained […]

The production backstory of The Raid 2: Berandal (the subtitle, which translates as “tough guy”, “thug”, or something like that, is present only in ad material and not onscreen, at least not in the U.S. release) is surprisingly useful in hacking through what the thing is, and why it feels a little… but we’ll get […]

To begin with, there’s no getting around it: The Grandmaster was massively fucked with on its way to U.S. theaters. Is it clearly the case that the changes that director Wong Kar-wai executed under the watchful eye of chop-happy impresario Harvey Weinstein make the film worse? Search me. But it’s just not possible to watch […]

Every week this 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 one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: there has not been one second since the title was announced that I have felt anything but dull rage […]

When Kung Fu Panda came out three years ago, it was greeted with a special kind of enthusiasm beyond what it altogether deserved: for this was not just a perfectly fun talking animal comedy, it was the film that finally, after so many years, proved that DreamWorks Animation could make a good movie (or, if […]