Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The story of Moses and the exodus of the Hebrews from Pharaonic Egypt is, when you get right down to it, one of the key works of literary narrative in the entire history of the world, so there’s no reason a filmmaker shouldn’t poke at it. That’s what shared foundational texts are there for. So […]

And thus does one of the most ill-considered experiments in franchise extension end precisely the way it was bound to end. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the grand finale of director Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 children’s novel, feels like a weirdly-shaped movie fragment and not a movie at […]

There was, to begin with, Braveheart. That film’s depiction of violent, manly battles in an undifferentiated Olden Days setting begat Gladiator, and between the two of them, the five Oscars each of them won (overlapping only on Best Picture – they didn’t even win the same Sound award), and the huge amount of money Gladiator […]

There was not ever going to be a good reason to tell the secret tragic backstory of how Count Dracula, one of English culture’s all-time best unrelentingly wicked bad guys, was actually motivated by love of his family and country. Let’s be totally clear about that part. Secret tragic backstories for the Wicked Witch of […]

By the time the first Daimajin film opened in 1966, it already had a sequel mostly ready to go. In fact, Daiei Film released an entire Daimajin trilogy in that single calendar year, a burst of extreme energy after which the stone daikaiju would go completely silent until a 2010 TV series created by Daiei’s […]

Nobody with a brain would blindly trust the internet, or at least that part of the internet that speaks English, on the subject of release dates of Asian-produced movies from a half-century ago. But what the internet tells me is that Daiei Film released both Gamera vs. Barugon and Daimajin ion 17 April, 1966. This […]

Upon leaving Hercules (the, I don’t know, fifth or tenth movie of that exact title, but I’m talking about the one made in 2014 in America), the friend with whom I saw it and I got to talking about why in the hell so much of recent pop culture has been obsessed with grounding fantastic […]

1960’s Spartacus was the third and last feature film of Stanley Kubrick’s career that he would later disown, for the best reasons of any of them. Unlike Fear and Desire and Killer’s Kiss, it wasn’t humiliation at a half-formed talent of youth that led him to later (and “later”, in this case, means “almost instantaneously”) […]

There are spoiler-type things littered about this review; but boy, talk about a spoiler proof movie… If Eva Green never does anything with the rest of her career besides take dubious roles in doomed projects and have all the fun in the world playing her character up, down, and sideways as a giant pile of […]

The opening image of Pompeii is an extreme close-up of a body covered in the ancient ash that exactly preserved its shape, against a black background, the sinewy camera movements letting us see every angle and the 3-D camera accentuating and exaggerating all the crags and shapes in glorious detail, using the best and brightest […]

Say whatever one will about The Legend of Hercules, and most of it certainly won’t be very nice, but it’s been a really long time since a movie that was this bad and this so-bad-it’s-good, and in such a classical way. It is a bad movie – a profoundly bad movie across all the disciplines […]

Since 47 Ronin opened, mystifyingly, on Christmas Day, it has earned for itself the right to be treated with the warmth and charity of the holiday season. Thus: this movie has, for serious, kind of amazing sound mixing. It is raging and violent during the battle scenes, it’s hushed and soothing in the scenes of […]