Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In the words of Robert Worshow, “A man goes to the movies. The critic must be honest enough to admit that he is that man,” and in that spirit, I will lead with my bias: the 2012 Walt Disney Animation Studios release Wreck-It Ralph, 52nd entry in the company’s official canon of animated features, is […]

There are times when it makes sense to bury the lede, and times when it makes sense to just have out with the thing that needs to be said. So let me have out with it: the reason to see The Christmas Chronicles is Kurt Russell’s performance as Santa Claus. This cuts two ways. First, […]

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 […]

Much of the pre-release promotion for the 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas focused on the extraordinary (and, eventually, Oscar-winning) make-up work it took to get Jim Carrey entombed in the flexible latex mask that allowed him to play Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s beloved Christmas-hating misanthrope. And, in particular, on how it was […]

The 1966 television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a masterpiece at least three times over. First, it’s one of the greatest of all Christmas stories told in an audio-visual medium, filling its 26 minutes with exactly the correct amount of warm and fuzzy sentiment, wry cynicism to keep said sentiment in check, and […]

It’s not really accurate to suggest that The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is the latest example of Disney’s irritatingly robust program of remaking its animated features in shrieking, shiny CGI and “live-action”. But it’s not really inaccurate, either: the feature makes more than its share of glancing nods back towards 1940’s Fantasia, mostly (though […]

For a company that has spent 90 years now insistently bathing itself in sweetness and light, there’s always been a certain love of dark, spooky shit driving Walt Disney Productions. In 1929, not even a full year after Mickey Mouse made his incredibly successful debut, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks oversaw the creation of the […]

In the bloodthirsty world of corporate animation, a very strange symbiotic relationship has sprung up between Sony Pictures Imageworks and Warner Animation Group. As part of its ongoing attempt to get back to its noble history of comic cartooning, Warner has twice now contracted with SPI to produce a feature to be released under the […]

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: Alpha demonstrates the time that humans first turned wolves into dogs. This relationship has been commemorated in countless artworks; […]

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: Alpha dramatises the time that humans first turned wolves into dogs. The subsequent relationship between species has been commemorated […]

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: the Walt Disney Company has acted for years like A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh is theirs and theirs alone, as is […]

Given the company’s current business model, it makes perfect sense that Disney would finally get around to releasing a film with the explicit message “constantly dwelling in nostalgia is good, and caring about adult things is bad”. I don’t even think I’m being ungenerous to Christopher Robin in summing it up that way; at least […]