Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The worst thing we can say about Oxygen is that it is a very gimmicky thriller based on an overfamiliar gimmick, but done by a director with a skill set extremely well-positioned to make the most of that gimmick, and starring an actor who wrings everything she possibly out of basically only three elements (her […]

In methodically carving one’s path through something like the Witchcraft series, it becomes important for the reviewer to keep himself amused by plucking at the tiniest little points of distinction, lest every single review turn into exactly the same series of despondent rants. So here is what I think is most interesting about Witchcraft IV: […]

The Empty Man was shot in 2017 and had to wait for years to finally come out, caught in the net of 20th Century Fox being purchased by the Walt Disney Company and thus owned by a corporation that had absolutely no idea what in Hell’s name they were supposed to do with something this […]

The Father is the most miraculous kind of film adaptation of a theater piece: one that’s almost impossible to imagine being staged live. In principle, sure, one can ponder how this exact screenplay might be fitted into a theatrical space, and how it could use stagecraft to get at the same sense of slithery, unstable […]

Part of me thinks the best thing to do is just to point to the star rating and then tell you only exactly what I knew about Shadow in the Cloud before I sat down to watch it: it’s a World War II movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz as some manner of airwoman, it has […]

John Lee Hancock wrote the first draft of the script for The Little Things in 1993 (for Steven Spielberg, an unbelievably counterintuitive choice for this grim, gloomy crime thriller), and it’s a great pity that we’ll never know what exactly went into that first draft, or what the finished film would have been like if […]

Making homages to the gialli, Italy’s cultishly beloved violent, stylish thrillers from the 1970s, has become something of a cottage industry over the last few years, going from a fun celebration of a niche interest to a fairly lazy way to jazz up horror stories with bright colors and cryptic storytelling. It takes more than […]

The Vast of Night, Andrew Patterson’s first feature as a director and one of the most transparent “look what I can do! Hire me for a Star Wars!” efforts to get this high-profile of a release in ages, is like an episode of The Twilight Zone. In case you miss this (which you would not […]

There are so god-damned many film and television incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic misanthropic detective, it would be ludicrous to make a definitive claim about any of them being the best or worst, the most or least faithful, or just about anything else. But I will nudge far enough into this dangerous […]

For what would prove to be the final film of his self-imposed exile in West Germany, Ingmar Bergman wanted to finally honor the cinema of his host country, rather than keep making quasi-Swedish chamber dramas as if nothing had changed but the address of his studio. And indeed, that is very much what he ended […]

Sometimes, consensus has it so spot-on that it’s downright gratifying to agree with what everybody else has already said on the matter. To wit: yes indeed, 1977’s The Serpent’s Egg is the worst movie Ingmar Bergman ever directed, finally toppling his 1950 make-work misfire This Can’t Happen Here from its 27-year reign of terror, if […]

1974 is awfully damn late to be indulging in William Castle-style carnival barker tactics to sell a movie – that belongs to an age of cheesy B-movies, not an age of grim, violent grind house fodder. But that is, nonetheless, exactly what The Beast Must Die gets up to, over the vehement objections of its […]