Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

This review is based on the extended cut available on the initial DVD release of the film, 3 minutes longer than the original theatrical cut and lacking some CGI embellishments made to the later home video editions. I come to bury the Star Wars prequels, really I do. But that’s easy and obvious, and with […]

Bad movies are one thing. We know how to deal with them. But Minions isn’t bad, exactly. It’s perfectly neutral – the most impressively flavorless movie in many a long age. I’ve found preparing to review it has been something of an exciting race against the clock: would I be able to finish writing before […]

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 […]

The once-proud DisneyToon Studios, formerly a mighty machine ceaselessly cranking out sequel upon sequel to the films of the Walt Disney Feature Animation canon, has of late been reduced to listlessly cranking out Planes and Tinker Bell movies at a slow drip. And between these two points, we run almost the whole gamut of the […]

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 […]

The best movies are the ones that introduce you to a totally new experience. One of those happened to me at Annabelle. I have literally never had anything even a little bit like this happen to me before, and I don’t know if it will ever happen again, though I can live in hope: after […]

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug had every reason on Earth to be clearly and significantly better than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but it’s much closer to being a dead heat. This ends up being far, far more depressing than An Unexpected Journey was in isolation, for there was still hope after that movie. […]

Monsters University is both cute and charming, and I at least found it to be not in the least ways unenjoyable while I was watching it. This is, apparently, where we are now, with Pixar Animation Studios. And note that I’m of the mind that Brave is a pretty solid movie that got a completely […]

In August of 2008, almost nineteen years after the original The Little Mermaid, Walt Disney Pictures released The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning on DVD. And just like that, the DisneyToon direct-to-video sequel line came to its end, courtesy of Disney’s new Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter having behaved like any animation fan given virtually authoritarian […]

There are good and bad things aplenty with Oz the Great and Powerful, but I am very pleased that the one which bothers me the most is a petty nitpick on a formal element. In an effort to recall the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz – and goodness gracious, does Oz TGAP ever […]

The very best thing I can think to say about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is this: it has left me with absolutely no reason to assume that 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is going to be half as much of a slog. If nothing else, that sequel’s title, in relation to the […]

Not since the glorious Halloween devolved into the insipid Halloween II three decades ago has a horror franchise managed to squander all of its early potential in quite as few steps as the Paranormal Activity movies: Oren Peli’s 2009 original* was a simple machine perfectly-designed to be as scary as it possibly could; 2010′ Paranormal […]