Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Pragmatically, Disney’s new version of Aladdin only had one bar it absolutely had to clear, and it clears it. While this is anywhere from the sixth to the eleventh entry in this unkillable cycle of live-action remake nostalgia jobs, depending on how you count them,* it’s only the second one based on one of the […]

The second feature adaptation of Stephen King’s 1983 horror novel Pet Sematary, following a 1989 version that is no classic but has its admirers, possesses three important qualities. One, it has a fog machine, and it’s not afraid to use it, especially when that fog can be backlit to curl across the obviously, appealingly fake […]

If we must get these Disney remakes of their animated features done in unattractive, narratively slack live-action/CGI hybrids – and 2019 is making a particularly loud case that we must – I would say that you could honestly do a lot worse than picking up 1941’s Dumbo as a target. The original film is pure […]

Sebastián Lelio makes exactly one type of movie, and I like it less every time I see it. Take, on this hand, a terrific performance by an actress playing the kind of character who doesn’t generally show up as the protagonist of a movie. Take, on the other hand, nothing fucking whatsoever. Not dramatic urgency, […]

The Upside premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and didn’t receive commercial release in the United States until January 2019 (the demise of The Weinstein Company factored into this). That’s not “commercial release following an Oscar-qualifying run in one Los Angeles theater.” That’s commercial release. There’s such a thing as a distributor knowing […]

Ultimately, there is a grand total of one test that Welcome to Marwen has to pass, and it does not. To wit, does this film do anything to justify its existence in face of the 2010 documentary Marwencol, which treats on exactly the same subject as this highly fantasised biopic, and does so with great […]

The film itself isn’t nearly important enough to earn this, but you could do a lot worse than holding up 1970’s The Horror of Frankenstein as a summary of all the things going terribly wrong with Hammer Film Productions at the dawn of the ’70s. The studio’s reign across the anglosphere as the premiere home […]

As the late 1950s faded into the early 1960s, perhaps the two most interesting things happening anywhere in horror cinema (change “perhaps” to “absolutely” if we limit the conversation to the English-speaking world) were the heavy shift over to Gothic horror pictures made by Britain’s Hammer Film Productions, and the brief but intense and unbelievably […]

As dodgy, doomed to fail remakes go, Superfly actually does a pretty good job justifying its own existence. Obviously, the biggest and perhaps only way it ever had to justify its existence was by providing, after 46 years, a new chance to hear Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” and “Pusherman” on the big screen. And in light […]

It is, I think, close to being an outright objective truth that insofar as the 1987 cult object Overboard works, it works entirely because Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have off-the-charts adorable chemistry together, owing in large part to their being a real-life couple. It certainly does not work because of the scenario, which is […]

It’s not like it’s a surprise that Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is dumbfoundingly bad. Hell, it’s actually gratifying: it’s always pleasant when a movie is exactly as good as you hope it will be, and that’s just as true when said hope is for something truly repulsive that you can […]

The multi-media franchise known under the broad name of Power Rangers in the United States (a substantially revised localisation of the even bigger franchise called Super Sentai in Japan) has been through so many iterations and revisions along the way, why not a franchise-starting action movie remake? Albeit one that seems to have pretty securely […]