Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Taking a piece of pop culture as profoundly yoked to a specific moment in cultural and social history as 1971’s Shaft and updating it for modern tastes is a fool’s game, one that has fooled people twice now. Which, I mean, if a talent as undeniable as John Singleton couldn’t crack the problem with 2000’s […]

Part of me wonders if Kevin Feige is really just sticking it to Amy Pascal for the sake of it. The whole thing about Spider-Man in movies since 2016 is a bit tedious and wrapped up with corporate nonsense, but the basic thing to keep in mind is that Columbia Pictures, a subsidiary of a […]

This thing where various Hemsworth brothers show up in profoundly unsatisfying years-later sequels to major Will Smith vehicles is likely nothing more than a coincidence, but I think it leads to a useful analogy: Liam Hemsworth as to Chris Hemsworth as Independence Day: Resurgence is to Men in Black: International. That is to say, MIB:I […]

Toy Story 4 isn’t bad. This is, already, a huge achievement, for there was every reason in the world for it to be bad: Pixar Animation Studios has a fairly unimpressive track record with sequels and is nowhere near the regular level of absolute brilliance they were when the last film in this series, Toy […]

I’m not going to go around calling 2016’s The Secret Life of Pets a good movie, because it ain’t. At best, it’s a mid-tier film for Illumination, the animation studio best-known for those damn walking yellow Tic-Tacs with the prominent butt cheeks. Considering that Illumination’s top tier only just surpasses “affable mediocrity”, its middle tier […]

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a peculiar thing: it’s a sequel for people who didn’t like the original movie. Myself, I still think the 2014 Godzilla is a hell of a picture, capturing a sense of genuine non-humanity in its scale and scope: it’s a movie about things so big that there’s simply no […]

The general tenor of reviews of Glass suggest that, after a two-film renaissance consisting of 2015’s The Visit and 2017’s Split, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan is up to his bad old tricks again. But I don’t know, I think that this actually is a return to form: sharp-looking movies with with an elegantly classical visual […]

By the standards of things that have absolutely no intrinsic reason to exist, Mary Poppins Returns sure is functional. It depicts 24 discrete still images per second and everything. The film is the long-awaited victory dance by the Walt Disney Company on the grave of P.L. Travers, who hated the studio’s 1964 Mary Poppins, and […]

Creed II isn’t very good, but I cannot find it in me to feign disappointment about that. 2015’s Creed was, after all, not merely a good film: it was a miraculous film. Making a sixth sequel to 1976’s crowd-pleasing Best Picture winner Rocky 39 years after the original was a pretty dubious idea, and centering […]

It is genuinely difficult to understand how Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald could have turned out so badly. This is, after all, the tenth movie in what I guess is officially being called the Wizarding World franchise, after eight Harry Potters and 2016’s Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and one […]

There is probably no major franchise with a more gnarled line of continuity than the Halloween slasher movies, which despite the apparent cleanliness of their numbered progression, have no fewer than four different, irreconcilable universes, and that’s without bringing in Rob Zombie’s standalone remakes in the 2000s to muck it up. 1978’s Halloween begat one […]

1987’s Predator is an ideally stripped-down version of itself: a 1980s movie about a bunch of muscled meatheads typical of that decade’s action pictures encountering the one thing in this world (or rather, out of it) that’s tough enough to tear through them like wet toilet paper. It reduces both the ethos of Hollywood action […]