Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Because I am fundamentally broken, wretched person, I come to the films in the God’s Not Dead franchise with a certain expectation of laughing at the ineptitude, cringing in merry pleasure at the deep lack of understanding of human behavior, and feeling a twisted, ripped-up churning in my guts, like I’ve got a live copperhead […]

The 2008 film Mamma Mia!, based on the 1999 stage musical of the same name is fucking dreadful: a bunch of famous people mugging stupidly while belting out songs in what we might charitably say is almost always nearly the right key, as the camera is plonked down in stunning indifference to the preceding 95 […]

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: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a musical sequel to a movie that was based on a stage […]

If you would know, would truly know, how good Roger Deakins is at his job, there’s now a simple way to demonstrate it. Just take any daytime exterior shot from the 2015 Sicario, and compare it to any daytime exterior shot from that film’s decidedly unncessary sequel Sicario: Day of the Soldado. And look, I’m […]

2014’s God’s Not Dead has a loopy, auto-erotic concept that makes no sense, but I can vaguely see how, if you were so deep in the culture war trenches that you needed binoculars to see daylight, it might seem like its story of hostile academics trying to humiliate the Christ out of their students speaks […]

The pleasures of 2013’s Pacific Rim are not extreme, but they do exist, mostly because of the unstinting pleasure director Guillermo del Toro self-evidently took in his fantasy of giant robots squaring off against giant alien monsters. It stands to reason that the absence of del Toro means the absence of that pleasure and lo! […]

A 7-years-later sequel to Gnomeo & Juliet sounds like a joke, I would say. Except it doesn’t even. If it were a joke, it would be one with a punchline that nobody could get, because who the hell remembers that Gnomeo & Juliet exists? It’s an entry in a spirited game of “who can remember […]