Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In fairness to Thunder Force, a high-concept science-fiction comedy vehicle for Melissa McCarthy written and directed by her husband Ben Falcone that was released as a direct-to-streaming exclusive in the first third of 2021: it is better than Superintelligence, a  high-concept science-fiction comedy vehicle for McCarthy directed (but not written) by Falcone that was released […]

My favorite piece of narration in Werner Herzog’s tremendous 2005 documentary Grizzly Man goes like this: “[I]n all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. To me, there is no such thing as a secret world […]

A Week Away, which is basically being advertised as Netflix’s Camp Rock for Gen Z, holds off for about three minutes before the big reveal: It’s a Christian movie. And not just any old Christian movie. It’s a CCM (contemporary Christian music) jukebox musical featuring updated versions of hits from the likes of Amy Grant, […]

One of the movies I missed in 2020. Director Edoard Ponti, in making The Life Ahead, a new adaptation of Romain Gary’s 1975 novel La vie devant soi (which has been published in English as both Momo and The Life Before Us), did as many filmmakers have over the years, and cast a family member in […]

One of the movies I missed in 2020. Pieces of a Woman is the kind of film that gets watched because it received a solitary acting Oscar nomination, and even before it received that nomination, it was discussed for literally only two things, one of which is the performance that received that nomination. Which, for […]

I do not think it was on purpose, so I do not think it deserves credit, but Yes Day absolutely nails the horrible feeling of being trapped with proud parents who are unreasonably confident that everybody around them must surely love their terrible, terrible children. It is an exhausting, loud sugar rush of a movie. […]

In two entirely unrelated ways, I Care a Lot perfectly showcases two of the foremost aesthetic limitations o facing contemporary cinema. The simpler one to talk about is that it’s just really damn gross-looking, with the kind of chintzy digital cinematography that has come to define so many direct-to-streaming films (it has been divvied up […]

Kirsten Johnson’s 2016 feature-length documentary Cameraperson is one of the great non-fiction films of the last decade, a personal memoir that doubles as an inquiry into the “meaning” produced by the photographic moving image. For a while, it seems like her follow-up, Dick Johnson Is Dead, will end up splashing in similar thematic waters, as […]

A finalist from the latest round of voting in the poll to select what 2020 streaming exclusive I should watch and review next. Vote in that and the other polls if you want to control my, and the website’s fate There’s no reason for Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga to be good, […]

A finalist from the latest round of voting in the poll to select what 2020 streaming exclusive I should watch and review next. Vote in that and the other polls if you want to control my, and the website’s fate There are so god-damned many film and television incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle’s […]

After having acted in two of the 21st Century’s finest slow-moving movies about space travel, Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris in 2002 and Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity in 2013, George Clooney has taken it upon himself to make one of his very own. And thus we have him not only directing, but headlining The Midnight Sky (his first time acting […]

August Wilson’s 1984 play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is, to my mind, one of the best American plays from the latter half of the 20th Century. I have not, of course, read all of them, and I have seen even fewer, but still, we’re talking about a towering piece of theater from a formidable talent, […]