Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

CODA is unbearably cloying and contains barely a single narrative beat that isn’t an ossified cliché. Naturally, it has been greeted with rave reviews and a spirited bidding war in the wake of its opening-night premiere at the Sundance Film Festival; elevating sentimental schlock made with little more than the most functional artistry has been […]

Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) is a well-observed, well-played, interestingly itchy character. She is, indeed, more interesting than Brittany Runs a Marathon knows what to do with. The film very obviously wanted nothing else but to be a lighthearted inspirational story drawn from life – Brittany O’Neill, to whom all this happened, is a friend of […]

“I like movies. Old ones. Back when they knew what they were doing,” says Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow), star of The Tomorrow Man, and you know what? I totally agree with that. Also, if you want a really clear-cut example of the kind of movie that gets made now, when they don’t know what they’re […]

Part of the Summer 2019 Netflix Jubilee I can think of one thing that’s interesting to me about Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile, a heavy hitter at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival that ended up as one of Netflix’s biggest releases of the year. Namely, it provides an especially clear demonstration of the truth […]

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the 2018 winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, is a movie that feels like it might have still felt fresh and interesting if it had come out in 1993. That’s the year in which the film is set, which is already a curious choice (inherited […]

What a strange, strange trend 2016 has brought us: deadly serious movies about race and slavery in America that are nearly undone by terrible editing and ugly color correction that drenches night scenes in azure. By all means, The Birth of a Nation is better than Free State of Jones, but it’s a hell of […]

A review requested by Carter Smith, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There’s going to be a lot of wholly subjective, first-person claims in this review, I am sorry to say. But comedy is notoriously subjective and this is a specifically notoriously subjective comedy we have in front […]

To hear directors James Franco and Travis Matthews tell it – and oh, how much you get to hear Franco tell it, over and over, across the movie’s achingly long 60 minutes – the purpose of Interior. Leather Bar. is to interrogate the comfort level of the viewer and performer alike surrounding explicit gay sex […]

Camp is one of the hardest things in pop cultural discourse: hard to quite grasp which of a dozen almost identical, but in some crucial way contradictory definitions, cuts to the heart of what it is; hard to explain it once you’ve seen it, and demonstrate how and why it works the way it does; […]

Escape from Tomorrow is worse than bad: it’s a soul-crushing disappointment. This film grew from the kind of idea that is only going to work one time – shooting an entire feature film, surreptitiously, on the property of Walt Disney Company theme parks – and it’s goddamn criminal that the best thing that writer-director Randy […]

The found footage horror movie, birthed by 1999’s The Blair Witch Project and thrust into the big time by 2008’s Cloverfield, burned itself out rather quickly, as will happen to a genre so cheap that you need neither a good idea nor talent to whip together something which enough damn fools will trudge out to […]

You can’t always complain about how sex in movies comes in either the “prurient, puritanical, and embarrassed” flavor of the American cinema or the “explicit, specific, joyless, and punishing” flavor of the French (which I probably do more in real life than on the blog, but still…) and then not praise a movie that is […]