Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It only takes a short while for Widows to prove to us that we’re in good hands. In point of fact, it takes until the very first cut, and the first cut comes rather sooner than we expect it to. Which is, in fact, part of how it shows us we’re in good hands – […]

To the ordinary list of problems with the conventional biopic – they are boring, they are shallow, they are pandering, they are formulaic – Bohemian Rhapsody reminds us that they can be even worse still than the none-too-high standard. For on top of all its other shortcomings, Bohemian Rhapsody is something of an official, authorised […]

I would say at the outset that David & Nic Sheff, subjects of the biopic Beautiful Boy, are a real-life father and son (the movie is based on their respective memoirs, titled after David’s), and the suffering depicted in the movie is real-life suffering, and far be it from me to minimise any of it. It […]

On 20 July, 1969, the NASA Apollo 11 mission, commanded by Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon. Spoiler alert. But, I mean, it did, and that’s why we’re here for a movie like First Man to begin with. “First man to almost walk on the moon but then not do it” isn’t a plot. So […]

The new A Star Is Born, fourth film of that title, is an important first film for two of its main principals. For Lady Gaga, playing the titular star, it is her first real acting role of any significance, following cameos in Machete Kills, Muppets Most Wanted, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. […]

From pretty much the instant it premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, The Wife has been greeted with a nearly uniform wave of critical praise to the effect that Glenn Close is absolutely fantastic as the wife in question, at or near her career peak. Having now seen the film with my own […]

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool was maybe the most Oscarbaity Oscarbait of 2017,* and to a large extent it lives down to that expectation. It’s the story of how 57-year-old Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening), Oscar-winning actress and star of at least two rock-solid film noir masterpieces (1950’s In a Lonely Place, directed by her […]

Some points: 1) The Greatest Showman is definitely terrible, but 2) The Greatest Showman does a whole lot of things to specifically target the pleasure centers of people who above all things treasure the gung-ho artifice of classical-era Hollywood musicals. And not, like, the great ones. The ones that are just good. The ones that […]

Whatever else can be said about the whole sordid situation, it’s great for All the Money in the World that Kevin Spacey had to be dumped and replaced by Christopher Plummer, because Plummer’s performance is absolutely the best thing about the movie and possibly the solitary factor that nudges it across the thin, bright line […]

If you wanted to be unforgiving in the editing room, and maybe order up a few reshoots involving second-billed star Steve Carell, you could just about turn Battle of the Sexes into a routine, watch-and-then-forget-it sports biopic about Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) who was for a time the face of feminism in professional sports […]

People talking a mile-a-minute about tightly-focused points of procedure, piling clauses upon clause until you realize that you’ve been listening to one nested sentence for the last 30 seconds; yes indeed, Molly’s Game was written by Aaron Sorkin, alright. Regrettably, there are very few (if any!) scenes where people have elaborate conversations while walking abreast […]

In these times of great social change and a rapidly-shifting baseline for how cinema attempts to position itself in the world, Darkest Hour is comfortingly reactionary bit of nothing. I don’t in anyway refer to its content, though that is too; I’m simply referring to how very much this feels like something that somebody might […]