Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

When presented with a largely successful attempt at filming a book that has defeated as many filmmakers as Frank Herbert’s imposing 1965 novel Dune, one’s first impulse cannot help but be admiration for the quantity of effort it took to get us there. Dune isn’t an unfathomably long book – the edition I own runs […]

I had a short conversation with a friend about Venom: Let There Be Carnage that seemed pretty all-encompassing: he felt that the best parts of 2018’s Venom were the scenes where Tom Hardy played off of Michelle Williams, and since there are fewer of those in Let There Be Carnage, he thought it was a […]

Prior to seeing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a mainstream popcorn blockbuster-type comic book movie from a production company that has gotten quite a lot of mileage out of casting wonderful actors in roles that are much too small for them, I’ve been a bit snarky in talking about it like the […]

The Suicide Squad is one of the most pleasantly “that was exactly the movie I assumed it would be” movies in ages. That is to say: it has always been very clear that it would be better than 2016’s Suicide Squad, to which it is a very vaguely-related sequel. It has also always been very […]

If there is one thing that I was not prepared for with Disney’s much-delayed Jungle Cruise, an action-adventure based on the Disneyland theme park ride that has been ready to go since late 2019, it’s that I would negatively compare it to the 1972 Werner Herzog film Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Which is not […]

Black Widow is, on balance, a largely blank experience: devoid of anything particularly obnoxious other than a 133-minute running time that it seems to view as an obligation rather than an opportunity for expansive storytelling, pretty formulaic in every single element of its storytelling, packed with hollow action scenes that don’t hurt to watch, nor […]

“Why didn’t you make this other movie I would have liked better, instead of the movie you did make?” is one of the shabbiest angles a film critic can ever play, and I do not deny that in my time I have played it, to my shame. But it’s rare to find a film that […]

Everything that is worst about F9 – or to give its mildly bizarre, never-seen-onscreen full title, F9: The Fast Saga – is exactly the same as everything that makes it such a wonderfully ludicrous, over-the-top joy to behold. As the first honest-to-God watch-it-on-the-biggest screen possible Hollywood popcorn blockbuster in over a year, since the repulsive […]

As the climax to Legendary Pictures’ “MonsterVerse” franchise, Godzilla vs Kong raises the question: was anybody in the entire world waiting for the climax to the MonsterVerse? How many people other than the rabid consumers of media news blogs, their brains addled by too much internet, know that the “MonsterVerse”, under that name, even exists? […]

The simple part first: the massive, monumental beast of a comic book movie released under the gravely ponderous title Zack Snyder’s Justice League is better in basically every single way that can be quantified than just plain Justice League from 2017, which is both fundamentally the same thing and so wildly, indescribably different that it […]

Just rolling around a phrase like “Paul W.S. Anderson’s best movie” feels a little bit idiotic. Being “good” isn’t part of the point; being an enormous, ludicrous spectacle of the most unapologetically gaudy nonsense that a middle-aged video game nerd thinks is “cool” is the point. And this is why the most important Anderson text […]

The film that has been released in the United States and the United Kingdom as [The] Iron Mask, with the article disappearing if you (like me) are west of the Atlantic – that banal little title covering up a truly dumbfounding number of AKAs in at least English and Russian including Viy 2, Journey to […]