Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It is well to avoid making absolute statements, especially absolute statements about weirdly idiosyncratic and fundamentally unquantifiable things, but I’m feeling feisty. So here goes: I think it’s entirely likely that the most interesting and important thing happening to cinema anywhere in the world right now is the Chinese film industry’s attempts – largely successful […]

Producer-writer James Cameron has been nurturing a screen adaptation of Kishiro Yukito’s manga series Battle Angel Alita almost since it was first translated into English in the 1990s. And this is perhaps why Alita: Battle Angel – the every-so-slightly-worse-named feature that has finally emerged from that years-long dream – feels so much like a film […]

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is, I am deeply unhappy to report, a bit better than you should expect of the fourth movie in a franchise of animated comedies for children that double as toy commercials. I am unhappy to report this, because 2015’s The Lego Movie wasn’t “better than you should expect”; […]

In the 50 years since Night of the Living Dead first introduced to the big screen the idea of mindlessly cannibalistic human revenants who spread themselves like a disease, the zombie movie has touched on just about every possible iteration of the basic scenario, in just about every possible setting, that one could reasonably imagine. […]

Movies can be frustrating in any number of ways, but maybe the most frustrating is when an almost-great movie misses that target for just one dumb reason. Witness A Quiet Place, which is microscopically close to being my favorite American thriller in at least several months, maybe even a year or two, and instead has […]

The filmmaking in the Maze Runner franchise keeps getting better and better with every new entry. So it’s a damn shame that Maze Runner: The Death Cure is the last one, because maybe by the time they hit, like, number 12 there’d finally be a movie worth watching. Still, let’s not go all-in on the negativity […]

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters might very well represent the largest shift in the Godzilla formula since 1964’s Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, and not just because Planet of the Monsters is the first animated Godzilla feature (there have been multiple animated Godzilla TV series produced in both Japan and the United States).* Though it’s unlikely […]

Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2014 A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was just about every last little thing I want out of a directorial debut: technically adept and hugely gorgeous, full of left-field concepts, and just limited enough in some really obvious ways that it was easy to hope that her next one would be […]

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: after many, many years, Stephen King’s most monumental work, The Dark Tower, is finally seeing the first fraction of […]

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately for the Planet of the Apes franchise, that happened sometime in between 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes. I wouldn’t say that Battle… is “all” bad, nor even predominately bad, not necessarily. But it’s […]

Two things first. One, War for the Planet of the Apes is an entirely excellent bit of popcorn drama, the first summer movie of 2017 (an important, subtly different thing than any old movie released in the summer) that I think has a fighting chance of still being passionately remembered 20 years hence, but having […]

It Comes at Night could be the title of a horror film, or of a pornographic parody of a horror film. In actuality, It Comes at Night is neither of these, though it’s not above pretending that horror might be in the offing. And if you’re willing to be flexible enough with definitions that a […]