Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel Dune offers one of the most interesting of all wrinkles to auteur theory, as it is generally understood. The film was the third feature directed by David Lynch, and the last before he became “David Lynch” as we now understand that phrase with 1986’s Blue […]

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 […]

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: after 25 years, Space Jam: A New Legacy returns the classic animated figures of the Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies series […]

Three stars gets absolutely nowhere close to my actual feelings about The Mitchells vs. the Machines, the new film by Sony Pictures Animation that has, after pandemic-related delays, settled into a home on Netflix. There are, in fact, three entirely different films happening here, and I would give three stars to none of them; but […]

Probably the simplest way to start explaining what the living hell we have in front of us with The Twentieth Century, the first feature-length film by avant-garde director Matthew Rankin (who had some fairly substantial attention, by the standards of such things, with the shorts Mynarski Death Plummet in 2014 and The Tesla World Light […]

We could run through a decent list of the things about the (for now) newest cinematic adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s 1883 children’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio that sound like they should be interesting, but are in fact not actually very interesting. This is different than saying the film is “bad”: it is on the […]

“Lunatic visionary cult director Sono Sion makes his English-language debut with a post-apocalyptic samurai Western starring Nicolas Cage” is a collection of words that feels like it was lab-created to end up with a kind of heavily self-aware “Weird”-in-square-quotes example of something too knowing and calculated in its what-the-fuck wildness to be authentic. And arguably, […]

Every film director in the history of the medium has made, or will have made, their final film. Most of them scrape out some dumb nonsense, the kind of half-assed project that a fading, aging artist can get financed. The lucky ones are able to do so at least semi-knowingly, ending their career on a […]

This October, I’ll be working my way through several of the films made by Amicus Productions, the second-most-beloved British horror film specialists of the 1960s and ’70s. First up, though, is the film that was an Amicus film before Amicus existed. The film industries of the United Kingdom and the United States have always been […]

Nobody who ended up in Director Jail has ever deserved it less than Joe Dante. Out of the first six features on which he received sole directorial credit – Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), and The ‘Burbs (1989) – only Explorers lost money, and of the remaining five, Innerspace […]

No reviewer of the 1958 MGM musical Gigi will ever come up with a better lede paragraph than the one Bosley Crowther wrote for his review in The New York Times, in which he affects modest shock at the astonishing list of coincidences between the film and a recent Broadway, before drily ending with the […]

One is practically required by law to start any review of the 1999 version of The Haunting by negatively comparing it to the 1963 version of The Haunting, and how dare I do otherwise. The Haunting ’63 is one of horror’s all-time highest water marks, an immaculate piece of visual storytelling on top of being […]