Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

In 1936, when the film was new, MGM sold The Great Ziegfeld as the longest talkie ever made, and at 176 minutes (185 in the roadshow version), I certainly can’t dispute that. This of course makes the film my nemesis. Further cementing that antagonism: this was the first biopic to win the Best Picture Oscar,* […]

The Hudsucker Proxy is damn weird. Weird in and of itself, weird that it came into existence, weird for its place in the career of Joel & Ethan Coen. The origins of the film go all the way back to 1981, when Joel had just met Sam Raimi while working as an assistant editor on […]

It’s easy – very, very easy, I’d say – to look at the current state of comic book movies and feel nothing but cold dislike for the machine-pressed non-art that the genre has largely turned into, as we enter the third decade of the post-X-Men superhero boom. But, while I have no desire to apologise […]