Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Of the 16 films made between 1949 and 1981 that featured visual effects by the great artist Ray Harryhausen, you could mount a serious argument that not one of them is very good. I would not personally agree with you (at a stone-cold minimum, Mighty Joe Young and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms are both […]

You can just about watch an era snuff itself out with Clash of the Titans, the final film for producer Charles H. Schneer and effects artist Ray Harryhausen (who also took a producer credit on what is frequently held to be the great labor of love of his career), and the first of those men’s […]

To begin with, let us first point out that One Million Years B.C., Hammer’s 1966 contribution to the caveman genre, rests its success on two qualities that are impossible for a 12-year-old boy to resist: some of the very best dinosaurs found anywhere in cinema before Jurassic Park came along with its CGI creations, and […]

Jonathan Swift’s beloved 1726 satire Gulliver’s Travels has had such a miserable history in its various cinematic adaptations that picking one out as the “best” isn’t saying a goddamned thing, other than “this version actually includes something other than Lilliput”. Which, as it happens, 1960’s The 3 Worlds of Gullivers does, and that’s a huge […]

I’m talking completely out of my ass, you understand, but I think there’s a very strong possibility that the alien invasion turned back by plucky humans might be the single most common scenario in 1950s cinema, irrespective of genre, across all countries. Aye, even more common than “radiation makes animals huge” pictures. Invasion films span […]

It is a sad truth that lovers of the great classic B-movies have to face, that many of them are actually bad, except for that one spark that makes an otherwise wholly unremarkable programmer seem to be more dear and unique than it really is. And so it was even in the career of the […]

Written in honor of the legendary stop-motion animator and special effects technician Ray Harryhausen, who passed away on 7 May, 2013, at the age of 92. With all my sincerest gratitude for the menagerie of fantastic and prehistoric animals given life by his hands, and the unimpeachable matinee-movie thrills that even now I get when […]

If I say “Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island“, and you are anybody but a Jules Verne scholar (to judge from my Site Meter stats, there is a good possibility that this is the case), I bet that the first thing that pops into your head is “giant bees”, and if it’s not that, it’s “giant chicken-beast”, […]

Every Sunday 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: Cowboys & Aliens. That is some seriously high-concept shit right there. How are you supposed to even start competing […]