Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

A movie as bad as House of Gucci shouldn’t be as bad as House of Gucci. If you follow me. Basically, if you were to select the right moments – the ones in the film’s shockingly weird trailers, for example – you would be 100% convinced that you had before you a remarkable piece of […]

If I may risk dipping my toes into The Discourse, I would like to offer a thought. It is possible for two things to be simultaneously true: first, that smartphones and social media have absolutely turned the brains of everyone under the age of 45 into mashed bananas, and left us a society unable to […]

I do not like to start reviews with the most obvious possible statement that hundreds of people before me have already pointed out, but sometimes it doesn’t pay to be clever. And so: the 2000 ancient world epic Gladiator is quite clearly what you get when 1995’s Braveheart and 1998’s Saving Private Ryan have a […]

Whatever else can be said about the whole sordid situation, it’s great for All the Money in the World that Kevin Spacey had to be dumped and replaced by Christopher Plummer, because Plummer’s performance is absolutely the best thing about the movie and possibly the solitary factor that nudges it across the thin, bright line […]

In some world, Alien: Covenant has a different title. In that world, it is not a sequel to 2012’s Prometheus, and it is not a prequel to 1979’s Alien, but it’s simply a standalone sci-fi horror picture about a group of colonists who take a wrong turn at Albuquerque and as a result end up […]

I am about to make a patently unfair comparison, but the job of the reviewer is to be honest, and this has been my overriding feeling for the past couple of days: there’s ultimately nothing that The Martian does that 1995’s Apollo 13 and 2013’s Gravity didn’t already do. And they both did it better. […]

The story of Moses and the exodus of the Hebrews from Pharaonic Egypt is, when you get right down to it, one of the key works of literary narrative in the entire history of the world, so there’s no reason a filmmaker shouldn’t poke at it. That’s what shared foundational texts are there for. So […]

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: Tammy is about being desperate, broke, screwed over by a man, and looking to solve it all by taking […]

The primary characteristic of Cormac McCarthy’s novels, it has seemed to me, is terseness. His plots and scenes come along bluntly and quickly, like a swift punch to the windpipe, his characters speak barely at all, and frequently only state absolutely essential facts when they do. So why, oh why, is The Counselor, McCarthy’s first […]

Prometheus is a film abnormally resistant to definitive statements, and movie reviewing is a form that lives and breathes definitive statements, and this brings us to a pretty pass. I will, anyway, begin with what might well be the only absolute judgment on the film that I’m willing to pass, and it is this: the […]

The obvious thing is to talk about Blade Runner as though it were nothing but an exercise in style for style’s sake on the part of director Ridley Scott; and while we prefer to do what is not obvious here, even when it means making the sort of contortions of logic and expression that really […]

Star Wars is typically held to have ruined American movies, by turning Hollywood’s eye away from the narratively and structurally complex, character-driven films that dominated the 1970s, in favor of big, loud, effects-driven epics that all start to look a whole lot like one another once you’ve seen enough of them. And when you put […]