Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

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 […]

Like it or not, along comes another cinematic adaptation of the oft-told tale of Robin Hood: the weary middle-aged archer who returns from the doomed Third Crusade looking only to lie his way into anonymity with some gold he stole from the bier carrying the crown of dead king Richard I, but finds himself instead […]

When I am dictator of the world, one of the first laws I shall pass will make it illegal for movie studios to keep giving money to filmmakers whose reputation is based solely on the masterpieces they made 20+ years ago. Though this is not a flawless plan (it would have deprived the world of […]

The makers of American Gangster should count themselves lucky to have Denzel Washington, and more importantly Denzel Washington’s face. It’s quite an interesting face. Not exactly the face of a classic movie star, though he has their charm; not the face of a ’70s Method actor, though he has their intensity. It is his face […]

From the advertisements and concept, I expected A Good Year, in which Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe push themselves far outside of their comfort zones, to be a tepid romantic drama. That would have been a fairly mediocre film. It also would have been better than the film that they actually made. Ladies and gentlemen, […]