Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 (past) week: amnesia means never having to say you’re sorry in Overboard, a movie about how romantic it is to […]

Lost in Paris is beguiling as all hell, and I would in a pinch call it the most satisfying feature comedy released in the United States in 2017, though that’s not a particularly competitive field. Still and all: beguiling. It’s a featherweight romantic comedy full of many tiny surprises and absolutely no big ones, and […]

Like very many contemporary U.S comedies – like all comedies produced by Judd Apatow – The Big Sick: A) is a very loose, shaggy assemblage; B) would significantly benefit from being less shaggy. Though in this case, at least, the shagginess is personable as hell, rather than just feeling like the filmmakers had absolutely no […]

A review requested by Nathaniel Winer, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. If we lived in a healthier era for romantic comedies, I might not have found TiMER quite so fetching; but we don’t, so I did. The film, which is to date the only feature made by […]

A review requested by Steve T, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There are, in the broadest possible sense, two epochs of the English-language romantic comedy. One was the age of the great screwball comedies, which ended during World War II. The second was the era of of […]

Here’s an object lesson in what cultural hegemony looks like, from the perspective of the hegemon. So at this point in history, China is the second-largest market for American films after the United States itself, and several of the highest-grossing films in the history of the Chinese box office are American studio blockbusters: Furious 7, […]

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: if you have been paying very close attention you might have stumbled across the obscure little tidbit that the […]

The notional context for this review of The Invisible Woman, Universal Pictures’ release for Christmas week in 1940, is “let’s look at all the far reaches of Universal horror!”, and yet there’s no movie that ever felt like it might be part of a horror franchise that so obviously isn’t. The Invisible Woman is so […]

A second review requested by Julian D, with thanks for contributing twice to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There’s nothing more personal and unique than what somebody finds funny – not even what they find scary, maybe not even what they find sexy. The things that make us laugh are as specific […]

A second review requested by Michael R, with thanks for contributing twice to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The credit for the production company glides into the movie so subtly you barely even notice: A VIRGIN PICTURES PRODUCTION hello HELLO is this a story? YES what type? FAIRYTALE FOR COMPUTERS name? ELECTRIC […]

A review requested by John Smith, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Against all reason and the evidence of the film itself, Our Miss Brooks is one of the most singular movies I’ve ever had occasion to talk about. As far as I can tell, it’s the second […]

A review requested by Max, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The hook of 2005’s Little Manhattan is, to begin with, absolutely baffling, though if you just glance at it really quickly it might seem to make a kind of intuitive sense: hey, what if we did a […]