Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Once upon a time there was an individual who was superficially a great deal like other individuals, but had sufficiently different interests than the rest of them that he was ostracised and mocked. And his self-confidence and willingness to be himself held the day in the end, but only after a third-act chase scene that […]

A previous version of this review appeared at the Film Experience. In 2011, Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero co-directed a very dark-hearted short film called Birdboy, based on Vázquez’s comic Psiconautas. It left only a bit of an impression on me at the time, but over the years has clung voraciously to the lower tiers […]

“These films have a peculiar and at times indefinable whiff of the ersatz”, I once said about films made for conservative, fundamentalist Christian audiences on mainstream models, and while I was right, I got lucky. You don’t know from ersatz until you’ve seen The Star, which is on the one hand a studio-funded “faith audience” […]

They tell me that one of the major changes between the television series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and the spin-off theatrical feature My Little Pony: The Movie is that the film has substantially more polished animation. That could easily be the case, and if it is… oh dear. As 2017’s solitary example of […]

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately for the Planet of the Apes franchise, that happened sometime in between 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes. I wouldn’t say that Battle… is “all” bad, nor even predominately bad, not necessarily. But it’s […]

Let no-one accuse Conquest of the Planet of the Apes of playing it safe to avoid any accusation of tastelessness: the 1973 film about apes overthrowing their human rules draws very explicitly from the rhetoric and imagery of the Black Power movement, as well as the protests against the Vietnam War. And this in service […]

Two things first. One, War for the Planet of the Apes is an entirely excellent bit of popcorn drama, the first summer movie of 2017 (an important, subtly different thing than any old movie released in the summer) that I think has a fighting chance of still being passionately remembered 20 years hence, but having […]

There aren’t all that many endings that would seem to automatically forestall any possibility of a sequel, but surely “destroying the whole world in a massive nuclear explosion” would make that short, elite list. Nevertheless, after Beneath the Planet of the Apes played precisely that card, it fell to that film’s screenwriter, Paul Dehn, to […]

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is a tough one to deal with. Soldier all the way on through to the ending, and your reward is one of the most impressively demented (in my opinion) and most influential (somewhat more objective) conceits in all of 1970s movie sci-fi – and with the ’70s just five […]

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: War for the Planet of the Apes is likely to be the last film in that franchise for a […]

A review requested by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. And now we come to a question of some real urgency: what the living hell happened to Don Bluth at the start of the 1990s? There’s a simple answer to that, […]

A review requested by James Miller, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There’s nothing at all weird about a 1990s animated fairy tale/Disney knock-off with weak musical numbers and hardly any budget. In fact, this is one of the least-weird things imaginable: attempting to copy what works, cutting […]