Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In the early parts of Mainstream, it appears that producer, director, and co-writer (with Tom Stuart) Gia Coppola was really anxious to make her own version of Aunt Sofia’s The Bling Ring. It is not very good at this, and also, by the time the film’s glacially-paced 94 minutes are over, this will seem like the […]

The Man Who Sold His Skin is the kind of movie that sounds better when you’re hearing about it – or even when you’re describing it – than when you’re actually in front of it, watching it. If I were to tell you the ideas it was playing with, and how it assembles them all […]

The mash-up at the heart of Breaking News in Yuba County makes perfect sense, even if the results are terrible. The film takes the lacerating cynicism of Gus Van Sant’s 1995 newsmedia satire To Die For and mixes it in with the “several idiots trying to run several different cons; violent farce ensues” of Joel […]

In two entirely unrelated ways, I Care a Lot perfectly showcases two of the foremost aesthetic limitations facing contemporary cinema. The simpler one to talk about is that it’s just really damn gross-looking, with the kind of chintzy digital cinematography that has come to define so many direct-to-streaming films (it has been divvied up between […]

It’s amazing and even kind of inspiring that An American Pickle features Seth Rogen playing both of the main roles, spending virtually all of the film’s first half doing nothing but responding to a version of himself to be digitally inserted later, and this is by absolutely no means the big high concept that fuels […]

Categories: comedies, satire

Nobody who ended up in Director Jail has ever deserved it less than Joe Dante. Out of the first six features on which he received sole directorial credit – Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), and The ‘Burbs (1989) – only Explorers lost money, and of the remaining five, Innerspace […]

Also check out my review of the Italian cut It is a common observation and an accurate one that independent Pittsburgh-based director George A. Romero invented the modern zombie film more or less entirely out of thin air with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. But I think the reason that the zombie film turned […]

The argument is there to be made that the present moment in American history is so inherently ludicrous that it is immune to satire. I would not want to be the one to make it, but I offer to whomever wants to take the job a peerless piece of evidence in the form of Irresistible. […]

Stories disagree on what, exactly, is up with Simon of the Desert. The received wisdom is that the funding got slashed during production, and so director-writer Luis Buñuel had to come up with a way to end the movie on the spot, using the last day to quickly tie things off of what ended up […]

One thing that nobody can take away from Bacurau, the third feature directed by Brazilian art house favorite Kleber Mendonça Filho (co-directing here alongside his former production designer Juliano Dornelles): it’s unpredictable. The film wear so many hats over the course of its 131 minutes, sometimes wearing them on top of each other, that it’s […]

In the annals of the great director/screenwriter collaborations, I don’t know that Carol Reed and novelist Graham Greene get as much credit as they deserve; I don’t know that they could get as much credit as they deserve. They worked together only three times, but the second of those resulted in one of the highest […]

I think it is worth being fair to screenwriters David Desola and Pedro Rivero: I’m sure the genesis of The Platform was at least a little bit more sophisticated than, “what if Snowpiercer was, like, vertical?” But wherever the idea ultimately came from, the comparison is there to be made, and reductive as it is, […]