Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

“Some books just can’t be adapted into movies” is a chintzy cop-out. But some books just can’t be adapted into movies, and A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery Medal-winning 1962 spiritual fantasy novel for children is an easy inclusion on that list. It would be easy enough to suppose that the book’s litany of […]

Annihilation feels like it might be the most Alex Garland thing that Alex Garland has written. The writer’s sixth screenplay – the second that he has directed – is the embodiment of all his most characteristic traits: it is far more interested in ideas than characters, it’s infatuated with the scientific processes at the heart […]

Passionate filmmakers are good, because without passion you have hackwork. And so, QED, passion projects are good, because they are the place where filmmakers devote the greatest part of their energy, creativity, and soul. On the other hand, passion projects can also trigger a kind of blindness from artists so deeply in love with their […]

Barring some major and wholly unexpected change, I suspect that Black Panther is the best film Marvel Studios is capable of making right now, and will never be topped in the future. That’s not really much of a compliment, though it’s enough to make me (with some vague resentment and suspicion that I’ll regret it […]

Quite independently of the quality of any of the films in question, the Cloverfield series-if-that’s-the-word-for-it has taken one of the strangest routes imaginable to willing itself into existence. Cloverfield was always just Cloverfield, and that was it for eight years, when an unrelated in-production film titled The Cellar was mildly retooled and made into 10 Cloverfield […]

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters might very well represent the largest shift in the Godzilla formula since 1964’s Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, and not just because Planet of the Monsters is the first animated Godzilla feature (there have been multiple animated Godzilla TV series produced in both Japan and the United States).* Though it’s unlikely […]

Marjorie Prime is a wonderful example of a stage-to-screen adaptation. Director Michael Almereyda’s screenplay mostly leaves intact the material of Jordan Harrison’s 2014 play, a Pulitzer finalist. It largely takes place in a single location, and it leaves alone the distinctively stagey cadences of the dialogue. But it’s such a movie. Almereyda’s visual treatment of […]

There is absolutely no reason for the wonderful 2015 short World of Tomorrow to have needed a sequel. But we got one, and it is equally wonderful. World of Tomorrow, Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts is a fucking miracle: it manages to succeed entirely as a follow-up to World of Tomorrow while […]

For the first 20 years of his career, Don Hertzfeldt – America’s greatest living independent animator – worked analogue. And not just analogue, but analogue. The fact that his short films were all drawn by hand on paper wasn’t merely a technical curiosity, it was central to how several of his best projects existed: Rejected, […]

Alexander Payne’s seventh feature, Downsizing, takes place in a world where technology exists to shrink human beings down to about five inches tall. This technology was invented to ease the burden of overpopulation on the planet’s resources, but in practice, most people who go through the downsizing procedure do so because their money is worth […]

Categories: satire, science fiction

There’s nothing too sensitive in here, spoiler-wise, but there’s not nothing. I will try to warn you any time I talk about that occurs after the first 20 minutes or so. The obvious praise first: Star Wars: The Last Jedi swings for the fences, and of course that’s something to be grateful for. Particularly for […]

I like Guillermo del Toro quite a lot, and I like Jean-Pierre Jeunet a lot, and I like them for very similar reasons – they both make over-saturated movies dominated by production design and fanciful rather than realistic visual effects – and I still would never, ever pretend that I wanted to see a film […]