Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

An alien invasion picture built on the framework of a French Resistance thriller? That is absolutely an idea I think it’s worth rallying behind. Resistance thrillers can be amazing things, combining the ingenuity and mechanical precision of a great heist movie with the life-or-death stakes of a real-world history, and they can have pretty much […]

One need not enjoy watching the films produced by Marvel Studios over the past eleven years (as I do not) to acknowledge that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, if nothing else, unfailingly consistent. Producer Kevin Feige rules with a heavy hand, and if that means that it’s almost impossibly rare for one of his movies […]

It is well to avoid making absolute statements, especially absolute statements about weirdly idiosyncratic and fundamentally unquantifiable things, but I’m feeling feisty. So here goes: I think it’s entirely likely that the most interesting and important thing happening to cinema anywhere in the world right now is the Chinese film industry’s attempts – largely successful […]

Making one PG-13 slasher film that’s actually enjoyable to watch is impressive enough. Making two of them would probably require divine intervention. So it’s surely the right decision that, in crafting a follow-up to 2017’s startlingly fun and effective Happy Death Day, returning writer-director Christopher Landon would elect to use the slasher form more as […]

Producer-writer James Cameron has been nurturing a screen adaptation of Kishiro Yukito’s manga series Battle Angel Alita almost since it was first translated into English in the 1990s. And this is perhaps why Alita: Battle Angel – the every-so-slightly-worse-named feature that has finally emerged from that years-long dream – feels so much like a film […]

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is, I am deeply unhappy to report, a bit better than you should expect of the fourth movie in a franchise of animated comedies for children that double as toy commercials. I am unhappy to report this, because 2015’s The Lego Movie wasn’t “better than you should expect”; […]

After five films ranging from sub-adequate to freakishly bad, the idea that all it would take to make a satisfactory Transformers film would be to have 1) a prequel, 2) centered around one of the dullest characters in the franchise is ludicrous on its face. And yet here we are with Bumblebee, which manages not […]

Tom Hardy’s ever-increasing collection of accents – you might love ’em, you might hate ’em, but you sure as hell can’t deny that he sure as hell commits to ’em. I had not even though to live in hope that there might come a day when Hardy would pull up a bigger, loopier, more vivaciously […]

1987’s Predator is an ideally stripped-down version of itself: a 1980s movie about a bunch of muscled meatheads typical of that decade’s action pictures encountering the one thing in this world (or rather, out of it) that’s tough enough to tear through them like wet toilet paper. It reduces both the ethos of Hollywood action […]

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: the true story of how infamous war criminal Adolf Eichmann was captured by the Mossad is related in Operation […]

In a marvelous decade for low-budget indie sci-fi, the writing-directing team of [Aaron] Moorhead & [Justin] Benson still stand out for making some of the most offbeat genre films out there. They’ve gone-three-for-three now on films that start out as a low-key character dramas about two people who like each other a lot but are […]

I don’t know if Boots Riley has any interest in directing or writing a second feature film. And if he did, I don’t know if I’d expect it to be an even better refinement over his debut, or if he’d have one of those careers that begins in an explosion of pure creativity and then […]