Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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”; […]

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: Alpha demonstrates the time that humans first turned wolves into dogs. This relationship has been commemorated in countless artworks; […]

In a way, The Equalizer 2 is the absolutely perfect sequel. It’s the old-fashioned kind, where the point isn’t to recontextualise what we saw in the first film, back in 2014, to expand its universe, or to see what the ramifications are from what happened. It just tells another story using the same character doing […]

Categories: action, sequels, summer movies

Finding Dory is definitely the best sequel made by Pixar Animation Studios without the word “toy” in the title. This is a relief, but not all that much of an achievement: Cars 2 is a visually ravishing trash fire, while Monsters University is an easy-going, wildly lazy hang-out movie that only turns on its brain […]

In retrospect, “the worst of the Captain Americas” and “the best of the Avengerses” is exactly what somebody with my tastes in Marvel movies should have expected from Captain America: Civil War, and lo and behold, that’s exactly what it is. The first film in the much-ballyhooed Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is […]

Magic Mike was one of the great surprises in 2010s cinema: a shaggy tale of male strippers starring an army of beefcake with limited (at best) acting skills that turned out to be a piercing, hurtfully insightful examination of personal financial stability in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse. It is a party movie […]

There are certain casting choices that are so ineffably perfect that it’s impossible for the reality to match up to the fantasy one concocts upon learning of them. “Ian McKellen as a geriatric Sherlock Holmes in 1947” is, for me, one such bit of casting, and sure enough, Mr. Holmes (for that is the movie […]

This review is based on the “Despecialized Edition” prepared by fan editor Harmy, something akin to the original 1983 release. It is very nearly almost claimed that Return of the Jedi is the weakest film of the original Star Wars trilogy, and this is absolutely true. The specific reasons for this, and how many of […]

There’s one very specific thing happening in How to Train Your Dragon 2 that would cause me to kind of love it a bit even if it the rest of it was a crashing failure instead of a small disappointment. Which it is, unfortunately; still one of the top handful of movies ever made by […]

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: we have two sequels coming out in one weekend to films that had no right to be as great […]

We’ve officially hit the point where it’s just silly: we have arrived at the existence of Brother Bear 2. What explains the justification for this project, if anything, beyond the power-drunk realisation that the DisneyToon Studios DTV films cost very little to make and brought in at least some amount of profit no matter what, […]

And now we go right over the edge. Initially, the Disney direct-to-video sequels were horrible, mercenary, awful things that despite being horrible and mercenary, made sense: they were all based on recent hit films (no accident that the first two of the things were follow-ups to Aladdin, the first animated feature to ever crack $200 […]