Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) is a well-observed, well-played, interestingly itchy character. She is, indeed, more interesting than Brittany Runs a Marathon knows what to do with. The film very obviously wanted nothing else but to be a lighthearted inspirational story drawn from life – Brittany O’Neill, to whom all this happened, is a friend of […]

Intermittently 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: there is a grand total of one hook that they’re using to sell Good Boys: it is funny when kids […]

Creed II isn’t very good, but I cannot find it in me to feign disappointment about that. 2015’s Creed was, after all, not merely a good film: it was a miraculous film. Making a sixth sequel to 1976’s crowd-pleasing Best Picture winner Rocky 39 years after the original was a pretty dubious idea, and centering […]

Let us be honest: Early Man is a little bit dumb. Or it is, at any rate, so unbelievably silly that it comes off as dumb, albeit dumb on purpose. The latest film produced by the great Bristol-based Aardman Animations, and the first feature directed by the studio’s creative soul Nick Park since 2005’s Wallace […]

If you wanted to be unforgiving in the editing room, and maybe order up a few reshoots involving second-billed star Steve Carell, you could just about turn Battle of the Sexes into a routine, watch-and-then-forget-it sports biopic about Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) who was for a time the face of feminism in professional sports […]

I’m sure I missed something, but did it really take 24 years before we finally got a knock-off of The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom? That’s not exactly what I, Tonya is, though it’s pretty good for a first approximation. The child of Positively True Adventures and The Wolf of Wall Street, now that gets us […]

Cars 3 could be a hell of a lot worse. We know that. We already had Cars 2. To avoid the fate of joining that film at the bottom pit of Pixar hell, the filmmakers made the very reasonable distinction of simply going back over the plot of the first Cars, a movie that was […]

A review requested by David Lewellyng, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I was born near the end of 1981, which means I was about a month shy of my 15th birthday on 15 November, 1996, which was the day that Space Jam opened. This means that I […]

Creed is the best Rocky film since Rocky” has very obviously become the conventional wisdom, but I don’t think it goes far enough. Creed is, I would much rather say, the best Rocky film, period. And that includes having the best depiction of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) himself, as a tired, sorry old man who […]

Southpaw is a boxing picture with Jake Gyllenhaal. I can save us all a bunch of time, because everything else – every damn thing – is just wallpaper. I suppose I could specify that it is primarily a The Champ-model boxing picture, about the boxer’s relationship to his family, far more than it is a […]

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 […]

In 1948, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello met Frankenstein (as well as the wolf man and Dracula, and point in fact, they don’t meet Frankenstein, just his monster), and two flagging brands were revived. One of those was Universal horror, which had completely flatlined after 1945, as part of a more general fading of big […]