Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

A review requested by Zev Burrows, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. It’s a bit tricky to decide exactly what to do with The Natural, a 1984 film that’s good in almost every possible way, including some ways that a movie of its genre – the Inspirational Period […]

Not that one expects much out of a movie like Air Bud, but I still wasn’t expecting it to reveal itself to be quite so vile quite so quickly. Very nearly the first thing that happens in the entire movie is a series of comic close-up shots of a little yellow bird, sitting on a […]

First point: Foxcatcher is, I am certainly, exactly the film director Bennett Miller wanted it to be. It is too precise, too focused, and too consistent for anything else to be the case. Second point: that’s not really much of an excuse. A true story of psychological gamesmanship between one of the more peculiar members […]

There is a stat that I find somehow totally unexpected, even though I’d have guessed it right if you asked me beforehand: the highest-grossing baseball movie in history is A League of Their Own, the story of the first season of the short-lived All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, founded during World War II as a […]

The Tom Cruise intro I have spent a larger portion of my life thinking of Tom Cruise as a bobble-headed pretty boy than otherwise, but like all false beliefs, once you realise it’s not true, it’s hard to remember why you ever thought that way in the first place. I mean, yes, Top Gun, and […]

Director, producer, writer, micro-manager of cinematographers and editors – Stanley Kubrick was one of the most auteur theory friendly of all auteurs, for more than virtually any other filmmaker in history, he was fully and emphatically in control of every visual and sonic element in nearly all of his mature film work. I highly doubt […]

The best part first: Rush is Ron Howard’s best film since Apollo 13. Or at least his most entertaining, and for that director, there’s not a huge gap between those two positions. Of course, given the films he’s made in that 18-year gap, it’s no special achievement, but it is anyways exciting to see a […]

They say that good things come to those who wait, and I am happy to report that after months of patient waiting, 2013 has finally produced a movie that’s so bad it’s good, in the form of 3-D sports/dance hybrid Battle of the Year, something of a b-boying themed remake of the 1989 taekwondo tournament […]

That there are two animated films in the summer of 2013 which both feature a creature that just wants to race, doggone it, no matter what institutional bias he faces from the powers-that-be because he belongs to the wrong species, and when he eventually manages to make it into the big show, he ends up […]

With The Fan, we arrive at a very curious question that isn’t really as interesting as I probably think it is: can a performance be too good for a movie? The reason I ask this is because The Fan pairs the slick manipulations of a Tony Scott-directed thriller with the Method acting of Robert De […]