Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: after 25 years, Space Jam: A New Legacy returns the classic animated figures of the Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies series […]

Black Widow is, on balance, a largely blank experience: devoid of anything particularly obnoxious other than a 133-minute running time that it seems to view as an obligation rather than an opportunity for expansive storytelling, pretty formulaic in every single element of its storytelling, packed with hollow action scenes that don’t hurt to watch, nor […]

Everything that is worst about F9 – or to give its mildly bizarre, never-seen-onscreen full title, F9: The Fast Saga – is exactly the same as everything that makes it such a wonderfully ludicrous, over-the-top joy to behold. As the first honest-to-God watch-it-on-the-biggest screen possible Hollywood popcorn blockbuster in over a year, since the repulsive […]

There has been some muttering about whether or not it is strictly correct to call The Mole Agent a “documentary”, and to this I have only one response: I don’t really care what we call it, as long as we acknowledge that it’s charming and good. But also, it’s totally a documentary; it’s just that […]

Director Olivier Assayas has made world-class masterpieces, like Irma Vep (1996); he has made solidly routine arthouse fodder, like Something in the Air (2012); he has made films that I think simply do not work, like Clouds of Sils Maria (2014). But one thing he had not made prior to Wasp Network in 2019, or […]

As inevitably and irresistibly as the sun rising and the tide coming in, any actor who has enormous muscles and an even marginally acceptable sense of comic timing will eventually make a children’s comedy that has him pratfall in the face of a preternaturally self-assured tween. And doom has now come to wrestler-turned-character actor Dave […]

So, Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite! You’ve just got to love the stubborn optimism of that exclamation point, by the way. Like we’ll be convinced that it’s a bubbly, fun bit of high-energy nonsense if our brain reflexively rises up in volume as we read it Also, I cannot shake the feeling that it […]

I would never have thought of this on my own, but now that I’ve been put in mind of it, it makes perfect sense that American International Pictures and Amicus Productions would team up together. You could never say that they occupy the same spot in their respective ecosystems, because the Hollywood and British film […]

Forgive me if start talking about Tenet, the eleventh feature directed by Christopher Nolan (and, I am tempted to say, the most Nolan-ish of them all), by simply quoting what I had to say ten years ago about Inception, the seventh Nolan feature: “What some critics have praise/assailed as ‘confusing’ in [Tenet] is really just […]

1999’s Baby Geniuses is complete garbage, shockingly misconceived as a concept, with horribly executed technique that plunges it into the darkest, mildewiest hollow of the Uncanny Valley. So imagine the horrors I have in store for us when I declare – and I mean it with the most utterly tranquil sincerity – that it didn’t […]

The book-length interview Hitchcock/Truffaut (one of the greatest texts about how filmmakers make films that you will ever read), was first published in 1966, at which point Alfred Hitchcock’s newest film was Torn Curtain, from that summer. He didn’t have very much to say about it to François Truffaut, skimming over a few sequences, point […]

In the annals of the great director/screenwriter collaborations, I don’t know that Carol Reed and novelist Graham Greene get as much credit as they deserve; I don’t know that they could get as much credit as they deserve. They worked together only three times, but the second of those resulted in one of the highest […]