Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Taking a piece of pop culture as profoundly yoked to a specific moment in cultural and social history as 1971’s Shaft and updating it for modern tastes is a fool’s game, one that has fooled people twice now. Which, I mean, if a talent as undeniable as John Singleton couldn’t crack the problem with 2000’s […]

There are multiple versions of 1973’s The Wicker Man, but the one that has been easiest to see for most of the film’s existence is 88 minutes long. This might not matter, since you’re not reading a review of The Wicker Man, but here’s the thing: Midsommar is basically The Wicker Man with the serial […]

Part of me, and it is a very large part, feels extremely uncomfortable giving Yesterday a star rating implying that it’s a good film, because in point of fact it is not. It is an adorable film, almost entirely on the backs of stars Himesh Patel and Lily James; it is one of the most […]

Part of me wonders if Kevin Feige is really just sticking it to Amy Pascal for the sake of it. The whole thing about Spider-Man in movies since 2016 is a bit tedious and wrapped up with corporate nonsense, but the basic thing to keep in mind is that Columbia Pictures, a subsidiary of a […]

We are now at the seventh film of the Conjuring Universe, and by this point, the films have established a formula as reliable and unyielding as a religious ceremony. They are not “stories” to be “told”; these movies are enacted. So how in God’s name is it that Annabelle Comes Home works so well – that […]

Remakes of 1980s horror movies have had something like a 0% success rate. If that’s not enough to give somebody pause before green-lighting a remake of the 1988 paranormal slasher movie Child’s Play, there are plenty of other red flags waving themselves. For one thing, the 31-year-old franchise is still going strong: series creator and […]

This thing where various Hemsworth brothers show up in profoundly unsatisfying years-later sequels to major Will Smith vehicles is likely nothing more than a coincidence, but I think it leads to a useful analogy: Liam Hemsworth as to Chris Hemsworth as Independence Day: Resurgence is to Men in Black: International. That is to say, MIB:I […]

Toy Story 4 isn’t bad. This is, already, a huge achievement, for there was every reason in the world for it to be bad: Pixar Animation Studios has a fairly unimpressive track record with sequels and is nowhere near the regular level of absolute brilliance they were when the last film in this series, Toy […]

Most weeks 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: Men in Black: International is the latest attempt to exhume an old franchise whose days of being beloved by […]

The very first thing that happens in Brightburn is- well, technically¸ it’s an establishing shot of a rather nice Kansas farmhouse. So the second thing that happens in Brightburn, I should say, is a tracking shot up a bookcase with several titles about fertility and then one prominently-located book on emotionally dealing with the knowledge […]

The “what went wrong?” behind the scenes exposés of Dark Phoenix, tenth and final film in the X-Men series, appeared with absolutely shocking speed after the film’s franchise-worst opening weekend. In these testimonials, we find the nugget of information that the film exists in its current form largely because, after the drowsy respone critical and […]

I’m not going to go around calling 2016’s The Secret Life of Pets a good movie, because it ain’t. At best, it’s a mid-tier film for Illumination, the animation studio best-known for those damn walking yellow Tic-Tacs with the prominent butt cheeks. Considering that Illumination’s top tier only just surpasses “affable mediocrity”, its middle tier […]