Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

To begin with, define “horror” in a way that makes everybody happy; then solve the intractable mysteries of cinema history prior to 1920. And once you have done these two things, you can authoritatively state, “this is the first American horror film”. But until we reach that point of pure intellectual fulfillment, the best we […]

There’s little more frustrating, in terms of filmed entertainment, than watching a movie waste the talents of a gifted actor, and The Lazarus Effect burns through no fewer than three people who absolutely shouldn’t have gotten themselves stuck in such a ropey low-budget horror film: Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, and Donald Glover. And we might […]

The important part first: BioGoji, the Godzilla suit featured in Godzilla vs. Biollante, is my all-time favorite design of the iconic creature. It’s not flawless – like all of the VS Series Godzillas, it has chunky thighs that suggest that too much devouring nuclear sites and not enough time jogging is taking its toll (but […]

There’s nothing quite as wholly wretched as a tremendously dumb movie that fails to be such a violation of basic filmmaking competence for its stupidity to blossom into something fun to mock. Thus: I, Frankenstein, a movie that exactly lives up to the pedigree “from the producers” – and co-scenarist Kevin Grevioux, a fact not […]

The Canadian indie horror film American Mary is good enough that I wish it were better. That’s a weird way of phrasing what’s meant to be a statement of praise; but American Mary is a weird movie. It’s the second feature by filmmaking twins Jen and Sylvia Soska, following the 2009 Dead Hooker in a […]

See enough movies – and more to the point, discuss enough movies – and you start to come up with shortcuts, boxes that you can file things in to help make it easier to come to grips with what they are and how to approach them. But every now and then something comes along and […]

Frankenweenie is the story of a little boy who can’t deal with the fact that the one thing he loves most of all is gone forever, so he devotes a great deal of time and resources to reviving that thing, creating something weird and foreign and upsetting, but so personally important to him that it […]

With a thin week of wide releases and nothing in the art house looking worth the trip the best course of action seemed to be to arbitrarily pick a few DVDs that have been staring me in the face, unwatched, and make a theme of it. Thus do I declare the first day of ’30s […]

Ever since its premiere at Cannes, The Skin I Live In has attracted the customary divisive reviews that attend to Pedro Almodóvar movies and become a talking point among cinephiles here, there, and everywhere. And in all this, not once have I heard of anybody pointing out the extremely important detail that this is basically […]

With The Breakfast Club, John Hughes solidified his reputation as a chronicler of teenage life in the 1980s – white teenagers in comfortably bourgeois suburbs, at any rate – but that probably isn’t something he was actively thinking about when he began prepping Weird Science, his third film as a director. The new film came […]

Every Sunday 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: it’s the nature of vampires, being that they are creatures of evil, that they must be hunted by warriors […]

Five years can be a long time. When Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed came out in 1969, Hammer Film Productions was at its absolute peak of influence and popularity. The next and final entry in the main line of Hammer Frankenstein films, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, was released in 1974, but the cinematic landscape […]