Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Nicolas Cage is in fact a very good actor. That might sound like it goes without saying, or it might not, but it does help to have the reminder: after something like a quarter of a century building an ever- grander persona as a goofy, kitschy weirdo, prone to glowering and bellowing and twitchy, almost […]

The moment when you start to voice the old “I can’t believe they left that part of of the book out of the movie! That was the best part!” complaint, and the movie about which you are complaining is Left Behind, that’s when you discover that you need to take a nice long break from […]

It can’t really have been five years since we didn’t care about Ghost Rider, can it? Aye, and the sequel that nobody wanted has taken every bit of that long to come out and promptly be ignored by virtually the whole world: and yet here I am, reviewing Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance anyway, because […]

Drive Angry is above all else a shockingly fetishistic motion picture. It fetishises acts of brutal violence; it fetishises gorgeously preserved early-70s muscle cars; in an extremely distant third place, it manages, just barely, to fetishise naked women. But mostly violence and cars: the former presented by director Patrick Lussier with lingering, worshipful slow-motion, the […]

It is not a surprise that the first new movie of 2011 should be a bad one – good movies do not premiere in January unless it is by accident – nor a surprise that the particular movie to hold that honor, Season of the Witch, should specifically be bad, whenever it was released (as […]

There is exactly one element of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice that’s of any use whatsoever to any viewer old enough to drive themselves to the theater, and it’s not something that I, at least, would have anticipated: Nicolas Cage is absolutely on fire, bringing 1000% to a role that does not require, justify, or reward such […]

Customarily, it is an unpromising sign when you do not know how to correctly punctuate a title, because it has so many different parts jangling about. My current operating guess is The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans, which runs afoul of rules about serial colons, but then again, nobody – not even the […]

Here’s a hypothetical for you: suppose that there is a director who is – fully justifying a much-abused noun – a “visionary”. Does that director have the ability to save a film from itself? Not, unfortunately, in the case of Alex Proyas’s Knowing, although in this particular case, there are some caveats. This isn’t simply […]

Bangkok Dangerous! What a wonderful phrase! Is it a grammatically-challenged warning? A nickname? A mixed drink? A rare example of a proper noun being used as an adverb? One thing’s for sure, it makes for a great curse – “Bangkok dangerous! They towed my car!” Would that the film were a tenth as deliciously bad […]

Three years ago, Jerry Bruckheimer, with his unfailing ability to produce movies that make endless amounts of money without filling any previously unfulfilled need, oversaw National Treasure, a moderately silly, moderately stupid and shockingly enjoyable matinee-style adventure yarn best described as “The Da Vinci Code but with American history.” Bruckheimer being Bruckheimer, it is deeply […]

For a long time, I thought Jessica Biel was a terrible actress, but ever since last summer’s The Illusionist I’ve been slowly reconsidering that position. Now I find another argument in her favor: she goes through the film Next with a queer, confused look plastered on her face, admitting no other emotion, suggesting she can’t […]

Well, it took him six long months, but Nicolas Cage has finally appeared in something goofier than The Wicker Man. In Ghost Rider, Cage plays Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist who performs the most dangerous tricks ever seen to cope with the death of his father during a show in Johnny’s youth, the day after […]