Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In November of the year of our Lord 1983, the holy trinity was completed. That was when the third of the “Part 3-D” movies was released, an increasingly degraded attempt to cash in on the short-lived 3-D fad of the early 1980s before it reached its inevitable end, by slopping some cheap 3-D effects onto […]

Princess musicals. That’s the ticket: Walt Disney Animation Studios just needs to keep on making princess musicals. You can set the starting point of Disney’s second renaissance under the guidance of John Lasseter wherever you want – with 2008’s Bolt, which was the first film for which Lasseter was chiefly responsible for overseeing its production; […]

Sequels are always an artistically dubious risk, horror sequels not least of all. It’s still hard to process just how much worse 1955’s Revenge of the Creature is than its remarkable predecessor. Creature from the Black Lagoon is, if nothing else, one of the truly great B-horror pictures of the 1950s, and with both producer […]

The iconic, literally genre-defining run of horror films produced by Universal Pictures in the almost 15 years between 1931’s Dracula and 1945’s House of Dracula was largely founded on five pillars: the vampire Count Dracula, the hideous animated corpse created by the mad Dr. Frankenstein, a self-loathing Welsh werewolf, the ancient Egyptian mummies Imhotep and […]

The third and newest film produced by the Walt Disney Company to bear the title The Jungle Book significantly lacks the greatest strength of Maleficent and Cinderella, Disney’s other recent attempts to remake its animated features as realistic popcorn movies: it does not feature a world-class actress playing one of the studio’s greatest villains (which […]

It is easy to first focus on how Goodbye to Language is yet another film in Jean-Luc Godard’s late career collection of essay films describing morality, culture, the state of modern Europe, how cinematic images produce and limit meaning, because that’s what it is. It’s not at all unlike a remake of his last feature, […]

History remembers 1953’s House of Wax as the first big studio film shot in 3-D during that gimmick’s earliest incarnation. History remembers this so well, in fact, that history tends to overlook that House of Wax has perhaps even more significant a claim to fame: it was more or less the movie that first linked […]

As far as nine-years-later sequels go, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For… well, actually it’s pretty fucking awful, since the only other nine-years-later sequels I can think of right off star Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy instead of Mickey Rourke and Jessica Alba, and take as their explicit theme the evolution of culture and […]

The first wave of 3-D did not last very long. The first film to showcase the new Natural Vision technology, Bwana Devil, was released in November, 1952; in 1955, only one movie, Revenge of the Creature, was released in the United States in 3-D. In between those two points was a flurry of activity that […]

The opening image of Pompeii is an extreme close-up of a body covered in the ancient ash that exactly preserved its shape, against a black background, the sinewy camera movements letting us see every angle and the 3-D camera accentuating and exaggerating all the crags and shapes in glorious detail, using the best and brightest […]

October’s such a busy month: here I am, looking to pack away the Chicago International Film Festival and get to work on Kevin Olson’s Italian Horror Blogathon, and wouldn’t you know it, but I was given an absolutely perfect, gift-wrapped transition from one to the other in the form of Dracula 3D, the latest film […]

The long-in-development, long-delayed seventh film by director Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity, already had a massive amount of hype to live up to even before it opened to just silly good reviews out of the Venice film festival, and of course it doesn’t live up to it. It comes, however, about as close to living up to […]