Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It’s been just a little bit more than two years since Collateral Beauty barfed its way in and out of theaters, and ever since then, it feels like we’ve been living in a golden age for astonishing cinematic boondoggles.  Over the decades, the Hollywood film industry has been fine-tuned to discourage truly horrible filmmaking, and […]

Every satire of the for-profit art world makes largely the same points about that target, and Velvet Buzzsaw, the third film by writer-director Dan Gilroy, is not looking to break the habit. Oh, sure, it drags in the stuff of a slasher-style horror movie for its second hour, but it’s still basically the same thing […]

The surprise is not that Escape Room, a body count thriller released in January, isn’t good. The surprise is that it’s almost good, and the reasons it ends up going bad aren’t probably the ones you’d predict. There are not, at least, the ones I’d have predicted. The desire to retain a teen-friendly level of […]

Categories: mysteries, thrillers

Lee Chang-dong is by no means the most prolific of the many great South Korean directors to come to major prominence in the 21st Century: Burning, his sixth feature, comes to us after a long eight-year gap since his fifth, 2010’s lovely Poetry. But he does maybe put up a real fight to be considered […]

The following review spoils the movie, but not any more than the movie’s first ten minutes have already done on their own. Still, tread carefully. A world-wide epidemic of suicides, a monster that manifests as ominous blowing wind – of all the fucking movies to take as a primary influence, why would anybody with a […]

Given the preposterously degraded state of the demonic possession movie, it doesn’t take much at all for The Possession of Hannah Grace to distinguish itself. And to be fair, it doesn’t do much at all, but it does it right at the start, and in so doing got on my good side so immediately that […]

Categories: exorcising, horror, thrillers

It only takes a short while for Widows to prove to us that we’re in good hands. In point of fact, it takes until the very first cut, and the first cut comes rather sooner than we expect it to. Which is, in fact, part of how it shows us we’re in good hands – […]

You really do have to salute Bad Times at the El Royale for its bravery: not every film would run the risk of just up and putting “bad times” right there in the title. So impressed am I, in fact, that I’m going to dignify the film by not making any of the obvious jokes, […]

On 20 July, 1969, the NASA Apollo 11 mission, commanded by Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon. Spoiler alert. But, I mean, it did, and that’s why we’re here for a movie like First Man to begin with. “First man to almost walk on the moon but then not do it” isn’t a plot. So […]

It’s reckless as hell to say, after the man has made a grand total of two feature films separated by eight years, that Panos Cosmatos is one of my favorite active filmmakers. It’s reckless to assume he even is active in any meaningful sense, or that his two extant films will be joined by a […]

It is real kind of Hold the Dark, the fourth film directed by Jeremy Saulnier, to sum up all of its problems in one single shot. Or, I guess, a pair of shots. Late in the film, there’s a very long, extravagant gun battle (no spoiler: it is one of the only things anybody has […]

The question of how director Paul Feig was going to follow five consecutive feature comedies – four of them assembled through shaggy hang-out improvisation, often centered on Melissa McCarthy’s particular comic rhythms – with an adaptation of a nasty-minded beach-read thriller was so damn confusing that it even formed part of the ad campaign for […]

Categories: comedies, mysteries, thrillers