Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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

1987’s Predator is an ideally stripped-down version of itself: a 1980s movie about a bunch of muscled meatheads typical of that decade’s action pictures encountering the one thing in this world (or rather, out of it) that’s tough enough to tear through them like wet toilet paper. It reduces both the ethos of Hollywood action […]

The first time, to my incomplete knowledge, that the gimmick of showing a horror movie entirely through the form of what happens on a computer screen was in the 2012 found footage anthology V/H/S, in the segment “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger”, and it has been a few times […]

Every week 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: the true story of how infamous war criminal Adolf Eichmann was captured by the Mossad is related in Operation […]

Bad movies happen all the time. Anybody can make a bad movie: all you need is some flat dialogue, lazy cinematography, actors in over their heads, an unprepared director, poorly thought-out story beats, an inattentive editor, cheap sound equipment. Or any combination of the above. No, there’s nothing particularly interesting about a bad movie. But […]

In a marvelous decade for low-budget indie sci-fi, the writing-directing team of [Aaron] Moorhead & [Justin] Benson still stand out for making some of the most offbeat genre films out there. They’ve gone-three-for-three now on films that start out as a low-key character dramas about two people who like each other a lot but are […]