Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In deference to the very vocal minority of internet cinephile types who have decided to use the new film Old to declare that M. Night Shyamalan has Actually Always Been Good, I will say this: the directing certain is not lazy. Shyamalan has quite a remarkable number of tricks laid out to make what’s very […]

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 […]

2019’s Escape Room is a fun and not-particularly-good thriller: fun mostly because of the ingenuity and narrative utility of its set design, not particularly good mostly because of its unbelievably stupid worldbuilding and attempt to paste a techno-paranoia mythology onto the gimmick “what if you died for real when you fucked up an escape room?” […]

Notwithstanding its title, one of the most acutely generic and forgettable (not to mention, inapt) I have encountered in an age, No Sudden Move is a triumph of writing, with a hell of a script by Ed Solomon that’s as good as any that director Steven Soderbergh has worked with in a good ten or […]

Everything that is worst about F9 – or to give its mildly bizarre, never-seen-onscreen full title, F9: The Fast Saga – is exactly the same as everything that makes it such a wonderfully ludicrous, over-the-top joy to behold. As the first honest-to-God watch-it-on-the-biggest screen possible Hollywood popcorn blockbuster in over a year, since the repulsive […]

One might hold any opinion they like about Guy Ritchie, the onetime English enfant terrible whose career as a director of feature films is now entering its 23rd year, but I think we can agree at least on this: he has a “thing”. He has so much of a “thing”, in fact, that he has […]

Whatever one things of the seven films to date that make up the Conjuring Universe – I admire their guileless commitment to the “jump out and say boo!” qualities of a good cheesy ghost story, and the thick mountains of period atmosphere they wrap that commitment in – surely we must all agree that the […]

A Quiet Place is the sort of film that doesn’t leave nearly enough buttons unbuttoned and loose ends unknotted that you would assume it had to have a sequel, while also leaving enough room for a sequel that it would never feel like they were forcing one out just for the sake of business. And […]

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: Netflix has commissioned a new zombie movie, Army of the Dead, from slow-motion enthusiast Zack Snyder. There could be no better […]

“Movies are so rarely great art,” Pauline Kael wrote in 1969, “that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them.” I do not agree with much of what Kael had to say over the years, and in fact I do not even agree with large swaths of […]

It is very easy to root for a movie like Those Who Wish Me Dead: a curt thriller that focuses all of its stakes on seven human beings in a mostly constrained period and space, serious in tone without going up its own ass about it, built around a proper movie star, and best of […]

When confronted with a story as vigorously trashy as the one underlying The Woman in the Window – adapted from the 2018 novel by A.J. Finn, the pen name of Daniel Mallory, a book editor who very openly described how the book came about as a compendium of every trope in popular post-Gone Girl crime […]