Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

The worst thing we can say about Oxygen is that it is a very gimmicky thriller based on an overfamiliar gimmick, but done by a director with a skill set extremely well-positioned to make the most of that gimmick, and starring an actor who wrings everything she possibly out of basically only three elements (her […]

In the winter 2021 model Liam Neeson Action Thriller, The Marksman, Neeson plays a character named Jim Hanson, and this distracted me enough that I’m suppose it would have been a huge bother even if the film was better. Or also if it was worse. The point is, Jim Hanson is just, I’m sorry, an […]

The opening sequence of Stowaway, a new science fiction thriller by director Joe Penna that’s much heavier on the “science” than “thriller”, is a top-notch bit of space travel filmmaking that calls to mind all the best examples of the form from Apollo 13 to First Man; the last sequence is ginned-up sentimental horseshit that […]

I could tell you what I thought Assassin 33 A.D. was going to be about, and I would not turn out to have been precisely “wrong”, and it would seem like a completely bugfuck bonkers movie that simultaneously must be seen to be believed, and also is so revolting to human decency that nobody really […]

NB: there are spoilers for events in the second quarter of Nobody that not everybody might want to know in advance. For the record, I have left many splendid surprises in the second and third acts not merely un-discussed, but not even alluded to. The action thriller Nobody is, in the most literal sense, incoherent. […]

The Empty Man was shot in 2017 and had to wait for years to finally come out, caught in the net of 20th Century Fox being purchased by the Walt Disney Company and thus owned by a corporation that had absolutely no idea what in Hell’s name they were supposed to do with something this […]

In two entirely unrelated ways, I Care a Lot perfectly showcases two of the foremost aesthetic limitations facing contemporary cinema. The simpler one to talk about is that it’s just really damn gross-looking, with the kind of chintzy digital cinematography that has come to define so many direct-to-streaming films (it has been divvied up between […]

Part of me thinks the best thing to do is just to point to the star rating and then tell you only exactly what I knew about Shadow in the Cloud before I sat down to watch it: it’s a World War II movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz as some manner of airwoman, it has […]

John Lee Hancock wrote the first draft of the script for The Little Things in 1993 (for Steven Spielberg, an unbelievably counterintuitive choice for this grim, gloomy crime thriller), and it’s a great pity that we’ll never know what exactly went into that first draft, or what the finished film would have been like if […]

Judas and the Black Messiah is a perfectly fine film about Fred Hampton, a man who deserves much better than a perfectly fine film. If you haven’t heard of Hampton, ah! such a marvelous figure you have in front of you, and truth be told, as a starting point – only as starting point, mind […]