Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

Three stars gets absolutely nowhere close to my actual feelings about The Mitchells vs. the Machines, the new film by Sony Pictures Animation that has, after pandemic-related delays, settled into a home on Netflix. There are, in fact, three entirely different films happening here, and I would give three stars to none of them; but […]

An apology, or if you prefer a warning: this is perhaps less on the order of a review than it is a rant. The thing is, I found Nomadland to be a completely repulsive movie, cloying when it works and actively pernicious when it doesn’t, and simply having to choke it down was galling enough; […]

Some years ago, I began a review of 2015’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water by noting that it was the first piece of media in the SpongeBob SquarePants universe that I had ever encountered. Flash-forward to 2021 and I shall begin my review of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run much the […]

Among the very first conversations – maybe even the first conversation – in Supernova finds an old couple, Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) lightly sniping at each other over Sam’s driving, and his refusal to ever shift out of a low gear to actually start moving the RV they’re in at something resembling […]

It is perhaps ironic for a film titled News of the World to have nothing actually new within it. Fortunately, it’s doing very familiar things very well, so even if the exact people most likely to enjoy what it’s doing (diehard Western fans) are exactly the people most likely to have seen it all before, […]

Of all the colorful eccentrics that Werner Herzog has collected over his years of making documentaries about interesting people doing interesting things in interesting places, Clive Oppenheimer is among the least-colorful and least-eccentric. He’s a volcanologist at Cambridge, and it was in this capacity that he was doing fieldwork on Antarctic volcanoes when Herzog traveled […]

It’s hard to imagine a more profoundly unsentimental film director – or person – than Werner Herzog. Good ol’ Werner “The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I don’t think they sing. They just screech in pain” Herzog. Or Werner “Life on our planet has been a constant series of […]

1955’s Smiles of a Summer Night is a no-two-ways-about-it masterpiece, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s also a light bauble: tinged with melancholy and hard-won worldy wisdom, but still mostly a sex farce. 1957’s The Seventh Seal is similarly a no-two-ways-about-it masterpiece, but it’s also a strange pageant-like work of dense symbolism, unafraid to […]

There’s a stock complaint about the Academy Awards that goes something to the effect of: “they don’t give Oscars for the Best Picture [Editing, Costume Design, etc.], they give Oscars for the Most Picture.” That’s usually at least a little bit true, but it becomes especially, spectacularly, in-your-face true in the case of 1956’s Around […]

Upon its release in the summer of 1981, Roadgames, the second (and final) collaboration of director Richard Franklin and writer Everette De Roche after 1978’s Patrick, became the most expensive Australian film ever made up to that point (a title it would hold only for a few weeks, until the opening of Gallipoli). That is, […]

The eighth film made by Joel & Ethan Coen, 2000’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? also has the distinction of being their first full-on no-two-ways-about-it major studio production. 20th Century Fox had distributed Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, and Barton Fink, but the financing and production of those films was still closer to a conventional indie […]