Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

One of the best developments of the 2010s, in the eyes of this cinephile, has been the ascendancy of Rose Byrne to the status of one of the most reliable comic actors working right now. Obviously, she’s been in some bad things, and sometimes she has been not very interesting in relatively straight dramatic roles, […]

It is well to begin by being fair, and acknowledging that Groupers is a very small movie with a very, very small budget. And this is not something that you’d necessarily be able to guess just by looking at it, or listening to it. First-time writer-director-producer Anderson Cowan has soared past the biggest challenge facing […]

One of the similes I keep handy in my back pocket is the formula “[film] overuses [word] like a 12-year-old boy who’s just learned to swear, and can’t think of anything funnier” (presented with modifications, of course, but if you keep an eye out for it, you’ll see that 12-year-old boys come in for a […]

So, his name is Stu, and he drives an Uber. This really is the sum total of what what qualifies for wit in Stuber, a deeply unsatisfying movie that typifies almost everything wrong with comedies in modern American cinema, save one: it appears to have a proper screenplay, by Tripper Clancy, and not just a […]

Taking a piece of pop culture as profoundly yoked to a specific moment in cultural and social history as 1971’s Shaft and updating it for modern tastes is a fool’s game, one that has fooled people twice now. Which, I mean, if a talent as undeniable as John Singleton couldn’t crack the problem with 2000’s […]

The story goes that A Madea Family Funeral is going to be the final big-screen appearance by Tyler Perry’s most famous and infamous creation: the bossy, violent, and vulgar Mabel “Madea” Simmons, played by Perry himself with increasingly diminished enthusiasm over the years. Absolutely nothing in the film suggestsย  that will be the case (it […]

The script for what eventually became the simply awful comedy Holmes & Watson was first announced in 2008. After a couple of cast changes, the project was shot in 2017 and delayed twice before appearing as one of the least-merry films that could possibly have opened on Christmas Day, 2018. That decade weighs heavily on […]

There are individual moments of goodness littered all throughout Vice, and individual moments of badness, just like with any movie. Unluckily for the film, the moments of badness are all given pride of place, and so what might, in a happier life, have just been a moderately irritating “hip” biopic turns into one of the […]

As the late 1950s faded into the early 1960s, perhaps the two most interesting things happening anywhere in horror cinema (change “perhaps” to “absolutely” if we limit the conversation to the English-speaking world) were the heavy shift over to Gothic horror pictures made by Britain’s Hammer Film Productions, and the brief but intense and unbelievably […]

The Happytime Murders isn’t good, which is no surprise at all; but it is very close to being good, which is quite a surprise indeed. Basically, the problem is this: it’s poisonously unfunny. The film is an enthusiastic participant in the current wave of adults-only comedy, where cursing is funny, cursing in a sexualised manner […]

Consider a movie about spies. Consider a movie, in particular, about a normal woman who is thrust into the position of having to be a spy without any real training, and so ends up fumbling her way through major European cities by a combination of dumb luck and common sense, to humorous effect. What you […]

Far be it from me to tell a theater full of people merrily chuckling away that what they’re laughing at isn’t funny. For it was in just such a room that I saw Eighth Grade, the first feature written by Bo Burnham, and most of the crowd was having a fun time, while I felt […]