Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

As we all know (and like many of the things we all know, it’s only partially true), Japanese animation got through its “this is just for kids” phase much earlier than the animation industries of every other country. And once it got out of its “this is just for kids” phase, it very quickly arrived […]

It’s easy – very, very easy, I’d say – to look at the current state of comic book movies and feel nothing but cold dislike for the machine-pressed non-art that the genre has largely turned into, as we enter the third decade of the post-X-Men superhero boom. But, while I have no desire to apologise […]

We must now ask ourselves: at what point does a studio become merely a brand name? Let’s not even make it a hypothetical: if we have something called Hammer Film Productions, and it’s all legal and aboveboard and there’s a clear line of ownership justifying that name, but also James and Michael Carreras are both […]

Twice isn’t enough to make a trend, but it’s maybe cause for hope: apparently any animated franchise, no matter how crappy, can reach its third entry and simultaneously hit the “we don’t give a fuck” point, and suddenly become good. In 2012, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted succeeded in being the first Madagascar film that […]

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: Spider-Man: Homecoming provides not only the usual popcorn movie supeheroics, but also a healthy dose of adolescent angst. Genre […]

There has historically been a one-to-one relationship in the Underworld films between Kate Beckinsale being onscreen and the films being even a little bit palatable to watch. In the fifth and very probably final entry in the series, Underworld: Blood Wars, we see less of Beckinsale than in any of the others besides the 2009 […]

A review requested by Anna D, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Even without the benefit of years’ worth of hindsight, I think it’s fair to assume that history will judge What We Do in the Shadows to be a quintessential, time-stamped example of moviemaking in the mid-2010s. […]

In the week before the movie opened, Hotel Transylvania 2 director Genndy Tartakovsky sat for an interview with animation news site Cartoon Brew that’s breathtakingly direct in communicating his disappointment with the whole corporate structure in which he’s been obliged to work, and his frustration with his writers/executive producers Adam Sandler & Robert Smigel. One […]

You couldn’t order a more perfect first generation horror movie knock-off than The Vampire Bat. The 1933 effort by Majestic Pictures (which had no other meaningfully long-lived productions before it was absorbed into Republic Pictures at the end of the ’30s) is very close to the platonic ideal of a cheap-ass attempt to simultaneously copy […]

I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of pleasure to be had in watching a real movie-movie. The kind that’s totally drunk on the expressive potential of cinema and does not give a shit about what it’s saying, as long as it says it with visual fervor. That’s the spirit that animated the French New […]

There was not ever going to be a good reason to tell the secret tragic backstory of how Count Dracula, one of English culture’s all-time best unrelentingly wicked bad guys, was actually motivated by love of his family and country. Let’s be totally clear about that part. Secret tragic backstories for the Wicked Witch of […]

In Gamera vs. Gyaos, Daiei Film’s third film in as many years featuring the fire-breathing, flying, giant tortoise Gamera, the formula of a “Gamera film” was nailed down in its final form, while his most iconic and beloved opponent was introduced. A certain Gyaos by name, because whatever else is true of daikaiju eiga they […]