Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Sonic the Hedgehog is so deeply adequate that it’s almost hostile. The film comes fully predigested, with every single bit of its plot, every character beat, every gag telegraphing itself and its intended response; it is the kind movie for which the existence of an independent, thinking audience seems almost like an unnecessary complication to […]

If the whole point of a movie is that it follows the narrative logic of a video game, I wonder: does that mean that giving that film a “the same thing only with a few purely cosmetic tweaks” type of sequel actually counts as a strength? This question arrives on the back of Jumanji: The […]

The Angry Birds Movie 2 is a misnomer twice over. First, the onscreen title treatment and all of the advertising material state, clear as day, The Angry 2 Birds Movie. Second, the birds in this one are not angry. But I imagine that The Birds with Depression Movie would sell fewer tickets. As you undoubtedly […]

(Almost) 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. Last week: Pokémon Detective Pikachu represents the first time that the beloved video game animals called Pokémon have appeared in […]

Look deep inside your heart, consider the matter as bloodlessly as possible, and confront the question of whether a movie can be “objectively good” in the first place, and we must ask ourselves, is Pokémon Detective Pikachu (the lack of a colon in that title makes me sad in my heart) actually a good movie? […]

In the words of Robert Worshow, “A man goes to the movies. The critic must be honest enough to admit that he is that man,” and in that spirit, I will lead with my bias: the 2012 Walt Disney Animation Studios release Wreck-It Ralph, 52nd entry in the company’s official canon of animated features, is […]

In the film Rampage, in the office of its over-the-top villains, there is a copy of the 1986 arcade game Rampage, and this cute gesture raises ontological questions that the film is unprepared to address. Does Rampage exist within the universe of Rampage? Do the characters in the movie in fact realise that they are […]

Steven Spielberg has indicated during the press tour for Ready Player One that it had, alongside Jaws and Saving Private Ryan, one of the very hardest shoots of any film he’s ever directed. I think this is a slightly odd claim to make publicly – “this shoot was a grueling misery and it took everything […]

First things first: Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart, in that order, are the whole set of reasons to see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. If none of those names stir any kind of pleasure in your heart, or worse still, if those names raise your hackles, it’s probably safest to ignore […]

My hat’s off to Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: it surely does seem to mean its title literally. When it’s over, the series mythology has been wrapped up nice and snug, and while it leaves the promise that there will be many more adventures to be had in this universe, it does so in exactly […]

The good news is that Assassin’s Creed is probably the most stylish video game adaptation ever, for what that’s worth. As you may have heard, movies based on video games sometimes aren’t very good. So the bar for Ass. Creed to stand out was in fact quite low. But still, let’s not get to pissing […]

A review requested by Ben Gruchow, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The bar for movies based on video games is low enough so that my judgment of 1995’s Mortal Kombat – it’s not just the best one, but is the best one by a whole lot – […]