Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Free Guy is a film that lives and dies on one consideration: how much do you like Ryan Reynolds’s “thing”? I have grown to dislike it very much. But by all available evidence the movie has turned out to be one of 2021’s most successful crowdpleasers, as one of the few releases in the post- […]

I’m no purist. I don’t think there are all that many things you need to include in a film adaption of the long-running video game series Mortal Kombat. While the games have a fairly involved overarching story line, I don’t really think most players are that aware of what it is, and anyway it’s been […]

Just rolling around a phrase like “Paul W.S. Anderson’s best movie” feels a little bit idiotic. Being “good” isn’t part of the point; being an enormous, ludicrous spectacle of the most unapologetically gaudy nonsense that a middle-aged video game nerd thinks is “cool” is the point. And this is why the most important Anderson text […]

It is difficult to avoid overvaluing 1994’s Street Fighter is. Okay, it’s actually very easy to avoid that, since Street Fighter is a massive failure, the grotesque mutant child of a calamitous shoot. You know all the stories about movies like Casablanca or Jaws, where the production history is just one catastrophe after another, they […]

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 […]