Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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: the notorious insta-flop Pixels is an adventure about a group of competition-level video game players. It’s also pandering to […]

The regular readers in the crowd know that I ordinarily spend a disastrously large number of words reviewing films in the Disney animated features canon, of which the new Wreck-It Ralph is the 52nd; and I will perhaps do that some day for this movie, after I have a chance to live with it for […]

Author’s note, January 2017: I used to have you might call a bug up my butt about this franchise. Let’s say that although I stand by this review, I don’t actually agree with it. Typically, we do not want bad movies to have sequels; we want bad movies to go far away and stop ruining […]

Author’s note, January 2017: I used to have you might call a bug up my butt about this franchise. Let’s say that although I stand by this review, I don’t actually agree with it. I do not suppose that any of my habitual readers were anxious for me to watch and review Resident Evil: Afterlife, […]

A more disciplined viewer than I could probably watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World all the way through without constantly thinking about the six-volume comic book series by Bryan Lee O’Malley upon which it’s based; and that viewer would, I suppose, enjoy the film more than I did. And I enjoyed it plenty, given the […]

Every Sunday 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: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time hasn’t managed to light to world on fire, and in this it’s […]

If you absolutely must see a new-release movie this weekend, your choice is between Sex and the City 2, a reductive and insulting view of femininity-as-commodity laced with a stunning undercurrent of reflexive American cultural superiority that creaks along for 146 unending minutes; or you can see something bad. Okay, fair is fair, I’d be […]

You’d expect one thing out of a movie with the words “street” and “fighter” in the title, and one of the greatest failures of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is how very little fighting actually goes on in its modestly convoluted plot about a young woman getting her revenge on a murderous Irish real-estate […]

Most of us who are out of our teens can probably agree that, although some extremely good movies are made in the modern day, all but the very best simply can’t compete with the films of the past. Especially in America, where even the “art film” is a marketable genre rather than an indicator of […]

Author’s note, January 2017: I used to have you might call a bug up my butt about this franchise. Let’s say that although I stand by this review, I don’t actually agree with it. In 2002, two similar movies opened, both looking at the aftereffects of a virus that turns people into unstoppable cannibals, what […]

A documentary about video game players doesn’t have the right to be any good, but that doesn’t stop The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Taking a story that sounds like a bad human interest piece, it turns into an operatic tragicomedy of rivalry, jealousy, failure, and success, a tale of all-too-human men defined […]