Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

When faced with the twelfth entry in a franchise that has been running for 43 years and in that time produced, if we are being spectacularly generous, four actually good entries (and I think it would be easier to defend the claim that only the very first one is actually good than that a whole […]

A paradox about Titane, and not the only one, is that it almost certainly didn’t deserve to win the 2021 Palme d’Or, and also it’s extremely cool and exciting that it did so. The Palme is probably the major film award with the best batting average, quality-wise, so I don’t mean to impugn it in […]

In a bleak age for big studio moviemaking, when not all that many directors seem to really love their job, and even viewer seem to love the medium, we are blessed to have someone like James Wan. The man palpably, overwhelmingly, desperately loves movies, and at their best, they’re so overripe and juicy with that […]

With Don’t Breathe 2, it becomes officially impossible not to conclude that co-writers Fede Álvarez & Rodo Sayagues just don’t know how audience identification and sympathy work. Their 2016 thriller Don’t Breathe (directed by Álvarez) was broadly liked, but certainly not by me: I found it to have wantonly miscalculated in assuming we’d effortlessly side […]

The weird thing about Candyman – second film of that exact title, and an explicit sequel to the first, which I get is like a “thing” we have now, but I sure don’t like it – is that the one thing it was supposed to be doing, it’s kind of very terrible at, and the […]

The Suicide Squad is one of the most pleasantly “that was exactly the movie I assumed it would be” movies in ages. That is to say: it has always been very clear that it would be better than 2016’s Suicide Squad, to which it is a very vaguely-related sequel. It has also always been very […]

If there is one nice thing I can say about the threateningly-titled Spiral: From the Book of Saw – and I do think it is just the one thing – it’s that this represents a much braver attempt to haul the old Saw franchise back into the public eye than the last one. 2017’s Jigsaw was a […]

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: Netflix has commissioned a new zombie movie, Army of the Dead, from slow-motion enthusiast Zack Snyder. There could be no better […]

“Movies are so rarely great art,” Pauline Kael wrote in 1969, “that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them.” I do not agree with much of what Kael had to say over the years, and in fact I do not even agree with large swaths of […]

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 […]

NB: there are spoilers for events in the second quarter of Nobody that not everybody might want to know in advance. For the record, I have left many splendid surprises in the second and third acts not merely un-discussed, but not even alluded to. The action thriller Nobody is, in the most literal sense, incoherent. […]

There’s a certain slobbering, puppy-dog shamelessness to how desperately Psycho Goreman wants to be anointed a new cult favorite. The formula behind writer-director Steven Kosinski’s script is clear as a summer day: take the aesthetic of cheesy children’s television shows about people in very elaborate foam suits punching each other in the kind of spirited […]