Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

“Why didn’t you make this other movie I would have liked better, instead of the movie you did make?” is one of the shabbiest angles a film critic can ever play, and I do not deny that in my time I have played it, to my shame. But it’s rare to find a film that […]

Quo vadis, Aida? takes place over a few days in July 1995, in the small town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and if that date in connection to that place has any meaning to you, you already know more or less exactly what kind of movie you’re in for. And also, maybe you don’t. […]

At this point, in the third decade of the 21st Century, “terrible late-career comedies starring the formerly great actor Robert De Niro” has become its own genre, and I don’t think there’s a person among us who would claim that it’s a good one. Even so, The War with Grandpa is impressively terrible. The warning […]

I have made no effort to hide my disdain for the aesthetic flattening that goes on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it has its plus side, too. Namely, it acts as a control: a film might have a pretty severe ceiling on how good and/or creative it can be, but it also has a […]

Part of me thinks the best thing to do is just to point to the star rating and then tell you only exactly what I knew about Shadow in the Cloud before I sat down to watch it: it’s a World War II movie starring ChloΓ« Grace Moretz as some manner of airwoman, it has […]

According to a certain strand of criticism that has existed since the early 1960s, the biggest single shortcoming with Ingmar Bergman is that he is fundamentally apolitical. His international heyday exactly overlapped with a moment of heightened political activism around the world from artists of every medium, much of it oriented in opposition to the […]

If, as is so often said, Tom Hanks is America’s Dad, it makes perfect sense that he would, at some point, have to be involved in an American Dad Movie. And, of course, he already has, but in the case of Greyhound, his role was far more active than in such dad movies par excellence […]

The honor of being the first Japanese feature-length animation is typically given to the 1945 propaganda film Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors, and by pretty much every definition of “feature-length” that’s correct. However, it was preceded by a 1943 film, Momotaro’s Sea Eagles, running to just 37 minutes (the shortest standard definition for “feature-length”, offered by […]

Spike Lee is a director uniquely disinclined to repeat himself, and he’s not really repeating himself with Da 5 Bloods, his first feature-length film made by and for Netflix (which is by no means the way I’d prefer to see it). But he is re-running an experiment. The film is a whole lot of things […]

Worse films have won the Best Picture Oscar than 1933’s Cavalcade, though not many. I think there is a real argument to be made, though, that it is the most defective movie to win that award. Sure, 1929’s The Broadway Melody and 1931’s Cimarron are both weaker technically, with their janky early sound hiccups, and […]

I wonder, if I didn’t already know that Ivan’s Childhood was possibly my least favorite and certainly the least audacious and ambitious of the seven feature films directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, if I’d be less inclined to nitpick it. Taken solely in the context of the Soviet art cinema of the late 1950s and early […]

The learning curve for early sound cinema was steep and fast. In the immediate wake of the enormously popular sync-sound scenes from 1927’s The Jazz Singer, the American film indsutry jumped with great enthusiasm and no planning into making some of the most awkward, unwatchable films of its entire history across the course of 1928, […]