Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

No film has ever deserved its reputation less than How Green Was My Valley, an adaptation by Philip Dunne of Richard Llewellyn’s 1939 novel that carefully balances gooey nostalgic sentiment and troubling clarity, is one of the most beautifully-shot films of the 1940s, and represents one of the highest achievements of John Ford’s career-long fascination […]

Before going into anything other details about 1944’s Going My Way, it’s probably appropriate to note that it was an enormous hit. It was the third highest-grossing film released during World War II in the United States, behind This Is the Army and For Whom the Bell Tolls (both released in 1943), making such an […]

I have a my disagreements with legendary film critic Pauline Kael, some of them fairly intense, but one thing I’ll never fault her for: she could write a hell of a sentence. And there’s no sentence of hers I co-sign more eagerly than the one that she used to start her review of Rain Man, […]

Onward is the 22nd animated feature made by Pixar Animation Studios, and thus we arrive at a numerically exciting point. For 2010’s Toy Story 3, the last movie in that company’s virtually uninterrupted early string of medium-defining computer animated films, was their 11th feature, which means they have now been a company that makes generally […]

It’s all right there in the title, a simple little thing that sounds as sensible as a well-fitting pair of shoes: Varda by Agnès. As in “Varda”, the filmmaking career of one of the all-time greats, a master director if ever a director was a master, someone who has more than earned the right to […]

Tom Hanks does not look very much like Fred Rogers. Tom Hanks does not sound very much like Fred Rogers. And Tom Hanks does not move very much like Fred Rogers. Given that the new pseudo-biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood has been sold almost solely on the basis of “watch with amazement as […]

The only word to describe The Peanut Butter Falcon is “nice”. I use the word “only” literally. Niceness is the film’s defining characteristic: it was made for nice reasons, it is nice to its characters (who are nice people), it is nice to its audience. It is not in any way interesting. It feels like […]

Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) is a well-observed, well-played, interestingly itchy character. She is, indeed, more interesting than Brittany Runs a Marathon knows what to do with. The film very obviously wanted nothing else but to be a lighthearted inspirational story drawn from life – Brittany O’Neill, to whom all this happened, is a friend of […]

Intermittently 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: in Don’t Let Go, a cop is able to communicate across time with a dead relative and feed her the […]

If we must get these Disney remakes of their animated features done in unattractive, narratively slack live-action/CGI hybrids – and 2019 is making a particularly loud case that we must – I would say that you could honestly do a lot worse than picking up 1941’s Dumbo as a target. The original film is pure […]

I take it as self-evident that to love cinema is to love Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, the comedy duo paired under the guidance of producer Hal Roach in the silent era and who made several wonderful short films before transitioning to sound and making several even more wonderful shorts and features in the 1930s. […]

The Upside premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and didn’t receive commercial release in the United States until January 2019 (the demise of The Weinstein Company factored into this). That’s not “commercial release following an Oscar-qualifying run in one Los Angeles theater.” That’s commercial release. There’s such a thing as a distributor knowing […]