Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

Ultimately, there is a grand total of one test that Welcome to Marwen has to pass, and it does not. To wit, does this film do anything to justify its existence in face of the 2010 documentary Marwencol, which treats on exactly the same subject as this highly fantasised biopic, and does so with great […]

There are times when it makes sense to bury the lede, and times when it makes sense to just have out with the thing that needs to be said. So let me have out with it: the reason to see The Christmas Chronicles is Kurt Russell’s performance as Santa Claus. This cuts two ways. First, […]

The most surprising thing about the new animated adaptation of Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s 1957 picture book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – which, in keeping the the 21st Century’s refusal to even pretend like any of us still has an attention span, has shortened the title to just The Grinch – is that it’s […]

Much of the pre-release promotion for the 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas focused on the extraordinary (and, eventually, Oscar-winning) make-up work it took to get Jim Carrey entombed in the flexible latex mask that allowed him to play Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s beloved Christmas-hating misanthrope. And, in particular, on how it was […]

The 1966 television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a masterpiece at least three times over. First, it’s one of the greatest of all Christmas stories told in an audio-visual medium, filling its 26 minutes with exactly the correct amount of warm and fuzzy sentiment, wry cynicism to keep said sentiment in check, and […]

I am sorry to say that I didn’t write down the exact phrasing, but The Old Man & the Gun opens with a title card that reads something along the lines of “This story, also, is mostly true”. And what the hell do we make of that? “Also” compared to what? This is literally the […]