Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

A review requested by Mark Falconer, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. My sense is that the 1954 version of A Star Is Born is thought of first and above all, and maybe to the exclusion of all else, as a Judy Garland vehicle. That’s fair, because Garland’s […]

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: Money Monster is a very sober crime thriller about fiscal malfeasance starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. I would […]

The third and newest film produced by the Walt Disney Company to bear the title The Jungle Book significantly lacks the greatest strength of Maleficent and Cinderella, Disney’s other recent attempts to remake its animated features as realistic popcorn movies: it does not feature a world-class actress playing one of the studio’s greatest villains (which […]

The focus of this review being its subject’s position in the context of filmmaking in 1977, it is not based upon the series of “Special Edition” re-releases in theaters and on home video that have routinely happened since 1997. Instead, I take as my source material the “Despecialized Edition” reconstruction by fan editor Harmy of […]

A second review requested by K. Rice, with thanks for contributing twice to the ACS Fundraiser. The 1936 propaganda film Tell Your Children, known far better under its re-release title Reefer Madness, is almost too easy to take cheap shots at. It’s the most infamous of the peculiarly robust cycle of anti-drug films in the […]

A review requested by Bryce Wilson, with thanks for his multiple contributions to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I groused that Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone writes too damn many IOUs to work as its own thing. And wouldn’t you know, the second part actually pays off some of those IOUS! […]

A review requested by Bryce Wilson, with thanks for his multiple contributions to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. It is not enough to begin at the beginning. We have to go before the beginning, to 1995, when the 26 episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion started to air on Japanese television. Telling the […]

The most reductive version of the Entire History of American Horror Filmmaking is that it all began as Hollywood’s narrative and stylistic response to German Expressionism, which was, with the odd exception here or there, the only place you could go between about 1910 and 1930 to find anything paranormal in the movies. And this […]

History remembers 1953’s House of Wax as the first big studio film shot in 3-D during that gimmick’s earliest incarnation. History remembers this so well, in fact, that history tends to overlook that House of Wax has perhaps even more significant a claim to fame: it was more or less the movie that first linked […]

Considering how much its visceral, rubbery gore effects, electronic score, the niceties of its lighting and film stock, and especially its position in the center of a maelstrom of controversy about these goddamn violence-driven horror pictures with no characterisations beyond “this guy dies then that guy dies” all mark it out as a quintessential product […]

It would be nice if more remakes found some way to justify themselves beyond “because of the money” – it would be nice, in fact, if more movies generally did the same – and this goes doubly for films that are basically flawless. Which is a phrase I feel super uncomfortable in applying to 1980’s […]

The transformation of Hammer Films into the world’s most prominent home for edgy, brutal, sexy genre films was completed almost entirely on the backs of 1957’s The Curse of Frankenstein and 1958’s Dracula, released in America as Horror of Dracula (the fuse was, however, lit by the violent sci-fi/horror film The Quatermass Xperiment). And as […]