Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

To begin with, let us first point out that One Million Years B.C., Hammer’s 1966 contribution to the caveman genre, rests its success on two qualities that are impossible for a 12-year-old boy to resist: some of the very best dinosaurs found anywhere in cinema before Jurassic Park came along with its CGI creations, and […]

We all know by now that 21 Jump Street is actually, like, startlingly good, right? That, even though it looks hokey and dumb, it turns that dumbness to its advantage, makes a tool of it, et cetera. Well, if you managed to avoid hearing all that, you know it now: the movie is sort of […]

The easy part first: the David Fincher-directed and Steve Zaillian-scripted The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is better across the board than 2009’s Män som hatar kvinnor, the Swedish adaptation of the same source novel by the late Stieg Larsson. The sole exception is the key role of that very same tattooed girl, where it’s […]

There might not be any 20th Century novelist as well-served by dramatic adaptations of his works as British spy author (and former British spy) John le Carré: the not-as-great films taken from his body of work feature such wholly enjoyable thinking-heavy thrillers as The Russia House and The Tailor of Panama, while the great ones […]

Pennies from Heaven was a ridiculous flop upon its initial release in the winter of 1981-’82, grossing considerably less than half of its $22 million budget back at a time when that was real money, and honestly, it makes a lot of sense that it would. It was a musical at a time when virtually […]

There was a TV movie made in 1973, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, that is frequently cited by those who’ve seen it, as one of the best made-for-TV movies of that era, one of the two Golden Ages of made-for-TV movies (the other is the early ’50s). I haven’t seen nearly enough of the […]

In 1961, Sergio Leone cast an actor from an American TV Western in one of his movies. The actor was Rory Calhoun, and the movie was The Colossus of Rhodes. In 1964, he again cast an actor from an American TV Western in one of his movies. The actor was Clint Eastwood, and the movie […]

August is traditionally (tradition = since around the late 1990s) meant to be the winding-down part of the summer, when the films that aren’t really meant to be good are released; what that has actually meant for three years running is that the August releases tend to be the slightly more personal and idiosyncratic ones […]

Upon reflection, I’m a bit surprised it took this long for Jason Statham to star in a Charles Bronson remake. They fill the same niche in the Action Movie Star ecosystem: perpetually pissed-off tough guy who looks kind of scary no matter what he’s doing, and kills people with more a sense of brutality than […]

Ordinarily, one does not use the phrases “pretty damn great” and “crushing disappointment” in close proximity in a film review – yet here comes True Grit, the fifteenth feature written and directed by everyone’s favorite Minnesotan brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen; their first honest-to-God Western in a career that has consisted of almost nothing but […]

Let Me In is the best English-language vampire movie in ages. Ages. That must not be denied (though with competition like Twilight, we must ask ourselves: is it that big of an achievement). If it suffers, it is only because of 2008’s Let the Right One In, the best vampire film, irrespective of language (it’s […]

Though the last few years have seen a gradual return to harder and more violent horror movies after about a decade of feeble, teen-friendly thrillers, it’s still hard to be prepared for Piranha 3D, directed by French gorehound Alexandre Aja, from a screenplay by Pete Goldfinger & Josh Stolberg. This is not a film that […]