Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

One of the movies I missed in 2020. Movies about the life of Joan of Arc, the visionary teenager who rallied the French army to victories against the English during the Hundred Years’ War and was executed after a politically-motivated show trial for heresy in 1431, are hardly rare. And they are hardly obscure, including […]

The simple part first: the massive, monumental beast of a comic book movie released under the gravely ponderous title Zack Snyder’s Justice League is better in basically every single way that can be quantified than just plain Justice League from 2017, which is both fundamentally the same thing and so wildly, indescribably different that it […]

There is really only one thing that we need to bother saying about Witchcraft II: The Temptress, which is that it’s a lot more fun to watch than its 1988 predecessor, Witchcraft. If we are being thoughtful about things and wish to treat the matter of evaluating cinema with all of the delicacy and care […]

Camilla Nielsson’s 2014 Democrats is one of the best documentaries of its kind, an unblinking look at the unsexy, downright ugly deal-making that goes into the compromises that fuel democratic governments, as experienced by politicians in Zimbabwe during that country’s writing of a new constitution that would help it transition to something that could actually […]

Not everyone will agree with me, I know, but to my mind, 2017’s Wonder Woman sets up a pretty high bar to clear, as one of the few superhero movies of the 2010s to successfully thread the needle between “superhero comics are modern mythology, with all the gravity that entails” and “popcorn movies need to […]

There was no need for a follow-up to Fårö Document, a decade later, just as there was no reason not to make a follow-up to Fårö Document. And so it is that Ingmar Bergman tentatively returned to his native Sweden, around three years after declaring that he would never under any imaginable circumstances do so, […]

2013’s The Croods is a pretty comfortably average effort from DreamWorks Animation, with  the rather serious caveat that DreamWorks’ average is low enough that this is neither an impressive nor a promising bar to clear. So the existence of a seven-years-later sequel is certainly not the kind of thing that fills a body with optimism, […]

To begin with the only issue of any real importance: in the Netflix original movie The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two, Kurt Russell isn’t nearly as much pure, weightless fun in the role of Santa Claus as he was in 2018’s The Christmas Chronicles. This is in part, of course, because The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two […]

Since erupting into the world with the exquisite Oscar-nominated 2000 short Rejected, animator/director Don Hertzfeldt literally hasn’t made anything that isn’t at least great, and in that time span he has produced multiple candidates for the title of the most important, medium-redefining piece of animation made by an American in the 21st Century. But the […]

The existence of a third Bill & Ted movie in the Year of Our Lord 2020 is both inexplicable and inevitable. The first two movies – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, from 1989 (though it was intended for 1988) and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, from 1991 – are a pair of films incredibly of […]

Whether you consider it a strength, or the movie’s most damning flaw, I think this much cannot be denied: The Godfather, Part II knows the scale of the movie it’s following, and it is hellbent on topping it. 1972’s The Godfather, adapted from Mario Puzo’s 1969 crime novel, was never supposed to be one of […]

The Bill & Ted series is made up of nothing but miracles. 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure obviously intended to be nothing but a disposable lark, mocking some cultural trends of the day on the way to being forgotten by the world at large; instead, based really on nothing I can point to except […]