Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The weird thing about Candyman – second film of that exact title, and an explicit sequel to the first, which I get is like a “thing” we have now, but I sure don’t like it – is that the one thing it was supposed to be doing, it’s kind of very terrible at, and the […]

The Suicide Squad is one of the most pleasantly “that was exactly the movie I assumed it would be” movies in ages. That is to say: it has always been very clear that it would be better than 2016’s Suicide Squad, to which it is a very vaguely-related sequel. It has also always been very […]

2019’s Escape Room is a fun and not-particularly-good thriller: fun mostly because of the ingenuity and narrative utility of its set design, not particularly good mostly because of its unbelievably stupid worldbuilding and attempt to paste a techno-paranoia mythology onto the gimmick “what if you died for real when you fucked up an escape room?” […]

Everything that is worst about F9 – or to give its mildly bizarre, never-seen-onscreen full title, F9: The Fast Saga – is exactly the same as everything that makes it such a wonderfully ludicrous, over-the-top joy to behold. As the first honest-to-God watch-it-on-the-biggest screen possible Hollywood popcorn blockbuster in over a year, since the repulsive […]

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: Disney’s latest live-action branding deposit, Cruella, finds everyone’s favorite puppy-killing fashionista showing up in the flesh for the second time. The […]

Ah, Witchcraft! Perhaps the only series of movies I have ever encountered where “the first super-porny one” and “thank God the acting is at least better this time” can be used to refer to one and the same entry. In this case, I am looking at 1993’s Witchcraft V: Dance with the Devil, which finds […]

A Quiet Place is the sort of film that doesn’t leave nearly enough buttons unbuttoned and loose ends unknotted that you would assume it had to have a sequel, while also leaving enough room for a sequel that it would never feel like they were forcing one out just for the sake of business. And […]

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 this writer’s pick for the best movie ever […]

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 […]