Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In a marvelous decade for low-budget indie sci-fi, the writing-directing team of [Aaron] Moorhead & [Justin] Benson still stand out for making some of the most offbeat genre films out there. They’ve gone-three-for-three now on films that start out as a low-key character dramas about two people who like each other a lot but are […]

In the short period of time that Mission: Impossible – Fallout has existed out in the world, the claim “it’s the best action film since Mad Max: Fury Road” has gone from being a fun bit of hype-raising and a useful comparison to a lifeless cliché to a symptom of unmitigated critical groupthink, and yet […]

Over the course of 19 features, the interconnected productions of Marvel Studios have perfected the art of quality control: there is an extremely narrow band of not-too-good and not-too-bad that the films consistently hit. But there’s never been a point when the quality was quite as controlled as with Film #20 in the Marvel Cinematic […]

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is pretty well dumb across the board, but there is one respect in which it’s kind of so unexpectedly smart that I absolutely have to assume it’s on purpose. And that precise combination of “almost entirely dumb, but smart in just enough ways that you can see the filmmakers peering through […]

There’s an elegant symmetry at play here. One could argue, I’d say with very little effort, that no superhero movie released since The Incredibles debuted in November 2004, has improved upon it.* And now, finally, something has, and it’s Incredibles 2, a very long-delayed follow-up that’s also one of the most wholly satisfying sequels in… […]

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: after an eleven-year break, Ocean’s Eight revives the finest heist movie franchise in all of cinema. The perfect opportunity […]

I have mentioned, once or twice in the past, my theory that superhero franchises are uniquely likely to produce sequels that improve upon their predecessor. And I’ll stick by it, while noting with some annoyance that the 2010s most visible superhero franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, seems largely resistant to this trend. For here we […]

Paddington 2 is the safest, most satisfying kind of sequel.  If you liked 2014’s Paddington – and if you didn’t, you should know that I am instantly a little bit suspicious of you – you will almost certainly like Paddington 2, because it is almost entirely the same movie. The biggest single difference is that […]

There is absolutely no reason for the wonderful 2015 short World of Tomorrow to have needed a sequel. But we got one, and it is equally wonderful. World of Tomorrow, Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts is a fucking miracle: it manages to succeed entirely as a follow-up to World of Tomorrow while […]

First things first: Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart, in that order, are the whole set of reasons to see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. If none of those names stir any kind of pleasure in your heart, or worse still, if those names raise your hackles, it’s probably safest to ignore […]

A previous version of this review appeared at the Film Experience. In 2011, Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero co-directed a very dark-hearted short film called Birdboy, based on Vázquez’s comic Psiconautas. It left only a bit of an impression on me at the time, but over the years has clung voraciously to the lower tiers […]

So, with Thor: Ragnarok, we finally have a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe directed by a no-two-ways-about-it Great Director. And that’s a subjective enough claim, of course; we do after all live in a world where people will earnestly defend Kenneth Branagh, who helmed the first Thor an unfathomably long six and a half […]