Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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: Netflix has commissioned a new zombie movie, Army of the Dead, from slow-motion enthusiast Zack Snyder. There could be no better […]

“Movies are so rarely great art,” Pauline Kael wrote in 1969, “that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them.” I do not agree with much of what Kael had to say over the years, and in fact I do not even agree with large swaths of […]

Also check out my review of the Italian cut It is a common observation and an accurate one that independent Pittsburgh-based director George A. Romero invented the modern zombie film more or less entirely out of thin air with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. But I think the reason that the zombie film turned […]

To claim that Re-Animator, a faultless hybrid of no-holds-barred splatterpunk horror and pitch-black comedy from 1985, is the best movie ever drawn from the writing of H.P. Lovecraft is to merely claim the offensively obvious. It doesn’t take very much at all to be one of the best Lovecraft adaptations (he’s a good candidate for […]

Undead was the first feature film directed by TV commercial veterans and visual effects artists Michael & Peter Spierig, twins who go professionally by The Spierig Brothers. And when I say “the first feature”, I am not at all communicating how much of a first feature it is: the kind of first feature in which […]

I have seen only very little of  the work of French writer-director Bertrand Bonello, but my sense is that – like so many other French directors – one of his favorite things to do is to provoke the audience more or less for the sake of provocation, upsetting our expectations and tweaking our noses as […]

The rumor goes that director Ruben Fleischer, screenwriters Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, and stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin all mutually agreed that they wanted to make the film that would ultimately emerge as Zombieland: Double Tap almost as soon as Zombieland hit theaters back in 2009. And (the rumor […]

I would certainly not want The Dead Don’t Die to be anybody’s first exposure to director Jim Jarmusch, but since it has an unusually wide release for that director, and an unusually friendly genre for that director (it’s a comic zombie movie), and a seemingly endless list of famous people in the cast, it seems […]

The Plague of the Zombies certainly isn’t the best horror film made by Hammer Film Productions: the climax features some really dodgy effects work, the sound mix needed another pass, there’s a hellaciously bad day-for-“night” sequence, and frankly only a very young person would have a terribly hard time getting out in front of the […]

In the 50 years since Night of the Living Dead first introduced to the big screen the idea of mindlessly cannibalistic human revenants who spread themselves like a disease, the zombie movie has touched on just about every possible iteration of the basic scenario, in just about every possible setting, that one could reasonably imagine. […]

My hat’s off to Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: it surely does seem to mean its title literally. When it’s over, the series mythology has been wrapped up nice and snug, and while it leaves the promise that there will be many more adventures to be had in this universe, it does so in exactly […]

A review requested by Rob Graham, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I’m tempted to say that Messiah of Evil is good, but only by accident. Or good, but not  on purpose. These are silly thoughts, of course: other than a very few heavily ironic examples, nobody starts […]