Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Three films in, I think it’s safe to say that Laika has hit the point where it can do anything it wants. The studio, founded by the CEO of Nike essentially so that his son Travis Knight could finance Coraline for director Henry Selick in 2009, had already proven with its second film, 2012’s ParaNorman, that it had a distinctive personality and aesthetic system that was independent of any one […]

The good news: Tammy isn’t entirely about making fun of fat people for being fat fatties who eat the fuck out of food when they’re not falling down on their fat asses for being so fat that they can’t even stand on their fat legs. And as such, whenever future cinephiles are attending Melissa McCarthy retrospectives, it will be a gratifying step up from the hellish Identity Thief, a film […]

People have biases and movie critics are people, and you can complete the syllogism from there. Which is my way of pre-apologising for the sin of being way the hell in the bag for writer-director Nicole Holofcener, and liking all of her movies probably more than they are actually worthy of being liked, but my God, there are so few movies about normal adults having normal adult thoughts and feelings, […]

Insofar as remaking any given 1980s horror film can be rightly said to make sense, it still doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense to remake 1985’s Fright Night, a self-conscious throwback whose charms are largely a function of its position in history: it is an attempt to make an old-fashioned, embarrassingly so, vampire picture right in the heart of the slasher boom, and one of the characters […]

Most of the conversation surrounding the alleged controversy of Towelhead, suburban satirist Alan Ball’s feature directorial debut, has centered on the question of whether it is exploitative in its depiction of a young Arab-American girl’s sexual awakening, with the common sentiment that Ball didn’t realise how murky the waters that he was treading. Nonsense, I say. Ball knew exactly what he was doing with this film, and from the title […]

There are a lot of dead bodies in movies, and they are found in many places: murder mysteries, war stories, the criminal underworld, et cetera. One place that they are not typically found is in the center of omnibus films exploring the self-identity of the American woman, and for that alone it’s worth praising The Dead Girl. Perhaps it’s just my poor memory, but I can’t think of another American […]

The attentive reader has doubtlessly realised by now that I have very little interest in film as a storytelling medium. Which is not at all the same thing as being anti-narrative (although I do not accord narrative much pride of place), and it’s not to say that I don’t think a film’s plot is an appropriate object of discussion and criticism. But it is almost certainly the case that the […]

If there’s one film plot that’s been overdone more than the dysfunctional family, it’s the road-trip. Which makes Michael Arndt, the writer of Little Miss Sunshine a holy fool: the only thing more shocking than the idea of making a film cobbled together from those two misbegotten genres is how extraordinarily successful it is. And while I do not credit Arndt exclusively with this success – indeed, with a lesser […]

In Her Shoes isn’t “bad” as such; it’s well-directed by Curtis Hanson, well-acted by Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz, with a fine script that neatly avoids most of the banality and clumsy sentimentality that ought to be endemic to a film about two sisters realizing how much they need each other. But something just feels very…flat. For one, it’s much too long, especially in the second act when Diaz goes […]

If September taught me anything I already knew, it’s that the given release date for a movie is not always the same thing as the Chicago release date. But I would drive myself insane if I tried to compensate for that, so once again, courtesy of the IMDb: 7.10.2005Not a bad weekend, I think. I’m hugely excited about In Her Shoes, both for director Curtis Hanson, and because it looks […]