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Films Discussed By Moviebob / Films M-R

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  • Machete: Even without its underlying message, it's one of the best action movies of the year. However, its angry, unsubtle righteousness regarding its subject matter makes it that much better. It may have been riffing on the ham-handed social justice messages of '70s blaxploitation movies, but it still felt like Robert Rodriguez's most substantial film to date. Discussed it in his reviews of this film and its sequel …
    • Machete Kills: In the Intermission editorial "Winter Is Coming", he said he was looking forward to it as a trashy breather from the prestige pictures of the fall, though he wonders how it can top the first one. When it came time to review it, he said it was "just as much fun, not as much impact," disappointed that it lacked the first film's angry tone and ultra-gory violence but otherwise enjoying himself with a "fun goof" at the movies. He particularly praises the cast, calling them great both on a meta level and with regards to how they serve the film itself.
  • Machine Gun Preacher: "Whatever the real Sam Childers may or may not be, we can now add 'deserving of a better movie' to the list." While the true story it's based on is admirable and inspiring, overall Bob found the film itself to be a mess that was too in awe of its subject matter to be able to tell a good story.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: An awesome return to form for the series after a thirty-year hiatus, and one of the best action films and dystopian sci-fi films of the modern era. The action effortlessly combines old-school stuntwork with modern special effects to produce an exhilarating, hard-hitting thrill ride, and while Tom Hardy fills the shoes of Mel Gibson well, it's Charlize Theron who steals the show as the film's real and strikingly original hero, Furiosa. As such, he appreciated that it carried forward the conceit from Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome that Max is really just a Supporting Protagonist (albeit a very good one). It's also a surprisingly thoughtful film given its genre and subject matter, with the undertones of its story containing a harsh takedown of hyper-macho militarism. Bottom line: believe the hype. At the end of 2015, he named it his seventh-favorite movie of the year. At the start of 2020, he named it one of the ten defining films of The New '10s, not just for its influence on the action genre but also for how it managed to pull off an alchemy that many other films that decade tried and failed at: the gender-swapped reboot in which a new female protagonist takes the reins.

    A couple of weeks later, he came back to it in the In Bob We Trust episode "Blurry Road", where he described how, in anticipation of this film's box-office duel with Pitch Perfect 2, many film journalists had been ready to write stories about the battle between the lighthearted, female-focused musical comedy and the violent, male-focused action flick and what either film's success or failure meant for the future of Hollywood — only for that narrative to get turned upside-down once they actually saw both movies. The film that appeared on the surface to be a 'dude-bro' Power Fantasy instead won acclaim for its themes of female empowerment and critique of the culture of machismo, while the 'girl power' comedy was criticized for its fairly retrograde fat jokes and racial humor. From this, Bob drew the conclusion that, while it's certainly possible to read too much into a movie, such exploration of the films that you view can deepen your enjoyment of what you like.
  • The Magnificent Seven (the 1960 original): A great Western, but not a perfect one, not to be regularly cited alongside The Dollars Trilogy, The Searchers, or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and certainly not the deepest film ever made. What made it a classic was more the performances than anything else, particularly Yul Brynner in what was probably his defining role, as well as an excellent soundtrack and theme song. "It's a great song, but it's a song you're allowed to cover." Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of its remake …
    • The Magnificent Seven (the 2016 remake): It's one of the few remakes of classic films that doesn't seem like a terrible idea, partly because the movie it's remaking was itself a remake of Seven Samurai (which, in fairness, is still the greatest version of the same story) and wasn't a perfect film in its own right. It follows the original in going for crowd-pleasing spectacle, but might as well be a Marvel movie otherwise given its Five-Token Band (racially and ability-wise) and how it goes that much further than its forebear in aiming to please. Antoine Fuqua's direction is rock-solid, but given his track record with good, unapologetically Rated M for Manly blockbuster movies like Training Day, Tears of the Sun, and The Equalizer, the biggest surprise is that he waited this long to make an actual Western. The All-Star Cast act their hearts out, the movie looks great, and the script is the kind of BS-free cowboy antics that mostly ended after the 1960 film. It can't touch Open Range or Unforgiven in the pantheon of modern Westerns, but he gave it three and a half stars and said, "It will kick your ass harder than just about any blockbuster we got this summer."
  • Maleficent: "A movie planned by committee but hijacked by a lunatic." He couldn't say that it was a genuinely good movie, finding it to have a whole slew of problems with plot in the second act when it tried to follow the story of Sleeping Beauty and pulled back from its substantially Darker and Edgier tone. However, it was certainly an unforgettable one. When it was being its own movie, it was a genuine treat, with Angelina Jolie's hammy, "Mae West meets Vegeta on bath salts" performance being absolutely perfect and the story going utterly balls-out crazy in how it reinterpreted the mythology of Sleeping Beauty; Bob compared it to a Disney version of Kill Bill or a Rape and Revenge movie.

    A couple of weeks later, he came back to it in a (spoiler-heavy) Intermission editorial to reevaluate his opinion of it. He claimed that, while he still personally found the film to be a mixed bag, he hadn't given the film its due in his original assessment, probably because he wasn't part of its target audience and was judging it on very different terms than those people were. Seeing the film a second time with an audience composed mostly of mothers and their children, he noticed how nearly all of the older women in the crowd reacted to many pivotal moments in the film very differently than he did. Years later, when reviewing its sequel, Mistress of Evil, he seemed to have come around on it, calling it one of the better Disney Live-Action Remakes that, through its strongly revisionist take on the source material, wound up being among the most interesting of them.
    • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil: Called it a "wickedly subversive dark fairy tale" and "Disney's most gloriously weird franchise", anchored by another outstanding Villain Protagonist turn by a campy, gothed-up Jolie. The villain this time was a metaphor for internalized misogyny instead of the patriarchy, and the narrative went in some delightfully strange directions in the second and third acts that massively expanded the series' universe. Keeping Maleficent herself offscreen for long periods did little to dilute her sheer presence throughout the film (and made sense from a character perspective), and it also helped give the film room to flesh out its supporting cast. He gave it a 7 out of 10 and praised it for the risks it took that mostly paid off, even if he slightly preferred the original.
  • Mamma Mia!: "Bottom line — bad, bad, bad!" He called it "suitable only for use as an interrogation technique", and opened his review with a rant against jukebox musicals in general. The plot can basically be summed up as "surprise, your mother's a whore!" and felt more like the backstory for an '80s sitcom or a bad Saturday Night Live sketch than a feature film, there's barely fifteen minutes of plot and characterization between the musical numbers, the actors felt lost, the ABBA covers were mostly forgettable, and the production values felt extremely cheap. The one good scene, Meryl Streep's deeply moving cover of "Slipping Through My Fingers", merely made him hate the rest of the film that much more for how little it seemed to be trying. The best he could say about it was that it was a milestone for gender equality, in that it proved that women could now have shallow, base, spectacle-driven blockbusters just like the men did. Years later, he discussed it further in his review of its sequel, having not changed his opinion on the film in the slightest but seeing his old review of it as something of an Old Shame due to its Slut-Shaming and preponderance of off-color humor instead of actual, substantive criticism.
    • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: Before he reviewed it, he named it his fifth least anticipated film of 2018. "It's a prequel to Mamma Mia! set to ABBA's less popular songs. [Beat] Next!" When he actually reviewed it, he said that it was slightly better than the first and while it suffered from the same problems that hold back every other Jukebox Musical from being genuinely good, the story and production values were a significant step up from the first one. However, the fact that they used all the most famous ABBA songs in the first one meant that this film had to rely on the band's less-memorable deep cuts, meaning that, while it was better as a movie, it was worse as a musical. He gave it two stars and called it forgettable, but harmless.
  • Mandy: If you go in expecting the sort of "Nicolas Cage live-action Metalocalypse episode" that this was marketed as, you'd probably be disappointed, as it was more of a dark, unsettling, drug-fueled mood piece than a gonzo action movie. The plot was flimsy to the core, but it succeeded incredibly in crafting a cast of miserable people whose Character Development came through background details more than anything, all with an incredible degree of stylization in the direction, music, and Heavy Metal aesthetic. It was bound to be polarizing, but he still enjoyed it, gave it three stars, and named it his seventh-favorite movie of 2018.
  • Manhunt (2018): The plot is incredibly convoluted, but otherwise, it's a great throwback on John Woo's part to his earlier, more energetic and weird work in Hong Kong action cinema, even if it's not quite a return to his Glory Days. It sometimes feels "off" in how it combines Woo's Signature Style of low-budget, analog action with modern production values and tricks of the trade, such that the action can feel too "clean" at times compared to similar films of his, but the action is still up to Woo's usual standard, especially the farmhouse fight and an absolutely outrageous finale. He also singled out Woo's daughter Angeles as the Ensemble Dark Horse in the cast for her performance as one of a pair of sister assassins. He gave it two-and-a-half stars and said that it was pretty good by the standards of Netflix's original offerings, and recommended it to anybody who was already a subscriber.
  • Maniac (the 2013 remake): Didn't review it, but in the Big Picture episode "Summer's End" he cited it as one of his top ten movies of summer 2013. It breathes new life into the seemingly played-out slasher genre by telling the story from the killer's perspective, and a terrifying performance by Elijah Wood as the titular maniac and an unflinching brutality make this one of those films that you'll never forget however hard you try.
  • Mank: It was Netflix gunning full-steam ahead at invoked Oscar gold with a film about vintage Hollywood made by an acclaimed director with an All-Star Cast (led by Gary Oldman as a Sophisticated as Hell, self-destructive screenwriter) in a deliberately anachronistic visual style... and yet, despite its subject matter being right up Bob's alley, he didn't find it all that good. Oldman's epic Large Ham performance as Herman J. Mankiewicz was amazing to watch, and the production values were absolutely impeccable, yet the liberties it took with the facts of Mankiewicz's life, especially in how it embraces Pauline Kael's controversial argument that he and not Orson Welles was the real creative force behind Citizen Kane, were so absurd that he spent the whole movie expecting an Unreliable Narrator twist that never came. This wouldn't have been a problem, if not for the fact that the film's target audience was film geeks like himself who would've known enough about the real Mankiewicz to pick out the inaccuracies. Worse, the mangling of history was done in such a way that it felt designed to deliver a message and invoke Values Resonance, which only brought the film to a screeching halt. Overall, he gave it a 5 out of 10, calling it stylistically gorgeous but thematically shallow.
  • Man of Steel: "Or, as it's known around my house, Please Don't Suck, Please Don't Suck, Please Don't Suck, Please Don't Suck." Before it came out, he discussed his thoughts on it in the Intermission editorials "And Who, Disguised as Clark Kent", "The Uncertain Future", and his analyses of the film's trailers. He felt that it was a good idea to go back to Superman's origin story — even though everybody knows it, it had been 35 years since it was last depicted on the big screen. He also felt that the film should take advantage of Superman's effective invincibility and go for broke with the action scenes, as well as bring some genuine romance and sex appeal to the character, which are reasons why he was excited about Zack Snyder's involvement with the film but discouraged by Christopher Nolan's. The first trailer's Nolan-esque tone had him worried, as does Warner Bros.' historic track record of having a hard time making good films based on their non-Batman DC properties, but the second trailer raised his spirits.

    When it came time to review it, he called it "solid but profoundly problematic," his enthusiasm about Snyder being perfect for the material and fears about Nolan being all wrong for it both being confirmed. It failed when it came to plot and writing, largely due to Nolan and David Goyer's love of intricate plot mechanisms and over-explanations that, in this film, only weigh down the plot and go nowhere. They seem to miss the point of Superman/Clark Kent as a character completely, turning him into a combination of a '90s Anti-Hero and their take on Batman, with Bob calling this "a Superman movie for people who never liked Superman." On the other hand, he felt that it was "damn near a masterpiece" when it came to Snyder's eye for great visuals and action, and the cast largely rises above the material (particularly Michael Shannon doing an amazing General Zod). Overall, while he hopes the inevitable sequel finds much better writers and throws out this film's Darker and Edgier attitude, he still recommends it.

    Over time, however, as he rewatched the film and thought about it, his opinion soured dramatically, and he concluded that his initial review was far too generous. He discussed his reasons why in the Big Picture episodes "Man of Tomorrow" and "The Big Letdown", and the Intermission editorial "Super Dark" (warning: spoilers). He criticized what he felt was a nearly unrecognizable depiction of Superman, including the decision to have him break his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule, and worried about the omnipresence of Darker and Edgier attitudes in modern blockbusters. He argued that, while a better film (like Nolan's own The Dark Knight) could have overcome these problems, Man of Steel’s glaring storytelling problems and lack of understanding of what it wanted to be only made them stand out more. He named it the most disappointing film of summer 2013 and his least favorite film of the entire year, insisted that people writing Superman stories were supposed to try harder, and said he wasn't all that enthusiastic for a sequel.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: He gave a lot of coverage to the film before its release — in his Big Picture recap of the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, in his Intermission editorial "World's Finest", in the Big Picture episodes "Batfleck" and "Junk Drawer 2014", in a Screen Rant editorial, and in an In Bob We Trust episode. He felt that Warner Bros. was Dramatically Missing the Point of all the criticism that Man of Steel had gotten, and that simply throwing Batman into the next Superman movie would only reinforce the underlying problems with the last film's Darker and Edgier attitude. The announcement that there would be an R-rated director's cut only reinforced his concerns, making him fear for the content of the actual film itself and wonder if superhero movies weren't going down the same road to ruin that ultimately destroyed the comic book industry. He also felt that their plans for the film were all wrong without Wonder Woman, though he dropped that complaint after it was revealed that she would indeed appear in the film. Lastly, he had utter disdain for Jesse Eisenberg's take on Lex Luthor, feeling that the trend of making supervillains a knockoff of either Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg is completely played out, and also painfully dated with a real-life supervillain running for President of the U.S. at the time of the film's release.

      That said, the mere idea of a "Batman versus Superman" movie, cynical business practice though it may be, still grabbed his attention, while the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman caused his anticipation to jump for a number of reasons (and left him wondering why so many other people hated it). He concluded that a Batman/Superman crossover will likely have the two of them fighting at some point, given both Man of Steel’s example and the longstanding dark attitude of recent Batman films and comics alike. He was also perfectly fine with Doomsday being relegated to a throwaway last-act villain in the DCEU, having never found the character at all interesting in the first place, with all the neat stuff about his killing Superman coming after his role in it. He also reacted to the news of Dwayne Johnson being cast in a role (which later turned out to be Black Adam) to argue that he might actually make a great Lex Luthor. He feels that having his character be a fitness nut on top of being a super-genius would mesh well with the Post-Crisis incarnation of the character as a self-made businessman who resents the very idea of Superman, seeing him as someone who never had to work for what he has.

      When it came time to review the film, however, he was aghast at how much it infuriated him and released a brutal, vitriolic takedown, calling it "a full-blown, top-to-bottom, all-encompassing disaster" among many more colorful, hyperbolic, and scatological descriptions. He compared it to a real-life Springtime for Hitler gambit, one created by somebody who hated superhero movies and could spend $400 million on a film designed to embody everything wrong with the genre in an attempt to kill it stone-dead, and the fact that the basic blueprint for this film and the future of the DCEU made (on the surface) perfect sense from a business standpoint made it downright baffling how everything went wrong. Its attempt to combine Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman (two comics that he considers good but overrated by fanboys) produced a convoluted-yet-simplistic plot that chickened out on the bigger ideas it tilted at, seeming to be more interested in trying to set up the DC Extended Universe than in telling a coherent story of its own while wandering into some very unfortunate territory in its themes by virtue of its sheer incompetence. There were so many awful moments that they all started to blend together, though if he had to point to three scenes that truly exemplified everything wrong with the film, he'd go with the franchise-baiting video file scene, the "save Martha!" scene, and worst of all, Bruce Wayne's Nightmare Sequence. The production design was visually ugly, and Snyder's direction and the idealized hypermasculinity on display was Testosterone Poisoning in all the worst ways, with Bob calling it "the bastard offspring of Robert Mapplethorpe and Vince McMahon". His suspicion about Eisenberg making for a terrible Lex Luthor was confirmed, calling him one of the worst comic book movie villains of all time due to his "quirky" characteristics that don't mean anything even though they are evidently supposed to, inconsistent motives and overdone, unrealistically far-reaching Evil Plan that made no sense, and Henry Cavill and Amy Adams get off little better — Cavill ends up playing Superman as overly aloof and absent and the screenplay bends over backwards to cringeworthy degrees to accommodate Adam's Lois Lane in the story. The only joy he could mine from the film was a perverse fascination with watching Warner Bros. enter panic mode, as the tentpole they expected to hold up a massive franchise and years' worth of blockbusters turned out to be a total disaster. He has called it not only his least favorite film of 2016 by a long shot, but also possibly the most disastrous Hollywood film to that point in the 21st century, viz. the disparity between the talent and budget assembled for the film, its historic noteworthiness, and the amount of hype behind it versus the quality of the finished product.

      Bob would later make a special one-off, three-part "Really That Bad" episode to explore the movie's failing. He wondered if Snyder, despite his admiration for the director's previous work, was simply wrong for the material from the outset because of his invokedMisaimed Fandom for Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, his general fanboyism for The Dark Age of Comic Books, and his apparent Objectivist views that clash with the altruistic Superman ethos. Bob also criticizes how the movie tried to have its cake and eat it by making its title characters Not as You Know Them yet relying on familiarity with them for its emotional weight to carry, and especially that Snyder didn't seem to understand what Deconstruction involves or even have a point to it. The movie's flaws can be best encapsulated by the overhyped, lackluster fight between Batman and Superman. Instead of delivering either over-the-top spectacle or insightful character drama, Snyder instead simply lifted the imagery of The Dark Knight Returns from the Bat Power Suit to Superman's hyper-masculine physique without realizing that the source material's style was designed to satirize the two characters, not to iconify them. Ultimately, the movie represents everything wrong with the shared cinematic universe business model and why the DCEU failed where the MCU succeeded.
  • Man of Tai Chi: Chose to review it because (A) nothing interesting came out that week, and (B) it's the directorial debut of Keanu Reeves, whom Bob considers to be one of the most interesting big-name actors in Hollywood. The plot is a martial arts movie Cliché Storm, and Reeves' inexperience as a director shows with the film's pacing issues, but the film makes up for it with some incredible and brutal fight scenes and choreography. Plus, it comes with an interesting third-act twist that makes the time-worn "martial arts death match tournament" plot seem at least somewhat plausible for once.
  • Man of the House: " of those bad comedies that probably lost any chance it had to be any good the moment someone decided 'it can't not work!'" Reviewed it in his early days as a blogger. To the film's credit, the idea of Tommy Lee Jones as a Texas Ranger forced to shack up with ditzy sorority sisters is a good one, but it proceeds to go about that idea as lazily as possible, with all of the characters being horribly underwritten, Jones' character coming off as a creep given his preoccupation with the girls' skimpy outfits, and there are barely enough good jokes to fill a two-and-a-half-minute trailer. He gave it 2 out of 10, its only redeeming value being for fans of bared female flesh — and if he wanted that, he could watch porn.
  • Man on Fire: One of Tony Scott's most successful and visually aggressive films, which Bob calls the blueprint for Taken. He also notes the Unfortunate Implications of its caricaturing of its Mexican villains. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his Intermission editorial "Remembering Tony Scott, Part 2", a retrospective of the late Scott's career.
  • The Man Who Killed Don Quixote:invoked The story of its near-mythic Troubled Production was probably more interesting than the film itself, which came off like Terry Gilliam retreading themes he'd explored better in his earlier films. Still, it's decent on its own merits, with Jonathan Pryce being the comic standout as a mad actor who believes himself to be Don Quixote and the film getting a lot of mileage out of exploring the classism and paternalism that often comes with romanticized visions of medieval Europe, even if the smaller budget and scope put a spotlight on Gilliam's shortcomings with crafting fleshed-out characters (especially female ones). Overall, it got 6 out of 10, with Bob saying it was worth watching if only to see the product of twenty-five notorious years of Development Hell at last.
  • The Man with the Iron Fists: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in an interview with the film's director and star, The RZA (in the Intermission editorial "Enter the 36th Chamber"). They discussed why Hong Kong martial arts movies were so popular in black inner-city America, as well as The RZA's experiences working around China's Culture Police (the film was shot in Shanghai) and how his experience mediating the clashing egos in the Wu-Tang Clan prepared him for a film shoot.
  • The Many Saints of Newark: Hasn't reviewed it yet, but he named it an honorable mention for his most anticipated films of 2020 on the strength of it being a prequel to The Sopranos with a great cast behind it.
  • The Martian: "Holy fucking shit, does it feel good to love a Ridley Scott movie again." Bob called it the best movie he'd seen so far in 2015 (a meaningful compliment in early October) and Scott's best film since the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven, a movie where everything, from the writing to the direction to the acting to the soundtrack, comes together and simply works — and what more appropriate meta-narrative for a film about how characters overcome their predicaments in that very way? To its credit, it realizes that its title character, the Insufferable Genius astronaut stranded on Mars, can be an ass at times even with Matt Damon's incredible performance, and it solves this problem by putting just as much focus on the people back on Earth trying to bring him home. The result is a love letter to the pursuit of knowledge that avoids the pitfalls of similar recent films about space travel (citing Gravity’s "tacked-on personal growth narrative" and Interstellar’s "pseudo-spiritual bullshit" as specific examples), and while he admits that he's incredibly biased towards that sort of thing, he feels confident that this is a legitimately great film even discounting his own views. At the end of 2015, he named it his favorite movie of the year.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: He's a big fan, and has reviewed all of its cinematic entries released so far. In commemoration of Avengers: Infinity War, he released a video listing his most and least favorite films and TV shows in the MCU. Many of his reviews are gushing, but he doesn't hesitate to criticize things about it that don't work, with the TV shows in particular being a mixed bag for him. Not every entry is a masterpiece, but none of them is outright bad,note  and he believes that the franchise has developed an efficiency that would allow it to overcome any that were; the sheer lack of outright bad movies is sometimes spooky for him, but he has noted that after Spider-Man: Homecoming was (in his opinion) not that great, he has stopped actively wishing for underperforming in the Marvel machinery. Bob also considers it the best possible way to do a shared cinematic universe business model, maintaining that the general lack of invokedContinuity Lockout and emphasis on making its entries good movies first, part of a larger whole second means each film has the potential to shine on its own merits, while the Character Development between the big team-up movies ensures that the broader narrative is richer in said team-up movies such as The Avengers (2012) and Captain America: Civil War. He also views its grounding of inter-film connectivity and world-building in post-credits scenes, organically-integrated cameos, and random background references to be the best possible way to do so, and feels that failing to grasp this is a big part of why the DC Extended Universe and the Dark Universe haven't enjoyed the same success.

    In the In Bob We Trust episode "The Disney Conspiracy", he thinks that a big part of why this series has won the affection of film critics, despite the old stereotype of popcorn action movies being ill-regarded by such, is because of a paradigm shift in film criticism in the 21st century that affords more respectability to unabashedly populist, mass-market films like these — a shift that can also be seen in the music world during that same time with the emergence of "poptimism", the growing critical respect for and attention paid to pop music. He discussed this further in the Big Picture episode "Old Man Yells At Crowd",note  specifically how this fact had created a generational divide in Hollywood among both journalists and filmmakers, exemplified by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola's then-recent criticism of the MCU as not being "real" cinema. He believes that the backlash against the MCU is because its serialized model is completely unlike anything else in Hollywood, especially the model of the '70s New Hollywood that, for decades, has been synonymous with "good movies". He also argues that that the rise of the MCU is less a cause of the transformation of Hollywood than an effect of the new technology that has actually transformed Hollywood; the reason why he feels there are so few big-budget movies about criminals, cops, lawyers, and family drama nowadays is because of the explosion of cable and streaming in the 21st century offering so many more options for viewers, and that the rise of the superhero blockbuster is simply Hollywood adapting by delivering the kind of spectacle that you can't do on a TV budget.

    At the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic forcing Hollywood to postpone nearly all of its big movies in 2020, he devoted the Big Picture episode "The Year We Had No Heroes" to how this affected the MCU specifically, noting that 2020 was the first year since 2009 without an MCU movie releasing in theaters. Along with the damage done to the lives of millions of people who worked in the entertainment industry, he also saw a degree of Dramatic Irony in it: just as Americans watched the institutions they trusted fail them over and over again during the pandemic, the superheroes literally did not show up to save the day in their entertainment either. He was also infuriated by the people who, for various reasons (many of which he felt were invoked unsavory), seemed to relish the absence of superhero movies due to the pandemic, feeling that, for all their purported concern about the plight of the working class and the power of major media corporations, their decision to actively spurn one of the most commercially successful film franchises in history was about as anti-populist as it got.
  • Mary Poppins Returns: Found it "really pretty delightful" once he let himself get swept up in it, largely due to how it managed the trick of recreating the magic of the original Mary Poppins film even if it undoubtedly lived in its shadow and lacked some of its depth. Everything ranged from good to great, with only a few superfluous moments, and Emily Blunt pulled off the seemingly impossible task of living up to and matching Julie Andrews' legendary performance as Mary Poppins. That said, he wondered how it would play for people who weren't nostalgic for the original, noting that it seemed to be aimed at an older target audience than the twenty- and thirtysomethings that Disney's other live-action remakes were oriented towards. Nevertheless, he gave it three stars and called it a good sequel to a great movie, saying that anybody who watches it will have a really good time.
  • The Mask: A fun little action-comedy, with Jim Carrey's usual comic routine augmented by CGI to great effect (even if the effects haven't aged particularly well). A young Cameron Diaz was also a sight to behold here. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his Intermission editorial "When Jim Carrey Ruled the World", a retrospective of Carrey's '90s career.
    • Son of the Mask: Reviewed it in his early days as a blogger. It's the sort of movie that makes critics wonder if their work is really necessary, a stinker that anybody with any taste can smell from a mile away. It takes the lazy route of making a sequel, copying all the original's gags while telling a story that seems like it's convoluted for the sake of it.note  The film transgresses the line between harmless slapstick and Family-Unfriendly Violence in a way that only proves just how hard slapstick comedy is to do well, while the plot is garbage and Jamie Kennedy is very much a Poor Man's Substitute for Jim Carrey. He gives it 1 out of 10 and says it's even worse than it looks.
  • The Master: Probably going to wind up as Paul Thomas Anderson's least popular movie due to the fact that it's also his least showy and visually elaborate, lacking many of the memorable scenes, moments and setups that make the rest of his filmography so popular with mainstream moviegoers. It's a shame, too, because it's at least as good as There Will Be Blood, with Joaquin Phoenix delivering his best performance to date. And no, despite what you may have heard, it's not the anti-Scientology hit piece that everybody expected it to be — though it does take a few digs at the movement, the Cause feels like it could be a stand-in for any abusive cult and not necessarily a specific one.
  • The Matrix: Devoted an episode of Really That Good to the film. It's up there with Star Wars as one of "the most over-analyzed, over-discussed, obsessively over-picked-apart" films since A New Hope came out that wasn't a derivative work, largely because it was one of the first big Hollywood movies in a while that had any depth and intelligence to its exploration of big ideas.note  Its style and aesthetic, inspired by video games, anime, and Hong Kong Heroic Bloodshed films, also utterly revolutionized action movies to such a degree that the action genre can be neatly divided into 'pre-1999' and 'post-1999' periods, the latter period being when geek culture fully invaded and took over the genre. He notes that the likes of Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity, a crew of black-clad tricksters and martial artists who run around causing chaos and murdering authority figures as part of a plot to bring down the system, likely would have been the villains in many action films made during the "beefcake era" of The '80s and early '90s. Coming out of the milieu of the Lowest Common Denominator Summer Blockbusters of The '90s, a film where the Action Heroes spend their time between the big shootouts and kung fu fights discussing complex philosophical themes was unlike anything that anybody had ever seen.

    Going deeper, he finds that a big part of why The Matrix was so popular was because it spoke to the youth of the '90s as much as Easy Rider did with the burned-out counterculture of The '60s, taking the apathy and ennui that many young people had towards the stability of the time and fusing it with the emerging technology of the internet to carve out a radically new vision of the future. Its basic message about the world being an impossibly big place that chews people up and operates by its own bizarre logic is one with near-universal appeal to angsty teenagers and college kids who think that life is stacked against them, and far from dumbing the film down, this is actually a key reason why the film works so well. At its core, it is a Wish Fulfillment fantasy with an adolescent sensibility that acts as a validation of everything its target audience believed about both themselves and the world at large, set as it is in a world where knowledge is quite literally power and where that knowledge can be used to reshape the world in one's own image. This conceit also acts as a surprisingly effective translation of some very old-fashioned philosophical concepts, ranging from Buddhism to gnosticism to transcendental meditation. Flowing logically from this are the film's LGBTQ2 themes, particularly in light of The Wachowskis having both come out as transgender since then. It is easy to read Neo's story — alienation from the broader world, discomfort in his own skin, escape in online communities, and persecution by Agent Smith, a paragon of traditional masculinity who tauntingly addresses him by his old name Thomas Anderson — as a reflection of the anxieties of many closeted transgender people.

    That said, Bob does see the film as one of his "problematic faves", to use terminology that admittedly carbon-dated the episode. Stripped of its deeper themes and characterization, the basic plot description can come across as ridiculous '90s edginess taken to over-the-top extremes that errs one time too many on the side of endorsing violence against the system and society at large, the dark side of the adolescent mentality that also underpins the film's best elements. Unlike, for example, Fight Club, another popular 1999 film based on similar themes, which deconstructs such Black-and-White Morality, The Matrix commits to it while keeping its message malleable and shallow enough that it can speak to just about anyone. He thinks this is also part of the reason why, despite the film's LGBTQ2 themes and the racial and sexual diversity of its protagonists, it has also attracted a sizable Periphery Demographic of rabid misogynists who infamously latched onto the Red Pill, Blue Pill scene as a rallying cry for their movement. Even though the film itself was written and directed by two trans women, and that scene is of "a black man telling a clueless white guy that he literally needs to get 'woke'", the film's text is too shallow to discredit that far-right reading; it's not a Misaimed Fandom. Even so, despite how poorly some elements of the film may have aged, the body of it still holds up as both an entertaining action movie and as a true auteur piece with many layers yet to be uncovered.
    • The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions: Discussed them as part of his Really That Good episode on the original film, breaking his rule against discussing sequels to his Really That Good subjects because he saw the two films as the Wachowskis responding to and deconstructing some of the Unfortunate Implications of the original. It all comes down to the infamous Architect scene in Reloaded. As poorly directed and acted as it is, it's still vitally important to understanding the franchise and the Wachowskis' vision, as it reveals the first film's entire adolescent moral architecture to be built on a foundation of sand and the heroes' rebellion against the machines to be just another layer of their control — a coldly calculated middle finger to everybody who bought into the first movie's message of rebelling against The Man. Bob goes so far as to compare Neo, as he's portrayed in that moment, to Kendall Jenner in the infamous Pepsi commercial that came out while he was making the video. It comes up throughout the rest of both films as well, which seem to go out of their way to portray the protagonists as misguided fools who don't care about the lives they're destroying in their quest to 'solve' what amount to First World Problems, culminating in Revolutions ending on a note of human-machine coexistence that flatly rebukes the message of rebellion of the first film. As genuinely flawed and uneven as both films are, he sees them as vital to expanding one's knowledge of the original film and its creators' intentions.
  • Max Mon Amour: Discussed it in the In Bob We Trust episode "Kink Kong" as part of the run-up to the release of Kong: Skull Island, mainly for its Bestiality Is Depraved premise (a man finds out that his wife is carrying on an affair with a chimpanzee) and its use of such to satirize stereotypes of both British Stuffiness and libertine French sexual mores. It's a very funny movie, both for the outrageous lengths it goes with its premise and for how it applies that to a more conventional 'wacky animals causing chaos' formula à la Beethoven, and it's also got some great effects work for the titular chimp courtesy of Rick Baker.
  • The Maze Runner (2014): Called it one of those movies, to cite what he's aware is a cliché, that's "good until it's not". The first two acts aren't great science fiction, but they're pretty original and very well-made, especially by the standards of a YA adaptation. However, the film largely falls apart towards the end and becomes much more mundane, finishing off with a poorly-handled ending that served only to tease a sequel. Still, it got Bob's (lukewarm) recommendation and a grade of three stars as one of the better films in theaters at the moment, with him finding that the good parts were good enough to outweigh the bad.
    • Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of The Death Cure, saying that he was pretty sure that half of what he remembered from this was actually from one of the Divergent films.
    • Maze Runner: The Death Cure: It's pretty much exactly what you think, a YA dystopia Cliché Storm that he called "not so much bad as it is dull and pointless". It spends too much of its first two acts on world-building that accomplishes little except to bloat the film, the important stuff is back-loaded into the finale, and the action scenes are fairly rote and unmemorable, serving as little beyond a demo reel for the film's young stars should they seek to do more action movies as adults. Worse, once the grand sweep of the story is laid out at the end, it only convinced Bob that the series should have been just one film. He gave it one and a half stars and called it a mediocre film that probably should have (and, if not for Dylan O'Brien's life-threatening on-set injury, likely would have) come out a couple of years ago when the iron was still hot.
  • Mazes and Monsters: A terrible attempt to cash in on the anti-Dungeons & Dragons moral panic of the '80s that feels like what would result from Jack Thompson writing and directing The Wizard. For his money, it's also the worst film ever inspired by D&D, including the infamous first official adaptation. Didn't review it, but he mentioned it in his discussion of Dungeons & Dragons adaptations.
  • The Meg: Said that it felt "like a movie from about fifteen years ago that somebody lost in a bunker, found, and decided to release today" in that it was a big Summer Blockbuster that wasn't at all self-consciously winking about the fact that it was basically B-Movie schlock on a nine-figure budget. Fortunately, it was still a fun movie in spite of itself. It takes its "Jason Statham vs. giant killer shark" premise and exploits it very well with both solid action and Statham delivering the kind of performance that only he can, and while it was fairly formulaic and bloodless (he wished it were rated R instead of PG-13) and had a fair bit of reverse-Mighty Whitey going with its heroic Chinese characters (as is not uncommon in these sorts of Hollywood-Chinese coproductions), it still earned three stars, with Bob calling it "a good enough version of exactly what it says it is."
  • Men in Black:invoked The first film was very good, combining a clever premise with a witty script that parodied the sci-fi blockbusters of the late '90s, all while remaining small-scale enough to avoid getting bloated and overstaying its welcome. Unfortunately, the second film ruined what could have been a promising franchise by recycling the first film's plot in a failed attempt to recapture its character dynamic rather than building upon its foundation. He feels that, at this point, rebooting the franchise with a focus on the rest of the agency would be the best idea. Didn't review them, but he discussed them in the Big Picture episode "The Boot, Part One" and in his reviews of the third and fourth films …
  • Meow: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Look What The Cat Dragged In" after showing clips of it in his review of Cats. He discussed how Hong Kong film comedy in general often skews very young, very broad, and very cartoonish, hence the decision to make a CGI-heavy family comedy about a very large cat in the first place, as well as how the film served mainly as a showcase for a special effects company. Save for a good joke about how cats have already conquered Earth by making humans pamper them (the plot concerning a race of feline aliens trying to Take Over the World), it's a invoked Cliché Storm of a family film that's Not So Different from the kind of dumb films in that vein that Hollywood normally puts out, though he found it charming enough for little kids, especially those with parents who want to get them into subtitled movies.
  • Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen's best film in a long time, one of the best comedies of the year, and a great exploration of our current nostalgia-obsessed pop culture. Didn't review it, but at the end of 2011 he listed it as one of his top ten movies of the year.
  • Midsommar: Much like its predecessor Hereditary, this film left Bob wondering whether writer/director Ari Aster was "brilliant or full of shit" in how it combined a seemingly highbrow aesthetic with decidedly lowbrow sex and violence, in a manner not unlike the Italian giallo filmmakers who clearly influenced Aster — and also like Hereditary, its mix of inspirations produced quite an effective horror film. Its story won't really surprise anybody who's seen a horror movie about people getting sucked into cults, but he still gave it a 6 out of 10, calling it a mild Sophomore Slump for Aster but still worth seeing for its style.
  • The films of Takashi Miike: He devoted a Big Picture episode to his filmography, calling him "The Man of a Hundred Movies" for how prolific he is, especially at his height when he would make five or more movies a year, and how he has an excellent batting average for a filmmaker who cranks out movies so fast. He described Miike's filmmaking philosophy, rooted in the economics of Japan's "V-cinema" Direct-to-Video market, as building an entire film as leading up to a single invoked Money-Making Shot that would get people telling each other "dude, you have to see this!", hence his reputation as a master of shock value. He also discussed Miike's background as a member of Japan's nikkei community, ethnic Japanese people whose families had immigrated abroad and then returned to Japan only to be distrusted by their fellow Japanese for being too "assimilated" into foreign cultures, and how this led to a tradition of underdog protagonists in his stories. He noted how Miike, despite never fully abandoning his scrappy Exploitation Film roots, pivoted from shock horror and gangster films to more mainstream and even family-friendly fare (including Idol x Warrior Miracle Tunes!, a show that earned a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer) later in his career, demonstrating that he had the aptitude to pull off both to the point where he earned a whole new fanbase of tweens largely unfamiliar with his more graphic films.
  • Mindhunters: Reviewed it in his early days as a blogger. It was a predictable, ho-hum Slasher Movie dressed up as a Psychological Thriller, elevated only by the campy thrills of Renny Harlin's direction and the honesty it had with regards to the fact that the death traps were the star of the show.
  • Mirror, Mirror: "Probably gonna top a lot of 'year's worst' lists." Specifically singles out Julia Roberts' inability to carry the film as one of his biggest criticisms. Didn't review it, but he mentioned it during his Wrath of the Titans review.
  • Miss Bala: Despite a topical and progressive-sounding premise (e.g. an action movie about a Latina heroine battling cartel villains representative of toxic masculinity, all amidst a morally gray portrait of the Mexican drug war), it managed to completely squander any promise it may have had, and earned only one star. It failed as both a character piece and a sexy action thriller, its ostensible protagonist lacked any real agency, the plot got bogged down in convolution in the second act and felt more like an origin story for a franchise than a complete story in its own right, and its transformation into the action movie it promised during the climax felt like too little, too late.
  • Mission: Impossible Film Series: invokedHe feels that none of the films ever rose above average, and he's never really understood why they're as popular as they are. While he thinks that the appeal to mass audiences of A-list actors saving the world through ridiculous explosions and stuntwork is obvious, he doesn't get why film critics also seem to enjoy this series, given that he finds it to be very mediocre in comparison to other contemporary action films (even a number of those made by people who have worked on these films). The only thing the movies really have going for them, the iconic Theme Tune, is taken from the TV series. The plots are threadbare, there are only a few memorable action set pieces across the entire franchise, and the actors are usually phoning it in — even Tom Cruise, normally acclaimed for these films, has done the same shtick better elsewhere, with Bob arguing that Cruise's continued embrace of the franchise represents a retreat from the promise he showed as an actor in The '90s. He holds up the Fast and the Furious franchise as a counterpoint to it, arguing that, while that series of dumb action movies eventually grew into its own with its forward-thinking worldview and unapologetic embrace of its camp appeal without losing its earnestness, this one is still the same plodding thing it was in 1996, owing its reputation more to nostalgia for the "good old days" of summer blockbusters than anything. In addition to his review of the sixth film, Fallout, he mentioned them in his "The Look Ahead" special on Escape to the Movies while discussing Ghost Protocol, later compared Ghost Protocol to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in his weekly Intermission editorial "Double Vision", and did an In Bob We Trust episode on the series.
    • Mission: Impossible: Says that it's the only film in the series that had an actual story to it, and that was largely because it was Brian De Palma doing his Hitchcockian throwback style in the context of a big summer action movie, which ultimately didn't amount to much outside of the twist.
    • Mission: Impossible II: Felt that it was only memorable because it had the audacity to rip off the plot of Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious.
    • Mission: Impossible III: Argued that, by this point, the plots to these films had become such shallow excuses to get to the action that it outright turned the apathy regarding the story into a joke, the film never actually explaining what the MacGuffin is for or what it does.
    • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol: Felt that it "kinda sucks" and that it was let down by shallow writing and characters, to the point where he challenged viewers to tell him what the plots of this film and the next film, Rogue Nation, were without looking them up, but in this case, Brad Bird's eye for action saved it.
    • Mission: Impossible – Fallout: invokedThis film's dependence on audiences remembering characters and events from previous films became its Achilles' Heel, given his aforementioned problems with the series as a whole in that department. The inconsequential plot made it hard for him to care about it on anything more than a visceral level, and the plot twists often felt more like shocking swerves pulled off to diminishing returns every time. That said, the action was some of the best in the series, especially in comparison to other action films released in 2018, and the cast was good (save for Henry Cavill, who Bob started to think wasn't just poorly directed by Zack Snyder when he played Superman), such that he gave it a three-star rating that, even at the time of the review, he felt he'd probably look back on as overly generous in hindsight.
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Tim Burton's best movie in a while — and it's that much more impressive that the source material here was seemingly tailor-made for his sensibilities and he didn't screw it up as he did with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. Like Burton's best-remembered movies, it has big ideas, iconic characters, great atmosphere, and gorgeous visuals, but still has a shaky grasp on narrative cohesion. It's really just the same story as X-Men, and it even shares the formulaic plot structure of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and other similar properties revolving around superhuman children learning to use their powers for good: overlong, Info Dump-heavy first act gives way to truncated second act (thus abbreviating the audience's ability to get to know the characters emotionally), which in turn gives way to an all-out action-and-special-effects-heavy third act. Then again, the monsters used in this movie look genuinely amazing and every part is well-cast (Bob calls special attention to Eva Green as the titular Miss Peregrine and Samuel L. Jackson as probably the scariest villain in a big-budget Hollywood family film since Judge Doom). He gave it two and a half stars, saying, "[It's] a good movie that comes frustratingly close to being great, but on balance I'm recommending it."
  • Moana: "No, it's not as good as Frozen," but Bob liked it anyway, giving it three stars. Disney's embrace of Postmodernism from Tangled onward excuses how conventional this movie is otherwise, its story, character types, and music all being de rigueur for the studio by this point. He liked the minor tweaks to the formula very much, however: that the titular Disney Princess is meant to be an empowerment figure this time, that it's a story about an Indigenous Polynesian culture that depicts them very positively unlike too many of their past cinematic depictions, and its overall Aesop in favor of global citizenship, on which note he contended "a derivative setup was part of the point."
  • Monkey Shines: Devoted a "Schlocktober" episode of In Bob We Trust to it. It's not one of George A. Romero's best films, but it's certainly one of his most interesting, a great commentary on how society treats the disabled and often condescends to them. It's also quite effective as a horror film, taking its seemingly ridiculous "killer monkey" premise seriously and playing it out to its logical conclusion by way of a mix of a well-trained capuchin monkey and smart use of practical effects.
  • A Monster Calls: It's one of those movies that Bob hates having to review: one where you can tell that the people involved were genuinely trying to make a meaningful, thoughtful film with a powerful message, evoking classic family films like My Neighbor Totoro and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but still winding up with "an overblown, pretentious misfire." The setup utterly Tastes Like Diabetes, the manner in which the plot and messages are presented feels clunky, mechanical, and anvilicious to the point of robbing the film of all humanity, and the film's moral falls flat as a result. The only saving grace is that director J. A. Bayona is a highly competent visual technician, especially when it comes to the special effects. He gives it one-and-a-half stars and calls it "a bad movie doing an uncanny impression of a good one, but it wears off really quick."
  • Monster Hunter: Hasn't reviewed it yet, but he named it an honorable mention for his most anticipated films of 2020, predicting that it would likely be "dumb as hell" but that he expected nothing less.
  • Monster-in-Law: Reviewed it in his early days as a blogger. He gave it a 0 out of 10 and named it an immediate candidate for the worst film of 2005, calling it "unfit for human consumption" and "an open wound on the skin of moviemaking" on account of Jennifer Lopez's character being a invoked Mary Sue, Jane Fonda's being a terribly-written White-Dwarf Starlet stereotype, both of them being insufferable, the film being built around them getting into screaming matches, and the token boyfriend character being a one-note Satellite Love Interest who contributed nothing to the plot.
  • The Monster Squad: Didn't review it, but in the Big Picture episode "The Boot, Part Two", he said it was good, but overrated by his generation, and doesn't hold up as well as similar movies like The Goonies. He says that it deserves to be remade, calling it one of those movies that's better remembered for the basic idea behind it than the actual execution.
  • Monsters: Hugely disappointed, feeling that the unlikable lead characters made it an utter slog to sit through.
  • Monsters, Inc.: Says that it and Finding Nemo are the Pixar films "least in need of a sequel". He also argues that it was their most subversive film until WALL•E, seeing the monsters' job of scaring children for their "fear energy" as a metaphor for the oil industry. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of its prequel...
    • Monsters University: It's not as good as the original, unavoidably lost a lot of heart by not being able to keep Boo around and in fact your enjoyment of it will likely be undercut if you've seen the original and its big reveal, but it's still a very funny movie, certainly better than another Cars film or the "noble misfire" that was Brave. Mike and Sully's Swapped Roles schtick was interesting, and he identified it as the movie's central gag. Randal's inclusion made him concerned the film-makers had forgotten the vile villain he was in the first movie, but fortunately his Start of Darkness side-arc is good enough for Bob's purposes. It's a great homage to '80s college comedies like Revenge of the Nerds (only a lot more G-rated, obviously) that doesn't quite knock it out of the park, but which still has some very funny and thrilling moments. The supporting players were adequate to requirements as well, but the best were the deceptively complex Dean Hardscrabble and Don Carlton, whose unemployed-guy-looking-to-retrain personality was "surprisingly topical".
  • MonsterVerse: Has reviewed each of its movies so far. While Godzilla (2014) wasn't up to snuff for the most part, he feels that the franchise has invokedimproved its overall quality over time, with Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) both being solid films in their own right. Notably, Bob claimed during his Really That Bad video essay on Batman v Superman that the franchise's success proved that audience will forgive a film's faults as long as it gives them solid entertainment, pointing out that enough of the global audience got on board thanks to them sticking the landing during the finale that the rest of the 2014 film's faults didn't matter.
  • The Monuments Men: A good movie, but one that fell short of greatness. Bob felt that a movie about the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Program during World War II was long overdue, and this film rises on the strength of its pedigree, its All-Star Cast led by George Clooney (who also directed), and its hearkening back to '50s/'60s WWII 'men on a mission' movies. However, its simplification of the story and an over-reliance on worn-out cliches keep it from rising to the heights to which it aspires. Reviewed it in the Intermission editorial "Monumental".
  • Moon: Didn't review it, but he discussed it at the start of his review of {MUTE}, calling it one of the best science fiction movies of the Turn of the Millennium. It boasted great production design, an outstanding star-making turn from Sam Rockwell, and, in hindsight, the best possible use of Kevin Spacey in a film (i.e. not actually having him on screen), and overall, it's the sort of debut that gets a filmmaker hailed as One to Watch; he laments how Duncan Jones, after a solid follow-up with Source Code, squandered all his promise on the WarCraft movie.
  • Moonlight (2016): Didn't review it, but at the end of 2016 he named it his third-favorite movie of the year. He thought it fulfilled Boyhood’s aspirations better by having things actually happen, not having to rely on "a long-form shooting gimmick", and commenting insightfully on "how our environment does (and does not) shape our performative manifestations of race, sexuality, masculinity, emotion, strength, and vulnerability."
  • Moonrise Kingdom: Called it "raw, exposed-nerve humanity" and a more affecting romance than any "grown-up" film that year. All of Wes Anderson's trademark strengths are on full display, helped along by the fact that the main characters are children, a natural fit for his sensibilities. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Under the Radar".
  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: Hasn't reviewed it yet, but he discussed his thoughts on it in the Big Picture episode "Next Light". Having looked up the books and spoiled the plot for himself, he wonders just how they're going to be able to put the first book's big twist on screen without causing a firestorm of outrage.
  • Mortal Kombat: Didn't review it, but in the Game Overthinker episode "Going Hollywood", he cites it as an example of how to do a video-game-to-film adaptation right, adapting both the storyline of the series specifically and the mechanics of fighting games in general (basically, non-stop fight scenes that drive the plot forward). The only real problem it had was that it removed the one thing for which the games are best known, something that he felt could've been solved with a Hand Wave about the island granting its inhabitants a Healing Factor or Shang Tsung bringing dead fighters Back from the Dead after each fight. He discussed it again in a "How to Fix" episode of In Bob We Trust talking about a potential reboot of the films, elaborating on his thoughts about how to depict the graphic violence of the games without running out of characters (short version: he still likes the idea of the island being magic and healing the people on it). He later named it the fourth-best video game adaptation ever made.
  • Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge: It was at its best when it was telling a "ninja revenge" story focused on Scorpion, and less so when it tried to expand from there into a fighting tournament story. While the plot was dumb, it was "dumb in invoked exactly the way you want a Ninja movie to be", which was just what he was hoping for from a Mortal Kombat animated film (i.e. "excessively violent but excessively juvenile") even if its frequent Art Shifts meant that it lacked a singular, coherent aesthetic. However, the further it got from the basic plot of Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero, the more problems it had on a storytelling level, with most of the supporting cast being either dull or jobbed out. Overall, he gave it a 6 out of 10 and said that, while it was a mixed bag, it still gave him what he wanted such that he probably would've loved it if he'd seen it as a 13-year-old.
  • mother!: It was "big swinging-dick show-off auteur filmmaking", a distillation of all of Darren Aronofsky's creator thumbprints into a single movie, to the point where it might well have been career suicide had he not already walked away clean from making Noah. It's also the sort of movie where Bob couldn't describe anything that happened after the first act except to say that it was "fucking nuts", the sort of thing that gets other, similar movies banned in various countries, as though Aronofsky watched The Neon Demon and decided that that film was child's play. It was exceptionally well-made on every technical level, with Jennifer Lawrence singled out for praise (especially after what felt like Money, Dear Boy performances in the last two X-Men movies and David O. Russell's late-period misfires), but it truly soared in the many themes it tackled head-on, from abusive relationships to how women suffer to support the dreams of the men in their lives. He gave it three-and-a-half stars and said that "I can't believe this exists, but I'm glad I saw it. At least once." At the end of 2017, he named it his ninth-favorite movie of the year.
  • Mowgli: While he wanted to support this movie as much as anybody, especially given its invokedTroubled Production and first-time director Andy Serkis trying his hardest (even if he was also clearly gunning for the first Academy Award to be given to an actor playing a motion-capture character), the movie itself didn't work out. It had a great cast and a more daring premise than other adaptations of The Jungle Book and, of course, was buried partly by the monster success of Disney's most recent version. Even so, a combination of Executive Meddling and its own lack of polish sank this film: it was mostly flatly directed, it had a bad case of Mood Whiplash, the attempt at Darker and Edgier reimagining of the story didn't even go as far as Rudyard Kipling himself did in his last Mowgli story, the plot was different from The Jungle Book but very like any other jungle-set movie, and worst of all, the motion capture plunged headlong into the Uncanny Valley with the faces of human actors obviously pasted onto the otherwise well-rendered animals. He gave it a star and a half, calling it no more than an impressive misfire.
  • Mr. Go: "Can somebody please bring [this film] to U.S. theaters? Pretty please?" Didn't review it, but he mentioned it at the end of his review of The Wolverine, and later went into more detail on it in the Big Picture episode "Super Monkey Ball", calling it "the craziest gorilla baseball movie you never saw." It was a mix of a movie about the Animal Athlete Loophole (in this case, a circus gorilla trained to hit home runs gets signed to a professional baseball team) and a special effects showcase for the production team behind it, out to show that they could do Hollywood-style CGI just as well as Hollywood itself, but what made it invoked truly bizarre and out-there was that it played out less like Air Bud and more like Moneyball, focusing on the off-the-field business politics surrounding the fact that there's a gorilla playing in the Korean major leagues. It also got a lot darker and more deconstructive than one might expect, from people questioning whether Mr. Go's trainer (a teenage girl) is actually communicating with him to the fact that somebody gets seriously injured due to the presence of a wild gorilla in a baseball stadium, even if it was still a family film at the end of the day. It was about as good as he could've hoped for given the kind of movie it was, and he found himself wishing they'd followed through on the Sequel Hook at the end.
  • Mulan (2020): invoked Before he reviewed it, he discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Open Season II: Not So Fast", about the news that, amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic that had shut down American theaters, it would be the first Summer Blockbuster scheduled for 2020 to bite the bullet and go Direct-to-Video (specifically, becoming a premium-priced rental on Disney+) rather than be delayed to 2021. He felt bad for everybody involved with the film, not least of all director Niki Caro, whose first shot at making a big blockbuster action movie was now tainted by the direct-to-video stigma, which he suspected would not break down even amidst the pandemic causing a boom in streaming given that every other summer blockbuster has been pushed back to ensure that it goes to theaters.

    When he reviewed it, he called it pretty good, with a solid cast and action scenes that would likely be mind-blowing to younger viewers and definitely get the movie going once they kick in. However, he also found himself frustrated by it, as it was at its weakest when it was recreating the most important moments from the original, such that he found himself wishing for the musical numbers and Eddie Murphy's wisecracking dragon from the animated film to show up. He also found the changes made to the plot to turn it into a gender-flipped version of Star Wars, with Mulan as Luke and Xianniang as Darth Vader. Overall, he gave it a 7 out of 10, bumping his score up from a 6 out of 10 by the end thanks to a very strong finish. He also discussed the Disney Live-Action Remakes' place in film history as cultural artifacts, in this case of Disney's attempts to make more movies with female and non-white leads and expand their success in the Chinese market. The following week, he devoted a Big Picture episode to the myth of Hua Mulan and the controversy over whether or not she really existed.
  • The Mummy (2017):invoked He named it at #6 on his list of ten 2017 films that he most expected to suck. He feared it would be bad because the writing team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci had been behind bad Star Trek and Transformers movies, and the very idea of the Universal Monsters remade as a modern Modular Franchise bored him stiff just talking about it. The only thing that interested him about this was Sofia Boutella from Kingsman: The Secret Service playing the titular mummy. The review opened with a horrified "How did this happen!?!?" as he called the film a perfect object lesson in how not to set up a cinematic universe. Rather than follow the example of the MCU, still the only multi-film franchise to have done it right, the film makes the tedious exposition and world-building for future entries in the Dark Universe the main event, having hardly any interest in its title character despite Boutella trying her hardest to give a good performance in such an underwritten role. Instead, Tom Cruise was badly miscast as a complete blank slate protagonist who only exists to be The Watson as various people explain to him the world the Universal Monsters have been given to inhabit, and then the film had the nerve to act like an extremely vague tease that he'll be doing something in future films would get audiences hooked. The production also looked surprisingly cheap, though that could just be a product of first-time director Kurtzman's ineptitude in the job. He gave it one star and called it a ripoff of Army of Darkness that didn't realize that that film was meant as a comedy, the only good thing he had to say being that, if the Dark Universe continued in this vein (it didn't, much to his relief), it could have become a fascinating So Bad, It's Good train wreck. At the end of 2017, he named it his least favorite movie of the year, joking that it felt like Universal turned to Warner Bros. and asked "oh, you call that killing a franchise in the crib?"
  • The Muppets: Bob compares it to the recent reboots of The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks in terms of Human-Focused Adaptations of classic kids' shows, with one key difference: it doesn't suck. Instead, it's one of the funniest family films in a long while, and although it's not as good as the original Muppet Movie, it's still a worthy comeback for Jim Henson's classic characters. At the end of 2011, he listed it as one of his top ten movies of the year.
  • Murder on the Orient Express (2017): Adapting Agatha Christie's famous novel as a superhero movie may sound ridiculous, but that was exactly what happened — at least in the sense that it was a Comes Great Responsibility melodrama about a larger-than-life protagonist with a unique gift fighting for truth and justice (with director Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot taking on that role), not a frenetically edited, action-heavy mess like the then-recent Sherlock Holmes movies. While this version gave Poirot a character arc through which to work, otherwise it adapted the book faithfully, right down to the ending, which was all he could say about the plot without spoilers. It wasn't much more than a puzzle story about unpleasant characters trapped together in a confined setting, but it had Scenery Porn galore and Branagh's Poirot was a Large Ham to surpass his Hamlet — in a great way. While it was really a one-man show despite the All-Star Cast, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe, and Leslie Odom, Jr. nevertheless made their marks. It got three stars.
  • {MUTE}: It's a throwback to Blade Runner that probably should have been made before somebody actually made a sequel to Blade Runner, as it probably would've felt more fresh, less derivative, and less problematic if Duncan Jones had made it as his follow-up to Moon instead of now. On the whole, it's a "flawed, but interesting minor work" that showcases Jones' technical acumen and skill with mood, characters, and World Building but suffers in terms of narrative structure, as its two story threads take far too long to fully come together and leave the film feeling like an intriguing Detective Drama that's needlessly interrupted by unrelated scenes designed to show off and flesh out its cyberpunk world. That said, the cast is excellent, especially Paul Rudd Playing Against Type as a sleazy asshole, and making Alexander Skarsgård's character Amish was a great way to have the Audience Surrogate be as clueless with the advanced technology on screen as the viewer, while also giving him character traits beyond his disability. Overall, he gave it two-and-a-half stars on the strength of its style over its substance.
  • My Spy: It was Dave Bautista following the Rated G for Gangsta path of countless action heroes before him by making a family-friendly action comedy pairing him up with a Tagalong Kid. He found it to be a really bad movie, even if the COVID-19 Pandemic slowing new releases to a crawl meant that he found it refreshing to finally watch a generically bad studio programmer again. Bautista's performance was the only saving grace and far better than the movie around him, whose writing felt like a lazy Random Events Plot, whose tone suffered from Mood Whiplash between its farcical comedy and the serious drama in Bautista's character, and whose jokes were frequently ripped off from better movies in this vein. He gave it a 3 out of 10 and said that one would be better served watching nearly anything else.

  • National Lampoon's Vacation: Did an episode of Really That Good about it, and also discussed it in his review of its 2015 sequel/reboot. It's a laugh-out-loud hysterical film, largely courtesy of some of the best work that Chevy Chase had done in his career (probably second in his prime only to Caddyshack, and rivaled since perhaps only by his role on Community), the film wisely making the best use of his talents by establishing his character Clark Griswold as the film's comedic centerpiece. Bob compares Clark to Inspector Clouseau without the accent, a buffoon who's just smart enough to realize his own failings but still thinks he can fool everyone around him into thinking he's smarter than he is, with often hilarious results.

    From there, Bob jumps off into the film's broader themes. He called it a "bizarre animal of a movie", a bridge of sorts between the raunchy, anarchic comedy of the '70s and the more High Concept comedies of the '80s. More specifically, it's a dressing down of a lot of the Baby Boomer mythos of the Reagan years, personified in the slow breakdown of Clark Griswold as he and his family get put through increasingly harrowing situations and his "suburban dad" mask starts to slip. Here, he looked at John Hughes' original 1979 short story Vacation '58, a much darker version of the same story that was written as a vivid deconstruction of the readers' nostalgia for their childhoods in The '50s. Whereas non-white and female comics attacked such viewpoints for their foundation in privilege and how they masked the oppression that went on during that time, Hughes was tearing it down from the inside, from Clark's perspective as a member of the privileged class realizing that the system wasn't delivering on its promises of happiness. The film, on the other hand, serves as a reconstruction of that same nostalgia, acknowledging just how tacky and phony so much of the iconography of the '50s was, but having Clark, even with all his flaws, still manage to make it real for his family through sheer force of will borne of a desire to give them the childhood he never had.

    This reconstruction has a dark side to it, though. This comes through chiefly with the film's more uncomfortable gags, which often feel like scenes of the people who had the most to gain from the Reagan years (the white suburbanite Griswolds) touring through the parts of the country inhabited by those who had been uprooted by the economic shifts of the '80s (the black people in the ghetto, the dirt-poor redneck Cousin Eddie, the grandmother), and inviting us to laugh at their misfortune. Between that and its fairly flat, amateurish direction, Vacation isn't a perfect film. However, what it does right is easily enough to make it a classic that's far greater than the sum of its parts.
    • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: He discussed it briefly in the aforementioned Really That Good episode, mainly to talk about how it wound up eclipsing the original film in the public eye — a tall feat given how the original is itself still a beloved comedy classic. Whereas the original film was far darker and more biting, this one was sentimental and sincere, and its success wound up coloring people's perception of the original, especially as far as Clark's character was concerned. Without this film, Bob wonders if people would still be talking about Vacation today.
    • Vacation: It's a funny film with a lot of great gags, but it lacks a lot of the depth and weight that made the original such a classic, too often feeling like a Random Events Plot instead. Overall, it's good, but forgettable.
  • Natural Born Killers: Didn't review it, but in the Game Overthinker episode "'GTA V' Is Not A Satire (*Probably)", he used the film to demonstrate the difference between parody and satire. The flashback scene showing Mallory's upbringing, done in the style of a Married... with Children-esque sitcom, was a satire of how that style of television often trivialized the abusive events that happen to its characters by playing them for laughs.
  • Need for Speed: "If [this] is indicative of the kind of films Electronic Arts wants to make, we're in for a lot of bad movies." The story would be comically bad if it weren't so boring, between its caricatured villain, its grasping nostalgia, and its nonsensical plot, feeling like Torque with none of the So Bad, It's Good charm. Furthermore, Aaron Paul is awful as the lead, feeling like a poor man's Tom Cruise or Christian Bale and falling into the trap of TV actors who try and fail to transition to film. Even the practical effects do little to add to the film.
  • Neighbors (2014): "The most genuinely freakin' hilarious movie I've seen in a while." He called it the first great comedy of 2014, noting that, while the premise sounds like the setup for a '90s ABC sitcom or yet another frat-house sex comedy, it's far better than that. He attributes this to a great cast (particularly Zac Efron breaking out of his Disney Channel Typecasting) and the fact that it's a lot smarter and more nuanced than movies of this ilk usually are.
  • The Neon Demon: Didn't review it, but he called it the best film of summer 2016 and his second-favorite of the entire year, though he can't go into much detail as to why he loved it so much beyond a vague Take Our Word for It, describing the experience of watching it blind as "the year's best prank you can play on yourself".
  • Never Too Young to Die: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in a Big Picture episode on invoked So Bad, It's Good action movies to watch during quarantine. He compared John Stamos' character in this film to Uncle Jesse on Full House, only meant to be taken seriously as a tough guy, and the result was why he felt that Uncle Jesse was played as a parody of that kind of figure. The gag of casting George Lazenby as the protagonist's father and making this an unofficial "Young James Bond" film felt like it was meant to launch a franchise that was never meant to be, and Gene Simmons' Big Bad felt like a transphobic caricature even by the standards of The '80s. That said, when it comes to cheesy '80s action vehicles, there's a lot to recommend/laugh at with this one.
  • The Nice Guys: Didn't review it, but he called it the second-best film of summer 2016 and his fourth-favorite of the year, listing off writer-director Shane Black's pedigree, the cast, and the film's premise before calling it "a badass, awesome trip of a movie" and asking why in the hell more people didn't go to see it.
  • Nightbreed: Its attempt to fuse schlock-horror aesthetics with much greater ambitions doesn't entirely work, partly because the film was butchered in the editing room but also because its dream-like writing clashes with its gritty, realistic style, as well as the fact that the special effects needed to realize Clive Barker's vision were beyond the technology of 1990. Still, the climatic battle between the heroic monsters and the evil humans makes it all worth it, and its use of the monsters as a metaphor for homosexuality, like a horror movie version of X-Men, still manages to come through despite the studio's editing. Overall, it gets an A for effort, especially given the state of the horror genre in the early '90s. Reviewed it in his Big Picture "Schlocktober" special for 2014.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: He discussed rebooting the franchise in a "How to Fix" episode of In Bob We Trust. One thing that always bugged him about the series even in its better installments is that, even though Freddy Krueger is a child killer, his victims were all teenagers. As such, if he were making a Nightmare film, he'd have Freddy murdering children in their dreams just as he did in life. As for concerns that it would be ripping off It, his response is basically "have you seen how much money It made?"
  • Night of the Lepus: Calls it So Bad, It's Good and a masterpiece of misleading advertising. He said that no joke he could make about it could be funnier than the film itself, so he just spent a third of his time showing clips of it. Didn't review it for Escape to the Movies, but he covered it in his "Schlocktober" special for The Big Picture.
  • Nine Lives (2016): Didn't review it, but he jokingly called it the best film of summer 2016, heaping hyperbolic praise upon it before finally bursting in laughter and admitting, "I'm just fucking with you!"
  • Ninja Assassin: The action scenes were awesome, but it's overall a Cliché Storm not worth caring too much about. It also doesn't do much to tell audiences why they should care about Rain even though this was clearly meant to be a mainstream American launch for the South Korean multimedia star.
  • Noah: He first discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Waterworks". He was looking forward to it due to the fact that it was Darren Aronofsky (a filmmaker of whom he's a huge fan) making a big-budget epic, and thought it was cool that a film about the tale of Noah's Ark would actually include much of the most interesting material in The Bible that myriad retellings of the story ignore. He also discussed the controversy surrounding the film due to said cool/weird stuff, and the studio's attempts to avoid alienating evangelical Christian viewers while still appealing to secular audiences, all the while hoping that a promising-looking film wouldn't become just another chess piece in the broader culture war.

    When it came time to review it, he called it "brave, bold, bizarre, and kind of brilliant," answering head-on all of the concerns people had about it going in while delivering an epic blockbuster in the tradition of Cecil B. DeMille meets Peter Jackson. It manages to combine being a religious film, an environmentalist fable, an action/disaster film, and even a psychological horror film into one excellent package that treats its characters and subject matter with a great degree of nuance and humanity. He also lamented how the rise of the Religious Right in the US has seemingly killed this sort of Biblical epic in Hollywood.
  • Nocturnal Animals: He reviewed it only because nothing else came out that week, and gave it two stars. He found nothing overtly wrong with it, but it was "pretentious as all hell", with only the story of the novel within the film that Amy Adams' character was reading as the film's Framing Device mattering much (and that because Michael Shannon was basically carrying that part of the movie). He opened his review by calling the project competently made Oscar Bait, and he closed it by likening it to a supermodel: "…nice to look at, but almost deliberately off-putting and always seem[ing] vaguely contemptuous of you for looking at it." On the latter note, he considers it highly appropriate that fashion design legend Tom Ford wrote and directed this movie.
  • No Escape: Hasn't reviewed it yet, but he discussed his thoughts on the trailer in the blog article "Welcome to Asia". He found the premise to be disgustingly racist and indulging in the worst Yellow Peril stereotypes in its depiction of everybody in its Southeast Asian setting as being out to murder the (white) main characters. He compared it, on a scale of "zero to Nugent", to "Nugent at a no-press-allowed CPAC fundraiser with those Duck guys."
  • invokedNo Good Deed (2014): "All screenings were canceled at the last minute, supposedly to 'protect a twist.' The 'twist' is that it's probably not a good movie." Didn't review it, but he mentioned it at the end of his review of The Zero Theorem.
  • No Strings Attached: While the rom-com formula prevented it from examining its themes in any real depth, Bob still found it to be a good movie, with a funny script, likable leads and a very welcome (given the subject matter) R rating.
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: Before he reviewed it, he named it his eighth least anticipated film of 2018. Hollywood adaptations of The Nutcracker had a terrible track record to start with, and this one did not give him much hope that it would be any better, feeling like it was being released in 2018 simply because Disney had to bump the live-action Mulan movie back to 2019. When he reviewed it, he gave it a 4 out of 10 and found it to suffer from the get-go on account of being a Grimmified pseudo-sequel to a story that suffered from Mainstream Obscurity, with most people's familiarity with The Nutcracker being with the music and imagery of the ballet rather than the plot; as such, they'd be liable to find the film near-incomprehensible even before it got into its own needlessly convoluted story. It was simultaneously too weird and not weird enough, feeling like a Cliché Storm of Gothic fantasy films from recent years. Despite itself, however, he still found himself enjoying it on a gonzo, almost invoked So Bad, It's Good level, akin to Jupiter Ascending in how it played like Wish Fulfillment for adolescent girls, and in that regard he imagined that the film would likely become a Cult Classic down the line. He was especially impressed by Keira Knightley's Large Ham performance as the Sugar Plum Fairy, which reminded him of a female Tim Curry in how she seemed "perpetually twenty seconds from literal orgasm".

  • Oblivion (2013): Impressive visual design and solid direction can't save a bad movie that felt like "five or six M. Night Shyamalan screenplays smushed into one." Without spoiling anything, the film telegraphs that something is wrong from a mile away, it's derivative of other, better sci-fi films, the twists pile up and produce a mountain of Fridge Logic, and the Love Triangle is annoying. Bottom line: if you want a visually stunning but nonsensical sci-fi movie, rent Prometheus instead. He also analyzes Tom Cruise's career trajectory, describing it as a string of reactions to insecurity.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?: One of the greatest films that The Coen Brothers ever made, even if it's to blame for digital color-correction and, with it, the annoying trend of the Orange/Blue Contrast. Didn't review it, but he mentioned it in his Intermission editorial "Consequences".
  • Ocean's 8: Before he reviewed it, he named it his tenth most anticipated film of 2018. He liked the cast and the director, he thought that the formula (less about plot and more about concept, such that he was surprised that they didn't make an all-female Ocean's movie earlier) was hard to screw up, and he bemoaned how it was preemptively bashed by "the shut-in woman-haters' club" for allegedly sullying the Ocean's Eleven franchise, even though all of them were basically Vacation, Dear Boy excuses for famous Hollywood A-listers. In short, it just looked like a fun movie in the same vein as its predecessors. He got what he hoped for when it came time to review it, calling it a "breezy comic mood piece" and giving it three stars. He praised the All-Star Cast for Playing Against Type throughout (save for Helena Bonham-Carter, who still does what she does best), and noted that, oddly enough, it felt more like the original '60s Rat Pack version of Ocean's Eleven than the remake series by Steven Soderbergh, in that it was less interested in plot mechanics than it was in the glamour of the heist and the character dynamics of its cast. He saw this as partly due to Technology Marches On (a lot of the planning in those films is now easily done in seconds by Rihanna's hacker character) and partly due to Gary Ross recognizing and playing to his strengths and weaknesses as a director versus Soderbergh; on that note, he felt that the filmmaking was the one thing holding the film back from going above and beyond.
  • Okja: It's far darker than its setup of 'a girl and her pet genetically-engineered super-pig' implies. It's also another Genre-Busting effort from Bong Joon-ho of The Host and Snowpiercer fame that satirizes both the Corrupt Corporate Executives whose company left the titular Okja with Mija, the human protagonist, and their Animal Wrongs Group opponents. By siding squarely with Mija and Okja, who just want to live in peace together, though, it is also the Spiritual Antithesis of South Park's "'everybody sucks' hipster nihilism." It's not quite as good as the sum of its parts — most of the adult actors were apparently instructed to play broad caricatures, a move that works well in about half the cases and backfires badly for the other half (especially Jake Gyllenhaal as an activist who evokes an "evil Steve Irwin") — but Bob gives it two and a half stars and a recommendation for fans of ambitious experimental films who can forgive when they don't hit all their marks.
  • The Old Guard: It was an old-school sci-fi/fantasy action flick with a great cast, well-rounded characters, standout action scenes, and tight plotting that didn't overstay its welcome or end on a needless cliffhanger. It could easily be summed up as "Highlander invoked meets Call of Duty", and what it lacked in originality it made up for in the care that went into its production, skipping a lot of the boring parts of the World Building while keeping the stakes low enough to prevent the story from getting too sprawling for its own good. The main characters being immortal did take some of the stakes out of the action, and a third-act plot twist raised questions that he wished the film focused more on, but beyond that, he gave it a 7 out of 10 and said that he'd happily watch a sequel.
  • Oldboy (the 2003 original): Talked about how it became famous due to its brutal fight scenes and its final twist. While it was a great film, he didn't mind the idea of a remake as much as some other people did, as a lot of its material was so culturally specific to South Korea that it could get in the way of American viewers' engagement with it. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of its remake …
    • Oldboy (the 2013 remake): He was looking forward to this film chiefly due to Spike Lee's involvement, as even his worst films tend to at least be interesting to watch. However, he found it to be boring and dull in spite of all of its attempts to be shocking. None of Spike Lee's Signature Style was on display here, and it felt like it was just going through the motions. Furthermore, the film's attempts to copy the original's most iconic moments and story beats lose their punch and suffer from Fridge Logic due to the change in cultural context; Bob cites the dumplings clue and the famous hammer scene in particular as examples of this.
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Before he reviewed it, he named it one of his fifteen most anticipated films of 2019. Quentin Tarantino's films are always, at the very least, provocative and get people talking about them, and this looked no different, especially with Hollywood's resident Meta Guy making a movie about the sordid history of Hollywood itself. He opened his review with a score of 9 out of 10 accompanied by a spoiler warning, since he felt he couldn't discuss what he loved about the film without at least alluding to a number of important things that happen during its runtime. It was at once the most "Tarantino" film that Tarantino had ever made in the sense of it being so troperiffic and rich in nostalgia for the man's particular cultural fixations, and the least "Tarantino" film of his in that, up to a point, the period Hollywood setting meant that these references felt more organic, and the characters more authentic, than anything else in the filmography of a filmmaker known for his celebration of artificiality and kitsch. He compared it to a "languid hangout" in which Tarantino gets to take the viewer into a bygone era of rising and fading stars, before suddenly turning into what was bound to be among the most controversial films of 2019 with its late-in-the-game Plot Twist. This was the only part where the film didn't earn his rapturous praise, due to the fact that this twist, which would've been shocking coming from any other filmmaker, simply felt like Tarantino up to his usual tricks here, even if it flowed logically from the broader themes of the film as a whole. He said that, while it wasn't Tarantino's best film, it was probably his most human.

    invokedLater he returned to it in a Big Picture episode, "Does Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Cross The Line?" in which he discussed some of the controversial aspects of the film.note  Bob didn't really offer an opinion on these things, except to say that there were reasonable arguments being made on each front, but he felt a definitive answer to these issues was impossible. Instead, he noted that the film demonstrates why Historical Fiction can be hard to deal with (i.e. that it requires the audience to confront how much they take for granted about real history) and that he was glad the discussion of the movie had at least remained civil.
  • One Hour Photo: Bob's favorite of the three 2002 movies wherein Robin Williams played a villain (the other two being the Black Comedy Death to Smoochy and the Oscar Bait-y Insomnia). Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Remembering Robin Williams Through Movies", a retrospective of the late Williams' career.
  • Ong-Bak: Reviewed it in his early days as a blogger. Even a casual fan of martial arts movies should seek it out, because it is one of the best films of its type. Taking the plot of the sort of film that's often set in medieval China and transplanting it to modern-day Thailand allows it to explore a whole new angle, as Tony Jaa's Country Mouse character finds himself lost in the big, modern city of Bangkok, culminating in a theme of melding Thailand's traditional past with modernity. You don't really need to pay attention to the plot to enjoy it, though, thanks to amazing action and fight sequences done with great stuntwork and choreography that breaks from Hong Kong's Wire Fu tradition to impressive effect.
  • Only God Forgives: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2013, he named it a runner-up for his list of the best films of the year.
  • Only the Brave: Movies about firefighters are something that he's surprised aren't more common, given that their job is practically tailor-made for Hollywood spectacle, though he figures that the difficulty of working with fire (either for real or with CGI) may have something to do with it. That said, this movie, while Strictly Formula in its characters and story beats (he calls it "The Perfect Storm but with firefighters"), is remarkably solid, with the film making great use of Miles Teller in particular by giving his character an arc practically designed to exploit audience distaste for him. He gave it three stars and a recommendation as a perfect 'dad movie'.
  • Onward: Before he reviewed it, he named it his ninth most anticipated film of 2020, mostly for Pixar's involvement and its unique premise: that of a High Fantasy world that had gradually evolved into something like our modern, technological world where all the legends are ancient history. He ultimately found it "imperfect but endearing" and gave it a 7 out of 10. It was clearly aimed as much at adult fans of Pixar as it was at their kids given how its plot mashed up '80s Amblin films with fantasy adventure stories, it actually handled its World Building with some depth rather than just using it for cheap gags, and fantasy fans will love all the invoked Shout Outs. The characters were all great even if they weren't all that original, with Octavia Spencer's manticore restaurant owner being a highlight. The only real flaw was admittedly a pretty major one, in that the film didn't really know what to do with the character of the protagonists' father despite how central he was to the story.
  • Orca: The Killer Whale: Not only the best of the many Jaws ripoffs of the late '70s and early '80s, but also a good movie in its own right, albeit a completely crazy one. It combines a highbrow Nature Documentary style, with tons of footage of killer whales and a great score by Ennio Morricone, with a gory '70s exploitation/monster movie vibe, the two going together surprisingly well. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his 2012 "Schlocktober" special for The Big Picture.
  • The Other Guys: Pretty funny, but it never really adds up to anything, and it's been done better before. He also goes into an analysis of the roots of the "buddy cop" genre.
  • Ouija: "Just another formulaic and dumb horror movie." He reviewed it a week after it came out only because nothing was released on Halloween weekend, what with everyone being out partying and trick-or-treating. While quite a bit of material could be mined for a horror movie about a Ouija Board, and this film starts with an intriguing idea, it then proceeds to rip off other, far superior ghost stories, blowing its big twist early and proceeding to follow a by-the-numbers Cliché Storm plot with little passion and stupid characters. Worst of all, it's just not scary, with lousy kills and an assortment of jump scares and ghosts that have, again, been done better many times before. He gave it one star, telling people not to see it unless they're absolutely desperate.
  • The Outpost: Gave it a 9 out of 10, calling it a conventional but well-made Afghan War movie boasting a great cast of "tough guy" actors (led by Scott Eastwood in what might've been a invoked Star-Making Role in a flashier film), a character-driven first half that avoided either sanitizing its characters or going overboard in portraying them as un-PC macho men, an action-packed second half that nailed the sweet spot between authenticity and video game-style thrills without feeling like another Black Hawk Down ripoff, and a transition between such that knocked him out of his seat. It was a fairly shallow film beyond its War Is Hell message, but he didn't really mind that.
  • Over the Moon: It was one of the better attempts by a non-Disney animation studio (in this case, Shanghai Pearl Studio, who historically worked with DreamWorks Animation) to imitate the Disney Renaissance-era animated musical formula, one that earned an 8 out of 10. While its story was fairly predictable and could get convoluted at times, and the dissonance between Chinese and Disney fairy-tale logic did produce some invoked Fridge Logic, it was otherwise an example of Strictly Formula done right, a film that set out to do its own take on the Disney animated musical and more or less pulled it off with flying colors. Not only did it successfully replicate the look of such films with its beautiful and inventive animation, it more importantly hit their emotional core as well with its story, especially with its lively supporting cast and Phillipa Soo's performance as the Ambiguously Evil Chang'e.
  • Overlord (2018):invoked "Well, that was pretty fuckin' cool!" It was a straightforward, unpretentious, and well-made "Inglourious Basterds meets Re-Animator" action-horror B-Movie that may have had way too much artifice draped over it with one of J. J. Abrams' usual 'mystery box' marketing campaigns, but did what it set out to do so well that Bob struggled to find much to say about beyond telling people to see it if they were into this sort of movie. The cast elevated the material, the action was top-notch whether it was the war sequences or the monster fights, the story beats were well-paced and trusted the audience's ability to easily figure out what was going on, the tone walked the line of being self-aware without dipping into winking sarcasm, and overall, it was "as pure fun as R-rated pulp shoot-em-ups get." He gave it three-and-a-half stars and said that he might go back and see it three or four more times because it gave him so much bang for his buck in terms of entertainment value.
  • Oz the Great and Powerful: An "unabashedly old-fashioned family blockbuster" that's a great fit for Sam Raimi's retro style, feeling at times like a big-budget, family-friendly version of Army of Darkness meets the original The Wizard of Oz, and which succeeds at every point where Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland went wrong. Grown-ups are going to figure out the plot twists pretty early, but it can still be quite shocking to see a Hollywood blockbuster go in the directions that this film does. The cast is great — James Franco's hipster persona goes perfectly with his sleazy con artist protagonist, while Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and especially Mila Kunis are all at the top of their game as the witches. He could even tolerate Zach Braff as the voice of Oscar's monkey sidekick. Throw in some absolutely stunning CGI that's used for more than just flash, and you have an incredible film whose only real flaw is the lack of songs (because what is a Wizard of Oz prequel without musical numbers?). At the end of 2013, he named it a runner-up for his list of the best films of the year.

    Bob also doesn't find much wrong with the fact that it's not following Wicked’s mythology, given that L. Frank Baum, who wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, himself wrote a long series of Land of Oz novels with often-contradictory mythologies that Wicked was itself throwing out.

  • Pacific Rim: He was hugely excited for it given that it's directed by Guillermo del Toro, but in the Intermission editorial "The Uncertain Future", he said that he feared that, without a franchise name backing it up, it could run into trouble at the box office. He hoped it would be a hit so that it would break Hollywood's dependence on sequels and licensed properties, as well as give Del Toro the break that he had long deserved. The week it came out, he devoted an entire Big Picture episode, "The New Originals", to telling people to see the film sight unseen not just because it looked good, but so that they could send a message to Hollywood that they want more than just sequels, remakes, and adaptations for their big-budget blockbusters.

    When it came time to review it, he said it was awesome and that it lived up to every expectation he put on it and then some. It was, in his opinion, the best Summer Blockbuster since Independence Day, a film that he compares this to in terms of it being an amped-up version of a classic B-Movie genre (in this case, Japanese kaiju movies and mecha anime), without the bloat, pretension, and exposition that infests so many other big summer tentpoles. It has deep, well-rounded characters whose interactions actually drive the plot rather than feel like drama for the sake of it, the giant monster-versus-robot battles are absolutely mind-blowing and feel more real than any number of 'gritty and realistic' action movies, and even the stuff that shouldn't work still works in the context of this film's homage to classic anime and sci-fi. In the Big Picture episode "Summer's End", he listed it as one of his top ten movies of summer 2013, and at the end of 2013 he named it his favorite film of the year. That said, in his review of its sequel Uprising, he admitted that most of his adoration for the film had to do with the style and atmosphere that Del Toro injected into the film. Without it, it's basically just "not-Godzilla vs. not-Gundam" or "dumb Evangelion" and Del Toro's work played a huge role in elevating it above that basic premise.

    Later, in the Intermission editorial "Summer School - Part I", he argued that the film's overall box office performance shows how American audiences are no longer the be-all, end-all decider of success or failure in Hollywood. While the film disappointed at the American box office, its success overseas (especially in China) was more than enough to rescue it and produce talk of a sequel. He discussed said sequel when it came out...
    • Pacific Rim: Uprising: Without Del Toro's inimitable sense of style to elevate this setup, not to mention said setup having been almost exhausted after one film, sequelitis was bound to have set in. To Bob's pleasant surprise, though, most of it worked on its own merits as a dumb popcorn blockbuster that existed mainly because of Chinese demand (which he acknowledged in the beginning of his video review, with a thanks delivered in bad Mandarin). Once again, the action and effects are great, but the story and characters are rather weaker, flaws most evident with the premature revelation of a major villain, the new protagonists going through the motions of a plot that riffs on Starship Troopers and Top Gun, and another meta-narrative about them living up to their predecessors' accomplishments (with John Boyega's presence in this film as in the similar Star Wars sequel trilogy making that that much clearer). Speaking of returning characters, he was disappointed that Rinko Kikuchi had only a glorified cameo as Mako Mori, and only got to deliver exposition at that. Still, it was just fine as what seemed like a feature-length adaptation of the teaser video for a theme park ride based on Pacific Rim, and he gave it two and a half stars. He noted also that it's probably the most "Chinese" action blockbuster that has yet come out of Hollywood, not only due to the heavy Chinese involvement in the production, but also given how the plot structure, Character Development, political commentary, and visual aesthetic feel lifted from a modern Chinese action film — right down to the fact that anybody familiar with such films will probably see the plot twists coming, even if American audiences less familiar with them may be more surprised.
  • Paddington: A surprisingly good adaptation of the Paddington Bear books. It manages to update the books' themes from the experience of post-war orphans to that of modern immigrants without losing the stories' charm, while also serving as a very funny, smart, and sweet kids' movie that never wears out its welcome. He even found the villain played by Nicole Kidman to be tolerable, even if he felt that her backstory was easy to figure out and that a film like this didn't really need a villainous figure, mainly because he found that her motivations played very well into the film's overall themes. He gave it four and a half stars, saying that it will likely wind up among the best family films of the year.
  • Padmaavat: Hasn't reviewed it yet, but he has named it his eighth most anticipated film of 2018. Knowing admittedly nothing about Bollywood, the creative team involved, or the historical events the film is based on, he was intrigued by three things: (A) the fact that it's one of the biggest-budgeted Indian movies ever made, (B) the fact that India's Moral Guardians went apewire to have it banned, to the point of physical violence, vandalism, and death threats against the production, and (C) the fact that it looks like a cool medieval action epic, Indian-style. Every one of those things has him wanting to see it.
  • Pain and Gain: It's a Spiritual Successor of sorts to Bad Boys II, and quite an enjoyable film at that, with Michael Bay's detachment from the material rather than exploration of deeper themes being well-suited to its darkly comic exploration of the true story it's based on. He compared it to Fargo in the sense of it being about really Stupid Crooks, only coming from someone who finds that stupidity more annoying than amusing. He also makes the case that nihilism and 'to hell with humanity' are the defining trait of Bay's work, only unlike Lars von Trier, he uses this nihilism as an excuse to blow it all up. Later, in the Intermission editorial "Summer School - Part I", he called it Bay's best film yet, the fulfillment of the promise he showed in the Bad Boys films, and a sign of what he's capable of when he's not bound by the franchise requirements of Transformers or trying for 'respectability' as with Pearl Harbor. In the Big Picture episode "Summer's End", he listed it as one of his top ten movies of summer 2013, and at the end of 2013 he named it one of his ten favorite films of the year.
  • Paranormal Activity: Despite the fact that he usually hates Found Footage Films, he loved this one, for a simple reason: "tripod." In other words, rather than using the "handheld camera" setup as an excuse to cover up a lack of talent and budget, this film used it to make sure that the audience saw everything that was happening, while avoiding the "shaky-cam" pitfall of so many other found-footage movies.
    • Paranormal Activity 2: Not impressed. He felt that the larger scale and the greater explanation of the backstory, combined with the fact that it's a sequel to a film that relied on surprise for its scares, all diluted the tension compared to the original.
    • Paranormal Activity 3:invoked Didn't review it because, as far as he knows, it was Not Screened for Critics, as he noted at the end of his video on Green Lantern’s extended cut.
  • ParaNorman: Quite possibly Bob's favorite movie of 2012 up to that point — even next to The Avengers. Unlike many other animated family films that go for epic bombast and rollercoaster-esque thrill rides in order to keep the wee ones entertained, this movie is smaller in scope and focuses on building its characters, story and mood, all to great effect. Admittedly, though, he feels that part of the reason why he loved it so much was because it was practically Wish Fulfillment for him — after all, it's about a socially outcast horror-movie buff from New England who can see ghosts and uses that skill to fight a Zombie Apocalypse, and it's got a dark story and some biting and thoughtful social commentary about bullying, self-esteem, and the conformity of suburban Middle America. Outside the review, he also discussed the technology and themes behind the film in that week's Intermission editorial, "Puppet Masters". At the end of 2012, he listed it as one of his top ten movies of the year.
  • Parasite (2019): What started out as a Slobs vs. Snobs comedy about a family of poor con artists ripping off a wealthy family turned out to have more going on than that, as Bong Joon-ho's movies often do — but, without spoiling anything, not necessarily in the way that one might come to expect from one of his movies. Its most subversive twist was that, rather than turning into either a "good vs. evil" story in either direction (the poor family as degenerate criminals, the rich family as elitist monsters) or presenting the central conflict as two groups of awful people destroying each other, it actually asked the audience to sympathize with both its nominal anti-heroes and their marks, and largely succeeded thanks to a cast of richly-drawn and well-acted characters and Bong's beautiful direction. He gave it an 8 out of 10 and compared it to "the Douglas Sirk version of Pink Flamingos" in how it combined earnestness, Vulgar Humor, and a class warfare plot. At the end of 2019, he named it his tenth-favorite film of the year.
  • The Passion of the Christ: Before he became a professional critic, he posted prolifically about the film about a year after its release. He saw it as pure Torture Porn that seriously missed the point of the Gospels in favor of serving as a vehicle for Mel Gibson's ultra-traditionalist Catholic worldview, to the point of actively deviating from what was written in The Bible and undercutting one of its defenders' main arguments (that it's merely staying faithful to the text). He was vociferously opposed to right-wing Christian activists who attempted to politicize the film's success as a case of 'the people' rebelling against 'liberal secular Hollywood', and took to citing conservative commentators who also disliked the film to debunk their arguments. Many years later, he brought it up again in an episode of In Bob We Trust discussing his forthcoming special Really That Bad episode on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He ranked it alongside Battlefield Earth and the aforementioned BvS as one of the few movies of the early 21st century that was enough of a creative misfire to merit a Really That Bad episode, calling it "one of the most virulently hateful cultural artifacts of the modern era" and a window into just how disturbed Gibson's mindset and worldview were. The only things stopping him were the technical quality of its direction and the fact that doing such an episode would require working through his own Catholic upbringing, and he wasn't comfortable with having his viewers double as his therapists.
  • Patriots Day: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2016 he named it his fourth-least favorite film of the year. He thought it went way too far with its Artistic License – History, making the Tsarnaev brothers out to be major threats when, by all reputable evidence, they were "a pair of weaselly little fuck-ups", and it added salt to that wound by doubling as an apparent "I could have stopped 9/11" Power Fantasy for Mark Wahlberg at the expense of the real people who dealt with the Boston Marathon bombing. Being from Boston himself, it especially rankled on him, as he had gotten sick of being asked about it.
  • Paul: The movie that Fanboys should have been but wasn't, a love letter to American nerddom and Comic-Con culture that's still gut-bustingly hilarious even if you're not a geek. The team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is great as usual, the material is still funny if you take out the sci-fi references, and it gives a much-deserved Take That! to religious fundamentalists and creationists. He opened his review with a little mini-review of Battle: Los Angeles.
  • PCU: "I promise you, this movie is not nearly as funny as you think you remember it being." Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Correctitude", wherein he criticized the idea of "Political Correctness Gone Mad."
  • The Peanuts Movie: Breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing it, feeling that it honored the source material without indulging in nostalgic pandering or in-jokes, ensuring that Charles Schulz's characters will endure as pop culture icons for many years to come. Instead of going the obvious route of trying to tell a bigger story than Peanuts had ever done before, the filmmakers instead made what could almost be described as an Anthology Film of four loosely connected stories each reminiscent of the animated specials for which the franchise is arguably best known. It's a risky move in today's age of frenetic kids' movies, but it pays off handsomely, producing a charming, profound film that Bob compares to A Christmas Story. Even the potentially problematic elements of how the Little Red-Haired Girl is handled (as something of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for Charlie Brown) are nullified by both the immaturity of the child characters and the quality of the writing (especially all the other female characters). Bottom line: it's an excellent film, one that, in its deliberate smallness, feels arguably more epic than many other comparable kids' films. At the end of 2015, he named it an honorable mention for the best films of the year.
  • The People Under the Stairs: Called it a "home invasion movie in reverse" and noteworthy for being one of the few truly successful black-themed horror films. He finds it strange that this film doesn't get more attention today, despite it being one of Wes Craven's bigger hits. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Space Invaders".
  • Peppermint: Called it "a Lifetime movie conceived by Steve Bannon", the only thing standing out from other forgettable B-grade action movies being its paranoid racial politics. Comparing it side-by-side to Taken, which was made by the same director, shows just how much Taken depended on Liam Neeson's performance, as this film is mostly a parade of bland action scenes, muddy direction, Jennifer Garner being out of her depth as the protagonist, and obvious fingerprints of Executive Meddling on a plot so stupid that he had to put a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer as he read off various plot points. He gave it one star and called it "a brutish, nasty thing" that was just too boring to overcome its repulsive worldview.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Hasn't reviewed either of the two films, but at the end of his Pain & Gain review, he expressed surprise that Sea of Monsters was made.
  • Peter Rabbit: Before he reviewed it, he named it his least anticipated film of 2018. All he had to do was play obnoxious clips from the trailer, remember that this was supposed to be an adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic children's tale, and add "Whoever is responsible for this ... thing ... you'd better hope we never, ever, ever meet. I don't have a joke here. No punchline. It just pisses. Me. Off." When he saw the film itself, it was about as bad as he expected. It took a book that probably didn't even have enough material for a short film and stretched it out to feature length, basing its story around a half-hearted, ill-fitting ripoff of old Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd cartoons when it isn't throwing in a slew of awful, instantly-dated pop culture and music references or a really creepy Love Triangle with Rose Byrne's character. The only bright spot comes from Domhnall Gleeson's talent for physical comedy, which still wasn't enough to save the film from a one-star rating.
  • Pete's Dragon (2016): Didn't review it, but he called it the fifth-best film of summer 2016. He called it "a lovely fucking surprise" that lives up to the original film (a longtime favorite of Bob's), and a wonderful mashup of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Iron Giant, and Where the Wild Things Are that tells a soulful story about growing up while remaining a child at heart. He laments how, between this, The BFG, and Kubo and the Two Strings, the best family films of 2016 all flopped at the box office. "Guess they should've stuck a fuckin' Minion in there somewhere."
  • Phantom Thread: He could only just divulge this movie's premise without spoiling it, but he could say that it was a truly great, four-star-out-of-four masterpiece that was subtly written, beautifully directed and acted, and perfectly controlled in a way that recalled Stanley Kubrick, stood out even in Paul Thomas Anderson's filmography, and was a truly great movie in yet another Oscar Bait season that was larded with middlebrow wannabes. Indeed, all the plot turns — every one of them feeling proper, well-earned, and consequential — were part of what made this a great psychological drama, and Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, and Vicky Krieps sold it so well that, even with its Minimalist Cast, it felt like a truly Epic Movie. He also named it his eighth-favorite film of 2017.
  • Pet Sematary (1989): Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of its 2019 remake, noting how the original novel was one of the bleakest and most nihilistic things that Stephen King ever wrote while arguing that the original film adaptation didn't really stick the landing in translating the horror of the story, in large part because the horror in question is the sort of thing that doesn't really translate well from page to screen.
    • Pet Sematary (2019): It tried to fix the problems that the original movie had, but its jarring tonal shifts in doing so not only felt like it was ripping off The Evil Dead, but also caused it to feel like two separate movies, one of them too long and the other too short. He gave it 4 out of 10 and called it one of the lesser adaptations of King novels, one that, like many such films, often felt like a horror-comedy where they removed all the punchlines.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Didn't review it, but he named it the third-best video game adaptation ever made. It was another standout effort for the chameleon of a filmmaker that is Takashi Miike, and while it was hard to tell whether or not he meant the film as a Stealth Parody of the visual novel and anime tropes in general, it was still a riotous comedy.
  • Piranha 3D: "Just about the best pure fun, R-rated movie to come out this summer."
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, was great. It was basically the Brendan Fraser remake of The Mummy with pirates, but that turned out to be the seed for a great action-adventure film that marked the moment when people realized that Johnny Depp, then a B-list character actor, could headline a big Summer Blockbuster (at least before he got overexposed). Unfortunately, the next two films, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, got consumed by their own mythology to the point where the DVD for the latter needed footnotes to explain it, and things only got worse from there. Didn't review the first three films, but he discussed them in his reviews of the fourth and fifth films, On Stranger Tides and Dead Men Tell No Tales.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: Calls it a lazy cash grab and declares the franchise to be in zombie mode. He opened the review by saying "This. Movie. Sucks." He wanted to call it a day then and there, but he felt obligated to explain why. Its biggest problem was making Depp's peripheral comic relief character, Captain Jack Sparrow, the protagonist, without realizing that he was the Ensemble Dark Horse in the last three movies because, as a side character, he was free to get into his wacky shenanigans without also having to carry the story. Speaking of which, this film's story is overly long, padded, and convoluted for no good reason, lacking even At World's End's excuse of having to navigate the tangled Kudzu Plot of the prior two films, while the direction is flat and lacks flair, looking worse than comparable films like the remake of The Mummy from over a decade prior.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: Before he reviewed it, he named it at #4 on his list of ten 2017 films that he most expected to suck, dignifying it with only four words: "...who asked for this?" He got about what he was expecting when it came time to review it, giving it one star and opening the review by asking "do you remember when these were good?" It tries to play to nostalgia for the earlier, better films in a way that, more often than not, feels more like it's recycling past plot points rather than revisiting them, and its plot is a mess of Loads and Loads of Characters whose arcs are poorly fleshed-out. The series just felt tired by this point, and he couldn't think of a single reason to watch this film.
  • The Pit and the Pendulum (1991): Didn't review it, but he discussed it in a Big Picture episode paying tribute to the recently-deceased filmmaker Stuart Gordon. It managed to adapt the Edgar Allan Poe story to feature length by cranking up the sex, violence, and swashbuckling intrigue inspired by The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as well as letting Lance Henriksen do his thing.
  • Pixels: Bob was absolutely furious at this film. He hated the film so much it sent him into a "fine, pure, white-hot, pants-shitting rage", spending ten solid minutes cursing out every aspect of the film and everyone involved with it. Apart from how it was incompetently made on every conceivable level — the jokes weren't funny, the story made no sense and frequently contradicted itself, no performance worked, it was ineptly directed, its portrayal of women was downright insulting — he took really personal offense to the utter contempt it showed to its own source material, comparing its portrayal of classic video games and the culture around them to Adam Sandler personally taking the worst dump possible on his living room floor. He declared it "almost certainly the worst" movie a Hollywood studio would release in 2015, seemingly dismissing the possibility that there could yet be a worse one. "In summation: Fuck this movie, fuck everyone who made this movie, and if you pay money to watch this movie, fuck you too!"
  • Planet of the Apes: He loves both the original film and the reboot franchise from The New '10s, though he's surprised that the latter doesn't get talked about as much as many other comparable blockbusters despite the fact that, when it is discussed, it seems to be fairly universally beloved.
    • Planet of the Apes (2001): Didn't review it, but in the In Bob We Trust episode "Top 10 Worst Remakes Ever", he listed it at number nine. The only good things about it were Rick Baker's special effects work and Estella Warren's Ms. Fanservice role, which weren't enough to make up for a "bafflingly inert borefest" with Mark Wahlberg coming across as disinterested in the lead role.
    • Rise of the Planet of the Apes: While not perfect (the human side of the story was a mixed bag), Bob still loved the hell out of it. He felt that it succeeded where the previous week's Cowboys & Aliens failed, taking a ridiculous sci-fi premise and making it serious and believable without sucking the fun out of it. It was an incredibly intelligent film on top of it, taking time to develop its characters and explore the ramifications of its story in the first half and thus earning the right to kick ass in the second. At the end of 2011, he listed it as one of his top ten movies of the year, and he discussed it further in his review of its sequel …
    • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Called it the best blockbuster action film of that summer. He loved it for many of the same reasons he loved the original, namely its intelligence, its well-written characters, and how tight and focused it was, allowing it to easily overcome minor flaws like a weak B-story and some scenes that felt superfluous. Furthermore, it's also an exceptional action flick, with an awesome third act that would have made the whole film worth it by itself even if the rest of it had sucked.
    • War for the Planet of the Apes: Like its predecessors, it's also easily one of the best blockbusters of its summer. It's probably one of the most daring Summer Blockbusters he'd ever seen, a very "bleak, slow, and meditative" film in which nearly all of the good guys are motion-captured apes with little dialogue, while the plot follows the lead of the original in being very explicitly political, with Woody Harrelson's human supremacist villain evoking real-life white supremacists and "clash of civilizations" ideologues with the dead end for human civilization that his demagoguery represents. Save for some plot turns that seemed to be powered more by coincidence than anything, there wasn't a whole lot that he found to complain about, earning an easy three-and-a-half stars, albeit with an advisory over its Misaimed Marketing that was selling quite a different film from what it actually was.
  • The Platform: "What if Snowpiercer invoked but in a building? And also not good?" It was yet another allegorical sci-fi movie that was so on-the-nose in its metaphors that it may as well have been a political cartoon, one that he initially hoped may have been a Stealth Parody of such only to be supremely disappointed when it asked to be taken seriously. Beyond that, it felt like a stage play that had been awkwardly reworked into a feature film, one that lacked the style and nuance that made Snowpiercer work in favor of ramping up the gore and depravity. He gave it a 3 out of 10 and said that, while he admired the genuine passion the filmmakers seemed to have brought to the table, it still wasn't enough to merit a recommendation, especially for anyone with a full stomach.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu: Before he reviewed it, he named it one of his fifteen most anticipated films of 2019. He said that it looked like it could be the first truly great, must-see movie based on a currently popular video game franchise, largely by taking the Who Framed Roger Rabbit approach to the material in its Affectionate Parody of Pokémon. In his review, he said that, while it wasn't the best video game movie ever made (he would later name it #2 on his list of such), it was probably the best one that was based on a game that was popular at the time it came out, making for a solid action-comedy that offered plenty for both longtime Pokémon fans and family audiences alike. It was at its best when it focused on Pikachu himself and the other Pokemon in general, the former thanks to an excellent voice-acting performance by Ryan Reynolds and some exemplary CGI, and while the story won't surprise anybody who's seen a neo-noir detective movie, the World Building and a bonkers Evil Plan from the Big Bad helped elevate it. Its problems were more akin to those suffered by contemporary blockbusters than video game adaptations, from a MacGuffin hunt second act to a finale that was more about spectacle than substance. Ultimately, it earned 7 out of 10 and a clear recommendation. The week it came out, he also devoted a Game Overthinker episode, "Reflective Pikachu", to it and how he thought it managed to crack the code of a good video game movie: namely, by focusing on only a slice of the game's universe rather than trying to adapt the entire thing.
  • Polar: A film made under "the mistaken assumption that the John Wick movies are easier to make than they look", delivering little more than a half-hearted ripoffinvoked of their style. The action scenes went for flashy and edgy but felt flat and mean-spirited instead, the stabs at comic relief were duds, the twist set a new standard for stupidity, and even the normally reliable Mads Mikkelsen as the lead didn't escape unscathed, coming across as bored in a film that wasted his talent outside of playing off his real-life persona. Even by the low standards of Netflix original films, this was bad. He gave it 1 out of 10 and called it "a forgettable, unpleasant bore" that couldn't even bring him to make a pun about the cold winter weather outside his house. He also pointed out that it had nothing to do with Arctic, a much better and more interesting film starring Mikkelsen from the year before.
  • Police Academy: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Copped Out (Part II)". It was a post-Caddyshack '80s ensemble comedy whose plot couldn't seem to decide whether it's mocking affirmative action or celebrating diverse hiring policies, largely because it mostly recycled the plot of Animal House in portraying its offbeat police cadets as a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits without considering the implications of transplanting a "misfit fraternity" plot onto authority figures instead of rowdy kids rebelling against such. He called it "the narrative movie version of every dude who loves the police until he's the one getting pulled over." He felt that the reason why this film got invoked so many sequels while other, better comedies from that time didn't was because it was easier to get the original cast back together for them.
  • Pompeii: He's surprised that this film was made in the 2010s rather than ten to fifteen years before, when Titanic and Gladiator (the two movies this seems to be aping the most) were huge. In any case, this movie isn't all that; while it becomes kind of worth it once it finally gets going and becomes a Disaster Movie in the third act, for the first hour it's saddled with a bland, by-the-numbers Sword & Sandal story and acting that ranges from dull to awful (with Kiefer Sutherland being the worst offender). Bob wished it had been even worse so that it would at least be So Bad, It's Good rather than just boring, saying it should've copied the lurid TV version of Spartacus instead of the film version.
  • Ponyo: "It's good! Go see it, so you too can spend weeks on end trying to figure out what the hell this guy's deal is. Weird dude." Didn't review it, but he mentioned it at the end of his Surrogates review.
  • Popeye: Bob has long had a strong case of Critical Backlash towards this film and is glad it's become a minor Cult Classic since. While a bit loose and messy, Robin Williams anchored it with his understanding of how to make such a strange characterization work. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Remembering Robin Williams Through Movies", a retrospective of the late Williams' career.
  • The Post: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2017, he named it his tenth-favorite film of the year. It's another artistic success from Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep that also reminds the audience of the need for strong, independent journalism and, bracingly, says that if the people who work at "establishment" media like The Washington Post must violate certain norms to deliver high-quality journalism, so be it. All he could really say against it was that it didn't explain what the Pentagon Papers were about in greater depth than it did for the benefit of viewers who didn't know already.
  • The Power of Glove:invoked What looked at first glance to be a nostalgia-pandering documentary about Nintendo's infamous Power Glove peripheral instead turned out to be an interesting exploration of how a piece of technology evolved in some very interesting directions in the '80s and '90s, as well as how Executive Meddling botched the Power Glove's release and made it more about marketing than providing a working product, the exploration of its Troubled Production being downright heartbreaking at points. The film jumped across the timeline a bit too much for his liking, such that it really didn't highlight just how brief the Power Glove's moment in the spotlight really was versus its long history behind the scenes, but it was still good enough to earn three stars and a recommendation even for viewers who don't think they'd be interested in this subject matter.
  • Power Rangers (2017): Devoted the Big Picture episode "No No Power Rangers" to the reaction to its announcement. He found himself puzzled as to why many of his fellow Generation X film journalists had such a "meh" reaction to this film's announcement, given that they helped build the current blockbuster film landscape dominated by old comic book, toy, and cartoon properties. While he feels that the original show's nakedly commercial ambitions may have had something to do with it, he ultimately attributes it to a generation gap — Power Rangers was very much a product of The '90s (and not coincidentally, it's millennials who are most excited for it), while the Gen-X film geeks like him who were criticizing the film came of age in The '80s — and wonders about those geeks turning into the very same "old guard" of film critics that they had once overturned.

    He later named it at #2 on his list of ten 2017 films that he most expected to suck. In his view, the fact that not much information about it had been released just three months before it was supposed to come out indicated that the studio and producers were trying to cover up low production values (especially given that both Saban Brands and Lionsgate are notorious for such), while the Darker and Edgier tone clashed with a TV show that he felt worked best as "Sesame Street, but with punching". Even though he was too old for the original show at the time, he anticipated that younger fans, from now-adult millennials who grew up with the original show to kids today watching its newer iterations on TV, would be heavily disappointed.

    His actual review began on a positive note that it contains pretty much everything people would want to see in a Power Rangers film … except it's all crammed into the last half-hour in what amounts to watching a real-time episode of the show after 90 minutes of dull, stock high school clichés interspersed with misplaced "gritty realism" and a boring superhero mythos ripped off from Chronicle. And while it's nice to see representation for autism and non-hetero sexuality in Billy and Trini respectively, it's uncomfortably equated in Jason and Kimberly's Jerkass characterizations in making them all outsiders (Zack, meanwhile, has the best backstory of the team but somehow gets the least attention). He was left wondering who exactly the target audience was, as lifelong fans of the franchise will be put off by how little of what made it fun is in there, while newcomers won't have anything to grab onto in the blank cipher characters bracketed by a grouchy and seemingly embarrassed Bryan Cranston and a generically hammy Elizabeth Banks (the only actor who seemed to be having any fun with her part). He ended with a score of one and a half stars, saying that, had he ever been a Power Rangers fan, he'd probably have hated it, and at the end of 2017, he named it his seventh-least favorite film of the year.
  • Prayer of the Rollerboys: Simply put, it's Corey Haim infiltrating a neo-fascist, roller-skating street gang in a dystopian Los Angeles to stop them from taking over the city and then the world. If that doesn't grab your attention, nothing will. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Don't Watch Dis-Topia, Watch Dat-Topia", a discussion of five dystopian films he felt were better than The Giver (which he reviewed that week).
  • Predator: invokedDiscussed the series in the In Bob We Trust episode "Stop Trying to Make Us Like the Predator". He feels that the series' Franchise Original Sin was its transformation into a Villain-Based Franchise, portraying the Predators as a Proud Warrior Race of honorable hunters and often having a good Predator to balance out the evil ones when the film isn't outright siding with them. This completely clashed with the original Predator being an unambiguous villain who acted like "a weekend-warrior trophy-hunting douchebag" in how lopsided the fight was, coming to Earth with highly advanced weaponry just to collect the skulls of some impressive human specimens (and still losing), such that Bob called him "Elmer Fett". The problem, he feels, is that Predator being a Science Fiction film caused comparisons to the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek, and with it a greater desire for World Building and mythos (even at the cost of making the Predator less interesting) that he doesn't think enough people would have developed if the Predator were a more mundane or supernatural slasher as opposed to an alien.
    • Predators: A great throwback to The '80s that felt like the kind of sequel that Aliens was to Alien. It was the best Predator movie since the original and a testament to producer Robert "Mr. One-Man Studio" Rodriguez's work ethic.
    • The Predator: invoked Before he reviewed it, he named it his second most anticipated film of 2018. All he needed to hear was that it was written and directed by Shane Black, and he was sold. Unfortunately, the resulting film turned out to be a disappointment that only earned two stars. While a lot of the ideas the film had were genuinely good ideas for a Predator sequel, cramming them all into the same movie only served to make it feel overstuffed and give it an identity crisis. It didn't help that 20th Century Fox had clearly taken a hammer and tongs to Black's original cut to trim it all down and make up their money in extra show-time, making an already unwieldy film feel like it was skipping over critical plot details. That said, Shane Black is one of the best in the business at the sort of snarky, self-aware action movie that this film was trying to be, creating a likable cast that ensures that some of the stuff that the movie threw against the wall, particularly its well-shot action scenes and manly-man camaraderie, managed to stick. He concluded by saying that, while it was "so ridiculously overstuffed that it's hard not to have fun with it", that still didn't make it a good movie in its final form, adding that he'd love to see a Director's Cut or at least the deleted scenes. Before the review started, he also made it clear that, in his opinion, the controversy over one of the cast members secretly being a registered sex offender was not Olivia Munn's fault and that Black should really have known better.
  • Premium Rush: Not a particularly good movie, but Michael Shannon steals the show as the villain, and it makes for a nice throwback to the old Extreme Sport Excuse Plot movies of the '80s like RAD and BMX Bandits. Didn't review it, but he discussed it at the beginning of his Lawless review.
  • Pretending I'm a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story: A documentary about the creation of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater video games, this film struggled to really ascend to a level beyond "pretty good", largely because the story it was recounting was a very straightforward one that he felt didn't really lend itself to a documentary. In particular, he felt that it was scattershot and focused too much on behind-the-scenes production trivia and invoked too little on the part of the story that he found most interesting, which was how the Tony Hawk series revived and revolutionized skateboarding culture, turning the skaters and musicians who appeared in the game into overnight celebrities while inspiring a whole generation of new skaters. He gave it a 5 out of 10 and said that skaters and Tony Hawk fans will probably enjoy it, but everyone else will find it So Okay, It's Average.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Using the same concept of 'How can we stretch one joke into a whole movie?' as the same author's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, this film comes up short in comparison. Despite a few moments of genuine inspiration and big laughs, there's not a lot of connective tissue between them. In particular, it ignores a lot of the satirical potential present in having a Zombie Apocalypse take place in the world of a Jane Austen novel, especially given that Pride and Prejudice itself commented quite heavily on the rigid social mores and classism of Regency England. It's not a bad movie (Austen fans especially will probably enjoy it for all the references to the original book), but there's not enough to it to make a full watch worthwhile.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: While he does call this perhaps the first genuinely good film based on a video game, Bob is ultimately underwhelmed that it doesn't mean so much a successful translation of video game conventions, but merely a decent Arabian Nights-themed action film.
  • Prisoners: Greatly exceeded his expectations. He went in expecting a good, but not great, thriller whose trailers gave away too much of the plot, but what he got was a lot darker and more complex than that. It's a deconstruction of the outlandish potboiler mysteries of Thomas Harris, Stieg Larsson, and various TV police dramas, and of the hyper-competent badass father figure à la Bryan Mills or Jack Bauer. It runs a bit long, and it's occasionally a bit too ambitious for its own good, but it's otherwise one of the best films out in theaters at the time.
  • The Problem with Apu: Discussed both the film and its subject matter in his review and, after the film started attracting attention (including a response from The Simpsons), a three-part In Bob We Trust episode. He was amazed that, after nearly three decadesinvoked on the air and an influence on animation and comedy in general comparable to the Disney Animated Canon, it took until 2017 for a serious, substantial, long-form documentary criticism of The Simpsons to come out that didn't feel like an extended fanboy rant about the show Jumping the Shark; such is the extent of how bulletproof the show's reputation is. It was an incredibly enlightening documentary about one of the show's more famous supporting characters, the Asian Store-Owner Apu, and the complex ways in which he's viewed in the South Asian community that the film's creator, Hari Kondabolu, comes from. It also acknowledges almost immediately that many people would react defensively to the arguments the film raises (Bob himself opens the review by saying "What the hell are you mad at me for, I didn't make the movie!"), in what turns out to be one of the film's best moments, such that he wishes it spent more time on that. Overall, he recommended it and gave it three stars.

    In his In Bob We Trust examination of this movie, he compared it to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in the sense that, just as Americans had no frame of reference for the murder of a sitting US President until 1865, modern pop culture had no frame of reference for seriously analyzing and critiquing The Simpsons. Unlike many similarly long-running, live-action television shows, The Simpsons is a show where Status Quo Is God no matter what happens behind the scenes; if anything, the changeover in the show's staff over the years has turned it from a cynical satire of life in contemporary '90s Middle America to an almost nostalgic portrayal of such years after the fact by writers who grew up with the show. The fact that The Simpsons, a product of The '90s, never really changed with the times, and that its attempts to add nuance to Apu's character often came with mixed results, eventually led to Values Dissonance in The New '10s, hence the creation of The Problem with Apu and the show's later response to it. While Bob commended Hank Azaria's response to the controversy that the film raised, he found himself incredibly disappointed by Matt Groening's defensive reaction; ironically, he found himself comparing Groening to Krusty the Clown in the episode "The Last Temptation of Krust", where the comedian encounters a bitter backlash over an incredibly racist stand-up act that no longer flies in 1998.
  • Professor Marston and the Wonder Women: While one could make a whole slew of bondage puns about the film (Bob spent the opening getting a dozen of them out of his system), it doesn't change the fact that this is still a terrific movie, using the backstory of William Moulton Marston's creation of Wonder Woman as the hook for a deeply moving (if unconventional) romantic story and character study, told through great performances by Luke Evans, Bella Heathcote, and especially Rebecca Hall. He gave it four stars, calling it one of the best dramatic films he'd seen all year and an excellent companion piece to the Wonder Woman (2017) film for adult fans, and at the end of 2017, he named it his sixth-favorite film of the year.
  • Project Power: Called it an "efficient, if unremarkable, chase movie" that was about what one might expect from a Netflix action programmer, mashing up the plots of various sci-fi films, superhero films, and urban crime dramas with a socially conscious sheen, economical action sequences, and a cast of recognizable B-listers. It was the kind of film that never really broke out of the realm of "pretty good", impossible to dislike but constantly giving him the nagging feeling that it could've been much better. In particular, Dominique Fishback's protagonist felt underwritten and her story lacked payoff, especially the subplot about her wanting to be a rapper. He gave it a 5 out of 10 and said that "you'll like it, even if you don't really think about it after it's over and none of it really sticks."
  • Promising Young Woman: Hasn't reviewed it yet, but at the start of 2020 he named it his seventh most anticipated film of the year. He was excited to see Carey Mulligan Playing Against Type as a Villain Protagonist, it had one of the show runners of Killing Eve behind it, and the premise was delightfully wicked.
  • Proud Mary: The studio deciding at the last minute invokednot to screen this for critics may have sent a bad message, especially given Hollywood's history of mishandling films led by black people, but it's actually not bad. It's "a solid, if unremarkable, B-grade action movie" that could have made more and better use of its blaxploitation homage, but as what turns out to be a mostly character-focused drama with occasional bursts of brutal violence culminating in a third-act bloodbath, it works very well, with Taraji P. Henson a standout in the lead role. He gave it three stars and said that, while he wished it had been more substantial, he'd happily watch another of these.
  • Psycho: Didn't review it, but in the Big Picture episode "Is The Hobbit Too Long?", he used it as proof that not every scene in a movie is required to drive the plot forward. In this film's case, the entire first half of the film existed so Alfred Hitchcock could shock the viewer at the halfway mark by killing off the heroine and turning what had been a Film Noir up to that point into a horror movie.
    • Psycho (the 1998 version): Didn't review it, but in the In Bob We Trust episode "Top 10 Worst Remakes Ever", he ranked it at number two. Not only was remaking one of the greatest horror movies of all time a bad idea to start with, but the way Gus Van Sant made this film, doing a Shot-for-Shot Remake (“that wasn’t actually shot-for-shot … or any good whatsoever”) rather than trying to put his own touch on it, only made the comparisons to Hitchcock's classic that much more damning.
  • Public Enemies: A return to form for Michael Mann which went a great way towards improving the otherwise limp output of summer 2009. It's suspenseful and action-packed (Mann knows how to do shootouts) without requiring you to leave your brain at the door, and its application of an ultra-modern aesthetic to a Period Piece makes it a thrill to watch. The worst he could say about it was that it ran a bit too quickly and there wasn't enough of it, which in his opinion, is a sign of a damn good movie.
  • Pulgasari: Bob devoted an entire Big Picture episode, "Monster's Movie", to the film and, by extension, the crazy world of the North Korean film industry that produced it. To put it bluntly, the circumstances behind the production of this film (a surprisingly good Godzilla clone) may just be more interesting/bizarre than the film itself.
  • Puppet Master: Didn't review any of the films, but he discussed the series in his Big Picture "Schlocktober" special in 2013. The first film wasn't particularly good, and felt constrained by its tiny budget, but the first few sequels were big improvements, owing to their great stop-motion effects and their ambitious (by B-Movie standards) plot. However, from the sixth film on the series just didn't know where to stop, falling victim to a Kudzu Plot and its own merchandising. Overall, while no one film in the series is a masterpiece, taken as a whole it's quite impressive. He also talked about the film's creator, home video schlockmeister Charles Band and his studio Full Moon Features.
  • The Purge: invokedIt has an excellent premise with a wide variety of possible stories to tellnote  that could've been used to make a really fun, clever, and/or twisted satire, but it criminally squandered it by doing a generic slasher-style home invasion plot, with the titular event being nothing but a Hand Wave dismissing the possibility of getting the police involved. Even without that, though, it had poor characterization, a big twist that was obvious in the first ten minutes, and a political message that Bob, despite agreeing with it, found to be delivered lazily and anviliciously; it could only have been less subtle if the Big Bad was revealed to be Mitt Romney or somebody else widely regarded as a Corrupt Corporate Executive. Speaking of whom, given that the movie was probably meant to be about how horrible supposedly nice people can be when the prospect of there being consequences for their actions is removed, it was weak and even cowardly writing to have the bad guys basically be knockoffs of the titular antagonists from The Strangers. Given the deeper ideas that the film touched on but never explores, Bob theorized that this film suffered from heavy rewrites that greatly dumbed it down because someone involved assumed that Viewers Are Morons. At the end of 2013, he named it one of his ten least favorite movies of the year.
    • The Purge: Anarchy: invokedIt threw out everything about the first movie that didn't work, including the attempts to be a horror movie, and was much better for it. All the film's little subplots and detours, and its exploration of many of the scenarios big and small that might occur during an event like the Purge, were more interesting than the original's A-plot, and while the film's presentation of its social commentary was still heavy-handed, it worked far better because it unapologetically put its message front and center rather than just shoehorning it in. Overall, it felt like a modern-day, particularly well-done version of an old-school, B-grade action movie of the sort that John Carpenter used to make, and Bob enthusiastically recommended it as such.
    • The Purge: Election Year: Didn't review it, but in his review of The First Purge, he noted how the film's story was an allegory for the 2016 American presidential election (impending at the time it was released), albeit with a very different outcome than Real Life.
    • The First Purge: invoked It took the politics that were merely subtext in prior films and turned them into outright text (up to and including a "grab 'em by the pussy" joke), such that Bob compared it to Machete and a progressive version of Red Dawn in terms of its incendiary messaging designed to play as catharsis for its target audience. Later, he described it as "the first real anti-Trump action movie" in terms of framing its protagonists as a coalition of left-wing, multiracial Working-Class Heroes and its villains as right-wing white Christian nationalists. The sheer righteous fury of the film would have been enough to elevate it even if it were mediocre, but the fact that it was also a brutal, well-made action-horror flick without many real flaws was just icing on the cake, with its gripping cast of characters, outstanding action direction, and mix of crowd-pleasing thrills and blunt-force social satire once again calling to mind films like Escape from New York; he felt that director Gerard McMurray and lead actors Y'Lan Noel and Lex Scott Davis had bright futures ahead of them after their work here. He gave it three and a half stars and called it a great B-Movie.

  • The Quick and the Dead: Sam Raimi's most "mainstream" film before the Spider-Man trilogy and probably his worst film, being stylistically overloaded and lacking the sincerity of Raimi's earlier work. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Sam the Man - Part I", a retrospective of Raimi's career.
  • A Quiet Place: A good horror film (and easily the best produced by Platinum Dunes), which he ascribes to its not trying to reinvent the wheel and using its premise to build suspense rather than wasting it on jump scares. It used Nothing Is Scarier well and had a clever hook and execution for the same, with good to great acting and directing. The main drawback for him was the rather derivative design of the monsters themselves, as a combination of the Cloverfield monster and the Xenomorphs that was more intent on looking biologically plausible than creative (a problem that he noticed as pervasive in contemporaneous monster movies). Still, while it lacked that "something special" to elevate it to the level of classic modern monster films like Tremors or Alligator, it still earned three stars. He also began his video review by lamenting that its Misaimed Marketing, which presented it as a slow-paced arthouse horror flick in the vein of It Comes at Night instead of the "good, pure, straight-up, no-bullshit monster movie" that it actually is, will probably drive away much of its audience.

  • Radioactive (2020): Discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Binge-a-Thon 2020: Complex Women", about films to watch during the COVID-19 Pandemic quarantine; here, he discussed Based on a True Story films about women succeeding in hostile male-dominated fields. He found it the least interesting of the three films and series he discussed, an Oscar Bait biopic about Marie Curie that wasn't bad, but was invoked strictly by-the-numbers and seemed destined for use as School Study Media and little else. Rosamund Pike was characteristically great as Curie, but the film struggled to find a real narrative through-line beyond a "greatest hits" of her accomplishments, only finding itself invigorated during a third act focusing on an older, more cynical Curie and her daughter Irene that he felt should've been the main focus of the movie.
  • The Raid: If you haven't seen it yet, and you're a fan of action movies, look up where it's playing near you and go seek it out, because it's awesome. It's thin on plot and not that different from most other martial arts movies, but it more than makes up for that by having more kickass action scenes per minute than any other film you'll see this year. Even its occasional use of Jitter Cam is forgivable, as said action scenes are still coherent and easy to follow even with the camera moving about. He first mentioned it at the end of his Wrath of the Titans review, then did a proper review of it the following week.
    • The Raid 2: Berandal: "Brutally intense, action-packed, and very good." Bob compared it to the difference between Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. in the sense of it still being built out of the same building blocks as the original (in this case, violent mano-a-mano fight scenes), but escalating them into a much bigger movie reminiscent of Infernal Affairs and L.A. Confidential. He didn't think this film's fusion of a Martial Arts Movie and that sort of crime drama worked 100% of the time, but otherwise, he loved it. Gareth Evans proves that his great direction of the first film wasn't a fluke, once more showing that he knows how to both set up and stage phenomenal action, and Iko Uwais is a great lead even outside of the fight scenes. At the end of 2014, he named it one of his top ten movies of the year, showing just a montage of some of the film's fight scenes to explain his reasoning why.
  • Rambo: Reviewed the final film, Last Blood, and also discussed the franchise as a whole in the Big Picture episode "Bloodlines".
    • First Blood: He noted how the film toned down a lot of the violence from the original novel and made John Rambo into a more sympathetic Anti-Villain as opposed to a Sociopathic Soldier who lost his mind in Vietnam and murders several people, as well as how Sylvester Stallone, in his early career, was known as a more sensitive type of Action Hero who wasn't afraid to cry Manly Tears in his films. He feels that this Lighter and Softer version of the character drove a lot of fans to embrace him as a "man's man" survivalist icon, leading to the Actionized Sequel...
    • Rambo: First Blood Part II: He called it "the quintessential non-satirical political action film of the mid-'80s", one in which Rambo gets to avenge America's defeat in The Vietnam War, and also an In Name Only sequel, one that he compared to a sequel to The Pursuit of Happyness in which Will Smith's character suddenly became Captain Steven Hiller from Independence Day. While he admittedly found it really dumb, especially in its awkward attempts to meld its predecessor's cynicism with Reagan-era Patriotic Fervor, once he got past that it was easily one of the most exciting action movies ever made, one where he can see why it had inspired so many similar films.
    • Rambo III: Called it "the least ambiguous about any of this business, and also the least interesting." Its portrayal of Afghanistan as the USSR's Vietnam, with Rambo delivering karmic justice to the Dirty Communists by fighting alongside the mujahideen, would also become madly invoked Harsher in Hindsight years later when America itself went to war in Afghanistan.
    • Rambo IV: It was the Rambo of the sequels stripped down to the bare essentials, just him kicking the asses of evildoers in increasingly violent ways, to the point where he feels that they could've just released it as a mood piece without any dialogue. He called it the second-best film in the series, almost purely on the basis of invoked So Cool, It's Awesome.
    • Rambo: Last Blood: The final ten minutes almost made the rest of the film worth it on the strength of the awe-inspiring carnage on display, but unfortunately, he had to sit through the rest of the film to get to it. The plot was little more than a crappy, half-hearted retread of Taken in which Rambo got little opportunity to be the kind of action hero he's famous as, one in which it felt like Stallone was phoning it in, and he couldn't even bring himself to be offended by the invoked xenophobic undercurrents, noting that Peppermint was far worse in that regard. He gave it a 4 out of 10 and called it a "bad, mostly boring, and uneven entry" in the series whose main redeeming factor was its final action scene.
  • Rampage (2018):invoked Before he reviewed it, he named it a dishonorable mention for his least-anticipated films of 2018. His lack of enthusiasm derived mainly from the fact that it was directed by Brad Peyton, whose earlier movie San Andreas he didn't like much and which he expected Rampage to emulate, but he's a fan of Dwayne Johnson and these sorts of giant monster movies in general, so he held out a sliver of hope for a decent action flick.

    His hope was richly rewarded with a great, big B-Movie à la Kong: Skull Island, one that stood as the best film of Johnson's career and, alongside Mortal Kombat and Silent Hill, one of the best movies ever adapted from a video game — astonishing given the litany of contemporaneous video game movies that adapted more expansive and 'cinematic' games to results that were varying degrees of negative. (He would later name it the best video game adaptation ever made.) It filled out the game's Excuse Plot amusingly enough, and when it became a direct adaptation thereof in act three, it had good stakes to back up the great spectacle. Johnson, who has proven he's learned from 1990s-era Arnold Schwarzenegger that blockbuster action movies should appeal to kids, was well cast as the protagonist and really sold him as an animal lover who would die to save his gorilla friend George, and the rest of the cast backed him up well. Bob gave it three and a half stars and expressed his desire for several sequels. He later devoted a Game Overthinker episode, "The Book of George", to outlining what he thought other video game adaptations could learn from it, the big one being that, since many video game stories are already highly derivative of Hollywood movies (only sillier), filmmakers adapting them should instead focus on translating the most memorable parts of the games (in Rampage's case, the giant monster action and some of the details) and the sensation that players get when they experience them.
  • Rango: Called it the best-looking animated film he's ever seen, even beating out movies from Pixar, but felt the storyline was lacking and that it didn't do much with its metanarrative ideas.
  • The Raven (2012): "A complete wash. An utter waste of time and money." Bob points to John Cusack's performance as one of the biggest problems, with him being too plain to play the manic and unhinged Edgar Allan Poe convincingly — a role that someone like Nicolas Cage, Gary Oldman, or even Johnny Depp would have pulled off much better. In addition, the central murder mystery is poorly put together, the film has nothing interesting or new to say about Poe or his writing, the allusions to his poems are shallow and surface-level at best, and the entire thing just feels cheap. He had so little to say about the film that he finished the review with a minute to spare, so he went off on a weird tangent about Star Trek and the future just to fill time.
  • The films of Ray Harryhausen: Devoted an Intermission editorial, "Master of Monsters", to his work after he passed away in 2013. He talks about how Harryhausen was a filmmaker both ahead of and behind his time, and how his work and ideas have been Vindicated by History and now form part of the foundation of geek culture.
  • Raze: Trying to reinvent the Blood Sport genre by simply combining it with a Girls Behind Bars movie shouldn't have it worked, but it does here. It's a really good action thriller reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino meets David Cronenberg, with unflinchingly brutal fights and characters who are broadly-drawn but still engaging, and avoids falling into the trap of "exploitation masked as feminist satire" that many lesser films of this kind have slipped into. It's not perfect, with the third act failing to deliver on some of the bigger ideas it brings up, but it's still one of the better contemporaneous B-grade action films he's seen. Reviewed it in the Intermission editorial "Girlfight".
  • Ready or Not (2019): This combination of Clue, You're Next, and The Most Dangerous Game made for a better-than-average end-of-August horror B-Movie and riff on the same, with the villainous family of out-of-touch Blue Bloods proving comically inept at the Hunting the Most Dangerous Game tradition that is the focus of the film's plot and horror and aren't even all convinced that they need to keep it alive. Samara Weaving was a terrific lead, while the gore, suspense, and scenery were equally impressive. He recommended it with a 7 out of 10.
  • Ready Player One (2018): Before he reviewed it, he wrote an article about his thoughts on the trailer, and later named it an honorable mention for his most anticipated films of 2018. Regardless of what one may think about the source material (he found the book to be insufferable geek-culture pandering, though he can see why others liked it, and he came to argue that the backlash against it was overblown), Bob thought that Steven Spielberg was the best possible filmmaker to bring it to life on screen, not only because he built his career on adapting pulpy novels like Jaws and Jurassic Park into classic films, but because he had a direct hand in creating so much of the pop culture that the book is a love letter to, while carrying the insight of a filmmaker who came from the first generation of Americans to make an industry out of nostalgia and extended adolescence. In other words, Spielberg had been on both sides of the nostalgia cycle, as somebody whose early career was motivated by his love for old movies and later grew up to watch his own films turn into nostalgic touchstones, and was well-positioned to lend the adaptation a depth and insight that Ernest Cline's novel lacked.

    When it came time to review it, he called it "second- or third-tier Spielberg" and better than many movies of its kind, and a rare adaptation that was better than the book due to the various changes made in the translation to film. It added some depth to the central quest beyond just "the winner is whoever knows the most geeky '80s pop culture trivia", made the protagonist less of an insufferable creep (even if he now felt like something of a blank slate in return, which Bob still thought was better than his characterization in the book), and put a greater focus on exploring the psychology and motivations of its characters, particularly the enigmatic James Halliday who's responsible for the whole plot — something that he'd go into more detail on in an In Bob We Trust episode the following week. While reading the book's parade of nostalgic Shout-Outs felt intrusive and obnoxious, on screen they flew by on screen and looked cool, helped by the facts that the film didn't spend entire pages dwelling on them and that the reference pool was expanded beyond just The '80s to encompass all of modern pop culture. It missed some major opportunities to comment on all of these references and what they said about the characters (after all, the film is mostly set in a VR world where these things are the players' avatars), but it was still an incredible-looking movie and a reminder of how a great director like Spielberg can elevate a project. It earned a rare two-and-two-thirds-star rating, with Bob saying that it objectively wasn't worthy of three stars but still delivered three stars' worth of fun.
  • Reality Bites: Feels that, looking back, it's practically unwatchable. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his Big Picture episode "The '90s Didn't Suck".
  • Real Steel: A movie that Bob was spending all year preparing to rip to shreds, but which surprised and humbled him by actually being a solid film with a lot of heart. If you have a young son who's into Legos or robots, he is going to think it's the bestest movie ever!!!, and you'll probably love it too.
  • Re-Animator: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in a Big Picture episode paying tribute to the recently-deceased filmmaker Stuart Gordon. It was Gordon's most famous film and one of the best-known and best-regarded H. P. Lovecraft adaptations ever made, and it deserved its reputation, distilling Lovecraft's original story to its bare essentials and making for a great modern-day Frankenstein monster movie.
  • Red: Great cast and action scenes, and just the kind of movie to ease the transition from Summer Blockbuster season to Oscar Bait season, especially if you've got an older relative who still likes to have fun. In his review of its sequel, he said that he couldn't much remember the plot of this one, but he still remembered enjoying this film's setup and how it pulled it off.
    • Red 2: The plot is pointless, forgettable, and doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's still an enjoyable diversion, with a cast that was clearly having just as much fun here as in the last film. After a mediocre summer at the movies, this was a much-needed breath of fresh air.
  • Red Dawn (1984): Its politics may have been ridiculous, but it was made by somebody who genuinely believed in those politics, meaning that it worked as both an action film and as a "message movie". Conversely, Red Dawn (2012) is "a boring, dumb, uninspired heap" made simply to cash in on the name recognition of the original film. Didn't review either the original or the remake, but he discussed them in his review of Life of Pi.
  • Red Riding Hood: Found it gloriously campy and silly to the point of awesomeness, with great directing and a refreshing, anti-Twilight feminist message, though he felt that the plot was too convoluted and that the Love Triangle was unnecessary. He also bemoaned how Twilight’s rampant success has lowered the standards for female-focused genre fiction.
  • Red Sparrow: While it has an interesting premise — deconstructing the Femme Fatale archetype as seen in Spy Fiction by giving one such 'Bond girl' A Day in the Limelight and showing that she really leads a terrible life — it indulges in the very behavior it's trying to condemn a few times too many, and its self-criticism boils down to a series of anvilicious You Bastard! moments. Beyond that, the protagonist's arc and the minor characters who prove to be most important are predictable, and the Gambit Pileups that fill out the plot are mostly needless distractions. He gave it two stars, with Jennifer Lawrence's great lead performance being the main redeeming factor. He also began the review by noting how History Repeats (Russia and The United States are at odds again, something about The '80s that he's not nostalgic for) and firmly rebutting the online rumor that this was a retool of a script for a Black Widow movie.
  • Red State: "What. The. F*** did I just watch?" Called it "one of the most god-awful films of the year", saying that it was even worse than Green Lanternnote  and comparing it to The Room and Birdemic in terms of sheer inept filmmaking. The only bright spot is Michael Parks' great performance as the Fred Phelps-esque villain, and it's not nearly enough to save the film from its mess of plot, writing, and character problems. Bob devotes a good chunk of the review to exploring Kevin Smith's career and his fall from grace in the last several years, and hopes that he's gotten over whatever compelled him to make this movie.
  • Red Tails: Not quite a great film (it's got some dodgy CGI and a script that's a bit too reliant on war movie clichés), but a fun, solid and well-made one that hearkens back to the "golden age" of World War II movies, and gets points for finally giving the Tuskegee Airmen the recognition they they didn't get during that time. He also takes time to vent at jaded Star Wars fanboys who will likely rag on the film just because George Lucas produced it.
  • Repo Men: While it cribs liberally from many other dystopian sci-fi films,note  it's good nonetheless, with some of the Gorn scenes alone making it worth a watch. However, he did note that there may just be a case of Rooting for the Empire.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera: Called it a "third-rate Rocky Horror knockoff" and didn't understand why it had such a large cult following. Didn't review it, but he mentioned it at the beginning of his Hot Tub Time Machine review, noting that he hadn't heard of it until after he did his Repo Men review and got messages wondering why he didn't mention the similarities between the two.
  • Resident Evil (the film adaptations):invoked The main reason to watch the films is for Milla Jovovich, who he describes as "the female Jason Statham" or "the B-Movie Angelina Jolie" in terms of being an old-school action star (surprising given her background as a supermodel) and a far more compelling screen presence than the films honestly deserved; he found her Action Girl protagonist Alice to be the most interesting character in either the films or the games. As the later installments came, he started to note that they felt like a nostalgic revival of an old film series, even if the films had never really gone away. Later, upon hearing about its forthcoming Netflix adaptation, he devoted the Big Picture episode "Adequate Evil" to expressing his admiration for the franchise despite it being So Okay, It's Average, noting that, for all their many problems, they still wound up as fun, entertaining action/horror movies and better than most video game adaptations, describing them as Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson putting on "a big, silly, cyberpunk burlesque fashion shoot and writ[ing] it off as work every couple of years."
    • Resident Evil: A bad movie that doesn't know whether to be a Romero ripoff or an Aliens ripoff. However, he doesn't hate it as much as he did when it first came out, feeling that the reason why he and so many others loathed it was because of its lack of connection to the games, even though, in his opinion, the games have very subpar stories that make the films (far from paragons of storytelling themselves) look brilliant in comparison. He regards his mellowing out on the film, especially in this regard, as a milestone for his evolution as a film critic. He didn't devote a full review to it, but he discussed it (along with the second and third films, Apocalypse and Extinction) during his reviews of Resident Evil movies four through six.
    • Resident Evil: Apocalypse: "… A laughably awful mess, but at least it was so consistently terrible that it was kind of compelling and watchable." He compares it to a modern-day grindhouse experience in terms of the campy nature of its badness, and he also notices that, from this point forward, Jovovich was married to the films' producer, writer, and sometimes director Paul W.S. Anderson, which makes the sequels feel like they should all just be called "Resident Evil: Check Out My Ridiculously Hot Wife".
    • Resident Evil: Extinction: Sure, it ripped off Mad Max, but it was still a surprisingly competent action film given the trash that came before it. To Bob, this was the point where the films stopped even pretending to have anything to do with the games, which he felt was for the better — after all, Resident Evil 4’s departure from series tradition produced, in his opinion, the best game in the series. He later named it the ninth-best video game adaptation ever made, calling it the best film in the series from a pure action standpoint and saying that it had him excited to see Jovovich and Anderson's work on the Monster Hunter movie.
    • Resident Evil: Afterlife: It's a Cliché Storm of every zombie movie trope around, but if you're in an action mood, you could do worse. If possible, see it in 3-D for some awesome effects. The series seems to be getting better with each installment, so he's hopeful that they eventually make one that's unquestionably good.
    • Resident Evil: Retribution: Feels like a bad RE fanfic, with awful acting all around (especially from Sienna Guillory and Shawn Roberts as Jill and Wesker respectively) and a plot that's largely a 'greatest hits' collection of moments from the last four films. Still, it's all right, and it's hard to do much better in the September doldrums, especially if you're an action fan. The review was about a minute shorter than usual since Bob had a cold while filming it.
    • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: Regards it as another film in a very average-quality series that basically encapsulates its averageness in a nutshell. He appreciated that it provided closure, but was annoyed that it retconned much of Retribution’s plot, missed a few good opportunities to shake up the series' status quo, and had a boring, by-the-numbers plot about Alice and her compatriots' ultimate attempt to end the Zombie Apocalypse rehashed from the first movie. He praised Jovovich once again as the best part of the film and gave it two and a half stars all the same.
  • The Revenant: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2015 he named it his third-favorite movie of the year. He called it "the most macho arthouse movie since Aguirre, the Wrath of God," a film that's filled with gorgeous cinematography and all manner of meditations about the struggle between man and nature, and a bit too pretentious for its own good … but when you get right down to it, it's also one of the most brutal action flicks of the year, and one that he had a blast watching.
  • Revenge (1990): Remembers having liked it at the time, though he also mentions the criticism of the film's values. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his Intermission editorial "Remembering Tony Scott - Part 1", a retrospective of the late Tony Scott's career.
  • Revenge (2018): "Holy shit! This one'll knock a new dent in your skull." It's an ultraviolent action-horror film that takes the checkered Rape and Revenge formula, including the sleazy, fetishistic elements of many such films, and combines them with a radically feminist repurposing and subversion of such, most notably in how the heroine would be an archetypal victim in a normal Slasher Movie, and in how the actual rape is portrayed mostly offscreen with the horror come from the lack of reaction to it. It's an extremely dark and lurid, but visually satisfying film as well, with Bob comparing writer-director Coralie Fargeat's visual style to that of Michael Bay and hoping that the film propels her to the A-list of action and horror filmmakers. He gave it three-and-a-half stars, calling it "a nasty, hard-as-nails action film that spills blood the way I thought Western horror forgot how to do" and recommending it for anybody who could stomach it.
  • Richard Jewell: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Truth Hurts", noting the irony of a film about a man who was wrongly accused of terrorism itself making inflammatory allegations about one of the real-life journalists involved in the story. He thought it marked one of the lower points in Clint Eastwood's career, even as someone who felt more inclined than most critics to give his more recent films the benefit of the doubt. While he liked the interplay between Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser (even if Rockwell needed to cool it on the Oscar Bait), the rest was "a melodramatic cartoon that veers between sanctimonious and trashy point-scoring, adding up to one of the worst films you're likely to see a collection of exceptionally talented people make this year". It had the seed of a good satire, in which a panicky public, the sensationalist media that caters to them, and the craven law enforcement officers who caved to their whims ruined the life of an innocent man who saved countless lives, but instead of the broader indictment of society as a whole that a more honest version of the story could have taken, it simplified everything to blame a single conniving, fame-hungry journalist, who the film portrayed as a one-dimensional Alpha Bitch to the point where Bob found it to be character assassination (and indeed, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution outright sued the producers for libel) — especially in contrast to the nuance and shades of grey that it gave to its title character. He believes that the appeal of Strawman News Media stories like this is that they allow the people who watch and read them to let themselves off the hook for the real problems in the media, instead of admitting that profit-driven newspapers and TV news programs are just giving the people what they want.
  • Rings: He didn't review it, but he named it #7 on his list of ten 2017 films that he most expected to suck. It's a throwback to the worn-out J-horror remake trend of the 2000s that nobody was asking for, and the fact that The Ring Two was awful and that this had been sitting on The Shelf of Movie Languishment since 2015 gave him no reason to get his hopes up either.
  • Rise of the Guardians: One of those movies that Bob is surprised wasn't thought of sooner. It's a very fun movie to watch, and typical of the modern DreamWorks Animation formula — lots of big action scenes that hit the ground running and never let up, without the Shrek-era reliance on pop culture humor, even if it does come at the expense of characterization and weightiness (though with iconic characters like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, it isn't hard to fill in the blanks). In addition, Chris Pine, whom Bob had previously thought little of as an actor, shows a surprising amount of range here.
  • The Rite:invoked Falls into the same trap as countless other retreads of The Exorcist, due to the fact that it's difficult to present a staged exorcism ritual without making it look silly (Bob compares it to "Gandalf versus the Balrog with all the effects taken out"). Also, the "believer versus skeptic" dynamic doesn't work, due to the fact that Religious Horror movies, by their nature, rely on the believer being vindicated in his or her beliefs, thus removing any chance that the skeptic could be right. It's not a terrible movie, and is quite well-acted and well-shot, but it is a dull one that would've been livened up by some cheesiness and narm.
  • The Road: What worked great as a novel fails in the transition to the screen, as the book's lengthy chapters of atmosphere building are something that can be done with just a few minutes of film. The result is an emotionally empty movie with a threadbare plot and no reason to care about the characters. It would have worked great as a short film or a Twilight Zone episode, but there's just not enough material for a feature film.
  • Robin Hood (2010): All the technical aspects (acting, directing, cinematography, even the writing) are very good, but they can't save a plodding, unfocused, overly-long snoozer of a story that has almost nothing to do with the Robin Hood legend. Whatever good ideas were in the original Nottingham script are buried under the weight of its many rewrites. He talked about it again briefly in his review of 2018's Robin Hood to note that even this movie with Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe trying to recapture Gladiator's magic didn't get many people to care about it.
  • Robin Hood (2018): "So bad you almost assume you should feel sorry for somebody." He said it was by far the stupidest and invokednarmiest movie he had seen in 2018, this time by being a recursive Spiritual Adaptation of 21st-century superhero stories (a genre that already all but relies on Just Like Robin Hood), especially the Dark Knight films (the parallels to which he enumerated in detail with a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer on the end), and a collection of comically sincere, ham-fisted, and clueless references to radicalism and recent history (the sort of thing that Time Bandits Played for Laughs with its socialist Robin Hood) without a coherent narrative to power it. It was one of those movies that made him wonder why nobody involved in the production process simply told the filmmakers to stop and look at what they were doing. He gave it one star, thinking it wasn't So Bad, It's Good because the PG-13 rating precluded what would have been welcome gore and nudity but admitting he still laughed himself silly.
  • RoboCop (the original 1987 film): Didn't review it, but he devoted an entire Big Picture episode, "Why 'Robocop' Still Rules", to explaining precisely that. He doesn't think it's the best movie ever, but it's without a doubt his favorite. He loved it as a kid for its more visceral aspects (namely, the blood, gore, nudity, robots, cops), and when he revisited it as an adult, he loved it even more. He compares it to Blade Runner and Moon as one of the greatest modern Science Fiction films ever made, praising it for its intelligence, focus, satirical wit, and moral complexity as opposed to the extremes of mindless violence on one hand and pretentiousness on the other, while still being a brutal, uncompromising action film. However, the less said about the sequels, the better.

    He devoted another Big Picture episode the following week, "Ripoff Cop", to discussing the Follow the Leader films that came out in the wake of RoboCop’s success. He argued that a combination of the film leaving such an imprint on late '80s pop culture and the fact that the look of the film is very easy to replicate on a budget (what do you need besides a man in a robot costume?) was responsible for the proliferation of low-budget sci-fi action flicks that followed in RoboCop’s wake, while the fact that many such films came from Japan, Hong Kong, and the South Pacific could be attributed in part to the popularity of Japanese tokusatsu series, with their superficial aesthetic similarities to RoboCop, in that part of the world.
  • Robot and Frank: One of the best sci-fi movies in years. Called it "Up if Russell was Mega Man." Didn't review it, but he discussed it at the beginning of his Lawless review.
  • Robot Jox: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in a Big Picture episode paying tribute to the recently-deceased filmmaker Stuart Gordon. He discussed its Troubled Production owing to both its lack of budget and Gordon's clashes with screenwriter Joe Haldeman, who wanted to make a more serious science fiction movie than the campy action Gordon was going for, and described the film's plot as "Rocky invoked meets Robotech" and "pretty awesome".
  • Rock of Ages: A terrible movie that succumbs to a problem common to jukebox musicals: writing the story around the music (rather than the other way around) forces the story to be incredibly generic and one-note. Also, the big, loud '80s hard rock that the production is built around doesn't really carry much meaning beyond Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, which makes it so great to listen to but also near unusable if you want to tell a story. Lastly, as good and committed an actor as Tom Cruise is, he can't sing worth a damn, which makes it very hard to take him seriously as a rock god.
  • Rocky: In the special Escape to the Movies episode "Musclepocalypse", Bob compared it to Star Wars in terms of it being a "bridge" film between New Hollywood and The Blockbuster Age.
    • Creed: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2015 he named it his second-favorite film of the year. He was excited about it to start with, given its plot and the fact that it was made by Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler, and it didn't disappoint, combining the heart of the original films (he basically called it Rocky VII) with modern sensibilities to produce a great sports film that would hopefully (and ultimately did) catapult Michael B. Jordan to the A-list. He came back to it in his review of its own sequel, talking about just how impossibly unlikely it should've been that this movie would be any good and yet was still legitimately great.
    • Creed II: Not as great as its predecessor in part because it's more like any of the main Rocky films, but it did something else Bob thought was nearly impossible: it made a invokedgood follow-up to the asinine cartoon that was Rocky IV. It comes down to the Show, Don't Tell storytelling and terrific performances by Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, and surprisingly, even Dolph Lundgren (whose Ivan Drago gets welcome Character Development for once) and Florian Munteanu (who shows surprising acting depth). He gave it three and a half stars, saying that, while it didn't do much new, it still worked because it played its familiar song very well.
  • Rogue (2020): It was a B-grade, guns-blazing invoked Direct-to-Video action flick combined with a killer animal horror movie, and it was better than that description may sound. It knew exactly how silly it was and rolled with it, the writing was surprisingly smart given the genre, the characters were very well fleshed-out, and while both the action scenes and the killer lioness were sparsely used, Megan Fox was a standout as a no-nonsense action heroine and she had a great supporting cast around her to carry the film's many slower moments. It succeeded at the basics of good action and storytelling where countless films with far bigger budgets had failed, and while he didn't think he could honestly justify giving it more than a 6 out of 10 (especially thanks to the shaky CGI work and the aforementioned silliness), "it earns all six of those points." He also opened the review with an apology to Fox for buying into and helping to propagate many of the (often misogynistic) jokes and knocks about her as an actor that helped to stall her career.
  • The Room: Didn't review it, but discussed it in his reason for making a Really That Bad episode about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Bob clearly holds this film in contempt and views it as "a 'What planet is this guy from?' curiosity", but he doesn't want to review it himself because It's Been Done several times already and he considers it too much work to expend on repeat viewing and editing sessions for a video that likely wouldn't make that much money anyway. The fact that so many people consider it invokedSo Bad, It's Good is another reason to exclude it from a deep, comprehensive analysis like Really That Bad, as Bob wanted a bad movie with little entertainment value to fill that slot.
  • Rough Night: He called it a "pleasant surprise" and gave it three stars, though he felt that the trailers, which sold the film as a mashup of The Hangover, Very Bad Things, and Bridesmaids, did the film a disservice. He appreciated the character dynamics that the film had to offer, which he felt elevated it above many of its peers and prevented the characters from degenerating into stereotypes, and without getting into spoilers, the film's inversion of the Women Are Wiser trope with the protagonist's fiancé (who he felt was the Ensemble Dark Horse) was a nice touch. He opens the review discussing how good mainstream comedies like this are some of the hardest films to review properly, because it's too easy to spoil the jokes and ruin the part that would otherwise make people want to see the film at all; by contrast, a good independent comedy usually has an offbeat premise that critics can discuss without getting into the humor, and there's little to no fear of spoiling good jokes in a bad mainstream comedy.
  • Rush (2013): Reviewed it in the Intermission editorial "'Rush'ing with Ron Howard", which also served as a discussion of Howard's directorial career. He counts it as one of Howard's better films, praising it for its amazing racing scenes, the fleshed-out characterization of its two protagonists, and its refusal to make a judgment call on them, instead letting viewers decide who the better (or worse) man was. He also notes that its plot would be considered unbelievable to the point of hackery if not for the fact that the rivalry between the main characters was truly that heated and media-driven in real life.


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