Friday, August 31, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Let the Corpses Tan'

Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani are back with "Let the Corpses Tan," a new crime thriller starring Elina Lowensohn ("Nadja") as a reclusive artist who invites several strangers to her hideaway for the weekend, not knowing that they are violent criminals who transform the weekend into a deadly, complex shootout.

In his review at The Wrap, William Bibbiani says "Let the Corpses Tan" is "exciting, exhausting, and unlike any shootout film before it," and calls Cattet and Forzani as "the most visually arresting filmmakers working today."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Let the Corpses Tan" at The Wrap

Top Photo: Kino Lorber

William Bibbiani Reviews 'The Little Stranger'

Domhnall Gleeson stars in "The Little Stranger," based on the novel by Sarah Waters, about a doctor who ingratiates himself into a formerly rich family, whose gigantic, decaying manor may (or may not) be haunted. Ruth Wilson ("The Affair"), Will Poulter ("Detroit") and Charlotte Rampling ("45 Years") co-star in the latest film from director Lenny Abrahamson ("Room").

In his review at The Wrap, William Bibbiani says  "The Little Stranger" is "infuriating," and that "Abrahamson seems fascinated with the idea of gothic storytelling, but he hasn't quite got the knack of it."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "The Little Stranger" at The Wrap

Top Photo: Focus Features

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Canceled Too Soon #112 - K-9000 (1991)

From the writer of "Die Hard" and "48 Hours" comes the failed pilot for a television series about a tough cop who gets a microchip forcibly injected into his brain, which allows him to hear the thoughts of a high-tech cyborg dog, with whom he teams up to solve crimes. You know, the usual. 

It's a little show called "K-9000," and there's a really good chance that it was... Canceled Too Soon! William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold join forces to figure out what the heck is going on in this weird television program, what works, what fails miserably, and why there never seem to be any movies about cops teaming up with cats to stop bad guys.

Give it a listen!

The Evolution of the Romantic Comedy: The 1980s/1990s vs. The 2000s/2010s

[The following article was sponsored and assigned by our Patreon subscriber Alexandra Mendez. To learn how to sponsor and assign articles to William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold for publication at Critically Acclaimed, visit our Patreon page.]

Trends, by definition, must come and go. Certain film genres, directing and editing styles, the careers of certain performers, they must wax and wane in the public consciousness like so many phases of the moon. And while the tides of popular opinion wash in and out, one thing remains frustratingly persistent: the endless string of online nostalgic thinkpieces, wistful essays, and halcyon retrospectives reminding us of the lost trends that have died in the recent past. 

Whether or not the trends in question are, indeed, deceased – I can't tell you how many times some film wonk has dared to posit that horror is finally dead – said essays tend to crop up with a maddening regularity.

One common subject of such thinkpieces is that of the romantic comedy, and, just as quickly, its demise.

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Kin'

Myles Truitt ("Queen Sugar") and Jack Reynor ("Sing Street") star in "Kin," about a pair of mismatched brothers who go on the run from murderous criminals, with $60,000 and an alien ray gun. Dennis Quaid, James Franco and Zoe Kravitz round out the supporting cast, in a film that combines serious familial melodrama with sci-fi genre elements.

In his review at IGN, William Bibbiani argues that the combination doesn't work. "Without an even ratio of sci-fi wonderment and plausible drama, Kin gets boring quickly," he argues.

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Kin" at IGN

Top Photo: Lionsgate

Monday, August 27, 2018

Critically Acclaimed #42: The Yojimbo Movies

Akira Kurosawa reinvented and openly criticized the action movie genre with his classic samurai films "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro," which inspired waves of imitators that kept the badassery and violence but ignored the films' satire of the action genre. Heck, even the last two (sort of) "Yojimbo" movies, "Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo" and "Incident at Blood Pass," seem to have missed the point entirely, even though they're ripping good pulp fun.

In the latest episode of Critically Acclaimed, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold review all four of the "Yojimbo" movies, for fans new and old, and also review the new releases "The Happytime Murders" and "A-X-L."

Give it a listen at Podcast One!

William Bibbiani Reviews 'A-X-L'

Alex Neustaedter ("Colony") stars in "A-X-L," the story of a dirt bike racing enthusiast teenager and his high-tech robot war dog friend, who team up with a graffiti artist to save their robo-dog from corrupt scientists, the U.S. military, and high school bullies who have flamethrowers. Becky G ("Power Rangers") and Thomas Jane ("1922") co-star.

In his review at The Wrap, William Bibbiani critiques "A-X-L" for being "a scrapyard of a motion picture, full of dented, leftover parts from other, sometimes only marginally better movies," while pointing out several frustrating lapses in storytelling logic.

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "A-X-L" at The Wrap

Top Photo: Global Road

Thursday, August 23, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'The Happytime Murders'

Bill Barretta and Melissa McCarthy star in "The Happytime Murders," a raunchy, comedic film noir about a series of brutal murders in a Hollywood where puppets and human beings live side-by-side. Brian Henson ("Muppet Treasure Island") directs this R-rated film, in the vein of "Alien Nation" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," which depicts fantastical creatures as second-class citizens in a cruel, corrupt, human world.

In his review at IGN, William Bibbiani says "The Happytime Murders" is "a punch in the nose to everyone - inside and outside of the entertainment industry - who thinks puppeteering isn't a serious art form," and praises the film's raunchy presentation for illustrating, via extremes, "that puppets - and by extension, puppeteers - are complex, flawed and even tragic people."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "The Happytime Murders" at IGN

Top Photo: STX Entertainment

Canceled Too Soon #111: 'Bone Chillers' (1996)

Everyone remembers "Goosebumps," but not everyone remembers the hit kids horror novel series "Bone Chillers," which became a short-lived live-action TV show on ABC in the 1996, starring Linda Cardellini ("Freaks and Geeks") and Charles Fleischer ("Who Framed Roger Rabbit"), executive produced by Adam Rifkin ("The Dark Backward").

It's a strange and manic horror series about teenagers who go to a high school full of monsters, ghosts, mummies, ghouls, and the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe. The guest stars include Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov, so it's got a better pedigree than most other kids shows of any kind. But did it deserve to get canceled after one short season, or was "Bone Chillers"... canceled too soon?

You'll have to listen to the latest episode of the podcast to find out!

Give it a listen!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Movie Trivia Schmoedown: Marc Andreyko vs. William Bibbiani (Title Match)

It's the rematch everyone was waiting for! William Bibbiani and Marc Andreyko made their Movie Trivia Schmoedown debut against each other, in one of the most epic matches in the history of the sport. Now they're going head to head one more time, and the winner becomes the Schmoedown Singles Champion!

Also, you'll have to see William Bibbiani's entrance for yourselves. Trust us!

Watch the episode below!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Critically Acclaimed #41: 'Dead Man On Campus' and 'Strangers On a Train' (Plus: Bonus Letters Episode!)

It's "Back to School" time again! This week on Critically Acclaimed, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold review the notoriously unfunny comedy "Dead Man On Campus," about two college roommates who try to get their other roommate to kill themselves, so they can get straight "A's." It's ghoulish, it's creepy, and it's the perfect double feature with Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers On a Train," about a tennis pro who gets roped into the "perfect" murder plot after a chance encounter with a fan.

Plus! Reviews of the new releases "Mile 22," "Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich," "Alpha" and "Crazy Rich Asians!"

Plus! A whole bonus episode, dedicated entirely to your letters! It's a smorgasbord of Critically Acclaimed!

Listen: "Critically Acclaimed #41: Dead Man on Campus and Strangers On a Train"

Listen: "Critically Acclaimed: Bonus Letters Episode #2"

Top Photos: Paramount Pictures / Warner Bros.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich'

Thomas Lennon ("Dog Days") stars in "Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich," a reboot of the long-running "Puppet Master" horror franchise, about marionettes that come to life and kill people. Barbara Crampton ("You're Next"), Michael Paré ("The Vatican Tapes"), Udo Kier ("Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot") and Jenny Pellicer ("The Bridge") co-star in the film, about collectors of Nazi memorabilia being murdered by the supernaturally possessed trinkets.

In his review of "Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich" at IGN, William Bibbiani praises the film's gore effects, acting and dialogue, but argues that changing the puppets from Nazi-killing antiheroes to sadistic Nazis "reads more like a betrayal of the franchise than a satisfying new interpretation."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich" at IGN

Photo: RLJE Films

Friday, August 17, 2018

Canceled Too Soon #110: 'Emily's Reasons Why Not' (2006)

Heather Graham stars in "Emily's Reasons Why Not," one of the most notorious TV misfires in history. It looks like an everyday sitcom about a young woman dealing with dating disasters and working in the publishing industry, but "Emily's Reasons Why Not" was canceled after airing only one episode, and since hardly anyone saw it, most people have no idea why.

Canceled Too Soon to the rescue! William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold delve into that legendary first episode, and the next six episodes - which eventually appeared online and on DVD - to figure out what went wrong, what (if anything) went right, and whether "Emily's Reasons Why Not" was actually... canceled too soon!

Give it a listen!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Alpha'

Kodi Smit-McPhee ("X-Men: Apocalypse") stars in "Alpha," a new historical adventure about the first domesticated wolf, and the young boy who depends on his new best friend for survival. The film is directed by Albert Hughes, making his solo directorial debut after years of collaborations with his brother, including "Menace II Society," "Dead Presidents" and "From Hell."

In his review at The Wrap, William Bibbiani praises the film's "impossibly gorgeous" cinematography, and the "fantastic and transformative performance" of the wolf, while criticizing the film's story and protagonist, which "aren't quite rich enough to take ["Alpha"] to the next level."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Alpha" at The Wrap

Top Photo: Studio 8

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Mile 22'

Mark Wahlberg reteams with Peter Berg for "Mile 22," a hard-edged action thriller about a black ops team escorting a high priority suspect out of a country where everyone wants them dead. Lauren Cohan ("The Walking Dead"), Ronda Rousey ("The Expendables 3"), John Malkovich ("Crossbones") and Iko Uwais ("The Raid 2") co-star the fourth collaborations between Wahlberg and Berg, after "Lone Survivor," "Deepwater Horizon" and "Patriots Day."

In his review at IGN, William Bibbiani argues that "Berg tries to hide the script's deficiencies by treating the material like it's Black Hawk Down," while critiquing the film's "choppy" action and "waste" of athletic co-star Iko Uwais.

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Mile 22" at IGN

Top Photo: STX Entertainment

Monday, August 13, 2018

Canceled Too Soon #109 - 'Crazyhead' (2016)

A young woman goes off her meds and starts seeing demons in "Crazyhead," a horror-comedy series from Netflix and E4, in which maybe the demons are real or maybe they're not. (Except they're real, but anyway.) It's a short-lived series which tries to take the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" format and update it for a crasser, more eccentric audience, and maybe, just maybe... it was Canceled Too Soon!

Join film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold as they look at this short-lived cult show, and figure out what made "Crazyhead" work, what held it back, and what makes demons tick!

Give it a listen!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Critically Acclaimed #40: 'The Cat in the Hat' and 'Funny Games'

"The Cat in the Hat" is one of the most notoriously terrible children's movies of the 21st century. So why is the the purr-fect double feature with Michael Haneke's brilliant, acidic, and horrifying home invasion thriller "Funny Games?"

You'll find out in this week's episode of Critically Acclaimed! You'll also get reviews of the new releases "The Meg," "BlacKkKlansman" and "Slender Man," and a long, detailed discussion about why the new changes to the Academy Awards are terrible, terrible idea.

Give it a listen over at Podcast One!

Email us at and follow your hosts on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani and @WitneySeibold

Head on over to the Schmoeville! Facebook page to vote in our weekly polls, every Sunday, and force Bibbs and Witney watch the bad movies YOU want them to watch!

Top Photos: Castle Rock Entertainment / Universal Pictures

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Slender Man'

Joey King ("Wish Upon") does battle with another supernatural entity in "Slender Man," an adaptation of the popular internet meme, created by Victor Surge. In the film, the faceless, tall, handsomely suited boogeyman gets into the heads of bored teenagers, driving them insane with fear, and eventually... doing... bad stuff?... to them... apparently. Sylvain White ("Stop the Yard") directs, and Juliana Goldani Telles ("The Affair"), Jaz Sinclair ("Paper Towns") and Annalise Basso ("Ouija: Origin of Evil") co-star.

In his review of "Slender Man" at The Wrap, William Bibbiani says "the most terrifying moment came when someone dropped a beer bottle at the back of the theater," critiquing the film's "boring" and "underwritten" story, and the incredibly dim lighting, which makes the film "so dark we have to take most of the jump scares on faith."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Slender Man" at The Wrap

Top Photo: Screen Gems

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Witney Seibold Calls the New 'Most Popular Film' Oscar a 'Terrible Mistake'

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced this week the addition of a new Oscars category, for "Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film." Although the exact criteria for the award has yet to be explained, the inclusion of an award specifically created to appeal to mainstream audiences is a major change for the awards ceremony, and a lot of people aren't happy about what it represents.

Writing for IGN, Witney Seibold says "these ideas are unilaterally terrible and threaten the very integrity of the Academy Awards themselves," and explains why the Academy is "essentially giving up any pretense of authority they had in dictating a film's quality."

Read: Witney Seibold Argues "The Oscars' New Popular Film Category is a Bad Idea" at IGN

Top Photo: Paramount Pictures

William Bibbiani Reviews 'BlacKkKlansman'

John David Washington plays real-life Det. Ron Stallworth, a black police officer who successfully infiltrated the Ku Klux Kan, in Spike Lee's latest motion picture, "BlacKkKlansman." The film co-stars Adam Driver ("Star Wars: The Last Jedi") as the Jewish detective who plays "Ron Stallworth" in person at Klan meetings, Laura Harrier ("Spider-Man: Homecoming") as the Black Student Union president who introduces Ron to political activism, and Topher Grace ("War Machine") as David Duke, the National Director/Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

In his review at IGN, William Bibbiani says that "BlacKkKlansman" is "one of Spike Lee's best movies," praising the film's ability to be, at the same time, "a ripping crime thriller, a pointed character-driven drama, and an insightful critical analysis of the cinematic form."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "BlacKkKlansman" at IGN

Top Photo: Focus Features

William Bibbiani Reviews 'The Meg'

Jason Statham is back and he's fighting a giant prehistoric shark in The Meg, a new action-thriller from director Jon Turteltaub ("National Treasure"). In the film, Statham plays a rescue diver assigned with saving scientists stuck at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, but who inadvertently release a Megalodon into the ocean, where it wreaks havoc. Bingbing Li ("Transformers: Age of Extinction"), Rainn Wilson ("Star Trek: Discovery"), Ruby Rose ("Orange is the New Black"), Page Kennedy ("Rush Hour") and Cliff Curtis ("The Dark Horse") co-star.

In his review at IGN, William Bibbiani praises "The Meg" for its modest charms, calling it "a fun giant killer shark movie, and a solid Jason Statham action romp," but criticizes the film for its pacing, arguing that "the film is nearly two hours long and a heck of a lot of that time is spent not watching a giant shark bite things."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "The Meg" at IGN

Top Photo: Warner Bros.

William Bibbiani Hunts for Stephen King Easter Eggs in 'Castle Rock'

The new television series "Castle Rock" airs on Hulu every Wednesday, and it's filled from top to bottom with shoutouts to every Stephen King story around. The show takes place in Castle Rock, Maine where a mysterious man is discovered in a cage, underneath Shawshank Penitentiary. From there the story spirals to include characters Stephen King fans are familiar with, and new creations whose lives parallel some of the most famous stories in the author's bibliography.

Each episode of "Castle Rock" is full of Easter Eggs for Stephen King fans to find, and William Bibbiani is hunting for them over at IGN. Check back every Wednesday for new discoveries from the latest episodes, and let us know if you find anything he missed!

Read: William Bibbiani Hunts for Stephen King Easter Eggs in "Castle Rock" at IGN

Top Photo: Hulu

Monday, August 6, 2018

William Bibbiani Explains Why 'Halloween H20' is the Best 'Halloween' Sequel

With David Gordon Green's "Halloween" reboot just around the corner, film critic William Bibbiani takes a look back at the last time the slasher franchise rewrote its own history. "Halloween H20" took the then-daring tactic of claiming most of the sequels never happened, and focusing entirely on the character of Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, who still suffers from the trauma inflicted upon her on Halloween night, twenty years ago.

In his latest retrospective for IGN, William Bibbiani argues that "Halloween H20" is "one of the finest performances of Jamie Lee Curtis's career," giving her an "empowering finale" and celebrating the way the film turns "what once was horrifying into a heroic anthem."

Read: OPINION: Halloween H20 is the Best Halloween Sequel (So Far)

Top Photo: Dimension Films

Canceled Too Soon #108 - 'Voyagers!' (1982-1983)

A shirtless mega hunk travels through time with a precocious young genius in "Voyagers!," America's primetime answer to "Doctor Who." The action/adventure series aired on NBC from 1982-1983 and starred the late, great John-Erik Hexum ("Cover Up") and Meeno Peluce ("The Amityville Horror"), and a host of great guest stars as famous historical figures, including Jonathan Frakes ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") as Charles Lindbergh, Gregg Henry ("Guardians of the Galaxy") as Teddy Roosevelt and Julia Duffy ("Newhart") as Nellie Bly.

"Voyagers!" lasted one full season and got pretty danged good ratings, but it was canceled anyway. The question is, was it Canceled Too Soon? Our hosts William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold delve into the strange mythology of the show, the tragic fate of John-Erik Hexum, and every unusual episode of this ambitious sci-fi series!

Give it a listen!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Witney Seibold Reviews 'The Darkest Minds'

Amandla Stenberg stars in "The Darkest Minds" as Ruby, a young woman with telepathic powers, in a world where 90% of the world's children have been killed by a mysterious virus. Now, adults look at the surviving, superpowered children with terror, and a group of mismatched teens have to go on the run to survive. Harris Dickinson ("Trust"), Skylan Brooks ("The Get Down"), Mandy Moore ("47 Meters Down"), Gwendolyn Christie ("Game of Thrones") and Bradley Whitford ("Get Out") co-star in the live-action debut of director Jennifer Yuh Nelson ("Kung Fu Panda 3").

In his latest review at IGN, Witney Seibold says "[The Darkest Minds] may scratch the very particular YA itch possessed by those who grew up with the genre (and who perhaps miss it), but will certainly not usher in a new, secondary post-modern wave of post-Potter YA adventures."

Read: Witney Seibold Reviews "The Darkest Minds" at IGN

Top Photo: 20th Century Fox

Critically Acclaimed #39: 'The Benchwarmers' and 'Stephen King's IT'

Rob Schneider is notorious for starring in poorly reviewed comedies, but is the baseball yuckfest "The Benchwarmers" really one of his worst movies? And why is this fart-joke family flick the perfect double feature with Andy Muschietti's horrifying killer clown blockbuster "Stephen King's IT?"

You'll find out in this week's episode of Critically Acclaimed! And you'll also get reviews of the new releases "Christopher Robin," "The Darkest Minds" and "The Spy Who Dumped Me!"

Give it a listen over at Podcast One!

Email us at and follow your hosts on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani and @WitneySeibold

Head on over to the Schmoeville! Facebook page to vote in our weekly polls, every Sunday, and force Bibbs and Witney watch the bad movies YOU want them to watch!

Top Photos: Revolution Studios / Warner Bros.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Christopher Robin'

Ewan MacGregor stars in, and as, "Christopher Robin," a live-action reimagining of the beloved "Winnie the Pooh" stories, written by A.A. Milne. In the new film, Christopher Robin has grown up, forgotten his childhood friends, and started a family of his own. Unfortunately, he now spends most of his time working, so Pooh and his pals have to teach him a valuable lesson about... not doing that. Hayley Atwell ("Agent Carter") and Mark Gatiss ("Sherlock") co-star, along with voice actors Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Mohammed and Peter Capaldi, in a movie directed by Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland").

In his review at IGN, William Bibbiani says "When artists worry about what big corporations might do after they buy the rights to their creations, Disney's 'Christopher Robin' is exactly what they're worried about." 

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Christopher Robin" at IGN

Top Photo: Walt Disney