Friday, May 25, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Solo' Review, and a Little 'Prestige'

We posted this week's episode a little early because of Solo, which we had many thoughts about. Also, we look back at The Prestige. Have a good holiday.

Jack White - "Humoresque"

"Last year, White purchased a musical manuscript written by Al Capone in Alcatraz (in the 1920s, even gangsters could read and write music) for a song called 'Humoresque.' ... Capone, it seems, played tenor banjo in a prison band with Machine Gun Kelly on drums. The song, a take on a Dvorák work, turns out to have been recollected, not composed, by Capone, but White still ended up recording it as the closing track on his new album. He's moved by the idea that a famous murderer had a weakness for such 'a gentle, beautiful song.' 'It shows you, like, what we were talking about earlier,' he adds. 'Human beings are complicated creatures with lots of emotions going on.'"
Rolling Stone cover story on Jack White (March 12, 2018)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

'Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget For the Rest of Your Life' Review

Tomorrow, Steve Martin and Martin Short's special comes to Netflix. Today, I wrote about it for Rolling Stone. Comparisons are made to Oh, Hello and David Letterman. (That's a good thing.) You can read it right here.

Hollywood's History With Suntan Lotion

This week over at MEL, the editors are running a bunch of pieces about summer and body issues. As part of that special, I looked at a bizarre movie trend: scenes of guys trying to rub suntan lotion on beautiful bikini-clad women. Hope you enjoy.

Actors Who Took Over Iconic Roles

Alden Ehrenreich plays Han Solo in the new Star Wars standalone movie. That's a tough task; everybody thinks of Harrison Ford in that role. With that in mind, for this week's Debate Club, we highlight five actors who faced similar challenges. You can read it here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What's Ron Howard's Best Movie?

Over at Vulture, Will and I ranked the man's films, including Solo: A Star Wars Story. You can see the final results here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cannes 2018: 'Knife + Heart' Review

I saw almost all the Competition films at Cannes this year. The worst of the bunch was Yann Gonzalez's silly, trashy Knife + Heart, which is set in the world of gay porn in Paris in 1979. So why isn't it more fun? I reviewed the film for Screen International.

Cannes 2018: 'Everybody Knows' Review

Couple last Cannes reviews to share with you. For Paste, I wrote about the festival's opening-night film, Everybody Knows, which I liked more than most did. I explain why here.

Some Thoughts on 'Deadpool 2'

Is luck the greatest superpower? What is dubstep? And how can Deadpool 2 pretend to be the snarky outsider now that it has so many more commercial expectations attached to it? I answered those questions, and others, over at MEL.

My Interview With 'The Tale' Writer-Director Jennifer Fox

The Tale was the best film at this year's Sundance. On Saturday, it premieres on HBO. For MEL, I spoke with writer-director Jennifer Fox about her autobiographical tale of a 13-year-old who enters into a sexual relationship with her much older track coach (Jason Ritter). We talked about sexual abuse, what Hollywood gets wrong about survivors, and what the experience has been like to share the movie (and her story) with the world. You can read my interview here.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Deadpool 2,' Cannes and 'Amadeus'

I'm back from Cannes. Will and I talk about that, and we also review Deadpool 2. Then, in our Reboot segment, we look back at the Oscar-winning Amadeus. Hear the whole thing below.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Cannes 2018: The Wrap-Up and the Rankings

Those who predicted that this year's Cannes Film Festival was going to be underwhelming can stuff it. If it wasn't my all-time favorite -- this is my fifth -- it was filled with highlights, including a pretty strong Competition slate.

Before I get into my rankings, here's a piece I wrote at the halfway point for MEL, in which I talk about the experience of seeing nothing but subtitled films for a week, and what I learned in the process. If nothing else, this year's Cannes reaffirmed my appreciation for the idea that cinema is actually a global phenomenon -- and I don't mean "global" in terms of how much Deadpool 2 earns in China.

With that said, here's how I'd evaluate the festival. Links lead to individual reviews/articles...

37. Knife + Heart
36. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote 
35. The Great Mystical Circus 
34. Treat Me Like Fire
33. Fahrenheit 451
32. Pope Francis - A Man of His Word
31. Ayka
30. The House That Jack Built
29. Rafiki 
28. The Trouble With You
27. Sorry Angel 
26. Whitney  
25. Birds of Passage
24. Climax
23. Yomeddine
22. Everybody Knows
21. Happy as Lazzaro
20. Dogman 
19. Wildlife
18. The Image Book
17. BlacKkKlansman
16. 3 Faces
15. The Spy Gone North 
14. The Wild Pear Tree
13. Solo: A Star Wars Story
12. Capernaum 
11. Summer
10. Donbass
9. Long Day's Journey Into Night
8. Mandy
7. Leave No Trace
6. Ash Is Purest White
5. Shoplifters 
4. Under the Silver Lake
3. At War 
2. Cold War
1. Burning 

I was sad Burning walked away with no awards, although it was the clear winner of Screen's critics jury. (It also won the Fipresci prize.) As for Hirokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters, which took home the Palme d'Or, it's probably my favorite film of his since Nobody Knows, so I'm not going to complain too loudly.

I'm looking over my rankings right now; there's a lot of happy memories attached to those films, even the ones I didn't like that much. A Cannes with very little "Oscar buzz" is a perfectly good Cannes to me. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cannes 2018: 'Ayka' Review

Ayka just won Best Actress here at Cannes. I think that Samal Yeslyamova is good as a woman who abandons her child, but I was less enamored with the movie as a whole. Read all about it over at Screen International.

Cannes 2018: 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' Review

Terry Gilliam has been trying to get his Don Quixote project off the ground for decades. At last, it's here ... and it's not very good. I reviewed The Man Who Killed Don Quixote for Screen International.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Whitney Houston - "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"

I saw Whitney and now I have this song lodged in my brain.

Cannes 2018: 'The Great Mystical Circus' Review

Going into the festival, there was some hope that The Great Mystical Circus would be a Brazilian Greatest Showman. That didn't happen. I reviewed this silly, soapy movie for Screen International.