Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Get Well Soon, John Prine


On Sunday night, John Prine was in critical condition from complications of COVID-19. Things looked pretty dire for the acclaimed, beloved country singer. Thankfully, his condition has apparently stabilized. For MEL, I wrote an appreciation of Prine and for the importance of his brand of goofy, sappy, corny optimism. Hope you enjoy.

'The Scheme' Review



Christian Dawkins wanted to be a sports agent. Instead, he was convicted on bribery charges. What happened? It's a story that has as much to do with college basketball as it does him. For MEL, I reviewed the new HBO documentary The Scheme.

Five Replacements for the Live-Action 'Mulan'


Last weekend, Disney's new version of Mulan was supposed to hit theaters. Over at Vulture, we offer some cinematic alternatives if you had been dying to see that movie.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Crip Camp,' 'Margaret' and Looking Back at 1989


On this week's podcast, we review one new movie, the Sundance opener Crip Camp, and then discuss the extended cut of Kenneth Lonergan's divisive Margaret.

But first, as part of our new series, we do a deep dive on one movie year. Welcome to 1989, a time of Do the Right Thing, Roger & Me and Driving Miss Daisy. Hear the whole thing down below.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

The 10 Essential Silent Movies


Have a little time and want to bone up on silent movies? For MEL, I put together a list of some essential titles, all available for streaming. (One caveat: I limited myself to one film per star or director.) Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Criterion Channel Gems You Can't Find Anywhere Else


The Criterion Channel has so many great movies. But which ones are only available on the streaming site? I did a deep dive into the catalog for MEL.

'Press Play With Madeleine Brand': 'Crip Camp,' 'Uncorked,' 'Vivarium' and 'The Hunt'


Well, this was unusual. For this week's Press Play, Katie Walsh and I spoke with Madeleine remotely to discuss the weekend's new releases -- and The Hunt. Enjoy our social-distancing cinematic insights down below.


CPH:DOX 2020: 'Dick Johnson Is Dead' Review


Dick Johnson Is Dead received rave reviews when it premiered at Sundance. I revisited the documentary for Screen International.

Friday, March 27, 2020

'Ozark' Season 3 Review


And so we return to Lake of the Ozarks, where Marty and Wendy's marriage is crumbling and the cartel is becoming more ruthless. For MEL, I reviewed the latest season of Ozark.

Modest Mouse - "Blame It on the Tetons"

How about something soothing? Just don't focus on the lyrics.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

CPH:DOX 2020: 'A Shape of Things to Come' Review


An older, bearded gentleman named Sundog lives out in the Arizona desert all by himself. He doesn't want to be a part of society. But does he have a choice? For Screen International, I reviewed the intriguingly minimalist documentary A Shape of Things to Come.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Blue,' 'I'm Not There' and Looking Back at 1994


On this week's podcast, we introduce a new feature, in which we look back at a specific movie year. This week: 1994. Hoop Dreams! Pulp Fiction! Forrest Gump! The Shawshank Redemption!

We also have two Reboots. First is Krzysztof KieĊ›lowski's Blue, the first installment in his Three Colors trilogy. Then, we dig into Todd Haynes' sorta-biopic I'm Not There. Hope you enjoy.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Listening to Steely Dan in the Age of COVID-19


I realized recently that I've never written in any detail about Steely Dan, a band I'm fairly nuts about. So for MEL, I talked about why the group is weirdly perfect music to accompany your time in quarantine. Sign in stranger.

Art House 101: The 10 Essential Foreign-Language Films


Let's say you're someone who always wanted to find time to get into international cinema. Well, what better time than now? For MEL, I put together a list of 10 subtitled films to get you started. It was a daunting task, but also pretty fun. Hope you enjoy.

'Tiger King' Review


Joe Exotic was an eccentric man living in Oklahoma who started an exotic-animal park. Carole Baskin was a big-cat lover in Florida who thought he was doing more harm than good. Eventually, Exotic was arrested as part of an alleged murder-for-hire plot. The Netflix documentary series Tiger King chronicles the whole strange affair. Of course it's very binge-able ... but does it have to be so classist, too? My review is up at MEL.