Friday, July 29, 2016

Review: Stephen Colbert at the Conventions

For the last two weeks, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert has been doing live episodes in connection with the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. This was an opportunity for the mighty Colbert to show off his strengths and promote his still-new show to an audience that may still be on the fence about him. How did it go? I have my reservations, as I have had about the show for months, and I talked about them in this Rolling Stone piece.

Beastie Boys - "3 the Hard Way"

For whatever reason, Beastie Boys' To the 5 Boroughs was calling to me the other day, so I popped it into the car CD player. You may remember the album. It came out in 2004, and was a conscious attempt on the trio's part to both attack the Bush administration and pay tribute to New York in the wake of 9/11. That tribute, in part, was reflected in the record's old-school hip-hop sound. (The album may have been released in 2004, but it was meant to sound like it was still 1985.) To the 5 Boroughs got some of the worst reviews for a Beasties' album, but it's still solid. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Come Play With Me

Over at MEL, I decided to share the fact that I used to be a terrible person to play games with. I didn't have a temper, I didn't cheat -- I just took it all really, really seriously. I'm better now, though, thank goodness. Here's my essay.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: We Like 'Star Trek Beyond' and 'Don't Think Twice'

On the latest episode of the Grierson & Leitch podcast, we review Star Trek Beyond and Don't Think Twice. We also spend a little time discussing The Proposition, the gritty Western that put director John Hillcoat on the map. Does it hold up? That answer, and so many others, can be found right here.

'Bad Moms' Review

They're moms! And, boy, are they bad! Actually, the title characters in Bad Moms are (for the most part) good moms who are tired of killing themselves to be perfect for their kids. And so, they decide to loosen up a little. And now that I've established the film's premise, let me say that this comedy is just sorta funny. (And, listen, I like Kathryn Hahn, too, but I wish she had better roles than this.) My review is up at Screen International.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

'Pete's Dragon' Review

For Screen International, I reviewed Pete's Dragon, a remake of the 1977 Disney movie that isn't exactly a beloved classic. This one is gentle, modest and very touching. You can check out my thoughts here.

'Under the Sun' Review

For Paste, I caught up with one of the more acclaimed documentaries of the year. It's Under the Sun, and it's got a great hook. Director Vitaly Mansky was approached by the North Korean government to make a film about a supposedly typical North Korean family, but only if Mansky would follow a script that his bosses had written for him. And so, Under the Sun becomes a story of how Mansky both does and doesn't play along, stripping away the lies that the government wants to peddle about its people. Simultaneously, he examines exactly what's "real" about a documentary. You can read my review here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

'Jason Bourne' Review

Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon swore they'd never make another Jason Bourne movie. Guess what? They did. Jason Bourne is perfectly solid, but nothing special -- and also a bit unnecessary. But in a summer in which good-enough has been the high-water mark of rave reviews, this sequel is among the season's better offerings. My review is up at Screen International.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Woody Allen and the Lady Ghostbusters

For the latest episode of the Grierson & Leitch podcast, Will and I review Ghostbusters and Cafe Society. (On one of those two movies, we disagree.) And then, for our Reboot segment, we tackle Gattaca. You can check out the whole thing here.

Friday, July 22, 2016

'Press Play With Madeleine Brand': Sci-Fi Franchises and 'Don't Think Twice'

I pulled off the rare feat off being on Press Play two times in the same week. Wednesday, I talked about Garry Marshall's passing. Today, I was on with Witney Seibold to review Star Trek Beyond. I went solo to discuss the very funny Don't Think Twice, Witney had the honors with Lights Out, and we both discussed what's going on with the woeful Divergent series. You can listen to the whole thing here.

'Star Trek Beyond' Review

Where does Star Trek Beyond rank among the series' best? It's better than Star Trek Into Darkness, probably on par with Star Trek. (Is it as good as Star Trek II or Star Trek IV? Don't be silly.) I reviewed the new film for The New Republic.

Misleading Men: Leslie Nielsen

The latest installment of my "Misleading Men" series for MEL focuses on Leslie Nielsen. For years, he had built up a perfectly respectable career as a dramatic film and television actor. And then Airplane! came along and changed his life. You can read my appreciation here.

Moby - "I'm Not Worried at All"

Have a peaceful Friday, everyone. We need something a little soothing right about now, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

'What the Flick?!': Talking 'Star Trek Beyond' and 'The Night Of'

I returned to What the Flick?! this week to hang out with my dear friends Alonso Duralde and Christy Lemire to review Star Trek Beyond. Plus, I talk The Night Of's second episode, "Subtle Beast."