Friday, July 31, 2015

'Straight Outta Compton' Review

Going into the summer, Straight Outta Compton was one of the most intriguing question marks. A biopic about N.W.A, the movie is produced by (among others) Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, and Cube's son plays him in the film. At almost two-and-a-half-hours long, Straight Outta Compton is plenty entertaining, but it's also -- to use a frowned-up critical term -- "problematic." I get into all of this in my Screen International review.

Big Sean (featuring Drake and Kanye West) - "Blessings"

Hip-hop boasts mixed with the weary troubles of the blues: That's one way to interpret the steely, alluring "Blessings." And since I run the blog around here, that's what I'm going with. (Also, it's kinda funny how Kanye's verse at the end is sorta like, "Uh, sure, 'Ye, you wanna rap on it, too? OK.")

Thursday, July 30, 2015

'A LEGO Brickumentary' Review

If you're wanting to learn more about LEGO, then A LEGO Brickumentary will be a handy overview of the company and the toy's legacy. But if you're looking for insights or perspective? Well, better look elsewhere. I reviewed the documentary for Popular Mechanics.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What's the Greatest Stand-Up Special Ever?

I contributed to Rolling Stone's latest list, which counts down the greatest stand-up specials. (I had to write about Bill Cosby: Himself.) You can read the whole list here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

'Vacation' Review

For years, there had been talk about remaking National Lampoon's Vacation. Well, at long last it's here ... and it's not quite as terrible as its most vicious reviews would suggest. Yes, folks, I laughed at some truly stupid bits in Vacation, but it's still not enough to recommend. I reviewed the film for Paste.

Friday, July 24, 2015

'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation' Review

Before Rogue Nation, my favorite of the Mission: Impossible movies was 2011's Ghost Protocol. Well, that's changed: I think the new film is really a kick. (The woman in that photo with Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, has a lot to do with it.) I gush significantly over at Screen International.

Hot Chip - "Huarache Lights"

Hot Chip are a band whose existence I've always appreciated without ever really celebrating. "Huarache Lights" changes that for me.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

'Southpaw' and Our Obsession With Actors' Preparation

At the end of last year, I interviewed Christoph Waltz for Big Eyes and asked him about how he prepared for the role. His response was refreshing: He didn't want to talk about it, he didn't think it was interesting, and he didn't think audiences should even care. Watching Southpaw the other day, I thought about Waltz's comments. He's absolutely right: Much of the pre-release story around the film has been about Jake Gyllenhaal's preparations to play this hardened boxer. Why do we care, especially when the movie isn't that hot? I wrote about this strange phenomenon for Deadspin.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

'Pixels' Review

I was curious about Pixels. I loved the concept, and I was intrigued by the idea that Adam Sandler was stepping away from his typical lowbrow comedy to make a high-concept, effects-heavy action-comedy. But that optimism evaporated within five minutes. Pixels is the worst thing Sandler's done in recent memory. (Is it worse than Grown Ups 2? Honestly, I don't want to spend the time thinking about.) My review is up at Popular Mechanics.