Friday, June 23, 2017

'Press Play With Madeleine Brand': Transformers, 'The Bad Batch,' Romantic Comedies and 'The Beguiled'


Always fun to be on Press Play. This week, I guest alongside Alicia Malone, and we review Transformers: The Last Knight, The Bad Batch, The Beguiled, The Big Sick and Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press. We had fun, fun, fun ... you can hear the whole thing here.

'Wedding Crashers': The Oral History


A few weeks ago, my MEL editors were putting together ideas for an ambitious wedding-themed week of pieces. That's when they asked me, "We really, really want you to do an oral history of Wedding Crashers. What do you think?"

I went for it. Today, you see the results of that work. I spoke to several people involved in the 2005 comedy sensation to hear their behind-the-scenes stories. It was very fun. And I hope you enjoy.

Drive-By Truckers - "Outfit"

Jason Isbell's new album, The Nashville Sound, dropped last week. I'm still absorbing it, so in the meantime, here's a salute to probably the best song he's ever written.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

'The Big Sick' Review


I feel the same way about The Big Sick now as I did when I first saw it at Sundance: It's immensely charming and very good, but it's not quite amazing. Still, the movie offers many, many pleasures, and I talk about them in my review at Paste.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Salute to Daniel Day-Lewis


As you may have heard, Daniel Day-Lewis has said he's retiring. I'm not sure I entirely buy that, but if it's true, I wanted to pay tribute to our finest actor. Rolling Stone gave me the space to praise him -- and, specifically, to debunk this idea that he's just this grim, obsessive Method actor. Beyond being a brilliant performer, he made acting look like a total blast. You can read my piece here.

'Transformers: The Last Knight' Review


That's how I felt too, Mark.

I remain absolutely dazzled by Michael Bay's next-level aesthetic. Like it or not, nobody makes action sequences with such frenetic expertise as he does. But when the movie's this junky, well, who cares? I reviewed Transformers: The Last Knight for Screen International.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Talking Cars, Legendary Rappers, Crazy Gals


Many new movies to discuss on this week's episode. We split on Cars 3. We agree on All Eyez on Me. We agree about Rough Night. And I talk to Will about my experience of watching The Book of Henry. A lot of fun, and it's all right here.

Friday, June 16, 2017

'Becoming Cary Grant' and Our Obsession With Movie Stars' Dark Origin Stories


The Showtime documentary Becoming Cary Grant examines the hidden demons underneath the smooth, polished glamour of the beloved Hollywood legend. It got me thinking about the public's desire to build up celebrities and then convince ourselves that they're not that great. Grant may be our most visible example of that phenomenon. My piece is up at MEL.

Digable Planets - "Black Ego"

Sampling Grant Green's "Luanna's Theme," this standout track from Digable Planets' second album, Blowout Comb, has popped into my brain every once in a while ever since my then-roommate bought the record back in 1994. That's right, baby.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

'What the Flick?!': Talking 'Cars 3,' 'Rough Night' and 'It Comes at Night'

It's been far too long since I've guested on What the Flick?! I had a blast with Alonso, Christy and Ben, and we dig into Cars 3 (ugh), Rough Night (eh) and It Comes at Night (great). Check out the videos below.






'All Eyez on Me' Review


What a stunning disappointment All Eyez on Me is. A biopic of Tupac Shakur's short, tragic life, the film is long and uninspired, detailing the rapper's story without much flair or insight. Demetrius Shipp Jr. looks a lot Tupac, but the movie has no sense of his brilliance. I reviewed All Eyez on Me for Paste.

Has Pixar Just Made Its Worst Movie?


That's the case I make over at Paste, going into detail about precisely why Cars 3 makes me so sad. Is it a terrible movie? No. But it's a lazy one ... and for a studio this great, that's just as unforgivable. You can read my piece here.

My Dad Taught Me How (Not) to Drink


For Father's Day, MEL is having its contributors write about their dads and drinking. This required me to do something I've never done, which is talk to my dad about alcohol. He doesn't drink ... at all. Literally, he's never had a drink. Am I a chip off the old block? I talk about that in my MEL essay.

'The Book of Henry' Review


The Book of Henry premiered last night at L.A. Film Festival. The movie, from Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, has been carrying bad buzz for a while, and now that I've seen it ... well, I can see why. A bad movie by any measurement, it's also a fairly audacious one, about a single mom (Naomi Watts) who's raising two kids, one of whom is a genius. Few films try to combine the tearjerker and the Hitchcockian thriller: The Book of Henry gets points for being bold, I suppose. But as I explain in my Screen International review, this movie is still a mess.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Digging Into 'The Mummy,' 'It Comes at Night' and 'Shadow of a Doubt'



For whatever reason, Will and I haven't had any major disagreements on the podcast in a while. (Our last epic one was Rogue One.) But we don't see eye-to-eye at all on It Comes at Night. We talk about it -- and we (kinda, sorta) defend The Mummy. And then, in our Reboot segment, we take a look back at Shadow of a Doubt. You can hear the whole thing here.

Monday, June 12, 2017

'Cars 3' Review


If I may, a brief timeline of my feelings about the Cars movies...

2006: "Hey, Cars, isn't amazing, but it's good, OK? Lay off it!"
2011: "Oh, god, Cars 2 was terrible. What were they thinking?"
2017: "Was the first Cars any good? I don't honestly remember anymore."

Cars 3 is less irritating than its predecessor, but it's far more boring, which probably makes it worse. I reviewed the film for Screen International.