Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Previewing the 2020 Sundance Film Festival

Heading off to Sundance in the morning. On this week's podcast, I highlight five films I'm very intrigued to see. Talk to you from Park City.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Burying 'Bad Boys for Life' and 'Dolittle,' Praising 'In the Bedroom'

The podcast is back. This week, we review the new Bad Boys film and lament what went wrong with Dolittle. Then, in our Reboot section, we take a look back at 2001's In the Bedroom. Hear the whole thing down below.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Which Jean-Luc Picard 'Star Trek' Movie Is Best?

With Picard about to debut on CBS All Access, we took a look back at Patrick Stewart's Star Trek films. My big takeaway: On the whole, they weren't as good as they should have been. Read all about it over at SyFy.

(And, yes, that is Tom Hardy in the photo with Stewart. He's sorta rocking some Ezra Miller vibes, right?)

Some Thoughts on 'Bad Boys for Life'

What's it like not to enjoy any of the Bad Boys movies? Let me tell you all about it. (I also provided some background on "Bad Boys" the song -- you know, the theme from Cops.)

Friday, January 17, 2020

Alicia Keys - "Time Machine"

One person's superstar is another person's "Oh, she's still around?" After noticing her for the first time, as was the case with most listeners, on Songs in A Minor, Alicia Keys has largely fallen off my radar. Sure, I remember the Keys shout-out in that Bob Dylan song. And I think she's actually the MVP of "Empire State of Mind." (Also, right, the two-piano trick on the Grammys was fun.) But her subsequent albums escaped my notice, even though she kept going multi-platinum. Obviously, others were paying attention and enjoying what they were hearing. So with A.L.I.C.I.A. on the way, I promise to put her back on my radar. And who doesn't love a good funked-up rollerskating jam?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

My Interview With Geno McDermott, Director of 'Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez'

Killer Inside is a troubling, open-ended look into the final years of the New England Patriots receiver's life. For MEL, I spoke with director Geno McDermott, who isn't after easy theories. After all this time, he remains as confused about Hernandez's motivations as the rest of us. Our interview is here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

'Dolittle' Review

I've spent some time with writer-director Stephen Gaghan. He's a smart guy. But his latest film is a disaster. Here's my review of Dolittle.

'Bad Boys for Life' Review

I'm surprised some of my colleagues have been so lenient on the third chapter of the Bad Boys franchise. I wasn't much of a fan.

Monday, January 13, 2020

My LAFCA Awards Presentation for Noah Baumbach

On Saturday at the InterContinental in Century City, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association held our 45th annual awards banquet. (Our full list of winners is here.) I was honored to present our Best Screenplay prize to Noah Baumbach for Marriage Story. Here's what I said from the stage:
What happens to love when a relationship ends? Does it wither away and die? Or can it evolve into something else?

Those questions are at the heart of Noah Baumbach’s wonderful, wry screenplay about the complexity and anguish of divorce. Yet his movie is called Marriage Story because, even though the main characters, Charlie and Nicole, are splitting up, they aren’t entirely going their separate ways. Because they have a child, their relationship is simply changing — they’re no longer man and wife, but they have to figure out how to still be a family.

Baumbach has always been a sharp, sometimes caustic writer, but in Marriage Story there’s also an incredible amount of compassion and tenderness — alongside some really terrific jokes about Los Angeles. This film does not take sides in its depiction of Charlie and Nicole — we care about both of them, but understand why they don’t fit together anymore.

If the story has a villain, it’s the divorce-industrial complex itself — the lawyers and legal mechanisms that can tear up lives and turn former soul mates against one another, convincing them that they’re better off alone. It’s a miracle anyone gets through that process in one piece. And so we worry about Charlie and Nicole: Amidst the custody battles and screaming matches, can they somehow hold onto what first bonded them so long ago?

An epic of intimacy, Marriage Story pinpoints the small acts of kindness, the nagging insecurities and failures, the flashes of joy and sorrow that make up a relationship — the things we share with another person, even after they’ve moved on. It’s a film about the end of love — and the echoes of love that still linger. It’s very funny but it’s also very bittersweet. It is a movie about marriage, but it’s also a movie about being alive.
"They'll catch the Sondheim reference at the end," Susan assured me. "Don't worry." She was right. Very happy to have Baumbach and Greta Gerwig at our banquet. She accepted our Career Achievement prize for Elaine May, who was unable to attend.

(Photo by Matt Harbicht.)