Monday, January 23, 2017
Why did I have faith in Wilson? This movie, based on the Daniel Clowes graphic novel, stars Woody Harrelson as the titular grump. Look, everybody, he acts in misanthropic ways! Hilarious! Sigh. My review is live at Screen International.
I've reviewed more documentaries at this Sundance than I normally do. (Usually, I avoid them if I can so that I can see more features. Then, I catch up at True/False.) But I'm sure happy I saw the terrific Casting JonBenet. It's a movie about Ramsey's killing -- but not exactly. Compassionate, smart, fascinating ... it's the whole package. My review is up at Screen International.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
No, this documentary has nothing to do with Star Wars. The Force chronicles the troubles plaguing the Oakland Police Department, and what's best about the film is how it gets your hopes up about reforming a corrupt police force -- just so that it can then dash those hopes. My review is up at Screen International.
A haunted-house love story told with stripped-down realism, A Ghost Story is really something. The new film from writer-director David Lowery is his strongest work yet, chronicling what happens when a husband (Case Affleck) dies but can't let go of his wife (Rooney Mara). I'm still thinking about the pie scene. You can read my review over at Screen International.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
On this week's installment of the Grierson & Leitch podcast, it's time to make our guesses about what films and performances will be nominated for Academy Awards. (Reminder: The nominations come out Tuesday.) Plus, in our Reboot segment, we tackle Gangs of New York and To Die For. I really liked this episode: Check it out for yourself.
Steve Guttenberg was a man with many hit films in the 1980s. And then, everything went dry for the guy. Did he change? Or the era? I dig into these questions for my latest "Misleading Men" column for MEL. I hope you enjoy.
Whose Streets? takes you back to the painful first few days, weeks and months after the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police. This is a raw documentary that doesn't care about being elegant or composed -- it's meant to be an unfiltered blast of pain and anger. Mission accomplished. I reviewed the film for Screen International.
My dirty little secret is that I never thought Jessica Williams was that great on The Daily Show. Which is why you should trust me when I say she's great in The Incredible Jessica James, a smart romantic comedy in which she and Chris O'Dowd play new lovers who are also still dealing with their exes. Williams has real star power, as I explain in my Screen International review.
The Yellow Birds is an Iraq War movie, and I can imagine many will say, "Oh, lord, another one of those?" Well, yes, but this is a good one. Plus, the film is a nice reminder of what a superb actor Alden Ehrenreich is. I reviewed The Yellow Birds for Screen International.
The Discovery is the new movie from Charlie McDowell, who last made The One I Love. This one has a sci-fi premise as well: What would happen to humanity if we proved there was an afterlife? I loved the concept, but the execution is only so-so. My review is live at Screen International.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Friday, January 13, 2017
Sometimes, relationships are held together by the flimsiest of reasons -- a shared love of a sports team, interest in the same hobby. But what happens if the individuals stop being into the same things? Chance's "Same Drugs" takes that idea in a great direction, chronicling a romance that's ended, in part, because he and his girl aren't doing the same drugs anymore. That's a funny conceit -- but look how poignant he makes it, too.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
For our first podcast of the new year, Will and I respond to a bunch of listener questions. This is one of my favorite episodes we've done so far -- it's a good FAQ for our philosophy on movies and criticism. (Plus, you get to hear a little of our backstory.) Later, for our Reboot segment, we tackle Michael Mann's Heat. I thought it was overrated then -- and I still do. Hear Episode 50 here.
I come to you bearing three different lists that look at this year's most-anticipated movies. For Rolling Stone, I helped out with a rundown of 2017's 50 biggest films. For MEL, I highlighted 10 films coming out this year that aren't based on anything. (This is a harder list to compile than you might think.) And at The New Republic, Will and I spend a little time analyzing 10 movies that most intrigue us in 2017. Dive in! Enjoy!
A horror movie coming out in January is usually not a good sign. And so it is with The Bye Bye Man, which has jumped around the release schedule a few times. It's got a clever idea and some potentially intriguing commentary. But does the movie live up to its premise? No, not at all. I reviewed the film for Screen International.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The Flaming Lips have been around since the early 1980s, and over the years their style has morphed. When I saw them back in 1993 -- on a bill with Butthole Surfers and Stone Temple Pilots -- they were a loud, guitar-heavy alternative-rock unit. By the end of the decade, they were more symphonic/philosophical in their approach. Now, we recognize the band for its glitter-and-hand-puppets live shows, with frontman Wayne Coyne acting as leader of this group of merry pranksters. With Oczy Mlody coming out Friday, I went through the Lips' back catalog to find their best deep cuts. The results are live over at MEL.