Friday, August 31, 2007

ladrón que roba a ladrón

This Spanish-language heist film is targeted toward mainstream Latino audiences, but I can't help but think, "Hey, couldn't you come up with something better than a Ocean's Eleven knockoff with a smidgen of (rather timid) social commentary?"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

shoot 'em up

This ultraviolent, cheekily irreverent action thriller starring Clive Owen is strictly a love-it-or-hate-it affair. I'm with the lovers.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Congratulations: You've come to the blog of the only film critic in the world who actually liked War, the not-screened-for-reviews action thriller starring Jet Li and Jason Statham. My well-worded defense of the film is at Screen International.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

balls of fury

Perhaps you're on the fence about whether to invest your hard-earned dollars on Balls of Fury. Let me help make up your mind for you.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Kinski are a band from Seattle that specializes in instrumental avant-rock. Don't be scared by that description: They're actually pretty great. Down Below It's Chaos is their latest.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

closing escrow

When on vacation, my wife and I have a guilty pleasure: watching HGTV in our hotel room for hours. (Scandalous, I know.) It's easy to understand what's so compulsively watchable about the network's shows: These days, who isn't obsessed with real estate, its value, and its upkeep?

Closing Escrow, a film that opens this Friday, would seem to be perfectly situated to satirize that world, as the mockumentary follows three young couples on their misadventures through Los Angeles trying to find their dream home. But the unfunny movie barely has a brain in its head.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

the new pornographers' new album

Challengers is the fourth album from the Canadian power-pop collective. My review appears in the new issue of Under the Radar, the indie-minded music magazine. If you're looking for just a one-sentence synopsis of my feelings on it, check here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

the simpsons movie

At long last, after much worrying and cynical naysaying, The Simpsons Movie comes to us. So what did I think? Check here -- and also see my reviews of The Bourne Ultimatum, Spoon's latest album, and a great new theater piece called Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings.

Monday, August 20, 2007

foo fighters: a fond look back

The Colour and the Shape just celebrated its 10th anniversary with a new reissue, including bonus tracks. Idolator may not see the point, but I nevertheless reviewed it quite favorably over at Blender.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

death at a funeral

Discriminating comedy audiences may be hoping that Death at a Funeral, director Frank Oz's British farce, will be a respite from dumb Hollywood product. Which, I suppose, it is. But that doesn't make it worth seeking out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

howards end

The Academy, as part of its "Great To Be Nominated" series, will be showing a 70mm print of Howards End on Monday, August 20. My appreciation runs in this week's LA Weekly.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

daddy day camp

It's not a question of whether or not Daddy Day Camp is good -- it's a matter of just how bad it is. The answers are here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

looking ahead to football season

With the St. Louis Cardinals' chances for making the playoffs looking dimmer and dimmer, let's focus on the St. Louis Rams for a moment instead. I've written a preview of their upcoming season at Deadspin.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

rush hour 3 and rocket science

Both films open this Friday, catering to much different audiences. But these two movies suffer from the same problem of diminishing returns: Rush Hour 3 is but a pale shadow of its funnier first installment, while Rocket Science rides the coattails of an indie sensibility perfected in earlier films like Rushmore.

Monday, August 06, 2007

harry potter versus el-p

It wouldn't even be a fair fight: El-P would pound that sniveling little wizard. Both reside in this week's Consumables, as do reviews of La Vie en Rose and the abysmal Transformers.

Friday, August 03, 2007

no end in sight

At long last, No End in Sight, the exceptional documentary about the failures of the Bush administration in Iraq, comes to Los Angeles. My review from earlier this summer appears here.

underdog is here

If you have small children in your life, the chances are good they're dying to see Underdog, the new Walt Disney movie based on the old '60s cartoon. If you're forced to go with them, you'll have an OK time -- a ringing endorsement, I know.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

woody allen, ace film critic

Ingmar Bergman died this week, and of all the terrific appreciations of the filmmaker that have popped up since, the best probably comes from 20 years ago. Reviewing Bergman's autobiography, The Magic Lantern, in The New York Times, Woody Allen (a Bergman acolyte) discusses the man's body of work with an enthusiasm and insight that's unparalleled. Woody wasn't trying to be pretentious when he talked about how great Bergman was; he understood him to his bones.

The 1988 piece appears here. (Warning: Formatting issues cause the ending of the article to get a little wonky.)