Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Radiohead - "Lotus Flower"

Happy holidays, folks. This isn't the best or worst video of 2011, but it's the one I'll probably remember the most as feeling like 2011.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'The Flowers of War' review

The Flowers of War is the second Chinese production to hit the U.S. this year about the Nanjing Massacre. The first was the brilliant, unforgettable City of Life and Death. The latest is The Flowers of War, the mediocre new drama from director Zhang Yimou and star Christian Bale. You can't fault the intentions, but you sure can fault the execution, which has a lot to do with Zhang's overly bombastic, spectacle-rich storytelling style. Everything's too operatic, too showy -- and yet, weirdly, it hardly resonates at all. I reviewed The Flowers of War for The Village Voice.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wye Oak - "Holy Holy"

With Pazz & Jop just around the corner, I'm working on my list of the year's best albums and songs. Which led me back to Wye Oak's Civilian. Great stuff ... here's "Holy Holy."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked' review

The day before this year's LAFCA awards vote, I spent time watching Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Well, you can't say I'm not thorough when it comes to making sure I see just about everything out there in the world of movies. And I have to admit that Chipwrecked isn't the worst thing I've seen all year. Top Five, definitely, but not the worst. I reviewed the film for Screen International, which allowed me to at least say a few nice things about Jenny Slate, who does the best she can in this tediously terrible kids' movie. Hey, a girl needs to earn a living, right?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' review

Yup, that's Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a movie I liked quite a lot. I definitely prefer it to the original Swedish version from a few years ago, although I wish David Fincher's new take ended a little better than it does. (Honestly, I wish both movies had better endings.) Do I think Dragon Tattoo needs to be over two-and-a-half-hours long? Not really: As popular as the original books are, these don't quite seem like epic stories that require that sort of extended running time. Still, it's Fincher being Fincher, which is more than good enough for me. My review is up at Screen International.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Albert Pujols Is No Longer a Cardinal

The news I'd been expecting since the final out of the World Series happened Thursday: Albert Pujols left the St. Louis Cardinals to sign with another team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Unlike some Cardinal fans, I'm taking the news in stride. I think it makes sense for St. Louis not to be burdened with an expensive contract that will carry Pujols through his later, less-effective years. Rick Chandler over at NBC Sports asked me (among others) to react to the Pujols news. You can read that here.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - "No One Is (As I Are Be)"

Yeah, I still love the guy after all this time. And who can resist these lines: "I cannot even do one sit-up. Sit-ups are so bourgeoisie"?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' review

To call the new Mission: Impossible the best of the series isn't that much of a stretch. To be honest, I've never really loved any of them. (Before this one, I would have probably gone with the J.J. Abrams third installment simply because it was the least ponderous and/or self-important.) But director Brad Bird puts together some pretty fantastic action sequences in Ghost Protocol. And Tom Cruise remains forever young. And, good lord, the IMAX is just stunning: I see now why Christopher Nolan wanted to do The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX instead of 3D. My Ghost Protocol review is up at Screen International.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

'New Year's Eve' review

For what it's worth, I didn't think Valentine's Day was the worst thing in the world. Now, that's not to say that I liked it  the last sentence of Karina Longworth's review sums it up pretty nicely but, trust me, I've seen far, far worse. Like New Year's Eve, for instance, which made me hate my life and everything that's good and decent. It's not that this latest comedy from Garry Marshall is incompetent and lazy: It's that it's insufferably smug about it. I rip into the film over at Screen International.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Saying Goodbye to The Projector

Today, I got the sad news that Yahoo is pulling the plug on The Projector, the film site I ran with Will Leitch. As many of you know, Will and I grew up together and have been passionate about movies from an early age. Getting to run a site with a lifelong friend was a dream come true, and so you can imagine how heartbroken I am at the moment.

Still, I'd like to take a moment to thank Mark Lisanti and Courtney Reimer for being great editors. It was a pleasure, you guys, and I'm glad to have been part of this endeavor with you.

Also, I wanted to thank everyone who has reached out to let me know how much they enjoyed the site. It means a lot. You have no idea what a fantastic time Will and I had every day at The Projector.

It really isn't my style to be too self-promotional -- even writing this blog post makes me a little queasy -- but I want to say that, fear not, I'll continue to be writing reviews for Screen International.

And, seriously, Will: What a blast that was. Let's do it again soon.

Chic - "I Want Your Love"

Seriously, see Shame as soon as you can. A fantastic film. In honor of Shame, let's do some "I Want Your Love," which shows up on the movie's soundtrack.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

'coriolanus' review

Ralph Fiennes is an absolute monster in the bloody, gripping Coriolanus. It's the sort of Shakespeare adaptation that inspires "this isn't your mother's Coriolanus" kinds of raves, but it is a movie that feels vital and engaging in ways that some recent Bard remakes haven't. My review is up at Yahoo.