Friday, February 17, 2017

'Logan' Review

Logan would seem perfectly suited to my sensibility. It's a comic book film that's gritty and grownup, and it features Hugh Jackman as Wolverine for the very last time. And yet, I found myself indifferent to the movie's dark charms. My review is up at Screen International.

Talking Heads - "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)"

I still don't understand why this song wasn't a single.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

'The Great Wall' Review

The Great Wall -- or Matt Damon in a Ponytail -- is a very silly monster movie slightly redeemed by the fact that it's directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou. The thing has a ton of spectacle, and the monsters are pretty darn scary. But, seriously, good lord. Read all about it over at The New Republic.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Sequels and Spinoffs

There's no Reboot films on this week's Grierson & Leitch podcast. That's because we have three new movies to discuss. I liked The Lego Batman Movie a little more than Will did, and he liked John Wick: Chapter 2 a little more than I did. But we both preferred them to Fifty Shades Darker. You can check out the whole thing here.

Monday, February 13, 2017

An Ode to Chris Berman

Now that Chris Berman's visibility on ESPN has started to diminish, I thought it appropriate to reflect on a broadcaster I used to love. It's, frankly, embarrassing to admit that -- the adult me doesn't know what the teenage me was thinking. I try to reconcile those two parts of myself in a piece over at Paste.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Pleasures of Second Weddings and Getting Married Later in Life

MEL is doing a special issue for Valentine's Day focused around the theme of heartbreak. With that as my inspiration, I decided to write about the fact that, recently, I've been attending weddings of people getting married for a second time or getting married a bit later in life. I found these weddings incredibly moving -- and also just a lot of fun. It started making me wonder if, really, weddings are wasted on the young. I talked to some experts, I talked to my friends, I did a little research, and this is what I came up with.

Friday, February 10, 2017

'Press Play With Madeleine Brand': Legos, BDSM and 'John Wick: Chapter 2'

I was on KCRW today to talk about this weekend's big releases: The Lego Batman Movie, John Wick: Chapter 2 and Fifty Shades Darker. Alicia Malone was also on with me, and she dives into A United Kingdom and Stray Bullets. It was a fine time. Check it out here.

Adele - "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)"

As you may have heard, the Grammys are Sunday. As long as Twenty One Pilots wins nothing, I'm cool with how the evening plays out. Will Adele go home with another Album of the Year trophy? It's either 25 or Lemonade -- and I'm betting the Academy won't want to snub Beyoncé again.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

'Fifty Shades Darker' Review

I didn't mind Fifty Shades of Grey, so I was curious about the sequel. Well, if the first film was sexy and silly, this one is a little-less sexy and a lot sillier. Poor director James Foley ... this is the man who once brought Glengarry Glen Ross to the big screen. My review of Fifty Shades Darker is up at Screen International.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

SAG-AFTRA Foundation: My Conversation With Tim Roth

I have been thinking about Chronic since I saw it in Cannes in 2015. So I was thrilled to get to speak to its star, Tim Roth. Yes, we talked about the ending, so if you haven't seen Chronic, you may want to stop the video at that point. I have to say: The interpretation I'd had all this time turned out to be wrong. (I think I prefer my reading better, but I'll defer to Mr. Roth.)

This was a unique SAG-AFTRA conversation in two ways. For one, Roth didn't wait for me to bring him on stage. He just walked up and we started chatting. (I think he was excited about digging into the movie, which I was, too.) Secondly, he asked that we take questions from the audience. Normally for SAG-AFTRA, the audience writes their questions down before the screening. But in this case, Roth felt it made sense to let people engage directly after what they'd just seen. He knew they'd be affected by what happens in Chronic.

Anyway, this was a treat. Chronic has been unfairly overlooked. I hope it eventually finds its audience. 

'John Wick: Chapter 2' Review

Keanu Reeves is back and slightly better than ever in John Wick: Chapter 2. As an action movie, it's first-rate. But I do miss the lowdown simplicity of the original. My review is up at The New Republic.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Michael Clayton,' 'Other People' and Movies in the Time of Trump

Will and I got a note recently from a listener asking us to tone down all the political talk on the Grierson & Leitch podcast. We took the opportunity to discuss it on the show, and to talk about the movies that are helping us cope with the Trump administration. Plus, we dig into two Reboot films: Michael Clayton and Other People. Lots to enjoy in this week's episode. Take a listen.

My Interview With Barak Goodman, the Director of 'Oklahoma City'

Oklahoma City opened on Friday in New York and Los Angeles, and tonight it plays on PBS. The documentary recalls the horrific terrorist attack in the titular city 22 years ago, but writer-director Barak Goodman also connects the dots to previous incidents, like Ruby Ridge and Waco, which inspired the bombing. At a time when anti-government and alt-right groups are starting to sprout up, Oklahoma City is a pretty timely film. Goodman and I talked about that and several other things, including whether he has sympathy for Timothy McVeigh. You can read our interview over at MEL.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

'The Lego Batman Movie' Review

I deeply enjoyed The Lego Movie, but I was nervous about The Lego Batman Movie. Could you really make a whole film based on Will Arnett's snarky Caped Crusader caricature? Turns out that, yes, you can -- but even though this one's pretty funny, it's not nearly as inspired as the first film. My review is up at Screen International.

Donald Trump vs. the McConaissance

A lot of people didn't like Matthew McConaughey's comment that we should "embrace" the reality that Donald Trump is our president. For Paste, I wrote about the fact that people aren't just turning on the Oscar-winner because of his remarks -- they feel betrayed for believing in his comeback from a few years ago. Read all about it here.

Friday, February 03, 2017

My Interview With Raoul Peck

For Rolling Stone, I had the pleasure of speaking with Raoul Peck, the director of the Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro. We talked about Trump. We talked about James Baldwin. We talked about the perils of being creatively blocked. I enjoyed our time together very much. You can read the interview here.

Philip Glass - "Opening"

Philip Glass turned 80 this week. This is off Glassworks, which I gather is considered to be more "mainstream" Glass. Whatever: It's beautiful, with a hint of the intensity that dominates his "challenging" work.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Reviewing 'Gold,' Revisiting 'Memento'

Now that I'm back from Sundance, I've recorded the latest episode of the Grierson & Leitch podcast with Will. We talked about the festival, and we also spent some time reviewing Gold, which I have already forgotten entirely. And then, in our Reboot segment, we revisit Trading Places -- and the movie that was my No. 1 film of 2001: Memento. How does it hold up? You can hear our thoughts here.