Saturday, April 28, 2018

'Press Play With Madeleine Brand': Reviews of 'Kings,' 'Disobedience' and 'Avengers: Infinity War'

Always fun to be on Press Play -- it just occurred to me, they should call the show On Brand -- to talk movies. On Friday, I shared the mic with Roth Cornet to review Avengers: Infinity War, as well as two English-language debuts. First up is Mustang's Deniz Gamze Erg├╝ven, whose Kings is an unfortunate disaster. Then, there's Sebastian Lelio, who won the Oscar for A Fantastic Woman, who is back with Disobedience, starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams. You can hear the whole thing here.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Janelle Monae - 'Dirty Computer' Film Review

I've been excitedly waiting for everyone to finally see the short film Janelle Monae made to accompany her new album, Dirty Computer. At last, it has premiered on BET and MTV. Today, for Rolling Stone, I break down the film's many sci-fi tropes, while explaining how Monae uses the genre's conventions to tell a very personal story about liberation and self-realization. Had a lot of fun with this; you can read it right here.

Dr. Octagon - "Earth People"

I'm still bummed I had to miss seeing these guys live a few months ago. While I wrap my head around their new album, Moosebumps, here's one of my favorites off Dr. Octagonecologyst.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Salute to the Marvel Actors Who Don't Play Superheroes

For this week's Debate Club, we pay tribute to the Clark Greggs and Natalie Portmans: the actors in Marvel movies who just play regular ol' normal people. Our Top 5 is over at SyFy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Mom Loves the Marvel Movies

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters Friday. My mom is very excited about that. Growing up, I never thought of my mom as a big action-movie fan, so I was sorta surprised how tapped in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe she is. So, for MEL, I decided to talk to her about where this Marvel love came from. You can read all about it here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Amy Schumer, Super Troopers and 'Lost in Translation'

On this week's episode, Will and I discuss I Feel Pretty. Then, we take turns soloing: He tells me about Kodachrome, and I tell him about Super Troopers 2. Finally, we look back at Lost in Translation. I have much to say about that film. You can hear the whole conversation down below.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tribeca 2018: 'O.G.' Review

Jeffrey Wright is great in O.G., a prison drama that was filmed in an actual prison and stars real-life prisoners. The behind-the-scenes story proves more interesting than the one in front of the camera, though. My review is up at Screen International.

Tribeca 2018: 'Jellyfish' Review

It would have been easier to love Jellyfish, a spare British drama, if it had been just a tad bit more original. Alas, this well-acted and thoughtful film about a young woman fighting to keep her family financially afloat was just too familiar for my taste. My review is up at Screen International.

Some Thoughts on 'Super Troopers 2'

Why do we hold stoner comedies to a different standard than other movies? What happens if men take female sexual enhancement pills? Why do movies think gag reels are a good idea? These were some of the questions that popped into my head while watching Super Troopers 2. I wrote about all that, and more, for MEL.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Pharcyde - "Passin' Me By"

Damn, I still need to read my buddy Andrew Barker's book about Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

'I Feel Pretty' Review

Amy Schumer has been struggling of late. Snatched wasn't funny, her most recent season of Inside Amy Schumer was a disappointment, and I thought her Netflix special stunk. So I am relieved that her new film, I Feel Pretty, is pretty decent. Still, I had some major issues with this comedy, which I talk about over at Screen International.

My Interview With Chloe Zhao, the Director of 'The Rider'

For MEL, I chatted with writer-director Chloe Zhao, who's received excellent reviews for The Rider. We talked about masculinity, horses, rodeos, CTE and dating. You can read our Q&A right here.

Who Was the Best Superman Actor?

Will and I rank the top five over at SyFy.

My Interview With the Directors of 'I Am Evidence'

For MEL, I spoke with documentarians Geeta Gandbhir and Trish Adlesic about their film I Am Evidence, which examines the fact that, across the country, hundreds of thousands of rape kits are not being tested. As a result, serial rapists are free to continue hurting people without fear of prosecution. But as the movie demonstrates, that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to America's shameful treatment of sexual assault victims. My interview is here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: The Rock, The Android, 'The Rider' and 'Borg vs McEnroe'

We tackle five movies on this week's podcast. Will and I both review Rampage and Come Sunday. I go solo on The Rider and Borg vs McEnroe. And then, in our Reboot section, we look back at A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Oh, and I also go off on Netflix. You can hear the whole thing down below.

Monday, April 16, 2018

F. Murray Abraham Remembers Milos Forman

My job can be unpredictable. The sad passing of Oscar-winning filmmaker Milos Forman caused me to unexpectedly be on the phone with the great F. Murray Abraham, who won Best Actor for Amadeus, to talk about the director and their time together. Abraham was in a thoughtful, melancholy mood when we spoke last night. He was generous with his time and full of stories. I was sorry for the reason for our talk, but I greatly enjoyed the opportunity. Abraham's reminiscence is up at Rolling Stone.

Some Thoughts on 'Rampage'

Why is Rampage's best sequence its opening? Was the old Rampage video game any good? Why do we love Dwayne Johnson but continue to tolerate his mediocre movies? I answer those questions, and others, over at MEL.

Friday, April 13, 2018

'Truth or Dare' Review

How, exactly, did I forget to post my review of Truth or Dare? Was the movie so forgettable? Well ... yeah, actually. But if you're interested, it's live over at Screen International.

Geowulf - "Saltwater"

Because we live in an era when musicians make nothing on album sales and have to tour like dogs to eke out an existence, landing a song in a commercial is huge. The old rules of "selling out" no longer apply. And, on occasion, you get turned onto a pleasant little piece of pop you would have missed out on otherwise.

So, thanks, Corona, for introducing me to Geowulf. Is it summer yet?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Who Played Lex Luthor Best?

This week's Debate Club tries to answer that question. Our findings are over at SyFy.

Is Shia LaBeouf Due for a Comeback?

Stop it. Stop asking dumb questions like that. I think LaBeouf, who's in the new tennis film Borg vs McEnroe, can be a really good actor. I like the guy. But, seriously, what is our obsession with comeback narratives? I wrote about that for MEL.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

'Rampage' Review

Dwayne Johnson makes lots of movies. I don't like many of them, although I always enjoy him. Rampage is his latest. I continue feeling the same about him and his movies. My review is up at Screen International.

Some Thoughts on 'Blockers'

For MEL, I riffed on Blockers, which I don't think is funny enough. I explored the history of the term "cock-blocking." I celebrated Hollywood's first cinematic evidence of butt-chugging. And I tried to figure out if John Cena is going to be huge or not. You can read my thoughts here.

'Come Sunday' Review

I saw Come Sunday back at Sundance and thought this...

This biopic of Bishop Carlton Pearson, a minister who came to believe that sinners weren't destined for Hell, hits Netflix (and a few theaters) this Friday. I watched the movie again for Screen International ... and ended up feeling the same as I did at Sundance. You can read my review here.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Some Thoughts on 'A Quiet Place'

Over at MEL, I dig into A Quiet Place. Why are we obsessed with watching married couples play married couples? Why does the post-apocalyptic thriller always make life so terrible on the dad character? And what can other movies learn about the power of silence? Those thoughts and others are here.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'A Quiet Place, 'Blockers,' 'You Were Never Really Here' and 'Lean on Pete'

On this week's episode, we review four new films. I like three of them. You can hear the whole thing down below.

Friday, April 06, 2018

My Interview With Joaquin Phoenix and Lynne Ramsay for 'You Were Never Really Here'

On Thursday around 12:30pm, Southern California was hit with a magnitude 5.3 earthquake. At that moment, I was in the middle of a sit-down interview with Joaquin Phoenix and director Lynne Ramsay to discuss their fantastic film, You Were Never Really Here, which was a huge hit at Cannes. (He won Best Actor. She won Best Screenplay.) The temblor added a little excitement to our very fun chat. You can read the whole thing over at Rolling Stone.

Kacey Musgraves - "Slow Burn"

Golden Hour is one of the best-reviewed albums of this new year, and it's easy to see why: Just about every track on the Kacey Musgraves record comes bearing an identifiable hook, indelible and undeniable.

Here's the opening cut, which is a nice little thesis statement for the whole album. Took me a second to realize "Born in a hurry, always late / Haven't been early since '88" was a pretty dynamite way of telling the world you're about to turn 30.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Superman and His Villains

For this week's Debate Club, Will and I dig into the best bad guys in Superman movies. Yes, Batman made the list. You can see the whole rundown over at SyFy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

'A Quiet Place' Review

I think A Quiet Place is very good. However ... I have one reservation. I talk about that over at Paste.

'Lean on Pete' Review

For Paste, I reviewed the moving drama Lean on Pete, which features an exciting breakout performance from Charlie Plummer. (You may remember him from All the Money in the World.) I think the film's pretty darn great.

'The Office': Who's Had the Best Career Since the Show?

I'll be writing more about John Krasinski's A Quiet Place later this week. But for MEL, I decided to dig into the casts of both the U.K. and U.S. versions of The Office to see who's had the most successful career. Of course, "successful" is such a subjective term that it's impossible to measure these things with any scientific accuracy. But, on the other hand, that also makes exercises like this more interesting. You can read my rankings here.

Monday, April 02, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Nostalgia, 'Real Genius' and 'Labyrinth'

A movie about '80s nostalgia and two Reboot films from the '80s: Welcome to this week's episode. Will and I review Ready Player One, and then we look back at Real Genius and Labyrinth. You can hear the whole thing down below.

What's Al Pacino's Best Performance?

That's the question Will and I try to answer over at Vulture. Lots and lots movies, people. But I think we got No. 1 right.

Some Thoughts on 'Ready Player One'

Over at MEL, I riffed on Ready Player One, offering a grab bag of random observations. I wrote about the toxicity of nostalgia, Spielberg's problem endings his movies and Room 237. I even worked in a reference to a personal favorite Cheers episode. Read the whole thing here.

True/False 2018: The Rankings and the Rundown

A little later than normal, but Paste published my annual rundown of True/False, which remains one of my favorite events on the movie calendar. You can read all 6,200 words right here. In addition, here's my ranking of everything I saw at the festival...

18. Our New President
17. Playing Men
16. Caniba
15. American Animals 
14. Three Identical Strangers
13. The Rider
12. Kinshasa Makambo  
11. Voices of the Sea
9. The Family
8. Of Fathers and Sons
7. Hale County This Morning, This Evening  
6. Shirkers
5. Black Mother 
4. Bisbee '17
3. Won't You Be My Neighbor?
2. The Task
1. Makala

An embarrassment of riches topped by three utterly different documentaries. Can't wait for the 2019 edition. And can't wait to see Makala again, which Kino Lorber will be releasing at some point this year.