Friday, June 29, 2018

Janelle Monae – "Make Me Feel"

Have a great weekend, everyone. This is the best song of the first half of 2018.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

When Funny Actors Get Serious

Over at SyFy, we pick five great genre performances in which normally comedic actors had to do drama. No. 1 was very, very easy. You can read the whole thing here.

'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Review

I wasn't much of a fan of the first Ant-Man. So I was pleased by how much more I enjoyed Ant-Man and the Wasp. The trick, it seems to me, is that this sequel is relatively modest by the standards of Marvel blockbusters. It's winningly small-scaled, you might say. My review is up at Screen International.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Inside the Making of the Great 'Eastern Promises' Fight Scene

Over at MEL, they're doing Fight Week, devoting a handful of articles to all things involving punching, fighting, wrestling and other bare-knuckle pursuits. So I wrote about Eastern Promises, which features one of the best recent fight sequences. You know, the one with Viggo Mortensen battling some Chechen thugs in a bathhouse while he's completely naked. I spoke to some of the crew who worked on set to hear their stories. You can read the whole thing here.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Some Thoughts on 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'

Over at MEL, I make the somewhat ridiculous contention that I could star in a Jurassic Park movie and it would make about as much money as it would if it starred Chris Pratt. I also have thoughts about Jeff Goldblum and high heels. You can read the whole thing here.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Dinosaurs, 'A Serious Man' and 'The Ringer'

On this week's episode, we talk about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Then, in our Reboot segment, we come to praise A Serious Man and bury The Ringer. You can hear the whole podcast down below.

Friday, June 22, 2018

James Brown - "Give It Up or Turnit a Loose"

Yesterday, the mighty KEXP devoted an entire day to It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, playing every track from the seminal Public Enemy album but also playing every song sampled on the record. As was commented on during the programming, a celebration of Nation of Millions is also a celebration of James Brown, whose tracks and beats help form that masterpiece's rhythmic spine. Clap your hands, stomp your feet.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' Review

The sequel to 2015's Sicario is ruthless efficient. It also kinda annoyed me. I explain why in my Screen International review.

What's the Best Genre Spoof?

For Debate Club, we've already broken down the best sci-fi spoofs and superhero spoofs. This week, we pay homage to the funniest parodies in other genres. That means Westerns, disaster movies and what have you. Check out the list over at SyFy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My Interview With Jason Kohn, the Director of 'Love Means Zero'

Love Means Zero profiles Nick Bollettieri, one of tennis's greatest (and most feared) coaches. For MEL, I spoke with director Jason Kohn about our society's no-pain-no-gain philosophy for teaching young people how to become champions. We also discussed participation trophies, Andre Agassi and (surprisingly) Ran. You can read the whole thing here.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Pixar Superheroes, Lame Bromances and 'Before Midnight'

This week's podcast feels like it's stuck in a time warp. Incredibles 2 is the sequel to a movie that came out in 2004. Tag could have easily come out 10 years ago, back when bromances were a big deal. And Before Midnight is the latest (last?) movie in a series that began in 1995. You can hear the whole episode down below.

Some Thoughts on 'Incredibles 2'

Epilepsy. Corporate partnerships. The relative resilience of the Pixar brand. The questionable parental abilities of Mr. Incredible. I cover all that in my Monday morning thoughts on Incredibles 2, which you can read over at MEL.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Max Richter - "Dream 3 (In the Midst of My Life)"

On July 27 and 28, Los Angeles will play host to Sleep, an overnight event from composer Max Richter, where he performs his eight-and-a-half-hour album in its entirety while attendees lie on cots underneath the stars. It sounds like an incredible experience.

Ever since these shows were announced, I've been listening to Sleep as part of my regular Spotify playlist of new and notable music. It's broken up into 31 tracks, so as all my different songs are on shuffle, I'll occasionally land on one of Richter's calming, contemplative compositions. They instantly put me in a better mood -- I always feel more relaxed. And when the news is as soul-crushingly terrible as it's been lately, I need whatever relaxation I can find.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

'Tag' Review

More like Sag. I reviewed this so-so bromance for Screen International.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Funniest Performances in the Tensest Movies

For this week's Debate Club, we rank the five best comedic performances from supporting characters in genre movies. Action films and horror movies are so tense that, sometimes, you need something funny to happen. That's where these actors come in. You can check out the list over at SyFy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Jon Hamm, Funny Actor

Years later, Jon Hamm is still best known for his role as Don Draper on the AMC drama Mad Men. This has not stopped him from branching out into comedy, again and again. With Tag hitting theaters Friday, I looked back at his attempts to be funny. My findings are up at MEL.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Some Thoughts on 'Ocean's 8'

For MEL, I dove deep on Ocean's 8, focusing on why I think the movie didn't suffer the same fate as the all-female Ghostbusters. I also have some thoughts about Anne Hathaway and George Clooney. You can read the whole thing here.

'Incredibles 2' Review

Of the Pixar movies, The Incredibles has never been one of my all-time favorites. It's very entertaining, but it's not as emotionally stunning as the company's best work. So, what did I think of the sequel? My review is live at Screen International.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Ocean's 8,' 'Hereditary,' 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' and 'Before Sunset'

On this week's episode, we talk about three new movies: the ones with the women pulling a heist, the one with the woman whose house may be haunted, and the one about the kindly television host. Then, in our Reboot segment, we look back at Before Sunset. Up next week: Before Midnight. You can hear the whole show below.

What's the Best Comedy of the 21st Century?

Rolling Stone tapped a group of talented writers, including yours truly, to write about the 21st century's 50 best comedies. I had no say over the rankings, but I was happy to discuss Shaun of the Dead, Step Brothers, Anchorman, The Lego Movie and The Lobster. You can read the whole list here.

Friday, June 08, 2018

'Press Play With Madeleine Brand': Heists, Horror and 'Artemis Hotel'

I always have a lovely time hanging out with Madeleine. Today, April Wolfe and I were on KCRW to review Ocean's 8, Hereditary and Artemis Hotel. You can hear the whole thing here.

Paul Simon - "Crazy Love Vol. II (Paul Oakenfold Extended Remix)"

Like a lot of people, I thought the idea of a Graceland dance remix was an abomination. But while the results are pretty uneven, there are a couple tracks I dig. Especially this one.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

'Ocean's 8' Review

I'm praying that Ocean's 8 doesn't face the same online nonsense that befell the 2016 all-female reboot of Ghostbusters. As for the film, it's good, but not great. My review is up at Paste.

What's the Best Heist Film?

In honor of Ocean's 8, Will and I wrote about the 25 greatest heist movies. Will yours make the list? Probably not: Feel free to yell at us on social media. The piece is up at Vulture.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Review

You know what? I think I'm just kinda over Jurassic Park movies. The latest, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is less terrible than 2015's Jurassic World. I still didn't like it, though. My review is up at Paste.

I Asked My Female Friends About Gender-Flip Blockbusters

This Friday, Ocean's 8 opens. It's part of a recent trend to take movies starring male characters and flipping them to women. I was really curious how my female colleagues felt about this, so for MEL I reached out to a bunch of them for their thoughts. You can read their smart, funny responses right here.

My Interview With Morgan Neville, Director of 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?'

Like a lot of people, I cried while watching the new Fred Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? For MEL, I chatted with its director, Morgan Neville, about that and how we as a culture have perceived the beloved TV show host. Was he a massive wimp? Or was he simply kind? You can read my interview here.

'Hotel Artemis' Review

Hotel Artemis is a pretty middling dystopian drama about a Los Angeles hotel that is, in fact, a secret hospital for criminals. That's a decent idea, and it stars Jodie Foster, but I wasn't impressed with the execution. My review is up at Screen International.

What's the Funniest Sci-Fi Spoof?

For this week's Debate Club, we look at sci-fi satires. Which one's the best? Spaceballs? Galaxy Quest? Our answers can be found over at SyFy.

Monday, June 04, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Your Mailbag Questions, 'Before Sunrise' and 'Kindergarten Cop'

It's a slow movie week, so we decided to answer a bunch of listener questions. Lots of good stuff in there. Then, for our Reboot segment, we look back at Before Sunrise (still amazing) and Kindergarten Cop (better than expected). Check out the whole thing down below.

Some Thoughts on Kanye West and 'Ye'

Kanye West released his latest album, Ye, on Friday. For MEL, I wrote about why I still love the guy. I also talked about the apparent comeback of short albums, the strangeness of listening parties, and the two artists I feel especially bad for this week. Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

My Interview With John Cameron Mitchell

Can it really be 20 years since Hedwig and the Angry Inch came into our lives? Its star and writer, John Cameron Mitchell, has gone on to a quirky film career, which continues with the recent How to Talk to Girls at Parties.

My latest MEL Conversation is devoted to the actor/DJ/director. We talked about a lot of stuff: why Americans are still freaked out about sex, why Hedwig has endured, what he feels about identity politics, and how he and his parents finally mended fences late in their lives. I enjoyed our time on the phone immensely. You can read my interview here.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Neko Case - "Hell-On"

Happy New Neko Case Album Day, everyone.