Friday, August 31, 2018

Venice 2018: 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs' Review

Fall film festival season has officially begun. My review of the new Coen brothers film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, is up at Screen International.

The New Pornographers - "This Is the World of the Theater"

Happy Labor Day, people. Think of all the waves we're breaking.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Salute to Astronaut Movies

With First Man premiering at Venice this week, Will and I devoted our latest Debate Club to astronaut movies. Funny how many of these are about missions that go wrong. Check 'em out at SyFy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Which Jack Ryan Is Right for You?

John Krasinski plays Jack Ryan in a new Amazon series, making him the fifth actor to take on the role. For MEL, I decided to do a little research to determine what your favorite Jack says about you. My findings are here.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Naughty Puppets and 'Eternal Sunshine'

On this week's episode, we look back at summer movie season and dispense with The Happytime Murders. But then we dig into 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which remains terrific. You can hear the entire podcast down below.

Some Thoughts on 'The Happytime Murders'

America has failed Maya Rudolph.

Jim Henson's pre-Muppets career is really interesting.

People love turning innocent childhood things naughty.

These observations, and more, are part of my MEL deep-dive into The Happytime Murders. Read on.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

What's Melissa McCarthy's Best Movie?

In honor of The Happytime Murders, Will and I ranked the Oscar-nominated actress' films. You can see the results over at Vulture.

Summer Movie Season 2018: The Recap

For Rolling Stone, I wrote about Tom Cruise, Dwayne Johnson, The Meg and everything else I learned during summer movie season this year. Hope you enjoy.

Superheroes and Their Codpieces

For MEL, I wrote at length, heh, about our fascination with superheroes' genitalia. It's actually pretty fascinating: We as a society are both obsessed with costumed characters and kinda terrified by their packages. Check it out.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Tig Notaro - "Taylor Dayne"

For the second time in seven weeks, I'm seeing Tig Notaro at Largo. So let's all enjoy her bit about Taylor Dayne again.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

What's the Best Video Game Movie?

That's the question we try to answer on this week's Debate Club. Our list is now live on SyFy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

'Makala' Review

I think Makala is one of the best documentaries of the year. It opens Friday in New York and will hopefully start moving around the country from there. I make the case for the film over at Paste.

'The Happytime Murders' Review

Melissa McCarthy. Puppets. Swearing. Sex scenes. More swearing. Murder. The Happytime Murders isn't nearly as much naughty fun as it should be. My review is up at Screen International.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

My Interview With Steve James, Director of 'America to Me'

Well, this was an honor. My latest MEL Conversation is devoted to Steve James, the director of Hoop Dreams, Life Itself and the forthcoming Starz series America to Me. He's a hero of mine, and he was great company, albeit over the phone. We started off by me asking him if he considered himself an empathetic person. The conversation just flowed from there. Hope you enjoy.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Wahlberg, Singapore, 'Juliet, Naked' and 'Back to the Future'

Busy week on the podcast. First up, we review Crazy Rich Asians and Mile 22. Then, Will asks me some questions about Juliet, Naked. Finally, in our Reboot segment, we look back at Back to the Future. We've disparaged a lot of '80s movies on the podcast; I'm happy to say this one holds up. You can hear the whole show below.

Some Thoughts on 'John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection'

John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection is a documentary that opens Wednesday, examining tennis' most notorious 1980s bad boy through a different prism: as a subject on film. That proves to be kinda fascinating, which I talk about over at MEL. (I also discuss Amadeus, playing angry and essay films.)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Some Thoughts on 'Mile 22'

Is snapping rubber bands a good way to slow down your brain?

Why haven't you heard of Iko Uwais?

And why does Mark Wahlberg keep casting himself as self-pitying heroes?

I answer those questions, and more, after watching Mile 22. It's over at MEL.

An Ode to 'Dogville'

Rolling Stone is launching a new series called Revisiting Hours: "Every Friday, we’re recommending an older movie that’s available to stream or download and worth seeing again through the lens of our current moment."

I was very honored to kick off the series. Not surprisingly, I went with Dogville, which I haven't seen in its entirety in 14 years. I had a lot to write about, which you can read here.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Aretha Franklin - "Wholy Holy"

A few years ago, I was very excited about the prospect of seeing Amazing Grace, the late Sydney Pollack's documentary about the making of Aretha Franklin's 1972 live gospel album of the same name. The movie had never seen the light of day for very interesting reasons, but in 2015 it was scheduled to screen at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. Then, at the last minute, Franklin blocked the screenings for unspecified reasons. To this day, the movie remains unseen.

Ever since 2015, I've been listening to the Amazing Grace album, which is pretty terrific. Not surprisingly, I find it very good Sunday morning music. But it works any day of the week. And it's especially affecting this week.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

What's the Best Horror Film of the 21st Century?

That's the question we pose on this week's Debate Club over at SyFy. We rank the five best. Check 'em out here.

'Mile 22' Review

I remain fascinated by Peter Berg's style of action filmmaking. Lately, though, that fascination doesn't translate to actual good films. For Screen International, I reviewed Mile 22.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My Interview With Bing Liu, the Director of 'Minding the Gap'

Minding the Gap was a hit at Sundance. The documentary looks at the lives of two young skateboarders who have dealt with domestic violence. The filmmaker, Bing Liu, has too. For MEL, I spoke with Liu about living with an abusive stepfather and what skating brings to his life. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Spike Lee, Sharks and 'Four Lions'

We spent a large chunk of this week's episode discussing BlacKkKlansman before dispensing with The Meg. Then, we turned our attention to our Reboot movie, 2010's Four Lions. It still packs a sting. Listen to the show down below.

As an added bonus, here's me on TRT, out of Turkey, talking about Spike Lee's latest.

Some Thoughts on 'The Meg'

What's the best indie shark thriller?

What should you do if you're attacked by a Megalodon?

Why is The Meg the August-iest August movie ever?

I answer those questions, and more, over at MEL.

Friday, August 10, 2018

'What the Flick?!': Talking 'BlacKkKlansman' and 'The Meg'

Most of the regular What the Flick?! crew was out this week, so I joined Christy Lemire along with other special guests Katie Walsh and Tim Cogshell. We reviewed the new Spike Lee film and that shark movie. The videos are down below.

What's Jason Statham's Best Movie?

Will and I provide the answer over at SyFy.

'The Meg' Review

More like The Mehg, am I right? Anyway, here's my review of the latest Jason Statham stinker.

'Crazy Rich Asians' Review

I think Crazy Rich Asians is going to be a pretty big hit. I just wish I liked it a little more. My review is up at Screen International.

The Carters - "Apeshit"

My wife's birthday is Sunday. She does a mean Beyonce.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

I Hate the Oscars' New Awards Category

This week, the Academy's board of governors announced the Oscars would start giving out an award for "outstanding achievement in popular film." This is a terrible idea. Terrible. Terrible. I explain why over at Rolling Stone.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

My Interview With Boots Riley

Now that Sorry to Bother You has been out for a little while, I wanted to talk to its writer-director, Boots Riley. But since I'm such a big fan of his band, the Coup, I also wanted to spend a little time discussing his art and activism as a whole. (He also opened up about what it's like to be broke while making such vital work.) Our wide-ranging conversation is over at MEL.

Some Thoughts on 'Better Call Saul'

Better Call Saul returned last night. For MEL, I wrote about Bob Odenkirk, Mr. Show, Rhea Seehorn, missing Michael McKean, and our fascination with weasels. You can read the piece right here.

Monday, August 06, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Cameron Post,' Pooh and 'Zodiac'

On this week's episode, we talk briefly about The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Christopher Robin, even Better Call Saul. But we spend most of our time on our Reboot segment, where we dissect Zodiac. Check out the whole show down below.

Friday, August 03, 2018

'Christopher Robin' Review

I am predisposed to like something such as Christopher Robin, which imagines what would happen when the titular boy grows up and runs into his old pal Pooh as an adult. Alas, I wasn't a fan. I reviewed the film for Paste.

The Internet - "Come Over"

Falling for Syd's solo record Fin last year, I'm just now catching up with her band the Internet. Hive Mind is very good; I could have gone with multiple songs, but "Come Over" is the one I heard most recently, so it gets the nod.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

When CinemaScore Gets It Wrong

CinemaScore is a polling service that gauges audiences' reactions to new movies. Most films get decent grades, but occasionally a movie really angers viewers. For this week's Debate Club, we shine a light on five great films that got terrible CinemaScore grades. Sometimes, you just can't trust people, I guess. (The piece is right here.)