Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Horror's History of Ineffectual Dads

The Haunting of Hill House features a wimpy dad. This got me thinking: Many horror films use a similar trope. Why is that? Please enjoy my MEL investigation.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Burning,' 'Suspiria,' Notable New Documentaries and 'Primer'

This week's episode is largely devoted to Lee Chang-dong's wondrous Burning. But I also take a little time to talking about Suspiria ... and Shirkers, On Her Shoulders and Monrovia, Indiana. Then, Will and I go back in time to discuss 2004's Primer. That movie gets better each time I watch it. Hear the whole thing down below.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Some Thoughts on 'Suspiria'

You may hate Suspiria. You should see it anyway. I explain why over at MEL. (I also talk about Movie 43, Bob Dylan and Thom Yorke.)

My Scariest Moments From Non-Horror Movies

It's easy to be scared in horror movies. (That's kind of the idea.) But what happens when you get freaked out in movies that aren't, technically, horror films? I wrote about that over at MEL.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Ennio Morricone - "The Ecstasy of Gold"

Everybody knows the first minute of this track from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly thanks to commercials and parodies. (It's currently being used in an L.L. Bean spot.) But here's the whole thing.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

'The Girl in the Spider's Web' Review

There's a new girl on the block. Claire Foy is the latest Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider's Web. The movie is completely competent in its slick, anonymous way. But, boy, is it soulless. My review is up at Screen International.

What's the Best 'Halloween' Movie?

Tis the season. We rank the five best films in the franchise over at SyFy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

'Bohemian Rhapsody' Review

Never the biggest Queen fan, I was pleasantly surprised by Bohemian Rhapsody. My review is up at Screen International.

My Interview With Frederick Wiseman

Sometimes, this job can be pretty great. For MEL, I spoke with the one and only Frederick Wiseman. We discussed his new documentary, Monrovia, Indiana, and we also chatted about retirement and the Grim Reaper. You can read my piece here.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Horror, Directorial Debuts and 'Memories of Murder'

Many movies are discussed on this week's podcast. Will and I dig into Halloween, and then I solo on Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Wildlife and Mid90s. Finally, in our Reboot segment, we look back at Memories of Murder. Hope you enjoy.

Some Thoughts on 'Halloween'

For MEL, I riffed on the new Halloween, focusing on why we're drawn to bogeymen. I also wrote about John Carpenter's music and the one plot point I'm thrilled has been excised from the franchise's narrative. Check out my piece here.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

'Hunter Killer' Review

Gerard Butler has a new movie. It is not good. For Screen International, I reviewed Hunter Killer.

'On Her Shoulders' Review

On Her Shoulders is a superb documentary about Nadia Murad, an activist speaking out about the Yazidi genocide. This is no simple biography, though. My review is up at Screen International.

Picking the Best Sci-Fi Costume

For this week at SyFy, we're picking the coolest, most iconic outfits in sci-fi cinema. Check 'em out here.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Sam Cooke - "Mean Old World"

I was at a hotel the other day waiting to do an interview. In the room I was in, there's a record player, and someone had put Sam Cooke on. "Mean Old World" started playing, and it just fit the warm, lazy-afternoon vibe so perfectly it felt like it had been made for that exact moment. Now when I hear "Mean Old World," I think of that day.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

'Halloween' Review

Is the new Halloween as good as the original? No. Is it still pretty darn good? Yes. My review is up at Screen International. (By the way, this is not how Jamie Lee Curtis looks in the movie.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

'Beautiful Boy' and the Tensions Between Fathers and Sons

Watching Beautiful Boy, I thought a lot about fathers' relationships with their sons. All children have to break free of the nest eventually, but what if the motivating factor is a son's drug addiction? What does that do to both men? I wrote about that for MEL.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Astronauts, Bad Times, Kindergarten Teachers, '22 July' and 'Beautiful Boy'

Five new movies are reviewed on this week's podcast, and I'm pretty lukewarm on most of them. I explain why First Man is just OK, Bad Times at the El Royale is superficially entertaining, The Kindergarten Teacher is merely modest and Beautiful Boy is minor. Of the lot, 22 July is my favorite. Hear the whole thing down below.

Some Thoughts on 'First Man'

How much better would First Man have been if Tig Notaro was in it?

How many American flags show up in the film?

And why are we fascinated by old-school American stoicism?

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

Friday, October 12, 2018

Old 97's - "Champaign, Illinois"

Rhett Miller gave Bob Dylan partial songwriting credit on this track because of its melodic similarity to "Desolation Row." But that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Dylan's association with Champaign. Check it out, yo.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What's the Best Superhero Costume?

That's the topic for this week's Debate Club. Narrowing it down to five was hard, but our results are up at SyFy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

In Praise of Paul Greengrass and '22 July'

With his new film 22 July, director Paul Greengrass completes a trilogy of sorts grappling with post-9/11 life. It's very interesting how different United 93, Captain Phillips and 22 July are, though. My essay is up at MEL.

Some Thoughts on 'Venom'

Is Venom, technically, a Marvel movie?

What is Swet Shop Boys?

Why does Tom Hardy give his all in a movie that doesn't deserve his effort?

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

Monday, October 08, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Blockbusters, Oscar Contenders, 'Private Life' and 'Major League'

Lots of movies to discuss on this week's podcast. We dutifully review Venom and A Star Is Born. But the real action is with the indie releases. We enthuse about Private Life, and I solo on The Hate U Give. Then, in our Reboot segment, we look back at Major League. Check out the whole show down below.

What's the Best Chris Columbus Film?

Happy Columbus Day, everyone.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

'Press Play With Madeleine Brand': Parasites, Rock Stars and Police Shootings

I was on KCRW (alongside Roth Cornet) to review Venom, A Star Is Born and The Hate U Give. We were joined by guest host Duarte Geraldino. You can hear the whole thing here.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Jim Croce - "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)"

"I think if you look at the words to the song there are so many aspects of our generation that are in it." -- Ingrid Croce, wife of Jim Croce, about "Operator."

Thursday, October 04, 2018

'The Man Who Feels No Pain' Review

The Man Who Feels No Pain won the audience award at Midnight Madness in Toronto. I caught up with it for Screen International. It's a kick. My review is here.

What's the Best Spinoff Film?

That's the question we try to answer this week over at SyFy. Our Top 5 is right here.

My Interview With John Carpenter

Yeah, that John Carpenter. We spoke on the phone on September 27 ... yup, the same day as the Christine Blasey Ford/Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Carpenter talked to me while watching the testimony, offering his own commentary along the way. It was a surreal experience. You can read the whole thing over at Revolver.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

'A Star Is Born' Review

Is the new A Star Is Born good? Yes. Is it great? Uh.... (My review is up at Paste.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

'Venom' Review

Imagine if the Tasmanian Devil was a live-action character in a superhero movie and you'll get a vague idea of what Tom Hardy tries to do in Venom. The movie has its kicks, but not enough. My review is up at Screen International.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Night School,' 'Hold the Dark' and 'The Old Man & the Gun'

On this week's episode, we set aside Reboots to review three new movies. It was nice to go this long on Hold the Dark in particular. Check out the whole thing down below.

Bradley Cooper's New Form of Antihero

For MEL, I did a deep dive into Bradley Cooper's career, looking for connections. And what I noticed is that, although he's long been a leading man, he rarely plays straight-up heroic men. That got me wondering why that is. You can read my thoughts here.

Some Thoughts on 'Night School'

Why is Kevin Hart so funny on stage but so very much less so on screen? I answer that question over at MEL, plus I have some other thoughts about Night School.

'Bad Times at the El Royale' Review

I really liked The Cabin in the Woods, so I was curious to see what writer-director Drew Goddard would do next. It's Bad Times at the El Royale, a Tarantino-esque look at a group of strangers who descend on an isolated hotel one dark and stormy night. I liked it a little less than The Cabin. My review is up at Screen International.

Some Thoughts on 'Maniac'

Why is Hollywood so bad at depicting mental illness? That's the main question that was bouncing around in my brain when I watched the new Netflix series Maniac. So I wrote about it for MEL.

The 1980s' Best Fantasy Films

Over at SyFy, we looked at a decade's worth of fantasy films, trying to figure out which ones have stood the test of time. You can probably guess what No. 1 is. Check out the list here.