Friday, November 30, 2018

Tubeway Army - "Are 'Friends' Electric?"

"I wrote it on an old pub piano my mum and dad bought, which I didn't realize was out of tune. It was initially two different songs, which is why it's over five minutes long. I had a verse from one, the chorus from the other, and was struggling to mix them together. I got so fed up, one day I played them one after another and suddenly they sounded right." -- Gary Numan, The Guardian, February 2014.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Review

Do we need another Spider-Man movie? If it's this one, we sure do. I reviewed Into the Spider-Verse for Screen International.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My Interview With Maxim Pozdorovkin, Director of 'The Truth About Killer Robots'

Maxim Pozdorovkin's new film is about a dystopian future in which machines enslave humanity ... well, not exactly. The Truth About Killer Robots is a documentary that chronicles all the ways that robots are infiltrating our lives. This ain't The Terminator, though: As his movie argues, this revolution will be a lot more banal ... but just as scary. I talked with the director for MEL.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Boxing, Animation and 18th Century England

Welcome to this week's podcast, where we review Creed II and The Favourite. Then I solo on Ralph Breaks the Internet. Check out the whole thing down below.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Nicolas Roeg, 1928-2018

Nicolas Roeg died this weekend at the age of 90. For Rolling Stone, I remembered the director of Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth and other iconic films. You can read my obituary here.

Some Thoughts on 'The Favourite'

To survive in a Yorgos Lanthimos movie, you can't have a heart. I talk about that, and The Favourite, over at MEL.

Some Thoughts on 'Creed II'

While watching Creed II, I came to a realization: I just don't like Rocky movies. I talked about that (and some other things) over at MEL.

Some Thoughts on 'Green Book'

How was Don Shirley's music?

What iconic HBO series was Tony Lip on?

What's the Farrelly brothers' best film?

And why is Green Book the annoyingly adorably puppy of movies?

I answer all these questions over at MEL.

'Press Play With Madeleine Brand': 'Ralph Breaks the Internet,' 'Creed II,' 'Roma' and 'The Favourite'

A most unusual episode of Press Play this week. First of all, I appeared on Wednesday rather than the usual Friday. Plus, Barbara Bogaev filled in as guest host. And, finally, I was the sole critic on the program. So you get to hear me talk a lot about this weekend's releases. You can hear the whole segment here.

Friday, November 23, 2018

No Small Children - "Laisse Tomber Les Filles"

You may remember I wasn't much of a fan of A Simple Favor. But I really liked its closing-credits tune, a cover of a Serge Gainsbourg song. It's from No Small Children, who director Paul Feig also featured in his Ghostbusters.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Salute to Cinema's Best Families (Genre Edition)

Over at SyFy, we're getting into the Thanksgiving spirit by toasting some of science-fiction and horror's best families. Welcome to this week's edition of Debate Club.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My Interview With Viola Davis

When you have the opportunity to interview Viola Davis, you take it. For Screen International, I talked to the Widows star, who told me about the women in her life who inspired her performance. You can read my profile here.

Monday, November 19, 2018

My Interview With Olivia Colman

I had a lovely chat with Olivia Colman, the star of The Favourite, to talk about the movie, her costars and Yorgos Lanthimos. (And I also talked to Lanthimos about her.) You can read the whole thing over at Rolling Stone.

Some Thoughts on 'Widows'

Widows has a great ending -- by which I mean, in part, that it actually ends. I explain what I mean over at MEL.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Heists, Westerns, 'The Crimes of Grindelwald' and 'Green Book'

Lots of new movies to discuss. I rave about Widows. I opine on The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. I defend (barely) Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. And I talk to Will about Green Book. (He hasn't seen it yet.) You can hear the whole episode down below.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Friday, November 16, 2018

IDA: My Conversation With Morgan Neville

Very pleased to be asked by the International Documentary Association to speak with Morgan Neville for his second film of 2018, They'll Love Me When I'm Dead. This isn't the whole interview, but here are three representative clips. Hope you enjoy.

AFI Fest 2018: 'Mary Queen of Scots' Review

Mary Queen of Scots is a movie that's more fun to talk to about than see. It tells the story of two queens, Elizabeth (Margot Robbie) and Mary (Saoirse Ronan), fighting for power, and also fighting to hold onto their crowns when scheming men all around them want that power for themselves. The movie is deeply just-good-enough. My review is live over at Screen International.

'Creed II' Review

You may recall I wasn't the biggest fan of Creed. Three years later, the sequel is upon us. I remain indifferent. My review is up at Screen International.

Neneh Cherry - "Manchild"

Neneh Cherry has a brand new album. While I dig into it, I'm here to remind you that she's no one-hit wonder. Remember how great "Manchild" is?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

'Widows' Review

Widows was my favorite film I saw at Toronto. It's out Friday. I sing its praises over at Paste.

'Ralph Breaks the Internet' Review

I quite enjoyed Wreck-It Ralph. I'm much more meh about the sequel. For Screen International, I reviewed Ralph Breaks the Internet.

AFI Fest 2018: 'Bird Box' Review

Bird Box is going to have to endure endless comparisons to A Quiet Place, which won't help Susanne Bier's post-apocalyptic drama about a mother (Sandra Bullock) who lives in a world where people have to keep their eyes closed in order to stay alive. I reviewed the film for Screen International.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

My Interview With the Writer and Director of 'Cam'

I had a fun time hanging out with Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber, who, respectively, wrote and directed the new psychological thriller Cam. We talked about porn, sex workers, horror, exploitative labor, Instagram and the tortured-artist trope. Our chat is now live at MEL.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Grinches, 'Overlord,' Lisbeth Salander and 'Outlaw King'

On this week's podcast, I tell Will why I hated The Grinch so much. We both debate the minor merits of Overlord and The Girl in the Spider's Web. And then, we spend a little time with Outlaw King, which convinced me that Chris Pine is a very good actor who may not be great. (I still liked the movie quite a lot, though.) Hear the whole thing down below.

Some Thoughts on 'The Girl in the Spider's Web'

What are "soft reboots"?

How did The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo construct its awesome title sequence?

Why does The Girl in the Spider's Web have a One Perfect Shot problem?

I answer all that, and more, over at MEL.

Friday, November 09, 2018

AFI Fest 2018: 'On the Basis of Sex' Review

On the Basis of Sex, a drama about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, premiered last night at AFI Fest. I saw it early, which I mention because I imagine that the audience last night was extra-emotional about the subject matter due to Ginsburg's recent fall. My view is that the movie is very well-meaning and sufficiently well-acted to overcome how basic its storytelling is. My review is up at Screen International.

Drake - "Nonstop"

Sometimes, a hip-hop hit's hook isn't just its musical element -- it's the nagging question of "What song is this that's being sampled?" And so you listen to the track over and over in the hopes that you'll figure it out. With Drake's "Nonstop," I finally gave up and looked. You can hear it here.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

What's the Best James Bond Song?

That's the topic of this week's Debate Club. Our picks for the top five are over at SyFy. (So many tracks from Roger Moore films.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Who the Devil Made It?

This was a treat. For the Los Angeles Times, I wrote about a weird happening last weekend: Three major new movies came out, and none of them were the product of one solitary filmmaker. Bohemian Rhapsody, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and The Other Side of the Wind each started off with one director ... and then others had to finish the film. The circumstances in each case were very different. And yet, they all provoke the same question: Whose vision is ultimately behind these movies? It's something we don't often think about. Maybe we should. My essay is here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The Best Movies About (Real) American Presidents

Southside With You.

For Vulture, Will and I picked the finest American president movies. See our list here.

Pop Culture and Politicians

For MEL, I spent a little time scouring through movies, TV and music to find some of the best/weirdest/funniest political ephemera. The Simpsons! Spitting Image! Mermaid Avenue! The Candidate! It's all here.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Some Thoughts on 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

I don't like music biopics. But I liked Bohemian Rhapsody. What gives? I talk about that (and some other things) over at MEL.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Queen, Orson Welles and 'Freeway'

A lot to cover on this week's podcast. We differ on Bohemian Rhapsody, we dig into the Orson Welles double feature of They'll Love Me When I'm Dead and The Other Side of the Wind, and we rap a bit about Thunder Road. Then, I talk a little about Boy Erased, and we reevaluate 1996's Freeway. (Well, really, we just evaluate it: We never saw that Reese Witherspoon vehicle back in the day.)

Sunday, November 04, 2018

The BBC Culture Poll of the 100 Greatest Foreign-Language Films

In the last few years, BBC Culture has been working to compile semi-definitive films lists, polling critics, academics and others for their top picks. Their past lists included the greatest films of the 21st century (so far) and the greatest comedies ever made. This time, they asked us to submit a ballot for the best foreign-language films. The Top 100 are here. You can see my ballot (and everyone else's) here. Also, if you click through this slideshow, you can read write-ups for the films that made the Top 25, including my appreciation of the great Jeanne Dielman.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Bethany Cosentino - "Jerry (Maybe We Should Get Married)"

"In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Seinfeld finale, Best Coast, songwriter Nick Lutsko, and @Seinfeld2000 worked together on a song called 'Jerry (Maybe We Should Get Married),' which finds [Bethany] Cosentino parroting famous lines from Elaine Benes. The song comes attached to a video, which cycles through clips of some of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ most memorable Seinfeld moments."
--Stereogum, May 14, 2018

This has been one of my favorite pick-me-ups all year. Favorite part: "He took -- ha ha -- it out." Also, the fact that it sounds a lot like a Best Coast song.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

SAG-AFTRA Foundation: My Conversation With Joel Edgerton and Garrard Conley

I haven't had a chance to moderate a SAG-AFTRA Q&A for a while, so I was pleased to speak with two people integral to Boy Erased: filmmaker/actor Joel Edgerton and author Garrard Conley, whose memoir the film is adapted from.

Ever since I saw Boy Erased at Toronto, I've been curious how much Edgerton was influenced by working with Jeff Nichols on Loving. The advantage of platforms like this is I get to ask him directly.

I really enjoyed our chat. The video is below.

'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' Review

For the record, my wife liked Four Realms more than I did. But I write the reviews around here. Mine is up at Screen International.

My Interview With Tilda Swinton

Well, this was fun. For Rolling Stone, I spoke with Tilda Swinton about her fabulous career. We journeyed across several roles, everything from the Derek Jarman work to Michael Clayton to Suspiria. Here are the results.

The Best Scary Movies for Kids

For this week's Debate Club, we highlight movies that will help acclimate your little ones to scary movies. Think Beetlejuice, not Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Hope you enjoy.