Sunday, May 19, 2019

Cannes 2019: 'A Hidden Life' Review

A Hidden Life might be Terrence Malick's most urgent, tormented and vital film since ... The Tree of Life? I reviewed his latest for Screen International.

Cannes 2019: 'Vivarium' Review

Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots play a happy couple who look into buying a home. That's when everything goes wrong in Vivarium, a clever, low-key sci-fi parable. I reviewed the film for Screen International.

The 21st Century's Best Monster Movies

The Host or The Descent? Cloverfield or Peter Jackson's King Kong? Let the debate begin over at SyFy.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Cannes 2019: 'The Swallows of Kabul' Review

Based on the Yasmina Khadra novel, The Swallows of Kabul depicts life under Taliban rule. That's hard subject matter, but what if it was told through animation? My review is live over at Screen International.

Elton John - "I'm Still Standing"

Happy Friday, everyone. Greetings from Cannes.

Cannes 2019: 'Bull' Review

Bull is playing as part of Un Certain Regard, and it tells the story of two mismatched souls, both of them looking for some kind of way forward in their dead-end lives. It's a minor but affecting film. My review is up at Screen International.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Cannes 2019: 'Rocketman' Review

Reg Strikes Back: Sir Elton John finally gets the musical biopic treatment. But I didn't much like Rocketman, which I talk about over at Screen International.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Cannes 2019: 'The Dead Don't Die' Review

Welcome to the 72nd Cannes Film Festival. For Screen International, I reviewed the opening night film, Jim Jarmusch's hit-or-miss zombie comedy. You can read my thoughts here.

The State of the Midnight Movie in Los Angeles

There's a new site called Los Angeleno, which is focusing on L.A.-centric issues, people and places. I was happy to write my first piece for them on the midnight-movie scene in our fair city, and how it's evolving. This required me speaking to a few programmers and others about the state of the midnight movie in 2019, which turned out to be fairly fascinating. (You can see Barry Lyndon and A Woman Under the Influence at midnight this summer. Incredible.) Hope you enjoy.

My Interview With John Chester, Director of 'The Biggest Little Farm'

For MEL, I spoke with John Chester, a filmmaker who, with his wife, moved from Los Angeles to a farm about 40 miles north. They wanted to redo their lives, reconnect with nature, the whole thing. And he made a movie about the experience, The Biggest Little Farm. I was curious to talk to him about what we don't see in the film -- namely, the toll this lifestyle change took on their relationship. Chester was really candid, which I appreciated. Our conversation is here.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Some Thoughts on 'Pokemon Detective Pikachu'

What's it like to hear Ryan Reynolds do PG-rated sarcasm?

Why are the behind-the-scenes stories behind the making of Pokemon's biggest songs so sad?

And did you know that this movie was shot on 35mm? (Do you even understand how rare that is anymore?)

I talked about all that, and more, while discussing Detective Pikachu for MEL.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Wine Country,' 'Detective Pikachu' and My Cannes Preview

Man, Wine Country should be better than it is. We talk about it on this week's episode. Plus, I review Pokemon Detective Pikachu and then discuss the films at this year's Cannes that I'm most excited to see. The whole thing is down below.

'John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum' Review

I think Parabellum tops Chapter 2, even if it's not as original as the first film. My review is up at Screen International.

The Best of the Universal Classic Monsters

For this week's Debate Club, we look back at the monster movies of yesteryear. Hope you enjoy our rankings.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Rudy Willingham - "Pool Party"

"I use paper cutouts to transform the world around me." That's how Rudy Willingham describes himself on Twitter. (You can check out his art here.)

"Rudy is an electronic producer and DJ from Seattle who smashes spacey synths, obscure samples, and soulful vocals into epic future-funk burritos." That's his bio on Soundcloud. Hear his summer-y "Pool Party" down below.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Looking Back at 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'

While we wait to see The Hustle, which hasn't yet been screened for critics, I decided to revisit the movie that inspired it. Folks, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is still really good. But Glenne Headly is just next-level great. I wrote about the film's enduring appeal for MEL.

Some Thoughts on 'Long Shot'

Why is Hollywood fixated on stories in which beautiful women and regular guys hook up?

What's a Roxette?

And can you come down fast from molly?

I answer those questions, and more, in my deep dive of Long Shot over at MEL.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Charlize Theron, Ted Bundy and Your 2019 Summer Movie Preview

On this week's episode, we agree that Long Shot is bad (but that Charlize Theron is great in it). We differ on Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. And then we preview summer movie season, including the film we're both worried about. Hear the whole thing down below.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Best Blumhouse Horror Films

Jason Blum has produced some of the biggest horror hits of recent years, so narrowing down his company's films to pick the five best was surprisingly difficult. You can check out our work over at SyFy.

Friday, May 03, 2019

'Pokemon Detective Pikachu' Review

This is one strange little movie. If anything, I wish it were stranger. I review Pikachu for you over at Screen International.

Metallica - "The Struggle Within"

Hey, James Hetfield is in the new Ted Bundy movie.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

'Long Shot' Review

Long Shot got good reviews out of South by Southwest. I didn't see it there. I wrote about this mediocre comedy for Paste.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

My Interview With Werner Herzog, Director of 'Meeting Gorbachev'

What a surreal sentence to write: I spoke with Werner Herzog. We chatted about his new documentary but, more importantly, I tried to talk to him about him, which he was reluctant to do. "I do not like introspection," he warned me. I gave it a shot anyway. My interview is now live over at MEL.

Some Thoughts on 'Avengers: Endgame'

I like Avengers: Endgame, but I don't like how it deals with death. Or, rather, how it doesn't deal with death. I wrote about that for MEL, but I also dig into Marvel's unsuccessful history of approaching some directors, why Endgame doesn't have an intermission, and which people on the internet actually correctly predicted the film's ending. (Spoilers, obviously.) Hope you enjoy.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: The Marvel Cinematic Universe and 'Goldfinger'

We went long on Avengers: Endgame -- tons of spoilers, folks -- and then, in our Reboot segment, we talk Goldfinger on its 55th anniversary. Check it out.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Chris Evans, Non-Captain America Edition

Chris Evans has spent almost a decade playing Steve Rogers. For this week's Debate Club, we look at his best films away from the MCU.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Miles Davis - "Générique"

Reminder: Burning comes to Netflix on April 29.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

'Avengers: Endgame' Review

Avengers: Endgame < Avengers: Infinity War. The new film is pretty entertaining, but it's not quite the home run you might be hoping for. My review is up at Screen International.

Let People Enjoy Hating Things

This month has been very exciting for fans of Star Wars (the trailer for The Rise of Skywalker), HBO fantasy dramas (the return of Game of Thrones) and Marvel movies (the release of Avengers: Endgame). There's lots of popular stuff out there in the culture right now. But what if you don't care about these entertainment Goliaths? For MEL, I wrote about the phenomenon of "Let people enjoy things," an internet argument that suggests you should keep your dislike of super-popular things to yourself. I disagree, which I get into here.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy 20th Anniversary, 'Election'

For MEL, I dove deep into Election, which was my No. 1 film of 1999. I spoke with Alexander Payne and dissected why the film has stayed with us for the last 20 years. (Hint: It's because of how we view Tracy Flick.) Hope you enjoy.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Under the Silver Lake,' 'Boogie Nights' and a Film About a Cook and a Thief

Three substantial discussions this week. First, we differ on Under the Silver Lake. Then, we look back at Boogie Nights, which I haven't watched since 1997. Finally, we stomach The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. Hear the whole thing down below.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Best Foreign-Language Horror Films

This list was simply impossible to boil down to five picks. So feel free to yell as much as you'd like about the omissions. Check out our choices over at SyFy.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Corona - "The Rhythm of the Night"

Someone finally saw Beau Travail. Totally worth waiting for 35mm on the big screen.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

'The Curse of La Llorona' Review

We're living in an era of pretty great horror movies. But we also get stuff like The Curse of La Llorona. I reviewed the film for Screen International.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Some Thoughts on 'Hellboy'

Why is Hellboy so bad?

How can Hellboy and I both be the same zodiac sign?

And what is Sasha Lane doing in this?

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

Monday, April 15, 2019

'Guava Island' Review

Over the weekend, Donald Glover both astounded and disappointed. On Friday night, he blew me away with his Coachella performance. On Saturday night, I was underwhelmed by his top-secret film project Guava Island. I wrote about both, and how they're connected, for MEL.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: On the Terrific 'Her Smell' and 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'

On this week's episode, we trash Hellboy. But skip past that to hear us dig into Her Smell, which is marvelous, and our Reboot review of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which remains pure pleasure. The whole thing is down below.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

When Superheroes Get Origin Stories

For our latest Debate Club, we looked at the five best origin-story superhero films. Apologies to those who were mad we didn't include Superman. You can read our thoughts over at SyFy.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Quivers - "You're Not Always on My Mind"

"Quivers make cathartic guitar pop that jangles and shimmers somewhere between 1980s Australia and 1990s America. Started by Sam Nicholson in Hobart, Tasmania to keep singing after losing a brother in a free-diving accident, the band has since toured Australia, New Zealand and Canada."

This is the first song I've heard from Quivers, but I dig it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

'Hellboy' Review

Oh lord, is Hellboy bad. Even Sasha Lane can't save this debacle. My review is up at Screen International.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Ranking the Best (and Worst) of the DC Comics Movies

Aquaman and Shazam! have boosted DC's fortunes in recent months. But where did they rank among the company's best films? We answer that question over at Vulture.

'Fosse/Verdon' Review

I love Michelle Williams. I like Sam Rockwell quite a lot. I like the idea of a show about the inner workings of the marriage between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. But I only thought Fosse/Verdon was so-so. I explain why over at MEL.

Monday, April 08, 2019

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: See 'High Life' and 'Amazing Grace'

On this week's episode, we agree on the underwhelming Shazam! I'm a little higher on the new Pet Sematary than Will is, but then I solo on two great indies, High Life and Amazing Grace. Hear the whole thing below.

Some Thoughts on 'Shazam!'

Let's talk about Shazam! But let's also talk about death threats, the other Shazam (the music app), and why superhero movies have resisted being "fun" in order to be "cool." My latest piece for MEL is here.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Carole King - "It's Too Late"

"When I was younger, I was kind of fearless. I think it takes more courage to do things when you know more. I was completely naive, and I was like, why can't I do anything I want to do? You know, go for it. And you know what? I still feel like even in today's world, I feel that that's something that I want to say to people. My whole attitude was someone's going to get the thing or the opportunity that I was looking for. Why not me? And the other side of that is, if you don't try, you have no chance at all. So that was the attitude I had as a teenager in terms of advancing my interests." -- Carole King, 2016.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

'The Best of Enemies' Review

I'm stunned how many critics went for The Best of Enemies. I thought it was terrible.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Some Thoughts on 'The Highwaymen'

Whose band is better: Kevin Costner's or Woody Harrelson's?

What's the finest song about Bonnie and Clyde?

And why is The Highwaymen the dad-rock of crime dramas?

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

Monday, April 01, 2019

Some Thoughts on 'The Beach Bum'

What aborted Harmony Korine project do I hope still happens?

What Matthew McConaughey commercial is actually good?

And where were you when the McConaissance died?

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

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'Diane' Is Good, 'Dumbo' and 'The Beach Bum' Are Not

On this week's podcast, we review Dumbo, The Highwaymen and The Beach Bum. I also spend a little time talking about an actual good movie, Diane. Hear the whole thing down below.

The Wachowskis' Best Films (Once You've Seen 'The Matrix')

For Debate Club, we dove into Lana and Lilly Wachowski's oeuvre, skipping over the Matrix trilogy. Is it spotty? Absolutely.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

'Press Play With Madeleine Brand': Elephants, Stoners, Lawmen, 'Diane' and Agnes Varda

I was very happy to be with TCM's Alicia Malone on Press Play yesterday, especially because we talked a little about the passing of Agnes Varda. (Actually, Alicia took the lead, for obvious reasons.) Then we reviewed Dumbo, The Highwaymen, Diane and The Beach Bum. You can hear the whole thing here.

Friday, March 29, 2019

True/False 2019: The Rankings and the Rundown

My seventh True/False was, by critical consensus, not one of the festival's strongest. But there were still some gems. Here's a quick ranking of everything I saw...

15. Mr. Soul!
14. Home, Sweet Home
13. Mike Wallace Is Here 
12. Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary
11. One Child Nation
10. Caballerango
9. Let It Burn
8. Apollo 11 
7. Cold Case Hammarskjöld
6. No Data Plan
5. Midnight Traveler
4. American Factory
3. Amazing Grace
2. Finding Frances
1. The Hottest August

I decided to include Finding Frances, the final episode of Nathan for You's fourth season, for reasons I get into in my annual True/False recap over at Paste. And I hope a smart distributor picks up The Hottest August, which is the strong new film from The Prison in Twelve Landscapes director Brett Story.

Idlewild - "Quiet Crown"

You're happy
You've realized
I'm meant to be
I've realized

Idlewild have a new album coming out next month.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

What's Tim Burton's Best Movie?

That's the question we wrestle with over at Vulture.

'Dumbo' Review

Like plenty of other Tim Burton protagonists, Dumbo is an outsider in a cruel world in Dumbo. There are a lot of fascinating components to this live-action film -- specifically, how it echoes themes from his earlier work -- but it's still a thumbs-down for me. My review is up at Screen International.

Some Thoughts on 'The Dirt'

I really hated The Dirt, which only exacerbated my feelings about Motley Crue. I wrote about that, "Get in the Ring" and a bunch of other things over at MEL.

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: Jordan Peele, 'Dragged Across Country' and 'Rumble Fish'

Much happens in this week's episode. We go long diving into Us. Then we speak up for Dragged Across Country. Will tells me about Roll Red Roll. Then, we try to make heads or tails out of Rumble Fish in our Reboot segment. Enjoy!

Some Thoughts on 'Us'

What did you think of the ending?

Is Jordan Peele the next Hitchcock?

Is "Hands Across America" the worst benefit song ever?

I dig into all those questions over at MEL.

'Shazam!' Review

The DC faithful aren't too happy with me for not liking Shazam! Sorry, folks. My review is up at Screen International.