Friday, January 18, 2019

Nicholas Britell - "Agape"

This Beale Street soundtrack is just an absolute killer.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My LAFCA Awards Presentation for Steven Yeun


On Saturday at the InterContinental in Century City, I was given the enviable task of presenting the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Best Supporting Actor award to Burning's Steven Yeun. (All our winners, and runners-up, are here.) Here's what I said from the stage:
Movies teach us how to spot monsters. They’re the creatures who have horns on their head or hockey masks on their face. But in real life, they’re not so easy to recognize because they look like us. And sometimes they come bearing a smile. Even worse, they may not be monsters at all—it just depends on your perspective.

Ben, the enigmatic playboy of Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, doesn’t enter the story until the half-hour mark, but once he does, he recalibrates this magnificent film’s internal rhythms. Ben doesn’t achieve this with a machete or an evil plan. All he needs is a noncommittal grin and a slightly condescending air. 

Like so much of Burning, Ben is a bundle of mysteries, whether it’s the origins of his wealth or his intentions with Hae-mi, the film’s leading lady. Those mysteries float and linger within the character, and they’re brought to remarkable life by Steven Yeun.

Yeun plays Ben like a disguise, inviting us to project our own feelings and assumptions onto him. Jong-su, the film’s ostensible hero, views Ben as a romantic rival, and there’s something archetypal about Yeun’s portrayal: For many insecure guys, Ben represents that cooler, more confident and sophisticated man that we can’t ever hope to compete with. But is that superiority? Or is there something far more menacing behind his eyes?

Yeun seduces us in this film, refusing to give up his character’s secrets. Ben could be a psychopath or just a guy who likes torching greenhouses. He may be someone who’s never cried—or just the kind of person who says that to try to impress others. He may be Burning’s monster or maybe its most misunderstood character. Ben’s mysteries remain—but what I know for sure is that Steven Yeun is an absolute killer in this incredible film.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating our Best Supporting Actor winner, Mr. Steven Yeun.
To have him and director Lee Chang-dong, whose Burning won Best Foreign-Language Film (alongside Shoplifters), in attendance was a thrill. May that film continue to find its audience.

(Photo by Matt Harbicht.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2019


Every year, Rolling Stone previews 50 films worth getting excited about for the new year. Always a pleasure to take part in this list. Check out the whole thing here.

The Grierson & Leitch Podcast: 'The Upside,' Oscar Nominations and 'Idiocracy'


We're back! On this week's episode, we differ on The Upside, which was a surprise No. 1 hit over the weekend. Then, we make our predictions for the Oscar nominations. And then we confess to each other that we don't really like Idiocracy. Hear the whole thing down below.


My Interview With Robert Englund


The new issue of Revolver is devoted to dreams and nightmares. What a perfect time to speak to Mr. Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. We talked about what keeps him up at night, among other things.

Some Thoughts on 'Sex Education'


This Netflix series got good reviews ... although I'm not sure why. I talk about that over at MEL.

The Worst Sci-Fi Remakes


Egads, these are bad .... and they're over at SyFy.

The History of the Geezer Buddy Comedy


In honor of The Last Laugh, I wrote about Hollywood's fascination with old guys palling around with their old buddies. It's over at MEL.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Snail Mail - "Pristine"

It just feels like
The same party every weekend
Doesn't it? Doesn't it?


Tuesday, January 08, 2019

The 2019 Movies That Aren't Based on Anything


Adam Sandler and the Safdies! Brad Pitt and James Gray! Matthew McConaughey and Harmony Korine! New Jordan Peele! Whatever Knives Out is! So much Robert Pattinson! Here's my preview of this year's most intriguing (and completely original) films.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

My Interview With Lucas Hedges


For Screen International, I chatted with the very talented, very young Lucas Hedges. We talked Boy Erased, Ben Is Back and learning how to deal with downtime. (He's as bad with it as I am.) Hope you enjoy.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Sharon Van Etten - "Comeback Kid"

"I'm getting Kate Bush/Siouxsie Sioux vibes from this," notes one YouTube commenter. I agree. I've had a hard time connecting with Sharon Van Etten's earlier work, but this one has a little more juice to it.


Thursday, January 03, 2019

The MEL Movie Awards


These are very silly, but I had fun writing them. Hope you enjoy.

The Best Sci-Fi Remakes


Debate Club is back for 2019. Over at SyFy, we sing the praises of some darn good remakes.

Is Netflix Telling the Truth About 'Bird Box' Being a Phenomenon?


I talk about that over at MEL, and I also have thoughts about Susanne Bier's career and why I wouldn't make it too long in a post-apocalyptic thriller.