Will Smith Is A Blank Slate Now, And Focus Doesn't Help

Most movie stars charm us by creating the illusion that we know them. Tom Cruise's appeal comes in large part from our identification with his intense, full-throttle performances; the Rock, his eyebrow always arched in a self-mocking way, lets us in on the joke that action movies are preposterous, and,… » 2/27/15 2:18pm Yesterday 2:18pm

Oscar 2015 Predictions: The Categories You Actually Care About

The Oscars are Sunday! Wednesday, to help you out with your pool, Tim Grierson made predictions in all the technical categories; yesterday, Drew Magary yelled a lot. Today, we both unveil our picks for the eight major categories: you know, the ones you actually care about. Let's get to it. » 2/20/15 12:25pm 2/20/15 12:25pm

Whip It Good: Fifty Shades of Grey, Reviewed

1. I've never read the book Fifty Shades of Grey, but I'm fairly certain this film is the best possible adaptation of the material. From the looks of it, the 2011 erotica sensation seems not only to lack any semblance of a story, but even the backbone of one—as if author E.L. James never really thought to include… » 2/19/15 3:06pm 2/19/15 3:06pm

Dodge This: The Lousy, Endless Jupiter Ascending, Reviewed

1. Why did The Matrix work? For all its pseudo-philosophy and whiz-bang effects, for all its blue-pill-red-pill This is all an illusion sci-fi wonkery, may I humbly suggest that it was Keanu Reeves all along? Without him, you have a fun, expansive vision that may have never escaped its creators' heads; it's Reeves… » 2/19/15 3:05pm 2/19/15 3:05pm

Oscar Predictions 2015: The Categories No One Understands 

Sunday's Academy Awards will have plenty of suspense: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor are all toss-ups at this point. Will and I will tackle those and the other major categories Friday, but today, I'm going to look at the lower-profile awards: the tech prizes, short films, etc. They're not any easier… » 2/18/15 4:07pm 2/18/15 4:07pm

You Only Smirk Twice: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Reviewed

At a time when our superhero movies and action films are often dressed in dark tones, the gleefully sarcastic and proudly hyper-violent Kingsman: The Secret Service ought to be a relief. Eschewing the trend of brooding characters nursing mournful back stories, this adaptation of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons' 2012… » 2/11/15 5:03pm 2/11/15 5:03pm

Johnny Depp's Weird, Mirthless Waterloo: Mortdecai, Reviewed

1. Not everything about Mortdecai is horrible. Let's see. Paul Bettany has a few charming asides as (ugh) Jock Strapp, a working-class Englishman brawler sworn to eternal and inexplicable fealty to a simpering idiot. There's a flashback scene where Ewan McGregor looks just like he did in Shallow Grave, which was a… » 1/31/15 2:48pm 1/31/15 2:48pm

The 10 Movies I'm Most Excited To See At Sundance 2015

If the Oscar prognosticators are correct, next month Boyhood will become the first film to both premiere at Sundance and win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Last year's festival had plenty of other highlights, too—Whiplash, Life Itself, The Raid 2, The Overnighters, A Most Wanted Man—so as we get ready for… » 1/20/15 2:56pm 1/20/15 2:56pm

The Laptop Of Thor: Blackhat, Reviewed

1. Blackhat plays like a parody of a Michael Mann movie, which is depressing, given that it is a Michael Mann movie. He's one of my favorite filmmakers, with such a unique, distinct, relentlessly focused vision that you forgive all his shortcomings, from the deadly self-seriousness to the existence of exactly one… » 1/20/15 10:07am 1/20/15 10:07am

The Grierson & Leitch 2015 Oscar-Nomination Predictions

Early tomorrow morning, nominations for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced. Now, lately, film writers have divided into two factions: You either hate horse races like this, or you're obsessed with them. This snapped into focus recently when the National Society of Film Critics chose Jean Luc-Godard's … » 1/20/15 10:07am 1/20/15 10:07am

Grierson & Leitch's Best Films of 2014, Part 1 (Nos. 10-6)

6

It's the final week of 2014, so we're wrapping the year up the usual way: with lists! Friday, we each announced our five worst movies of 2014. Today, we start counting down our favorites, starting with our respective picks for Nos. 6-10; tomorrow, we finish off with our Top 5s. » 1/11/15 5:07pm 1/11/15 5:07pm

Grierson & Leitch's 2014 In Review: The Best Forgotten Performances

Yes, most people have already written their Top 10 movie lists for 2014. We're saving ours for the last week of the year, but while we wait for this full, rich, and weird movie year to end, we're going to start looking back at certain highlights. Today, it's our favorite forgotten performances. Tomorrow: the… » 12/24/14 5:22pm 12/24/14 5:22pm

Grierson & Leitch's 2014 In Review: The Year's Best Movie Scenes

5

Yes, most people have already written their Top 10 movie lists for 2014. We're saving ours for the last week of the year, but while we wait for this full, rich, and weird movie year to end, we're going to start looking back at certain highlights. Today, it's our favorite individual scenes. Tomorrow: the year's… » 12/24/14 10:42am 12/24/14 10:42am

A Way-Too-Serious Man: Unbroken, Reviewed

According to Unbroken, director Angelina Jolie's adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's 2010 nonfiction bestseller, Louis Zamperini had one hell of a life—so momentous, in fact, that it would make a great movie. Turns out, that ends up being part of the problem. Child delinquent, Olympic champion, World War II… » 12/22/14 11:45am 12/22/14 11:45am

Sony Totally Caved On The Interview, And Now We're All Screwed

Monday night, Seth Rogen was a guest during the final week of The Colbert Report. Ordinarily, he isn't much of a "get," in talk-show parlance—he's funny, sure, but he always makes the rounds when he has a new movie, no big deal. But this was the first (and probably only) time that his appearance had legitimate news… » 12/22/14 11:44am 12/22/14 11:44am

The Ecstasy And Agony Of MLK: Selma, Reviewed

Recently, a listener called into a talk-radio show I was on, asking if Paramount had sped up the release of its Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. drama Selma to capitalize on the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The timing just seemed too perfect. I had to tell him that it was all just coincidence: … » 12/16/14 1:46pm 12/16/14 1:46pm

Stoned Immaculate: Inherent Vice, Reviewed

With each passing movie, Paul Thomas Anderson wanders further and further away from the terrain mapped out by his filmmaking peers. He hasn't gotten lost yet: Inherent Vice may not be as undeniably astounding as his last three efforts, but that doesn't make it any less startling or wonderfully distinctive. If… » 12/12/14 2:21pm 12/12/14 2:21pm

White Flight: The Knuckleheaded Exodus: Gods and Kings, Reviewed

1. I'm not sure who ever could have thought that Exodus: Gods and Kings was a good idea. Putting aside—only for a moment—the much-discussed "whitewashing" of the cast, the movie seems almost specifically designed to appeal to absolutely no one. It's a Bible story, but it paints Old Testament God as an angry, petulant… » 12/12/14 10:32am 12/12/14 10:32am