Saturday, July 23, 2016

I Wrote These Things: Week Ending 7/23

For "Bad Movie Night," I watched Dirty Grandpa, which is, in all seriousness, one of the worst pieces of shit I've ever subjected myself to.

Found a lot to like in Star Trek Beyond, except this trend of hiring great actors to play villains and hiding them in bad make-up.

I wrote about taking my kid to movies and the new Ice Age, and how the familiarity family filmmakers are banking on has become the norm.

I made a bold prediction of Trump's nomination acceptance speech. Frankly, wish he'd have done this instead.

And here's your Blu-ray/DVD guide.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I Wrote These Things: Week Ending 7/16

  • I reviewed Ghostbusters. It's utterly okay!
  • Wrote about the new Woody Allen movie - a topic in which I have some interest! - and found it yet more evidence that he's losing his grip on the most basic moviemaking essentials. 
  • Started out reviewing the new Bryan Cranston movie and ended up writing about why there's no more Gene Hackman movies.
  • For the "Second Glance" column, I celebrated Bill Murray's criminally underrated Quick Change.
  • And this week's DVD/Blu-ray guide, featuring Everybody Wants Some!!, Green Room, and three great catalogue titles. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

I Wrote These Things: Week Ending 7/9


  • I interviewed Norman Lear. He's great!
  • In considering how Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates wastes Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick, I also watched Mr. Right and Dirty Grandpa. I am a glutton for punishment!
  • I reviewed Zero Days, the new Alex Gibney documentary, which is smart and informative and goddamn frightening.
  • Did a listicle of funniest animated vocal performances rather than reviewing Secret Lives of Pets, though it's cute enough. 
  • And here's your Blu-ray/DVD/VOD guide for the week.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

I Wrote These Things: Week Ending 7/2

Happy almost Fourth of July! I remembered to do this two weeks in a row!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

I Wrote These Things: Week Ending 6/25

Through the years, I've been consistently terrible about archiving writings here on the site that bears my name, and it's a thing I'm going to honest-to-God get better about, I promise. Anyway, I wrote these things this week:
  • Did a big cover story on The King of Comedy, its place in the history of comedy, and its ongoing influence. Bonus: got to talk to comedy experts Jason Zinoman (of The New York Times) and Mike Sacks (author of the great And Here's the Kicker and Poking a Dead Frog).
  • Debuted a new column called "Second Glance," which will pop up every two weeks to spotlight an older film that's particularly noteworthy thanks to an anniversary or new availability or a tie-in with a new release. So, for its 25th anniversary, I wrote about The Rocketeer
  • Reviewed the Independence Day sequel. It's not very good.
  • Reviewed Free State of Jones. It's not very good.
  • Reviewed The Neon Demon. It is what it is. 
  • This week's DVD/Blu-ray/VOD guide, including Midnight Special, Embrace of the Serpent, and The Wave.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Announcing "It’s Okay With Me: Hollywood, The 1970s, and the Return of the Private Eye"

So, good news: I’m writing another book.

I’m very happy to announce I’ve signed up to do another book with The Critical Press, who put out my last tome, Richard Pryor: American Id. (What’s that? You haven’t picked it up yet? I’ll just leave this here.) Working with Tom and Alex and that crew was really a terrific experience, the best I’ve yet had on a book, so I was anxious to get another one out on this excellent imprint.

 It’s an idea I’ve been nurturing for a little while, since seeing Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, and contemplating it not as a book adaptation or a private eye movie, but specifically as a ‘70s private eye movie – and realizing how many great detective movies were released in that era. It’s perhaps my favorite decade of American cinema (hot take, I know), but one that’s been sort of chronicled to death. As I thought about these particular films, however, I realized that delving into this specific area of ‘70s cinema was one way I could write about the period in a new and (hopefully) interesting way, considering how many of them told us something about both the New Hollywood movement and the wider culture they were borne out of, and frequently influenced.

Thus, It’s Okay With Me: Hollywood, The 1970s, and the Return of the Private Eye will, in a series of essays, tackle the late ‘60s table-setters (Harper, Marlowe, Tony Rome), the traditional star vehicles (The Drowning Pool, Shamus), the Marlowes (Farewell My Lovely, The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye), the political pictures (The Big Fix, Chinatown), the downbeat groundbreakers (Night Moves, Hickey and Boggs), and, of course, Shaft.

I’m very excited about it—about writing the book, of course, and exploring why anti-authoritarian outsiders were so attractive to filmmakers at that particular moment. But I’m enjoying watching all these movies, most again, some for the first time.

Publication date is still TBD, but it should land somewhere in the first quarter of 2017. I’ll probably mention it a time or two before then.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Book Is OUT!

I’ll keep this brief, but in a nutshell: Hey, the book is out! Y’know, my new book, Richard Pryor: American Id, which I tracked the writing of right here on this very blog, is now available in paperback and ebook, from The Critical Press, Amazon, and fine local booksellers across the country. I’m very proud of it, and I think you’ll like it, and hey, if you don’t, it’s $10-$15 and you can read it in like two hours.

And it’s getting good reviews! Kristy Puchko wrote this very nice rave over at Pajiba, and Justin Remer was also super-positive in this review at my old stomping ground, DVD Talk. Oh, and I did this radio interview at KMUW, my hometown public radio station.

All that stuff and more is at the book’s website (here, if you’ve forgotten), in addition to an all-new section of the site called “Supplements,” where I’ve rounded up, linked, and embedded as many of the clips and articles and things referenced in the book as I could find. It’s basically a really good resource if you finish the book and wanna hear/watch/read some of that stuff.

Happy reading!