Advertisement

Creed Hits Harder The Further It Gets From Rocky Balboa's Shadow 

1. Creed works better as an actual movie than it does as a Rocky movie, which is quite the compliment, considering that it’s an excellent Rocky movie, too. (I hadn’t seen it yet when Grierson and I did our Rocky movie rankings on Monday; I’m higher on it than he is.) More than a mere boxing film, it’s a powerful,…

The Hunger Games Are Over, But Jennifer Lawrence Is Only Getting Better

1. It seems insane to think about now, but there was a time when everyone was worried about whether or not Jennifer Lawrence could pull off the Hunger Games films. Cast as Katniss Everdeen just a year after her breakthrough in Winter’s Bone, Lawrence was considered by many an undeniable talent but a little bit green,…

The Cheesy Spectre Suggests That James Bond's Darker, Grittier, Better Days Are Over

1. There was a time not so long ago when the very notion of James Bond seemed ridiculous—as anachronistic as making a movie about Betamax players or pay phones. There were actual thinkpieces 10 years back about whether James Bond could exist in a post-Austin Powers world. Even Daniel Craig worried about it: “We had to…

Rock The Kasbah Might Be Bill Murray's Worst Movie Ever

1. I love Bill Murray. You love Bill Murray. We all love Bill Murray. We love him on talk shows. We love him when he pops up in random places, doing random things. But we haven’t collectively loved a new Bill Murray movie in a long time. Sure, we’ve celebrated him in small roles: Zombieland, Moonrise Kingdom, even Get…

Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak Is Best Watched On Mute

1. Crimson Peak is a movie that’s all windup and no pitch. It requires a patience of you that I’m not sure it necessarily earns, and a level of patience it doesn’t feel obliged to reward. It’s not a slog; the movie always looks fantastic, and it has enough earthly delights to string you along its grand gothic groove.…

Spielberg's Bridge of Spies Is A Compelling Cold War Drama Your Granddad Will Love

1. Bridge of Spies is effective, efficient, compelling, smart and absorbing throughout, and I still couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. I think we’re starting to lose the Spielberg who was a risk-taker. The guy did exist, you know. After he won his last Oscar for directing Saving Private Ryan in 1998—a movie…

The Sucky New Peter Pan Reboot Oughta Fly Straight Into The Toilet 

1. It is difficult not to approach Pan with a deep, weary sigh. I am fortunate that people pay me to write about movies, and it’s something that no one should ever take for granted, particularly in this day (year? decade? quarter-century?) of media turmoil. Every assignment is a gift. One of the many, many reasons to…

Get Your Ass Off Mars: The Martian Is A Thrilling, Crowd-Pleasing Science Problem

1. The Martian will make you feel better about America, about the goodness of your fellow man, about the limitless possibilities of human achievement. That it’s also rooted in hard science (or at least a movie’s version of hard science, which is close enough), that all its surprises and accomplishments are borne of…

The Idiotic Stonewall Is A Bigger Disaster Than Roland Emmerich's Actual Disaster Movies

1. Stonewall misses the point of the Stonewall riots in almost the exact same way that Pearl Harbor missed the point of Pearl Harbor. That’s not a comparison I make lightly. Pearl Harbor turned one of the most seminal moments in American history into the pretext for a lame story about two white schmucks fighting over…

Everest Works Best When It Focuses On The Mountain, Not The Feeble Men On It

1. If nothing else, you should see Everest on as big a screen as possible. I was fortunate enough to see it in 3-D on a digital IMAX screen—not the same as the IMAX format, mind you, there’s a difference, but still, you know, big—and I’m glad I did. The most you can hope for from a movie about Mount Everest is that it…

The Visit Proves That M. Night Shyamalan Is Still Trying Way Too Hard

1. Man oh man, remember the Newsweek that dubbed M. Night Shyamalan “The Next Spielberg?” Has an entertainment-cover of a national newsmagazine ever aged worse? All right, maybe this one. But man, that Newsweek cover might have been the worst thing that ever happened to Shyamalan. The Sixth Sense was a surprise…

Richard Gere's Homelessness Drama Time Out Of Mind Will Hit You Hard

1. New York City is obviously the central setting of thousands of movies, and, being New York City, it’s adept at serving as whatever backdrop you want it to serve. It can connote romance or menace, limitless possibility or untold decadence, Candyland or the Hellmouth. But, as someone who lived there for 13 years, I…

American Ultra Is A Sweet, Ultraviolent Stoner Love Story

1. There’s an undeniable kick in watching a reedy nerd unleash cinematic violence, particularly when he’s confused by it, separate from the act, almost observing it. I’ve always thought this was the initial, primal appeal of The Matrix, how Keanu Reeves was a weirdly dispassionate participant in his own fight scenes,…

You'll Forget About The Man From U.N.C.L.E. While You're Still Watching It

1. You need a pretty good reason to resuscitate The Man From U.N.C.L.E.—a ’60s television series that went off the air before Jay Z was born—and I’m afraid Guy Ritchie’s movie version doesn’t have one. Perfectly passable, generic, and inoffensive, it vanishes from your brain almost while you’re watching it. This is…