San Andreas Is The Perfect Replacement-Level Disaster Movie

1. San Andreas doesn’t hit a single beat you don’t expect, and there’s comfort in that. It feels like a ritual, like a visit to a loud but harmless elderly aunt’s house where you know nothing exciting is going to happen, but you’re okay with that. Sometimes you just need some quiet time, no? This movie certainly isn’t… » 5/29/15 12:41pm Today 12:41pm

Tomorrowland Is Hopeful, Uplifting, And Absolutely Intolerable 

1. Tomorrowland is a movie about optimism and hope and brightness and good cheer, which probably explains why it put me in such a foul mood. It’s like that television evangelist who’s so smiley and squeaky-clean that you just know he’s up to something weird when no one’s looking. This movie spends more than two hours… » 5/22/15 12:01pm 5/22/15 12:01pm

Pitch Perfect 2 Is Bigger, Bawdier, And Substantially Worse 

1. Pitch Perfect 2 is a total bummer, and it takes a while to figure out why. The 2012 original was such a pleasant, charming surprise, smart and clever and warm-hearted, but also pleasantly geeky; a cappella groups are not the centerpiece of the collegiate experience in the world we live in, but Pitch Perfect » 5/15/15 1:57pm 5/15/15 1:57pm

Mad Max: Fury Road Is Glorious, Thrilling, Overwhelming Lunacy

1. I quit smoking more than four years ago, but nothing—not a night full of drinks, not a table full of smokers, not a gasoline IV—has made me want a cigarette more than Mad Max: Fury Road did. You leave the theater still shaking, everything still pumping and throbbing, a treadmill stopping on a dime and sending you… » 5/14/15 11:29am 5/14/15 11:29am

The D Train Gives Us The Neutered Jack Black No One Wanted

1. I’m not sure why Jack Black keeps trying to insist that he’s a sad sack. After years of being a whirling dervish of lunatic, coked-up energy—while still having the fundamental performance chops and inherent charm to deftly sidestep the usual Funny Fat Guy pitfalls—he’s toning it down as he approaches middle age.… » 5/08/15 3:04pm 5/08/15 3:04pm

The Marvel Empire Strikes Back: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Reviewed

1. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Avengers movies is how it never feels like they’re selling you something. They are, obviously: The Marvel empire ranks among the most mammoth money-making enterprises in the history of cinema. But writer-director Joss Whedon’s signature achievement is that you barely… » 5/01/15 12:26pm 5/01/15 12:26pm

Summer Movies 2015: The Grierson & Leitch Preview

When Furious 7 came out last week, it was heralded by many as the kickoff to the 2015 Summer Movie Season, which was strange, considering it's still April. (And just barely April.) By that rationale, it’s also the start of Oscar Season, or the 2017 Fall Movie Season, or the 2019 Dawn of Human Awakening Season. » 4/08/15 2:06pm 4/08/15 2:06pm

Dumber-er And Awesomer: Furious 7, Reviewed

1. Furious 7 has a scene I have been waiting a long, long time to see in a movie, and it happens twice. Two cars facing each other from opposite sides of the street. Two men, nostrils flaring, glowering, revving their engines, respective erect penises in hand. They shift into gear. They floor it. They speed directly… » 4/01/15 2:00pm 4/01/15 2:00pm

Age Ain't Nothing But A Bummer: While We're Young, Reviewed

1. Of all the criticisms my fellow Gen-Xers have of Millennials, there isn't one that cracks me up more than "they're too self-involved." This is freaking rich, coming from us. Being self-involved was our thing. We were the ones who were obsessed with authenticity, and "reality," and not "selling out," even though… » 3/26/15 5:15pm 3/26/15 5:15pm

Sean Penn Is Way Too Weird To Be Your Next Great Action Hero

If nothing else, The Gunman gives us a scene in which Sean Penn goes surfing. Of all the mysteries of centuries of American film, one that has always vexed me in particular is, "How did the doof who played Spicoli turn into that guy?" If you haven't watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High recently—and the movie is… » 3/19/15 12:14pm 3/19/15 12:14pm

Like Short Circuit For Knuckleheads: Chappie, Reviewed

1. District 9, the 2009 full-length debut from South African writer-director Neill Blomkamp, gave us an entirely new way of thinking about science-fiction movies. I wasn't as crazy about it as most other critics, but you couldn't deny that it was trying something different, creating an alternate universe and… » 3/06/15 4:03pm 3/06/15 4:03pm

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 12:15pm 2/20/15 12:15pm

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… » 2/13/15 1:17pm 2/13/15 1:17pm

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… » 2/06/15 10:49am 2/06/15 10:49am

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… » 1/23/15 2:16pm 1/23/15 2:16pm

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… » 1/16/15 4:19pm 1/16/15 4:19pm

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 … » 1/14/15 4:42pm 1/14/15 4:42pm

Melissa McCarthy's Self-Made Waterloo: Tammy, Reviewed

1. So what happened here, exactly? Tammy is a passion project for Melissa McCarthy—she co-wrote the film with her husband, Ben Falcone, who also directed and has a small role as a fast-food manager—and she spent nearly a decade trying to make it. So why is it so, so terrible? This is the movie McCarthy was fighting… » 7/02/14 11:26am 7/02/14 11:26am

Mo' Meta Blues: 22 Jump Street, Reviewed

1. How much credit are we supposed to give a movie for being self-aware? 22 Jump Street is so self-conscious and nervy about its status as an unnecessary cash-grab sequel that it never stops bringing it up. There are multiple inside-baseball asides about how much more expensive missions are the second time around, and… » 6/13/14 1:50pm 6/13/14 1:50pm

Groundhog Day Goes Sci-Fi: Edge Of Tomorrow, Reviewed.

1. Edge of Tomorrow is such a terrific idea for a movie that everyone involved seems to be in high spirits, like they all have a little pep in their step knowing they're making a good movie. There's so much junk out there that you can tell when the filmmakers know they've hooked a big one; there's a seriousness of… » 6/03/14 1:36pm 6/03/14 1:36pm