I Just Watched The Notebook and Am Here to Ruin It for All of You

Ten years ago last week, The Notebook took our nation's feel-holes by storm. Nick Cassavetes's adaptation of Nicholas Sparks's novel—starring Ryan Gosling at PEAK shoulder-to-waist ratio—struck some emotional brown note of sentimentality and hunkiness and forbidden love and manipulative sentimentality, and remains the… » 7/02/14 4:35pm 7/02/14 4:35pm

Let's Try Chips Ahoy! Ice Cream Creations, A Dessert-Flavored Dessert

Remember ice cream? Oh man, ice cream. There are so many wonderful things to remember about ice cream, but first and foremost—more than the carnival of flavors and colors; the various zany, luxurious toppings and swirls; the fun presentations (Sundae! Banana split! Ice cream cone! Ice cream cake! Root beer float!);… » 3/08/14 1:00pm 3/08/14 1:00pm

Steve Carell Needs A New Trick: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,…

1. Steve Carell, leading man, is a lot funnier when he's not trying to be funny. He tends to work better in supporting straight comedy roles (most famously Anchorman, but also Bruce Almighty and even Bewitched) than as the lead (Dinner For Schmucks, Get Smart). His sweet spot as a leading man is basically the Tom… » 3/15/13 5:40pm 3/15/13 5:40pm

Seth MacFarlane Wasn't The Worst Oscar Host Ever: In Defense Of A Boob

For Seth MacFarlane's critics, Sunday night was supposed to be the moment we finally got to see the guy get his comeuppance. A "billion" viewers around the world, one of the most prestigious gigs in all of entertainment: As Oscar host, this was his chance to justify his swiftly, perhaps inexplicably, rising star. Or,… » 2/25/13 10:45am 2/25/13 10:45am

The Rock Saves The Day. Snitch, Reviewed.

Snitch isn't great, but if you're like me and have enjoyed Dwayne Johnson more than his movies, his latest helps justify our faith in the guy. This is a B-movie thriller built around a real incident that's meant to show us the lunacy of our government's drug policy—and yet the movie's not preachy or sanctimonious.… » 2/21/13 5:45pm 2/21/13 5:45pm

Brand New Star, Same Old Crap. Identity Thief, Reviewed.

Everybody is happy for Melissa McCarthy. After years on TV shows (Gilmore Girls, Mike & Molly) and small parts in movies (she's great in John August's The Nines), she broke through with Bridesmaids, getting an Oscar nomination in the process. She's a really funny lady who's ridiculously effervescent, and it's high… » 2/07/13 6:45pm 2/07/13 6:45pm

God Bless Liam Neeson, He Sure Does Try. Taken 2, Reviewed.

If you liked the first Taken, it was probably because of Liam Neeson. With that unlikely hit, the Oscar-nominated actor established himself as a tough-guy action star, a development that was surprising not because he's a bad fit for the role but, rather, because he proved really adept at it. Anyone can swing a… » 10/03/12 6:00pm 10/03/12 6:00pm

Interview With The Vampire. Cosmopolis (Starring Robert Pattinson),…

Rage is rarely cold. Whether it's the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street or Network, discontent with the state of the world usually comes to us piping hot, often satisfyingly so. That's why it's so disconcerting when a movie goes the opposite route, serving up its message with a calm, dispassionate air. Cosmopolis » 8/14/12 5:46pm 8/14/12 5:46pm

Did The Wrong Thing. Spike Lee's Red Hook Summer, Reviewed.

Spike Lee is such a confident filmmaker that when one of his movies doesn't quite work, you almost wonder if it's your fault for not getting it. Secure in his talent for sweeping emotions and powerful visuals, he sets out to make a masterpiece with each new movie, and the worst thing you can say about him is that he… » 8/10/12 5:48pm 8/10/12 5:48pm

Zach Galifianakis And Will Ferrell Race To The Middle. The Campaign,…

1. That The Campaign could never come up with a fictional scenario that would rival the absurdity of what actually happens in our daily political discourse is an obvious point, yet one that needs to be made again nevertheless. Is any sort of shtick that Will Ferrell could dream up odder than a reality in which Newt… » 8/09/12 6:40pm 8/09/12 6:40pm

The Conspiracy To Kill A Great Movie Franchise. The Bourne Legacy,…

1. The first three Jason Bourne films had an intensity, a vitality to them that made them feel urgent and relevant, grounded in the messy real world of global capitalism and a U.S. government that was alternately confused, corrupt, and terrified. The movies didn't have a specific politics other than paranoia:… » 8/08/12 5:55pm 8/08/12 5:55pm

Nothing We Haven't Seen Before: Total Recall, Reviewed.

1. As a skeptic of the original Total Recall, I was ready to give its remake more than a fair shake. My primary issue with the original is how little it does with the film's initial, fantastical Philip K. Dick premise, that the difference between reality and fantasy is not only slim but perhaps irrelevant; that film… » 8/03/12 4:30pm 8/03/12 4:30pm

Famous People Trying To Be Funny. The Watch, Reviewed.

The Watch is The Avengers of comic superstar movies, if the Avengers decided they didn't really want to work together and looked sorta annoyed occupying the same story. The movie stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill, and it's rare to see a film in which so many big names seem to be operating in their own… » 7/26/12 5:40pm 7/26/12 5:40pm

Bruce Wanes. The Dark Knight Rises, Reviewed.

1. The first two Batman films from director Christopher Nolan were so transcendent, so ambitious and challenging and grand, that The Dark Knight Rises feels like more of a disappointment than it should. The first two movies, especially The Dark Knight, were miracles, an impossible combination of universal themes,… » 7/18/12 1:45pm 7/18/12 1:45pm

Didn't We Just Do This? The Amazing Spider-Man, Reviewed.

1. The Amazing Spider-Man is less a reboot than a recital. It's professionally made and competent and sincere and well-acted, but it never quite overcomes the nagging sense that there's no reason for it to exist. Well, actually, there is a reason: Sony, to keep the rights to the character, needed to rush a movie into… » 6/29/12 2:30pm 6/29/12 2:30pm

Steven Soderbergh Whips It Out. Magic Mike, Reviewed.

As Steven Soderbergh gets closer to the retirement he swears will be happening next year, it's tempting for us who love his movies to wish he'd go out with one last major opus, some sort of legacy-defining masterpiece. So maybe that's why it's good that he clearly doesn't seem interested in doing any such thing. Many… » 6/27/12 4:00pm 6/27/12 4:00pm