Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Fault Not in Our Stars: San Andreas, reviewed.

Magic Fingers

I went with my friend and colleague Heather to see San Andreas, and we felt saw the Earth move. That the film really seems not to notice that its fireman chopper-pilot hero is a deserter and a thief is part of the fun. My NPR review, which opens with a discussion of the 1974 Universal Pictures release Earthquake — written by Mario Puzo the same year as The Godfather, Part II! — is here. Continue reading

Advertisements

For The Village Voice, L.A. Weekly, and affiliates, Ten Summer Movies I Hope Don’t Suck

Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away used to signal the start of the summer movie season. Sometime around the turn of the century, the summer movies began arriving the first weekend in May. In recent years the first weekend in April has become a perennial launchpad for Marvel movies and Fast & Furious flicks.

But I’m the sentimental type, so I (and The Village Voice and L.A. Weekly) waited until this week to post my look at ten releases coming up in roughly the next 10 weeks for which I’ve got grand or at least moderate hopes. Plus Magic Mike XXL, which I was asked to add so the list wouldn’t be “too straight.” I am aware that Channing Tatum is what the former John “Cougar” Mellencamp would call “a real good dancer,” but Steven Soderbergh is not un-retiring from theatrical filmmaking to direct this sequel, so I’d probably rather see Jurassic World or Ant-Man, neither of which made the cut.

Have a great summer, movie lovers.

The Play’s the Thing, the Thing, and the Other Thing: The Blood Quilt, Jumpers for Goalposts, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, reviewed.

My reviews of — in alphabetical order — the new play The Blood Quilt, the debuting-in-the-U.S. play Jumpers for Goalposts, and the postmodern chestnut Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, are all in this week’s Washington City Paper. Except for the latter two of the three, which are online-only. Find them via the links above.

Pop Culture Happy Hour Small-Batch Edition: Mad Max: Fury Road

I was under the mojo-sapping influence of a stomach bug when I joined Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon in the studio for a Small Batch dissection of Mad Max: Fury Road, a film I love.

Readers of my Twitter feed know that matters of hydration are foremost in my mind during DC’s April-to-November summers, what with 2015 being my 24th consecutive year as a runner and all. So while I accepted most of Fury Road‘s fantastical elements without question, the matter of how everyone in the movie didn’t pass out from heat exhaustion after 30 seconds of combat was one I would be disposed to fixate upon even if I hadn’t spent the night prior to the taping on my couch, curled up in the fetal position around a bottle of Gatorade.

And yet it never comes up in our discussion.

How? Professionalism.

I hope I did an okay job of explaining that while Fury Road is essentially one long chase involving dozens of what look to be astonishingly gas-guzzling (but also astonishing, full-stop) vehicles, the film is a marvel of narrative efficiency.

Hear us prattle on here.

Click on any image to open the gallery. These are worth seeing full-res.

(Dis)honesty: The Truth About Lies, reviewed.

Dan Ariely_2My review of (Dis)honesty: The Truth About Lies, a new documentary based on the research of “behavioral economist” Dan Airely, is up on The Dissolve today.

 

What Fresh Hell! Mad Max: Fury Road, reviewed.

Tom Hardy & Charlize Theron are the dual protagonists of George Miller's Melting clocks would not look out of place in the surreal and vibrant post-apocalyptic world George Miller has created in Mad Max: Fury Road, the long-delayed fourth installment in the series that launched his eclectic career 36 years ago. (Four Max Maxes now, but also two Babes and two Happy Feet.) Among its other substantial achievements, the film elevates Charlize Theron into the Sigourney Weaver-Linda Hamilton-Carrie Anne Moss Action Heroine Hall of Fame. Last year was an unusually strong one for blockbusters, but Fury Road is still the baddest to burn rubber and spit fire in many nuclear winters. My NPR review is here.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Pop-Culture Pariahs

Avengers253d1a22a39340
On this week’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, I join host Linda Holmes and regular panelists Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon to dissect Joss Whedon’s super-packed super-sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Continue reading