Mud (2013) Matthew McConaughey

The Problem is as Clear as “Mud”

Much has been written about the recent shift in Matthew McConaughey’s career. After years of awful rom-coms like Failure to Launch and Ghost of Girlfriends Past, there has been a significant and sudden change in his work, and the excitement amongst critics is palpable. In just the last two years, McConaughey has starred in five celebrated independent…

Superman

Why “Man of Steel” Might Save Us All

I have now watched the trailer for Man of Steel, the Zack Snyder-directed Superman movie premiering June 14, twice and had two very different reactions. Watching it at home on my laptop, it looked like a solid, modern take on the world’s most famous superhero. But this trailer was not meant to be watched on…

Alpha-House_Amazon-Studios

“Alpha House” Deserves a Seat at the Table

It’s hard to mock Washington these days because Washington is doing such a good job of mocking itself. Our politics have become parody, and political comedy has become redundant. It’s why 1600 Penn didn’t resonate with anyone. Veep has scored decent ratings and offers a few laughs per episode, but it doesn’t seem to have…

Tom Cruise Oblivion

Summer Comes Early with “Oblivion”

Is it too much to expect originality from a summer blockbuster these days? At this point in our era of poll-testing and demographics-driven production, we should accept this simple fact: no studio is going to spend $120 million, the cost of the new sci-fi blockbuster Oblivion, on an idea that has not already been demonstrated…

movie ratings ap graphics bank

Reel Change in The Atlantic

I’m back in The Atlantic with an analysis of the recent change in the MPAA ratings system. Here is an excerpt: “If anything, advertising that a movie has “grisly violence” or “strong sexual content” could make teenagers want to see it more. As a child, I remember scanning the content descriptions beneath cable movie listings…

Redford

Redford is in Mixed “Company”

Personally, I can’t hear Robert Redford utter the word “secrets” without my mind drifting back to Sneakers, the 1992 minor cult classic in which Redford portrayed a computer hacker and former countercultural leader who avoids arrest and goes underground for twenty-five years before his identity is discovered and used against him. The film bears more than…

42_Robinson

The Awful Conservatism of “42”

To create 42, the new biopic about Jackie Robinson that topped the box office this past weekend, writer/director Brian Helgeland fashioned the true and emotionally explosive story of a milestone in the struggle for racial equality – the integration of baseball – into a film certain to offend absolutely no one. Any story about the…