Image via Erik Aavatsmark

From ‘United 93’ to ‘Captain Phillips’ to his new Netflix film ’22 July,’ Paul Greengrass has attempted to reconsider the way he views 9/11—and everything that’s followed

In the 21st century, terrorism is an inescapable reality. Vigilance, too, is futile. No matter the precautions we take, we simply cannot stop all those who want to inflict harm upon us. And so, all we can really do in the end is adjust our expectations accordingly and hold onto our sense of who we are as a society.

Yet that sort of passive, measured response flies in the face of how people normally react — someone hits us, we want to hit back even harder. We want revenge. And if we can’t get it in real life, at least…

Plus some other random thoughts about the new Tom Hardy superhero film

Bad movies come out all the time, and most of them are totally forgettable. But every once in a while, one comes along that’s notable because of the sincere effort put forth by one individual in the cast. He believes so passionately in the project that he gives his whole soul to it. All around him, people are phoning it in, but not him. He is committed. He is devoted. He is making Art.

There is no reason to see Venomalthough a ton of people did this weekend — but if you’re bound and determined to waste your…

For a couple decades, Chris Columbus has been one of Hollywood’s most reliable family filmmakers. But you know what? Most family films are bad. And Columbus has made a lot of them.

15. Pixels (2015). Adam Sandler has been responsible for many awful films. This might possibly be the very worst. The movie, about an invasion of Earth by videogame characters, was based on a really fun short. Here’s the short — it’s less than three minutes long. …


From ‘Wedding Crashers’ to ‘A Star Is Born,’ the Oscar-nominated actor has systematically dismantled what we look for in leading men

Since the beginning, movies have had heroes. Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper — from the start, we’ve been drawn to men who played impossibly brave or lovable characters, guys who stood up to others and did what’s right. (Never mind that some of those men in their private lives, especially Chaplin and Flynn, were far from saints, engaging in relationships with underage women.) But as Hollywood grew more sophisticated, so did the portrayals of male heroism — and soon we entered an era of complicated leading men as different as Jimmy Stewart (impossibly decent but also, in Hitchcock films…

Plus some other random thoughts about ‘Night School’

The first time I saw Kevin Hart, I thought he was funny. It was 2012, and he was one of the stars of Think Like a Man, a mediocre romcom in which he played Cedric, the loudmouth in a group of buddies trying to figure out their girlfriends. Cedric was divorced and bitter but constantly insisting he was happy and possessed insights into the way women “really” were. He’s the sort of dude who talks a mile a minute as a way to simulate confidence.

Hart had been in movies for almost a decade by that point — including…

Jeremy Saulnier discusses his disturbing new Netflix thriller ‘Hold the Dark,’ why he loves making genre films and how he feels about ‘Green Room’ in the wake of the alt-right movement

Darkness envelops Jeremy Saulnier’s movies. Whether it’s his 2014 breakthrough Blue Ruin or his punk-rock follow-up Green Room, evil is never far off — neither is violence, which the director wields with a considered thoughtfulness. In Blue Ruin, which told of a drifter’s quest to get revenge on the man who murdered his parents, setting in motion a bloody feud between two families, death has a weight to it, and those who kill often execute their bloody deeds in clumsy, very human ways. Green Room found a struggling young punk band accepting a nightmare gig somewhere in the Pacific Northwest…

Plus some other random thoughts about the new Emma Stone/Jonah Hill Netflix series

I consider myself fortunate not to be someone who battles mental illness, but because I live in a big city in which homelessness is rampant, I’m frequently reminded what the worst-case scenarios can look like, and it’s heartbreaking. Add to that the fact that the stigma of depression has lifted somewhat in my lifetime — inspiring individuals in the public eye to acknowledge their battles with anxiety disorders and suicide — and it becomes increasingly clear that we as a society have turned a corner in empathizing with those who have mental problems.

It would be nice, though, if Hollywood…

We stack him up against Chucky, Pinhead and that Irish elf who wants his gold back

While watching The Predator, the very mediocre new installment of the film franchise that started back in 1987, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the Predator. But it wasn’t because he’s a magnetic, frightening figure — quite the contrary, I spent the whole movie thinking, Wow, this guy really isn’t that scary. The more I looked, the less terrifying he seemed.

I’m not saying that to brag: I actually have a pretty low threshold for scary stuff. Give me a movie with creepy creatures with big teeth or spider-like tentacles, and I’ll usually freak out. But the Predator…

Plus some other random thoughts about the comic’s Netflix talk show

When Norm Macdonald was coming of age, there was one talk show that ruled all others, The Tonight Show, featuring the smiling, unflappable Johnny Carson as its host. There were other shows, of course — Dick Cavett had one, and so did Mike Douglas and Tom Snyder — but The Tonight Show was special, and everyone knew it. But in May 1992, Carson retired, setting the stage for the late-night wars that have raged on ever since.

It’s been 25 years since David Letterman came over to CBS and Conan O’Brien took over the Late Night mantle. Jay Leno, Arsenio…

Plus some other random thoughts about the Toronto Film Festival

On Sunday night at the Toronto Film Festival, Jonah Hill unveiled his directorial debut, the much-anticipated Mid90s, about a shy, lonely 13-year-old in L.A. who bonds with some local skateboarders. When the film was over, Hill came on stage to a standing ovation from the crowd, which moved the Oscar-nominated actor to tears.

This isn’t an uncommon occurrence at a film festival — the standing ovation, I mean, not the crying — and it’s one of the things that makes people who don’t go to festivals roll their eyes. Because these spontaneous displays of affection occur so often, they…

Tim Grierson

Contributing Editor at @WeAreMEL |

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