John Podhoretz

Review: ‘Birds of Prey’

Less Tarantino, more Taranteeny

Birds of Prey wants to be like Deadpool, and it is, except it's also very bad. Deadpool rewrote the comic-book-movie script with its wild depiction of a fast-talking, foul-mouthed, nihilistic brute who is turned into an impregnable superhero with extremely questionable morals. Birds of Prey is foul-mouthed, bloody, and cartoonishly low-lifey à la Deadpool—its protagonist’s go-to move is to break her opponent’s leg in combat—but to no particular end or purpose.

Review: ‘Bad Boys for Life’

If it’s for life… it’s a life sentence

Bad Boys for Life, the blockbuster reboot of the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence violent-buddy-cop franchise that arrived a mere 17 years after Bad Boys II, takes place in an alternate universe.

The Best Year for Movies in Forever

And the winner is… anything!

The two late entrants into the Oscar race, Little Women and 1917, both scored Best Picture nominations and are both credible possibilities to take the statuette at the awards ceremony in February. That's not only because both of them are good, which they are; Little Women is an emotional knockout (its last hour in particular), while 1917 is a riveting and harrowing thriller, inventively told and staggeringly well-photographed.

Review: Marriage Story

You don’t want to see it. You’re wrong.

I really, really didn't want to see Marriage Story, despite the rapturous reviews and the fact that it’s the work of Noah Baumbach, one of the most interesting writer-directors in America. It turns out I'm not alone.

Review: ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

Who cares?

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is total sci-fi eye candy featuring about 50 different planets, many spaceships, lots of lasers, good fake animals, a cute new robot—all designed and photographed beautifully. It passes what is pretty much the basic test for any moviegoer, which is that it is fun to watch. But this conclusion to the third Star Wars trilogy has a basic problem it cannot solve. Simply put, who cares?

Review: ‘Jojo Rabbit’

Taika Waititi puts whimsy to good use in what may be the year's best film

If there's anything worse than whimsy, I haven't encountered it. Fine—murder is worse than whimsy. But only just a little. Which is why I avoided seeing Jojo Rabbit, a new movie written and directed by the New Zealander who made Thor: Ragnarok. His name is Taika Waititi, though he was known as Taika Cohen (his Jewish mother's last name) until he decided to take his Maori father's surname.

Why ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Flopped

You may not have noticed, but movies no longer open on Fridays; almost all major releases begin their runs in theaters with a 7 p.m. showing on Thursday. This meant that Sony Pictures knew by the time midnight rolled around on November 14, only five hours after its first showings, that they had a monumental turkey on their hands with the new version of Charlie’s Angels.

Review: ‘Ford v Ferrari’

A buddy movie of the old school

Ford v FerrariI’ve praised Once Upon a Time and The Irishman here, so now let me heap praise on the bracing, exciting, brilliantly executed Ford v Ferrari—the best sports movie in memory.

Review: ‘The Irishman’

Good. Long. Not really juicy.

I like a good, long, juicy movie, so when I heard Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman ran three-and-a-half hours, I sure knew it was long.

Review: ‘Dolemite Is My Name’

A tribute to an entrepreneur

There's a whole subgenre of movies about bad movies, which is odd. After all, most industries don't offer testimonials to their greatest failures and disasters. This strange love of cultural detritus testifies to Richard Rushfield’s theory that the true subject of Hollywood is Hollywood, for even its garbage is turned into the Garbage of Legend.