John Podhoretz

Review: ‘Ad Astra’

Brad Pitt remakes 'The Tree of Life'

Ad AstraEight years ago, long before his dazzling and surely Oscar-winning turn this summer in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, Brad Pitt gave a magnificent performance in The Tree of Life as a loving martinet father in 1950s Texas with Sean Penn as his pensive son, ruminating in endless voice-overs about his pains and sorrows and the origins of the universe. This weekend, you can see Pitt in a virtual remake of The Tree of Life, in which he plays the son, not the father. It's called Ad Astra, and like The Tree of Life, it's both good and awful.

Review: Brittany Runs a Marathon

Running in place

Brittany Runs a MarathonThere's a movie called Brittany Runs a Marathon and never has a title been more accurate. It's a movie about Brittany, and yes, she runs a marathon. When she's not running the marathon, she's training for a marathon.

Review: It Chapter Two

It’s Not Good

Until I saw It Chapter 2, I would have given the prize for the Worst Scary Movie Ending to Sphere. In Sphere, released in 1998, Dustin Hoffman and Sharon Stone and Samuel L. Jackson develop dangerous powers on an underwater spacecraft.

Doc Reviews: David Crosby and Pavarotti

How legends are made

Documentaries released in actual movie theaters (as opposed to public television or HBO or the streaming services) come in two kinds. First, there’s the hysterical, portentous world-is-coming-to-an-end-and-its-all-the-fault-of-the-Koch-brothers-aaaaah-help-call-a-cop kind. Then there’s the elegiac-rueful-showbiz-tribute documentary about a once-singular sensation.

Review: ‘The Farewell’

A Chinese-American movie that soars

The FarewellIn the woefully underrated 1982 comedy Unfaithfully Yours, Dudley Moore plays a concert pianist who resists a booking in China. His manager, played by Albert Brooks, explains why he’s wrong: “What, shrugging off a whole continent? That’s 800 million people. You get 200 million people to see you by mistake just because they’re looking for a restaurant.”

Review: Hobbs and Shaw Is Neither Fast nor Furious

Mission Inexcusable

So there's this movie called Hobbs and Shaw, and it's sort of a Fast and Furious movie, only it isn't. I really wouldn't know, because I've only seen a couple of Fast and Furious movies and I remember absolutely nothing about them. And when I say absolutely nothing, I mean absolutely nothing.

Review: Tarantino’s Lovable Fairy Tale

Paradise Regained

If there is any location in the collective American imagination that evokes an Edenic paradise, it would be Los Angeles in the 1960s. To think of it is to dream of it: The sound of Beach Boys harmonies filling the air, the weather always 72 and sunny, fresh-picked fruit coming down the 101, and money raining down on Californians new and old.

Review: ‘The Lion King’ Has No Heart

The lion sleeps tonight

Back in 1978, Superman's ad copy made a daring promise to the American moviegoer when it declared, "You will believe a man can fly." We did, and it was a smash. The ad copy for the new Disney remake of The Lion King might be "You will believe a lion can talk." You do, and the movie is going to make nearly $2 billion at the box office, trust me.

Review: ‘Stuber’

Stuber succeeds in breathing new life into the buddy movie

Buddy movies are the ultimate in male wish fulfillment, a romantic comedy without romance, a vision of a perfect friendship forged in hardship, self-sacrifice, and mutual understanding.