More Anti-American Moments from ‘First Man’

First Man

Over the weekend, First Man (which is good!) opened to a disappointing $16.5 million, modestly underperforming expectations. Perhaps it’s because the film was fending off challenges from all quadrants, with Venom soaking up younger audiences and A Star Is Born captivating older viewers looking for a little melodrama. Perhaps it’s because it’s a 2.5 hour historical drama, and films …

‘Venom’ Mini-Review

Why is Venom, the alien symbiote who bonds with Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), named Venom in the movie Venom? I mean, why does he call himself Venom? Why does another symbiote, this one named Riot, call Venom by the name Venom? I don’t mean this in a gotcha, Why are these weird aliens speaking English sort of way, …

‘A Star Is Born’ Review

A Star Is Born is a perfectly acceptable harvesting of previously tilled territory, one that highlights Bradley Cooper’s impressive dramatic range and Lady Gaga’s dynamic vocals without bringing anything particularly exciting or memorable to the table, save one pop song that will undoubtedly go down as a “banger” that “slaps.”

The Substandard Oscars Draft

On the latest episode of the Substandard podcast (to which discerning individuals can subscribe here), we wanted to do a preview of awards season movies. As everyone knows, the studios release everything intended to be consumed by adults in the months of October, November, and December. These films generally turn out to be the Oscar …

‘The Sisters Brothers’ Review

Eli and Charlie Sisters (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix, respectively) announce themselves early on in The Sisters Brothers. The camera focused on a stretch of dark prairie land, we hear them announce themselves (“We’re the Sisters Brothers!”) before demanding that those holed up inside toss out whoever it is they’re hiding unless they want violence to commence. Violence, of course, commences, and the brothers Sisters kill everyone inside.

Skepticism of Eyewitnesses Was a Cause Célèbre Until Last Week, for Some Reason

The New Yorker is one of the greatest journalistic institutions in our formidable nation. So when the New Yorker tells me to be skeptical of eyewitness testimony—that it’s unreliable; that it leads to false convictions—well, I listen! Here’s a passage from the New Yorker two years ago, in an intensely reported piece about the wrongful conviction of a man for rape: …

‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’ Review

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

The House with a Clock in Its Walls, the adaptation of a beloved children’s book, is directed by Eli Roth. The same Eli Roth who made the Hostel movies, which practically defined the term “torture porn,” as well as Cabin Fever and the recent Death Wish reboot and the cannibalism-oriented eco-horror film The Green Inferno. The same Eli Roth who played the baseball-bat-wielding Bear Jew in Inglourious Basterds and directed Knock Knock, a film in which Keanu Reeves is first seduced and then tortured by a pair of naughty school girls.

A Very Brief Thought on Netflix’s ‘Norm Macdonald Has a Show’

“You don’t get to not like it, you didn’t fucking get it.” Norm Macdonald says that as he explains to Drew Barrymore why he gets annoyed by people who complain about not liking jokes after they admitted they hadn’t gotten the joke. Barrymore herself has not gotten several of Norm’s jokes in the episode, but …