Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Press Play

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: On “Weed Wars,” drug clichés go up in smoke

“I run a family business, and the business is cannabis,” says Steve D’Angelo, a central character in Discovery’s new series “Weed Wars” and the co-founder and executive director of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, which distributes medical marijuana to almost 100,000 customers. D’Angelo’s matter-of-fact statement sums up the tone of this series, which treats the Harborside Heath Center as just another family-owned (albeit nonprofit) business, ultimately not too different from a veterinary clinic, a hair salon or a tattoo parlor.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
  • |
  • December 1, 2011 7:53 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

Jason Segel's THE MUPPETS proves it's time for Kermit & Co. to pack it in

In his effort to revitalize the brand, Jason Segel exposes his fondness for the Muppets as boldly as he exposed his naked body in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. No hidden agendas here, The Muppets is packed with full-frontal nostalgia that suggests not just Segel’s desire to relive the magic of yesteryear but also his fervent belief that the Muppets’ charms can cast an equally powerful spell today. The Muppets, which Segel co-wrote with Nicholas Stoller, opens with an outright appreciation of The Muppet Show and the not so subtle implication that Segel spent his childhood feeling as if the Muppets were part of his family. If you’re a hardcore fan and realize how much the brand’s spirit has strayed from its roots since Jim Henson’s death in 1990, this is exactly the kind of opening you want to see, and it’s equally encouraging when, not much later, Segel’s Gary and his brother Walter (a Muppet performed by Peter Linz) break into song. The film’s rousing opening number, “Life’s a Happy Song,” captures some of the cherished Henson-era optimism and sweetness in its title alone, and the lyrics have a casually playful absurdity to them that feels just right. But the capper is a massive dance routine at the end of the song, when the citizens of Smalltown, USA, come flooding into the frame to form a leg-kicking, jazz-handsing chorus, creating a spectacle that would rank among the all-time greatest Muppet moments if not for one small problem. None of them are Muppets.
  • By Jason Bellamy
  • |
  • November 26, 2011 7:15 PM
  • |
  • 10 Comments

LISA ROSMAN: MY WEEK WITH MARILYN pleases while it lasts

These days, you can scarcely hit a Cineplex without tripping over at least one biopic, a phenomenon I chalk up to the same one that makes reality TV so proliferate: people tend to thrill over the idea that anything really happened, like, ever. But as thrilling as some human lives may be conceptually, rarely do any produce a satisfying narrative arc.
  • By Lisa Rosman
  • |
  • November 23, 2011 3:58 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment

SIMON SAYS: Géla Babluani’s 13 is pure, bone-headed bliss

Géla Babluani’s 13, a remake of his own 13 Tzameti, is arty, self-serious macho bullshit, and it’s also a lot of fun. The director still takes his original premise too seriously, but it’s a problem that only really becomes apparent during 13’s last 20 minutes, so until then, you easily get lost watching Babluani cover the same ground again, only this time with a mesmeric ensemble cast.
  • By Simon Abrams
  • |
  • November 23, 2011 3:44 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

Eastwood's "J. Edgar" takes few risks with its controversial subject

You'd think Clint Eastwood would be the right guy to direct a movie about J. Edgar Hoover. After all, who better to tell the story of the 20th century's most influential law enforcement officer, the man who wrote the rule book on fighting crime only to disregard those rules when they prevented him from getting his man, than Dirty Harry himself? Or, to be less obvious, what would the man responsible for White Hunter Black Heart, A Perfect World and Million Dollar Baby — movies about men who defied authority, be it Hollywood, the law or God — bring to the life story of the man who held authority over the country for nearly 50 years? Alas, Clint Eastwood's stately biopic J. Edgar is a frustrating experience. For nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes we are held captive by the possibility of a major revelation or insight into a man whose obsession with cataloging every single detail of a person's personal and professional lives foretold the collapse of privacy. We get hints, intimations and suggestions of darker urges that shaped Hoover's behavior, but nothing concrete about the man's personality, and no attitude whatsoever toward his actions. Eastwood mistakes vagueness for ambiguity and puts us in the position of being armchair psychiatrists.
  • By Aaron Aradillas
  • |
  • November 18, 2011 9:15 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

LISA ROSMAN: Lars von Trier's MELANCHOLIA is a masterpiece

Lars von Trier is not a brother who provokes a neutral response: there are those who feel he can do no wrong, and then there are naysayers like me. Although I consider Dancer in the Dark one of the best movies of the last decade, I swore I’d never sit through another of his films after suffering through the school-play machinations of Dogville. A guy who so unilaterally criticizes America without ever having stepped foot on its soil deserves a similar boycott, I declared.
  • By Lisa Rosman
  • |
  • November 16, 2011 3:40 AM
  • |
  • 3 Comments

RECAP: Dexter heads over the edge

This recap contains spoilers for "Dexter" season six, episode seven; read at your own risk. Something extraordinary happened on “Dexter” this week. As Dexter split into two personas as he struggled to hang on to his remaining humanity, a show that’s been MIA suddenly reported ready for duty.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
  • |
  • November 14, 2011 12:03 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
More: Television

RECAP: "The Walking Dead" Season Two, episode 5, "Chupacabra."

"The Walking Dead" has craft and atmosphere; if only the characters weren't so insufferably earnest and dense. This recap contains spoilers for "The Walking Dead" Season Two, episode 5, "Chupacabra." Read at your own risk.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
  • |
  • November 14, 2011 4:29 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

RECAP: A bear, a baseball glove and Boardwalk Empire

“Powerful” episodes of cable dramas make a huge impression on viewers, and are often acclaimed as the best of their season. Sometimes the praise is deserved; other times it’s a reaction to the sight of characters we like being diagnosed with fatal illnesses, beaten, raped, killed, etc. Meanwhile, low-key but complex episodes often get short shrift from critics and viewers. I hope that doesn’t happen with tonight’s “Boardwalk Empire” episode, “Two Boats and a Lifeguard,” because in degree of difficulty, it’s impressive, in some ways extraordinary. As written by Terence Winter and directed by Tim Van Patten — a dynamic duo on a lot of great “Sopranos” episodes — “Two Boats and a Lifeguard” seems like just a “housekeeping” episode that’s mainly concerned with wrangling subplots and exploring characters. But as I’ll explain in a moment, the episode went way beyond that.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
  • |
  • November 14, 2011 3:53 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

Eastwood's "J. Edgar" takes few risks with its controversial subject

You'd think Clint Eastwood would be the right guy to direct a movie about J. Edgar Hoover. After all, who better to tell the story of the 20th century's most influential law enforcement officer, the man who wrote the rule book on fighting crime only to disregard those rules when they prevented him from getting his man, than Dirty Harry himself? Or, to be less obvious, what would the man responsible for "White Hunter Black Heart," "A Perfect World" and "Million Dollar Baby" — movies about men who defied authority, be it Hollywood, the law or God — bring to the life story of the man who held authority over the country for nearly 50 years? Alas, Clint Eastwood's stately biopic "J. Edgar" is a frustrating experience. For nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes we are held captive by the possibility of a major revelation or insight into a man whose obsession with cataloging every single detail of a person's personal and professional lives foretold the collapse of privacy. We get hints, intimations and suggestions of darker urges that shaped Hoover's behavior, but nothing concrete about the man's personality, and no attitude whatsoever toward his actions. Eastwood mistakes vagueness for ambiguity and puts us in the position of being armchair psychiatrists.
  • By Aaron Aradillas
  • |
  • November 10, 2011 9:29 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment

Follow Us

Most "Liked"

  • What Does It Mean That Joe Swanberg ...
  • Humor Is Life: RIP Robin Williams, ...
  • Kevin Kline on MY OLD LADY, THE LAST ...
  • VIDEO ESSAY: R.I.P. Lauren Bacall
  • First AMERICAN HORROR STORY, Now TRUE ...
  • METAMERICANA: Outlaw Country Goes Psychedelic: ...
  • FARGO, TRUE DETECTIVE, JUSTIFIED, RECTIFY ...
  • VIDEO ESSAY: Our Scary Summer: 1979
  • How GROUNDHOG DAY and THE ONE I LOVE ...
  • The Cool of Science, from Bill Nye to ...