Hell or High Water

The best films, performers, and other talent of 2016 thus far

Critics sure do love our year-end best-of lists. It’s kind of what we live for. I love them too, but I don’t wait until year’s end. No – that’s not how I roll. I prefer to write them at the end of August. Sure, it leaves out four months – four pretty important months if…

By Jonathan Eig
BFG Pete's Dragon

Who Wore It Better: A Cinematic Smackdown

News flash: Hollywood is derivative. I’ll pause here to let that sink in. I know it must come as quite a shock. So I suppose if I’m a producer and I’m plunking down 50 mill on two hours of fantasy, I’d want as much assurance as possible that an audience would actually come see the…

By Jonathan Eig
The Kind Words

Reviewing Shemi Zarhin’s The Kind Words: Is Perfection Enough?

How important is scope when determining a movie’s value? I am taunted by this question every time I get into an argument with someone over the relative worth of a virtually perfect smaller movie – say, The Full Monty – and a highly flawed, grand endeavour – say, Gangs of New York. At the risk…

By Jonathan Eig

Jason Bourne and everything that’s wrong with Hollywood today

The five biggest movies that opened in the USA in the last weekend of July, 2016 had the following Rotten Tomato scores: 76, 62, 58, 57, 50. For those of you who don’t know, RT considers a movie to be “Fresh” if it has 60 or higher, and “Rotten” is it falls under 60. So,…

By Jonathan Eig
High-Rise

Ben Wheatley directs J. G. Ballard’s “High-Rise”: Why movies should move

This is a very simple rule, and, as with most simple rules, we must allow for a great many exceptions. But the rule still has merit. Movies are better when they move. That’s why Joon-ho Bong’s Snowpiercer is better than Ben Wheatley’s new movie High-Rise. Well, one reason, anyway. One very simple reason. The stories…

By Jonathan Eig
Punishment Park

Hollywood in the 1970s: 10 Films History Forgot

I became a film fan in the 1970s. It was a good decade, one of the best if we’re ranking Hollywood in such a fashion. It had a number of iconic movies. There were the blockbusters – Jaws and Star Wars – which would rewrite the rules for how Hollywood manufactured its product. There were…

By Jonathan Eig
Nightcrawler - Jake Gyllenhaal

Loving Jake Gyllenhaal: From City Slickers to Nightcrawler

I’ll admit it. I was not always the biggest Jake Gyllenhaal fan. But, as Richard Cohen quoted Nora Ephron at the latter’s funeral, “This is going to be like the movies. We start as enemies and end as friends.” Who better to apply a “like the movies” quote to? The son of a director/screenwriter marriage,…

By Jonathan Eig