This week, the Criterion Collection is releasing a double bill of the mid-‘60s Westerns The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind, a treat not only for fans of revisionist Westerns and director Monte Hellman, but also for those who admire Jack Nicholson, here seen in two terrific performances that predate his breakthrough in Easy Rider. There’s a specific kind of pleasure in revisiting the early work of actors who would later become famous — not the roles that made them stars, but their earlier, quieter gigs, in which we glimpse an actor just trying to do good work, yet already exhibiting the spark that would mark them for fame. Here are a few of our …Read More
The reviews are in for Seth MacFarlane’s new comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West, and they’re not pretty. But comedy is unpredictable — the best ones sneak up on you, and your film editor found himself laughing fairly frequently at MacFarlane’s Western send-up, which is something of a surprise, since I loathe Seth MacFarlane. I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to sit through an entire episode of Family Guy (to say nothing of its even-less-inspired knock-offs American Dad or The Cleveland Show), and he was one of the worst Oscar hosts in recent memory (which is one stiff competition). But his first feature film, Ted, was an unexpectedly likable and funny piece of summer fluff, and while his new film doesn’t quite measure up to that one, it confirms that he’d be wise to continue on the filmmaking path. Particularly if it means less time spent making terrible television shows.
Today, our friends over at the Criterion Collection are giving the Blu-ray upgrade treatment to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Wes Anderson’s 2004 comedy/drama — a film that arrived with sky-high expectations (it was Anderson’s first film after the acclaimed Royal Tenenbaums, and star Bill Murray’s first since his Oscar-nominated turn in Lost in Translation) that it didn’t quite meet. But few films could have, frankly, and seen from this distance, Life Aquatic holds up quite well; in fact, it’s one of many films from the first decade of the 21st Century that doesn’t seem to have the reputation they deserve. In the spirit of celebrating such overlooked gems, we’ve assembled this list of the most underrated pictures of the 2000s.
Welcome back to SNL, Charlize Theron. It’s only been almost 14 years since we last saw you at Studio 8H. The Monster star is known for her dramatic parts, but her comedic role as a stunted writer in Jason Reitman’s Young Adult was convincing, impressive, and hilarious — despite her nauseating character’s antics. We hope to see similar comedic subtleties in her performance tonight. Next week, Andy Samberg returns to his stomping ground to close out the show’s 39th season. For now let’s indulge in a little Theron gone wild.