Ryan Vlastelica
Ryan is an A.V. Club contributor. His writing has also appeared in Reuters, MarketWatch, the WSJ, and other outlets. He writes a lot about finance but would rather be talking about books.

Eh, I spent a lot of time in Blockbusters and while they were fine for new releases, they never had much of anything in the way of classic movies, foreign stuff, or anything too culty or obscure. It was pretty slim pickings even for major names, like Bogart or Hitchcock, and the clerks in my experience were never Read more

It’s depressing that modern technology — meaning high-quality cameras, easy distribution, etc — hasn’t been used to make interesting or daring movies, but instead the kind of home-movie thing this seems to be. It’s rare to see a movie like this that bothers to use interesting costumes or sets, let alone tell things Read more

My wife watched this for the first time a year or so ago, and it was wonderful and fascinating to watch it through new eyes like that. The way she responded to it really just shows how brilliantly Spielberg orchestrates the rise and fall of tension and action. The scene where Indy shoots the guy rather than fight him Read more

Is the title a Lionel Hutz reference? (... I’m not wearing a tie at all)

Right. As the article mentions, the original idea for Lost was that Michael Keaton would play a role and then his character would die in the pilot episode. I think that would catch a lot of people off guard, just given the mental idea that if a famous person like Keaton is starring in a show, then he’s going to stick Read more

In addition to LOST, I believe Abrams suggested the “kill the seemingly major character early” idea in a few different things. IIRC, Poe was supposed to die in the crash in Force Awakens, but Oscar Isaac talked him out of the idea (“hey, what if I continued making millions of dollars to star in what will undoubtedly Read more

I love this movie to the point where I quoted it in my wedding vows (“together we fill gaps”). It’s really underrated, especially given how iconic it has become. The sequels, admittedly, get very silly very quickly (but they’re still fun), but the attention to character detail here is really strong; this is a truly Read more

You’re probably right. For all the marketing muscle behind Endgame, it felt like something people were really enthusiastic about (not on the scale of Titanic, but that really was on another level — super organic and sustained). I’m sure the driver behind Avatar’s box office was more curiosity about the technology and Read more

Yeah, the box office seems inflated because the consensus was less that you should see it, and more that you should see it in IMAX 3D, which is probably double the ticket price. Read more

I wouldn’t say that I was excited, but I was optimistic, and here was my argument. Read more

Not just spotty, but really boring. If his sole “original” work is, as the review notes, completely indebted to someone else, then he really can’t be said to have any kind of unique vision at all. Ultimately, JJ may be the saddest JJ element of Star Wars, exceeding Jar Jar. Read more

There’s something about swimming at night/ in the dark that feels dangerous to me, and it is 100% because of this movie. Quint’s death, where he spits up blood, messed me up for years as a kid.

I recently watched Knight of Cups after having had a long rant conversation with someone about Instagram influencers, and it struck me, watching it, that the film was basically a feature-length collage of influencer-style shots. Superficially beautiful and artfully shot and composed, but the insights were shallow Read more

Genuine LOL at “they miscast the duck.”

It’s interesting to read this a day after the Run the Series on Rambo, given how diametrically opposed their politics are to the rah-rah jingoism of a lot of action movies today. I’m curious as to how a left-leaning action movie would be received today, or even what that might look like.

Hearts in Atlantis is a good one - and an under-rated work in general.

King experts -- should I read the Dark Tower series? I’ve heard really mixed things and it obviously seems like a huge time commitment. I have a copy of The Gunslinger; is it pointless to just read that or should I continue through the rest? 

A weird thing about this premise is that Hollywood is pretty skittish around sex, or at least showing it honestly, and it seems like that would really handicap this basic story. If you have to somewhat play coy around sex for the sake of ratings or whatever, I imagine you’re not entirely engaging with the emotional Read more

I think he’s fantastic in Social Network, where he both leans into his persona (a “rock star” programmer played by a literal music star) and away from it (I love the scene where the cops ask if he has drugs, and its his asthma inhaler). He’s also good in Inside Llewellyn Davis, though that isn’t a huge or super Read more

I feel like that realization -- and the moral implications of this plot thread -- would hold more weight if the movie didn’t take the opportunity to show the actress topless. Feels exploitative to me.