Scott Tobias

Scott Tobias is the film editor of The A.V. Club, the arts and entertainment section of The Onion, where he's worked as a staff writer for over a decade. His reviews have also appeared in Time Out New York, City Pages, The Village Voice, The Nashville Scene, and The Hollywood Reporter. Along with other members of the A.V. Club staff, he co-authored the 2002 interview anthology The Tenacity Of the Cockroach and the new book Inventory, a collection of pop-culture lists.

Though Tobias received a formal education at the University Of Georgia and the University Of Miami, his film education was mostly extracurricular. As a child, he would draw pictures on strips of construction paper and run them through the slats on the saloon doors separating the dining room from the kitchen. As an undergraduate, he would rearrange his class schedule in order to spend long afternoons watching classic films on the 7th floor of the UGA library. He cut his teeth writing review for student newspapers (first review: a pan of the Burt Reynolds comedy Cop and a Half) and started freelancing for the A.V. Club in early 1999.

Tobias currently resides in Chicago, where he shares a too-small apartment with his wife, his daughter, two warring cats and the pug who agitates them.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

In 'Sightseers,' A Killing Spree Gone South

Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) in the sour social comedy Sightseers.
Ben Wheatley IFC Films

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 10:17 am

Scrub away the gore and the nastier bits of provocation, and Ben Wheatley's Sightseers belongs squarely in the tradition of British classics like Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ruling Class — satires that transformed simmering class resentment into brittle, nasty dark comedy.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

'Pain & Gain': Michael Bay's Suffering Fools

Paul (Dwayne Johnson), Daniel (Mark Wahlberg) and Adrian (Anthony Mackie) are three Miami bodybuilders with big ambitions and not much in the way of smarts.
Mark Fellman Paramount Pictures

For Michael Bay, the director of Armageddon and the Transformers movies, to comment on the excesses of American culture would be a little like — well, Michael Bay commenting on the excesses of American culture.

And yet that's exactly what he does with Pain & Gain, a stranger-than-fiction yarn about a South Florida crime spree that points and snickers in the direction of precisely the supersized grotesquerie that's long been Bay's stock-in-trade. He blankets the film in a tone of smug self-awareness that obscures everything but its bald hypocrisy.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Effects-Heavy 'Oblivion' Pines For An Analog Past

The enigmatic Julia (Olga Kurylenko) surfaces from the mysterious past of Victoria's husband, Jack (Tom Cruise), a repairman tending drones on a largely abandoned Earth.
Universal Pictures

The score for Oblivion was composed by M83, a superb French electronic outfit that derives its name from one of the spectral pinwheels known as spiral galaxies. I point this out because it's the best element of the movie — a cascade of dreamy synthesizers that registers as appropriately futuristic (at least the future as suggested by '80s pop) while allowing an undercurrent of romantic yearning.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Zany 'It's A Disaster': Anything But

Tracy (Julia Stiles) and Glen (David Cross) are only on their third date when reports of a dirty-bomb explosion prompt them to reconsider the kind of close they want to be.
Oscilloscope Pictures

For all his success as a stand-up comic, as one half of the brilliant HBO sketch comedy Mr. Show With Bob & David and as the hapless Tobias on Arrested Development, David Cross has struggled to find his footing in the movies, remaining relegated mainly to forgettable character roles. (The controversy within the comedy world over his mercenary appearances in the Chipmunks movies has overshadowed the rest of his long cinematic resume.)

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Movie Reviews
7:46 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

What Happened In The Overlook's 'Room 237'?

Documentarian Rodney Ascher remains skeptical about the Shining theories he entertains in Room 237. Still, he gives his nine Stanley Kubrick enthusiasts ample room to explore their ideas — however outlandish.
IFC Films

Of all the great filmmakers, Stanley Kubrick may be the one most associated with control — there's nary an inflection, gesture, camera movement or prop out of place in his movies, and significance invested in every detail.

Tales of his perfectionism have become the stuff of legend: projects developed over years or even decades, open-ended shoots where actors were bullied into 100 takes if necessary, special lenses crafted just to achieve a certain lighting effect in Barry Lyndon, obsessive micromanagement of every aspect of a production.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

'Gimme The Loot': The Tagger's Life, Lightly

Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson) are two hardworking graffiti artists with a romantic chemistry that only they don't notice in Gimme the Loot.
Sundance Selects

For the Bronx graffiti artists of Gimme the Loot, Adam Leon's sweet, vibrant debut feature, "Bombing the Apple" is the holy grail of tagging achievements.

"The Apple" in question is the protuberance that emerges from behind the center-right wall in Shea Stadium — they refuse to acknowledge the corporate name Citi Field — every time a New York Mets player hits a home run.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

'60s Japan, Aglow 'From Up On Poppy Hill'

In 1963 Japan, Shun (voiced by Anton Yelchin) and Umi (Sarah Bolger) unite to preserve a beloved old building that serves as a clubhouse for young intellectuals at their seaside community school.
Gkids

Of the many wonderful qualities associated with the films of Studio Ghibli — the Japanese animation house co-founded by Hiyao Miyazaki, the visionary director of My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away — serenity may be the most key. Ghibli productions offer the stirring adventures and magical creatures of their American counterparts, and often operate by a wondrously mysterious internal logic, but they do so without feeling compelled to grab a young audience by the lapels.

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Movie Reviews
5:00 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

'Everyman's Journey': Don't Believe Everything You Hear

Arnel Pineda's journey from obscurity to international fame as the new frontman for the rock band Journey is the narrative thread that drives Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey.
Cinedigm Entertainment Group

Some bands are born of passion and deep camaraderie, a collective desire to rebel against authority — or at least to look cool. Others are born because a major label threatens to drop them if they don't find a lead vocalist.

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Movie Reviews
5:12 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Adolescent Angst Turns Deadly In 'Stoker'

Evelyn and India Stoker (Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska) slowly descend into icy paranoia after their family patriarch dies through suspicious circumstances in the horror thriller Stoker.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

It's a mark of a great filmmaker when a movie is felt first and understood later, allowing audiences to intuit their way through a fog of mystery and sensuality before finally getting a clear view of the landscape. Best known for an operatic trio of revenge thrillers — the second, Oldboy, won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004 and a fervent cult following — South Korean genre maestro Park Chan-wook expresses florid emotion in cool, impeccable, gothic language.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

'Snitch': Johnson And The Rock, At Odds In A Drug Drama

As hard-hitting father John, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, goes deep undercover to save his son from stern drug-crime laws.
Steve Dietl Summit Entertainment

"Inspired by true events" — a phrase that implies the greatest possible distance between something that actually happened and what's about to happen on screen — Snitch tries to be two movies at once.

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