Here's my NPR review of Martin Campbell's The Foreigner, which I enjoyed for its Northern Irish political skullduggery and for Pierce Brosnan's sleazy performance but found far less successful as a vehicle for producer-star Jackie Chan. In addition to a bunch of decent-but-not great movies (and the giant flop Green Lantern, which I never saw) Campbell made the best-in-class 007 adventure, Casino Royale, so a mediocre espionage film from him counts as a disappointment.
search for me
Any debate over whether Blade Runner 2049, a 35-years-later sequel to the cultiest cult film in the history of movies, has general-interest appeal should be put to rest by virtue of the fact that Stephen Thompson—the host of the three-way discussion of the film the comprises today's Pop Culture Happy Hour—liked it, too! Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon and I are this movie's core constituency. But when the Kung Fu Panda-loving Mr. Thompson gives his approval to an intense, nearly-three-hour dystopian future flick, you know it's got some moves.
You can listen in here, where the episode is posted along with my review from last week. I had to write it just a couple of hours after I saw Blade Runner 2049, but I think the piece stands up. I'm seeing the movie again tomorrow night at the National Air and Space Museum. I'm looking forward to spending another 163 minutes with a new stone classic.
What can you do with Death of a Salesman, a play that has never really fallen out of circulation since it debuted almost 70 years ago? Just stay out of its way. Here’s my Washington City Paper review of Ford’s Theatre’s new Craig Wallace-starring production, which I loved.
I seldom write same-day reviews, but because Blade Runner 2049's embargo was abruptly lifted before it even screened in DC, I had to scramble. I'm very happy to be able to say it's a triumph, a satisfying much-later follow-up in the new tradition of Mad Max: Fury Road, Creed, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But... better than those, even, would you believe.
Here's the review. Enhance!
Here's my NPR review of American Made, Doug Liman's heavily fictionalized but ecstatically true crime biopic starring Tom Cruise as C.I.A. gunrunner and dope smuggler Barry Seal. As I discuss in the piece, Liman's father, Arthur Liman, was heavily involved in the 1987 U.S. Senate hearings into the Iran-Contra affair, of which Seal's covert flights were an operational element. And here's Arthur.
FURTHER READING: I loved Cruise and Liman's prior collaboration, 2014's Edge of Tomorrow, and I wrote about it and discussed it on Pop Culture Happy Hour, as part of an episode about good movies that kinda tanked.
With the return of theatre season comes the return of me trying semi-convincingly to smile on command! Robert Aubry Davis, Jane Horwitz,and I have shot a new batch of short Around Town segments discussing a great pair of shows I reviewed for the Washington City Paper last month, Studio Theatre’s production of Skeleton Crew byDominique Morisseau and Theatre Alliance’s remount of their Helen Hayes Award-winning 2016 version of Marc Bamuthi Joseph Word Becomes Flesh. How to embed those videos here eludes me because I’m an analog guy, but I’ve got links.Read More
Would you believe that John Denver's 1971 encomium to backwoods livin' "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is been featured in two 2017 films starring Katherine Waterston and two starring Channing Tatum, and not the same two?
That's the kind of piercing observation I had no room for in my review of the new sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which reprises "Country Roads" from Alien: Covenant and Logan Lucky. I had the privilege of discussing both of those on Pop Culture Happy Hour in addition to writing about them. Anyway, I like British superspies. And I liked The Golden Circle. With reservations.