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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Ant-Man and The Wasp

Chris Klimek

 The just-fine firm of Lily, Douglas, & Rudd, LLP (Marvel Studios)

The just-fine firm of Lily, Douglas, & Rudd, LLP (Marvel Studios)

I saw a review headline earlier today proclaiming Ant-Man and The Wasp "the perfect summer movie." I could easily name 20 perfect movies released during the summer going back to Jaws, released the summer before I was, but the phrase "a perfect summer" movie almost invariably refers to movies that aren't very good. 

Ant-Man and The Wasp isn't Not Good. It is, as my pal and editor and occasional (today!) Pop Culture Happy Hour panel-mate Glen Weldon observed in his review, fine.

I'm going to see it again tonight, in fact, but only because it's on a bill at the drive-in with Incredibles 2, which I've not seen yet, and because I haven't been to the drive-in in I think two years. I won't stay for the third feature, Avengers: Infinity War, because that movie will end at 3 a.m. and it's a 55-mile drive back to the District. But I'm glad that screening is happening.

Anyway, please enjoy our PCHH dissection of Ant-Man and The Wasp. It's fine.

Deleted Scenes: On Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Chris Klimek

 Isabela Moner and Benicio Del Toro are forced to lam it in the  Sicario  sequel. (Sony)

Isabela Moner and Benicio Del Toro are forced to lam it in the Sicario sequel. (Sony)

Spoiler for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which is the Denis Villeneuve/Roger Deakins/Emily Blunt/Daniel Kaluuya-free sequel to the very good 2015 drug war thriller Sicario. Late in the movie, Josh Brolin, reprising his role as a C.I.A. black-ops guy from the first movie, is ordered to kill a 16-year-old girl—an unarmed noncombatant who is the daughter of a drug kingpin but not a criminal herself. There's more to it than that, but that's all I'll say just in case you feel compelled to see the film, which I do not endorse. 

Anyway, I talked about that scene in my review of the movie, which went into production in November 2016, the same month we elected a president who said on TV during the campaign that if you want to stop terrorists, "you have to go after their families." Given that Day of the Soldado opens with a scenario wherein Muslim suicide bombers are believed to have snuck into the United States across the Mexican border (though they're later revealed to have been American citizens from New Jersey), I believe this plot element was directly inspired by the current president's campaign rhetoric.

So I said that Soldado might "make you nostalgic for the more recent time when wondering whether an American soldier (or intelligence operative) would refuse a direct order to shoot an unarmed, noncombatant child in the head was a purely hypothetical exercise." That passage was cut from the review, ostensibly because it was too political. In my view, it was a fair observation to make about a film that has a clearly articulated political bent, albeit a more nuanced and humane one than anything we've heard the current president say on the topics of immigration or crime or drugs.

Notes on Dinosaur Camp: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, reviewed and discussed on Pop Culture Happy Hour.

Chris Klimek

 Chris Pratt, velociraptor whisperer. (Universal)

Chris Pratt, velociraptor whisperer. (Universal)

Here's my review of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. And below you can hear Linda Holmes, Stephen Thompson, and Glen Weldon discuss the movie and its place in the Jurassic-iad with me in the fourth chair. I regret that it never occurred to me to refer to this film as Jurassic 5 even though "Sum of Us" is an all-timer shadowboxing jam. I also regret that none of us, not even Thompson, thought to mention the moment in Jurassic 5 when it seems like Ted Levine from The Silence of the Lambs is about to start singing "See My Vest." You'll know the one I mean.

Try the (Youngblood) Priest: Superfly, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 "Who the fuck is Morris Day?" Trevor Jackson and Jason Mitchell as Priest and Eddie in  Superfly .

"Who the fuck is Morris Day?" Trevor Jackson and Jason Mitchell as Priest and Eddie in Superfly.

A lot has happened since Super Fly came out in 1972. I wrote about the new no-space remake Superfly, which careens among tones like a chromed-out Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado that's had its brake lines cut. But "Youngblood Priest" drives a sensible Lexus in this version, I am sorry to tell you.

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's me on The Original Cast!

Chris Klimek

 It all started when I bought my buddy, Superman biographer Glen Weldon, a copy of this LP in Asbury Park, New Jersey for $20.

It all started when I bought my buddy, Superman biographer Glen Weldon, a copy of this LP in Asbury Park, New Jersey for $20.

Funny thing: Patrick Flynn lives in Bethesda, Maryland, a short public-transit trip across the northwest border of Washington, DC, where I live. We know many of the same people because we're both involved in theatre; him as a playwright, me as a critic. And yet our paths never crossed until he heard me on James Bonding last fall, which Matt Gourley and Matt Mira record weekly at Gourley's beautiful home in Pasadena, all the way on the other side of country.

Anyway, Patrick kindly invited me to appear on The Original Cast, his fine podcast celebrating Broadway cast albums, to discuss a musical of my choice. I picked the 1966 curiosity It's a Bird! It's a Plane!, which I'd never heard of but never heard until I picked up a secondhand LP of it as a gift for my buddy Glen Weldon a couple years back. Glen wrote the book on Superman, or at least a book on Superman. It's certainly the book on Superman I can most enthusiastically recommend.

Here's the discussion Patrick and I had, which does not confine itself to the Man of Steel's brief life as a Broadway star, for reasons that shall become clear. This was recorded in late April.

The Once and Future Prince: Botticelli in the Fire, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Jon Hudson Odom and Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan (Scott Suchman)

Jon Hudson Odom and Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan (Scott Suchman)

Canuck Renaissance Man Jordan Tannahill's Renaissance fantasy Botticelli in the Fire is the quintessence of what several speakers at Monday night's tribute to retiring Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company co-founder Howard Shalwtiz referred to as "a Woolly play." I tend to like those, and this one I happened to love. Here's my Washington City Paper review.

Bitches Be Cray: Saint Joan and The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Eric Tucker and Aundria Brown in  Saint Joan  (Teresa Wood)

Eric Tucker and Aundria Brown in Saint Joan (Teresa Wood)

My reviews of Bedlam's visiting production of Saint Joan at the Folger and of Spooky Action's local premiere of Carole Fréchette's The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs were in last week's Washington City Paper, but for mysterious reasons took a few extra days to surface online. Enjoy.

And Now For Something Largely the Same: It's My Fifth Annual Village Voice Summer Movie Preview!

Chris Klimek

In olden times, Memorial Day weekend marked the start of what was known as the Summer Movie Season. It's an obsolete notion, now that would-be blockbuster releases are most heavily concentrated between mid-February (when Black Panther arrived this year) and the first weekend in May, and can come out basically any month of the year other than January. But as a kid who grew up planning my summers based on which hotly anticipated, frequently disappointing tentpole release came out when, I carry the torch for the idea that summertime is the season for escapist genre films that seek to overwhelm the senses.

My pal Alan Scherstuhl, the Village Voice's film editor, indulges me, assigning me each May to single out a dozen due before Labor Day that show promise. These features get shared among the whole New Times media ecosphere; sometimes even before they turn up in the Voice. No matter. Here's the list.