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Latest Work

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Less Is More: John and Underground Railroad Game, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard, the writers/performers of  The Underground Railroad Game.  (Scott Suchman)

Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard, the writers/performers of The Underground Railroad Game. (Scott Suchman)

Criticism imitating art imitating life: My Washington City Paper review of Annie Baker's John at Signature Theatre is three times as long as my review of the touring Underground Railroad Game at Woolly Mammoth, just as John is three times as long as Underground Railroad Game. And roughly a third as rewarding.

Your mileage, as ever, may vary.

The Fast and the Curious (George): Rampage, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Naomie Harris, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Liles as George (Warner Bros.)

Naomie Harris, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Liles as George (Warner Bros.)

Nearly four interminable months after Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a movie based on a movie based on a children's book and appended with a 30-year-old Guns N' Roses jam, Dwayne Johnson—the once and future Rock and 2032 Instagram Party presidential candidate—is back. In a movie, in the legal sense, based on a video game.

My NPR review of Rampage (from the director of San Andreas!) is here. I'm not sure who it was at Warner Bros. and or New Line who forgot to put the exclamation point in the title, but I trust that heads shall (the) roll.

As featured in the New York Times, sort of: Take my 2001: A Space Odyssey Quiz!

Chris Klimek

You may have read in the New York Times that Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon and I gave a "sparsely attended" talk about the origins and legacy of 2001: A Space Odyssey at the National Air and Space Museum on Saturday night. An official talk. Inside the museum. We weren't just accosting passersby on Independence Ave. and bloviating at them or anything like that. Heaven forfend! Ready Player One was showing in the Lockheed-Martin IMAX theater right after Glen and I finished, so I thought it would be thematically sympatico with that film for me to challenge our audience, sparse or otherwise, with some low-stakes nerd trivia, pertinent to 2001.Those who answered one of these questions correctly after raising their hands and being called upon—this is not 'Nam, there are rules—won a free copy of the September 2016 issue of Air & Space / Smithsonian (where I was then and still remain employed as an editor) featuring my cover story on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. The cover should have said Warp Corps, and I apologize again for the fact that it does not. I lost that fight. It's been two goddamn years and I'm still not over it.  

Anyway, here are my trivia questions.

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The Bedroom at the End of the Universe

Chris Klimek

Over at my day job yesterday I got a sneak peak of a unique exhibit opening at the National Air and Space Museum on Sunday: an installation by artist Simon Birch that reconstructs the mysterious Louis XVI-era bedroom from the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey at 1:1 scale. Because yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the film's release, I wrote a piece about it. I drew heavily from Michael Benson's new making-of book Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece, which I've already plugged on Pop Culture Happy Hour but which I'm glad to plug again here.

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It Might Get Quiet: The Revelatory Silence of Springsteen on Broadway.

Chris Klimek

I've got a piece on Slate today arguing that the element that makes Springsteen on Broadway—which I saw on February 28, the night after I saw Hello, Dolly!—worth the difficulty and expense of getting tickets is quiet. You can read that here, and it is my fond hope that you shall.

And in the spirit of Bruce Springsteen having written more worthy songs for Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River and Born in the U.S.A. than he could possibly use at the time, but contrary to the spirit of him waiting 15-30 years before releasing all those unused songs, which I as a diehard am legally required to claim were better than the ones he put on the albums which by the way is true in many cases... here's a deleted scene from that piece, wherein I expand upon my 20-show record as a Bruce Springsteen fan:

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Language Bury Her: Studio's Translations and Folger's The Winter's Tale, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 British soldiers survey an Irish village circa 1830 in  Translations . (Teresa Wood)

British soldiers survey an Irish village circa 1830 in Translations. (Teresa Wood)

I've got reviews of two shows I enjoyed in this week's Washington City Paper: Studio Theatre second-in-command Matt Torney's confident new production of Brian Friel's 40-year-old Irish classic Translations, and Aaron Posner's The Winter's Tale over at the Folger. The former as a lot of superb performers who haven't worked a lot in Washington before. The latter has a bunch of Posner's favorite actors (and mine), but it's Michael Tisdale as the maniacal King Leontes who runs away with the show.

Furry Road: Isle of Dogs, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Boss (Bill Murray), a former baseball team mascot, is part of a pack of exiled canines.

Boss (Bill Murray), a former baseball team mascot, is part of a pack of exiled canines.

It's no shocker that I loved Wes Anderson's new stop-motion adventure of Isle of Dogs. It's a mild shocker that I didn't cry watching it. Either time! My NPR review is here. UPDATE: I'm on the Pop Culture Happy Hour episode where we hash over some of charges of insensitivity and cultural appropriate that a few critics have levied against the movie, too. That's on the same page as the review, but you can hear below, too.

Farewell, Angelina: Tomb Raider, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Alicia Vikander and Walton Goggins pay some bills. (Graham Bartholomew)

Alicia Vikander and Walton Goggins pay some bills. (Graham Bartholomew)

People always told me, don't go raiding tombs... I mean, if you're determined to see Tomb Raider, a movie, technically, based on a 2013 reboot of a 1996 video game that previously spawned a couple of Angelina Jolie-starring movies, nothing will deter you. But you'll be going against critical advice.