Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon did me a solid with that headline. Of all the giant-shark thrillers that've been scaring us out of the water since Jaws invented the summer blockbuster, The Meg, starring the Fast & the Furious franchise's most talented chromedome, is without question the most recent. Here's my NPR review.
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I really hate to say this about one of the only movies directed by a woman this summer, but The Spy Who Dumped Me is an oddly violent, only sporadically funny action comedy that doesn’t deserve Kate McKinnon. Here's my NPR review.
I wrote an oral history of my favorite cinema, the Uptown Theater on Connecticut Ave. NW here in DC, for the Washington City Paper. I love the oral history format. Cutting this down to publishable length tested me. My apologies to the various people whose comments were cut for length.
AMC Theatres declined to make attendance figures available for publication, but they told me they've ticket up slightly in the last year. I hope that means the Uptown will stick around a long time.
Appendix! A probably-incomplete list of films I saw at the Uptown, compiled from memory, by year.
1993: The Abyss [Extended Edition]
1998: Godzilla (the awful Roland Emmerich one), The Thin Red Line
1999: Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, Sleepy Hollow
2000: The Perfect Storm
2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2004: Spider-Man 2
2005: Good Night and Good Luck, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, King Kong (the underrated Peter Jackson one)
2006: Mission: Impossible III, Superman Returns
2007: Spider-Man 3, Blade Runner: The Final Cut
2008: Iron Man, The Dark Knight
2009: Watchmen, Terminator: Salvation
2010: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
2011: Super 8
2012: The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Prometheus
2013: Iron Man 3, Jurassic Park (20th anniversary 3D rerelease), Gravity
2014: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2016: Ali, Independence Day: Resurgence
2017: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
2018: Ant-Man and the Wasp
Sure, he's a weird guy. But Tom Cruise is the greatest onscreen runner since that horse that Eadweard Muybridge photographed in 1872 to prove that all four hooves of a galloping stallion leave the ground.
Here's our Pop Culture Happy Hour on the triumph that is Mission: Impossible — Fallout. Any Cruiselike zealotry in my voice is purely intentional. To watch a two-star action movie with Linda Holmes is a five-star experience. To watch a five-star action movie with her is an M:I-6 star experience.
I had a lovely time dissecting the laughably derivative, greenscreeny pleasures of Skyscraper with Pop Culture Happy Hour hosts Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson and fellow friend-of-the-show Margaret H. Willison. This movie wants to be Die Hard, and it isn't even as good as Johnson's own Central Intelligence or Rampage. It's maybe on par with San Andreas.
I get a plug in during the What's Making Us Happy segment for Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal's Blindspotting, one of the two or three strongest movies I've seen this year. Buy a ticket to Blindspotting and watch Skyscraper on a flight or something.
If you can stomach the fridging, The Equalizer 2 has a lot to like. Denzel trying to get Ashton Sanders from Moonlight to read Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, for one thing. Here's my NPR review.
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.