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Filtering by Tag: James Cameron

How Do You Talk to a Battle Angel: "ALITA," reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Rosa Salazar is  Alita , an amnesiac cyborg super-soldier in the 26th century. (Twentieth Century Fox)

Rosa Salazar is Alita, an amnesiac cyborg super-soldier in the 26th century. (Twentieth Century Fox)

Panzer Kunist is, as I’m sure I need not tell a cinephile and aesthete as refined and discerning and educated as you are, an ancient cyborg martial art that has largely died out by the mid-26th century. More importantly, Panzer Kunst has the satisfying hard consonants of words that were forbidden on 20th century television. It seems like it could work as any part of speech, which makes it especially panzer to kunst as kunst as possible. Panzer Kunst!

On the new Alita: Battle Angel. My full review is here.

Vibranium v Unobtanium: A Slate Investigation

Chris Klimek

Hey,  what's  my costume made out of again? (Disney/Marvel)

Hey, what's my costume made out of again? (Disney/Marvel)

Most of Black Panther is set in the imaginary African nation of Wakanda, a technological utopia whose monarchs have for centuries observed a strict policy of isolationism, keeping would-be colonizers at bay by hiding their nation’s wealth and scientific advancement from the outside world. We’re told in the movie’s very first minute that Wakanda’s prosperity derives from its abundance of Vibranium, and that this bounty was delivered via meteorite long before humans walked the Earth.

And for a resource they're trying to keep secret, the Wakandans sure talk about it a lot. 

Even more than the characters in Avatar (Remember Avatar? Nominated for nine Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director for my boy James Cameron? Still the highest-grossing movie in the history of movies?) speak the much-derided name of that movie's extraterrestrial miracle metal, Unobtanium.

A lot more.

For this Slate piece, I did the transcription. And the math.

Field Notes. I should've let my mom teach me shorthand like she wanted.

Field Notes. I should've let my mom teach me shorthand like she wanted.

Unsinkable? Unthinkable! Signature Theatre's all-singing, all-dancing Titanic, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Christopher Bloch, Nick Lehan, Lawrence Redmond, and Bobby Smith in Signature's  Titanic.  (Christopher Mueller) 

Christopher Bloch, Nick Lehan, Lawrence Redmond, and Bobby Smith in Signature's Titanic. (Christopher Mueller) 

Signature Theatre has revived Titanic, a multi-Tony Award-winning musical from 1997 that almost no one remembers. Apparently it was upstaged by some movie? My Washington City Paper review is here.

The Future Is Not Set: A Terminator Dossier

Chris Klimek

A T-800 goes shopping for clothes at the Griffith Park Observatory, May 12, 1984.

A T-800 goes shopping for clothes at the Griffith Park Observatory, May 12, 1984.

I haven't seen the by-all-accounts underwhelming Terminator: Genisys yet, because I've been busy being a "Critic Fellow" at the one-of-a-kind Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in the wilds of Connecticut. But I did indulge in some quippy dramaturgy on the wandering-ronin Terminator franchise, for NPR.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Pop-Culture Pariahs

Chris Klimek

Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth are 40 percent of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. (Marvel)

Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth are 40 percent of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. (Marvel)

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, I join host Linda Holmes and regular panelists Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon to dissect Joss Whedon's super-packed super-sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Then we talk about what makes a pop culture pariah, or Why I Will Always Stick Up for James Cameron and U2 no matter what you or, more to the point, they say. This wasn't the place for me to go into about how U2 brilliantly satirized their own inflated post-The Joshua Tree celebrity while promoting their best album, 1991's Achtung Baby, and in the subsequent 1992-3 ZOO TV Tour, the stadium-rock spectacle so dazzlingly smart and subversive that no one has yet surpassed it – not even U2, though they have tried.

You can get a little taste of all that in the 1992 video below, if you dare.

And here they are 23 years later, having some fun with the Central Park bike accident last fall that landed Bono in the hospital for months and forced their planned weeklong, Songs of Innocence-promoting Tonight Show residency to be scrubbed. Also check out their performance of "Angel of Harlem" with The Roots, holy cow.

Prose and Retcons, or Don't Fear the Rewind, or Mulligans' Wake

Chris Klimek

"Well, everyone knows Ripley died on Fiornia-161. What this ALIEN movie presupposes is... maybe she didn't?"

I have a long, long "Exposition" essay up at The Dissolve today inspired by (uncertain) reports that District 9 director Neill Blomkamp's upcoming Alien movie may be a ret-con scenario that undoes the events of 1992's Alien-little-three, or Alien Cubed – anyway, the one where Ripley died. The piece is about retconning in fiction in general, and why it doesn't much impair my ability or inclination to suspend my disbelief at all.

If you're quite comfortable in your chair, and you're stout of heart and nerdy of temperament... Onward!

 

 

The Jerk from 20,000 Fathoms: Deepsea Challenge 3D, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

The  Deepsea Challenger,  designed by Ron Allum and James Cameron, is the only submarine in existence that can dive to full ocean depth. (Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

The Deepsea Challenger, designed by Ron Allum and James Cameron, is the only submarine in existence that can dive to full ocean depth. (Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

My review of Deepsea Challenge 3D, the new National Geographic documentary about James Cameron's historic March 2012 dive to the bottom of the deepest part of any ocean on the planet in a one-of-a-kind sub he co-designed himself, is on The Dissolve today. When he isn't busy being a real-life Steve Zissou, Cameron is still one of my favorite filmmakers. And I didn't even like Avatar all that much.

I know: He annoys you. His dialogue is clunky. He should've been nicer to Kate Winslet during the production of Titanic 18 years ago, when the world press was writing every day that he was going to bankrupt 20th Century Fox and rooting for him to fail. He should've played it a little cooler up at the podium on Oscar night 1998, when he won Best Director for the film that was absolutely, positively going to end his career, except that it became the biggest worldwide hit in the history of cinema.  

But you know what? Hollywood, and the world, are full of people who have 100 percent of Cameron's ego and one percent of his talent. And the guy who wrote and directed The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Titanic -- as well as the admittedly problematic True Lies and Avatar -- can do whatever he wants.

Whatever He Wants turns out to be designing revolutionary submarines and risking his own life to take them to the most inhospitable climate on Earth, where no rescue would be possible if something went wrong, to show us all what's down there and remind us how little we know of the ocean that covers most of our planet. Wrinkle your nose at him if you must.

The Infiltration Unit: Terminator 2's Brilliant Game of Good 'Bot, Bad Cop

Chris Klimek

Robert Patrick's "mimetic pollyalloy" T-1000 could look like anyone. For most of  T2 , he looks like an LAPD patrolman.

Robert Patrick's "mimetic pollyalloy" T-1000 could look like anyone. For most of T2, he looks like an LAPD patrolman.

I've very proud to have contributed the concluding essay of The Dissolve's Movie of the Week coverage of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, long one of my sentimental favorites. My piece examines how cowriter-director James Cameron's decision to disguise the film's mysterious villain, the advanced T-1000 Terminator played (mostly) by Robert Patrick, as a uniformed Los Angeles police officer anticipated our growing discomfort with police in general and the L.A.P.D. in particular at the start of the 90s. It also explores the film's ironic connection to the tragic beating of Rodney King by four L.A.P.D. officers near one of T2's key locations while the film was in production. Read it here.