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Filtering by Tag: movies

Pop Culture Happy Hour: "Glass" and What's Making Us Happy

Chris Klimek

Not Acting Enough, Acting Too Much, and Acting Just Right (Universal)

Not Acting Enough, Acting Too Much, and Acting Just Right (Universal)

I am chuffed to be back on the iHeartRadio Podcast Award-nominated Pop Culture Happy Hour this week to discuss Glass, fallen auteur M. Night Shyamalan's joint sequel to 2000's Unbreakable and 2017's Split. It isn't very good, but the movie has an anachronistic quality that's sort of... sweet. While it's made explicitly clear—every damn thing in this movie is explained and re-re-re-explained—that Glass is set 19 years after Unbreakable, Shyamalan acts as though superhero comics haven't become Hollywood's No. 1 source of grist during the back half of that period. (In the years since Unbreakable, we've seen three different A-list actors play The Incredible Hulk, for chrissakes.)

A goodly portion of those films have featured Samuel L. Jackson, who, to be fair, looks like he's having at least as much fun sitting in a wheelchair staring into the middle distance in Glass as he does when he's cashing another check as Nick Fury. After his brief return to acting in both Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom and Rian Johnson's Looper back in 2012, I'd hoped maybe Bruce Willis would deign to open his eyes again, but no such luck. And the movie's top-billed star continues to perform his solo show Scares Ahoy with James McAvoy.

"'Man' Ain't Spelled G-U-N, Son!" The Equalizer 2, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Denzel Washington and Ashton Sanders have a nice rapport in a bloody action movie.

Denzel Washington and Ashton Sanders have a nice rapport in a bloody action movie.

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.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Annihilation! (emphasis mine)

Chris Klimek

Gina Rodriguez and Natalie Portman breach the perimeter in  Annihilation . (Paramount)

Gina Rodriguez and Natalie Portman breach the perimeter in Annihilation. (Paramount)

Here is a joke you will not hear on today's episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, wherein I join old friends Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson and new friend Daisy Rosario to dissect (heh) Annihilation, the new thriller from Ex Machina writer/director Alex Garland starring Natalie Portman and involving lots of cool but hella gross body horror stuff:

 Portman hand

Portman finger

Portman foot

Portmanteau

(Bows.)

Let nothing, nothing go to waste. You can hear the episode here.

You Got to Have a Mother Box For Me: Justice League, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

How Green Was My Screen: JK Simmons, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ben Affleck, and Ezra Miller (Warner Bros.).

How Green Was My Screen: JK Simmons, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ben Affleck, and Ezra Miller (Warner Bros.).

Early in Justice League, while director Zack Snyder abuses yet another Leonard Cohen song, we see a glimpse of a Metropolis Post front page with a headline about vanished heroes that puts Kal-El in the middle of a triptych with Prince and David Bowie. It feels like a joke from Men in Black (another comic book-derived movie) 20 years ago. Anyway, it's good to see that Metropolis is still a two-paper town.

Here's my review of Justice League, where I did not really have room to complain that J.K. Simmons, the J. Jonah Jameson of Sam Raimi's no-longer-canonical Spider-Man trilogy, is now Commissioner Gordon, which feels like double-dipping, or that Gordon has once again been demoted to empty trenchcoat after being a vibrant, fully-developed character in Christopher Nolan's no-longer-canonical Dark Knight trilogy. These movies, man.

Something Completely Different in Becoming Bond

Chris Klimek

One-and-done 007 George Lazenby in 1969's  On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

One-and-done 007 George Lazenby in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

It's a strange coincidence that Sir Roger Moore, 007 No. 003, died only about 48 hours after the premiere of the very funny Hulu documentary Becoming Bond, about one-and-done 007 George Lazenby — who, incredibly, landed the most sought-after role in showbiz (circa 1968) with double-oh-zero prior acting experience.


I'll never get tired of this real-life story. And the Bond flick that resulted, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, is in my Bond Top Five, way above of any of the Moore entries. Anyway, I wrote about all this for the weekend crowd. And I fan-casted Matt Gourley, again.

I wrote this piece quickly, and it occurred to me only after I'd send it off to my editor, the great Linda Holmes, that I might've mentioned the passage of the documentary wherein Lazenby explains the discovery that turned him from a failing salesman into into a successful one. He might've been talking about acting.

Lost in Space: Passengers, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in  Passengers,  a miscast and misbegotten fairy tale in space.

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers, a miscast and misbegotten fairy tale in space.

I had hopes for Passengers, from Prometheus writer Jon Spaihts and The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum, because I root for science fiction films in general and because I've just edited a story for Air & Space/Smithsonian about research into human hibernation for long-term spaceflights, which is key to the premise of this movie. But its billion-dollar ideas are undermined by its five-cent guts, as I aver in my NPR review. Bummer.

We'll Always Have Casablanca: Allied, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as glamorous spies in  Allied.  (Paramount)

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as glamorous spies in Allied. (Paramount)

Here's my review of Robert Zemeckis' high-tech-but-old-fashioned WWII espionage thriller Allied. It's meant to evoke a genre that includes great films like Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious or Carol Reed's The Third Man. Or lesser Graham Greene works, like this one.