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Filtering by Tag: science fiction

Under the Skin Job: Blade Runner 2049, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

All I'm allowed to tell you is this is a photo of Ryan Gosling. (Stephen Vaughn)

All I'm allowed to tell you is this is a photo of Ryan Gosling. (Stephen Vaughn)

I seldom write same-day reviews, but because Blade Runner 2049's embargo was abruptly lifted before it even screened in DC, I had to scramble. I'm very happy to be able to say it's a triumph, a satisfying much-later follow-up in the new tradition of Mad Max: Fury Road, Creed, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But... better than those, even, would you believe.

Here's the review. Enhance!

By Any Means Necessary, Any Which Way You Can: War for the Planet of the Apes, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Caesar (Andy Serkis) came to eat bananas and kick ass, and he's all out of bananas. (Fox)

Caesar (Andy Serkis) came to eat bananas and kick ass, and he's all out of bananas. (Fox)

What a Craig Finn-style blockbuster summer we're having this year. Nothing as visionary as Mad Max: Fury Road from 2015, maybe, or as congruent with my own sensibilities as The Nice Guys from last year, but everything I picked sight unseen for my Village Voice/LA Weekly summer movie preview—Wonder Woman, The Beguiled, Baby Driver, Spider-Man: Homecoming—has so far avoided embarrassing me. I even liked Rough Night okay. It's possible I'm not all that discerning a critic.

But my praise for War of the Planet of the Apes is well-founded. Even though I saw the movie weeks before I was assigned to write about it, which might be why the review is uncharacteristically (I hope) light on specific observations.

I'm seeing Dunkirk—and talking with Christopher Nolan!—as soon as I get home from my present holiday in Scotland, and Atomic Blonde and Detroit in short order after that.

Imperfect Organism: Life, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson are better than  Life . (Sony)

Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson are better than Life. (Sony)

Life, the new anti-space-exploration space movie from Swedish director Daniel Espinosa and starring my beloved Rebecca "Ilsa Faust" Ferguson plus some other famous people, is no Gravity. Or Interstellar. Or The Martian. But it's aight. I reviewed it for NPR, and then, having finished reviewing Life, I recalled The Onion's lovely backhanded obituary for Roger Ebert from 2013.

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.

Pop Culture Happy Hour No. 322: Arrival and Seratonin-Boosting Pop Culture

Chris Klimek

Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams, humans.

Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams, humans.

I was delighted as always to join my friends Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Jessica Reedy for this week's badly-needed Pop Culture Happy Hour, wherein no one mentions politics at all because that's not how we do on this show. Here's the episode.

The name the lazy file-clerk in my brain was trying to retrieve while Stephen was talking about how much he loves the Anthrax & Public Enemy version of Public Enemy's jam "Bring the Noise" was Clyde Stubblefield: Clyde is the link between Stephen's picks and mine, because he was James Brown's drummer at Brown's late-60s-to-mid-70s peak. That drums sample you hear at the end of "Bring the Noise" — probably the most-sampled ever — is Stubblefield's, originally recorded for Brown's "Funky Drummer" in 1970.

Boldly Gone: Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of Star Trek at 50, and Gene Roddenberry and fandom, for Rolling Stone

Chris Klimek

Leonard Nimoy's unflappable Mr. Spock communes with the Horta in "Devil in the Dark," from 1967. (CBS Consumer Products /  Star Trek  Archive)

Leonard Nimoy's unflappable Mr. Spock communes with the Horta in "Devil in the Dark," from 1967. (CBS Consumer Products / Star Trek Archive)

I basically got into journalism because I wanted to write for Rolling Stone. That took longer to happen than I'd hoped it might, but it was a real thrill to get to do this piece for them yesterday, reflecting on What Star Trek Hath Wrought the occasion of the franchise's 50th anniversary.

Last night, the National Air and Space Museum showed "The Man Trap," the first Trek episode broadcast (albeit not the first one produced), at 8:30 p.m. Eastern — the same time NBC had shown it 50 years earlier. It's a really fun episode that demonstrates that the rich character relationships were present in the Original Series right from the beginning, and that most of the comedy in Trek was fully intentional. (Also that what was progressive in 1966 is decidedly not in 2016. But that's how progress works.)

Thanks to Scott Tobias for suggesting me for it, and to David Fear for editing the essay. 

ID4ever: Independence Day: Resurgence, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman showed up for the 20-years-later sequel to  Independence Day.

Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman showed up for the 20-years-later sequel to Independence Day.

The barely-screened-for critics Independence Day: Resurgence is not by any stretch a good movie, but neither was Independence Day, a film I saw at least twice and possibly three times during the grim summer of 1996. I'd even go so far as to say I enjoyed this barely-coherent follow-up a little more. Here's my alien autopsy, for the Village Voice.

You might also enjoy the War of 1996 website, a neato but apparently unsuccessful marketing tool for the movie. It offers a fictional timeline of the last two decades in the Independence Day-iverse, a couple of primitive but weirdly addictive games, an invitation to volunteer for the Earth Defense Force, and of course, information on real U.S. Army careers that might be right for you.