I wish I could muster more enthusiasm for Michael Kahn’s final Hamlet, starring Michael Urie, or for Sovereignty, an Arena Stage World Premiere entry in the Women’s Voices Theater Festival written by Mary Kathryn Nagle, who knows whereof she speaks but not how to make it sing. Those reviews are in this week’s Washington City Paper.
Here’s something I mean with all the generosity of spirit that I hope I possess in my heart: Den of Thieves, a new—well, newly released—crime movie, is not as bad as one might expect the directorial debut from the screenwriter of A Man Apart and London Has Fallen to be. That’s because writer-director Christian Gudegast has taken the greatest Los Angeles cops-and-robbers movie ever made and replicated it as closely as one can while filming in Atlanta, with a growling Gerard Butler standing in for an ad-libbing Al Pacino.
My NPR review of Den of Thieves is here. I believe the phrase “coffee-table action flick” is a Klimek Original.
Pablo Schreiber and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson cover their tracks. (STX)
Vera Farmiga makes Liam Neeson an indecent proposal in The Commuter, Neeson’s latest January-release throat-puncher. Here’s my NPR review.
I’m on today’s episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, weighing in on the new season of Netflix’s cautionary-tale tech anthology Black Mirror. One thing I should’ve said had there been time is just how much the open format of the show contributes to its ability to build tension. Two of my favorites among the six new episodes are “U.S.S. Callister,” which runs a nearly feature-length 76 minutes, and “Metalhead,” which clocks in at around 40 minutes—not even long enough to fill a network hour.
Anyway, I was happy as always to join Linda and Glen, and especially glad to get to speak with Brittany Luse, whom I had not met previously. You can hear the episode here, or on whatever smart device you’ve got. Or both. I mean, we’re all cuffed to our digital appendages now, despite the warnings of Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker. Continue reading
The alarming lesson of Netflix’s new Will Smith-toplined, David Ayer-directed human-&-orc buddy cop thriller Bright is that I am, apparently, not Too Old For This Shit.
Only someone who didn’t see xXx: The Return of Xander Cage or The Fate of the Furious could proclaim this this worst movie of 2017. Let’s be reasonable, now.
As usual, there were some painful cuts right at the end. I just had to get “Mistress for Christmas” on, even though I used it in (I think) 2011, to honor Malcolm Young of AC/DC. And “Every Day Is Christmas (When I’m Lovin’ You),” even though I used it in 2012, to honor Charles Bradley. That unconscionable folk song about a ski instructor whose notion of consent is such that you hope he perished in an avalanche, but not before being forced to eat his own arm while waiting in vain to be rescued, will just have to wait until the lucky 13th installment. I thought it important to keep each side to no more than, well, an hour.
Good news: Guillermo Del Toro’s new movie is the best one he’s made in English! Even if it doesn’t kick quite as much undead ass as Blade II. Here’s my NPR review.