Free Enterprise: Star Trek Beyond, reviewed.

STAR TREK BEYONDStar Trek Beyond, the third Trek in the 50-year-old franchise’s rebooted “Kelvin timeline,” wants to be a Skyfall-style cocktail of tradition and modernity. I wish it were bolder, but it’s energetic and fun. Here’s my NPR review.

Hot Buzz: I interviewed Simon Pegg for Air & Space/Smithsonian

Sofia Boutella and Simon Pegg in "Star Trek Beyond." (Kimberly French/Paramount)

What a pleasure it was to speak with Simon Pegg, an actor and writer whose work I’ve long admired, for my day job with Air & Space / Smithsonian magazine. I’ve been overseeing a special section of our September issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and I was especially keen to have Pegg — as the co-screenwriter of the new movie Star Trek Beyond, as well as one of its key cast members — be a part of our coverage. He was as enthusiastic and smart and funny as I’d dared hope. You can read the interview here, and my NPR review of Star Trek Beyond will be up Friday. Continue reading

They Mostly Come Out at Night, Mostly: ALIENS, recalled briefly on All Things Considered.

I was thrilled to get an invitation from All Things Considered to blab briefly with the great Audie Cornish about one of my favorite movies on the 30th anniversary of its release: SpaceCamp. No, it was ALIENS. Duh. The segment aired at the very end of an ATC that started off with live audio of the “Roll Call Vote!” chant from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. They’re coming out of the goddamn walls, just like Private Hudson said.

You can hear the segment here. I had more to say than they could use, but that’s radio, and hey, this is a show primarily devoted to, you know, real news. One of the first pieces I ever wrote for NPR was largely about ALIENS. I have a narrow range of interests, I guess. And Fox just released a new batch of stills and behind-the-scenes photos from the movie, many of which even I have never seen before, so I’m posting those, too. Enjoy.

Sock Pulpit: Hand to God, reviewed.

Liam Forde in "Hand to God" at Studio Theatre. (Amy Horan)

My review of Studio Theatre’s terrific production of Robert Askins’ Broadway hit Hand to God is in today’s Washington City Paper.

Nineteen Eighty-Four: The Year With Which We’re Still Making Contact, or We Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts But It Would Be Better If We Were

Ghostbuster's Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) in Columbia Pictures' GHOSTBUSTERS.

With the release of a new iteration of Ghostbusters — Sequel? Reboot? Don’t know; the DC screening conflicted with the first session of the new Boxing Fundamentals class I’m teaching at Y — every single one of 1984’s ten highest-grossing films has either been sequeled or remade. I believe ’84 is the only year for which this is the case. In terms of what ruled the box office, it resembled 2014 a lot more than it did ’83 or ’85. Because I enjoy staring at box office charts, apparently, I wrote about this discovery for NPR Monkey See.

When the Legend Becomes Fact: Tarzan, reviewed.

For NPR, I wrestled with the 201st (give or take) iteration of The Legend of Tarzan, a movie wherein in the Uncanny Valley is often represented by a valley.

Dealer’s Choice: The Trump Card, reviewed.

Mike-DaiseyThis took a few days longer to appear than it should’ve, for boring reasons only partly within my control. Anyway, last Friday I attended a workshop of a new monologue by Mike Daisey — an artist I’ve written a lot over the last six or seven years. I didn’t find room in the piece to mention that the monologue was directed by Isaac Butler, who has been doing some terrific writing on the theatre for Slate. The oral history of Angels and America that he and my sometimes-editor Dan Kois posted this week is marvelous piece of historical journalism. Anyway, my Washington City Paper review of the still-developing The Trump Card is (finally) here.