Category Archives: movies

Petty Larceny: Den of Thieves, reviewed.

Den of Thieves
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)

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The January Man: The Commuter, reviewed.

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Vera Farmiga makes Liam Neeson an indecent proposal in The Commuter, Neeson’s latest January-release throat-puncher. Here’s my NPR review.

Elf Quest: Bright, reviewed.

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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.

The Carol From the Black Lagoon: The Shape of Water, reviewed.

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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.

I’m on The Canon, Debating His Girl Friday v The Philadelphia Story with my pal Amy Nicholson!

IMG_0083“Your assignment will be Spy magazine’s greatest achievement: Tracy Lord. Big game hunting in Africa, fox hunting in Pennsylvania. Married on impulse. Divorced in a rage. And always unapproachable by the press. The unapproachable Miss Lord… The Philadelphia Story!”

I was so certain that recording an episode of The Canon with my friend Amy Nicholson, pitting one Problematic 1940 Divorced Cary Grant movie against another, would require me to perform an impression of Henry Daniell as Spy publisher Sidney Kidd that I might’ve ripped the audio of the scene into my iPhone and rehearsed it during my drive to Earwolf HQ in Hollywood a few weeks ago. In the end, I forgot to break out the imitation I’d practiced to carefully, because Amy is just as brilliant in conversation as she is in prose. So the fact that she spared you all my, um, acting is not the best reason to be grateful for her insight and eloquence, but it’s a reason.

You can listen to our debate here.
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You Got to Have a Mother Box For Me: Justice League, reviewed.

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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 vanishing 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.

Fargo Fuck Yourself: Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, reviewed.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI
Up until now, Martin McDonagh’s best plays and movies have all been set in rural Ireland, or in an unnamed fictional totalitarian state, or In Bruges. That changes with the superb Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, his first U.S.-set story that doesn’t feel like the work of a tourist. Here’s my NPR review.