I’ve wanted to be a guest on James Bonding, the podcast hosted by 007 “lovers, not experts” Matt Gourley and Matt Mira, since the first episode appeared four years ago. (The topic was Dr. No, 007 No. 001, and the guest was Paul F. Thompkins.) I’ve plugged the show on Pop Culture Happy Hour and on Filmspotting. I owe Gourley and Mira a debt of gratitude for getting my girlfriend interested in watching Bond movies by poking fun at them in the loving way that only a true fan can. Beyond that, I’ve been a huge admirer of Gourley’s work on his other podcasts, I Was There Too and Superego.
Any debate over whether Blade Runner 2049, a 35-years-later sequel to the cultiest cult film in the history of movies, has general-interest appeal should be put to rest by virtue of the fact that Stephen Thompson—the host of the three-way discussion of the film the comprises today’s Pop Culture Happy Hour—liked it, too! Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon and I are this movie’s core constituency. But when the Kung Fu Panda-loving Mr. Thompson gives his approval to an intense, nearly-three-hour dystopian future flick, you know it’s got some moves.
You can listen in here, where the episode is posted along with my review from last week. I had to write it just a couple of hours after I saw Blade Runner 2049, but I think the piece stands up. I’m seeing the movie again tomorrow night at the National Air and Space Museum. I’m looking forward to spending another 163 minutes with a new stone classic.
Posted in movies, podcasts
Tagged Blade Runner, Denis Villeneuve, Glen Weldon, Harrison Ford, Jessica Reedy, Linda Holmes, NPR, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Ryan Gosling, Stephen Thompson
I dropped by NPR HQ to talk about Steven Soderbergh’s return to features, Logan Lucky, with screenwriter and author Danielle Henderson and regular Pop Culture Happy Hour panelists Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon. When we recorded this discussion, I’d taken the opportunity to see the movie a second time after filing my review, and my opinion on it had evolved a little. Anyway, you can find the episode here.
I wish I could put my finger on why it read to me as condescending in a Coenesque the first time but not the second. I love the films of Joel and Ethan Coen. But the ones Logan Lucky most recalled for me, Raising Arizona and Fargo, are not among my favorites.
Posted in movies, podcasts
Tagged Adam Driver, Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, Danielle Henderson, Glen Weldon, Joel and Ethan Coen, Linda Holmes, NPR, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Riley Keough, Steven Soderbergh
The Mondo two-LP blue-and-yellow-vinyl edition of the soundtrack to David Leitch’s stylish Charlize Theron-headlined, set-in-1989 espionage thriller Atomic Blonde that I ordered won’t arrive for several weeks, I’m told. Until then you and I will just have to make do with our extant libraries of New Order, The Clash, A Flock of Seagulls, etc. And with this thrilling recorded-in-one take episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, wherein host Linda Holmes and regular panelists Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon brought me in to talk about how much we all like watching Ms. Theron kick ass. It’s a lot more satisfying that watching her play second-fiddle to some grunting no-talent clown in a tank top.
The Terminator is one of my favorite movies. When my Windy City pals Adam Kempenarr and Josh Larsen announced the other week that they would make writer-director James Cameron’s low-budget, high-concept sci-fi classic the subject of one of their “Sacred Cow” reviews, I knew that the likelihood that Josh—a critic who generally seems to dislike action films, with the bizarre exception of the Fast & the Furious franchise, which to me represents the genre at its most derivative and least inspired—would rain on it. He hates Predator, people! Predator! A film I saw last year at the Library of Congress!
So I took action. To paraphrase Al Capone, you can get farther with a kind word and a quote from The Terminator than you can with a kind word alone. And the threatening voice mail I left for Josh opened last week’s episode.
My pal-for-life Glen Weldon is Down Under this week—like Quigley, like Jackman, like Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee—but I was glad to be part of a reduced Pop Culture Happy Hour panel along with host Linda Holmes and regular Stephen Thompson to dissect the messy but fascinating prequel-sequel Alien: Covenant and to marvel at how the political satire Veep has stayed so strong for six seasons. At the end of the episode, I give a little love to little-loved—by me, anyway—replacement 007 Sir Roger Moore, who passed away this week at the age of 89. You can hear the full episode here or embedded below.
Posted in movies, podcasts
Tagged 007, ALIEN, Aliens, H.R. Giger, James Bond, Linda Holmes, NPR, Pop Culture Happy Hour, PROMETHEUS, Ridley Scott, Roger Moore, shameless self-promotion, Stephen Thompson, Veep
I’m on Pop Culture Happy Hour today for the first time since our bummed-out post-election Pop Culture Serotonin Spectacular. And it was all the way back in December 2015 that I last shared the studio with the great Gene Demby of the Code Switch blog and podcast, when we broke down Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I always feel things have gone well when I’m with Gene; he’s a calming presence I guess. Most of this week’s episode was recorded live on stage in Chicago at last week, and neither Gene not I were present for that, so we’re in the first segment only. The topic is The Fate of the Furious, a film I reviewed… unfavorably. Continue reading