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 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!
I was delighted to join Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson — and to share my first Pop Culture Happy Hour panel with the estimable Gene Demby — to process our reactions to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We recorded this episode just a few hours after seeing the movie; the review I wrote to accompany the release of the podcast came from a day or so later. I know my opinion had not entirely settled yet, but we had a fun, lively discussion.
When I sat down to watch the film again two nights later, with Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon seated next to me, he asked if I missed the 20th Century Fox fanfare before the glowing green Lucasfilm logo appeared. We’ve spoken before about how that fanfare always gives us a ripple of excitement no matter what we’re about to watch, because of the sense-memory of Star Wars. Strangely, I hadn’t noticed its absence until Glen pointed it out. (There was a lot of other stuff to notice, c’mon.) Continue reading
Posted in movies, podcasts
Tagged Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Gene Demby, Harrison Ford, J.J. Abrams, John Boyega, Knight Rider, Linda Holmes, NPR, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Rian Johnson, Star Wars, Stephen Thompson, toys
Hark! The tenth installment in my indefatigable Christmas mixtape series, entitled The Force Awakens — Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable Perfect X: Final Sequence, is upon us. Side A is, anyway. Side B shall appear like the clanky ghost of Jacob Marley upon Ebeneezer Scrooge’s doorstep in one week’s time.
In the unlucky event your computer or personal electronic device is not equipped with a tape deck, you can stream Side A below. May your days be shiny and chrome, and may the Christmas Force be with you. Continue reading
Posted in Christmas, music
Tagged Christmas, Harrison Ford, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, mixtapes, Neko Case, Nick Lowe, Star Wars, yulejams, yulemixes, yuletunes
I reviewed The Expendables 3 for NPR, because their audience demanded it.
This movie made me weirdly nostalgic for the days when martial artists or athletes like current MMA champ Ronda Rousey or retired MMA fighter Randy Couture might be deemed worthy of their own low-budget action flicks. No, I can’t explain, really.
It was actually my pal Village Voice Film Editor Alan Scherstuhl who pitched me on this piece. When Disney announced the other week that Harrison Ford would be returning for at least one more Star Wars movie, Alan figured — and I immediately concurred — that it’s high time for Han Solo to receive the heroic demise that Ford wanted to give him in Return of the Jedi, 31 years ago. With apologies to Mike Ryan, whose work I admire, here’s why Solo gotta go-lo.