Tag Archives: NPR Monkey See

Friends, Coens, Countrymen: All Hail Hail, Caesar!

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No one in the world can possibly appreciate the way the narrator of the new Coen Brothers picture, Sir Michael Gambon — the man who once declined the role of James Bond because, quoth he, “I’ve got tits like a woman” — says “in westerly Malibu” as much as I do. But just about everyone seems to like the movie. I do, too. My NPR review is here.

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The Future Is Not Set: A Terminator Dossier

A T-800 goes shopping for some clothes at the Griffith Park Observatory, May 12, 1984. Recognize the guy with the spiky blue hair?

I haven’t seen the by-all-accounts underwhelming Terminator: Genisys yet, because since I’ve been busy being a “Critic Fellow” at the one-of-a-kind Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in the wilds of Connecticut. But I did indulge in some quippy dramaturgy on the wandering-ronin Terminator franchise, for NPR.

Psychiatric Help $0.05: Lucy, reviewed.

Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson's "Lucy."

My NPR review of Luc Besson’s wiggedy-wack but truly, madly, deeply watchable Lucy.

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Anyway, We Delivered the Bomb: On Choosing the 50 Greatest Summer Blockbusters

Scheider in "JAWS." I knew Spielberg's 1975 genre-starter would be No. 1.

In honor of the historic 25th anniversary of the release of Lethal Weapon 2, give or take a couple of days  — no, that’s not actually why I did this — I elucidated the agonizing process of logrolling and negotiating required for me to determine my votes in The Dissolve‘s list of the 50 greatest summer blockbusters in this essay for NPR Monkey See.

Sometimes you need the Socratic Method and math to discover you’re dead inside.

Back to the Future (Past), or You Can’t Keep a Good X-Man Down

I enjoyed X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer’s return after a decade-long absence to the surprisingly resilient superhero franchise he originated. This movie is based on a 1981 story from The Uncanny X-Men comic book that I first read when it was reprinted in probably 1989 or 1990.

The movie alters the tale as necessary to unite the cast of 2011’s 60s-set X-Men: First Class with the players from the earlier X-pictures, set in the present day — or rather, as a title card at the top of 2000’s X-Men tells us, “the not-too-distant future.” I’d feared this timeline-straddling — Days of Future Past is set in some unspecified year in the 2020s, -ish, and in 1973 — might make the movie as dull and incoherent as the Star Wars prequels, but it’s funny and light on its feet.

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So Long, H.R. Giger, and Thanks for All the Sleepless Nights

H. R. Giger, "Necronomicon IV," 1975.

Giger’s “Necronomicon IV,” 1975

A brief remembrance, written this morning not quite as quickly as I can type, of the great Swiss artist H.R. Giger and his most iconic creation, for NPR Monkey See. Continue reading

Please Hammer Girl Don’t Hurt ‘Em: The Raid 2 and the Flat Circle of Cinema Violence

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The same weekend I saw both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Raid 2 — prompting this piece for NPR Monkey See — my pal Glen Weldon showed me the mostly-animated G.I. Joe episode of Community. The show got a lot of mileage out of the fact that nobody ever got killed in that war cartoon, wherein an elite American military unit fought a uniformed army of terrorists to a stalemate every 21 minutes using ray guns.  Continue reading