Tag Archives: science fiction

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Annihilation! (emphasis mine)

ANNIHILATIONHere is a joke you will not hear on today’s episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, wherein I join old friends Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson and new friend Daisy Rosario to dissect (heh) Annihilation, the new thriller from Ex Machina writer/director Alex Garland starring Natalie Portman and involving lots of cool but hella gross body horror stuff:
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Under the Skin Job: Blade Runner 2049, reviewed.

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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!

By Any Means Necessary, Any Which Way You Can: War for the Planet of the Apes, reviewed.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APESWhat a Craig Finn-style blockbuster summer we’re having this year. Nothing as visionary as Mad Max: Fury Road from 2015, maybe, or as congruent with my own sensibilities as The Nice Guys from last year, but everything I picked sight unseen for my Village Voice/LA Weekly summer movie preview—Wonder Woman, The Beguiled, Baby Driver, Spider-Man: Homecoming—has so far avoided embarrassing me. I even liked Rough Night okay. It’s possible I’m not all that discerning a critic.

But my praise for War of the Planet of the Apes is well-founded. Even though I saw the movie weeks before I was assigned to write about it, which might be why the review is uncharacteristically (I hope) light on specific observations.
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Handling the Fingering: Alien: Covenant, reviewed.

ALIEN: COVENANTMy fanboyish impulses mostly come out whenever there’s a new ALIEN. Mostly.

I tried not to splash too much corrosive blood on the deck in my dissection of Alien: Covenant.

Lost in Space: Passengers, reviewed.

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in Columbia Pictures' PASSENGERS.

I had hopes for Passengers, from Prometheus writer Jon Spaihts and The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum, because I root for science fiction films in general and because I’ve just edited a story for Air & Space/Smithsonian about research into human hibernation for long-term spaceflights, which is key to the premise of this movie. But its billion-dollar ideas are undermined by its five-cent guts, as I aver in my NPR review. Bummer.

What’s It All About, Chappie?

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So Die Antwoord won’t be releasing a cover of “Alfie” with the lyrics updated to promote their surprisingly substantial parts in Neill Blomkamp‘s new RoboCop / Short Circuit hybrid, Chappie? Disappointing.

But then so’s the movie. My NPR review is here. Continue reading

Pop Culture Happy Hour #230: Jupiter Ascending and Chemistry

JUPITER ASCENDING

I was happy as always to join my buddies Linda Holmes, Stephen Thompson, and Glen Weldon on this week’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, wherein we dissect Jupiter Ascending, the “original” sci-fi epic from auteur siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski from which audiences flocked away in droves last weekend. (I reviewed the film for The Dissolve.) We also try to figure out what people mean when they talk about “chemistry” among performers onscreen. Continue reading