Tag Archives: science fiction

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?

chappie-cp

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

Gas Giant: Jupiter Ascending, reviewed.

Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis (Murray Close / Warner Bros.)

Sorry, you guys: Mercury Rising Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis’ latest sci-fi epic, is neither the trainwreck you want nor the home run you need. My review, for The Dissolve.

The Fault Is Not in Our Stars: Interstellar, reviewed.

Matthew McConaughey in "Interstellar"

My NPR review of Interstellar, a grand spacefaring epic I saw twice in three days and in which I am inclined to forgive many flaws. I Want to Believe, even if there’s a lot of it I just don’t.

Cruise Controller: On Edge of Tomorrow and Blockbuster Déjà Vu

"Edge of Tomorrow" boats Tom Cruise's most varied & enjoyable performance in years.

The Happy Meal-shifting blockbusters of Summer 2014 continue to deliver the goods. Godzilla was dire and painterly and majestic, X-Men was fizzy and fun, and Edge of Tomorrow — the latest Tom Cruise action vehicle to suffer from Awful Title Syndrome — might be better than either. I liked it a whole bunch, even if it ends on a more conventional note than it might’ve if, say, Christopher Nolan had been holding the reigns.

Anyway, here is my official statement.

— TRANSMISSION BEGINS —

Blockbuster audiences have seen it all, and so has Tom Cruise. He is the most resilient and longest-lived movie star of modern times, a guy whose name has opened movies, and whose overcaffeinated performances have powered them, for 30 years. (“Actor. Producer. Running in movies since 1981,” reads his Twitter bio, perfectly.)

Edge of Tomorrow, his new science fiction adventure directed by the guy who made Swingers, cleverly harnesses both our abundant affection for the fearless, freakishly energetic young actor Cruise was, and our more fickle approbation for the risk-averse, still freakishly energetic 51-year-old action star he’s become. He plays a craven Army public affairs officer ordered unexpectedly into combat against space invaders who’ve occupied, er, France and Germany. Whereupon he is slain almost immediately. Continue reading