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Continental Drift: "John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum," reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Unretired assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) still mourns his wife (Bridget Moynahan).

Unretired assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) still mourns his wife (Bridget Moynahan).

In one of these John Wick movies we’re going to learn he killed that dead spouse he’s been pining away for, aren’t we?

Forgive my cynicism. On the day I saw the new, double-punctuated John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, I walked past the taped-off scene of one violent crime on my way to the subway that morning, and past the taped off scene of another violent crime on my way home from the movie 12 hours later. So I’m not sure it’s correct to call this celebration of ultraviolence escapism.

I sure did enjoy it, though. You can read about my enjoyment and my hand-wringing in my NPR review.

Choose to Accept It: Mission: Impossible — Fallout, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Henry Cavill is new; Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson are back.

Henry Cavill is new; Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson are back.

Mission: Impossible — Fallout is the smart spy spectacle SPECTRE shoulda been, and Tom Cruise is the best movie runner since that horse Eadweard Muybridge photographed in 1872. A little too much Cruiseplaining, but whaddayagonnado? Reader, I married it.

Handicapping The Fate of the Furious on Pop Culture Happy Hour

Chris Klimek

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 handicapped 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. 

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Pop Culture Happy Hour No. 255: Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation

Chris Klimek

Jeremy Renner, Tom Cruise, and Ving Rhames in  Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.

Jeremy Renner, Tom Cruise, and Ving Rhames in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.

It was my honor to spend, for the second consecutive year, my birthday — well, the eve of my birthday — at NPR with Team PCHH. Here're my notes and omissions on this thrilling episode.

  • I can't believe I did not ask ace PCHH producer Jessica Reedy to play a few bars of Lalo Schifrin's "Theme from Mission: Impossible" to set up that segment. Sure, we all know what it sounds like, but any excuse to play it is a good one. What the hell is wrong with me?
  • My friend and editor Alan Scherstuhl of The Village Voice is a noted Tom Cruise-hater. We've debated the relative merits of Cruise's (terrific) Mission: Impossible films and (demonstrably inferior) Fast & the Furious series at a length that I feel is entirely age-appropriate for both of us. I wanted to quote Alan's line about how Cruise is less an actor than a running-man GIF file. The difference is that he considers that at insult and I think it's a compliment, at least when we're discussing an action picture. Vin Diesel looks intimidating standing still but doesn't move especially well. Cruise looks great in motion.
  • Had I known on Monday evening when we taped this episode that the podcast U Talkin' U2 2 Me? would post an episode on Wednesday that features a long-form interview with U2, recorded in New York City the night before I saw the band play Madison Square Gardenthat would've been What's Making Me Happy this week. Apparently this interview happened just prior to when The Edge and Adam Clayton crashed a 20th anniversary party for the best U2 fansite,, where a U2 cover band was performing. For U2 to actually show up on a show that is at least 45 percent devoted to making (affectionate) fun of them is surreal. It won't stop all y'all from continuing to claim they are humorless, but it should.
  • The Thing that I did say was Making Me Happy, and still is, Hamilton, now has a release date for its Black Thought and Questlove-produced cast album. 

The Spies Have It: Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

The Mission: Impossible film series is 19, long enough in the tooth for its earlier installments to start to acquire the same time capsule effect that makes me love even the worst James Bond movies. I watched Brian De Palma's 1996 Mission: Impossible the night after I saw the new one, subtitled Rogue Nation, and John Woo's barely-related 2000 M:I-2, the night after that. Yep, blockbusters are different now.

Trying to articulate just how was part of the chore of writing my NPR review of the fifth impossible mission, from Jack Reacher writer/director Christopher McQuarrie. Short version: I liked it. But I had more thoughts about it than I could shoehorn into the review, so here're a few outtakes.

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