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Filtering by Tag: Mark Harris

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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What the Movies Taught Us About World War II Aviation

Chris Klimek

I wrote this fun piece for my day job. It appears in our May 2015 issue of Air & Space / Smithsonian, now on sale at Barnes & Noble and other fine booksellers and newsstands, as well as the National Air & Space Museum. It's our 70th anniversary of V-E Day issue, which – because it'll be out in time for the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover on Friday, May 8th (the actual anniversary) – includes pull-out Spotter Cards you can use to identify the silhouettes of the two dozen vintage warbirds that'll be buzzing over your head a few minutes past noon if you come down to the National Mall on that day.

For the record, I do think William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives is the greatest of the films I surveyed – if not the greatest flying movie – save for Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1943 masterpiece The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, which I had occasion to mention only fleetingly. (The photo at the top of this post is of Roger Livesey and Anton Walbrook in that film.)

Mark Harris's book Five Came Back was an invaluable resource for me while writing this story.

Memorandum No. 56: Watch Sex Hygiene, the movie wherein John Ford directed Superman and Batman

Chris Klimek

"Most men know less about their own bodies than they do about their automobiles."

John Ford, who made Stagecoach and The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and who won the Academy Award for Best Director four times – not for any of the first-rate pictures I've just named – also made a sex-ed film for G.I.s in 1942, the same year he collected his third Best Director Oscar for How Green Was My Valley.

Okay, maybe that's only funny to me. Anyway, if you think it's worth 26 minutes of your life to learn how not to catch syphilis from – in the charming patois of Sex Hygiene – "a contaminated woman," you can watch this not-so-casually misogynistic but highly informative short above. Even if you're already fully briefed on how to protect yourself from the predatory vaginas of dirty, dirty whores, this film has at least two other things to recommend it.

1) It features the greatest reaction shots ever captured on film.

2) Eisenhower-era TV Superman George Reeves and Robert Lowery, who played Batman in the 1949 serial Batman and Robin, appear together briefly in an early scene, so if you want a preview of what next year's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will be like, well... it will probably be like this, at least in hair-gel terms.

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Diamond Dawgs: Bang the Drum Slowly, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

Evan Crump as Author  Richie Montgomery as Bruce in  Bang the Drum Slowly . (Johannes Markus) 

Evan Crump as Author  Richie Montgomery as Bruce in Bang the Drum Slowly. (Johannes Markus) 

I've never been a big sports fan, but I'm weirdly susceptible to baseball stories. I found American Century Theatre's stage adaptation of Mark Harris' 1956 baseball novel Bang the Drum Slowly to be an anachronistic pleasure. My review is in today's Washington City Paper.