Chris Klimek

Chris Klimek
Tomatometer-approved critic
Born in Topeka, Kansas but taught to fear Jesus in the mighty Northern Virginia suburbs, I quit the East Coast after college for an extended stay in the placid surfers paradise of Ventura, California, where I wrote for an alt-weekly. After earning a screenwriting degree from UCLA, I worked for a magician for a while, but was eventually seduced back east by Washington, DC's pedestrian-accessible charms. My writing appears regularly in The Washington City Paper, on NPR, in The Washington Post, and in The Village Voice. I've written for Slate, The Guardian, PASTE and The Indian Express, and I was a proud contributor to the best film criticism site on the web, The Dissolve, until its premature demise in July 2015. I teach boxing on the side. Orson Welles is my hero. Loves: running, comic books, thunderstorms, old time radio drama, live drums. Hates: treadmills, reality TV, Auto-Tune. I was a 2009 NEA Institute Fellow, and a 2012 AltWeekly Awards finalist in the category of Arts Criticism, circulation 50,000 and above. I was a finalist again in 2017. In 2015, I was selected as a Critic Fellow for the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Critics Institute.
Publications: Village Voice, NPR, The Dissolve

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
67% Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) For all the snacked-on viscera and exploding brains this low-ambition, slightly-higher-return sequel asks you to stomach, its Muppety determination to please is even sort of sweet. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
84% Ad Astra (2019) It makes its observations about our place in the cosmos with... grace, even majesty. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
89% Blinded by the Light (2019) While nothing that happens is surprising, nearly all of it is performed with soulfulness and conviction and charm. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) Almost everything in it has been shamelessly chop-shopped from the work of more innovative filmmakers and squished into a less memorable, more quickly digestible form, and calibrated to flatter its stars to the maximum extent possible. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) You might say Tarantino's oeuvre is a box of chocolates: Some of them are more bitter and unpleasant than others, but they're all still chocolate. Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood might be the tastiest one in the box. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2019
42% Stuber (2019) Though it runs just 93 minutes, Stuber is padded by gunfights that are neither thrilling nor funny, though their mix of selective slo-mo and irreverent soundtrack cuts tells us Dowse wants them to be both. Or at least one of the two. He hasn't decided. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2019
90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) The movie has a bunch of winning performances from 22-year-olds still credibly playing 16, it tells a complete-ish yarn while dutifully laying track for further sequels, and it shows more visual brio than your average Marvel joint. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2019
32% Shaft (2019) [T]his movie isn't smart enough to find any comic inspiration in the generation gap between Shaft Prime and Shaft Sr. It just makes them both Cranky Old Heavily-Armed Guys. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
41% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) A parade of painterly beauty shots of its various creatures-just enough to cut a few good trailers, and this movie's trailers have been fantastic-with a whole lot of nothing in between. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
90% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) The set pieces are more imaginative and daring than ever. There's a musicality and wit to the action that only the Mission: Impossible series can equal. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
17% Hellboy (2019) Rendering all this stuff in photorealistic CGI does not necessarily add value. If we have to have more Hellboy movies and del Toro isn't going to make them, maybe they should be shot in black and white. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
47% Dumbo (2019) That the plot involves having DeVito's modest family-run circus being swallowed up by a mogul with his own theme park is almost too obvious a metaphor for the back half of Burton's 35-year career. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
61% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Alita too often feels thin, despite a surfeit of heavy-hitting talent. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
22% Miss Bala (2019) Resourceful and athletic without ever becoming superhuman, Rodriguez is easy to root for. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
20% Serenity (2019) A movie that executes its Nolanesque ambition with middle-period Shyamalanesque skill. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
100% They Shall Not Grow Old (2019) As a work of ethical, empathetic exhumation, They Shall Not Grow Old is a model. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Into the Spider-Verse allows its creators, and us, to have our cake and a bunch of other cakes and eat all of them, too. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2018
84% Creed II (2018) Rocky movies are a genre within a genre, and their audiences expect or even demand they be 95 percent predictable. So when they're even ten percent surprising - a generous estimate of Creed II's novelty quotient - it feels like a win. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
86% 3100: Run and Become (2018) A curious, thoroughly reported, handsomely shot, ultimately frustrating portrait of the event. - L.A. Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
65% Suspiria (2018) Despite the strong performances, particularly from Johnson, it's a confounding and often punishing experience. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
29% Venom (2018) It turns out Venom isn't much different than the alien who starred in NBC's 1980s sitcom ALF: A pushy boor motivated mostly by his next snack. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2018
32% The Predator (2018) Far more damning than The Predator's shoddy appearance is the pervasive sense that its maker would rather be making something else. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2018
12% Peppermint (2018) The title, with its slight echo of the 1973 Pam Grier vehicle Coffy, promises a sticky confection of feminism and violence, but the movie it's selling is a desultory drag. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2018
23% Mile 22 (2018) It's theoretically possible that Wahlberg and Cohan are the best there is at what they do. But Mile 22 isn't very nice. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2018
46% The Meg (2018) Of all the thrillers made about tender, juicy humans splashing away from ravenous giant sharks, The Meg is undeniably the most recent. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2018
49% The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) McKinnon, as always, is an unhinged delight, but she and Kunis just don't have enough chemistry to push this grisly tale of friendship-conquers-all over the hump. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2018
97% Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) Mission: Impossible has become the blue-chip action franchise of the 21st century. Choose to accept it. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2018
51% Equalizer 2 (2018) A reasonably well-written and (of course) beautifully acted serving of geriatric-virility violence porn... - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2018
48% Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) As derivative as Fallen Kingdom is, it's still a step up from its immediate ancestor. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
49% Superfly (2018) A more seasoned director of narrative features might've figured of how to sustain these high points. But Lutz careens among tones like a chromed-out Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado that's had its brake lines cut. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2018
46% How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2018) A refreshing tonic against blockbusteritis. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2018
51% Rampage (2018) Rampage is the kind of fearless, discomfiting art that wrestles with our place in the cosmos like Steve Irwin wrestling a crocodile. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2018
90% Isle of Dogs (2018) By the time Anderson's animators show us a meal of sushi being prepared in meticulous close-up, I was ready for any trick Anderson wanted to perform for me. Isle of Dogs takes Best in Show. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2018
52% Tomb Raider (2018) Inevitably, there's an dull coda that sets up a sequel, but by that point you'll have been vainly searching the frame for the words GAME OVER for at least half an hour. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2018
40% Gringo (2018) A passable in-flight movie that limps home across the border with nothing much to declare. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018
45% Red Sparrow (2018) Captures the existential misery of the espionage trade like no film since Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - despite some willfully opaque plotting. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2018
56% The Commuter (2018) Enough of what happens in the first hour sort of makes sense that one is inclined to forgive the fast-spinning, computer-animated ludicrousness of the second, especially since that second hour is considerate enough to last only 45 minutes. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2018
27% Bright (2017) Critics have already lined up to pillory Bright as among the year's worst releases. Don't believe the clickbait. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 21, 2017
92% The Shape of Water (2017) To place yourself in GDT's hands, as he tells the type of story he tells better than anyone else, is a rich pleasure. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2017
40% Justice League (2017) A C-grade B-movie wherein all involved fully satisfy their contractual obligations. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2017
90% Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) It's the first of McDonagh's movies to match the maturity of his plays, and the first time he's pushed past writing about hitmen and screenwriters to make something that feels like it could be about your neighbors. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2017
93% Thor: Ragnarok (2017) What it lacks in urgency - which is a lot, given that the story involves an extinction-level threat to Asgard and All Who Therein Dwell - it makes up for in alacrity. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2017
28% Suburbicon (2017) Suburbicon might be the biggest embarrassment to pious Hollywood liberalism since Crash won best picture in 2006. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2017
65% The Foreigner (2017) No ticket-buying constituency is likely to feel well-served by The Foreigner, a chilly marriage of political thriller and latter-day Liam Neeson-style geriatric revenge-o-rama. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2017
87% Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Less a generational iteration from its precursor than an evolutionary leap. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2017
86% American Made (2017) It's everything you could want from a flashy true-crime biopic skewering the hypocrisy and malice of the Reagan Administration's covert war in Central and South America. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2017
52% Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) 110 minutes or so in the middle of this 141-minute hero sandwich ... are a guily, guilty, guilty-your-honor pleasure. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2017
69% mother! (2017) On its most superficial, accessible level, mother! is squirm-inducing fun. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2017
84% Detroit (2017) Maddeningly imperfect but still honorable. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2017
92% Dunkirk (2017) Is it ethical to make a war movie this beautiful? - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2017