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
30% Bloodshot (2020) An instantly forgettable mid-budget affair that relies on heavy dollops of CGI that would've looked cut-rate even in the early '90s... - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2020
95% First Cow (2020) You'll need to slow your breathing to sync up, or more likely, down with the movie's tempo, but Reichardt rewards your patience with a profound experience that lingers in memory. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 5, 2020
75% The Gentlemen (2020) The Gentlemen finds the unlikely director of Aladdin v.2019 released from Disneyland to return to his distinctly loquacious crooks played by distinctly memorable actors. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2020
89% 1917 (2020) It musters extraordinary technical daring in the service of a homily that boils down yet again to simply, "War is Hell." - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 24, 2019
97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Certainly the blue-chip cast that has shown up to support Murphy in the buoyant-but-superficial Netflix biopic Dolemite Is My Name is its own tribute to Moore's intersectional significance... - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019
77% Richard Jewell (2019) This film about the smearing of an innocent man is itself a hit piece. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2019
41% Midway (2019) Midway isn't a movie about World War II. It's a movie about World War II movies. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
70% Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) A mostly successful stab at making the The Force Awakens or the Creed of the Terminatorverse, wherein the old-timers deliver rich and elegiac performances as they buttress a younger, more diverse cast of new characters. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
94% Western Stars (2019) For Springsteen diehards - I'm raising my hand now - this is not the rich visual expansion of a very good album that its author hoped to make. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
69% 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
83% 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
33% 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
42% 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
89% 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
18% 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
46% 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
21% 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
99% 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
83% 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
89% 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
33% 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
45% 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
47% 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
51% 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
48% 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
55% 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