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What I Watched In… March 2018

Thor-Ragnarok

Favorite of the Month: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

In the interest of full disclosure (and to generate a little content here) I thought I’d present a regular tally of what movies I managed to see in the previous month. Some of them I’ve written or talked about, most of them I haven’t. This list includes movies I saw for the first time, movies I’ve seen a thousand times, movies I saw in the theater, movies I watched at home, direct-to-DVD, made-for-TV and anything else that qualifies as a movie. I also choose my favorite of the month among those movies I saw for the first time, marked in red. Feel free to discuss or ask about any of them!

  1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), C
  2. Mute (2018), C-
  3. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010), F; RiffTrax Riff, A
  4. The Incredible Hulk (2008), B-
  5. The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), B
  6. Godzilla’s Revenge (1969), F
  7. Spookers (2017), C
  8. Iron Man 2 (2010), B+
  9. Turok: Son of Stone (2008), C
  10. Thor (2011), B+
  11. Escape From L.A. (1996), C-
  12. Guardians of Oz (2015), C+
  13. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), A
  14. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953) B
  15. Thor: Ragnarok (2017), B+
  16. A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018), B
  17. Animal House (1978), B+
  18. The Avengers (2012), A
  19. Constantine (2005), D
  20. Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash (2018), B
  21. The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976), D; RiffTrax Riff, B+
  22. Lean on Me (1989), B+
  23. Iron Man 3 (2013), B+
  24. Terror Out of the Sky (1978), D-
  25. The Mad Magician (1954), C
  26. The Ritual (2018), B
  27. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), B+
  28. Thor: The Dark World (2013), C+
  29. Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), B-
  30. The Prince of Egypt (1998), A-
  31. Spider-Man (2002), B
  32. Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971), B-

 

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What I Watched In… February 2018

black panther poster

Favorite of the Month: Black Panther (2018)

In the interest of full disclosure (and to generate a little content here) I thought I’d present a regular tally of what movies I managed to see in the previous month. Some of them I’ve written or talked about, most of them I haven’t. This list includes movies I saw for the first time, movies I’ve seen a thousand times, movies I saw in the theater, movies I watched at home, direct-to-DVD, made-for-TV and anything else that qualifies as a movie. I also choose my favorite of the month among those movies I saw for the first time, marked in red. Feel free to discuss or ask about any of them!

  1. Groundhog Day (1993), A+
  2. Ants (1977), D
  3. Night of the Living Dead (1969), A
  4. Thor: Tales of Asgard (2011), B-
  5. The Apple (1980), F; RiffTrax Riff, A
  6. The Lion King (1994), A
  7. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), B+
  8. The Emoji Movie (2017), F
  9. It’s an Adventure, Charlie Brown (1983), B
  10. Black Panther (2018), A-
  11. Iron Man (2008), A
  12. Much Ado About Nothing (1993), B+
  13. A Charlie Brown Celebration (1982), A-
  14. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (2000), A-

 

Looking ahead to 2017…

We’ve got 12 months of movies ahead of us. Now that we’ve looked back at 2016, let’s see what’s coming out this year that’s got me excited…

  • The LEGO Batman Movie (Feb. 10). The first LEGO Movie was one of the most unexpected gems of the last few years. The trailers for this first spinoff look to be unfettered fun.
  • John Wick Chapter 2 (Feb. 10). Another unexpected hit was the first John Wick movie. I can’t wait for the sequel.
  • Logan (March 3). Hugh Jackman’s final turn as Wolverine looks like it’s going to be a much darker, more intense take on the character than we’ve seen before.
  • Kong: Skull Island (March 10). With Legendary planning an MCU-style connection between this and their Godzilla franchise, I’m really looking forward to the new take on King Kong.
  • Beauty and the Beast (March 17). Disney’s rash of live-action remakes of their classic animated films has been hit or miss for me, but Emma Watson as Belle is perfect casting. I’ve got high hopes for this one.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5). After a thrilling, joyful first film, I’m hoping director James Gunn can do the same with this one.
  • Wonder Woman (June 2). It’s almost a crime that it’s taken this long for there to be a live-action Wonder Woman movie. Gal Gadot stole every scene of Batman V Superman, and I can’t wait to see this one.
  • The Mummy (June 9). Universal is hoping to revive its classic monster franchise with (again) an MCU-style shared universe. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it works.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7). Marvel and Sony coming to an agreement for Spider-Man is the best thing that could have happened for the character. Tom Holland rocked in Captain America: Civil War, and I’m hoping for more of that in this film.
  • War For the Planet of the Apes (July 14). The first two films in the new Apes franchise were phenomenal — deep, thoughtful films with mesmerizing performances. I feel very good about this next one.
  • Dunkirk (July 21). Christopher Nolan doing a World War I epic. How can you not be excited?
  • The Dark Tower (July 28). Stephen King’s self-proclaimed “Magnum Opus” is a work that has a need personal meaning for me. I want this movie to be great. The casting is spot-on, although the information that’s come out so far leaves me wondering exactly what angle they’re intending to take on the material.
  • It (Sept. 8). Another Stephen King adaptation. Although not as personal to me, it’s still a great book that had an okay TV adaptation. Can any film truly capture the novel?
  • Thor: Ragnarok (Nov. 3). Although the Thor movies gave the MCU its most charismatic villain, they aren’t quite as memorable as the rest of the franchise. This time out, having Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange along for the ride may finally give us a great Thor movie.
  • Justice League (Nov. 17). I’ve been waiting for this movie since I was a kid, and the promotional materials have looked fantastic. I can’t wait.
  • Star Wars Episode VIII (Dec. 15). Little independent movie. You probably haven’t heard of it.

What I Watched in… February 2015

Favorite of the Month: Chef (2014)

Favorite of the Month: Chef (2014)

In the interest of full disclosure (and to generate a little content here) I thought I’d present a regular tally of what movies I managed to see in the previous month. Some of them I’ve written or talked about, most of them I haven’t. This list includes movies I saw for the first time, movies I’ve seen a thousand times, movies I saw in the theater, movies I watched at home, direct-to-DVD, made-for-TV and anything else that qualifies as a movie. I also choose my favorite of the month among those movies I saw for the first time, marked in red. Feel free to discuss or ask about any of them!

(For some reason, Februaries always seem to be a low-viewing month for me. I don’t know why.)

1. Headhunters (2011), A-
2. Chef (2014), A
3. A Good Marriage (2014), C+
4. Thor (2011), B+
5. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014), B-
6. LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League Vs. Bizarro League (2015), B
7. Sherlock, Jr. (1924), B+
8. Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale (2006), B

The Marvel Cinematic Universe-Now What?

Captain America-The Winter SoldierThis week in my podcast, All New Showcase Episode 301, I sit back with my frequent co-host Kenny and talk about what the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier mean for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. How is this going to change Agents of SHIELD? What’s going to be different in the Marvel movies and TV shows from now on? Where do they go from here? We get super-spoilery on everything Marvel has done, make predictions about the films and TV shows already in development, talk about those projects still in the rumor stage, and then give their own suggestions for what properties they’d like to see join the MCU! Plus: what other studios are trying to duplicate the MCU’s success?

If this is in your wheelhouse, friends, I kindly invite you to give it a listen.

Episode 301: The Marvel Cinematic Universe-Now What?

Reel to Reel ranks 2013 in movies

And once again, we reach the end of another year. And as usual, I didn’t get to see as many movies as I wanted to. I saw most of the ones I was really excited about, all but one in fact (which wound up not being made at all, sadly). For the record, the ones I didn’t see yet that are still on my to-see list are American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street and Her, all of which will be readily available after the holidays, what with being award bait and all.

So here, for the second year (here’s last year’s list if you’re interested), the list of movies I saw this year roughly in order of how much I liked them, along with brief comments on a few films. This list includes made-for-TV, direct-to-video, and streaming films, as long as they were feature length. The rankings are based purely on how much I enjoyed watching the movie, and no other criteria. I caution you, though, that my opinions on rankings and such change frequently, so if you ask me to make this same list tomorrow, it may well be slightly different:

1. Saving Mr. Banks. Simply a beautiful movie that hits me hard as a writer. I get where both the characters of P.L. Travers and Walt Disney were coming from, I sympathize with them both, and I found the movie deeply moving. I know that a lot of it was conjured up for the sake of cinema, but I’m kind of afraid to look up how much for fear it would ruin the film for me.
2. Frozen. Disney’s best animated movie in years. I particularly like that the film was undeniably a love story, but at the same time, broke every major rule in the usual “princess” formula.
3. Man of Steel. A controversial choice to be this high, I know, but I don’t care. As someone who’s loved Superman since childhood, I thought this film was a worthy jumpstart for both the character and for DC’s effort at a cinematic universe.
4. Pacific Rim. The most underrated movie of the year, in my opinion. Visually exciting and a hell of a lot of fun.
5. Monsters University.
6. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
7. Ender’s Game.
8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
9. An Adventure in Space and Time. TV film about the original star of Doctor Who, William Hartnell, made in conjunction with the series’ 50th anniversary. I really liked it.
10. Evil Dead.
11. The World’s End
12. Oz, The Great and Powerful.
13. Star Trek Into Darkness.
14. Thor: The Dark World.
15. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
16. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part II.
17. The Rubber Room. Intriguing documentary about the New York public school system, specifically the practice that leaves teachers accused of assorted mistakes stranded without work for months or years without the opportunity to defend themselves.
18. Crystal Lake Memories:The Complete History of Friday the 13th. Good and terribly thorough documentary about the horror movie series. Make sure you’ve got the time to watch it, though – it’s SEVEN HOURS LONG.
19. Iron Man 3.
20. LEGO Batman The Movie: DC Superheroes Unite.
21. The Wolverine.
22. The Sound of Music. Live TV production of the classic musical.
23. Necessary Evil: The Villains of DC Comics.
24. Europa Report.
25. Superman Unbound.
26. Kick-Ass 2.
27. Warm Bodies.
28. Upstream Color. I really liked the director’s last movie, Primer, so I had high hopes for this one. I felt somewhat let down, though. The movie thought it was smarter than it really was.
29. Escape From Planet Earth.
30. Side Effects.
31. A Good Day to Die Hard.
32. World War Z.
33. Mister Scrooge to See You.
34. Jack the Giant Slayer.
35. Iron Man: Rise of Technovore.
36. The Purge. Intriguing idea – a world where all crime is legal for 12 hours a year – but the film is handled poorly, set up on a soapbox, has a horribly predictable ending and is so heavy-handed it’s impossible to enjoy as a thriller.
37. The Host. The only thing I have to say about this Stephanie Meyer adaptation is that I initially mistyped it as The Hose, and I couldn’t help but think that would have been a more interesting movie.
38. Riddick.
39. Oblivion. I challenge anybody to explain the backstory and plot of this film in a way that does not invite a six-year-old child to point out how outrageously stupid the aliens are. I DARE YOU.
40. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
41. Sharknado. I know that this TV production was supposed to be bad, but I disagree with those who think it was both bad and fun. I just didn’t enjoy it.

What I Watched In… November 2013

In the interest of full disclosure (and to generate a little content here) I thought I’d present a regular tally of what movies I managed to see in the previous month. Some of them I’ve written about, most of them I haven’t. This list includes movies I saw for the first time, movies I’ve seen a thousand times, movies I saw in the theater, movies I watched at home, direct-to-DVD, made-for-TV and anything else that qualifies as a movie. Feel free to discuss or ask about any of them!

(Sharp-witted readers may notice the vast majority of these came in the last week, when school was out for Thanksgiving. The first few weeks of November were busy as hell for me. I’ve been trying to make up for lost time.)

1. Ender’s Game (2013), B+
2. Supersonic Man (1979), F; RiffTrax Riff, B+
3. Doctor Who (1996), B-
4. Thor: The Dark World (2013), B+
5. An Adventure in Space and Time (2013), A-
6. Necessary Evil: The Super-Villains of DC Comics (2013), B
7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), B+
8. The Wizard of Oz (1939), A
9. Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), C-
10. Side Effects (2013), B-
11. Europa Report (2013), B
12. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973), B+
13. The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978), F; RiffTrax Riff, B+
14. Garfield’s Thanksgiving  (1989), A-
15. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1948), B; RiffTrax Riff, B+
16. Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977), B; RiffTrax Riff, B
17. Get a Horse! (2013), A
18. Frozen (2013), A
19. Scrooge (1935), C+
20. The Polar Bears (2013), B-
21. A Christmas Carol (1954), B-
22. A Christmas Carol (1951), A-
23. Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962), B+
24. Rise of the Guardians (2012), B

Thanksgiving at the Hemsworth House

Liam Hemsworth

Liam Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth

CHRIS: Hey bro, Happy Thanksgiving!

LIAM: Chris! So good to see you! I know it’s been a while, I’ve been pretty busy, y’know… running around, doing press for Catching Fire… it’s been a hectic month.

CHRIS: Hey, no need to apologize. I’ve been doing my rounds too, pressing the flesh for Thor: The Dark World.

LIAM: Man, the fans can be crazy, can’t they?

CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. Here, have some mashed potatoes.

LIAM: Thanks. (Eats.) So… how’s ol’ Thor doing?

CHRIS: Good, good. We just hit $171 million domestically. That ain’t nothing to sneeze at.

LIAM: No, noooooo…. And, um… how many weeks have you been out?

CHRIS: (Unintelligible mumbling.)

LIAM: What was that?

CHRIS: …three.

LIAM: Oh. Oh, well, that’s… that’s fine, you know. Nothing wrong with that. Cranberry sauce?

CHRIS: Of course. (Slurps.) So… Catching Fire?

LIAM: Well, since you asked, we just topped $200 million in our first week. Best November opening of all time and all that.

CHRIS: Hey, that’s great.

LIAM: And… oh gee, I’m sorry. Looks like that knocks Thor: The Dark World down to tenth.

CHRIS: What?

LIAM: Yeah, all the other spots are Harry Potter, Twilight and James Bond*. Sorry, bro.

CHRIS: Well, that’s all right. I mean, you’ve got to work it all in, since you’ve only got two movies left in the franchise. Thor, y’know, he could go on forever… Thor 3, Avengers 2 and 3… guest-spots in other Marvel movies… I could ride this train for the rest of my life.

LIAM: Until your hair starts falling out?

CHRIS: What?

LIAM: Nothing. Stuffing?

Catching FireJourney Into Mystery 83CHRIS: Don’t mind if I do. (Chews intently.) You know, it’s not really fair to compare here. I mean, you lucked your way into a franchise that’s got millions of books in print.

LIAM: True, it’s not like there’s any history behind Thor. I mean… the character has only starred in comic books since 1962. And, y’know, thousands of years of being worshipped as an actual mythological god. Not like anybody had a chance to find out about him.

CHRIS: At least I’m the star of my movie. People only go to your movie to see Jennifer Lawrence!

LIAM: People only go to your movie to see Tom Hiddleston.

CHRIS: Okay, that’s it. I’m taking this drumstick and going all Mjolnir on you!

LIAM: Sure you can pick it up? Your Box Office receipts don’t exactly look “worthy” if you know what I mean.

CHRIS: HAVE AT THEE, KNA–wait, hold on a second.

LIAM: What?

CHRIS: Why are we even celebrating Thanksgiving? We’re Australian.

LIAM: Oh. That’s right. I forgot.

CHRIS: Sorry, mate.

LIAM: No worries. Pass the Vegemite.

CHRIS: Didgeridoo a wallaby and all that.

LIAM: The guy writing this doesn’t know anything about Australian culture, does he?

CHRIS: Nope. (Kills 15 deadly spiders, snakes, and a koala bear.)

LIAM AND CHRIS: Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

*Source: Box Office Mojo.

All New Showcase Reviews Thor: The Dark World

Thor-The Dark WorldAnother bit of audio goodness for you guys, as I got together with my podcast crew last night and talked about Thor: The Dark World.

And what’s cool this week? Jason is enjoying season two of Revolution, while a jury duty-bound Blake hasn’t had time for anything but the six-minute short “The Night of the Doctor,” the prequel to next week’s Doctor Who 50th anniversary special.

All New Showcase at the Movies Episode 38: Thor-The Dark World

The 2013 Holiday Movie Preview

Twice a year my podcast, the All New Showcase, devotes an episode to movie previews. This week, my fiance Erin and I look ahead at all of the big releases coming out in the months of November and December — which ones we’re excited by, which ones we’re passing on, and which ones look utterly ridiculous. If’n you’re so inclined, give it a listen.

All New Showcase #296: The 2013 Holiday Movie Preview