First – Our Review Criteria

Is it safe?

— Marathon Man (1976)

We – Todd & Kara – use Letterboxd (TJSNK = the initials of each member’s name in our family) to keep track of the movies watched and provide short reviews with ratings. Star ratings are assigned based how entertaining the movies are: with anything 3-star and above being RECOMMENDED.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Love it, Must See
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Amazing
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Great
⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Good
⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Entertaining
——– anything rated below is NOT recommended ——-
⭐️⭐️½ – OK
⭐️⭐️ – Mediocre
⭐️½ – Bad
⭐️ – Terrible
½ – Unwatchable

Weekly Schedule – average 3 posts per day
Monday – Sunday – Streaming reviews, news and movie & TV discussion
Wednesday – All wide opening films in theaters are profiled (examples)
Thursday – Sunday – Opening films are watched, rated and reviewed (text reviews posted to Letterboxd, and video reviews to YouTube channel)
Friday – FIRST LOOK Fridays profile movies coming to theaters (details)
Sunday – no later than Sunday night, NOW PLAYING REVIEWS (examples)

Monthly Schedule – Interactive, you can join … viewing challenges
CURRENT: Watch 30+ Action/Thriller/Suspense movies from Mar 1 – May 31, 2020
LAST: Watch 14+ Romance Movies for February 2020 Viewing Challenge

Todd Russell is the author of all reviews and watches all movies. Some movies are reviewed with another TJSNK family member.

These are our (mostly his) opinion only and don’t expect everybody else on the internet to agree (or disagree), but love to discuss more about movies and TV.

Todd started this blog to explore from a fan’s perspective the theater-watching experience, movies, movie lists and other features that Letterboxd doesn’t (yet?) make available (why can’t we blog through there?). Also to explore the Regal Unlimited Plan (member since August 2019), streaming video channels and TV without cable. Subscribe below to get notified when new posts are made.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #29 of 2020 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Peacock, Netflix, HBO Max, Shudder, DC Universe

Available on VOD as of June 30 to rent or own

Weekend #29 of 53 (7/17 – 7/19/2020) for 2020 Picks By Streaming Service

Movie-wise, this is a pretty quiet weekend for new releases, unless we’re talking about Peacock, which has opened up a library of movies — some certified classics (like Psycho) — to the world at large.

Peacock is what I’m going to be spending at least some time watching several of their Peacock Originals. Have already watched a couple of the originals. Leading my interest as of this writing is Dale Earnhardt Jr. visiting a bunch of old racetracks (Lost Speedways). I’m always fascinated with how nature grows up through man-made structures. Even 10 years without upkeep can make something look ancient.

KEY
*Title with asterisk – newly released
Title is linked and has star rating – already watched, rated and reviewed
Title bolded – on our schedule to watch/rewatch, rate and review (or in progress)

NOTE: If you’re coming to these posts weeks or months later, some and/or all of the picks listed below may no longer be on the streaming services indicated. Anything marked as “Original” typically doesn’t expire on the streaming services.

PEACOCK Movies

  1. *Psych 2: Lassie Come Home

PEACOCK TV

  1. *Brave New World – 9 episodes
    Adaptation of Auldous Huxley Novel
  2. *The Capture – Season 1 – 6 episodes
    Thriller
  3. *Intelligence – Season 1 – 6 episodes
    Comedy
  4. *Lost Speedways – 8 episodes

NETFLIX Movies

  1. *Fatal Affair (2020)
  2. *MILF (2020)

NETFLIX TV

  1. *Cursed – Season 1 (July 17)
    Fantasy
  2. *The Last Dance – Limited Series ESPN
    Sports, NBA, Docuseries
  3. *Gigantosaurus
    Disney Junior series on dinosaurs

HBO Max Movies

  1. *Harriet ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (July 18)

HBO Max TV

  1. *I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – episode 4
    Crime, Golden State Killer – Original Miniseries
  2. *Doom Patrol – Season 2 – episodes 6 (also available on DC Universe)
  3. *Perry Mason – episode 5

SHUDDER Movies
https://www.shudder.com/

  1. *Lake of Death
  2. *Nina Forever (July 20)
  3. *The Pool (July 20)

DC Universe TV

  1. *Stargirl – Season 1, Episode 10: “Brainwave Jr.”

Peacock has, sort of, launched for everybody July 15

Are you excited about the Peacock launch today?

Yes? No? On the fence? I get it.

Guess I have mixed feelings.

We’ve had it through Flex (a little streaming box for Xfinity customers that offers access to various streaming channels including Peacock) for 90 days as Xfinity Internet customers, but they did release some new content that wasn’t previously available today.

I’ve watched it less than every other streaming channel we have, including Roku’s free channel. It has really rotated out movie licenses since the launch — in a big way. They had Jurassic Park, then it was gone, now it’s back. This shouldn’t be that surprising, as licenses rotate in and out, but their library seems to have been under frequent changes since the “soft” launch, if you will, I guess as they are trying to settle in on what the magical launch library of movies and TV shows should be.

Alas, there are TV shows I wish they had decided to offer (Las Vegas for one). They do have a pretty decent selection, especially if you’re an Alfred Hitchcock and Abbott & Costello fan. Many Hitchcock movies are available to watch.

So, I’m curious what new stuff they’re adding. What changes they’ve made since launching for XFinity customers on April 15 (see my detailed coverage of that even here: The Quest for Xfinity Flex required for early Peacock Access – TV Shows and Movies A-Z List).

I’m not going to do a side-by-side comparison in this post, but will highlight the Peacock Originals they are promoting along with trailers, if/when they are available.

What’s up with the “TV” branding?

Did the marketing people think we wouldn’t be able to figure out Peacock by itself was a TV streaming service? Maybe they are right.

In the beginning I was a bit confused with the whole “TV” part. In fact, I started out calling it Peacock TV rather than just Peacock. Maybe that name confusion is solely mine, but noticed today when I sought out the Google Play store app, it is branded as Peacock TV.

The official website is PeacockTV.com too. Who owns peacock.com? Well, NBC does, because it instantly redirects to PeacockTV.com. I don’t get why they didn’t just use Peacock.com? This is a minor quip on my part, but from a technology standpoint, this type of branding can be confusing. Luckily, they own both domains so whichever you type into your browser you’re going to end up at the right place.

They didn’t have the app available on the Google Play store until this morning. Since some have reported issues finding the app (just search for “peacock” and it will come up as the top result), here is a link to the app in the Google Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.peacocktv.peacockandroid

Peacock Originals at Launch

There are some Peacock Original TV shows, one movie (Psych 2: Lassie Come Home) and one documentary at launch for those with the premium ($4.99/month) or the almost ad-free plan ($9.99). I believe Xfinity customers receive the $4.99/month plan as a free add-on. We’re not paying anything additional, and I see all these originals, but I’ve read that if you use the free service the originals aren’t available. If you are using the app and know differently, please let me know in the comments.

Peacock originals available at July 15, 2020 launch available to premium subscribers

Psych 2: Lassie Come Home – 1h, 28m – Comedy

The only Peacock original movie available. A sequel to a comedy made for TV movie and TV series. Didn’t see the first Psych: The Movie (this is available on Peacock, as well as the TV series all 8 seasons), so know nothing about this other than the trailer. I will give it a watch and see how it goes. I didn’t find anything in the trailer to be that funny, but comedy movie trailers don’t always work out. Maybe I’ll watch the first movie first, then perhaps a little bit of the TV series and then the sequel. Lots to dig into here for others like me who haven’t seen any of this. Any fans of this show reading? Tell me what you like about this show in the comments (no spoilers, please).

In Deep With Ryan Lochte – 1 h 3m – Documentary

Covers swimmer Ryan Lochte’s scandal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and his goal to get back to the Olympics.

Dreams Live On: Countdown To Tokyo – 57m

Since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed thanks to You Know What, this documentary covers the athletes waiting for their chance to win the gold. The Olympics live coverage was set to coincide originally with the launch of Peacock so this delay impacts the live programming side of the streaming service. Not so much for me, because I haven’t been that interested in the Olympics for years. I do follow some of the Olympics sports, but it’s pretty far afield from what we cover at this website.

Kamone – 23m – Documentary

Blink and this short documentary will pass, but it was interesting (yes, already watched it). Crescent City, California and Rikuzentakata involving an earthquake and the ocean that separates two towns by the ocean. Footage of a 30-foot high tsunami bearing in on a helpless city killing 18,000 people. 1 tree out of 70,000 survived which is a miracle in and of itself and a boat turns up two years later an ocean away. Interesting little documentary.

Brave New World – 9 episodes – available to binge all episodes. It will be one of my Thursday picks. It’s based on the Aldous Huxley novel of the same name. Episode run times are from 40-56 min.

The Capture – Season 1 – 6 episodes – available to binge all episodes. A thriller with episode run times from 56 minutes to an hour in length. This looks pretty good, I’m going to check it out.

Intelligence – Season 1 – 6 episodes. Binge all episodes. Run time per episode is 21-22 minutes. David Schwimmer (Ross from Friends) stars.

Lost Speedways – Season 1- All 8 episodes available to binge. Episodes average 24-28 minutes. Dale Earnhardt Jr. visits historic race courses abandoned and/or no longer in service. An interesting idea and probably make for a good set backdrops for a movie.

There are multiple children shows listed as Peacock Originals including: Curious George (multiple seasons), Where’s Waldo? and Cleopatra in Space (1 season). Probably Waldo interests me the most there.

Have you checked out Peacock yet?

Looking over the app it’s getting rating bombed as of this writing. See the picture at the top. Seems like it has some technical issues. I guess the only reason I might want to use the app would be to include as another Chromecast option, but I prefer using the Flex box. I’m not sure what login to use either (my Xfinity account login?).

Ultimately, I hope they sort this out with Roku and show up there, because I find a bit unwieldy have three different streaming boxes, more if you count the PS4 and Xbox. Change TV inputs just to watch Peacock? I need one of those devices you can talk to that auto switches all of this with my voice (so I can say, “I want to watch Yellowstone on Peacock” and the input is switched and Yellowstone is auto-loaded).

What do you think of Peacock? Are any of the Peacock Originals drawing your interest?

FIRST LOOK: Star Trek: Lower Decks (Animated TV Series) Season 1 – CBS All Access

Have always been a fan of the original Star Trek animated series (1973) and curious how a new animated series will fare.

It sounds like it’s potentially going more adult-oriented, much more into comedy and less optimistic, but that doesn’t necessarily deter my interest. If they were going to do a serious animated Star Trek like the first one, then they would have needed to get actual Star Trek actor and actresses back. The Next Generation crew is all still alive, so that’s certainly a possibility down the road.

But this one doesn’t appear very serious. It’s highlighting those lesser known Trek crewmates. The unsung workforce that’s not part of the bridge crew.

The fact it’s partly coming from the team behind Star Trek: Picard makes me nervous (see: Done Watching and Reviewing Star Trek: Picard).

But, hey, I like the idea and concept. I liked Picard as well, too. Ah, so conflicted.

Will give just about any movie or TV show a first watch. Doesn’t mean I’ll stay, want to review, etc, but I’ll at least turn it on for as much of the first episode holds my interest.

Developed by Emmy-winner Mike McMahan (Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites), Star Trek: Lower Decks focuses on the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the U.S.S. Cerritos, in 2380. Ensigns Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford and Tendi have to keep up with their duties and their social lives, often while the ship is being rocked by a multitude of sci-fi anomalies.

BREAKING: First Trailer For ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Reveals Franchise’s First Animated Comedy – TrekMovie.com

I enjoyed the first couple episodes of season one of Rick and Morty, currently available on HBO Max, so excited to see Mike McMahan involved.

Here’s the official trailer:

The trailer shows a very whimsical style Star Trek, once which we’re not familiar with, but having just enjoyed (a lot) the adult Harley Quinn animated TV series, I’m hoping this Trek goes more edgy in the name of comedy.

Sure, it’s a departure from the dramatic Trek we know and love, but if you’re going to be different and doing an animated comedy, then don’t hold back, go for it. If they end up only going halfway then it’s going to be a tough road ahead.

Are you interested in Star Trek: Lower Decks? Will you be watching?

Star Trek: Lower Decks first episode of season 1 (total of 10 episodes are planned) will debut Thursday, August 6, 2020 on CBS All Access, with new episodes offered weekly beyond.

Greyhound somewhat predictably sets record for AppleTV+ for biggest weekend ever to date

Greyhound ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kudos to Tom Hank and company for breaking the top weekend debut record at AppleTV+.

Apple’s WWII drama Greyhound, starring and written by Tom Hanks, has become the largest opening-weekend release ever for Apple TV+, including series that have bowed on the service, sources close to Apple tell Deadline. The streamer is loathe in giving up exact numbers, but I’m told the film turned in a viewing audience commensurate with a summer theatrical box office big hit,

Tom Hanks-Starrer Greyhound Torpedoes Apple TV+ Opening Weekend Record – Deadline

I don’t mean to dismiss this record setting event in any way, but really, what has been the competition at AppleTV+? There’s been the Amazing Stories reboot, which hasn’t generated that much excitement. I’ve heard a little bit of fanfare over the Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon TV series The Morning Show. There have been no other big movies or TV shows I’m aware of on this film’s level.

This will bolster Apple’s desire to buy more exclusive films. That’s a win for AppleTV+ subscribers. Good job all around!

Why not put the deal terms with Roku and Amazon Fire out there for everybody to see, HBO Max and Peacock?

Think about it. Maybe the “fire” in this Amazon and Roku deal can be put out by customers?

This is 2020, not 1960. Technology exists to share info with the masses quickly, easily and gain feedback: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a company blog post, etc.

We live in a social time where just about everything seems to find its way online. Why not release the deal terms being discussed “behind the scenes” that are impacting us — customers — so we can see who is being “reasonable” and who is being “greedy.”

I think given the amount of time behind the scenes that a deal between HBO Max, Peacock and Amazon (Fire) and Roku hasn’t been made suggests a more radical solution.

Transparency.

The standoffs, of course, revolve around money. More than that, the distribution disputes are about long-term strategic access to rapidly growing streaming-first audiences, as well as advertising inventory. One media company exec says Roku and Amazon are asking for “egregious” terms. On the other side, an insider at one of the over-the-top platform providers says they’re simply looking for “a reasonable share” of the value they create for partners — and adds that companies like WarnerMedia and NBCU are coming to the table with an “old TV mindset.”

HBO Max, Peacock Are in Standoff With Roku and Amazon Fire TV – Variety

Is it too much to ask for transparency in this day and age from the companies we do business with? So many times we’re like pawns on the chessboard while the real chess masters play their game behind some gigantic curtain.

I’ve written several posts about how this is stupid and hurting us, customers, at a time when neither side should want that:

(Site navigation tip: just use the search for “Roku” is how to quickly pull up these past posts)

If Roku and Amazon are asking for a reasonable deal and it’s HBO Max and/or Peacock that’s being greedy don’t subscribers have a right to decide if they want to support that?

I’m tired of companies claiming something without showing us any facts. Put up or shut up. Put the deal out there so we can see who’s being reasonable and who’s not.

You never know, maybe some of your customers can help you get over this impasse? Both sides digging in and not budging isn’t going to reach some compromise.

What do you think? Would you like to see the deal terms so that you can judge for yourself who’s responsible for not making this go through? How long should we all wait in the dark while they “work this deal out in private”? Sorry to be impatient, but sometimes you get things done when you try something different. Whatever both sides are doing doesn’t seem to be working.

Amazon great at selling “stuff” but has terrible streaming service user interface

Shortly after SXSW 2020 Amazon redirected the page to Ike’s dog page (see: Afterthoughts on SXSW 2020, er, Going To The Dogs)

Amen on the following article from Techradar.com.

The main problem with Amazon Prime Video is that it was so clearly developed as an offshoot of the main Amazon Prime retail website, rather than a TV platform in its own right.

Everything wrong with Amazon Prime Video | TechRadar

We watched more movies on Amazon Prime in 2019 than any other streaming service. In 2020, Netflix is leading. HBO Max could soon roll into the #2 spot in 2021 (maybe not enough time since they didn’t launch until May 2020), as they have a lot of great movies we want to watch/rewatch but we must switch from Roku on the TV to Chromecast input (argh!).

Netflix has one of the best UI (User Interface). It’s not quite as good as Roku, but it’s very close. I love what they’ve done with the “What’s Hot” section making it easy for me to see what is coming soon, what has newly been added and what’s most popular via their daily Top 10 list.

My favorite categories at any streaming service are “currently watching”, “coming soon”, “recently added” and “leaving soon.” These are the primary streaming channel staples. Tell me what’s coming, what’s been added and what I have limited time left to watch before it’s rotated out.

Some of these streaming services are good about highlighting this information and others make you dig for it. To varying degrees.

Perhaps Amazon’s biggest problems is they try and blend way too much information into the interface. We don’t need to see, by default, movies and TV shows on VOD and on premium channels mixed with “included with Prime Video” titles. Yes, there is a way to filter and show only those titles. Also, when you click to view more in a category it looks just like the rest of Amazon … that you’re about to buy a physical product (sometimes you actually are).

That’s what Amazon ultimately wants us to do: buy more stuff. Buy it, so they can ship it.

What are your favorite sections?

Apple TV+ outbids six others for graphic novel adaptation, Snow Blind

Apple has plenty of money to throw around, which has puzzled me a bit why their AppleTV+ service doesn’t include more content.

We shouldn’t worry, they are working on it.

They seem to be going the path of current day Netflix: focus on originals and exclusives. This could mean Apple will be active at film festivals and perusing the bestseller lists for books to option for films.

Recently they nabbed Tom Hanks’ film, Greyhound, originally planned for theater release and ultimately becoming an AppleTV+ exclusive (see: )

One of their newest successful acquisitions pitted them in a bidding war for the graphic novel “Snow Blind” by Ollie Masters from BOOM! studios — and they came out on top.

The acquisition of the film by Apple Studios is based on a graphic novel by Ollie Masters and Tyler Jenkins. “Snow Blind” tells the story of a boy in Alaska who discovers their family is in the Witness Protection Program, who then must contend with a person seeking revenge and an influx of FBI agents into their lives.

Apple TV+ picks up rights to thriller ‘Snow Blind’ in six-way bidding war | Appleinsider

No idea how much was paid, but the article mentions Apple did pay $100 million for the Will Smith film, Emancipation, which set a record in the industry for the highest purchase from a film festival.

Say that again, $100 million. Joining the $100+ million budget club (see: $100+ Million Movie Budgets Are Stupid) just to purchase the film for distribution. That’s the kind of dough Apple can pull out of its change purse. Amazon has that kind of loose change as well, but they presumably are going it a little more fiscally responsible. Just a guess here, because the article doesn’t state the other five bidders.

If we are to guess who those bidders might have been: Netflix, Amazon, Disney/Hulu, HBO Max, Peacock or CBS. Don’t think I’m missing anybody with a streaming channel at the table with a hunger for new and/or exclusive content.

Apple has also recently licensed some some children’s content.

Apple TV+ has partnered with The Maurice Sendak Foundation for rights to create children’s shows based on Sendak’s children’s stories and illustrations like Where The Wild Things Are. With this multi-year deal, Apple TV+ will be able to reimagine the author’s works into new children’s content exclusively for the streaming service.

Apple TV+ Signs Multi-Year Deal with The Maurice Sendak Foundation for Children’s Content

This is a great time for writer-director-actors.

22+ Greyhound Reviews – Tense, Terse WWII Naval Combat, Tom Hanks Shines

Greyhound ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s a steal being able to watch Greyhound for $4.99 or a free week trial, if eligible, for AppleTV+.

Hanks adapted Greyhound from the 1955 C.S. Forester novel The Good Shepherd, which is set during the Battle of the Atlantic. The book tells a fictional story about a WWII captain, George Krause, who is leading his first war convoy later in his life. This leads him to have doubts about whether he’s fit for the job since those around him are younger but have more war experience.

What Is Real & Imagined In America’s Dad’s Latest WWII Movie Greyhound?

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Simplistic WWII Tale similar in purpose to 1917

When the Oscar-winning 1917 starts, we follow behind the camera of two soldiers with a mission to deliver orders across enemy lines. In a very similar fashion, Greyhound starts with Hanks’ character Captain Krause eating breakfast and taking command of the protector ship for a convoy heading through a zone without any air cover. Along with his crew, they must execute at a fever pace, reacting to German U-boat sightings, with the concerns being ammunition level, avoiding torpedos and trying to ignore taunting from the Grey Wolf, a U-Boat with a commanding officer that tells them repeatedly they are going to die.

The emotion of 1917 is very similar in that I was fearful for the soldiers and in this case worried that the good ship Greyhound would become torpedoed and sunk. Would they make it to air cover before running out of ammunition?

There is no time for Captain Krause to even eat, as we are reminded multiple times. No time for sleep, no time for doing anything but focusing on protecting the fleet. Getting across and into friendly waters where air cover exists.

For those who are looking for more plot or story than that, there really isn’t any. There is characterization, but it’s not done with exposition, it’s done with facial expressions, character actions and all the ways good films and acting performances.

What Good Guy Character Can’t Tom Hanks Do?

After seeing Tom Hanks here, I’m beginning to think there is no good guy character Tom Hanks can’t play. It would be interesting to see him writing himself into a really bad, bad guy role. Could he pull that off? I think he might be typecast at a perennial good guy. Just Hanks showing up on screen and you feel for the guy. That makes films with him starring like this one stand out.

Reviews by Others

What do others think about Greyhound?

Recommended

  1. tensecondsfromnow / film-authority.com: “Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk aside, WWII has been something of a cinematic dead-end of late, with film-makers too keen to view the past through the prism of today’s issues. Focusing on deep blue heroics, Hanks earns his chops as a writer, but also reminds audiences worldwide that America once led the free world.”
  2. After Misery: “…it’s a dad movie. Last year we got something similar in ‘Midway’ and even if I usually avoid comparing movies within reviews, now there’s a good reason for it. Greyhound isn’t getting torpedoed by a lengthy runtime or messy editing like Midway, in fact the solid editing keeps the sea battles tense and interesting. Splashy visual effects are used here more carefully and cinematography is using a lot less to deliver more”
  3. Andy Meek / BGR: “For much of it, you experience the fog of war right alongside the commanding officer — with an additional obstacle being that we don’t always understand what the orders that have been barked out mean, since we’re not fluent in Navy-speak. But that only adds to the verisimilitude”
  4. badblokebob (4/5): “This isn’t some stately drama about men at sea who are occasionally forced to take potshots at an unseen enemy, but an action movie; only instead of men clashing with kung fu or guns, its boats and subs fighting with torpedos and, um, trigonometry. The result is tight, tense, and thrilling.”
  5. Cinema Trace: “It’s focus is the action and skill it took to avoid being hit, and one excruciating moment when the Greyhound is put as a target of two triangulated torpedoes, shows the inevitability of warfare and the near impossibility of maneuvering the floating tonnage of a war ship on the rough open waters of the Atlantic. Whether or not they are successful, you’ll have to see the film. It’s spectacular.”
  6. Darren / The M0vie Blog: “The movie runs a brisk ninety-one minutes, which makes it surprisingly lean as summer blockbusters go. That brevity helps to underscore the movie’s core strengths. It is a movie that relies on adrenaline and tension, and maintaining those sensations for longer than an hour-and-a-half is a big ask for even the most skilled filmmakers. Instead, Greyhound gets in, gets out and gets the job done.”
  7. Doc / EYG / Embrace Your Geekness: “If you are a fan of war movies, Greyhound is an effective story that is a quick and enjoyable watch.  Tom Hanks is great as always and the visuals are stunning.”
  8. Doug Jamieson / The Jam Report (3.5/5): “…it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel of war movies and there’s very little here we haven’t seen in countless other films. It’s a classic war film that showcases the anarchy of battle and the toll responsibility can take on those in charge. If the film stopped to take a breath and allow us to more intimately understand its key players, the end result may have been more compelling.”
  9. Keith / Keith & The Movies (4.5/5): “For a taut 90 minutes the film sticks to that focus, carrying its viewers across the enemy-infested North Atlantic and putting us into the heads of the men navigating it. It could have done more with its characters or built more of a backstory. But it’s the willingness to stick to its guns (no pun intended) that makes the movie such a thrilling war-time experience.”
  10. luisreviewer / World Of Entertainment: “Great film, really a tense film that I think keeps you interested and on the edge of your seat.”
  11. POPCORN ENTERTAINMENT REVIEWS: “The movie is fast-paced with no rest for the captain or the audience. This is not a character-driven movie or an in-depth analysis of the crew members. It’s non-stop torpedos, attempts to save ships being sunk, flying bullets, blasting battery cannons, and depth-charges blowing up U-boats. The seas are rough, the air is freezing cold, and the nights are dark and frightening.”
  12. Rob’s Movie Vault: “…a taut, exciting, no-nonsense war movie that weighs in, less the end credits, at one hour and twenty-three minutes. The film’s brevity is true to the virtues it respects: clear, coolheaded professionalism, all egos checked, a well-oiled machine of well-trained men getting the job done.”
  13. Sarah Cartland / Caution Spoilers: “…is a study in the on-the-spot mechanics of sea battle pretending to be an examination of character (it was interesting to watch it just after The Old Guard, a character study and love story pretending to be a fantasy about immortals).”
  14. The Interstellar Valley / jlambright: “Get it, watch it. Become part of this messed up experiment in keeping Hollywood afloat during these turbulent, fraught times.”
  15. tomburkhalter: “…don’t expect this story to tell you what is happening. It’s going to bloody well show you. My advice? Hang on and pay attention.”
  16. Vague Visages / Peter Bell: “The biggest factor that keeps Greyhound from being a genre standout is the predictable nature of Schneider’s direction and Shelly Johnson’s cinematography. The establishing shots are rather generic and better suited for a television series than a dramatic film.”

Not Recommended

  1. Cait Kennedy / But Why Tho? A Geek Community: “Overall, Greyhound is…fine. Its worst sin is being simply adequate. It neither impresses nor disappoints, but it certainly does not go beyond the bare minimum. As a streaming flick, it will blend seamlessly into the ranks of its kind but will likely be forgotten. Which really is a shame.”
  2. Darren Lucas / Movie Reviews 101: “Tom Hanks is strong enough in the leading role, but he never hits the full level of his abilities, with the supporting cast not putting a foot wrong, only they just don’t get to make an impact in anyway. This does end up feeling like one of the bigger disappointments in the year, being more average, rather than a spectacle it should have been.
  3. Den Of Geek / David Crow: “…has a listless quality that cannot seem to wrap its arms around the potential for white-knuckled dread. While there are a few standout moments, like the first time a U-Boat crosses beneath Krause’s ship, or when they hear the earliest taunts from U-Boat sadists over the radio seeking to psychologically torture their prey, in the main the film moves at a perfunctory pace that better resembles an unpleasant pleasure cruise.”
  4. Orca Flotta / Thar She Blows: “A procedural small scale production of a U-boat hunt without any character. Many cheaply made effects don’t necessarily have any effect on the audience. I guess Tom Hanks is lucky his film was snatched up by AppleTV+, it wouldn’t stand a chance in the theatre.”
  5. Rachel’s Reviews (6.5/10): “I realize some will want more character development and I can understand that. There are choices in Greyhound that pushed the simplistic approach even for me. For example, the radio dispatches from the wolfpack ships are as sniveling and sleazy as we’ve ever seen from an evil German in a movie. He sounds like he is practically a villain from an Indiana Jones movie for a second.”
  6. Simon / TV and City (Grade: C-): “The film isn’t without merit, including a good Tom Hanks performance and a decent supporting cast (though Elisabeth Shue is terribly underutilized), but they can’t elevate Greyhound from being painfully generic and insipid.”
  7. The Obsessive Viewer: “…like the dialogue, the action becomes too repetitive by the end to stand apart. There are only so many ways to depict attacking enemy submarines without getting stale. Regardless, I felt everything the film wanted me to feel: despair when something goes wrong, exhilaration when victory is achieved (the sweeping score by Blake Neely surely helped contribute).”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

Is watching a movie in a theater a “luxury”?

While reading news, articles and blog posts, a daily activity, I came across a thought-provoking comment on a Yahoo piece, which is pictured above as the the third comment by Arrownoir.

The first comment pictured above is also interesting. The fourth comment by Michelle sort of echoes some polling that some (many?) will be afraid of movie theaters when they reopen. This is another reason I’m less concerned about getting sick at the movie theater. The fewer the people who go, the safer they will be. We tried to stay away from crowds at the theater even before there was a pandemic. It’s like eating at a restaurant that just had a food outbreak, trust me that after they reopen they are way safer than they probably ever had been. When movie theaters first reopen, assuming there aren’t a rush of moviegoers going, they will be about as safe as they ever can and will be in the current environment.

But back to the comment in question.

The commenter considers movies to be a “luxury.” While considering that question for a moment, let’s look at the article itself which deals with the almost Russian Roulette nature of movies moving around on the calendar and what will lead to the best box office performance.

Yet even with the understanding that the calendar could be as tentative as plans for leading film festivals and awards shows, there are still a number of oddities that otherwise would make studio CEOs question the sanity of their distribution and marketing teams.

Studios May Try but Certain Release Schedule Rules Can’t Be Broken

All statistics and data need to be thrown out in these current times. There are just too many unknowns to predict what moviegoers will or won’t do when theaters finally do reopen. Even though they are set to open at the end of July, I’d say it’s at best a coin flip if they won’t push back opening even further.

I don’t want them to do that (unless it is unsafe, of course), but the reality is the virus numbers are returning en masse, people are fighting against wearing masks and other social distancing policies and, no surprise, more people are getting sick. This is leading to some local and state governments rolling back their phased reopening plans to March and April rules.

This directly impacts the likelihood of movie theaters reopening. We’re only 19 days away as of this writing, but again, I’m not sure the big three chains will open as planned at the end of the July.

Not even sure if they should.

The National Theater Association (NATO is their acronym) is taking their complaint to court in New Jersey that if churches can open movie theaters — presumably the House of Cinematic Holy — should be able to do so as well.

“By this Complaint, Plaintiffs challenge Defendants’ unconstitutional and unlawful distinctions in allowing certain places of public assembly to reopen, while requiring movie theatres to remain closed,” states a complaint being led by the National Association of Theatre Owners of New Jersey. “COVID-19 represents a serious public health risk, and Plaintiffs support fair and reasonable actions by the government to address that risk. However, the government-mandated total closure of movie theatres is neither fair nor reasonable, and is instead a violation of Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, Equal Protection of the laws, Due Process under the law, and is a Taking of property without just compensation.”

Movie Theater Giants Sue New Jersey Over “Unconstitutional” COVID-19 Closures

Not going to touch comparing assembling for religious purposes vs. attending a movie in a theater for entertainment purposes, lest lightning strikes me during the next thunderstorm.

If the theaters can’t reopen in some areas, or perhaps most areas, it would mean that the big three theater chains would push back reopening yet again. This would follow another round of movie date delays with the two leading titles, Tenet and Mulan being delayed again to, who knows when next. The domino effect.

So, when we consider this with the comment mentioned at the start of this post, watching movies in theaters does appear to be a luxury. The commenter did qualify with “people are preoccupied with important stuff right now.”

That “important stuff” could be working in these trying times, or trying to get back to work, or being sick and/or otherwise unable to work. The unemployment rate a year ago was around 3.5%, the last month’s numbers were at 11%+. Down from a high of almost 14% but still, not good. Not good at all.

Yes, watching movies in theaters is a luxury under these conditions. If we didn’t have these times and people weren’t still getting sick in record numbers, I’d push back against this comment. Now, I’m just wanting to see these numbers go back down again. If opening theaters makes this any worse, then they should remain closed. I’ve been in favor of theaters opening when it is safe to do so since the beginning. It just doesn’t seem “safe” right now.

Will it be any different in 19 days? I don’t know.

Last thought. Readers might recall me saying I’ve been torn on how casinos can be any safer than movie theaters. They can’t and aren’t. If one is open should the other be? No. Nevada just closed bars in casinos, because that will improve the social distancing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of cases increase that they don’t shut that down too.

We might be looking at Fall or Winter 2020 before movie theaters get reopened and back to any sort of sense of normalcy. Maybe even it won’t be until 2021 and beyond. Nevermind movies in theater, life being normal as it was before the pandemic seems like a luxury right now.

TV SERIES Review: Stargirl S1E9 – Brainwave ⭐️½

Season 1
DC Universe / CW
July 12, 2020 @ 9:00pm PT (GMT-8)

Episode 9 – Brainwave

Every Sunday night on the west coast in the United States at 9pm PT, a new episode of Stargirl!

Opens with Brainwave origin flashback. Brainwave Jr. locates and watches a videotape from his father explaining how he experimented on his own cerebral cortex and developed powers.

Courtney wants to invite Henry (Brainwave Jr.) to help them identify those in the Injustice Society. Pat isn’t sure about the idea. He goes into more exposition about Injustice League members including Dr. Ito, AKA Dragon King.

Cut to the janitor mopping in school imagining his mop handle as Stargirl’s staff. Then to Beth (Dr. Midnite) seeing that Cindy/Shiv has transferred out of Blue Valley High to study overseas. Beth isn’t buying it. In reality, Shiv is being locked in a dungeon underground.

Do we actually see Stargirl in this episode of Stargirl? To tell you would be a spoiler …

Will Henry agree to help the Justice Society or stay aligned with the other side? Will Brainwave Jr. use his powers for good or evil? Can Brainwave Jr. speak to Brainwave in a coma? Are his powers strong enough? Will Brainwave ever wake up from a coma or will Brainwave Jr. need to take his place in the Injustice Society?

Tune into find out the answers to these questions.

Summary

Another origin episode that focuses almost entirely on backstory and setup. Again, this is good for fleshing out characters, but not as interesting for an action-oriented superhero film. We want to see fighting, battles and some sort of conflict between good and evil. In the shows like The Incredible Hulk, it’s the equivalent of never seeing David Banner turn into The Hulk. Every episode, we got to see that at least one time, usually twice. It was formulaic but done for a reason: to show us the Hulk in action — what we were waiting to see.

Stargirl doesn’t follow this convention in episode. Those who find this lack of delivering the on screen goods consistently every episode will like episodes like this one. Me? I find them to be teases without payoffs. I’m guessing in the next episode which is titled “Brainwave Jr.” we’ll see Henry/Brainwave Jr. use his powers against Stargirl and Justice League. Or .. maybe we won’t. Season 1 continues to be mostly about origin and backstory for all the characters, setting up a final battle to end the first season just like episode 1 started with an epic battle.

This is my least favorite episode of season 1 so far. It literally put me to sleep — twice — in the last 15 minutes, which in any film should be the best part!

In fairness, the last few minutes do finally deliver some plot twists and turns, but by then it’s pretty much too late to redeem the other very slow 35+ minutes watched. It’s almost like the writers realized, hey, we better do something and then jammed in a few “oohs and ahhs” to setup next week’s episode. I don’t appreciate that type of lazy and uninspired storytelling, but maybe others will.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️½