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)
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.
By now, hopefully you’ve seen this Netflix documentary. If you haven’t, my apologies for the headline spoiler. I’ve wanted to talk more in depth about this excellent documentary for awhile, but it’s one of those cases where any real depth in the subject matter is a spoiler.
So, here we go.
I’ve continued to follow this story for several months now with fascination. It’s the kind of haunting true crime story that just stays with me. It’s easily been among the most horrific movie I’ve seen in 2020. When you can’t forget about it, when it makes you literally shiver, that’s the definition of riveting horror.
And yet it’s what I’d call curveball horror. It’s not presented in a horrific or dramatic way. It’s like watching somebody’s Facebook videos and an episode of COPS with body cam footage.
Real horror. It’s the stuff that you just can’t wrap any sane mind around. For me, that’s among the most frightening.
And since it ended, I keep seeing stories about Chris Watts. Most of them aren’t very newsworthy, like him getting admonished for inmate violations in prison or his former mistress legally changing her name.
Today I learned about the life insurance policy proceeds on Shanann and the two grandchildren.
Sadly, the two families, Chris Watts’ parents and Shanann’s parents are in court fighting over $450,000 life insurance that Chris had purchased on his family.
Chris Watts took out a $450,000 insurance policy on his wife Shanann Watts and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, prior to their deaths. That policy paid out in full in the wake of their murders, with just one problem — both both Shannann’s parents and Chris’ parents said that the money belonged to them
Obviously, the murderer cannot benefit, so he has no claim to the monies, but how can the grandparents of those slain children want a penny of any monies associated with the murderer? Pay off the estate debts (er, probate) and whatever is left give the money to some charity for the protection of children.
Maybe that’s what one side intends to do with the money, the story doesn’t say. I’m finding it hard to believe how some disputes ever end up in courts. You’d think both families could come together for the loss they both shared, yes/no? Instead, it seems blame must be assigned. The monster to blame is behind bars for the rest of his life.
For a moment, or at least for the duration of this post, can we agree that whatever an actor says or does off screen, out of character, has very little to do with what happens in our favorite movies and TV shows?
Let’s face it, people say and do stupid things online, offline and everywhere in between. These days, word travels much faster on social media. Sometimes they mean the idiotic things said, sometimes they don’t, but stupid is what stupid does.
The bigger question at hand: should an actor lose his/her job because they say or do something stupid online? Those pedaling and pushing the #FireGinaCarino tag action say YES. If that’s the case, then Gal Gadot when she created that awful Imagine cover (see: Wonder Woman Gal Gadot’s Imagine Instagram Karaoke is disliked, imagine that?), should have been fired from WW1984. Or maybe because she — gasp — smoked cigarettes (almost everybody did once upon a time), her acting card should be revoked?
(relax, I’m joking)
Sigh. Gina Carano.
Gina Carano plays Cara Dune in The Mandalorian and apparently she’s said some things on her social media that have raised the ire of diehard Star Wars fans. I keep seeing these stories popping up in feeds and people are really passionate to see her gone from the series.
So offended, apparently, that some are calling for her to be fired from The Mandalorian.
Many fans have been calling for the firing of The Mandalorian’s Gina Carano over recent months, considering her controversial takes, likes, and retweets on Twitter. Recently, the actress who plays Cara Dune has made several anti-mask comments, as well as questioned the results of the recent presidential election. This is in addition to her past actions on the social media site that have come off as anti-Black Lives Matter, and mocking LGBTQ+ communities. With Carano showing no sign of stopping, Disney might be looking to get rid of the actress.
Can we just make a pact, fellow netizens, not to join gangs trying to expel actors in movies for saying or doing something stupid on social media? I mean, really, does it matter what idiotic statement Gina Carano posts on her Twitter feed about any group, cause or people? Since when is what she says the gospel? How does any of that equate to her job as Cara Dune in The Mandalorian?
Or maybe it does. Maybe I missed where she’s trying to use her role in The Mandalorian to espouse these wrongheaded views? If that is what’s happening, I’d side with firing her, but that’s not it, is it? When the agendas overflow into the creative work, then it does matter, but something tells me the character Cara Dune has zero creative input by Gina Carano’s Twitter stream. Jon Favreau isn’t consulting her feed before working on the next Mandalorian screenplay. Is Carano flavoring her portrayal based on controversial world views? Perhaps.
Just to be clear, totally not defending whatever stupid things she’s said, because I’m fairly certain they deserves pushback. Glass houses and all, but how many have said stupid things and regretted them at some point in their lives?
I’m not going to grab Carino’s tweets and dissect here, because that just draws more light on stupid, and nobody needs that.
Am growing tired of seeing the response for stupid words resulting in gang “fire this person!” mentality. We’re in troubled times with a lot of people losing work and is it really wise to band together and try to get anybody fired for their personal views? (think that’s like the third time in this post I’ve asked, but am legitimately curious)
More and more companies have HR social media policies and the wise probably should tone down the hot topic commentary or risk being unemployed. There are so many things people can focus negative energy on, but the most negative of energy is disinterest. If you hate what Gina Carano says or does, then don’t watch any of her work. Disinterest is the ultimate diss for every creative work.
There’s the problem. You can take the Star Wars out of the actors, but not from the fans.
Do you have Hulu? Enjoy anthology TV shows with a more technology focus like Black Mirror?
Narrated by Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill, this is Hulu anthology series is heavily inspired by The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits and more recently Black Mirror.
It was released in 2017 and hasn’t been renewed for a second season. I didn’t see anybody saying it was canceled either, which means maybe it will be back for another season(?).
The reviews that follow are all SPOILER-FREE, so if you want a little more detail about each episode, my rating and review, keep reading.
Episode 1 – “Matchmaker” Air date: April 4, 2017 Run time: 40 minutes
Adam, a lonely blogger (hey!) meets a date though a popular dating app. He falls in love a little too quickly and finds out things aren’t all that they seem — with the dating app, with his date and with himself.
2019 was the year for movies involving artificial intelligence (AI) on phones, dating and love mixed with technology, which this episode digs deep into. Make-A-Match.com is the site that is referenced as the dating app. I looked that site up and it’s a missed opportunity by the showrunners to redirect to Dimension 404 page on Hulu (at the least).
Episode 2 – “Cinethrax” Air date: April 4, 2017 Run time: ? minutes
Comedian Patton Oswalt plays Uncle Dusty taking his teenage niece Chloe (Sarah Hyland) to see a new 3D movie. He brings his own special glasses that turn 3D into 2D (huh? Why?). Guess he’s the ultimate geek old Uncle. Chloe’s friends meet her at the theater and she wants to sit with them instead of Dusty, so he takes the seat behind.
Things get weird when Dusty sees a black snake-like creature emerge from the screen, trying to reach him and suck his brain. He’s kicked out of the theater, only to realize Chloe is left in danger and wants to stay with her friends, unknowing the horror on screen that awaits.
Episode 3 – “Chronos” Air date: April 4, 2017 Run time: 43 minutes
A physicist grows up watching a superhero cartoon and suddenly one day she wakes up and the superhero is gone. He’s left the world, pulling a Last Action Hero and come into her world.
My least favorite episode, it just drags.
Episode 4 – “Polybius” Air date: April 11, 2017 Run time: 45 minutes
A new game appears in an arcade called Polybius and a young gamer wants to learn its secrets so he can write about and review it in a gaming magazine. Soon, he realizes the game is more sinister than it appears.
Episode 5 – “Bob” Air date: April 18, 2017 Run time: 42 minutes
A soldier psychologist is assigned by the NSA to counsel a supercomputer that is a gigantic brain with an eye and is named Bob. The computer is having a psychological malfunction causing it to be unable to track a criminal and the soldier is sent to counsel.
Something about a big sweaty brain is a bit comical. In a way this episode loosely reminds me of the classic Twilight Zone episode “From Agnes With Love” sans the romantic implications.
Episode 6 – “Impulse” Air date: April 25, 2017 Run time: 46 minutes
A special energy drink becomes inspiration for a First Person Shooter (FPS) gamer. It’s just the edge needed to get to that next level, slowing down time. The problem is the time and advantage gained is multiplied by the “snap” when the user comes back to reality and misses an amount of time based on how much was consumed.
The whole bounce back like a rubber band with time was used creatively. I liked how this ended. My favorite episode of the first (and only, seemingly) season.
Can see why this wasn’t renewed for a second season. Am wondering if maybe they split it into two anthology movies it would have been better served. If you’re a diehard fan of anthologies, like me, then it’s worth watching, but wouldn’t put it too high on the watch list. Instead, check out Upload ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ on Amazon or the aforementioned Black Mirror (see: TV REVIEW: Black Mirror Season 1 – All 3 Episodes Rated and Reviewed).
It’s kind of odd that Disney, the studio who made the most money on theatrical movie releases in 2019, has been among the least supportive of theaters during the pandemic. It seems like like they’ve almost given up on theaters altogether.
They don’t say that publicly of course, but their actions during 2020 tell a different story.
Deadline hears that the uncertainty of the future theatrical marketplace has Disney looking at launching a number of its upcoming tentpole family films on Disney+ instead of the theatrical release bows that were envisioned when the films were developed and green lit. At this point, the films being discussed to make that pivot are Cruella, the Craig Gillespie-directed live-action re-imaging of the animated classic that stars Emma Stone her Emma Thompson; the Robert Zemeckis-directed Pinocchio that has Tom Hanks starring; and Peter Pan and Wendy, the David Lowery-directed film that has Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi set to play Tinker Bell.
As a fan of new movies being available theatrically — if not day and date, then small exclusive theatrical window is OK too — Disney isn’t helping theaters.
This got me thinking if they should? Maybe their strategy is smarter than it appears. Focus on supporting Disney+ which has had the best first year streaming channel launch of any company. The reality is they are literally stacked with great IP, so having a quality streaming channel stocked with a strong archive is a given, what’s not as clear is what new is coming to the service to keep subscribers paying?
Sure, there’s The Mandalorian, but they can only produce 8 episodes or so of that every year. What do to they do with the other 44 weeks of the year? A movie meant for theatrical release once every month or two would solve that problem.
Seems expensive to me, as some of the budgets for these movies are very high. They probably will be reducing the budgets for planned straight to Disney+ movies.
But what if the theaters rebound? Disney’s strategy seems to be that they can just redirect titles produced for Disney+ back to the legacy model. Again, I’m not sure they aren’t playing this smart. Obviously theater owners aren’t going to think that way, but studios hold most of the cards. They have the content that movie theaters are starved for.
In addition to streaming on their new home Apple TV+, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas will air ad free on PBS and PBS Kids on Sunday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Dec. 13, respectively, at 7:30 pm local time/6:30 pm CT (check local listings).
Clearly we have soft spots for holiday specials. Not just Peanuts either. Something fun to put on when you’re not eating turkey and enjoying the family time. For those who aren’t getting together with family due to the You Know What there are always virtual watch parties.
Season 1 CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC) September 22, 1973 Run Time: 24:09
Episode 3 – “One Of Our Planets Is Missing”
The Enterprises encounters a red, noxious cloud ravenous for consuming entire planets. They race to protect the planet Mantilles from the cloud and are engulfed by the cloud. The cloud lives upon the energy of consumed planets. While inside, the Enterprise realizes it’s like the inside of a stomach and tries to navigate toward the opening before the planet’s inner digestive digestive tract breaks down the ship’s deflective shields.
With 20 minutes left, they must navigate out or all aboard killed.
Talk about alien body horror. There are two opposing dramas here. The Enterprise trapped inside the alien cloud, will it escape and the planet the cloud is heading toward.
Rewatching I’m reminded how Star Trek used to be. Creative, entertaining, thought provoking and exciting to watch. There wasn’t much like this in Picard or Lower Decks to be found, hence the reason I’m rewatching the past. Why can’t they get the Next Generation actors together and make an animated series like STNG? It worked for the original series, so why not Next Gen?
Hard to believe each episode cost $75,000. Yes, this was nearly 50 years ago, so in today’s dollars it would be more. They probably couldn’t get any of the voice actors to work for that today.
Spock saying of his mind meld with the alien cloud, “The wonders of the universe. Incredible. Simply incredible.”
This episode is excellent. It has everything that makes Star Trek cool. The only tiny takeaway is that the resolution was a bit overused in the original series when encountering alien beings. You’ll have to watch to see that resolution, however, because not spoiling here. Recommended.
When we saw the announcement that WarnerMedia chose to release Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously in the United States, we expected to see that the big theater chains would show it. They’d be crazy not to.
#1 AMC has confirmed as much within 24 hours of the announcement.
AMC Entertainment said in a statement attributed to president and CEO Adam Aron that it “will show this eagerly awaited movie on our big screens all across our global network.”
Regal #2 theaters are still closed all over the United States. Will they reopen in time for Wonder Woman? Unknown. We haven’t seen any quotes about how they will handle WW1984 in their theaters. They were strongly against day and date releases for streaming. They like the legacy theatrical window.
Cinemark #3 in most number of studios also hasn’t weighed in yet. Again, they would be foolish not to screen WW1984.
Either way, moviegoers will get to see this movie — if they want — before the end of 2020. In a year when new movies intended for theaters are rampantly being delayed or sold to streaming, this is a good thing.
Season 2 – Episode 4 of 8 Disney+ Air date: November 20, 2020 Run time: 38 minutes Directed by Carl Weathers
Chapter 12 – “The Siege”
The Razor Crest is badly in need of repair, especially after botched repair attempts in Frogland, so Mando tells The Child they will make a stop at Navaro. There, they meet up with old, friendly contacts: Marshal Cara Dune and Magistrate Greef Carga and Mando’s bounty in the first episode is unfrozen from carbonite and trying to help the cause.
Cara Dune busts in and takes down a bar full of seedy thieves. She makes a friend of a tiny furry creature, grateful that his life has been spared. The Razor Crest lands at the port and Greef Carga orders his people to fix the ship like new. The Child is put in a school with other kids and a 3-P0 like teacher.
While waiting for repairs, Greef and Cara ask Mando to help to take out an imperial base located in Navaro near a lava pit. The team sets out, soon running into conflict.
What happens with the side mission? What is the empire doing in this base? These questions and more await in this week’s exciting episode.
Another solid episode, this one light on The Child and heavy on Greef Carga, Cara Dune and that guy bounty in the season one first episode for comic relief. We’re treated to pure Star Wars action including Stormtroopers and Tie Fighters in a trench. Some good progress on the main storyline, this is an excellent, entertaining episode.
Time to get into SPOILER territory. To offer additional perspective and insight, I went looking, reading and grabbed pull quotes from some other reviewers that I came across, there is no specific order otherwise below.
Reviews by Others
What do others think of The Mandalorian S2:E4 Chapter 12: “The Siege”?
… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …
The Future Of The Force / Max (Grade: B+): “In the end, we have a pretty good picture of what the Imperial Remnant is planning and as always, we are excited to see the outcome. B+ all the way.”
The Sandcrawler Blog / Jacob Mahady: “Overall, this episode was fantastic. It had great action, it gave great backstory to characters, there were dogfights, chases, and shootouts. But, once again, the episode was way too short. This one felt like it blew by. It seems that is the only consistent complaint with the show, is the fans demanding more. I’d say they are doing an excellent job on this show. “
TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis: “…while this felt a little like rehashing old territory, the production qualities are so high that it just works. There were some hints to the broader Star Warsstory in this episode, and we will need to see how that develops in the future.”
We’ve Got (Back) Issues: “Din Djarin is quickly becoming a galactic version of the ‘Littlest Hobo’ (showing my age with that reference). He wanders into town, solves someone’s problem, then moves on. This a standard template for classic American television and has been used for years in shows like ‘The Fugitive’, ‘The Incredible Hulk’, ‘The A-Team’”
What did you think of Chapter 12: “The Siege”? We welcome your comments — good, bad or indifferent — below.
Yes, Sarah Paulson stars in this Hulu thriller with a one word title. Have seen the Run title before, including an old Patrick Dempsey thriller (I liked that, btw). This is not related. Here’s the plot from IMDB:
A homeschooled teenager begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her.
Remember in the movie Rocky IV ⭐️⭐️½ where Rocky goes on that goofy post-fight political rant in Russia, “If we can change, you can change, we all can change!” Get that same feeling when we start talking about the competition over where to watch movies.
The reality is there is very little, from a movie distribution standpoint, that needs to change with streaming. Start with theaters, either day and date with VOD/PVOD or streaming or give theaters a brief window, a couple weeks is good, then go VOD/PVOD and then streaming. Our frustration is there aren’t more marquee streaming movies released to theaters, at least simultaneously. Would love to have seen The Irishman in a wider theatrical release, for example.
The article quoted below raises the question that PVOD/VOD vs. streaming could be the future of competition for new movies as theatrical distribution takes a backseat.
There’s another, more optimistic element that may also be in play. By addressing VOD head on, AMC and Cinemark are becoming active participants in its future. It also means they chose a side in a major battle, and it’s not theaters vs. studios. It’s VOD vs. streaming.
Clearly, more and more movies during the pandemic have skipped theaters for streaming release and some for PVOD/VOD. Even with theaters open right now, AMC, most notably, offers the reduced theatrical window before streaming. That seems like the best path.
The time is now for new movies to shine in theaters
Movie competition in theaters is extremely limited right now. Almost as limited as theaters themselves being open (our theaters in Washington State are now closed for the next month).
Studios may never again have the chance they have to highlight a new movie in theaters. Sending it to PVOD/VOD is somewhat of a marketing black hole. Yeah, people can dial up the new movie area on these services and buy tickets there, but it’s not going to lead to the exposure they’ll have going straight to streaming channels or first in movie theaters.
The bigger competition for streaming aren’t movie theaters. They should be, and in some growing cases are, partners. VOD/PVOD vs. streaming is the bigger competition. Studios can sell out for a streaming exclusive to say Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV+, etc or they can try to go it the VOD/PVOD route first, skipping the theatrical money. In most cases, we think that’s leaving money on the table, but if a studio thinks they’ll make more money skipping theatrical release, let their financials be their guide.
With Wonder Woman 1984 testing a day and date release next month domestically (see: Wonder Woman 1984 will be released at HBO Max and Theaters Simultaneously on December 25 – Where will you watch?) we’ll soon find out what kind of effect this will have on box office receipts. Given there will be an asterisk because this data will be during the pandemic with theaters at limited capacity, but we should get at least some idea of how many stay home and watch a big budget film at HBO Max. Just a guess, but HBO Max should see a fairly noticeable surge in new subscribers next month. How many stay, that will be interesting data to examine as well.
On the flip side, movie theater chain owner and operators need to stop thinking about streaming as their enemy. In some respects the pandemic is making them turn the corner on this, and that’s a positive thing. Home viewing is an alternative to the movie theater experience and those of us who love watching movies in theaters will tell you it’s not the same. It can be close to the same with the right hardware, but it doesn’t have the same feeling as watching a movie in a theater. Just doesn’t.
I’m not romanticizing the theater experience by saying this, I’m pointing out there are people like us who simply prefer watching new movies in theaters, getting that overpriced tub of popcorn and soda and turning our darn cell phones off, unplugging from the world for a couple hours. That escapism is real. Do you turn your phone off when you watch movies at home? We don’t . We should. It’s like when you’re home you are in a more distracting environment unless you lock yourself in some soundproof room and put a gigantic DO NOT DISTURB sign outside. Somehow watching movies at home is just open to more disruption.
Should be noted that it’s more important to watch movies where you like watching them. Not where some studio thinks you should or the NATO (National Theater Owners) or social media or ___ (whatever). Watch them wherever you like. Streaming, VOD/PVOD, in theaters, whatever. Just watch them somewhere.