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 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.

35+ Sonic The Hedgehog Reviews – Jim Carrey is the Worst Part Of The Movie

Sonic The Hedgehog ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Jim Carrey overacting? Never! SE-GA! Sorry.

While promoting Sonic the Hedgehog, Jim Carrey admitted that he was concerned with the initial design at first too and is pleased with the changes.

Jim Carrey Was Also Concerned With The ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ Design

The following is a critique and pull quote reviews from other movie bloggers, so SPOILERS will be shared. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then you may want to return to this post after you’ve seen the movie.

Let’s start with the bad, before the good: Dr. Robotnik overplayed by Jim Carrey

Why I ever thought Jim Carrey might be cool as Dr. Robotnik changed about 15 minutes into his overblown, exaggerated, cliched Ace Ventura Robotnik portrayal. We’ve seen this Jim Carrey before in multiple other movies and I’m over the shtick. Somebody give Carrey a chill pill.

Dr. Robotnik in the videogame is menacing and diabolical, not spastic. Come on, Jim Carrey, stop being so obvious with your Jim Carrey plays Robotnik characterization.

It’s important to note that as I’ve read through reviews by others (some are pullquoted below), my opinion on Carrey’s performance is not widely shared. Seems like others by and large are praising his performance. My biggest issue with Carrey’s performance is we’ve seen it before. It’s not fresh, new or even in the spirit of how Dr. Robotnik was in the game. Others will disagree, maybe some of you reading this right now.

I will give credit to the final scene on the mushroom world with Carrey where he has the tricked out mustache. In that scene he plays Robotnik at the right speed and tenacity. Wish he would have downplayed the rest of the movie. Just my 2 1/2 rusted pennies.

SE-GA! Proper love for the videogame Sonic The Hedgehog

Unlike the nearly total failure of appreciating the TV Show Fantasy Island in the Blumhouse movie, Sonic pays good, respectful homage to the videogame. The opening scene is heavily inspired by the first zone — Green Hills Zone — in the game.

At the same time, even if you’ve never seen or played the Sonic game, you aren’t lost in a bunch of vague references.

Bizarre Olive Garden Product (over) Placements

When I think of Sonic, I don’t think of Olive Garden, and yet this movie wanted me to — desperately. Running shoes would have been a better product tie-in. Maybe even energy drinks, but Olive Garden? I guess Rockstar, Red Bull, NIKE, they all passed on any co-branding.

Nothing takes away from the restaurant. Olive Garden’s endless salad is one of the best out there. I’ll give credit where it’s due. They don’t sponsor this blog, nobody does as of this writing, so that’s a free endorsement.

Just don’t get what they are thinking this will do for their brand. Instead, how about the fast food burger joint named, er, Sonic?

Sonic CGI looks good

The main fear realized in the first trailer is quickly swept away. Sonic looks good in this movie. The CGI is solid and never takes the viewer out of the action. We believe this cute little blue alien is on earth, speeding around. He’s portrayed as a lonely alien and his one secret friend is a policeman who talks to donuts.

When Sonic finally is exposed, hiding in the policeman’s side building, they both are freaked out by each other. Sonic convinces his friend to help protect him from the bad guys (Dr. Robotnik and his various evil drones).

It’s a very familiar fish out of water cute alien story (E.T, Alf, Howard The Duck, and so on), but it’s not as cliched as it sounds.

Reviews by Others

Let’s see what others think of Sonic The Hedgehog.


  1. adamryen / I Am Your Target Demographic (4/5): “As a fan of the Sonic games, this was everything I could’ve wanted. I laughed often, and the jokes came from all directions, almost every character contributed. The action sequences were vivid and interesting, while there were also quiet moments with a lot of heart.”
  2. Alex Wiggan / It’s A Stampede!: “…is a competently made adventure film, which doesn’t wear out its welcome and leaves the audience satisfied.”
  3. Bryan Caron / Chaos Breeds Chaos (Grade: B+): “Though the film is an odd mix of elements and the occasional missed opportunity (how do you cast a powerhouse like Neal McDonough and leave him behind after a mere five minutes?), Sonic the Hedgehog is definitely a step in the right direction for movies based on video games.”
  4. Cookie N Screen: “…there are many aspects of this movie that still could have been better such as the depth of the characters, the predictability of the story and the design of Sonic himself. However, don’t let that stop you from checking out the film for yourself.”
  5. The Critic’s Sanctum (7.5/10): “It’s cute, has fun callbacks to the series, is easy to digest by any audience, and you can definitely tell a lot of care and effort went into portraying the subject matter.”
  6. Darren Lucas / Movie Reviews 101: “…a fun action movie that brings the video game character to life with ease to make us understand his pain and desire to be important in somebody’s life.
  7. David Poole / GotGame (8/10): “…isn’t just a good film for fans; it’s a good film for the whole family. With the momentum of the blue blur, it’s highly likely that this will be the start to a series of films.”
  8. Emperor Pyros / OmniGeekEmpire: “I’m happy to report that they did the blue blur justice. Forreal, this movie is a wholesome experience for the whole family to enjoy.”
  9. EYG / Embrace Your Geekness / Doc: “I hope this movie makes all the money this weekend and becomes a huge hit, if only for the reason of rewarding the studio for taking the time and spending the money to make the effects right.  It was important for the film to look right and they should be rewarded for that.”
  10. Film Music Central: “Defying my worst fears, Sonic the Hedgehog is a cute movie that makes for a great time. While the story has a few pacing issues, Jim Carrey’s performance as Dr. Robotnik makes up for most of the issues, and the hints of what may come in a sequel leave me eager for more.”
  11. Geeks Of Color: “What hurts this movie, which is again enjoyable, is the choice of setting. The themes of loneliness, making your own family, and finding your home, could have been told in an environment and with other characters that are fantastical.”
  12. greigzilla / We’ve Got (Back) Issues: “Sonic The Hedgehog, while a much more polished product than you’d think, only really hits top speed when it’s antagonist is given free reign to expell his particular brand of chaotic humor (his dance sequence in the back of his mobile lab is vintage Carrey) but the whole deal is aggressively acceptable on all levels.”
  13. Keith Noakes / KeithLovesMovies (78%): “Run, don’t walk, and see Sonic the Hedgehog, another good video game film and if not, at least it’s another chance to see some classic Jim Carrey.”
  14. Mercedes / DG Speaks: “This movie is all about the power of self-love, friendship, and community. It makes you take a hard look at what you value in life and how far are you willing to go to protect it. It was definitely the perfect flick for Singles Awareness Day.”
  15. Mirza Baig / Welcome To Movie Ark: “…it is Jim Carrey who steals the show here. Here, Carrey is in his over-the-top 90s self, and molds his trademark style inside the video character very fluidly. And most importantly, even gets his own insane dance sequence that had me laughing out loud.”
  16. Mister GQ Blogs / Alexander S (8.5/10): “Go with friends, go wth family go alone if you want. If you’re a fan of Sonic you will definitely enjoy this movie.”
  17. Rachel’s Reviews (7/10): “…is a cute movie that the whole family can go see and have a nice time together. It has a big heart and the character of Sonic is well rendered and voiced.”
  18. rgagne / Ten Stars or Less (8/10): “I like to go against the grain when it comes to movie ratings and what I like and don’t like. I left Sonic thoroughly impressed with this movie and will welcome a sequel if it stays on par with this one”
  19. Serpent’s Den: “Between this and Detective Pikachu, I can only hope we are the dawn of a new era for video-game movies, which have had a notoriously bad track record for a long time. But these two films show that they can work, at least when the filmmakers actually care about them.”
  20. ScreenBunka (7/10): “…is a film that knows its place and doesn’t try to break the mould. For a film aimed primarily at kids, it’s surprisingly fun for adults.”
  21. tlkabtmovies / Let’s Talk About Movies (2.5/5): “I have no doubt in my mind that kids and 90’s kids alike will have a good time with it.”
  22. That Shelf / Courtney Small: “…there is plenty of goofy humour and action that will have children and adults laughing with equal measure. Sometimes mindless fun is all one needs to warrant running to the cinema for.”
  23. The Elder Blogs: “All round thoughts on this film was it’s a great family film, filled with laughs and a bit of nostalgia. It is NOT a Sonic origin story so get that out of your head if you haven’t already seen it.”
  24. The Movie Dweeb: “It’s refreshing to see a film not-produced by Disney to convey a message about loneliness.”
  25. X-Geeks: “…is a fun, family-adventure packed full of humour, excitement and heart. Despite the movie following a VERY predictable and formulaic blueprint, there is plenty of enjoyment to be had, with the movie having a strong appeal to both family and adult audiences alike!”

Not Recommended

  1. Amused in the Dark: “This movie is a bleeding hot mess. It is not a good movie. It’s not even an adequate movie. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t entertained. There are a few moments of joy and smiles to be found sure, but when those moments are gone the movie is pure cringe”
  2. Calvin Kemph / The Twin Geeks: “It’s a stripped-down road movie that does not worry about why it’s being made, despite a sizable budget, it exists to exist. Perhaps some of the time meant for shaping it went into serious redesigns. But the most serious redesign needed is in the script. There is only so much goodwill Jim Carrey can bring, as we’re constantly leaving him for undercooked filler.”
  3. Dyl’s Movie Stuff: “It was a valiant effort by the cast and redesign CGI team, but, unfortunately, no one could save Sonic the Hedgehog from its uninspired script.”
  4. GLUE / Annie Banks (5/10): “…approaches a popular franchise from an unsophisticated, fun-loving and childish angle that sets the Sega Cinematic Universe off on a mediocre pace. Sonic is cute, but it taps out at that.”
  5. Joe Rover: “While it wasn’t everything I hoped for, it was better than I thought it’d be. I left the theater laughing and I couldn’t stop talking about it. I wanted to see it again the next day.”
  6. Lee Butler / Movie Meister Reviews (1/5): “If I were to judge the film purely on the content (which was so slim I fit it into a half paragraph) it might’ve been a 2 and a ½ or 3 star film that I didn’t hate… art doesn’t occur in a vacuum and the absolute dumpster fire surrounding this project and the people that got stepped on along the way absolutely influenced this score.”
  7. Projected Realities: “…wouldn’t quite be the pinnacle of its genre even if its humor didn’t continually sabotage it, but it’s an enjoyable if thinly written journey that’s often as weird as it is predictable.”
  8. rogerinorlando / Movie Nation (1.5/4): “This isn’t the best film to make one’s feature directing debut with. But Jeff Fowler had an animation research job on “Where the Wild Things Are,” so he’s just happy to be here. It’s doubtful anybody else could have gotten more out of this limp script.”
  9. Trailer Trashed: “The overall film isn’t that bad.  If you have kids and a few hours to spare, then the simple plot and bright colours will likely keep everyone entertained. “
  10. The Cinema Cynic (4/10): “…is certainly never anything less than watchable, but due to a very weak script that fails to take full advantage of potential offered by the abundance of source material, it never gains any kind of true momentum.”
  11. Major Film Reviews: “I’m struggling to think of how they managed to pull of a Sonic the Hedgehog film and not make it absolutely terrible; and it isn’t terrible, it’s passable, enjoyable for the kids, bearable for adults, with Jim Carrey once again finding his stride”
  12. victorsmyname: “At times the movie is enjoyable, but I won’t go so far as to call it good. And this is such a boring final verdict compared to what we could have had if they’d kept the original Nightmare Sonic for the film”

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!

Megyn Kelly reacts to Jane Fonda over her "quitting" Plastic Surgery at 82

Jane Fonda does not look 82 … at the 92nd Annual Oscars

Megyn Kelly vs. Jane Fonda on plastic surgery. The former still has her youthful looks, the latter has delayed old age by artificial means. They tangled on Kelly’s Today show a couple years ago because Megyn dared to ask about Fonda’s plastic surgery on a show about ageism.

It was ridiculous for Fonda to be upset then, but here’s what she said at the time:

“Given the fact that we don’t have a lot of time and Bob is right here, it’s a weird thing to bring up, whether I’ve had plastic surgery or not,” Fonda told ET Canada. “I have and I’ve talked about it. Seemed like the wrong time and place to ask that question.”

Megyn Kelly reacts to Jane Fonda announcing she won’t get any more plastic surgery, 2 years after their tense interview

Now at age 82, Fonda is giving up plastic surgery for good. You think? Maybe Fonda should be encouraging other Hollywood women to just say no to plastic surgery rather than worry about a talk show host and journalist asking relevant interview questions.

Look, I get that we all want to look young as long as we can, especially women who see their roles diminish in Hollywood as they age. When was the last time you saw Jane Fonda starring in a feature length movie? I think it’s cool we get Sir Patrick Stewart back as Picard at 80. There just aren’t enough lead acting roles for seniors.

Here’s the thing about being in your 80s. It’s not criminal to look like you’re in your 80s. Jane Fonda looks like she’s in her late 50s to 60s. Great, plastic surgery works, I guess, but it makes your face look all kinds of Joker mask. If you’re an actor and playing senior roles, she’ll need makeup effects to look older.

Oh, the irony.

During China's Current Theatrical Shutdown Why Not Offer Streaming as Alternative Screening Option?

The elephant in the world’s room at the moment is the coronavirus. The elephant in the theatrical world is the theatrical window.

Rather than delay indefinitely new movie releases, why not offer people in China the ability to stream movies at home (for a reasonable ticket price)?

I’ve been looking around for others suggesting this and it seems this idea is completely off the table. The more time that goes by that the theaters are closed, why can’t this be explored … at least temporarily?

Obviously, movies aren’t remotely important as protecting human lives, so our thoughts and prayers go out to anybody impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

We’re now going to see Hollywood getting hurt by China’s current theatrical shutdown, as the likes of Bad Boys For Life and Birds of Prey weren’t betting on a big Chinese payday. Even Dolittle was tracking for a $15 million debut when the coronavirus caused the theaters to shut down over what should have been a $1 billion-plus New Year’s weekend. Video game movies (Warcraft, Rampage, Ready Player One, etc.) have been big in China, and a continued blackout could be even more problematic for (much bigger-budgeted) Mulan and No Time to Die.

Box Office: ‘Sonic’ Races Into Record Books With $68M Debut

Collateral damage of a much lesser concern will be box office performance depending on the Chinese market where many theaters are currently shutdown, but there are other ways to release new movies — streaming — than on the big screen.

Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey⭐️⭐️½ admittedly not the greatest movie (see: 30+ Birds of Prey Reviews – Doctor Robotnik vs. Harley Quinn, “Physical Disadvantages” and Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda), box office sales certainly are being impacted by the current theater closings in China.

Box office stats as of 2/19/2020 — 12 days in — the cash register still very much is ringing

I don’t understand why streaming options won’t at least be considered, given if a lot more time goes on without a vaccine being available. Yes, I realize this movie industry protects the theatrical window from streaming for 90 days or so because they believe that once that is violated, the movie theater industry will crumble.

Streaming at Home vs. The Movie Theater Experience

I don’t think it’s quite that dramatic at this point for a few simple reasons:

  1. Most people don’t have in-home theater quality TV and surround sound speaker setups
  2. Most people don’t have a bunch of people to join them as they watch a movie on the big screen. There is a social element to watching movies in the theater that is difficult to view in a smaller room and/or alone
  3. Popcorn. Sorry, microwave popcorn is not the same. Yes, you can emulate the movie theater popcorn setup affordably, but most people won’t and don’t have this available.
  4. Date night outside the home. If you want to have date night at home, you can do that any night of the week, but it’s nice to leave home and do something fun with your spouse/significant other/friends away from your home.

Sure, all of these items except the last can be replicated with an in-home system and you don’t have to be Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. On top of that, you can invite only those who don’t interrupt the movies at home. You can also pause the movies, eat whatever food you want and show movies whenever you want. There are many advantages to watching movies at home versus the theater, but I don’t think enough people have movie theater quality rooms in their homes.

Funny aside: 20 years ago we added a movie room to our home. I wired the walls with high quality sound in preparation for the ultimate surround sound system. For a few years we had the system and I watched movies in there, but it never really felt like the movie theater. I didn’t go the extra mile for the movie theater popcorn, but came about as close as possible 20 years ago to having this room of dreams. I’ve been a cutting edge tech guy in the past.

So, if you have someone like me who could have a room like this and doesn’t prioritize it over a movie theater, my guess is there are many lesser-tech folks who would rather just go out to, for no better reason than, go out.

Re-releasing the New Releases in Theaters

Maybe some of these movies can be re-released in theaters. Again, this is all a lesser concern to finding a cure and making sure human beings wherever they are in the world are protected from harm from this virus.

Informative Articles about Coronavirus

Admittedly, this is going outside the scope of this blog, but a wise person stays informed. I’ve collected some articles to learn more about coronavirus:

Let’s hope that a vaccine is created soon and this outbreak is thoroughly contained. Regardless if it’s happening in America or abroad, viruses that infect any human being anywhere are a concern that we all should agree upon working together to contain and eliminate.

Opening 2-20-2020 in Theaters: The Call Of The Wild, Brahms: The Boy II

Wednesday, here we are! Week #8 (2/20 – 2/23/2020) where we get to see Harrison Ford kicking it with a CGI dog in an adaptation of a classic novel and horror movie sequel involving a creepy doll.

The Call Of The Wild

I’m going back and forth with how interested in this movie I am. On one side, I like Harrison Ford and most movies he’s in. On the other, I’m not that crazy about a CGI dog, other than if it looks fake or real. I’d rather see a real dog, although of course I don’t want a real dog put in harm’s way. Just seems to me there could have been some way to have been CGI stunt dog and real dog used in the film. Then again, I haven’t seen the movie to know just how many dangerous scenes there are.

That all said, I don’t remember the book very well that I read some 40 years ago, so my interest in older books adapted into movies is minimal. I’m in the camp that favors adapting new works (books that have never been adapted before) over yet another adaptation of an older work. Clearly, this adaptation is trying for a creative angle, but that just seems a waste to me when there are plenty of great stories out there the deserve to have a movie made one.

Then again, I’m not the one investing in the picture. You’ve got Harrison Ford, that’s a draw, I’m sure. And a dog. Even if it’s a CGI dog. We love dogs, so it might be a huge hit. In my little tiny corner of the web, this film is very popular here. Whether or not that means the film will do well at the box office, I don’t know.

Bottom line: I’m going in looking somewhat forward to seeing it. Being completely honest, I’m not sure my interest is in the story more than the curiosity around the technology and that Harrison Ford is starring in it.

Anticipation: 5/10

Brahms: The Boy II

I didn’t see the first film in this series. Up until I started watching all new wide releases, I resisted watching sequels until I’ve seen the first film. Not sure how that impacts my interest in this one, but probably a little negatively. I can’t compare it to the original because I won’t have seen it first. Maybe I’ll like this one a lot and it will encourage me to go back and see if the original is even better (which is how it usually works for me with sequels).

I’m just lukewarm on this one. Hope it surprises me and is a really entertaining film.

Anticipation: 3/10

ANTICIPATION for Week #8: 2/20/20 MOVIES

How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 2-20-2020 movies?

  1. The Call of The Wild – 5/10
  2. Brahms: The Boy 2 – 3/10

Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?

Both movies are confirmed wide screenings available at theaters in our area with screenings available starting on 2/20/20. Both will be watched, rated and reviewed probably one on Thursday, the other Friday.

Doctor Sleep Director’s Cut adds 30 minutes

Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

My second favorite movie of 2019 has hit the streaming circuit, complete with a director’s cut that adds 30 minutes of additional character backstory and footage.

For the home video and streaming releases, though, Warner Bros. has also released the director’s cut of the film. And its additional 30 minutes of footage improves on Flannagan’s already-impressive work. The new cut provides a more empathetic theme for the entire Shining series, both the movies and the books.

The Doctor Sleep director’s cut is a huge improvement – Polygon

Interesting to see Polygon calling the director’s cut a “huge improvement.” For me, the film was great as it was, so of course I’d like to watch director Mike Flanagan cut and see how, if any, it improves the film. Just making the runtime longer could be a detriment, but not if the new footage illuminates and/or adds something not experienced in the original theatrical version.

On Amazon Prime buying the director’s cut, as of this writing, costs $19.99 for the HD version. On Vudu there is a sale running as of this writing and it’s $9.99:

If you haven’t seen Doctor Sleep, it’s on sale at Vudu, including the director’s cut for $9.99

I’ve 10/10 anticipation for seeing this additional 30 minutes of footage and see how it adds to the film, so I’m sold. Yeah, I could just rent it, but that’s $5.99, so why not spend another $4 and get to keep my second favorite movie of 2019 forever digitally. There are also three additional bonus features: behind the scenes material, it seems.

I realize there are articles online that explain in detail what those 30 minutes add to the theatrical version, but rather than spoil the experience I’m going to watch and compare versions myself.

Has anybody else reading already seen the director’s cut? What did you think?

Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories (2020) Returns to Apple TV on March 6 – Are You Interested?

Anthology shows are one of my favorite subgenres (see: Ranking Movie Genres – What are YOUR Favorite Genres?) and Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories in the 80s was a softer, more fantasy-based morality anthology show than the harder sci-fi of The Outer Limits and the deep, introspective, twisty, turny The Twilight Zone.

The 80s Amazing Stories featured stories by Richard Matheson, which also contributed to The Twilight Zone. I remember some episodes being a bit too overly-sentimental (Spielberg’s Achilles heel), but some were strong.

Subscribers to Apple TV+ can watch the rebooted Amazing Stories (2020) which has a 10 episode run starting on March 6.

The reboot the 1980s sci-fi anthology series kicks off its new trailer by teasing five different stories involving superheroes, aliens and weird anomalies in the sky. Scenes from the trailer are bracketed by the phrase, “The beloved series returns with five unique stories.” Amazing Stories also features the late Robert Forster’s final acting role.

Apple TV Drops Trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories

Shudder has the Creepshow reboot, Apple TV+ gets Amazing Stories and, yes, Steven Spielberg is executive producer, but haven’t seen if he’s actually directing any episodes. Spielberg got his directorial start with the episode “Eyes” on Rod Serling’s Night Gallery anthology show. Good episode, too, for those who haven’t seen.

Yes, Apple TV streaming channel is available on Roku

With Harley Quinn wrapping up its final episode of the season one this Friday, 2/21/2020 and Star Trek: Picard half-way through its first season run, I am contemplating whether or not to sign up for an Apple TV+ subscription. Based on the trailer and the strength of at least some of the original show, I’m interested.

The service itself doesn’t seem to offer anything else except originals, which is at least a unique way to launch a streaming channel. Good old Apple, doing things its way still, even in the absence of Steve Jobs. No other streaming movies or TV shows, only original content. Hmm, so you’re paying $4.99/month for access to how many shows? 9 at launch, according to this article.

One of the most noteworthy is The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon launched on Apple TV+ its first season on November 1, 2019 with the first three episodes bingeable and then the remaining seven at one per week. The first season concluded on December 20, 2019.

Binge vs. Weekly Releases — Which one is better?

Call me a purist, but I’m more a fan of releasing new episodes weekly like TV has done vs. the Netflix binge model (all episodes in a season dropped at once). I enjoy looking forward to something new released each week. There are pros and cons to waiting, sure, but impatience isn’t generally considered a healthy trait. There is a good related discussion at the DC Universe community boards, see: Bingeing vs. weekly release

I looked around but didn’t see if Apple TV+ are going to binge drop the entire Amazing Stories (2020) season of 10 episodes or release a new one every Friday or do something in between like they did with The Morning Show. Anybody reading know yet? Looks to me like the first episode is all that’s dropping on March 6. That contains five stories, so it will be a pretty meaty episode vs. Creepshow which only had two stories each episode.

UPDATE 8:13am PST: Hollywood reporter article says the first five episodes are dropping, so, assuming this is accurate, each story is a standalone episode. They also indicate there is no idea when the other five episodes will drop.

The episodic anthology Amazing Stories is set to bow March 6 with its first five episodes, though there was no information about when the remainder of the series from executive producer Steven Spielberg will return.

Apple Solidifies Its Spring TV+ Slate

Anybody reading already have Apple TV+? They offered the first year to those who bought various Apple gadgets. Am sure that applies to some readers. What shows do you like on there? Tell us your experience with the service thus far it in the comments.

20+ Blumhouse's Fantasy Island Reviews – Completely Redoing Tattoo's Character and Other Attrocities

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island⭐️⭐️

We can’t blame Blumhouse for asking, it’s Sony for giving it up with almost zero quality control.

Jason [Blum] wanted to keep working with me. He heard that I had this idea, and being the master producer that he is, he went to Sony and he said, “Can I have the rights to Fantasy Island?” They said yes. They gave it to him.

How Fantasy Island Reimagines the Classic TV Show | Den of Geek

Thanks a lot, Sony for just giving up the IP without any sense of quality control. Blumhouse gutted the TV show and gave us a shell of what it once was.

Before I can get into specifics with this critique, you best know SPOILERS follow. If you don’t want the film to be spoiled (pretty difficult, actually), then bookmark and come back … now.

… you’ve been warned SPOILERS AHEAD ….

Blumhouse leaves the filmmakers alone — for better or worse

On one hand, you can applaud Blumhouse for having a reportedly hands off attitude. They set a budget and let the filmmakers make the movie. That’s amazing creative freedom, if the movie doesn’t suck.

Apparently, Sony is also hands off with their IP. Respectfully, I’d suggest with IP somebody should be test screening these films a little better.

The fantasies aren’t that good

There are four fantasies and none of them are spectacular. Let’s take them one at a time.

Woman who wants to get revenge on a childhood friend. Then she gets the chance to do that, but wimps out. She steps off the plane complaining about the lack of Wi-Fi on the island and doubts the fantasies are real and then her fantasy seems real. She also is the one with the lamest twist of all the fantasies.

Two brothers who want to party it up and yet are then attacked by a gang of thugs.

A man wants to honor the life another man in the military who fell on a grenade.

Woman who wants to change that one mistake she made, by saying yes to a man she loved instead of no. Then she gets that fantasy and has a child.

It’s like we’re checking all the cliche story boxes versus telling anything that fresh and new. Or, heck, if you can’t do that, then go back in time and retell some of the best episodes of the TV series.

Then there’s a bonus fifth guy running around all Rambo on the island, because he doesn’t want Roarke to know what he’s up to. Ok, yeah.

These were pretty average to bad fantasies.

Why Explain The Origins of the Island?

I’m still reeling, still trying to understand why it was necessary to explain how Fantasy Island works? And the whole fountain of fantasy water idea was dumb. So Roarke has guests drink the tainted water and then their one fantasy is fulfilled? How does the water “just know” to only issue one fantasy per person?

We didn’t need the origin story. The mystique surrounding the island was enough to make it all work. Also, when you make Roarke so absolutely tied into the process, he doesn’t have the man of mystery vibe working either. Making him a pawn to the island’s power just weakens a character that is supposedly in charge of the island. This is so completely out of the character played by Ricardo Montalban I don’t even know where to start.

Wait, it’s Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island. In parallel reboot world, Roarke can be weak and strong whenever he wants to be. O…k.

Tattoo isn’t a midget, he’s a gay Chinese man with a tattoo that says, “Tattoo”

Can’t make up this stuff. What were they thinking when they took a gigantic crap all over the legacy of Herve Villachaize?

Not a midget (that’s what Herve referred to himself as). It’s a full height man. Why not give this role to another little person?

Why gay? Herve was not only heterosexual, he was hyper heterosexual. Known for his strong sex drive which today might register as sexual harassment toward his co-workers and guests on the show. There’s nothing wrong with gay people, don’t even go there with me, but making an iconic straight character gay is saying what exactly? We can do it, just because we can? Stupid and wrong. Let’s not make established straight characters gay and vice versa.

Chinese instead of French. Herve was French, so why make his character Chinese? Maybe it would be different to find a little person that was French like Herve, so fine, maybe a little person that is Chinese. But a normal height Chinese man? How about a normal height French guy? How can we screw up this character tribute so badly?

Again, you just can’t make out how horrific this treatment of Herve Villachiaze is in this movie. Let’s just dance on his grave while we’re at it, Blumhouse. You should be ashamed. Seriously.

Reviews by Others

A lot of these reviews of Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island by others are unfavorable. Rotten Tomatoes critics have it sub 10% rotten, but audiences are treating it a little better.


  1. But Why Tho? (5/10): “is everything you want and expect from a theater Blumhoudr film. It stumbles a bit but winds up where you need it to.”

Not Recommended

  1. Andrew Reviews: “But it’s an intellectual property that can be exploited, and it’s being packaged for the young lovestruck souls on Valentine’s Day by furnishing watered-down PG-13 horror that only ever elicits predictable jump scares and a cheap lugubrious aesthetic (an eerily slow camera that always implies a forthcoming scare, ear-splitting sound design, and a terribly on-the-nose score).”
  2. Becky Tyler Art & Photography: “This film is so abysmally bad I wasn’t even going to bother with a review after I watched it yesterday, but if this review keeps anyone else from wasting their time then I guess writing this is worth it.”
  3. CULT FACTION: “Within the script is a great movie plot that somehow got manipulated into a presentation that more resembles Love Island than Fantasy Island.”
  4. Drew’s Writing Loo: “….is clearly aiming for absurdist B-movie enjoyment, but that’s a tough invitation to accept when the choppy tone seems just as lost on the cast as it is to the audience.”
  5. Dyl’s Movie Stuff (1/10): “…is so very dumb and embarrassingly unscary. Please do yourself a favor and skip this one.”
  6. Flag of Ulysses: “It works marginally better as a mystery in the film’s latter half but it comes at the expense of over-explaining and completely demystifying the very premise of the titular island and its enigmatic overseer, which the original series wisely never did (to my best recollection).” (ed. one of the few to title it as Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island)
  7. Halloween Year Round: “It’s everything that a remake should be…at least in theory.  In practice, this film wastes its immense potential on annoying characters and a plot that completely falls apart when you approach it with logic.”
  8. High Contrast / Nate Blake: “Despite the presence of smartphones, social media and a cast that’s just a bit more representative than you would have seen on ABC four decades ago, this is mostly a lazy transplant, not a worthwhile re-imagining. If only I could go to an island where lame remakes didn’t exist.”
  9. Jordan Peterson / Movie Minutes: “It’s when all those seemingly disparate stories start to come together down the back half of the film where things get messy. The more fascinating elements that make Fantasy Island what it is quickly give way to an overarching narrative that is more convoluted, formulaic, and exhaustively dull.”
  10. Jaedennoel / Keithlovesmovies: “Other than a few references to the original television series, Fantasy Island will surely disappoint fans of the television series which could have lead to a whole other demographic viewing the film.”
  11. Keith & The Movies (2/5): “…does nothing to justify its existence. It’s just a blob of fairly interesting ideas pasted together and thrown out for consumption. And you can bet Blumhouse is already eyeing a sequel.”
  12. Nightmare on Film Street: “…the reality here is, Fantasy Island is a sightly miss of a movie. The malefic update has a lot of creative potential on paper. The film just so happens to lose steam whenever it comes time to gel everything together.”
  13. Ready Steady Cut: “Not enough of Fantasy Island lands in this precious space of engrossing idiocy to go down as some kind of cult classic midnighter or anything, but it’s at least a high note to end on for a film that is mostly otherwise just an obvious misfire.”
  14. Red Mango Reviews (5.5/10): “I’m sure the age 13-17 crowd and people who don’t watch ACTUAL horror movies will get a scare or two, but for me, this movie was an overly bloated story with WAY TOO many sub-plots and an ending that you’ll see coming a mile away”
  15. rogerinorlando / Movie Nation (2/4): “The moments of peril seem like “Saw” outtakes, and the big “EXPLANATION” could bring Harlan Ellison back from the grave for another lawsuit.”
  16. Society Reviews (1/5): “It is a shame that Fantasy Island fails on the only interesting concept the movie had going for it but at the end of the day, this proves to be just another low budget horror film with little effort given both in front and behind the camera.”
  17. The Jam Report / Doug Jamieson (1/5): “Sadly, there’s little enjoyment to be found with Fantasy Island. It’s as uninspiring as the horror genre gets. You won’t be scared. You won’t be terrified. And you sure as hell won’t be entertained.”
  18. The Monster Lady (4/10): “The storyline, “twists” and character deaths were way too predictable and it felt as though the movie dragged on with trying to make the character backstories complex. There were a lot of random plotholes with how the island and fantasies operate, but honestly I stopped caring halfway through”
  19. Voice of the Hwy: “If crimes against cinema merited prosecution, Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island would go directly to death row. “
  20. Zach’s Zany Reviews: “Never, ever have I’ve seen a great concept to a feature film, let alone one from an old television show, be so terribly fucked up in its execution. I mean, where to start?”

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