First – Our Review Criteria

You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

— Jaws (1975)

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 4-star and above being RECOMMENDED.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Love it, Must See
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Amazing
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Great
——– anything rated ABOVE is recommended (as of 1/1/2021) ——-
⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Good
⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Entertaining
⭐️⭐️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: December 1, 2020 – when the pandemic is over: watch at least 2 movies a week, any genre
PRIOR: Watch 33+ Horror/Thriller/Suspense/True Crime movies or TV episodes from October 1 – November 30, 2020
BEFORE THAT: Watch 100+ Any Movie or TV Episode June 1 – September 30, 2020

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.

FIRST LOOK: The Marksman

Yet another audience vs. (early) critics opposite opinion on Rotten Tomatoes, but not many reviews are in yet

We’re running a bit behind on our FIRST LOOK coverage for new movies in theaters — we’ll catch up — mostly because in our area right now there are still no theaters open. This has shifted our focus, interest and energy to the streaming services. Apparently, last weekend a new movie opened wide that we had previously believed to be opening this week wide. Must have been a change we didn’t catch, but it featured a well-known action star.

The Marksman, starring Liam Neeson, opened a week early in theaters with no other wide releases competing and it took the #1 spot at the box office, dethroning Wonder Woman 1984.

The box office is in a fallow period, but Liam Neeson prevails. He opened two films at #1 over the last four months; a few weeks ago, a decade-old Neeson title topped Netflix’s movie chart. Not bad for a 68-year-old actor who was Oscar nominated for “Schindler’s List” but is now one-man action/thriller brand.

Liam Neeson, Pandemic-Era Movie Star: The Marksman Is Another #1 | IndieWire

Official trailer:

Maybe the reason audiences are warming up to Liam Neeson being badass, is that’s the kind of escapism that’s needed in these troubled times. Living through Neeson’s eyes isn’t such a bad idea and certainly safe from an entertainment standpoint.

I don’t know if this will still be playing in theaters when we’re in Vegas in a few weeks, but if so, it very well could make our watchlist. There’s probably going to be too many movies for us to see in the time we have available down there. We have other things we want to do, but this is on our radar.

Did you watch this already? What did you think? No spoilers, please, in the comments area tell us whether or not you recommend.

The Marksman opened wide in theaters on January 15, 2021.

Bond 25 No Time To Die Delayed Again – From Spring To Fall 2021

Here comes round #__ (fill in the blank) of movie delays. Think of Rocky getting punched in the face by the Russian Ivan Drago again, again, again. Bloodied, sitting in the corner, the scantily clad ring girl sways between the ropes, another card waving in the air. What round is this? Losing count!

That’s James Bond’s seemingly cursed 25th film which has been trying to come out for, well, a couple years now and counting.

MGM has pushed No Time To Die back again, this time from April 2 to Oct 8, 2021.

Moments after MGM relocated Bond, Universal announced that the studio’s Bob Odenkirk-led action thriller “Nobody” was moving from Feb. 26 to April 2 and Sony redated “Peter Rabbit 2,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Cinderella.” Meanwhile, Focus Features, the specialty studio owned by Universal, bumped Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” from April 23 back to Oct. 22. It’s also been commonly speculated that Universal’s “Fast & Furious” sequel “F9” won’t keep its May 28 release date.

‘No Time to Die’ Release Date Delayed Again – Variety

This isn’t shocking news, considering a lot of movie theaters aren’t open and there seems to be some doubt that by April enough of them will be. MGM doesn’t want to take a Tenet or Wonder Woman 1984 gamble. They want to wait until things return to normal.

It’s possible that Bond gets pushed back again, especially if summer 2021 doesn’t go much better than summer 2020 That might sounds alarmist right now, but nobody knows how long it’s going to take — really, how long — for the pandemic to subside.

Depressing? Sure, but what can MGM do. They wouldn’t sell this movie for a streaming release, not unless it received some crazy high amount (see: No Time To Buy – At $800 Million, Don’t Blame Any Streaming Company for Saying “No!”), so now they keep waiting, and paying interest on the financing.

Stay safe out there. That’s all we can say. If that means the theaters must stay closed months and months longer, then so be it. Somewhere over the rainbow …

over a billion views … and counting!

Shudder to release 11 Original Horror Movies in Q1 2021 + Joe Bob Valentine’s Special

My horror roots are still very much alive and the streaming service Shudder reminds me to share with you wonderful readers.

In Q1 2021, from January 14 (Hunted) – March 25 (Violation) they are going weekly for sharing new horror movies for subscribers.

…eleven new Shudder Original and Shudder Exclusive films set to premiere over the next eleven weeks! The streaming service teases today, “Hunted, The Queen of Black Magic, A Nightmare Wakes, After Midnight, Shook, The Dark & the Wicked, Lucky, Stay Out of the F**king Attic, Slaxx, Koko-di Koko-da and Violation together span five countries on three continents and range from dark comedy to survival horror to period psychological thrillers.

Shudder Will Be Premiering 11 New Horror Movies Across 11 Weeks; Here’s the Lineup! – Bloody Disgusting

Netflix has promised 71 new movies in 2021, so this is Shudder saying, “don’t forget about us.” In order to compete, weekly new movie and/or TV show releases are becoming the norm for streaming services. This is only good news for all of us because we’ll have plenty to pick and choose from.

Oh, and as the image up top and headline says, another Joe Bob Briggs special will be airing on February 12. Two days before Valentine’s Day Friday is going to hit jusssst right.

We were not currently subscribed to Shudder, but just pulled the trigger and re-upped. Got to have me some Joe Bob Briggs and I’m always up for more horror films. There are FREE Shudder subscription promo codes for 30 days out there, just FYI. Hint, hint, hint …

Be sure to seek those out to keep your monthly streaming costs down. Not just for Shudder, for all of the services search the internet before exiting the streaming payment pages. You might be missing out on some FREE subscription time.

Shudder will also offer you a free month when you want to cancel, so you can often receive three months of service paying for one month, for those willing to jump over a few gravestones …

Zack Snyder’s 4-Hour Justice League Movie Not Split In Parts?

Justice League ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

Holy long movies, Batman!

The Snyder Cut was supposed to be presented as a mini-series, not as one incredibly, painfully 4+ hour movie, but apparently Snyder cares nothing for our bladders.

Snyder announced at DC FanDome in Aug. 2020 that HBO Max would split the release of his Justice League cut into four one-hour episodes; a single four-hour cut of the episodes would release later, exclusively on HBO Max. Now, it appears this is not the case.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Is No Longer a 4-Part Release | CBR

Or maybe it’s because we can just hit pause at home vs. theaters, but the crazy thing is the article linked above indicates Snyder actually wanted a theatrical release for his Frankenstein cut. LOL, seriously! Four hours in the movie theater seeing the same movie? Better have two intermissions at that monstrous length.

Are you OK watching a single movie that’s 4+ hours long? I’m looking forward to seeing the Snyder Cut of Justice League, but the length, which will be an hour or so less than an entire 8-episode season of Cobra Kai, seems way too long for any movie.

Then again, if it’s awesome, I won’t care. Will you?

Streamers and Theaters in 2021 – Netflix The First To Pass 200 million subscribers, Talks About Disney+ To Analysts

Netflix will continue to buy new movies for exclusive streaming release, a good strategy?

Unsurprisingly, Netflix continues to do well amidst the pandemic. They were the first streamer to start spending en masse on original content and that foresight is paying back huge dividends.

Stay with this longer post. A lot to digest and think about in 2021 and am very curious what you think might happen.

Most of us are cocooned, waiting for the virus to subside. Some, hopefully continuing to increase, are working, but there isn’t much else to do outsides in the movie sector anyway. Plenty to do for those who unplug and use nature for solace.

I read one article that predicted rather stupidly 6-7 years for the bulk of the population to be vaccinated. Years? No. I don’t think it will be 6-7 months either, so the smart money is that 2021 is largely going to replay 2020. Theaters aren’t doomed, so don’t drink from that fountain of despair, but they aren’t going to be anything close to 2019 numbers. Probably a small to medium improvement over 2020 is about the best they can hope for.

We just want to be able to see more than the 44+ new movies in theaters we watched in 2020. So far, with January almost gone, we’ve watched a goose egg in theaters. That’s not a promising start. No idea when theaters in our area will be reopened again and the closest theater remains almost 250 miles away. We’re not driving that far — at least regularly — to watch new movies in theaters. When the weather improves in spring and summer, maybe we’ll do that a few times. Again, it all depends on what’s going on with the virus. Our regular movie theater coverage will continue as soon as theaters reopen — whenever that will be …

Next month we’re going to Vegas again. We’d like to do that once or twice a year, and there are movies open there, so we will be sure to catch at least one movie in our short sojourn there. We were last there in March 2020, when the pandemic seemed to hit its stride.

Enough of theaters, as there isn’t much positive to discuss there. Let’s get back to Netflix and what’s happening across streaming in 2021.

They are promising investors that they will be cash positive going forward, which for any business is sound. Assuming that’s true, we’re going to have to drop the narrative that they are a business running in the red. If you hold onto the lead in eyeballs and interest long enough, like they have — and congrats to them, because they are doing it — you will make money.

In 2020, we watched more Netflix than any other streamer, but close behind was Amazon Prime Video, which oddly isn’t mentioned. Netflix is clearly more worried about Disney+.

Despite mounting competition, Netflix added 8.5 million subscribers in the period and 37 million in 2020, well ahead of forecasts. That brings it to 203.7 million, well ahead of the 86.8 million for Disney+, but nevertheless executives were a bit more forthcoming than usual about seeing mouse ears in the rear-view mirror.

Netflix Brass Reacts To Disney’s Streaming Strides: “Super-Impressive” But Not Quite ‘Bridgerton’ Buzz – Deadline

Is Disney a sleeping giant with all that juicy IP? Most of their IP is still in the underutilized phase. Subscribers aren’t getting any new Mandalorian in 2021. We are getting that Boba Fett series at the end of 2021. December isn’t exactly soon.

On the Marvel front, there’s the Wandvision series that just kicked off. Movies? There should be a few of the MCU movies that make it to the service in 2021, maybe. Black Widow is probably the most notable, but there’s a few more.

So, with Star Wars and Marvel not exactly killing it with content on Disney+, what’s the play? They can only hang around on legacy content so long. With parents and grandparents like us with little ones to show animated movies, Disney remains king, but Netflix is surely trying to nibble on this bucket full of apples.

The area Disney could make some moves with is better integration with Hulu, which seems more like an overall competitor from a content perspective. Instead, Hulu is remaining a largely domestic offering, instead focusing on Star for international streaming of more adult-focused content (see: Disney Putting International Muscle Behind Star India instead of Hulu Global Launch?)

But what about Amazon? Why aren’t Netflix saying anything about Amazon? Maybe, the silence is more telling. Amazon at any time seems poised to flex its financial muscle and go full on production studio mode. There’s the whole Lord of the Rings prequel series and a string of originals under development. Will their LOTRO have Game of Thrones juice? Jeff Bezos sure hopes so. Never count out the richest person in the world.

Let’s not forget just how much book content Amazon has at its disposal. Something like 90% of book publishing goes through Amazon’s sales turnstiles. Ready Player Two is in talks for a sequel, will that be another theatrical release or something Amazon or another streamer scoops up in a bidding war for straight to streaming release? With Steven Spielberg behind the first film, it stands to reason the sequel will garner significant interest, especially if he decides to be part of it again (yeah, even if it’s only and probably likely just producing on the project).

Non-concerns seem to be HBO Max, Paramount+, Peacock and Apple TV. I think WarnerMedia’s 17 movies released simultaneously in whatever theaters are open and on HBO Max is by far the best promotion for streaming in 2021 — and that includes Netflix. Will it result in a ton of new subscribers? Maybe. HBO Max is going to need some killer TV series to keep subscribers around, not just movies and whomever is going to rise up to a formidable alternative to Netflix is going to need to understand and embrace retention. That’s an area that Netflix does better at than anybody else in the field, perhaps save Amazon, which keeps people subscribed because it’s included with Amazon Prime.

Walmart has been trying to nip on those heels, so that battle might heat up in 2021. Hard to get too much behind Walmart though, because they tend to dip in and out of stuff historically (ahem, Vudu, see: Walmart Plus launches September 15, maybe they should have kept Vudu). Still, they have a significant retail sector. If you go out shopping somewhere — you know, the real world, offline — for something, there’s most likely a Walmart nearby.

The also rans include CBS All Access, soon to become Paramount+ on March 4, 2021. They’ve officially announced that launch date and we continue to be puzzled why they don’t do more with their legacy content. They still have a paltry amount of movies considering how many they could have. Come on, release the Kraken movie content! They have some great TV shows, but they could do much more. Am curious to see how much they launch with and if it will look more like HBO Max — like it should.

Peacock should probably be last because they seem to have the fewest amount of original content under production. Saved By The Bell, the reboot, is watched first on that service by 3 out of 10 new subscribers. They greenlit that for a season 2. They need much, much more than that reboot to be considered serious competition for the other streamers.

Apple TV+ – It feels like every time we write about them it’s hey, they did this cool and then this long silence waiting for something else to splash. They need to be like a meteor storm in the ocean of streaming content, pelting it all over the place with fresh, original content. I really thought it would be them gobbling up Quibi’s library of content instead of our next and final mainstream streaming player ….

Roku. We need to mention them since they seem to be trying to be more than just a streaming aggregator. A smart move considering Chromecast with Google TV and Amazon Fire are hot competitors in that space. Personally, I just can’t get all that excited about watching movie or TV shows with ads. I know, I know, classic TV had commercials and it’s a space of interest to many people, we aren’t among them. We spend very little of our streaming time watching free, ad-supported channels. What about you?

I mean, if you’re spending on paid streaming channels, why wouldn’t you watch most/all of what you can on those first? It seems like these FREE channels are more for those who are spending very little on streaming channels, maybe only subscribing to Netflix and just using the free channels for everything else? There’s nothing wrong with that strategy and it’s probably a lot more budget conscious.

We don’t spend much on entertainment, especially with theaters currently closed, so a small portion of money we would have spent in theaters is being spent on streaming subscriptions. I don’t think this is going to change that much in 2021.

Where are your movie and TV watching dollars going to go in 2021? Tell us about it in the comments.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #4 of 2021 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu

Netflix: Jan 20

Weekend #4 of 52 (1/21 – 1/24/2021) for 2021 Picks By Streaming Service

Back for more streaming action!

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.

NETFLIX Movies

  1. *Sightless (Jan 20)
  2. The White Tiger (Jan 22)

NETFLIX TV

  1. *Spycraft – Season 1 – (Jan 20)
    Miniseries
  2. *Call My Agent – Season 4 – (Jan 21)
  3. *Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba – Season 1 – (Jan 22)
  4. *Fate: The Winx Sage – Season 1
  5. *Jurassic World: Camp Cretacious – Season 2

Disney+

  1. *Wandavision – Season 1, Episode 4
  2. *Pixar Popcorn – miniseries – (Jan 22)
    Animated, shorts

HBO Max Movies

  1. *Don’t Let Go – 2019 (Jan 23)
  2. Person of Interest

HBO Max TV

  1. Looney Tunes Cartoons – Season 1C (Jan 21)
  2. The New Adventures of Old Christine (Jan 22)
  3. Painting With John – Series Premiere

Amazon Prime

  1. Jessy and Nessy (Jan 22)
  2. *Flack – Season 1 (Jan 22)

Hulu Movies

  1. *Terra Willy (Jan 22)

Hulu TV

  1. *The Sister – 4-part miniseries (Jan 22)

Bonusfinder Will Pay Someone $500 to Binge Netflix and Eat Pizza

Here’s one way to celebrate National Pizza Day on February 9 (see other National Days here: May 20 is Roku #NationalStreamingDay + List of 2020 National Days): get paid to binge watch series on Netflix and report back findings.

…the team at BonusFinder want to spread some cheer by opening a new role where you’ll be paid to watch Netflix and eat takeout pizza. What better way to celebrate National Pizza Day on February the 9th, than getting paid to sit back, relax and enjoy some quality pizza and online entertainment.

Get Paid $500 to Watch Netflix and Eat Pizza 🍕Bonusfinder US

There have been various contests and programs paying people to watch movies. We’ve written about them from time to time and will likely continue to share them here and there when we come across them. We’re not affiliated with this website or being compensated in any way for this post, it is simply something we found interesting and are sharing here.

Good luck to whomever “wins” this position 🙂

Fiery $75 Candle That Smells Like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Vagina Bursts Into Flames in UK Home

Wasn’t aware that Iron Man’s right hand lady, Pepper Potts, er, Gwyneth Paltrow who plays the character sells expensive scented candles … of a very personal nature.

But smells like she does.

“This candle started as a joke between perfumer Douglas Little and GP,” reads the website. “The two were working on a fragrance, and she blurted out, “Uhhh..this smells like a vagina’ — but evolved into a funny, gorgeous, sexy, and beautifully unexpected scent. (That turned out to be perfect as a candle.)”

Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘vagina’ candle explodes in UK woman’s home: report | Fox Business

One of those candles smells like her (?) vagina — lol, no, this isn’t a gag . Despite the strangeness, this candle apparently had some kind of chemical malfunction and exploded inside a UK homeowner’s living room.

Who buys candles smelling like somebody else’s private parts? Ok, for those of you who love that smell, do you burn that in your house when you invite friends over. “Hey, what’s that smell? Oh, that’s Pepper Potts? Nice!” Over the family dinner do you remark about the smell of vagina?

Yeah, ridiculous. And priced way outside of what any candle should ever cost. $75?!? You can subscribe to Disney+ for an entire year or spend a few hours enveloped by feminine aroma? Let’s see …

This is familiar territory for Paltrow, see: LOL – Gwyneth Paltrow admits to having a “dirty sense of humor”

Not knocking anybody who wants to buy these candles, of course. Spend your money wherever and however you want. You worked hard for it. Us? Hard, hard, hard, hard — pun completely intended — pass.

Screech, Dustin Diamond, from Saved By The Bell Has Stage 4 Cancer

When Peacock rebooted Saved By The Bell (the original show Kara was much more into than I) it was without the funny outcast, Screech, joining the gang.

Sadly, for Screech fans, it’s real life bad news for actor Dustin Diamond who played the goofy character, as various sources are reporting that he has stage 4 cancer and receiving treatment.

Reportedly, he had been in negotiation to appear in a season 2 of the reboot, should it have been greenlit. He’s going to need the money for treatment, according to the article linked below, because cancer treatments can cost upwards of $150,000/year.

With only a few hundred dollars left from his Saved by the Bell salary, Diamond threw himself into any projects he could score. That meant even doing a sex tape in 2006 and selling his t-shirt collection to save his home from foreclosure. He appeared in Celebrity Fit Club as the “bad guy” because it paid more. Diamond also published a book, “Behind the Bell,” in 2009 which drove a wedge between former cast members when they were painted in a negative light.

‘Saved by the Bell’: Does Dustin Diamond Have the Net Worth To Support Him During His New Health Crisis?

It’s both a blessing and a curse to be a young actor, playing an iconic TV role, getting typed, and then struggling to find acting work afterwards. On one hand, the fact that you ever are remembered for any part as an actor is a rare thing, but then to have it prevent you from being casted in future work is a bummer.

Whatever happened with Dustin Diamond’s acting career, cancer is the ultimate bummer. Someday maybe we’ll find a cure. I believe we will. In the meantime, here’s hoping Dustin Diamond survives this and maybe we’ll see him acting somewhere again.

A curious cancer-related sidenote is in the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai in season two Johnny revisits one of his old Cobra Kai pals who has cancer and they go out riding their motorcycles one last time. That actor really did have cancer and this was his last role before passing on. Sometimes real life and fantasy converge.

To end on a more positive note, and for fans of the reboot of Saved By The Bell? Season 2 has been greenlit.

We’ll Get To Watch Godzilla vs. Kong two Months Earlier … Maybe

New release date as of this writing: March 26, 2021

This is a bit surprising.

Godzilla vs. Kong was originally planned for March 13, 2020 and soon joined a long list of movies delayed. Eventually it was pushed back to 2021 and then Warner Bros. announced they were going to release 17 movies in 2021 in both theaters (that were open) and on HBO Max for 31 days, including Godzilla.

This announcement rattled financial partner for the film Legendary, because they could have gotten $200 million for a direct sale to Netflix, so Warner Bros. sprang into damage control.

The story has a new twist.

Warner Bros, in the wake of making good with Legendary on the simultaneous release of Godzilla vs. Kong in theaters and on HBO Max, will be releasing the movie on March 26 instead of May 21.

‘Godzilla Vs. Kong’ Jumps Up To March In HBO Max & Theatrical Debut – Deadline

Yeah, that’s right, they aren’t going to wait until May, we’re going to get to see this the end of March. Maybe.

Have to add the maybe part because these movie dates are moving around at a crazy pace. I think this one might be pretty safe because HBO Max isn’t going anywhere because of the pandemic. The only part open to great change is how many domestic theaters will be open on March 26.