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: In The Earth

As we look at the IMDB story description for this week’s new movie in theaters, it can’t help but give a sense of de ja vus. A little bit, anyway.

As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist and park scout venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run.

IMDB: In The Earth

Yeah, it sounds timely, at the least. Obviously, it’s going a more horrific, dramatic direction than what the world is currently going through, but it will be interesting to see a movie that has this central theme and idea during the current time.

I remember following 9/11 there was a lot of concern about being able to cover anything involving buildings coming down, terrorists in planes and the like. This isn’t quite the same thing, of course, but it’s vaguely reminiscent.

The trailer:

We will be watching this week, perhaps tonight, as tickets haven’t been reserved yet, but we’re talking it over. What about you? Anybody else seeing this movie this weekend in theaters?

In The Earth opens wide in United States theaters on April 16, 2021.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #16 of 2021 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Shudder

Netflix: April 16

Weekend #16 of 52 (4/15 – 4/18/2021) for 2021 Picks By Streaming Service

Let’s hope this is the start of us back on track for this being published on Thursdays, because as friendly reader, Jo, pointed out last weekend, this is less useful for others if/when it’s posted later than Thursday.

However, fair warning going forward, it may still be posted later in the weekend and maybe sometimes not at all if the day job keeps me away.

We both love watching movies, and this is our weekly reference, too, of what we want to watch and/or what’s new on the various streaming channels, so it remains a useful guide we want and kind of need too.

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. *Dad Stop Embarrassing Me (Apr 14)
  2. *Law School
  3. *The Soul
  4. *Why Did You Kill Me?
  5. *Dark City Beneath The Beat (Apr 15)
  6. *The Master
  7. *Ride or Die
  8. *Synchronic (Apr 16)
  9. Arlo The Alligator Boy
  10. Crimson Peak
  11. Into The Beat
  12. Rush
  13. Why Are You Like This?
  14. The Zookeeper’s Wife

NETFLIX TV

  1. *The Circle – Season 2 (Apr 14)
  2. *Fast and Furious Spy Racers: Season 4: Mexico (Apr 16)

Disney+ Movies & TV

  1. *Big Shot (Apr 16)
  2. *Earth Moods
  3. *Treasure Buddies
  4. *White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf
  5. *National Geographic: Earth Moods Volume I
  6. *Primal Survivor (S5)
  7. *The Kid Who Would Be King
  8. *RIO

HBO Max

  1. *Infinity Train, Max Original Season 4 Premiere (Apr 15)
  2. The Dark Knight Rises (Apr 17)
  3. Mare of Easttown, Limited Series Premiere (Apr 18)

Amazon Prime Video

  1. *Burden – 2020 (Apr 14)
  2. Cézanne Et Moi -2017
  3. Terror’s Advocate – 2007
  4. Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (Apr 16)
  5. Somewhere (2010)
  6. Wander (2020)
  7. Side Effects (Apr 18)

Hulu

  1. *Fly Like A Girl – 2020 (Apr 16)
  2. Songbird – 2020
  3. Modern Persuasion – 2020)   
  4. Thelma – 2017

Shudder

  1. *The Last Drive-in With Joe Bob Briggs (Apr 16)

Opening 4-16-2021 in Theaters: In The Earth

Thursday, week #16 of 2021 (4/16 – 4/18/2021).

As we work our way toward Mortal Kombat next weekend, we’re down to one new movie in theaters times again. This week a movie we haven’t seen much marketing for to date. Timely horror as it deals with a world ravaged by a pandemic.

In The Earth

Must admit some reluctance to see a movie about a pandemic in the middle of a pandemic. It’s like watching an airplane disaster movie while inflight. Then again, beggars can’t be choosers in these once again lean new release in theaters movie times.

That all aside, the trailer looks, well, watch it and judge yourselves. I like the inverted A in the title graphic.

Anticipation: 3/10

Wherever you are watching movies this weekend, happy watching to you!

As of June 15, 2021 Google Play Movies Becomes YouTube

Caught this news first in my email, courtesy of Google. They are ditching Google Play Movies & TV and putting your library of purchased movies & TV shows, if you have any, under your YouTube account. I just checked and our half dozen or so movies are there already.

Yes, don’t worry, you aren’t losing any of your existing movies & TV shows. This is purely a reorganizational move. It isn’t like what Walmart did with Vudu (see: Fandango Buys Vudu from Walmart – What Does This Mean For Both Services?). In reality when Walmart went after Amazon with their Walmart+ service, they should have kept Vudu and competed more directly against Prime Video as an added feature for members, but that is just our opinion (see: Walmart Plus launches September 15, maybe they should have kept Vudu)

Does this mean Google Play is going away completely or is it being kept only for apps and games? The word “play” doesn’t really invoke movie watching, it sounds much more interactive and fits games better. You can’t buy movies and TV shows on Steam, so maybe that is the direction Google Play is headed competitively.

Google is no stranger to moving and shutting down its services. Just do a simple Google search and you’ll see how many services they’ve shut down over the years (Wikipedia maintains a Discontinued Google Services page). Again, this isn’t a complete shutdown, just reorganization of content from one service to another and Google Play will remain, only not for movies & TV. YouTube is more logically suited, especially since they have the YouTube TV streaming live TV service they are selling. Our guess is what this is about, to keep these services together and to not require their customers to app skip to watch movie and TV shows in their libraries.

Still, when I think of YouTube, it is user-created video content, podcasts and the like, not Hollywood movies and TV shows. You? Maybe this is my own hangup. Keep in mind we have our own YouTube channel for Just Left Theateer Movie Reviews — so we obviously support YouTube. If you haven’t subscribed, please do. Every movie we see in theater we record a video as we leave the theater — or as shortly thereafter as we can.

Feel free to speculate or share what you know in the comments below.

Here’s What Happened To Frankenstein’s Custom Death Race 2000 Corvette

Probably my most favorite car movie of the 70s was Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000. The movie starred Sylvester Stallone as Machine Gun Joe and David Carradine as Frankenstein. The cars were all designed with themes, including an alligator-look for Frankenstein’s mean green killing machine.

Curious whatever happened to the car, we Googled and learned it went from a display in a museum to a private collection in 2002 and ultimately auctioned off to another collector.

This car was designed by James Powers and constructed by Dean Jefferies, with additional work performed by George Barris prior to completion. It follows the movie’s storyline of being built from a hodge-podge of vehicles, featuring an unusual combination of a Volkswagen chassis, Corvair air-cooled, dual carburetor power plant with a 3-speed manual transmission and Corvette-style body riding on custom wheels and BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires. This show-stopping head turner also features a reptilian-like “spiked spine,” intimidating “teeth” up front, Green diamond-pleated interior with wrapped steering wheel, unique wind screen and custom tail lights. This car was formerly on display in a museum, and has been in the MY Garage Museum collection since 2002.

Custom Death Race 2000 Corvette | T236 | Indy 2015

$20,000 USD doesn’t seem like that much money for this extremely rare specialty movie car, especially if it works. Not that I’d be an interested buyer, but can you imagine pulling up to the grocery store in Frankenstein’s ride?

Voyagers⭐️⭐️½

Voyagers – PG-13 – 1 hr 48 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Thursday April 8, 2021
AMC Kent Station 14 – Kent, Washington
18th new movie seen in theater in 2021

Earth’s natural resources have been ravaged and is dying, leading to a search for a planet nearby that could sustain human life. A planet if discovered, but it will take 86 years to travel there. A crew of 30 children is groomed, growing into teens by the time the flight takes off. One adult teacher joins the mission which hopes to have these teens grandchildren populate the distant planet, should they arrive.

This is almost entirely a story aboard a ship. Might have made a good play, but it’s a bit weak as a movie. Think Lord of The Flies in space and you kind of have something like what this reproduces.

Tye Sheridan who we last saw in Ready Player One is an actor with seemingly one dramatic expression. I don’t know if it’s wonder or dumfounded but it gets tiring after 30 minutes of this movie. He doesn’t strike me as a leader and unconvincingly plays one here.

The movie isn’t all bad. There are moments which kind of redeem it, like the whole issue of “taking the blue” a drug meant to subdue their inner desires. That was what I thought the movie would be about in the trailer, but that is only part of the tale. Like there would be some grand conspiracy.

Sat on this review for a few days, trying to see what this movie left behind. Like so many new movies we’ve seen since the pandemic begin, there just wasn’t a lot of soul there. Sure, we’ve seen a few good movies here and there. This isn’t one of them.

So, we left the theater, recording our non-spoiler video review and both agreed this movie was … just an OK experience. Not terrible, but not good. The box art teases that this might be a more raunchy space film than it is. Something like a hyper-sexed up Ammonite in space with a bunch of horny teens. Why couldn’t we get those Voyagers? No, not recommended.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️½ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️½ (Kara)

Problems with Cheap Smart TVs Powered By Roku?

Sluggish Roku menu navigation. It’s true. We bought a 65″ super cheap TV and sometimes navigating through the Roku menu is like walking through quicksand.

There is a reason for this — and it’s not entirely Roku’s fault — or is it?

Scanning reviews for inexpensive smart TVs from Roku-powered brands including not just TCL, but also Hisense and Westinghouse, a theme emerges. Users seem to complain about a preponderance of product defects, like cracked screens, as well as an overall feel of cheap build quality. That’s what you get with cheaper consumer electronics. But a more common theme is an overall sluggishness of the Roku OS on these sets. 

Roku’s Looming Problem? A Lot of Those Cheap Smart TVs Aren’t Any Good | Next TV

So, by targeting low-end, cheapest of the cheapest Smart TVs, Roku could be underpowered, which is likely causing some of the slow responsiveness.

TCL might be the ticket if you want a cheap, non-Roku-powered TV, see: Chinese Backdoor Scare in non-Roku powered TCL Smart TVs. Or maybe the answer for a faster streaming smart TV is to go with Sony, Samsung, etc.

Will Creed 3 Without Stallone Still Be A Rocky Movie?

All 8 Rocky Movies ranked by us, see: Ranking Stallone’s Rocky and Creed Films

Sylvester Stallone is restating that his iconic character, Rocky, won’t be in the third Creed movie. I don’t know if this means Rocky is being killed off, sent off screen for retirement or whatever, but Stallone isn’t going to be in the next Creed movie. I mean, he’s publicly stating that, anyway. Maybe he’s still in as a cameo, archival footage, part of the training montage, something.

“Yeah, I think that Sly let it be known that he wasn’t coming back for this one but I think, you know, his essence and his spirit… there’s always going to be a little bit of Rocky within Adonis,” Jordan said. “But this is a Creed franchise, and we really want to build this story and this world around him moving forward. So, it’s always respect and always a shit-ton of love for what he’s built, but we really want to push and navigate Adonis forward and the family that he created. So, hopefully you guys will love what I’m thinking… what we’re cooking up. I think it’s going to be something special.”

Michael B. Jordan on Why Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Isn’t in Creed 3

This all makes me wonder if Creed will be a Rocky movie any longer without Rocky in it? It sounds like they are making this a Creed franchise now. Stallone is no spring chicken so sooner or later he had to retire the role, but not sure I’m looking as forward to a Rocky franchise movie without Rocky. It’s kind of like Indiana Jones without Indy.

That’s not saying they can’t expand on Creed and maybe severing ties with Stallone while he is still alive and able to appear as Rocky is the right move to move on, but it feels like the project will be missing something.

Then there was this nonsense from Stallone about working on a Rocky prequel movie last year, see: Rocky in an immigration issue movie? Please, no. Believe that idea has morphed into a TV series on one of the streaming channels now, but not sure if it’s been picked up or not. Hmm, will have to wait and see. Probably one of those TV series I watch the first episode and decide whether to stay or bail.

Will have to wait and see what Creed 3 delivers. Sounds like they don’t have a script fully fleshed out yet, so this is all just guesswork at the moment. Maybe Stallone swoops in at the studio’s request and appears one more time. I mean if they are going to do a story with Mr. T and/or Clubber Lang, how can Rocky not be in the story? Could be Clubber’s child, as was Drago’s in the last Creed film but neither Mr. T or Stallone around to revisit their character

All the movies I grew up with are changing, and although inevitable due to Hollywood’s dubious flirtation with sequels, it’s sad. Would be nice to see them leave alone these franchises until 50+ years or so have gone by (wait, Rocky was in the 70s, so it has been almost 50 years!)

Do you want to see a Creed sequel without Rocky (Stallone) in it? Do you think it’s the right time for Stallone to move on?

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #15 of 2021 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Shudder

Netflix: April 9

Weekend #15 of 52 (4/8 – 4/11/2021) for 2021 Picks By Streaming Service

Spring for streaming. Let’s see what’s happening this weekend.

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. *What Lies Below – 2021 (Apr 4)
  2. *Coded BIas (Apr 5)
  3. *The Last Kids On Earth: Happy Apocalypse To You – Animated (Apr 6)
  4. *The Way of the House Husband (Apr 8)
  5. *Thunder Force (Apr 9)
  6. *Have You Ever Seen Fireflies
  7. *Night In Paradise
  8. *The Stand-in (Apr 10)

NETFLIX TV

  1. *The Big Day – Collection 2 (Apr 7)
  2. *Diana: The Interview That Shook The World (Apr 11)

Disney+ Movies & TV

  1. *Disney Future-Worm! (Apr 9)
  2. *Disney Kick Buttowki: Suburban Daredevil (S1)
  3. *Disney Kick Buttowki: Suburban Daredevil (S2)
  4. *Disney Secrets of Sulphur Springs: Time After Time (S1 Finale)
  5. *Man of the House
  6. *Mark Twain and Me
  7. *Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale
  8. *Cesar Millan: The Real Story

HBO Max

  1. *The Other Two – Season 1 (Apr 9)
  2. *The New Mutants – 2020 (Apr 10)
  3. *The Nevers – TV Series (Apr 11)

Amazon Prime Video

  1. *Them – TV Series (Apr 9)
    Stephen King said the first episode scared him!
  2. Noah (Apr 10)
  3. G.I Joe Retaliation

Hulu

  1. *Everything’s Gonna Be Okay: Season 2 Premiere (Apr 9)
  2. Rebel: Series Premiere
  3. The Standard (2020)  
  4. Stars Fell on Alabama (2021)
  5. The Day I Became a God: Season 1, Epsiodes 1-12 (DUBBED) (Apr 10)
  6. Desierto (2015)          
  7. Knuckledust (2020)    

Shudder

  1. Don’t Panic – 1988 (Apr 5)
  2. Zombie For Sale – 2019
  3. *Creepshow – Season 2, Episode 2 (Apr 8)

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E6 – The Counter-Clock Incident ⭐️⭐️½

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
October 12, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 6 – “The Counter-Clock Incident”

The Enterprise, complete with a dignitary, the first captain, Commodore April, of the Enterprise (not Pike), encounters a ship traveling toward them and a Supernova at an unbelievably fast speed — warp 34. Captain Kirk tries to hail the ship, but they aren’t responding, so they put a tractor beam on it, barely slowing it down to warp 32. The captain of the other ship speaks in a language they don’t understand. They realize the language is running in reverse. They play the message in reverse and hear the captain saying the Enterprise is interfering with an important mission.

The alien ship ends up pulling them inside the Beta Naobi system in an unusual reverse time universe.

Summary

Commodore April being named as the first captain of the Enterprise is a bit jarring if you’re familiar with Captain Pike in the Original Series. Obviously, this wasn’t canon. Also, it’s another time travel of sorts story and, unfortunately, Star Trek has too many of those. The difference here, is they don’t actually visit a place in the past, they just travel so fast that time moves differently, which is scientifically accurate. Everybody grows younger, which will remind of several other plotlines.

Mrs. April’s voice is clearly Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) which is distracting. I’ve noticed that James Doohan and Nichelle Nichols voiced extra characters, but their voices were disguised poorly. This had me thinking a different character was talking.

This episode, at least for Star Trek, seems cliched, even for the 70s, but other movies would use the same concept later (Benjamin Button). It’s an interesting and entertaining episode, despite the story not feeling as fresh as it probably was in the 70s. I don’t remember seeing this episode before.. It’s just ok, but not recommended.

This is the last of the 22 episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series for us to review. Despite a few weak episodes, somewhat outdated animation it was nice to hear the original series crew voicing the characters. I wish they would hae gotten some more guest stars, because it feels a little low budget sometimes, but overall, it’s too bad they didn’t make more than 22 episodes. The series overall is well worth checking out.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️½