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 100+ Any Movie or TV Episode June 1 – September 30, 2020
LAST: : Watch 30+ Action/Thriller/Suspense movies from Mar 1 – May 31, 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.

Ad-Supported Streaming Gaining More Traction in 2020

Just ask Shaggy how easy it is to blow out dynamite — metaphor: ad distraction during movie

While I understand commercials with TV shows, I’m not a fan of ads interrupting the movie watching experience. An ad or two before the movie starts, fine. Commercials every 20-30 minutes or worse ruin the viewing experience.

We’re in a relatively ad-free premium subscription era right now, but that could change going forward if our premium subscribers think they need to get a piece of the ad pie. Selling whatever we do is big business, just ask Google and Facebook.

Read between the lines. These media companies are now showing more interest in maximizing the monetization potential of streaming video than they ever have in the past. Better monetization potential of a growing number of AVOD viewers means it finally makes sense to make more deliberate investments in the model, which in turn grows the audience, which in turn boosts ad revenue, etc. Peacock and Tubi alone added nearly 30 million new viewers between them in just a few months. Just wait until these media companies really pull out all the stops.

Ad-Supported Streaming Is About to Dent Subscription Streaming, and Crush Cable

This makes me less than excited to think of HBO Max adding an ad-supported pricing tier in 2021 (see: Does an ad-supported HBO Max make sense, really?). Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ have never had them, Peacock launched with ads, Hulu has them, but they tend not to be not too intrusive when watching movies, they are much more noticeable with TV shows. CBS All Access has them, again, not too intrusive with their smaller selection of movies, but definitely noticeable with TV shows.

I think we’re all conditioned that LIVE TV has commercials. Enjoy watching live sports from time to time and will be watching at least some of the election debates coming up. The commercials being there are to be expected. It’s just a different thing when you’re watching movies. It’s OK for ads at either end. Previews before movies are fine, as long as not too many.

Want To See McG’s Darker Terminator Salvation Director’s Cut?

We’re in the era of Director’s Cuts, so throw a dart at your favorite movie and maybe the director will emerge and say he or she has some super secret squirrel cut.

The #ReleaseTheMcGCut fans are starting to rise over his darker director’s cut of Terminator Salvation.

McG’s contribution to the series has since been the subject of some reappraisal, with fans claiming that the director’s cut is an improvement on the original theatrical film, as it came closer to embracing the Terminator franchise’s horror movie roots. During a recent interview with CBR, the director confirmed that an even darker director’s cut of the film exists, prompting fans to trawl through rumors, shooting scripts, animatics, and production detritus to work out what was cut from the original Terminator Salvation.

Terminator Salvation: What Happens In McG’s Darker Director’s Cut

When talking about The Snyder Cut, I already weighed in saying that these alternate cuts are a good idea (see: More Director’s and Extended Cuts, yes, Snyder Cut is Coming To HBO Max in 2021) for streaming channels looking to add exclusive bonus content. There is some confusion that could develop if/when an alternate version is seen as better than the original film, but I think the concept of additional versions is worthwhile.

Especially during these times when production of new content has been interrupted. The pipeline is going to need some sort of additional content down the road when the already produced and completed content is exhausted. I’m looking at Netflix because they seem to have a movie theater level of weekly exhibition new titles and yet there was some period where new content production was halted.

Evel Knievel vs. Disney’s Duke Caboom Legal Dispute

Am no legal scholar here, but the similarities between the two pictured above are undeniable.

Does Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4 infringe upon Evel Knievel? That’s the question Evel’s son, Kelly, and his company are asking the courts to decide in a lawsuit aimed square at Disney.

A company called K&K Promotions just filed suit against Disney, Pixar and whole a bunch of their subsidiaries … claiming the stuntman driver toy that Keanu Reeves voiced in the latest ‘Toy Story’ flick is a clear and obvious rip-off of the legendary American motorcycle daredevil.

Disney Sued Over ‘Toy Story 4’ Duke Caboom Resemblance to Evel Knievel

We’re guessing the likeness alone wasn’t what immediately triggered the lawsuit, but the toy that Disney made of the stunt cycle. There can only be one wind-up stuntcycle from a daredevil motorcycle, and that’s the classic Evel Knievel Ideal toy. Once upon a very long time ago, I had one of those badboys and it was more fun than any toy has the right to be.

When you start getting into the toy licensing business, it’s a whole other issue. There’s a series on Netflix right now covering just how big the toy business is for franchises and that’s something Evel’s estate can’t overlook.

Not sure why Disney didn’t just go all in and buy a license for Evel? Wouldn’t that have been even more exciting in Toy Story 4 to have an Evel Knievel daredevil toy in the movie? Talk about crossbranding galore.

No idea how this turns out, but when the courts are involved it can get expensive quickly.

33+ Tenet Reviews – a movie created that must be rewatched for clarity?

Tenet ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Here we are, four weeks since Tenet was released in the United States. Box office sales are waning, but it still holds the #1 spot and has amassed $42 million domestically and almost $300 million worldwide, mostly due to a lack of any serious competition. I mean, The New Mutants was #2 for sales. That says it all.

One of the things most enjoyable after watching a movie, is seeing what others thought about it, reading reviews, soaking in those myriad of tidbits in a movie like this one, which seems engineered specifically toward repeat watching.

If you’re in the camp who thinks it’s unsafe in your area going to theaters at the present time, then a movie which by design encourages repeat viewing is going to be less desirable to see in theaters. I have to wonder if this is playing a part to some moviegoer’s hesitation?

Tenet runs dangerously close to being too clever for itself. Maybe even crosses the line here and there.

We’re probably not going to rewatch it in the theaters, instead waiting for streaming. Well, at least Kara won’t watch it at all again, I’m guessing. Me, on the other hand, I see the need to take another shot at solving the Rubik’s Cube that is Christopher Nolan’s newest enigmatic film.

Also, I missed just how tall Elizabeth Debicki is in the movie. She’s 6’3″ in real life and movies can play with depth, but there is one scene mentioned in a Vulture article that drills home her tallness. In fact, the whole article made me chuckle at how hyper-focused it is on her Amazonian height.

This is when Debicki, seated in the back seat of the car, like, behind the passenger seat, raises her leg above the arm rest, reaches across the front seat, and clicks the door unlocked, so she can open the rear passenger door. I’m being deadass: Elizabeth Debicki is tall enough to unlock a car’s backdoor by dismantling the driver-side child look control from the backseat. With her feet. This isn’t The Prestige, there is no magic trick. She is just that tall.

Just How Tall Is Elizabeth Debicki in Tenet?

lol, we get it, Debicki is tall. Not freakish tall, really, but the average height of a woman is 5′ 4″ according to Google highlighted search results (the go-to for answers, of course) and she’s almost a foot taller.

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Should moviegoers have to watch a movie more than once to enjoy it?

Nolan asks a question I can’t remember ever asking myself before: what if a film is created to intentionally require people to rewatch it to fully comprehend all aspects of the story? I’m not sure if that was Nolan’s plan here, but I’ve read multiple say this in reviews; that watching Tenet once isn’t enough.

I’m going against that theory. A film isn’t some very abstract piece of art. It isn’t a sculpture or a bunch of trash assembled in a curious faction. I’ve seen art pieces that, literally, are made out of trash and thought: huh?

I would like to see Tenet again, but as said in our video review and at above, this will probably not happen in the theater. Not sure how or if this will improve or decrease my overall feelings toward the movie.

Regardless your feelings on the complexities of the story, there enough people out there complaining that the plot is anywhere from “convoluted” to “confusing” to “unclear” and many more. A lot of people didn’t get the inverse time travel stuff.

Time travel movies can be difficult to follow and almost always contain some sort of paradox that questions the overall story logic.

After only one viewing I honestly can’t go deep enough into the story to say whether or not the story makes complete sense. Should I have to? That’s a valid complaint.

I’m not used to rewatching movies for enhanced clarity and to learn more details. I did enjoy the technology component and am a fan of time travel stories, so, again (yeah, said it like three times) will probably return and will be curious to see what my feelings are on a second watch. Most likely that will happen on streaming.

But I’m not in any hurry to do so — which says something.

The Tenet palindrome and 10 x 10

The Tenet title backwards is ten spelled both ways, which is the amount of time of the final action scene (not in real time, but in a countdown timer). It would have been truly epic if the movie run time was exactly 10 x 10 = 100 minutes. Further constraining Nolan to get to the point a little more quickly than the 2 1/2 hours used.

Maybe in his next movie, he’ll challenge himself to use less than two hours to get the story told. Somebody needs to tell these established filmmakers that less is more.

The middle section of this movie felt like it could have been tightened more. I liked the ending and the beginning.

The movie is LOUD, like so loud Huey Lewis would complain “loud”

Remember that opening scene of Back To The Future where Huey Lewis plays a teacher reviewing talent and says of Marty McFly’s band, The Pinheads, “You’re just too loud.”

Marty McFly channels his inner Jimi Hendrix in Back To The Future … much to Huey Lewis’s dismay

That is how most of the IMAX movie experience is for Tenet. Like the volume is turned to 11, so much that at times I heard speaker buzzing. That’s too loud when you’re overdriving the speakers and you’re not at a Metallica concert. Not sure why Nolan wanted to overclock the sound volume, but think this contributed to complaints that some dialogue was difficult to hear.

We didn’t struggle to hear the dialogue, but both felt the volume was unnecessarily loud at times. We’re in a captive theater, we don’t need to have our ears hurt. You can wow us without discomfort, Mr. Nolan.

Reviews by Others

What do others think of Tenet?

Recommended

  1. tensecondsfromnow / film-authority.com: “…the big finale pulls things together with elan, and makes Tenet a satisfying film, even if it doesn’t provide quite the shock to the system that Inception did. If you only plan on leaving your current place of shelter to see one film in 2020, Tenet’s mix of bombast and sophistication sets an imperious, irresistable tone.”
  2. Annlyel Online (90/100): “For spectacle, it’s perfection. For storytelling, this is probably the most confusing movie I have ever seen.”
  3. Bookidote / Trang: “…a strong idea that works if you don’t think too hard about it, yet needs you to think hard about it to understand it. Spectacle and soundscape are both grandiose, as Nolan is known to do.”
  4. Caution Spoilers: “Ignore my 11 year old’s questionable statement that “the music in this is questionable,” as the score is top-notch even when it’s as head-hurting as the ideas. We were united in our four star ratings though, and our regular bafflement. A rewatch would risk becoming a “fill in the blanks” exercise, even though that’s probably an impossible task.”
  5. Cindy Bruchman (7/10): (letter directed to Mr. Nolan) “In Tenet, the chase scenes involving the time sequences were thrilling and complicated and gorgeous to watch. You are unique and clever. I don’t see how anyone would object to your thrilling scenes. I won’t.”
  6. Cinematic Doctrine: “Nolan’s latest film is one of those rare films that grow in estimation. I would rather have a bad experience during my first watch and a good experience every rewatch than the reverse. Tenet is that kind of wholly original experience needed to bring people back into a dark room with a big screen and a bunch of strangers, after six months of not doing so, not just once, but multiple times.”
  7. Drew’s Movie Blog: “I thought Tenet was GOOD. In classic Christopher Nolan fashion, this film has an ambitious concept with a very intricate plot that will certainly require multiple viewings to fully catch all of the details. As a fan of great action sequences, this film is chock full of amazing set pieces all done using practical effects for an absolutely stunning experience.”
  8. fivethreeninety: “…it’s a fantastic, cinematic experience, that should be seen by everyone. I know that despite the faults I see in it, I’d be up for watching it a couple more times.”
  9. Flicks & Pieces / Luke Kent (3.5/5): “A film which will benefit from repeat viewings, that will spark conversation, and that undoubtedly was put together with the shared cinema-going experience firmly in mind.”
  10. Funk’s House of Geekery (9/10): “This is another home run for Nolan, a perfect blend of action and science fiction. The only thing holding it back is the characters lacking a relatable motivation, and some of their decisions at key moments feel out of character. Make sure you see it twice, though, as it is beautifully disorientating.”
  11. Giadreams / The Movie My Life: “Overall, there’s certainly more to love about Tenet than not. As such, watch it because there is only one Christopher Nolan, and we must enjoy his creative gifts while we can!”
  12. hallymustang: “On future rewatches understanding it more might make it more enjoyable but the characters are underdone and beyond “The Protagonist” trying to save the world you don’t feel that invested in him. As a visual experience ‘Tenet’ is epic, as an entertaining movie it’s average.”
  13. Irfan Nordin / Irfan Film Reviews (8.5/10): “A visually dazzling puzzle for film lovers to unlock, Tenet serves up all the cerebral spectacle audiences expect from a Christopher Nolan production.”
  14. Jade / The U Reviews: “…boldly manipulates time to baffling and fascinating effect, stirring giddy excitement in sci-fi fans who yearn for a shiny new concept to unravel.”
  15. Jason’s Movie Blog (4.4/5): “Personally, I really liked this movie. Sure, the complexity of the narrative was a bit haphazard and could’ve streamlined a little more as well as some of the character developments for most of the feature’s players, but I thoroughly enjoyed the film and was completely engrossed from start to finish.”
  16. JustJen / Sometimes Objective Reviews: “Personally, I like a movie that keeps you thinking long after the credits. It’s only been a day but I have been hit with a few waves of crashing realisations over certain actions that took place in the movie. I might not have understood it when I was watching it, but it clicked later on.”
  17. Keith & The Movies (5/5): ” Christopher Nolan has once again done what he does best – create an exhilarating cinematic experience aimed at wowing you visually and challenging you intellectually. It’s story is sure to be too dense for some, especially those wanting more easy-going blockbuster fare. But for everyone else buckle up, put your thinking cap on, and enjoy the ride. We don’t get movies like this very often”
  18. Luke Atkins (8.5/10): ” I’d give it a 10/10 based on my love for theoretical physics—thus many of the film’s ideas, which materialize in breathtaking, novel ways. However, I bet that many viewers will give it around a 6 or 7, which is valid. I also don’t think that most critics will understand it, which will hurt the work’s reception. It is contrived and disorienting and ludicrous for a reason. But it’s still a superb, entertaining, genre-bending trip.”
  19. Phil The Bear’s Film Reviews: “Will your head hurt thinking about it afterwards? Probably. But that just means you get to enjoy it again as you start to piece together the intricate puzzle that Nolan has laid out for us.”
  20. Screenhub Entertainment: “I recommend that you be fully awake and pay attention to all the little details during your experience. You will be confused after a first viewing, which is normal. Give yourself the chance to see it a second time and search the internet to fully have the finale explained to you.”
  21. WCRobinson (8.5/10): “…is a rough diamond; the central conceit is basis for spectacular flashpoints, yet by over-explaining itself the film loses opportunity to inform character development. The innovative filmmaking is an impressive showcase for how to surprise within a medium and genre.”
  22. We Minored In Film / Julianne Ramsey: “…is well worth your time. It reminds you of the thrills and excitement missing since theaters closed, and reminds you that it’s an experience that really only a film on the big screen can provide.”
  23. Wonders In The Dark: “…is a strong, bold effort that invites repeated viewings, not to get past its aggressive sound mix, but to unravel the timelines of the three main characters who are complicated through the plot machinations of the movie.”

Not Recommended

  1. 9takes (5.5/10): “The movie is an elaborate effort that could reward its audience after several viewings and some YouTube trips, but for its presentation card (the crucial first time), it depends excessively on sensory overload to trap the viewer in its narrative maze. And while trapped, you’ll likely experience some form of discomfort. Inception (2010), which I consider to be its sort-of twin sibling, is a better movie. I’ll stick to that one.”
  2. Martin Raybould: “I soon ceased caring how inversions differed from straightforward time travel and by the end was prepared to root for Andrei in his quest to destroy humanity as we know it. At least if he succeeded it would put paid to any threat of a Tenet 2.”
  3. Rachel’s Reviews (4/10): “I appreciate that Nolan is pushing mainstream audiences and is not satisfied with the ordinary movie-going experience. Unfortunately sometimes he forgets that the basics of good cinema are important too- characters, story, intelligible dialogue, emotion etc. We need it all for the pretty images to mean something and make an impact. Sorry Nolan! Try again!”
  4. Reely Bernie (2.5/5): “I would say Tenet lines up with the Inception problem: It’s cold, overindulged in its own exposition, and goes on forever. And, like the Dunkirk problem, Nolan moves his characters around like pawns on his celluloid chessboard and positions any fleshed-out humanity into checkmate.”
  5. Robb Shepherd / 21 Word Review: “For a high-concept thriller, Tenet seems under-baked and best served with your brain switched off. Time for Nolan to rewind.”
  6. Ruth / Flixchatter Blog (2.75/5): “Lastly, while I still think Nolan is a visionary filmmaker, I’d love to see him tackle a smaller film (maybe under $50mil) and come up with something stronger narratively instead of just a big puzzle piece. That said, I’m glad I saw it on the big screen, and considering how confusing the movie is, the 150-minute running time actually doesn’t feel tedious or overlong.”
  7. Salt Lake Film Review / Matt Bullions: “…is a simple idea in theory, it’s basically Nolan’s Bond movie. However, it’s over-complicated just for the hell of it and it increasingly feels like Nolan is just making movies for himself. Tenet is not a movie to be enjoyed by the masses and I feel like even the most ardent Nolan apologists will find themselves scratching their heads.”
  8. Screen Zealots (2/5): “I hate that “Tenet” falls apart so spectacularly, because I think this could’ve been a terrific film with a whole lot more to say about the world we live in. Just because it is a “wtf did I just watch?” movie doesn’t mean it’s the profound work of a cinematic auteur.”
  9. Society Reviews: “This inversion plays with elements of time travel and parallel universes but doesn’t clarify the rules of it’s universe enough to make sense. The main character is a person the film purposely doesn’t name for the sake of the plot, but this creates a story that is devoid of emotion.  Washington is too mysterious for his own good and the only true interaction he has with the world is an odd pseudo-relationship with Elizabeth Debicki that never crosses the threshold of believablity.”
  10. Starloggers: “Tenet only calls for it just to watch the well-crafted visuals of inverted fights and car chases. But doing that will be easier and more rewarding when watching it at home instead of theaters. At least from your device or TV you can skip over the plodding and convoluted first half of the film and get right into the off-kilter action scenes.”
  11. Tom E / Plain Simple Tom Reviews: “As visually impressive as any other Nolan film, with good music, a willing cast, and clearly a lot of hard work having been put into it, but it buckles under the weight of its immense ambition and the ridiculously unfathomable plot, uneven sound design, and cold nature prove to be an unfortunate hindrance.”
  12. What Went Wrong or Right With? (5/10): “If you take away the tinkering with time, what you’re left with is an immaculate set and wardrobe but little in the way of substance. There’s only so many times you can watch a rich, upper-class man (or someone dressed as one) save the day without getting bored or gipping on your popcorn. The fact that this hero is black makes no real difference. This is just another Inception with elements of Batman Begins to please the spelunking, BASE–jumping crowd”
  13. When The Credits Roll: “I feel like I’m very ambivalent on the film, perhaps leaning towards liking it. I tend to prioritise character and theme work over large-scale cinematic flair and great technicals, so I’m probably not Tenet‘s ideal audience. Though I do think Nolan needs to sort out his problems with these things, lest his entire catalogue be tainted with machinated plot points and lifeless characters who are plot devices rather than fleshed out people.”

Linked above and wondering what would be cool 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!

BAD IDEA? AT&T Considering Viewing Ads on Cell Phone Reducing Bill a Few Bucks a Month

Nolan Sorrento tells the board that they can control up to 80% of the viewing area without causing seizure from excess ads (from the movie Ready, Player One)

Ads, everywhere ads, ads, ads. Movies, TV, you name it.

Remember Ready, Player One ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ the evil Nolan Sorrento wanted to put ads everywhere in the viewing space. It was a selling point if he took over the Oasis and could control the viewer area. This sort of ad intrusion is what ruins user experiences to the point of driving us away.

But FREE with ads means we can do more without $$$. Time is valuable or they wouldn’t make the offer. Our time is limited on earth and we should limit it being recipients for people trying to sell us stuff. The money you might spend avoiding the ads to begin with is probably less than what your impulses do with shopping. Aye, the rub.

While it might sound like I’m completely anti-advertising, I’m definitely not. Certainly not from a business standpoint. Even from a customer/user, ads are just fine in moderation and I, too, will click and buy from them sometimes.

The problem is too many people showing them on sites/apps/etc. don’t understand the concept of less is more. Subtle text ads in Google and Gmail are what made them what they are today. Don’t get me started on the excess advertising on FREE streaming sites like Crackle. How anybody can endure that streaming experience? Has it gotten better? Somebody let me know when it improves and I’ll give their site another try. In the meantime, whenever any movie I want to see is only streaming on Crackle, I pass.

So, not sure about you, but I hate the idea of viewing (even more!) ads on our cell phones, intrusively bugging us when simply trying to perform basic routine phone tasks. I use my phone to make phone calls, send text messages, take pictures, videos and email for business and personal use. I rarely even play games on my phone, although do have a few installed. Would rather use my tablet — bigger screen — for games. Also rarely use my phone to watch movies, again because of the screen size, see: Where Do You MOST Watch Movies? (Theater, TV, Computer, Tablet, Phone)

Surely, they won’t block quick calling 911 for emergency by showing some stupid game ad first. Hey, I’m bleeding out, but first need to watch Candy Crush ad before I can dial 9-1-1.

Absurd. I’m joking, that’s probably not even legal to do, but AT&T is certainly looking at adding ads and giving customers the option to view them and save a few bucks every month.

AT&T (NYSE:T) CEO John Stankey recently told Reuters that the telecom giant could launch ad-subsidized wireless plans within a year. Stankey claimed a “segment” of its customer base would likely accept some advertising on their phones “for a $5 or $10 reduction” in their monthly bills.

Would You View Ads for Cheaper Phone Service? AT&T Bets Yes

Saving $5-10/month when we pay hundreds a month now (family plan, live 5+ phones on there) is not even close to worth it. We’ll pass.

Would you enable ads on your cell phone even further interrupting what you do to save $5-10/month?

5 Movies COMING TO THEATERS in October 2020

Theaters: October 16

Somewhat surprisingly, there is one more wide release planned in October than September.

We’ve been following the historic movie theater scene in 2020 and what a year so far, huh? Not from amazing movies coming out and huge box office numbers — what could/should/might have been in some parallel universe — from everything that seems to prevent that from happening.

Brief recap. In mid March all US theaters closed. In late August they started reopening and as of this writing at the end of September an estimated 70% of theaters have not reopened. The two major markets, New York and California still have many closures, but I keep reading that they’re planning on reopening soon. In our local area — not too far from the Seattle area where most of this all started — a bunch of theaters, like a couple dozen at least, remain shuttered. These areas are still in Phase 2 of the local government shutdown and cannot reopen theaters yet. These local restrictions are, very slowly, being relaxed and unless there are missteps with the virus, should reopen before No Time To Die (ironic title, I must admit) is scheduled to come out.

Tenet, the biggest movie since the pandemic started launched hasn’t had the US box office sales hoped for. Blame on this in part is placed on the two major markets with theaters still closed. Meanwhile.

Netflix: Oct 7

Below you’ll find the movies listed as being released in theaters before month’s end as well as the streaming and VOD movies and at the bottom the movies that were originally planned to be released in September and delayed along with the current release dates, if known.

As has been the case since the end of March 2020, all titles remain subject to change, but since we’re actually seeing movies in theaters again, if this positive trend of reopening theaters continues, we should be able to get back to a schedule of releasing these coming soon lists sooner. In the meantime there’s no point in releasing ~45 days or so before the month due to the studio changes and postponements.

For historical reference, we’re including the films originally planned along with their rescheduled release dates, several have been pushed to 2021.

2020 Theater Releases
JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUNE
JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT

If you’d like to see a list of all movies released in 2020 click here (that post is being updated throughout the year). We have a post showing all wide release movies scheduled in 2021, but as of this writing is still in draft status due to frequent changes being made. Would like to say we’re confident no further changes will be made, but that isn’t realistic currently. We’re going to post it sooner or later, probably sooner. Several movies are planned for 2021 that we had planned to see in 2020 and there are still 2021 planned titles coming to fruition — maybe.

Here, for now, let’s focus on October 2020.

All movie release dates unless otherwise indicated are for the United States, the release dates in other countries can/may/will vary.

OCTOBER 2020 (5 movies)

  • The War With Grandpa – FIRST LOOK (Oct 9)
  • Honest Thief (delayed, moved from Sept 4 to Oct 9, move #2 to Oct 16)
  • 2 Hearts (delayed, Sept 11 to October 16)
  • The Empty Man – FIRST LOOK (delayed, August 7 to December 4, 2020, move #2 to Oct 23, 2020)
  • Fatale (moved AHEAD from Oct 20, 2020 to June 19, move #2 delayed to Oct 30)

    STREAMING PREMIERE
  • The Lie – FIRST LOOK (Oct 6) – Amazon Prime Video
  • Hubie Halloween – FIRST LOOK (Oct 7) – Netflix
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (delayed, moved from Oct 9 to Oct 16 streaming) – Netflix
  • Rebecca (Oct 21) – Netflix

    DELAYED/MOVED
    • Wonder Woman 1984 FIRST LOOK (delayed, moved from June 1 to Aug 24, 2020, move #2 to Oct 2, move #3 to December 25)
    • BIOS – (delayed, moved from October 2, 2020 to April 16, 2021) Tom Hanks
    • Venom 2 (delayed, moved from October 2, 2020 to TBA 2021, move #2 to June 25, 2021) Marvel MCU
    • Without Remorse (delayed, moved from September 18 to Oct 2, move #2 to Amazon Prime Video and “TBA 2020”)
    • Halloween Kills (delayed, moved from October 16, 2020 to Oct 15, 2021) Jamie Lee Curtis
    • Candyman (delayed, moved from June 1 to September 25, move #2 to Oct 16, move #3 to “TBA 2021”)
    • The Witches (delayed, moved from October 16, 2020 to TBA 2021) based on Roald Dahl story, has potential
    • Connected (delayed, moved from Oct 23 to “TBA 20202”)
    • Snake Eyes (delayed, moved from Oct 23 to Oct 22, 2021)
    • Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (delayed, moved from October 23, 2020 to January 22, 2021)
    • Death on the Nile (delayed, moved from Oct 9 to Oct 23, move #2 to Dec 18, 2020)

As we look through the DELAYED list above, those 11 delayed movies would have been a major boost to movie theater interest. Instead, we’ll get the five movies below … maybe.

The War With Grandpa
FIRST LOOK

(October 9)

Of the five wide release movies planned in October, this is #2 am most looking forward to seeing. It has a fun looking old vs. young vibe, especially with that wacky dodgeball scene. I like how De Niro asks the older woman if she wants to get back at the kids and she’s like “yeah!” This could be a dud or fun or … well, it could be underwhelming. I’m going to try and stay positive on this one. I mean, Christopher Walken, Robert De Niro … these guys are talented actors. Don’t lay an egg on us, please!

Honest Thief
(delayed, moved from Sept 4 to Oct 9, move #2 to Oct 16)

Somewhere I remember reading or seeing a video that Liam Neeson wanted to get out of action films. Or at least films like Taken, but maybe I’m dreaming, because this role seems very Taken-ish. Especially with his “I’m coming to get you” revenge line. I like Liam Neeson’s quiet guy goes postal routine.

With Wonder Woman pushed to Christmas day, this becomes the standout title of October in theaters. Am looking most forward to this one.

2 Hearts
(delayed, Sept 11 to October 16)

Lukewarm interest from the trailer, but of course we’ll see it regardless. This might be an OK date night movie, I don’t know.

The Empty Man
FIRST LOOK
(delayed, August 7 to December 4, 2020, move #2 to Oct 23, 2020)

No official trailer available as of this posting.

October is the perfect month for horror films. We had some good ones planned that got postponed, and no idea how this one will fare, should it go on as expected, but it’s #3 of the 5 for films I’m most looking forward to seeing in October.

I’m intrigued from the comic book aspect and more than a little surprised we don’t see a trailer for this yet. It’s like three weeks away and still no official trailer?

Fatale
(moved AHEAD from Oct 20, 2020 to June 19, move #2 delayed to Oct 30)

No official trailer available as of this posting.

I don’t know much of anything about this movie other than the plot synopsis on IMDB. That’s not enough to make it move from #5 of 5 for looking to see in October 2020.

Which of these movies, if any, are you looking forward to seeing?

Of the list of movies above released or delayed, what are you most looking forward to seeing? Are you going to wait for these movies to come to streaming or venture into theaters? If you’re still in a holding pattern, it’s all good. Let’s chat about it in the comments.

As always, wishing you all happy viewing, whatever you’re watching!

Shudder Reaches 1 Million Subscribers on September 23, 2020

Creepshow Season 2 is filming now for future release on Shudder, slated most likely for 2021

Congratulations to AMC’s Shudder for hitting the seven figure subscriber milestone.

“The addition of original series and movies turbocharged our growth and turned Shudder into a must-have service for anyone interested in great horror, thriller or supernatural entertainment,” said Miguel Penella, president of SVOD at AMC Networks, in a statement. “Our relentless focus on quality programming, innovative content and finding the best up-and-coming creators has enabled Shudder to break out in the crowded world of subscription services.

AMC’s Horror Streaming Service ‘Shudder’ Reaches 1M Subscribers | Cord Cutters News

This news comes in the middle of their 61 days of Halloween horror event that kicked off on September 1 and runs through Halloween 2020.

Being a huge horror fan myself, Kara finds it one of her least favorite genres, this news is even better. Have said it before that Shudder is a must have for hardcore horror fans. Even if you subscribe, binge what you want for a couple months, leave and then come back and do it again a few months later. Whatever your horror watching strategy, at some point Shudder should be part of it.

And nobody is paying me to say that, nor are there any affiliate links to the site here. We’re subscribers and horror fans, that’s all, passing along something good.

As far as niche streaming sites go, this one is one of my most favorites. DC Universe used to be, but they are getting out of the streaming movie and TV show business, going comic books only and their video content is moving to HBO Max.

Anything you’d like to see playing on Shudder? They do have some modern horror films, but their sweet spot is titles that are older and newer originals, like recently I watched Nicolas Cage in Color Out Of Space ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (recommended).

Of Course Box Office Revenue Last Year vs. This Year is Ugly

This graph from August 9 on closed theaters vs. open theaters. It’s a little better some 45+ days later, but still … (see: The Top 10 States Having The Most Movie Theaters Opened vs. Unopened)

It’s problematic seeing comparisons with last year box office stats vs. this year. There are so many mitigating factors, the biggest of which is The Thing That Should Not Be Named. We remain believers that moviegoers will return to theaters when the following things happen:

  1. Theaters nearby are reopened
  2. They feel it’s safe in their area to do so
  3. There are new movies they want to see

#1 is out of moviegoer’s control. If your favorite movie theater hasn’t opened yet and doesn’t plan to do so any time soon, then you’re not likely to return. #2 is more challenging to calculate because it involves multiple factors. #3 after #1 is the most important. If new movies are out that people want to see, very little else is going to matter. You know, build it and they will come. Sure, #2 will be a factor, but I think a bigger factor for most moviegoers — I’m talking the people who actually watch at least the average of 3-4 movies in theaters per year — is whether or not there is a movie they want to see.

The biggest movies people want to see, Tenet aside, just keep getting delayed and pushed back. Black Widow has dropped out and it’s up to No Time To Die (Bond #25) coming in November — maybe.

Back to the box office stats today. Why the numbers are wildly skewed?

We look around and see how many theaters, just in our local area, are still closed. Not just a few theaters, we’re talking like 25+ movie theaters dark and doing $0 business.

Factor in all that revenue, whatever it would be, if these theaters were open. None of that money is or can be reflected in the stats this year.

Over the weekend, North American ticket sales were an estimated $13.2 million, according to data from Comscore. For comparison, the U.S. and Canadian box offices hauled in $125.4 million during the same weekend last year thanks to the openings of “Downton Abbey,” “Ad Astra” and “Rambo: Last Blood.”

Movie theater stocks tank after another disappointing box office tally

We remember seeing the movies quoted above a year ago. Rambo: Last Blood was our first 4DX movie ever seen at the Red Rock Regal Cinema in Las Vegas. That theater is reopened and running, but we don’t live in Vegas. We haven’t been back to Vegas since March. We’re planning on going there again after the first of the year. Probably January, Feb or March, but it all depends on what’s going on in the world.

In the meantime, we’re adding our revenue to box office stats. We’re seeing all new wide release movies being released, which is a total of 7 movies since the theater opened south of us.

On a more positive note, Regal brought back FREE refills on large popcorn and soda (see: When Regal Cinemas Reopen “Temporarily” No FREE Refills for Large Popcorn and Soda)

The Last Shift ½

The Last Shift – R – 1 hr 30 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Friday September 25, 2020
Regal 16 Cinemas – Lacey, Washington
#35 new movie seen in theater in 2020

Stanley (Richard Jenkins) has been working at Oscar’s Chicken & Fish for 38 years. He works the graveyard shift, giving great care and concern to how he makes Oscar’s signature chicken and beef burgers for late night drunk customers and the occasional friendly customer that, of course, recognize the seasoned employee. It’s his last week of work before he finally retires and new employee Javon (Shane Paul McGhie) is training to take over.

From literally the opening scene, this movie nails the art of the pregnant pause — but not in a good way. Every scene, including the opening one is dragged out until the viewer is suffocated by the silence. Music, sound, we don’t need any of that apparently. We’re in a dark theater and silence works at times, but not throughout almost entirely 90 minutes of run time.

The hardest films not to spoil in a no-spoiler review are the ones that suck the most. This film sucks more than a brand new industrial vacuum cleaner. Like if you put your face within five feet, you’ll be violently yanked into a void of depression and anger.

We didn’t know this movie was a comedy until I sat to write this review. Leaving the theater in our video review below, warning, warning, warning, you’ll hear both our disgust at what a monumental failure of a movie this turned out to be.

It’s a LIMITED release, so maybe the good news is it probably isn’t available in one of the few domestic theaters that are open in the United States.

Let me distill some of the important bits, trying not to ruin the film review fast food equivalent of a round hamburger disc that’s dropped on the floor and used to play shuffleboard by the employees. This, incidentally is a scene in the film — seriously! Viewers must ask themselves in horror, did they go ahead and cook those burgers and serve them to some hapless customers? O-M-G.

In 1971 Stanley and his friends witnessed a black student being attacked. They fled the scene, but ultimately it was a case of a bunch of racist white students (just a guess though, we’re never actually shown or told their race), probably in a school that was almost entirely white (again, left open to viewer interpretation), lynching a black student. Stanley is supposed to be like your typical racist old white guy, because he’s tried to put this terrible lack of doing the right thing out of his mind all these years. Viewers will immediately hate this guy. At least sane ones will.

There’s no sympathy for a coward that doesn’t stick up for another human being, either during the incident or summoning authorities or, when there is a trial, not standing up and calling out everybody involved in the murder. So, Stanley is someone viewers dislike pretty much instantly. We can’t pity Stanley for working 38 years in a seemingly dead end job. We don’t worry about his sick mother that he saves up money to get out of the nursing home. We don’t care that he can’t drive. We don’t like Stanley.

We think Stanley’s an idiot for carrying around his life savings in an old backpack around a bad part of town. We don’t care that Stanley didn’t finish high school and that he’s portrayed as uneducated and feeble-minded. We just can’t like this character — at all.

Enter Javon, the new employee. He’s hired by Chaz (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), the black woman manager who might possibly be the most likable character of the trio — unfortunately, we only get bits and pieces of her in the movie. I wouldn’t call out her skin color in this review, except it’s relevant in that the movie is not so thinly disguised to show the juxtaposition of stereotypes, racial inequality and lopsided power. It’s a story that’s been being told for umpteen years now and keeps getting repeated.

The problem is Javon is about as cliched a character as we’ll ever see on screen. He’s young, black, on probation, a father who must either stay employed or go back to jail. It’s not Javon’s legal troubles that we dislike as viewers, it’s his bad attitude and choices. He has a baby child and a beautiful girlfriend and doesn’t spend time with them, he’d rather be outside with his bad influence friends smoking weed.

So Stanley trains Javon into a job he doesn’t want, but has to have because it’s better than jail. Javon’s constant bashing of how much the job sucks is neither funny, entertaining or enjoyable while Stanley’s loyal employee foundation crumbling is supposed to pull viewers through this miserable 90 minute slog of a film.

Yes, we hated this film. I don’t mean disliked it a little. Hated it. There are so many positive stories that can be told in these already dark times that we don’t need another not so cleverly disguised movie about a racist and oppressed reforming criminal dressed up as a fast food worker and his protégé in their last week together.

The movie’s title is bogus, too. It’s about a week’s worth of “last” shifts. What happens on the very last shift is what we’re leading up to, so credit an extremely tiny amount of suspense, but by then most viewers will not care. They will have given up on this aborted comedy. I mean, what is funny about any of this story? It’s sad, depressing and frankly will just make both races angry. Yeah, that’s what we need in these times, a comedy to incite further controversy that nobody needs for entertainment.

Earlier in the day I listened to an interview with the former Seattle Police Chief who quit abruptly. If you haven’t seen the craziness going on in downtown Seattle on the news, it involves a 10-block downtown section of the city taken over by an angry group of people. The police response to this was to do almost nothing. It’s literally an example of a gang of lawless people taking it to the streets. One can only feel sorry for any business or property owner inside this renegade ring. Our idiotic City Council wants to reduce the police budget by laying off 100 police officers, part of the moronic “defund the police” movement. That sure will help, right? Wrong.

So, after a morning listening to the former police chief making almost $300,000 a year and now retiring to a pension that will pay her six figures after working some 30 years on the force, reciting how she quit because she couldn’t do the job on the ham-string budget she was given. After this, my wife and I go out to be entertained watching a movie that is billed incorrectly as a comedy — because there isn’t anything remotely funny about it — we pay to watch a film that is the textbook example of unwatchable. The popcorn was old and terrible, the soda tasted like the syrup lines hadn’t been cleaned in the last week. Employees looked like zombies behind the counters waiting for somebody to come through to serve. Argh, what a horrible cinematic experience.

Other moviegoers were smart. Friday night at 8pm, where to be? Not at the movie theater for trash films like this. It was a ghost town, barely a few other people in the theater. Maybe a scattered few were rewatching Tenet for the second or third time, trying to understand that glorious spectacle.

An awful night at the movies. If this is what it’s going to be like the next two months until No Time To Die James Bond tries to save the cinematic day, just shut it all down — again.

Bottom line: avoid this fast food greasy dumpster fire abomination, unless you want to see a poorly told story of black = bad, white = worse than bad, both together = miserably bad. Hopelessly depressing, devoid of almost any redeeming, watchable character, save for the barely attempting to reform criminal young adult who isn’t even remotely likeable except maybe, perhaps, debatable five minutes of the movie.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ½

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E13 – Which Witch is Which? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
December 6, 1969

Episode 13 – “Which Witch is Which?”

The gang is on a fishing trip, but not having much luck. Scooby is fishing in a pail in the back of the mystery machine. Fred takes a detour through a creepy swamp and they think they might be lost. They meet a zombie on the side of the road. They drive away to some nearby dwellings. A fisherman tells them that the zombie was created by a witch using voodoo magic.

The witch showed up about six months ago and the two fisherman were scared away from the swamp by the witch. Others in the town are scared as well, leaving the gang a mystery to solve.

Scooby, with his neverending appetite mistakenly eats some jumping beans. Shortly thereafter, Scoob and Shaggy go searching out clues at the second fisherman, Zeb’s place.

A furry swamp creature and Scooby have a cute encounter. The swamp thing doesn’t find Scoob’s licking his face very inviting.

Scoob can’t resist his appetite … but these jumping beans play havok on his stomach

They find a voodoo doll of Zeb.

Shaggy and Scoob share their finding with the rest of the gang, which head into the swamp. They find more voodoo dolls of all of them. The witch is trying to scare them from figuring out what she’s up to in the swamp.

Will the gang ignore the alleged voodoo curse and figure out what the witch is up to in the swamp? What’s the story behind the zombie? These questions and more are answered by the end of this busy episode.

Summary

Another episode where the creators think we needed two different monsters. Either the witch or the zombie would have been scary enough for a 20 minute episode, but instead we get both. And why would a witch create a zombie to do her bidding? There is an explanation, although thin. They could have parlayed these two monsters into two separate episodes.

The zombie is not drawn very scary looking. Probably intentional, but he doesn’t invoke the scares of other baddies in the series.

The actual mystery behind what’s going on in the swamp is pretty good. This show set the standard for how much can be packed in a 20 odd minute episode: the mystery gang, a mystery to solve, Scooby and Shaggy’s zany antics and spooky bad guys trying to scare the gang away. It’s easy to see why this show was warmly received by audiences upon release. Great writing, voice acting and stories. Another easy to recommend episode.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️