More Details on Paramount+ ad-supported tier: $1/month less than CBS All Access, but no local CBS channels

We already fought our way through to a full year subscription at 50% off of Paramount+ (see: Poor Technical Execution: Paramount+ LIMITED TIME OFFER 50% Discount for CBS All Access Customers), but as the March launch date draws nearer, we’re learning even more about what the rebranded, expanded service is going to look like — and if you like live TV, the less expensive ad-supported monthly plan might not be as appealing.

The base, ad-supported tier of Paramount Plus, launching in June, will cost $4.99 per month — a dollar less than the current entry-level CBS All Access package with commercials. The full Paramount Plus premium tier with no ads (except in live programming) will be the same, at $9.99 per month. There’s an important caveat, though: The $5 monthly plan for Paramount Plus, while it will include live sports including NFL games, will exclude local CBS stations.

Paramount Plus: What’s Streaming, Pricing Plans, How to Get It – Variety

For those who don’t care about the local channels, and if you have access to in your area or have your own antenna setup to get them free, you can enjoy there instead and save the buck a month.

Will you be signing up and checking out Paramount+ at launch, or waiting to see what sort of new content it provides that you can’t get elsewhere?

Tom and Jerry ⭐️⭐️½

Tom and Jerry – PG – 1 hr 41 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Friday February 26, 2021
AMC Lakewood Mall 12 – Lakewood, Washington
8th new movie seen in theater in 2021

Tomcat rides into town on a train and then runs into Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz) on her bike. Kayla is heading to a job interview at a hotel and decides to steal the resume of a much more qualified applicant. She gets the job and is soon tasked with helping the hotel rid itself of Jerry Mouse so VIP guests Ben and Preeta have their wedding go off without problems. Only, with Tom and Jerry fighting everywhere, that will be no easy task.

Tom and Jerry are like the Road Runner and Wyle E. Coyote cat and mouse combatants. Tom forever wants to catch the much smarter mouse, Jerry. This is one of those live action for everything except animals that are all animated. This is a bit distracting at first, but we get used to it. Also, outputting for me was neither Tom or Jerry speaking, while other animals speak. And then Tom sings at one point? What?

The central wedding story was cliched and tiresome. It was there simply as a vehicle so we could see Tom and Jerry complicate the proceedings. Michael Pena’s character Terrence Mendoza was the hotel’s one-dimensional conniving event manager. His accent seemed forced and phony to me.

Despite a rather large audience, nobody was laughing or even chuckling in the theater. We talked in our just left the theater video that the movie was a little too old for children and too juvenile for adults. It’s in the middle where movies without audiences go to die.

It’s not a bad or good movie. It’s just … there. It’s the type of film families want to take their kids out of the house to see — despite being available on HBO Max — but like noticed upon leaving the fairly decent-sized audience, there were people at the back of the theater on their cell phones. Yeah, that about it sums up the interest.

I hope Space Jam with Lebron James is (a lot) better than this!

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

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E1 – The Pirates Of Orion ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 7, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 1 – “The Pirates Of Orion”

Spock has become ill with a fatal disease unless he receives a life-saving drug. The problem is the nearest planet with the drug is four days travel away. Captain Kirk devises a plan to rendezvous with a ship carrying the drug sooner. An intruder ship with aliens called Orions steals the cargo before it reaches the Enterprise and then hides in asteroid. Will the Enterprise find and work out a peaceful resolution with the Orions in time to get the drug to save Spock’s life?


Kicking off the six episode second season of the animated series, puts Spock in peril and a race against time for his crewmates. One thing that kept throwing me out of this episode were the too familar extra character voices which clearly were voiced by Majel Barret-Roddenberry and George Takei. I’ve noticed Takei’s distinct voice in other non-Sulu characters throughout the series. Barrett has played the computer voice on many Star Trek shows as well as other characters including Nurse Christine Chapel.

This is one of the better animated episodes, providing a good amount of tension and conflict, fueled by a race to save Spock’s life. The Orions green, mean look a little bit like something out of the Batman ’66 TV series, but are kind of cool and fitting for a Star Trek enemy.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Michael J. Fox Learned How To Play Johnny B. Goode for Back To The Future Pinheads Cover

Back To The Future ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

By now who hasn’t seen this movie? If you haven’t, then rush to your watchlists and put this badboy on there. Thank us later. It’s like one of the most perfect comedies every made. And to think the story dabbles in one of the worst cliches ever: time travel — well, that’s another plus.

Talk about method acting. Michael J. Fox wanted the guitar playing of Johnny B. Goode to be authentic in Back To The Future, so he learned how to really play it on the guitar so the fingerings would be authentic.

Marty’s singing voice was that of Mark Campbell, member of the soul and R&B band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack. Campbell wasn’t credited as the production crew wanted to fully make the illusion that Fox was singing, but music supervisor Bones Howe made sure Campbell got a small percentage of the soundtrack revenue as compensation. As for Marty’s amazing guitar skills, they were achieved through two methods. First, Fox was taught how to play the song by Paul Hanson, and Fox shared with Empire that he told Zemeckis he could cut to his hands any time he wanted as he knew how to play. The second step was syncing Fox playing with the actual music, and so Tim May was brought in to record the guitar. Although it would have been somewhat logical to have Paul Hanson play the guitar as well, the crew went with May instead, though Hanson still took part in the movie as The Pinheads’ bass guitarist.

Who Really Sings (& Plays) Johnny B. Goode In Back To The Future

It cracks me up that Huey Lewis, who was big in the 80s, was one of the teachers judging the music talent. Spoiler alert: the Pinheads did not make the cut because they were just “too darn loud.”

Love it. Fellow guitarist readers will note that yes, Michael J. Fox is hitting the wammy bar at just the right time in this “Power of Love” jam too.

FIRST LOOK: Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry (2021) – Apple TV+

We don’t typically do FIRST LOOK here for documentaries, in fact this might be the first ever. It’s a special case, though, because since theaters have reopened we’ve seen the trailer in theaters almost every time. Apple is actively promoting this film.

Am also not that familiar with the music of young artist, Billie Eilish and her brother. She’s been enormously popular and with her brother created the theme to James Bond #25 No Time To Die. I’ve heard that. Also listened to another song on YouTube.

Her music isn’t my genre of choice, but I can appreciate the talent and her story — at least what little of it I know. She started in the business at 13 and has at least one EP and full album and several singles. The documentary will fill in the blanks for those of us who haven’t followed this artist.

The coming-of-age story of the singer-songwriter and her rise to global superstardom. From award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler, the documentary offers a deeply intimate look at this extraordinary teenager’s journey, at just seventeen years old, navigating life on the road, on stage, and at home with her family, while writing, recording and releasing her debut album “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”

Everything You Need to Know About Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry Movie (2021)

Official trailer:

I must ask, at least in curiosity, what’s the deal with the green hair? We had a birthday party for our six-year-old grandson this past weekend and friends of the family came over. He has three young daughters and all of them had, insert dramatic music, green hair.

Has Billie Eilish started a trend for girls and green hair? It looks …. alien-like to me. Maybe it’s her style? In my day, Cyndi Lauper dressed wild and her hair was wacky. Maybe Eilish is today’s Lauper? I don’t know.

Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry is streaming on Apple TV+ on February 26, 2021.

FIRST LOOK: The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) – Hulu

Billie Holliday was a popular black jazz singer in the 30s-50s in trouble with the feds over narcotics usage and singing the song “Strange Fruit” they didn’t want sang. The song dealt with a lynching.

Follows Holiday during her career as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) – IMDb

Official trailer:

Drugs, jazz, fears of being arrested for singing and an affair with the fed who is assigned to watch her plus based on a true story? I’m there. What about you? Interested in this one?

The United States vs. Billie Holiday is available for streaming on Hulu on February 26, 2021.

FIRST LOOK: Raya and The Last Dragon

Disney isn’t done with their premium streaming experiment (see: The Disney+ Mulan Premium Digital Launch Fiasco). Raya and the Last Dragon will also cost $29.99 like Mulan, eventually to appear later with no premium charge to Disney+ subscribers.

Raya and the Last Dragon, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ latest theatrical feature, will cost the same $29.99 Premier Access fee on Disney+ as the live-action Mulan remake. The new animated fantasy epic will be the first such release on Disney+ since Mulan, appearing both on the streaming platform and in theaters on March 5. The film stars Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina as the two titular protagonists.

Raya & The Last Dragon Will Cost The Same On Disney+ As Mulan

Those interested don’t have to drop 30 bones to see it on Disney+, it will also be available in theaters.

Offical trailer:

Raya and The Last Dragon will be available in theaters and on Disney+ premium access on March 5, 2021.

Matthew McConaughey Wanted Titanic Lead Role, But Was Never Offered It

Titanic ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

I can’t see Matthew McConaughey as Jack Dawson in Titanic, can you? Sure, it’s not fair to say that now, because who knows if he had been Jack instead of Leonardo DiCaprio, but I just don’t see it.

There has been a rumor going around that McConaughey turned down the role, but he has squashed it.

“I asked [James] Cameron about this, because the gossip over the years that I heard and would see written about me was that I had the [lead] role in ‘Titanic’ and turned it down,” McConaughey recalled. “Not factual. I did not get offered that role.”

Matthew McConaughey clarifies ‘Titanic’ audition rumors: ‘I did not get offered the role’ | Fox News

He did want the role, which I found interesting, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Tom’s Guide Article Declares HBO Max As Currently The Best Streaming Service

We’ve spent a lot of time watching HBO Max since it launched. The popular opinion seems to be to bash it as some kind of lesser streaming service compared to the top dog, Netflix.

When Warner announced they were releasing all 17 major films on both HBO Max and in theaters and were giving 20% off the six month rate, we didn’t complain, we subscribed (see: Don’t Count Out HBO Max in 2021)

The quality of movies and shows on HBO Max can’t be beat. But I should add a caveat that the nuts and bolts of the actual service still need a lot of work. The app and website can be buggy and crash. And HBO Max doesn’t offer many titles in 4K, though that’s not much different from other streaming services. Netflix does have 4K but you have to pay more. Advertisement The interface is so-so, but the HBO Max navigation does stand out in one way: the genre pages have an A-Z listing you can peruse. No other streamer has this feature; they all display titles within themed collections or by recommendations. HBO does that, too, but it’s so helpful just to see every movie on HBO Max by alphabetical order. 

Sorry Netflix, HBO Max is the best streaming service now — here’s why | Tom’s Guide

Netflix is sort of in a class by itself at the current time. They have spent multi billions producing so much original content that they can just continue to crank new original movie and TV series after another. During the pandemic, they’ve also been in on the bidding war for movies meant for theaters but sold to streaming instead.

Objectively, comparing Netflix to the other streamers for original content is challenging. From a quantity standpoint, there is no comparison. Every week on Thursdays when we do our What To Watch On Streaming posts, Netflix consistently outproduces the other streamers.

But quantity isn’t the same as quality. Is it better to have one great movie and/or TV series debut each week or have a half dozen or more of varying quality movie and TV shows to choose from? For those of us that want to watch the best movies we can see, not the most movies, the less is more strategy is more sound. We’ve talked about the quantity vs. quality situation with Netflix before (see: Does Netflix Release Too Many Originals? Maybe Ask New CMO Bozoma Saint John)

All that said, HBO Max might not be superior to Netflix in number of subscribers, but from what’s available to watch on it right now, even at the higher monthly price point, there are plenty of movies and TV shows to check out. It’s refreshing to read articles like this one that aren’t bashing HBO Max for not having 100+ million subscribers.

Whichever is your favorite streaming channel, it’s great to see movie lovers have multiple options to choose from. Disney+ has the family, Star Wars and Marvel corners covered. HBO Max has several great TV shows (Friends!), a bunch of great movies. Amazon Prime has its own slate of originals, some very, very good and Netflix has its originals. Then there are the others like Hulu, CBS All Access soon to be Paramount+ and Peacock, not to mention a boatload of niche streamers like Shudder, Discovery+ and so on.

And those are just the paid streamers, there is a whole bunch of FREE, ad-supported channels to choose from. So many, that we can’t even cover them all. The Roku Channel, Tubi, Pluto and so on.

Whatever you want to watch, you can probably find it playing somewhere. Good times for home movie watchers, anyway. The cinema landscape might be struggling, but these are active, productive times for streamers.

What’s your current favorite streaming channel? Or do you have multiple favorites?

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #9 of 2021 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV+, Shudder

Theaters/HBO Max: Feb 26

Weekend #9 of 52 (2/25 – 2/28/2021) for 2021 Picks By Streaming Service

The final weekend of February 2021 is upon us. Streaming channels are showing no sign of slowing down releasing new movies and TV shows while the theater scene continues to be in a state of paralysis of new titles. It’s like one here, two there and just ghost town movie theaters. We were saddened this week to see a beautiful IMAX screening of a film that had three people in attendance at a 7pm showing of Nomadland, two of which were us. The theater probably seated close to 200 people. Theaters are doing great business in China and some other countries.

Have been saying all along that theaters need to get more new movies showing in them, but for whatever reason that’s not happening. Probably to blame is the severe lack of moviegoers attending them. As mentioned previously, this is a slow time anyway for theaters, the first quarter of the year. This year is a bit unique because the academy extended the award eligibility window into early 2021 (see: Oscars 2021 Still On As Planned As In-Person Event, Not Zoom or Virtual)


*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.


  1. Blue, Painful and Brittle – 2020 (Feb 24)
  2. *Bigfoot Family – animated – 2020 (Feb 26)
  3. *Call Me Crazy – 2021
  4. Captain Fantastic – 2016
  5. *The Girl On The Train – 2021


  1. *Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan – Season 1 (Feb 24)
  2. *Canine Intervention
    Documentary series
  3. *Ginny & Georgia – Season 1
  4. *Two Sentence Horror Stories – Season 2
  5. *High Rise Invasion – Season 1 (Feb 25)


  1. Flicka 2 (Feb 26)
  2. Ice Age: Collision Course


  1. *Tom and Jerry – also in theaters (Feb 26)
  2. Blade Runner 2049

Amazon Prime TV

  1. *The Informer (Feb 26)


  1. *The United States vs. Billie Holiday – 2021 Hulu Original (Feb 26)
  2. Florence Foster Jenkins – 2016

Apple TV+

  1. *Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry (Feb 26)


  1. *One Missed Call (Feb 22)
  2. *Open 24 Hours
  3. *Psychomania
  4. *The Dark and the Wicked (Feb 25)