Stephen King has long been a fan of the cinematic experience, even writing a book about movies (Danse Macabre). Give it a read someday.
Anyway, recently he’s mentioned in various interviews different movies he’s enjoyed and recommended. The bolded titles are ones that I’ve seen. He’s got some unexpected titles in there that are worth checking out.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe – André Øvredal, 2016 The Blair Witch Project – Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, 1999 The Changeling – Peter Medak, 1980 Crimson Peak – Guillermo del Toro, 2015 Dawn of the Dead – Zack Snyder, 2004 Deep Blue Sea – Renny Harlin, 1999 The Descent – Neil Marshall, 2005 Duel – Steven Spielberg, 1971 Les Diaboliques – Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955 Final Destination – James Wong, 2000 Event Horizon – Paul W.S. Anderson, 1997 The Hitcher – Robert Harmon, 1986 and Dave Meyers, 2007 The Last House on the Left – Dennis Iliadis, 2009 The Mist – Frank Darabont, 2007 Night of the Demon – Jacques Tourneur, 1957 The Ruins – Carter Smith, 2008 Sorcerer – William Friedkin, 1977 Stepfather – Joseph Ruben, 1986 Stir of Echoes – David Koepp 1999 The Strangers – Bryan Bertino, 2008 Village of the Damned – Wolf Rilla, 1960 The Witch – Robert Eggers, 2015
On a recent morning when returning home, I stopped to take a picture of Mt. Rainier. It sits there reminding all human guests on earth — and that’s what we are, because it was here 500,000 years ago, and we about 200,000 — that everything else going on in the world doesn’t really matter. COVID-19, money, work, movies, whatever. The mountain just does its thing and looks majestic in the process.
And perilous too, as it’s considered one of the most dangerous active volcanoes in the world. Yes, everything you see in the picture above will be destroyed when Mount Rainier blows. Within an hour or so (I’m told about 45 minutes, actually). nobody reading this would want to be standing where I was when taking this picture. Our house located not too far away will be gone.
Why live here? Because it’s a great place to live, the mountain’s imminent danger aside.
Where we live when a house comes up for sale it sells faster than any other place in the county. It’s not that the homes are extravagant or in gated communities or even new (most are quite old), it’s something else. I’d say neighborhood, but that sounds snobbish somehow.
I lived in Vancouver, Washington when Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980. I’ve lived through and seen what volcanic ash looks, smells and feels like. It’s silky to the touch but incredibly dense. It rained like snow, but it wreaked havoc on vehicles. When it landed it hardened and become like concrete. Harder than concrete. People were selling it in jars many states away, but we had so much of the stuff in our yard that we jumped it with our bikes. It was like some sort of grayish snow. An almost alien substance that upon touch is never forgotten.
We have lived near Mount Rainier for the better part of 30 years now. We go about our business, while it goes about it, but there is always a reminder that at any moment it could wake up and remind us how insignificant we are. How everything we think matters in a brief few moments will turn into survival. Get to higher ground, get out of the way of the wall of ash, trees and devastation that this beautiful mountain can unleash.
The trees will grow back, the lakes and animals will return. It’s happened at Mount St. Helens. People will rebuild near the mountain again.
The mountain helps to keep us grounded, to remind us that no matter what is happening in the world — bad, good, otherwise — life goes on.
Anime is popular in 2020. Is it bigger from a streaming site subscription than the comic book subscriptions? I don’t know.
We’ve all heard people saying they hate reading, so maybe that has something to do with it. One you can watch that makes you think, the other your read and makes you think. One is clearly more passive than the other.
Also, there are videogames. Anime and videogames go together perhaps even better — because of active audience participation — than comic book adaptations to movie or TV shows. Clearly, Crunchyroll has videogames going for it, too.
Warnermedia is a hydra with many different businesses, some competing with each other for subscribers. It’s tough when you compete against yourself, but a company as large as their parent AT&T is no doubt going to have some tiger eating their own conflicts.
Their solution on HBO Max for Crunchyroll was to have a curated section, a best of Crunchyroll, which could be an attractive add-on for Max subscribers, but not pull away from Crunchyroll.
This strategy is working.
In an interview with Deadline, Waage declined to speculate on the broader strategy of WarnerMedia in streaming, but she said “the goal is to fuel both” Crunchyroll and HBO Max. “We believe we can grow this area by exposing people to it,” she added. “Dramatic animation is in its infancy … We are Fox 30 years ago with The Simpsons. This is a category that will only grow.”
With Crunchyroll adding subscribers it’s a different circumstance than DC Universe which might be holding even or losing paid subscribers based on the wide amount of negative publicity we’ve seen.
The difference is HBO Max has what DCU subscribers feel is more and better movie and TV content than DCU. A lot of the people seem to be heading to HBO Max for the movie and TV content and don’t see the value in keeping DCU.
Frustrating that the comic books aren’t being considered, but it isn’t a curated DCU comic books — which would have been a cool idea had HBO Max done that — instead they basically gutted DCU of the bulk of the movies they had.
Still, I’m reminded that DC Universe have like 24,000+ DC Comics. They have an active community around the comics and it’s more than just the animated movies, live action and TV shows.
I can see subscribers who want DC movies and TV shows only and don’t care as much about comics might find paying for a DC Universe subscription less desirable.
As for Crunchyroll? I know almost nothing about their site except that they do anime. I like anime but it’s not something I’d put in my top five genres of movies. I’ve seen some absolutely killer anime and have covered some anime here at this blog.
What I don’t understand, and maybe this is something a reader can help me with is why isn’t there as much excitement around comics? There are anime comics, so is that niche all self-contained and doesn’t carry over to the big companies DC and Marvel?
Maybe HBO Max should rethink how they do the DC Universe section of HBO Max and include a “best of” curated comics for HBO Max subscribers? This would be a great tie-in for HBO Max subscribers buying a subscription to DCU.
It just seems strange to me that HBO Max took two different strategies with how they handled Crunchyroll and DCU. The former is working and driving new subscribers whiel the latter is driving anger and frustration. At least from a segment of the subscriber base, those of us who see the value in the comic books aren’t as upset about the circumstance.
I think the biggest problem with WarnerMedia is communication. They haven’t communicated to their paid customers what they want to do with DCU. The sooner they can make their intentions known there the better. Are they leaving DCU to run the way it is? Are they closing DCU? Merging it entirely with HBO Max? Making DCU a comics-only subscription portal? Customers deserve to know what’s going on.
At least Crunchyroll subscribers know where they stand. Business is good there.
By now you might have heard about an upcoming, admittedly unusual PPV (Pay Per View) sports event involving retired boxing sensation Mike Tyson.
Admittedly this is outside what we typically cover here — we’ve never before covered live PPV sporting events of any kind — but this might be of interest to some readers, despite costing almost as much as an annual subscription to some streaming services.
The price for the upcoming event on September 12 featuring Mike Tyson’s return to the ring in an 8-round exhibition fight is reportedly going to cost $49.99.
While pricey, the event is still cheaper than a number of the other major PPV boxing events in recent years. The February 2020 rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder cost $79.99, while the 2017 bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor set fans back a whopping $99.99 in high definition.
The event is being streamed on Triller, which I never heard of until Tyson mentioned it in a promotional interview for the fight. Apparently Triller is a competitor of TikTok, which I also have never used. Anybody reading familiar with Triller?
According to another article linked in the next quote below, Triller paid $50 million for the exclusive streaming rights for this scheduled 3-hour PPV event.
Over the years we paid for and watched several Mike Tyson PPV fights and this one, assuming we can stream it on our TV (no cast to TV option will mean we’ll likely sit the sidelines, as I’m not dropping 50 bones to watch on the computer and we don’t have cable or satellite TV service), will be no exception.
$49.99 isn’t that far out of line for a three hour PPV event featuring a live boxing event. I’m not expecting the fight between Roy Jones Jr and Tyson to be as exciting as Tyson’s earlier boxing matches. What makes Tyson so compelling is how unpredictable he can be.
Let’s not forget Tyson bit a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear. He bit him twice in the same round in that historic rematch.
My favorite line from former cornerman for Ali, boxing analyst and “The Fight Doctor” Ferdie Pachecko, “It’s like Dracula or something!”
Boxing fans are very familiar with Mike Tyson. Even non-fans recognize him for his various acting cameos and roles and how he dominated the news by a rape conviction and prison sentence or hanging out with tigers. The man is legendary.
Another reason I’m interested in this event is because Tyson is donating the money he received to charity. He’s not doing this for money for himself. He’s found some other inner calling to help others. I think this alone makes paying $49.99 to support the event worth it, even if others will see this as a freak show of sorts.
Who will win this fight? Tyson or Jones?
Tyson is the favorite on early betting lines so far. He probably will have a ton of ring rust being out 15 years, but nobody can deny his fierce punching power. If he catches Jones with an uppercut or his lethal left hook, it’s game over. I don’t care if he’s getting a senior discount at some restaurants, Jones isn’t likely to be able to absorb that blow.
Then again, Jones had been fighting professionally up until 2018. He can’t be counted out for his skill. He’s also three years younger at 51.
Respect Roy Jones Jr. take on this from sportsbible.com:
“I’m not going to try and go out there in the first round and take him out like I’m a fool. He’s still strong early, he’s still a strong lion.
But I’ve got a cheetah’s mentality which means I’ve got to get quick. If he don’t kill me quick his ass belongs to me then.”
I’ll make a formal prediction before the fight as the event draws nearer, likely after the PPV is available for purchase. It’s still almost a month away from this writing, so want to wait and see what else transpires leading up to the event.
However, if I had to make a decision right now, I’d say outside a knockout by Tyson in the first round, it will be a draw. Keep reading and you’ll see the rules for the fight, which portend the outcome likely leading to no decision.
I didn’t mention anything about the undercard. That will feature YouTuber, Jake Paul boxing former NBA guard Nate Robinson. Not sure how these two amateur fighters getting in the ring to settle a beef (???) leads us to two real boxers in a boxing match, but hey, it’s an undercard event and I wasn’t motivated by either person enough to research more into why they are even on this undercard (commenters feel free to fill me in below). I’d rather see something NBA-related with an NBA basketball player (perhaps a one on one pickup game or something?), but don’t know enough on this yet. It’s a freak curiosity, at least. The whole event is shaping up to be something that straddles the border between serious and farce.
George Foreman has publicly stated he’d like the event canceled because he doesn’t want to see Tyson or Jones get hurt. There is an element of danger in any boxing match, I mean these guys have lethal weapons as fists and they’re hitting each other in the head. Foreman’s heart is certainly in the right place, but dangerous stunts for entertainment are nothing new. Evel Knievel made risking your life a sport people will pay to see. Go watch his crazy Snake River Canyon in a rocket jump if you need any convincing that there are far more dangerous events for money.
They are wearing larger than normal gloves (12 ounce).
No scoring judges. So, if there isn’t a winner by knockout, it will be a draw.
If either fighter is cut, the fight will be stopped. Again, this suggests the outcome will be a draw.
I’m somewhat skeptical the event will go off as scheduled, but, again, if it’s available to stream and cast to our TV, I’ll be there. We have Roku and Chromecast. I just checked on Roku for a Triller channel and one doesn’t appear to exist.
I just looked over the Triller website and installed the app on my Samsung Note 10+ Android phone. Upon launching the Triller app and cycling through the menu and videos I didn’t see any obvious way to cast to TV, so I’m worried how this will be streamed to TV for those of us who don’t have cable or satellite. It’s a legitimate concern thanks to HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi having major launches without Amazon Fire Stick or Roku support.
No idea if this PPV event through Triller exclusively will be blocked for cast to TV but if it is somehow, that will be one of the stupidest moves ever. I mean, that would be like like Quibi-level idiocy.
Presales for the event will, according to the first linked, quoted article above, not be available until August 26, so it seems even the promoters aren’t sure yet if this event can and will go off as scheduled. Almost a month from now before we can buy this PPV.
If it happens, will you be buying this PPV for $49.99?
I’ll admit it doesn’t seem like the best use of $50, especially in current times. Hey, it’s entertainment. Will this even be good entertainment, is another question. We’ve paid over $50 before to see a movie with our grandchildren and they didn’t even make it through half the movie.
But enough of what I’m thinking, what about you? Do you have any interest in events like this? Your answers in the comments — or not — will also help me understand if covering events like this are worthwhile here. We’re a site about movies and to a lesser extent TV, but this type of one-off entertainment could be shown in a theater if they were open, like a Fathom Event, so it seems very related to what we do here.
Will you pay $49.99 for this PPV event? Or wait for the news update the next day? What would you be willing to pay if it’s some other price than $49.99? I think the price is just about right for me. If it was much more than 50 bucks, I’d probably pass on it, too.
As a general rule at this site, I try to stay away from responding to internet rumors. Often in my daily online reading travels, I come across “news” that is 99% speculation, rumor and hyperbole and 1% or less true news. Most of this I don’t bother covering or responding here. Why waste your time with a bunch of click-baiting garbage without any verifiable source?
Then again, sometimes I’m feeling playful and want to poke trolls … just because.
We have enough challenges staying on top of when and where movies are going to appear to get hung up on whether or not a 75 year old retired George Lucas is coming back to “save” Disney Star Wars.
Yeah, that’s one of the biggest “news” stories I keep seeing. It’s gone on for over a week now, started by a guy who uses a voice analyzer and wears a suit that makes him look like an alien from The Outer Limits.
Sadly, I’m being serious.
In 2020, we are supposed to take our news from a guy who shakes his fist in an alien costume disguising his voice. He has over 185,000 subscribers on YouTube and several claiming his Lucasfilm sources are credible in past stories.
I just laugh looking at his ridiculous on screen persona. Dude, the first rule of being taken seriously is to be, well, serious. This guy is a caricature. I like his shtick for entertainment value, but not for news. If you watch Dicktor Von Doomcock’s videos (seriously, he has “dick” in his name like twice lmao), he openly admits that we should take his rumors “with a grain of salt.” Of course very few are actually doing that.
Awhile back I asked here if we would even want Lucas back? I would love to see George Lucas as writer and director of another movie. Not another Star Wars movie, no thank you. I know he created it, but he had three Star Wars prequels that pretty much ruined my interest in more George Lucas Star Wars. Could he do a spin-off in the Star Wars universe that was cool? Sure, maybe. Would he want to at 75+ years old? Based on his own commentary on the subject, it’s extremely unlikely.
Lucas has like $2 billion dollars worth of reasons to spend time with his family and not get into making more Star Wars. Life is way too short, especially when you’re in your mid 70s.
This brings us back to the Kathleen Kennedy haters.
I can’t subscribe to the group that blames Kennedy for all that is wrong with Disney Star Wars (see: Kathleen Kennedy and The Mandalorian Rumors). If you make it her fault that the final three sequels were jacked up, then you also have to credit her for The Mandalorian and Rogue One and dare I even suggest that Solo was better than two of the three final trilogy (it wasn’t as good as Force Awakens)?
While I don’t have independent verification, Robert Meyer Burnett is saying that Solo toys are currently outselling any other Disney Star Wars toys except The Mandalorian Baby Yoda rules all SW toy sales. Anyway, got to credit Kathleen Kennedy for this, too, right? Only fair.
I just read a good story that, like Dicktor Von Doomcock, claims to have an inside source at Disney. If you want to get caught up in reading all things bad about Kathleen Kennedy, it’s worth having something to balance with a contrarian viewpoint.
More specifically, they say there is no talk about Kennedy leaving any time soon. At present, she has her attention focused on the film side of things over at Lucasfilm, while Favreau and Filoni are more focused on the Disney+ content. Furthermore, our source added that the rumored “civil war” is not true, and that they trio’s working relationship is fine.
100% don’t believe George Lucas is ever coming back to Star Wars — other than in a capacity to consult (he’s been doing that by many reports all along).
If he ever directs a Star Wars movie will I want to see it? Sure, but after seeing his prequels, I’m not clamoring for any more Lucas Star Wars. Give me some fresh eyes and ideas making new Star Wars films. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni can give us more Mando and spinoffs. There are plenty of other filmmakers that can probably do some crazy cool things within the Star Wars galaxy.
(Not Rian Johnson)
Kathleen Kennedy staying isn’t going to be a roadblock to getting more good Star Wars created. Logic and history will tell you otherwise. She’s been a part of way too many good movies to be as terrible as some Star Wars fans believe. I don’t subscribe to the notion that on every film she just got coffee for the directors. That’s not only sexist, it’s just ignorant and stupid. Kennedy had good ideas according to Spielberg himself.
Let’s not rewrite history here. Lucas hand-picked Kennedy. Maybe he thought she’d use his Star Wars sequel stories and feels somehow betrayed, but he took the money and every writer — even the great George Lucas — should understand rejection. Disney doesn’t have to use his ideas. He sold Star Wars and thus gave the new owners the power to do whatever they wanted with the IP, including telling whatever stories — good, bad or indifferent — they wanted to tell.
In closing, George Lucas isn’t coming back. If he does come back, I’ll happily admit being wrong, and if he does would welcome and look forward to seeing any non-Star Wars movies that he writes and directs.
Star Wars fans need to move on from Lucas. Not from Star Wars. Keep The Force alive, I get it. We can get more great media out of this IP.
Plenty of great creative people out there besides George Lucas. As for Kathleen Kennedy, she’s earned a seat at the table doing what she is doing as long as she wants to do it. I don’t get the hate, really. It just supports the notion that women executives aren’t treated as well as men. Hollywood does have far too many men in positions of power and Kennedy has a resume that is very deserving a seat at any film production table.
17 days is the new theatrical window deal that AMC cut with Universal. From 90 to 17 and AMC will share in the VOD/PVOD revenue.
The deal includes at least three weekends of theatrical exclusivity for all Universal Pictures and Focus Features theatrical releases, at which time the studio will have the option to make its titles available across PVOD platforms. Universal said its traditional windows for electronic sell-through and regular VOD remain unchanged.
Taron Egerton, who played one heckuva impressive version of Elton John is going to be starring in another biopic. Only this person isn’t famous for music, but a block-shaped videogame. Bet you’ve seen or played it, too.
Titled Tetris, it tells the story of a Cold War-era legal battle that took place surrounding the intellectual property for the legendary video game. Taron Egerton will play Henk Rogers, who eventually won the rights to Tetris for himself and the man who originally created the game, who spent years fighting several different parties before he ended up getting paid.
How popular is the game Tetris? This article says it’s the world’s most popular videogame. Wikipedia has a long article on it and, as indicated in the article above, there is drama surrounding the game’s licensing history.
It would be kind of funny if Taron Egerton breaks into some Elton John song like Goodbye Yellowbrick Road while playing a game of Tetris. I know, not going to happen, but at least as a promotional video or something. We can always dream.
Have you/do you play Tetris? Does a movie based on the game sound interesting? I suppose even the most dry subject matter can be put into a creative, entertaining story.
In their first weekend return to the box office, China moviegoers chose to see Robert Downey Jr’s Dolittle the most.
“Dolittle,” from Universal, was the top title this weekend with a $4.71 million three-day debut, according to Chinese data provider Ent Group. Vin Diesel-starring “Bloodshot,” backed by China’s Bona Film Group, trailed in second place, bowing to the tune of $2.61 million.
This adds to the total box office gross for both films, making Dolittle inch closer to the #3 spot currently held by Sonic. It’s no wonder that the Oscars pushed back their date. I was listening to a podcast earlier today that claimed to have an inside source that the academy is talking about canceling the Oscars until 2022. Purely heresy, but we can all see that there have been pretty much zero new theatrical releases since mid March. There might not be enough movies to have a credible awards ceremony in 2021.
If you’re keeping track of when movie theaters are reopening, you already knew that they were supposed to open “mid to late August” … well, now at least Regal is picking a specific date: August 21.
Furthermore, Tenet, that elusive Christopher Nolan title is scheduled to open internationally first, then in the United States — whatever theaters are open, of course.
Regal’s U.K. parent Cineworld made the announcement on Monday afternoon following Warner Bros. disclosure that it will open Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller “Tenet” in international markets on Aug. 26 with a Sept. 3 launch in the U.S.
The graphic in the article linked above is worth addressing. That graphic states 50-60% capacity of movie theaters are allowed when they open.
We live near the busiest movie theater corridor in the state and there are currently no theaters open here, so that graphic, while looking colorful and good is pretty much worthless.
Have another post written that I’ve been holding onto in draft status that shows how many theaters are in the United States and the % that are open currently. Thought about including that information here, but am holding off until it is closer to the theaters reopening. In this case, that will be around the middle of August. Maybe the data will change for the better by then, so I can show what it was in July and what it’s like in August. The numbers are depressing right now. We all know not many theaters are open in America, save for Drive-ins.
Internationally, theater openings are going better. China just finished up its first reopening weekend and the movie sales cash register is ringing.
Stay tuned. If history is our guide to the future, there will be more release date changes. At least now we know August 21 for Regal in the United States. I hope this date holds. If it’s safe to reopen, of course.
Something we hope Netflix continues to do is buy up and share those excellent ESPN sports docuseries. They are documentaries in mini-series format running several episodes.
Netflix covers the docuseries niche surprisingly well. If you’re looking for something different to watch than a TV series or a single movie-length documentary, the docuseries might be your fix.
We don’t talk sports here very often because it seems far afield from movies, but some sports stories, if done right, would make amazing films. They’ve tried with some polarizing sports figures like Mike Tyson (more on him in a future post, as he is curiously tuning up at age 54 for a September 12, 2020 8-round exhibition boxing match with Roy Jones Jr). Pete Rose would make a heckuva good biopic, again, if done right. Somebody needs to get on his story, if they aren’t already.
And then there are team stories like the NBA Chicago Bulls with their historic two runs to threepeat finals wins (1990, 91, 92 and 96, 97 and 98) led by basketball virtuoso Michael “Air” Jordan.
Jordan was surrounded by another colorful character that deserves a movie biopic, Dennis Rodman, one of the greatest defensive NBA players to ever play the game.
Let’s not forget Phil Jackson, arguably one of the best NBA coaches of all time. He could have a biopic made about him too, although there wasn’t much off screen controversy like there were with others on the Bulls.
In the 10 episodes, we get some of Rodman’s bizarre off-court antics, mixed with his ferocious rebounding, but it’s mostly about Jordan, the captain and leader of the team. We get to see a present day Jordan with watery, yellow eyes — making me think he’s got some kind of liver health-related issues these days. Jordan sits with a tablet and watches clips of interviews with others we’re told he hasn’t seen.
The nonfiction series, which was a sensation on ESPN this past spring ahead of its bow on Netflix this weekend, is flawed as documentary in all but one way: It provides a remarkable testament to the power of Jordan’s celebrity, a power morphed but not undimmed by time. His talent on the basketball court, massive though it is, may indeed come second to the sheer force of his personality.
I binge watched The Last Dance with ease: fondly remembering the Bulls dominance in the 90s, Michael Jordan’s father’s tragic murder, his detour from baseketball to try and become a professional baseball player and triumphant return.
The Bulls offer a great story that is fruitful material for a movie, most likely too long, at least in any sane run time, but is a better movie story than the last basketball movie I saw in 2019, The Way Back ⭐️⭐️⭐️ starring Ben Affleck. In the meantime, it’s a good watch to see experience that amazing Bulls run in championship victories in the 90s.
The Last Dance is currently available to stream on Netflix.