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What We're Watching: June 11, 2021

Arnie: "As we prepare for F9 I have started a Fast & Furious rewatch of the entire movie series. Of course, you can hear our reviews of the movies in our archives, but this time I have a slightly altered view of the original film. Paul Walker’s tragic death really casts a shadow on the original The Fast and the Furious (2001) as you see his character Brian O’Conner learning to race. He spins out, loses control of his car, and Brian’s overconfidence gives him a verbal smackdown…

What We're Watching - June 4, 2021

Brock: "For family movie night this week we watched A League of Their Own (1992), which still plays beautifully for the most part due to the good story and lead performances by Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Lori Petty. The director's 'message mallet' lands hard at times, especially in the third act coda. Yes, they are appropriate and good points to make, no doubt, but presented with a lack subtlety, to put it nicely. My daughter requested this summer we make time to watch additional…

Everything Coming to Now Playing Podcast in June 2021

We’re less than halfway to Halloween but Now Playing Podcast can’t wait that long to get back to horror. In June, the show is serving up all new episodes in two long-running horror (or horror-adjacent) retrospectives alongside a real-life murder mystery, a patron-supported tale of terror, and more zombies. There’s also a return to movie theaters with one of the year’s most anticipated blockbusters on the menu, and an all-new bonus retrospective series.

What We're Watching: May 21, 2021

Brock: "The Invisible Man (2020) is a really well done 21st century update of the Invisible Man story. Suspenseful, exciting, plays with the audience and their expectations, great use of special effects, and tells this plausible yet implausible story well. Shades of Gaslight, Sleeping with the Enemy and even Terminator 2 at times combine into a lesson of what all modernizations of a classic story should be. And most importantly, it is entertaining to watch. Strong lead performance by Elizabeth Moss keeps it together, even in the scenes when she is…

What We're Watching: May 14, 2021

Brock: Had a week of long overdue rewatches of excellent films. Starting off with Ang Lee's wonderful Sense and Sensibility (1995), and then three of the all-time great gangster movies: The Godfather (1972), The Godfather Part II (1974) and Goodfellas (1990).And afterwards, I

What We're Watching: April 30, 2021

Brock: "The night before this year's Oscar telecast finally had a chance to see Minari (2020). While I was getting a little impatient with the slower pace as the second act progressed, I then got hit with the realization of just how engrossed in the story, the characters and in their dynamics I had become; so much so when the climax occurred I had my hands over my agape mouth, startled and feeling so bad for the family. Youn Yuh-jung was the highlight,…

Everything Coming to Now Playing Podcast in May 2021

With more movie theaters coming back online and confidence building that 2021’s tentpole release dates will stick, Now Playing Podcast enters May 2021 with a packed schedule that includes a return to a long-dormant theatrical franchise, new streaming sequels and originals, a dangerously thrilling new donation retrospective, and another Disney Plus Marvel series review.

Soundtrack Spotlight: Until the End of the World

Usually, I see a movie, hear the music, and want to listen to the soundtrack. But sometimes it works the other way--as it did in 1992. I was browsing the Soundtrack section of a used music store and saw a soundtrack for Until the End of the World. I’d never heard of that 1991 Sam Neill sci-fi drama, but the roster of bands on the soundtrack floored me. How could a soundtrack have original songs by REM, Depeche Mode, Julee Cruise, Talking Heads,…

What We're Watching: April 23, 2021

Brock: "When I watch a movie called Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), I expect to see just that. However, we don't see her in her large state until the last 10 minutes of the movie, she doesn't really attack as much as walk around, and by comparison to the objects around her she is at most 30-35 feet tall, tops. One of the most famous B movies of all time has one of the most misleading titles of all time. Meanwhile, Raya and…

Soundtrack Spotlight: Mortal Kombat (2021)

I'm the "movie score guy" for Now Playing Podcast (and in life). When I saw the new Mortal Kombat score was out I snatched it up, even though I hadn't seen the movie. Sadly, this score did little for me. They did remix the classic Mortal Kombat theme, but the new version reminds me of the “Alex F” theme from Beverly Hills Cop III, or Fall Out Boy's Ghostbusters 2016 song. They knew they had to have it but they just can't compete with the original. 

Soundtrack Spotlight: Meredith Quill’s Complete Awesome Mix

April 2020 was a dark time. COVID spread across the world, lives and jobs were lost, and people adapted to a “new normal” of mask-wearing and staying home. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn thought people could use something uplifting, so he gave us Meredith Quill’s Complete Awesome Mix.

What We're Watching: April 9, 2021

Brock: "I remember enjoying the FOX television show from the early 90s based on the movie Alien Nation (1988), however the source material is a surprisingly generic action cop flick. They squandered a great premise, with little to no character development or social commentary; This movie really could have used some of both. Strong bet M. Night Shyamalan has seen this movie. Then, Andra Day is as good as you have heard in The United States vs. Billie Holliday (2020), however the scattershot narrative, two-dimensional…

What We're Watching: April 2, 2021

Arnie: "With Black Widow delayed yet again I decided to finally watch Red Sparrow (2018). I always thought the story of a Russian girl brought into a secret spy school and sent on her first mission was very Black Widow-esque. It even follows the naming pattern with <color> <animal>. The problem with the Sparrow school, though, is that it seems to teach spies that their best tools are between their legs. I can't decide if this is an action film or misogyny passing itself off as female empowerment. 'But other than that,…

What We're Watching: March 26, 2021

Jakob: "Happily (2021) stars Kerry Bishé and Joel McHale as a couple still so happy after 14 years of marriage that the 2.5 times they have sex on the average every day has turned their unhappily married friends against them. Things get even stranger when Stephen Root shows up offering to reprogram them to be a 'normal' disgruntled couple. The film is a surreal, dark comedy that doesn’t give an explanation for all its weirdness. So if that’s a deal…

Soundtrack Spotlight: Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Mix Vol. 1

With the huge success of Guardians of the Galaxy, both as a movie and as a soundtrack, Marvel tried to keep fan excitement (and spending) high while waiting for the second Guardians film. In 2015 that manifested in a Guardians of the Galaxy animated series on Disney XD, as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Mix Vol. 1.  Perhaps Disney execs hoped shoppers would confuse the Awesome Mix and the Cosmic Mix, with similar cover art and choice…

Everything Coming to Now Playing Podcast in April 2021

Now Playing Podcast enters April 2021 with one goal in mind: to tire your ears out. The month will feature nine all-new episodes, including four 2021 debuts, a long-requested classic retrospective for donors, and a review of the former all-time box office champion. 

What We're Watching: March 19, 2021

Jakob: "Since seeing giant robots battle each other in its 1990 trailer, I have always wanted to check out Robot Jox. That day finally came. I’m tempted to give it more praise than it probably deserves because its darkly humorous, cynical future has aspirations to reach the satirical heights of Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop. However, I’m glad I didn’t see it as a young teen because I would not have appreciated its camp value. Playing more like a parody of Rocky IV with Rock ‘Em…

Yaphet Kotto Always Delivered

► Much has been written about the passing of the great Yaphet Kotto this week at the age of 81. Many accolades have been shared -- Sigourney Weaver's tribute, in particular, is very sweet -- and many words have been used to describe the actor.

What We're Watching: March 12, 2021

► Arnie: "In anticipation of our review of WandaVision I revisited the entire arc of Wanda Maximoff: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America Civil War (2016), and Avengers: Infinity War(2018), plus like 10 minutes of Avengers Endgame (2019). I love the latter two films but I found Age of Ultron to be very problematic when we reviewed it in 2015. I still think as a standalone film Age of Ultron is convoluted and messy, but... the retcons of future movies (and now a TV show) have really mined the second Avengers films for threads to follow…

What We're Watching: March 5, 2021

► Brock: "Tom and Jerry (2021): On a technical level I appreciate the craftsmanship of the movie. Very impressed with the level of real world objects 'interacting' with the animated characters. They clearly used real world plates and seamlessly incorporated any CGI objects or backgrounds they did use. The cast is strong, doing everything they can to sell it, and the editing and shot choices are superb. On the script and storytelling level, however, it is boring, unfunny, unoriginal, dull and arduous…

What We're Watching: February 27, 2021

► Arnie: "Revisited what I remembered as a terrible movie, My Demon Lover (1987), starring Scott Valentine from Family Ties. It seems like a lost movie, never released Blu-Ray, never widely available on DVD, and no one but me ever talks about it. Not only was that movie bad in the 80s, but it has also aged terribly as our 'hero' is a homeless man who accosts and molests random women on the streets of New York. But the act works, as he harasses one…

What We're Watching - February 12, 2021

► Arnie: "Now that the MCU has expanded (WandaVision viewers know what I mean) I’ve decided to remind myself of some other areas. So I watched both Tim Story Fantastic Four movies (2005 and 2007) and the first Blade (1998). I can’t wait for Chris Evans to return to the MCU as Human Torch, and maybe Stephen Dorff’s blood god can be in Ant-Man 3!" 

What We're Watching: February 5, 2021

► Arnie: “I tried out Big Fan, a 2009 dramedy starting Patton Oswalt as New York Giants mega-fan Paul Aufiero. Paul has no girlfriend, he works as a parking garage attendant, and, middle aged, he still lives with his mother. None of that matters to Paul so long as the Giants win their next game. Paul can’t afford tickets to the games, so he and his friend Sal tailgate in the MetLife stadium parking lot listening to the game on the…

Super Bowl Trailer Memories

The “Big Game” is Sunday and though there will be plenty of attention placed on the commercials, one thing this year’s game breaks will be lacking is movie trailers. It’s not just because of the pandemic, we’ve been trending away from Super Bowl trailer drops for a few years now, and many trailers premiere online days before the game.

Coming to Now Playing Podcast in February 2021

It’s happening again. With COVID-19 vaccinations lagging in parts of the country and America’s leading immunologist warning that a “return to normal” may not come until fall, Hollywood studios are pushing their 2021 films back several months, hoping to release would-be blockbusters at a time when moviegoers can safely return to theaters.