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The Harold & Maudecast - Sarah Mason & Jake Essoe

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ALIEN: COVENANT - Review 8.3/10

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review ALIEN: COVENANT.

Ridley Scott knows a thing or two about Aliens. After all he started this whole crazy thing with his 1979 film ALIEN, hailed by sci fi purists as the superior of the franchise. With adjusted gross estimates ALIEN is at the top of the franchise box office total -- which collectively is over $1 billion. His last revival of the said franchise the 2012 film PROMETHEUS was successful ($126m) but disappointed fans and critics by alienating itself from its own brand (literally). Will bringing back the ALIEN moniker be a big enough bone for faithful fans to chew on? And will it be enough incentive for to bring in new fans? It's all about the story. And this one is pretty good.

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in ALIEN: COVENANT. A crew of colonists aboard the ship Covenant sets out for a remote planet. Captain Oram(Billy Crudup) leads them after an unforeseen accident pushed him up the chain of command. After discovering what seems to be an uncharted paradise, Oram's second in command Daniels, warns of the dangers of the unknown. Shoulda listen to the woman Captain Oram. After exploring the earth-like terrain of this new planet they are quickly met with the dark truth about their new potential home, and its not just the aliens.

Michael Fassbender brilliantly reprises his role from PROMETHEUS as David and as new android, Walter. At its core, ALIEN: COVENANT is the Frankenstein story. David, the creation of Weyland (Guy Pearce) becomes the monster and yet also the creator. It's a fascinating refreshed look at this Alien universe with all the textures and complexities of the original. There's just the right amount of action and creature featuring to bring fans back. It moves pretty fast and wastes very little time. The ending is frustrating and revelations about the fate of Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) are frustrating yet lay out a path for the continuation of this story.

Katherine Waterston (FANTASTIC BEASTS) gives a convincing performance, albeit no Ripley, let's say Ripley Light. Danny McBride (VICE PRINCIPALS) known largely for his comedic roles also shows up proving himself worthy of the franchise.

We give it a solid 8.3/10. It's not ALIEN, it's not ALIENS, but it will give you a renewed faith in the franchise and leave you wanting more.

Visit www.thehmcnetwork.




The Leftovers Season 3, Ep 6 "Certified" - Review

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast recap and review HBO's The Leftovers, Season 3, Ep 6 "Certified".

HBO's drama The Leftovers is fast and furiously tying up loose ends as it nears the series finale. This week it's all about Laurie (Amy Brenneman).

After the bizarre journey to Australia, the gang has dispersed. Michael (Jovan Adepo) and John (Kevin Carroll) found their way to Kevin (Justin Theroux) at the ranch where he's been asked to die again by his father Kevin Sr. (Scott Glenn) and Aussie ranch woman turned accidental killer and new disciple Grace (Lindsay Duncan). Laurie shows up with a black eye, which we find she got from Nora (Carrie Coons) whilst on a stake out with her and Matt (Christopher Eccleston). Confused? We're all confused and loving it.

Amy Brenneman gives a heart wrenching, poignant, and beautiful performance. We find out many unanswered questions like, why'd she join the GR cult? It's the first of what will surely be very sad times ahead for the end of the show. If you can see it in the big picture context of the series brilliance, it's one of the best episodes thus far. Bravo.

Take a listen and visit www.thehmcnetwork.com for more recaps, reviews and more.



Posted by: Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe on May 22, 2017 at 9:31:19 pm the leftovers, hbo, tv reviews

Art & Commerce in the Age of Distraction - Part 2 of our Conversation with Screenwriters Warren Lewis & Stephen Godchaux

Art & Commerce in the Age of Distraction: Conversations with Screenwriters Warren Lewis and Stephen Godchaux Part 2.

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast sit down with screenwriters, Warren Lewis (Black Rain) and Stephen Godchaux (Dead Like Me), to discuss television content in the age of Amazon, Netflix and how this has changed their process as writers -- is it art or is it commerce.

For Part 1 of our Conversation with Lewis and Godchaux visit, http://www.thehmcnetwork.com/lifestyle




The Leftovers Season 3, Ep 5 "It's a Matt Matt Matt World" Review

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review The Leftovers, Season 3, Ep 5, "It's a Matt Matt Matt World".

Matt (Christopher Eccleston), determined to find Kevin (Justin Theroux) in Australia and bring him back before the 7 year anniversary of the Departure, charters a plane to take him to Melbourne. Along for the ride are John (Kevin Carroll), Michael (Jovan Adepo) and Laurie (Amy Brenneman). Their journey takes a bizarre and unexpected detour when an explosion off the coast of Australia grounds them in Tasmania forcing them to take the only transportation available -- a ferry that's been bought out by a lion worshipping sex cult. Yup, you heard that right. Hey, it's The Leftovers.

With every new episode of this final season of The Leftovers this series proves its superiority. You can set your watch to the performances of every cast member -- Eccleston is a genius but so is Amy Brenneman, so is Justin Theroux, Scott Glenn, Carrie Coons. Damon Lindeloff captured lightening in a bottle with this cast and as all good actors would say, it's the writing. The characters are rich, the story is all over the place yet follows a clear roadmap. Each week we get closer and closer to understanding what it all means. Here's hoping that our faith pays off in the series finale which will air on June 4. Till then, we'll keep reviewing if you keep listening.

For more episodes of The Harold & Maudecast, game reviews, movie reviews and our series Acoustic Series: Music and Travel visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




The Leftovers Season 3, Ep 4 "G'Day Australia" Review

Episode 294 of The Harold & Maudecast with Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe features a review of HBO's drama The Leftovers, Season 3, Ep 4 "G'Day Australia".

Kevin and Nora travel to Australia, where she meets up with the masterminds of the Mark Lin Baker con; Kevin catches a glimpse of John's deceased daughter Evy and pursues her thru the streets of Melbourne only to end up confronting past demons.

It's starting to get weird folks! But isn't that why we love The Leftovers? This episode reveals some truths about Nora's tough gal exterior and leaves us with a lot of questions about Kevin's sanity. Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux are doing some of the finest work on TV today. Their performances are Emmy worthy -- please powers that be, don't rob this show of its just dues. Speaking of award worthy, shoutout to Music Supervisor, Liza Richardson, who creates the melancholy/odd//spiritual/quirky mood of the series. The soundtrack of The Leftovers gives it the punctuation mark that keeps us coming back for more.

Also in this episode of The Harold & Maudecast, our quickie review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (for full review visit www.thehmcnetwork.com/movie-reviews ) and synopsis of the Marvel blueprint.

Visit www.thehmcnetwork.com for more movie, game, tv reviews and more!




TWD The Telltale Series New Frontier Ep 4 - Game Review

ake Essoe reviews The Walking Dead: Telltale Series, New Frontier, Ep 4 "Thicker Than Water" for Confessions of a Basement Dweller on The HMC.

Upon discovering the true nature of the New Frontier's leadership, relationships within the Garcia family have come to a head. As Javier, you will decide the shape and nature of your chosen family. All the while, a herd of walkers moves ever closer to Richmond, putting pressure on allies and enemies alike. With distrust running rampant, you'll have to determine if blood is thicker than water...

Download Episode 4: 'Thicker Than Water' on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC/Steam, iOS, and Android-based devices. Rated M for Mature. The Walking Dead is set in the world of Robert Kirkman's award-winning comic book series and offers an emotionally-charged, tailored game experience where a player's actions and choices affect how their story plays out across the entire series.

Visit www.thehmcnetwork.com for more Game Reviews, Movie and TV reviews and more.




Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review 7.8/10


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Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2.

The Guardians, now heroes having saved the galaxy in the first film, the (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) are hired by The Sovereign, a superior (according to them) alien race to protect their powerful batteries from invaders. Everything is going according to plan, they stop a giant alien worm creature, collect their requested payment, Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora's (Zoe Saldana) evil sister, but then Rocket (Bradley Cooper) gets greedy. Shortly after leaving The Sovereign's planet it's discovered that Rocket stole some of their batteries. Now The Guardians must fend off an attack from their vengeful leader Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) who has placed a bounty on their head with Yondu (Michael Rooker) Fortunately for them, Starlord's (Chris Pratt) past comes back to haunt him when his long lost and unknown father Ego (Kurt Russell) mysteriously shows up to save them.

It would be near impossible to capture the magic of the original GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. VOLUME 2, although entertaining and not without its charms, it suffers from sequelitis. Like its Marvel brethren's sequels that have come before it, Volume 2 has a weaker, more predictable script. The music trick of the first film, Awesome Mix strategically disbursed throughout the film, has lost its cool because you see it coming from a mile away. Bottom line, what was awesome in the first film is no longer fresh. Kurt Russell is his signature cool self but the direction they go with his character is a bummer and it does nothing to tie this film into INFINITY WAR--where the Guardians will be crucial. They also went way over the top with the Baby Groot cute factor, think Puss in Boots' cute trick x10. Chris Pratt is entertaining and funny as always but the real standout in these Guardians is Drax (Dave Bautista) who masters his too literal straight man and delivers the funniest lines of the film. Also shoutout Michael Rooker who shows up big time and has one of the best action sequences in the film.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 is worth seeing in the theaters. Just keep your expectations a bit lower and let it the experience be a fun escape. 7.8/10

For more reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




Free Fire - Movie Review

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review the film, FREE FIRE from Directory Ben Wheatley (HIGH-RISE, KILL LIST).

Justine (Brie Larson) brokers a gun deal in a deserted warehouse in Boston circa late 70s between two Irishmen, Chris (Cillian Murphy)and Frank (Michael Smiley) and a couple of arms dealers, Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer). Things quickly grow tense when it's discovered that one of the Irishmen's hired sidekicks had been in a squabble with one of Vernon's men the previous night. A shot is fired and all hell breaks loose turning a friendly shopping transaction into a deadly gun battle. It's every man, or woman, for themselves as they try to survive the night.

We wanted to love this movie, it has all the ingredients to be a great gangster film; 70s backdrop, Boston, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy, Executive producer Martin Scorsese, Writer/Director Ben Wheatley, heart-stopping gun battle. Sadly, we did not love it. The script is not strong enough to outwit the humdrum of 2 hours in the same location and the same day. This concept, when done well can be brilliant (Reservoir Dogs, Hateful 8), but this story failed to develop its characters enough to keep you invested in their survival. What could have been an awesome backdrop, Boston in the late 70s, was futile as apart from the costume design and the captions, the setting was incidental. One can only presume that the Irishman are shopping for guns for the IRA, they make no mention of the details or the background of any of these characters. We know literally nothing about them other than they need guns and the other guys have them. A underwhelming betrayal subplot emerges out of nowhere adding nothing to the story except a predictable conclusion. If you're a fan of stylized gun fights, you'll be charmed by some of the performances particularly Sharlto Copley and Cillian Murphy--who, no matter how bad or good his character is, you'll root for him out of respect for his exceptional talent.

We give this film a 7/10. Sound high after that review? We'll explain... The Harold & Maudecast is all about bridging the gap between fans and critics and our Justice and Doom Movie Ratings Meter (www.thehmcnetwork.com/movie-reviews ) is designed with this in mind. We rate on a combo of critical analysis and fan likability. FREE FIRE is worth a watch. It's entertaining and will satisfy many fans of the gangster genre. Critically, it's a flawed film. We recommend waiting for VOD to rent it.

For more movie reviews, tv, game reviews and more visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




Uncharted 4 Review - Is it Really All That?

Jake Essoe host of Confessions of a Basement Dweller on The HMC takes a deep dive into Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, the best selling Playstation 4 game ever at 8.7 million copies sold. Is it that good? Fan boys say hell yes, Jake says, hell maybe not. Listen to his review. 7.9/10

Initial release date: May 10, 2016
Developer: Naughty Dog
Series: Uncharted
Awards: The Game Award for Best Performance, More
Platform: PlayStation 4




The Leftovers Season 3, Ep 3 "Crazy Whitefella Thinkin" Review

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review and recap The Leftovers, Season 3, Episode 3, "Crazy Whitefella Thinkin".

When last we saw Kevin Garvey Sr (Scott Glenn) he was high on "devils tongue" down under in Australia. Of course, this was as visioned by Kevin Jr while dead watching his father appear on a TV screen in his hotel room. Apparently that vision was correct cause look Australia, Kevin Sr is there to kick some ass and piss people off. Thanks to an old cassette recorder and tape of Kevin Sr and Kevin Jr circa 1981, we discover that Kevin Sr has the power to stop the rain. Nutty? It is The Leftovers. True or not Kevin Sr, convinced he can stop a flood that he believes will hit on the 7 year anniversary of The Departing, sets out across the outback in search of every Aboriginal song to sing before the anniversary.

Scott Glenn's performance in Episode 3 is one of the finest ever on television. Please award Gods, give him everything. If we didn't respect the show so much we would tell ya to watch this episode even if you're not caught up just to see Scott Glenn's acting chops. But, you gotta catch up. And it's worth it, and only 3 seasons.

Also noteworthy, Lindsay Duncan (Birdman, Under the Tuscan Sun), whose mysterious character Grace was introduced in Episode 2. gives a stunning also award worthy performance. In true Leftovers fashion loose ends explained and tied up to move us closer and closer to the finally. 9/10

For more reviews of The Leftovers, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and other TV, movie reviews, game reviews and more visit www.thehmcnetwork.com.

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The HMC Network is a podcast network featuring genre entertainment commentary, movie and TV reviews, video game reviews, lifestyle & travel, event & Con media coverage & more. Featured on the Creative COW is our flagship podcast, The Harold & Maudecast hosted by Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe. The Harold & Maudecast covers recaps and reviews of the latest Walking Dead and Game of Thrones episodes, Now Playing movie reviews, film festival and Comic Con & fan fest event coverage, technology expos and more. Fandom Never Gets Old.


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