On Episode 333 of The Harold & Maudecast, 2018 Fall and Holiday Movie Preview and review of Amazon Studios, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE and Netflix Disenchantment.
Hosts Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, an Amazon Studios release, written and directed by Lynne Ramsay (WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN) and starring Joaquin Phoenix. The film won both Best Screenplay and Actor, for Phoenix, at Cannes Film Festival 2017 and was nominated for the festival's top prize, the Palm D'Or.
Joe (Phoenix) is a traumatized veteran funneling his unearthed rage into brutal take-downs of sex traffickers. When Joe agrees to track down a high ranking government officials missing daughter, he finds himself in the middle of cover up leading to deathly consequences.
Phoenix gives an unapologetically brutal and layered performance. Joe's violence is balanced by his thoughtful care-taking of his mother played by Judith Roberts (ERASERHEAD, DEAD CALM. The film spares the audience the distraction of confusing subplots choosing to focus solely on the mission at hand. It's darkly artistic--feels like a film festival entry! But in all the best ways.
Additionally, Sarah and Jake go through the full list of upcoming movies releasing in September through the end of 2018 -- THE NUN, HALLOWEEN, OUTLAW KING, THE PREDATOR, HAL, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB, SPIDER-MAN INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, HOLMES AND WATSON, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD, AQUAMAN and so many more.
Bonus! A review of Matt Groening's (The Simpson's), new Netflix series, Disenchantment.
For more episodes of The Harold & Maudecast and other podcasts please visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
On this episode of The Conversations Podcast from The HMC Network, Age of Distraction 4: Almost Invisible. Host Sarah Mason talks to screenwriters Stephen Godchaux and Warren Lewis about aging in Hollywood, how Millennials and the culture of being woke are shaping content, also the continuing impact of Trump and MeToo on storytelling.
For the completely Age of Distraction series and other podcasts visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
On Episode 331 of The Harold & Maudecast hosts Sarah and Jake countdown to San Diego Comic Con 2018! A preview of all the confirmed panels and the now annual ConanCon, Conan O'Brien live at Spreckels Theater.
Also in this episode spotlight on actor Barry Keoghan, the 25 year old Irish actor who has caught the attention of Hollywood with his standout roles in THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, DUNKIRK and AMERICAN ANIMALS.
Nominated for an Independent Spirit award for his role in Yorgos Lanthimos (THE LOBSTER) 2017 film, THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER and a standout performance in Christopher Nolan's Oscar winning film, DUNKIRK, Keoghan is one of the most exciting young actors on the scene today.
In 2018 Keoghan starred in Barry Layton's film, AMERICAN ANIMALS, about the real life story of four Kentucky college students who attempted to steal rare and valuable books from Kentucky’s Transylvania University. The outlandish heist attempt, predictably did not go well. The film, a Grand Jury prize nominee at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, received much praise including Keoghan's performance. AMERICAN ANIMALS, co-stars Evan Peters, Blake Jenner and Ann Dowd.
This September Keoghan will star in BLACK 47, alongside Hugo Weaving (LOTR, THE MATRIX) and fellow Irish actor Stephen Rhea (INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE). The film is set during the Great Irish Famine, about a young Irish ranger who has been fighting the British abroad, returns to his family in Ireland. The film is written and directed by Lance Daly (THE HALO EFFECT).
The busy Keoghan has yet another film and two television series in production. Look for big things from Barry Keoghan.
We review THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, also starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman and AMERICAN ANIMALS.
Listen at 26:03.
For more podcast episodes, reviews and updates on Comic Con visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
On Episode 328 of The Harold & Maudecast, hosts Sarah Mason and Jake review the movies SOLO and CARGO and checking in on Westeros, predictions for who will survive Game of Thrones.
Han Solo is finally getting his own origin story! Question is, did he really need one? SOLO, A STAR WARS STORY, was released on May 24th to lukewarm box office results, if you consider $115m lukewarm. Well Disney does. It appears SOLO may be the first victim of STAR WARS fatigue, as Disney continues to pump out spin-off films whether we want them or not.
We meet young Han (Alden Ehrenreich), the would-be pilot as he's escaping with his girlfriend Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) from their home planet, under siege by the Empire. Spoiler alert! One of them gets left behind, but we'll see her again in the future after Han completes his training, does some soldiering for the Empire, meets Chewie and joins a misfit group of space outlaws led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson). After their big score heist goes terribly wrong, they face certain death at the hands of big boss Drydon Vos (Paul Bettany) unless the team can find a ship that can make the Kessel run in 12 parsecs....luckily part time dandy, full time card shark, Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), has one.
SOLO is full of edge-of-your-seat action sequences including a intergalactic space train heist that invokes the spirit of Indiana Jones. Although Ehrenreich's name is a mouthful to say and he looks nothing like Harrison Ford, he's the right guy for the job. He pulls it off thanks to a wonderful supporting cast and a strategic script penned by the great Lawrence Kasdan (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, SILVERADO) and his son Jonathan Kasdan (IN THE LAND OF WOMEN), the younger Kasdan clearly supplied the many satisfying albeit obscure easter eggs like a reference to the 1997 video game, “Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi. Director Ron Howard stepped in after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (THE LEGO MOVIE) were fired for presumably being too silly? Regardless, it was the right choice as Howard's steady vision steered this film into maturity. Oh there's fun, and silliness, lots of crazy Lucas inspired creatures. But what makes this film enjoyable is the feeling that it's being produced by real filmmaking pros. You may not walk away thrilled as you were after THE FORCE AWAKENS, but don't forget that came after a long dry spell and the disasters that were Episodes 1, 2 and 3. Seek to be entertained in the spirit of Indiana Jones and get over Harrison Ford's absence and you'll dig this film as much as we did. Justice!
Review for CARGO, the Netflix original re-invention of the zombie genre starring Martin Friedman (Sherlock, THE HOBBIT) starts at 29:17.
In the outback of Australia, Andy (Friedman) and wife Kay (Susie Porter), with baby in tow, are struggling to stay alive in the new zombie stricken world. When tragedy strikes, it's up to Andy to find a family to take care of their baby girl before it's too late.
In some ways CARGO is your typical zombie story. It's got all the trappings of the genre, biting, walking dead, apocalyptic world, dangerous people who may kill you before the zombies do. Yet, it's far from the maddening crowd of Walking Dead and George Romero films. We don't know why or how the outbreak occurred but if you're lucky enough to have survived this far you're probably familiar with the government issued kit equipped with countdown bracelet and suicide tools. The film rests largely on the performance of Friedman, who delivers. Equally delightful is his young aboriginal companion, Thoomi (Simone Landers), who he must help in order to find refuge for his baby. The countdown/doomsday clock formula of the story combined with the baby, makes the stakes impossibly high for even a zombie movie. It is that urgency and the desperation of Andy that keep you engaged and nervous throughout. It's a tough film to watch -- not entirely tragic, yet sad and draining. Writer/Director team Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling (JUNGLE), stretch and breath life into this genre which seemed to be on it's way out. Justice!
For more podcasts and reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
On this episode of The Conversations Podcast, The HMC continues its series, Writing in the Age of Distraction with Part 3: Is Social Change Driving the Story. Host Sarah Mason sits down with screenwriters Warren Lewis (BLACK RAIN) and Stephen Godchaux (Roseanne, Dead Like Me) to discuss writing in a politically charged era -- how and why social movements like #MeToo #BlackLivesMatter and #Parkland are driving storylines from Roseanne to Big Little Lies to Get Out. Should story creators be in the bridge building business or simply entertainment us, and does the success of Black Panther suggest audiences want both? We discuss all this and more.
For the full series visit www.thehmcnetwork.com/interviews
On Episode 327 of The Harold & Maudecast, "Princess Deadpool". Host Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review DEADPOOL 2.
Ryan Reynolds returns in the title role for DEADPOOL 2, opening May 18. This time the R rated wisecracker finds himself in the unlikely role of mentor and protector after meeting an angry teenage mutant orphan played by Julian Dennison (HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE). Russell becomes the target of Cable (Josh Brolin)a genetically enhanced soldier from the future... let's just call him terminator, seriously. In order to help the kid fight Cable, Deadpool assembles a super squad aka X Force, Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgård) Domino (Zazie Beetz) and Peter! (Rob Delaney) No powers, he just read the ad in craigslist.
DEADPOOL 2 is jam packed with cheeky quips, celebrity cameos and lots and lots of ironically placed licensed music -- insert Enya during fight sequence. It's also filled with amazingly choreographed action and fight sequences, great comic performances by Reynolds, Dennison, Beetz and special shoutout Rob Delaney who made us belly laugh as the overweight, middle aged white dude who just wants to hang out. The budget appears to have grown as a result of the success of the first film, DEADPOOL which is evident in the CGI fight between Colossus and Juggernaut. But it seems if they cut back on the music licensing they may be able to afford more X Men.
All in all much fun was had by our audience of two. We give it a 8 on the Justice and Doom meter. Listen to our full review for more of our thoughts.
Bonus! Despite the Royal Wedding threatening to overshadow the release of DEADPOOL 2, it made over $300m worldwide opening weekend. We weigh in on the wedding in our special way, the Hollywood class system, Royal Wedding addition.
For more episodes of The Harold & Maudecast visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
On this week's episode 325 of The Harold & Maudecast hosted by Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe, Now in Theaters reviews, READY PLAYER ONE and A QUIET PLACE, at long last our streaming review of THE LAST JEDI and The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale.
Ready Player One -
A Quiet Place -
The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale -
The Last Jedi -
READY PLAYER ONE is based on the Ernest Cline novel, written by Ernest Cline and Zak Penn, directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance and Ben Mendelsohn. When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.
This film was highly anticipated by fan boys and girls including us but did it deliver? Hell no.
A QUIET PLACE stars John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, directed and co-written by John Krasinski with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. In an apocalyptic America, a family is forced to live in silence to hide from creatures who hunt solely by sound.
This PG13 horror film kicked box office ass beating READY PLAYER ONE on its first weekend and almost tying RAMPAGE on its opening weekend. What's in the secret sauce that's making theater goers afraid to make a noise?
We discuss both films and weigh in on why one was Doomed and won received much Justice. For more episodes, reviews and lots of cool stuff from for fans, visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
On this Episode 324 of The Harold & Maudecast, 'Hidden Gems & Missed Opportunities', celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the film, ROLE MODELS and reviews of TOMB RAIDER and DOWNSIZING.
ROLE MODELS is a story about energy drink reps Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) trash the company trunk and are facing jail time until Danny's recently former girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks) does some legal wrangling allowing them to do community service with a mentoring program instead of jail time.
ROLE MODELS was released in 2008 to modest box office results initially, $19,167,085 but it has since been streaming its way to cult status. It's grossed $92,380,927 worldwide thanks to its popularity on DVD and streaming services. Rudd co-wrote the film with David Wain (WANDERLUST, WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER), Ken Marino (WANDERLUST) and TImothy Dowling (PIXELS). The cast is filled with comedy character favorites including Jane Lynch (GLEE, 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN), Ken Jeong (THE HANGOVER), Matt Walsh (Veep), Kerry Kenny (Reno 911), Nicole Randall Johnson (Reno 911), and of course McLovin himself, Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
ROLE MODELS is currently streaming on HBO Go & Now. It is one of the funniest movies you've probably never seen. Listen to our commentary and review to find out why.
Also in this episode we dive into two films that shoulda, coulda been better than they turned out to be, now in theaters, TOMB RAIDER and now streaming, DOWNSIZING.
After finding a clue that may lead to the whereabouts of her missing adventurer father, Lord Walter Croft, Lara Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination -- a fabled tomb on a mythical island possibly off the coast of Japan.
TOMB RAIDER, based on the mega popular game series, Tomb Raider developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix, is a reboot of the movie franchise [based on said game series] starring Angelina Jolie. This time, Alicia Vikander (EX MACHINA, THE DANISH GIRL) takes on the role of Lara Croft. This new film is based on the widely successful 2013 reboot of the game series. Confused yet? The film also stars Dominic West (The Wire) as Lord Walter Croft and Walton Goggins (Justified) as bad guy Mathias Vogel. Screenplay by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, Directed by Norwegian filmmaker, Roar Uthaug (THE WAVE).
Hardcore fans will be disappointed as the stakes are so much lower and far less adventurous than the game itself. We dissect every missed opportunity and compare movie action to game action.
When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to overpopulation, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.
Directed by two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne (SIDEWAYS, THE DESCENDANTS) and written by Payne and fellow Oscar winner Jim Tayler (SIDEWAYS), starring Oscar winners Damon, Christoph Waltz and Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis, DOWNSIZING had the pedigree of a winner. Unfortunately this was Payne's weakest film and another missed opportunity.
If TOMB RAIDER's stakes were too low, DOWNSIZING's stakes were too high for what should have been a much simpler comedy. The premise alone paired with the A list cast and Payne's signature brilliance in elevating the mundane to fascinating, would have been all this film needed to be entertaining. Instead, the script veers off into several complex and conflicting plots lines taking the story far away from the concept of downsizing.
Listen as we unpack all the missed opportunities in both of these films.
For more movie, game reviews and other podcasts visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
Episode 317 of The Harold & Maudecast: Return of the Western. Sarah and Jake examine the resurgence of Westerns, the efforts to revive the genre over the years and whether it's time has truly comeback.
This episode includes a review of HOSTILES, THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN and IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE as well as commentary on new Westerns in development or recently released, and a look back at the last decades attempts to revive.
For more podcast episodes, movie, tv, game reviews and more visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
Episode 315 of The Harold & Maudecast "Punish This Netflix", hosts Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review the Netflix original Series, The Punisher, Season 1 and the Netflix original movie, 1922.
Marvel's The Punisher hit Netflix on November 17th. This live action serial installment of the popular comic book franchise stars Jon Berthal (The Walking Dead), Amber Rose Rivah (Indian Summer), Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Girls) and Ben Barnes (Westworld). Created by Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal, Narcos), the story picks as ex-special ops Frank Castle/The Punisher (Bernthal) tries to pick up the pieces of his tragic life after his wife and two children are brutally murdered. His revenge spawned blood quest to punish everyone responsible is dealt with as flashbacks in Ep 1. The series follows Castle, presumed dead, living low in NY under an alias, Homeland Security Agent Dina Madani pursuing the source of an anonymous source outing the CIA for murdering an innocent Afghan police officer and David Lieberman aka Micro, a former CIA agent and hacker who becomes Frank's unlikely ally.
Like the other series in the Marvel Defender's universe (which this will presumably tie into), The Punisher is dark, brooding and filled with a lot of unnecessary drama. If you're looking for all out Punisher action, it's there but, with the exception of the first episode, you'll wait till the last 10 minutes of every episode to get it. That said, Bernthal is fantastic and worth all the bloated dialogue spent attempting to make this a drama. 7.5/10
1922, also now streaming on Netflix, is an adaptation of a Stephen King novella. The film stars Thomas Jane (The Mist, Hung) Molly Parker (Deadwood) and Dylan Schmid (Once Upon a Time), written and directed by Zak Hilditch (These Final Hours).
After his wife Arlette (Parker) decides to sell the land they live on bequeathed to her by her father, Wilfred (Jane) conspires to kill her enlisting the help of his son Henry (Schmid). Though it appears they may escape the consequences of the law, Wilfred can not escape the karmic wrath of the spirits that haunt him leading to tragedy for all those around him.
This film is dark, really dark, tragic, sometimes scary and at times hard to watch. It's filled with blood, ghosts and gore. Jane gives a career best with this performance--he is almost unrecognizable, completely transformed into a 1920s era farmer. The film has a similar vibe as the 2015 indie horror film, Witch, creepy, dark but also gripping and well written. This too is well written and Zak Hilditch takes Stephen King's story and both captures the grimness of 1920s heartland America yet modernizes it for today's very sophisticated horror fans. It's slow moving, so don't expect a lot of jump scares. This film takes its time making you uncomfortable. Justice 8.5/10
For more movie, tv, game reviews and other podcast episodes visit ww.thehmcnetwork.com
TV & Streaming Reviews
On this episode of Conversations With on The HMC, host Sarah Mason interviews award winning VFX Artist, Pav Grochola who is the Lead VFX Artist on Sony Pictures Imageworks upcoming animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Pav Grochola is the Lead VFX Artist for Sony Pictures Imageworks. His credits include Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Edge of Tomorrow for which he won an Annie Award from the Visual Effects Society for Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture.
For more on Pav Grochola and more episodes of Conversations With and other podcasts visit www.thehmcnetwork.com/interviews
This week on The HMC's flagship podcast, The Harold & Maudecast, Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING MISSOURI, Stranger Things Season 2 & another episode of We Talk Dead, Ep 804.
We Talk Dead - 5:06
Three Billboards Review - 31:05
Stranger Things 2 - 45:40
Bonus stuff! Robert Kirkman's new show Secret History of Comics, the Rotten truth about Rotten Tomatoes.
For more podcast episodes, game, movie and TV reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
On this episode of The HMC's interview series podcast, "Conversations With", host Sarah Mason sits down with Jean Picker Firstenberg to discuss her new book, Becoming AFI: 50 Years Inside the American Film Institute.
“This book puts you directly behind the scenes for a story that began with a dream, overcame constant challenges, and evolved into the institution it is today.” ―Steven Spielberg
Becoming AFI: 50 Years Inside the American Film Institute will be available 10/10/17.
For more interviews and reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
Jean Picker FirstenbergAFIthe american film instituteafi50
This episode of The Harold & Maudecast, 312 "Dead Weight". Hosts Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe preview It's Alive: Classic Horror & Sci-Fi from the Kirk Hammet Collection at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.
We Talk Dead is back for Season 8 of The Walking Dead. We review the premiere Ep 801 "Mercy" and 802 "The Damned".
Now Streaming Movie Reviews, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99, starring Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter and Don Johnson, written and directed by S. Craig Zahler (BONE TOMAHAWK). We gave it much Justice 8.5/10.
For more podcast episodes, movie, tv, game reviews and more visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
Movie/TV Reviewspodcastsbrawl in cell block 99the walking deadtwdvince vaughnharold & maudeharold & maudecast
|Posted by: Sarah Mason on Nov 20, 2017 at 6:38:17 pm|| walking dead, podcasts, tv, amc, zombies, horror, reviews, brawl in cell block 99, movies, vince vaughn|
On Ep 311 of The Harold & Maudecast, hosts Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review BLADE RUNNER 2049 and give their recommendations for some creepy October horror films Now Streaming.
Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who's been missing for 30 years.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 captures the texture and silence of Ridley Scott's original film(BLADE RUNNER), whose involvement is reduced to Exec producer, but don't let that discourage you. This much anticipated sequel has an A+ crew including Director Denis Villeneuve (THE ARRIVAL), screenwriters Hampton Fancher (BLADE RUNNER), Michael Green (LOGAN), multiple Oscar nominated Cinematographer Roger Deakins (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, SKYFALL) visit his imdb it's incredible www.imdb.com/name/nm0005683/?ref_=nmawd_awd_nm). Ryan Gosling masterfully takes the lead backed by a phenomenal cast, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Lenny James, breakout star Sylvia Hoeks as bad girl replicant Luv and a potential Oscar winning performance by Harrison Ford reprising his role as Deckard.
Do yourself a favor, see it in the theaters. It's a stunning, thoughtful, brilliant film. 9.6/10 on our Justice & Doom movie meter.
For more movie, tv, game reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
On episode 310 of The Harold & Maudecast, "Sequels", hosts Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Goon: Last of the Enforcers.
All too often sequels don't quite live up to their originals, with some notable exceptions (Godfather 2, Superman 2....) we examine the art of the sequel and review two new film sequels whose originals were unexpected sleeper hits.
After the Kingsman's HQ is destroyed by drug dealer, Poppy (Julianne Moore), Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) must team up with their American counterparts, The Statesman to take Poppy down before she destroys the world. The Statesman, whose front is a Bourbon distillery in Kentucky, are headed up by Champagne (Jeff Bridges) along with Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Ginger Ale (Halle Berry). Kingsman: The Golden Circle is Drected/Co-Written by Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman the Secret Service, X-Men: First Class) and Co-Written by Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass), Kingsman the Secret Service) . The film was theatrically released on September 22, 2017.
Sidelined after one too many hits and now married to Eva (Alison Pill) with a baby on the way, Doug "The Thug" Glatt (Seann William Scott) hangs up his skates and tries to live a 9 to 5 life. But when Doug's nemesis, Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), is made captain of the Highlanders and new ownership threatens to tear his team apart, Doug's old nemesis Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber) helps him get back on the ice. Goon: Last of the Enforcers is Directed by Jay Baruchel and Co-Written by Baruchel and Jesse Chabot. The film had a limited theatrical release on September 1, 2017 and is available on Streaming services.
For more movie, tv, game reviews and other podcasts, articles and news visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
On Episode 308 of The Harold & Maudecast Weekly, "Creature Feature", hosts Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe explore the Dark Universe. We discuss Universal's lineup for its Dark Universe, monster movie reboots which kicked off with Tom Cruise's THE MUMMY and will include, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE INVISIBLE MAN, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, DRACULA UNTOLD 2 and more of Universal's classic monster features.
We also review two Now Streaming reviews including THE MUMMY and WIND CHILL, a thriller starring Emily Blunt in an early career role.
Also a preview of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights which we will be touring this week!
For more podcast episodes, movie and game reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review WIND RIVER, a new film directed and written by Taylor Sheridan (SICARIO, HELL OR HIGH WATER) starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.
Veteran tracker Cory Lambert (Renner) on the hunt for a trio of lions causing trouble in the Wind River reservation discovers the body of a Native American girl on the Wind River reservation. When the FBI sends in a green young agent, Jane Banner (Olsen) to investigate, the two team up to uncover the mystery.
Sheridan's brilliant writing shows in this realistically bleak and desolate picture of life on the reservation. The pacing is slow which only furthers the sense of despair. Renner and Olsen deliver equally adept performances aided by a supporting cast of familiar veteran Native American actors most recognizably Graham Green (DANCES WITH WOLVES) as tribal police chief Ben. It definitely feels like a film that's directed by a writer -- not that that's a bad thing. But the film could be tightened up a bit. That note aside, it's a powerful statement on Native American culture with a well crafted story that makes you care about the characters deeply long after you leave the theater. 8.5/10
For more movie reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
This week on The Harold & Maudecast hosts Sarah Mason & Jake Essoe review SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING.
Tom Holland (THE IMPOSSIBLE) takes over the role of Peter Parker/Spider Man alongside Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) in this Disney- downed reboot of the Marvel classic character. When first we saw young Spidey he was fighting Avengers in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. Alas returning to high school is a pretty big let down for Peter Parker who continually pesters Tony Stark's man Happy (Jon Favreau) for new assignments. When it's clear that Tony has benched him, for now, Peter goes looking for bad guys on his own and quickly finds more danger than a Spider Man in training can handle.
SPIDER MAN: HOMECOMING should be called IRON MAN 3.5. Disney took Marvel's [arguably] coolest super hero character and stripped him of everything that makes him so powerful and unique. Sony owns the rights to the character Spider-Man but lent him out to Disney so that Marvel could tie the character into AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. What a mistake Sony. You had the best Marvel character and you let Disney turn him into a Junior Avenger at Tony Stark's day camp.
Exhibit 1: The Suit
After Peter Parker's high school buddy hacks into the special suit that Stark designed for Spider-Man, he discovers that he can be Iron Man too! The suit comes equipped with his own personal Jarvis "Karen" who counsels him on everything from Taser web shooters to his love life. And that spider on the suit's chest? It's a drone! That he calls Droney. Droney helps him find the bad guys even if he needs Tony to help him fight them.
Spider-Man was unique because he was a kid (an older kid this Peter Parker is 15) who was super smart and able to use his intelligence to craft his own suit and discover his powers on his own. Spider-Man's spider sense is not even addressed, which is arguably what makes him one of the most powerful super heroes of all time. That super power allows him to manipulate time and space, and energy and it sets him apart. Yeah well I guess Tony Stark hasn't mentored this Peter Parker on the merits of his super powers sans suit yet. Maybe they're leaving that for the sequel.
At San Diego Comic-Con 2016 the filmmakers SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING likened their version of the film to the style of John Hughes (UNCLE BUCK, SIXTEEN CANDLES etc). But that's way too kind and a discredit to the charm and genius of John Hughes. This is Disney Channel Spider-Man at best without any of the sophistication and depth of the classic comic book character. If you're a diehard fan of Spider-Man, wait till Sony gets him back. No Justice for this Spidey. 5/10
Bonus in this podcast episode we continue our obsession with foreign horror films with two Now Streaming reviews of THEM and BASKIN.
For more podcasts, movie reviews and our countdown to SDCC17 visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
Sarah and Jake from The Harold & Maudecast sit down with actor Alex Essoe to discuss her new film, MIDNIGHTERS, a thriller/horror about a couple who try to cover up a gruesome crime and find themselves in a Hitchcockian web of deceit and misdirection. The film premiered at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival. MIDNIGHTERS is a horror/thriller from Director, Julius Ramsay (The Walking Dead), written by his brother Alston Ramsay. Co-starring with Essoe is Perla Haney-Jardine (STEVE JOBS), and Dylan McTee (Sweet/Vicious) and Ward Horton (ANNABELLE).
Essoe's upcoming projects including the Val Kilmer starring, THE SUPER and THE MAESTRO in which she plays legendary film actress/dancer Cyd Charisse. You can view more of Alex Essoe's project on IMDB.com
For more interviews, movie and game reviews from The Harold & Maudecast visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, for The HMC's Now Streaming Reviews, 7.3/10.
Father (Brian Cox) and son (Emile Hirsch) coroners investigate a the death of a beautiful girl "Jane Doe," whose mysteriously unscathed body was found in the basement of a house where a quadruple murder occurred. As the pair uncover bizarre clues to the girls death and origin strange things start to happen leading to a terrifying truth.
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE was the darling of the 2016 film festival circuit, particularly for horror fans and now we know why. Directed by André Øvredal (TROLLHUNTER) the film cleverly makes use of its solo location with a well crafted script written by Ian B. Goldberg (Once Upon a Time) and Richard Naing (DEAD OF SUMMER), that keeps you on the edge of your seat till the bitter end. Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch give convincing performances as father and son detectives. The film successfully finds a way to navigate genres which is most impressive. Diehard horror fans will appreciate the practical effects and creatures. There's just enough gore yet not so over the top to alienate fans whose preference leans more toward thriller vs hardcore horror. The filmmakers thankfully don't try to overcomplicate the story rather they rely on their acting duos performances in concert with a slow build up of suspense to a series of unexpected jump scares. The promise of the ending was more exciting than the actual ending, which is our only disappointment. That said, it brings something new and quite creative to the genre which is no small feat. This indie horror will surprise, scare and entertain you. Justice 7.3/10
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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.
Kicking off a new series on The HMC, "Conversations With" an interview with screenwriter, Warren Lewis. Host Sarah Mason sits down with the busy writer/professor to talk about how he navigated Hollywood and his take on the future of the movie business.
Warren Lewis’s credits as screenwriter include Black Rain (Paramount) and The Thirteenth Warrior (Touchstone). He has worked on assignments for most of the major film and television studios including Sony, Warner Brothers and Fox. Warren’s recent scripts include, A World Away – a modern retelling of The Dybbuk, Ansky’s classic play; The Brownsville Boys: A Tale of Murder Incorporated; Trade Craft, an espionage thriller; The Tale of the Bloodstone Riders, a western set in post-civil war Texas, and The Point, a one hour drama. Lewis holds an MFA from The California State University at Fullerton. He teaches screenwriting at La Jolla Writers Conference, the UCLA and UCSD Writers Programs Extension and The California State University at Fullerton.
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Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review The Belko Experiment for The HMC Now Playing Reviews.
Writer/Producer James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) took a little break from making blockbuster super hero movies to write this wonderfully gruesome horror/thriller. When the office workers at Belko came into work they had no idea they would be the subjects of a twisted social experiment. The American company, in Bogota, Columbia, is put on lock down and a mysterious voice over the intercom announces that they must kill 30 of their fellow co-workers or 60 will die. Assuming this is a hoax, COO, Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn) attempts to calm the nervous staff now assembled in the lobby. When it becomes clear that this is no joke, things start to unravel pitting co-worker against co-worker in an ultimate survival of the most moral test.
James Gunn's script, the phenomenal ensemble cast and Greg McLean's careful direction of Gunn's vision make The Belko Experiment one of the best indie horror/thriller/action films in years. It lives up to its tagline, "Office Space meets Battle Royale" with the level of gore and violence, which could have gone way over the top. But McLean's steady Direction keeps the film grounded. The ending, which could go many ways, will surprise you and leave you questioning your own humanity. Shoutout to the the practical effects team who did a fantastic job with such a small budget. Horror fans will be utterly charmed by this film and moviegoers in general will enjoy the psychological thrills and relentless action.
The Belko Experiment hits theaters on March 17, 2017.
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This week Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review Logan for The HMC Network's Now Playing Reviews.
Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Logan/Wolverine for the last time in this darker, grittier X-Men universe film. Set in the not so distant future, 2029, the world is looking pretty bleak for Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Charles Xavier (Sir Patrick Stewart) last surviving mutants. The once powerful leaders of the X-Men are weak and vulnerable suffering a mundane human existence. Logan is showing the effects of adamantium poisoning which has slowly been taking away his healing powers. Charles, suffering from a form of dementia is dependent on Logan and another surviving mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant) for care and medicine which has become necessary for more than his safety as his disease as certified his brain to be a weapon of mass destruction. Logan seems content in his miserable existence, driving a limousine and popping pills, until a mysterious little girl drags him into one last heroic venture.
Unlike any of it's franchise predecessors, Logan is extremely dark with more of an apocalyptic Road Warrior feel to it. It is the first R rated film of the X-Men franchise making us wonder why they all didn't do the same. Thanks to the success of 2016's Deadpool, also R Rated, and now the success of Logan ($85m opening weekend), look for Hollywood to start slowly opening the gates on R rated super hero films. In the case of Logan, the freedom to go balls out opens up a whole new dimension for the character(s) -- Dr. X dropping F bombs? Yes! It's the Wolverine we wish we had seen before, no implied destruction, actual visual confirmation of it. Thank you! Finally. Don't count on a Marvel happy super hero ending, this film has way more soul. Much justice.
Logan is in theaters now.
Visit www.thehmcnetwork.com for more movie and tv reviews, videos, news, event coverage and lots of fun stuff.
This week on The Harold & Maudecast we review The Good Neighbor starring James Caan and recap FX Network's Taboo, Episode 4, starring Tom Hardy.
The Good Neighbor is a psychological thriller about a pair of mischievous high school kids (Logan Miller, Keir Gilchrist) who create the illusion of a haunting on an unsuspecting neighbor (James Caan). While keeping his every reaction under surveillance, they see much more than they bargained for, and discover that the man they're tormenting is not the easy target they'd expected.
In Taboo episode 4 we find our (anti) hero James Delaney fending of more would be assassins, taking a chemistry lesson, orchestrating heists, saving the not-so-damsel in distress step-mother, and dancing around the tension with his sister. The exciting and sometimes gruesome episode ends with an invitation to duel to the death. Take a listen and stay tuned for Episode 5 recap!
For more recaps, reviews, interviews and videos, visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
This week on The Harold & Maudecast we review M. Night Shyamalan's latest film, Split. 7.5/10 on our Justice & Doom movie meter. Split stars James McAvoy, Betty Buckley and Anya Taylor-Joy. For Split, Shyamalan and Blum reassemble their core team from The Visit, including producer Marc Bienstock and executive producers Ashwin Rajan and Steven Schneider.
In addition to Split, we review Shyamalan's, The Visit, which was the top grossing horror film of 2015. We also examine Shyamalan's vast body of work from The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village, The Happening and more. Take a listen!
Writer/director/producer Shyamalan returns to the captivating grip of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs with Split, an original thriller that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind. Following last year’s breakout hit The Visit, Shyamalan reunites with producer Jason Blum (The Purge and Insidious series, The Gift) for the film.
While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being.
Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.
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|Posted by: Sarah Mason on Feb 3, 2017 at 6:11:05 pm|| movie reviews, split, m night shyamalan, horror, thriller, action, drama, movies, james mcavoy, multiple personalities|
One of our favorite attractions, anywhere in the world is Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery. Salem's ONLY Monster Museum, this museum and its truly unique collection is an incredible tribute to Horror, Sci Fi and Fantasy Films. Actors, Directors and Special Effects artists and fans like US! We met with owner and curator, James Lurgio, who gave us a personalized tour of the greatest monster gallery in the world! Take a listen to our full tour episode (above) with James as we explore the most impressive collection of horror and sci-fi wax figures in the world!
More info visit Nightmare Gallery Website www.nightmaregallery.com
|Posted by: Sarah Mason on Oct 19, 2016 at 1:09:54 pm|| count orlok, nightmare gallery, salem, salem haunted happenings, monsters, wax museums, museums, galleries, classic horror, movies||
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.
Combining critical analysis with passionate fandom, The Harold & Maudecast offers a fully-informed look at your favorite movies, TV and video games. Commentary and reviews include the latest Walking Dead and Game of Thrones episodes, film festival and Comic Con & fan fest event coverage, technology expos and more.
Fandom Never Gets Old.