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The Harold & Maudecast - Sarah Mason & Jake Essoe

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The Leftovers Season 3, Ep 2 Review

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 2, "Don't Be Ridiculous" on this week's Episode of The Harold & Maudecast.

If you think you've heard that song before, you're right. The opening credits to HBO's drama, The Leftovers, Season 3, Episode 2 is new, and old. It's the theme song to the 80s sitcom "Perfect Strangers" starring Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker. Baker, the actor, has been a running gag throughout the series. In Season 1 we learn that all of the major cast members from Perfect Strangers departed. In Season 2 we find Mark Linn-Baker living in Chihuahua, Mexico. He faked his departure due to a severe case of survivors guilt. Now in Season 3, Baker is back with a crazy proposal for Nora. After getting a call from Baker telling her he can reunite her with her departed children, Nora travels to St Louis to meet with him in a hotel room. We don't quite no whether she's truly on behave of the Department of Sudden Departure, as she tells her boss, or if she really thinks this crazy quest is legit.

Episode 2 is heavily focused on Nora. We discover what happened to baby Lily when Nora pops in for an announced visit to her playground where mom Christine is shocked to see her. This episode also sets up the journey to Australia and in fact ends with a taste of what's to come there including a reunion with Kevin's father (Scott Glenn).

Look for; Erika's (Regina King) return, small but poignant performance by Brett Butler (Grace Under Fire) and the introduction of the mysterious Australian wrangler, Grace played by veteran Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan (BIRDMAN, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN). High marks for writing and performances, as always. 8.8/10

For more reviews, podcasts and our new Music and Travel series visit www.thehmcnetwork.com



Posted by: Sarah Mason on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:03:55 pm the leftovers, hbo, tv reviews

HMC Asks: Audience or Customer?

This month on The HMC we are examining content creation in the age of smart phones, Netflix and other distractions. In this preview of The Harold & Maudecast, Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe discuss the concept of Audience vs. Customer. Who are we in today's re-classified content viewing world. Are we audiences or are we customers, or both?

For more on our Age of Distraction series visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




Can Quality Content Survive The Age of Distraction

Sarah Mason of The HMC Network (www.thehmcnetwork.com) sits down with screenwriters Stephen Godchaux (Dead Like Me, Spin City, Roseanne) and Warren Lewis (Black Rain, The Thirteenth Warrior) to whether or not quality content can survive in the age of distracted viewing. They explore; what's in store for traditional broadcast television and theatrical film releases, audiences vs. customers, how Netflix and Amazon pulled off the greatest coup ever, why and how audiences are migrating more and more toward streaming content, binge vs. event night and what shows are revolutionizing the way we watch content.

​For more Interviews, movie and tv reviews, game reviews and our weekly podcast episodes visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




The Leftovers Season 3 Premiere "The Book of Kevin" - Review

The Leftovers, HBO's Peabody Award winning drama returns April 16 for its third and final season with "The Book of Kevin." Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review and recap the episode.

It's been three years since the events in Miracle (Jardin) Texas. We find Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) back in his old uniform as the town's Chief of Police. His son Tommy (Chris Zylka), now deputized, is by his side and pretty handy with a firearm. Nora (Carrie Coon) has a new gig for the Department of the Departed. The gang is mostly all here with the notable exception of Erika (Regina King) who is expected to return for season 3. Her husband John (Kevin Carroll) is shacked up with Kevin's ex Laurie (Amy Brenneman) and running a palm reading scam out of their house together. Matt (Christopher Eccleston) is preaching to an overflowing congregation with wife Mary (Janel Moloney), now out of her coma, and son Noah by his side. It seems like all things are sunny and right in Miracle but, not so fast, this is The Leftovers.

We dive into the details of this somewhat subdued yet none the less brilliant premiere episode.

For more weekly TV recaps, movie reviews, game reviews and our Travel and Lifestyle series visit www.thehmcnetwork.com



Posted by: Sarah Mason on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:12:46 am the leftovers, hbo, tv reviews

Walter Hill's The Assignment - Movie Review

Now Playing Movie Reviews podcast hosted by Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe from The HMC. Review by Sarah Mason.

Legendary filmmaker Walter Hill first heard the story for his latest revenge thriller THE ASSIGNMENT in 1978. But it would take almost 40 years and many projects in between (THE WARRIORS, ALIENS, Tales from the Crypt, Deadwood) to bring Denis Hamill's original story draft, Tomboy, to the big screen.

Hit man Frank Kitchens (Michelle Rodriguez), double crossed by his client mob boss Honest John (Anthony LaPaglia) undergoes gender reassignment surgery against his will at the hands of a sadistic surgeon (Sigourney Weaver) who seeks revenge for the death of her brother. Aided by his nurse girlfriend, Kitchens sets out for revenge.

THE ASSIGNMENT is not a great film but its consistent action and strong performances, keep you intrigued throughout it's relatively short run time (1h 35m). Editor Phil Norden uses comic book style stills to move the story along from act to act. It's a kitchy but effective technique giving the film a cult classic charm.

Rodriguez performance is strong particularly in the second act when she loses the obvious and distracting male disguise. Weaver's scenes with Tony Shaloub, who plays a psychiatrist tasked with the doctor's diagnosis, are some of the best moments of the film and certainly the highlight of the script.

One could argue that THE ASSIGNMENT is both timely, and suffering from horrific timing. Though I don't think Hill intended the film to serve as social statement or lacking empathy he perhaps, should have considered the consequences. What Hill does do, he does well, good ol' fashion action, THE GETAWAY, 48 HOURS, to name a few. And that is what this film is, a B action film with a A cast. HUMAN CENTIPEDE meets SIN CITY if you will. Loyal fans of action films and Hill will surely dig it. If you can overlook the bad PR, which you should, it's worth a watch. 6/10.

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




Lifestyle Series Preview - What's Eatin, What's Drinkin

Dan Fagan brings a new show to The HMC, 'What's Drinkin', What's Eatin', a lifestyle series featuring the stories and people behind some of the greatest bars and restaurants in America.

The series will kick off with Southern California eateries and pubs. Fagan brings with him a love for the social component and multiculturalism of the food and beverage industry and over 25 years experience in the restaurant/bar business.

For more information on What's Eatin, What's Drinkin, and The HMC's other podcasts, news and event coverage visit www.thehmcnetwork.com



Posted by: Sarah Mason on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:09:34 am lifestyle, food and beverage, restaurants, bars

It's Either Magic or it Isn't - Interview with Screenwriter Warren Lewis

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.

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



Posted by: Sarah Mason on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:08:37 am interviews, screenwriters, movies, film criticism, warren lewis

Ghost in the Shell - Movie Review 6/10

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review Ghost in the Shell for Now Playing Reviews on The HMC.

Based on the Japanese anime, Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett Johansson as Major, first of her kind cyber enhanced human. It's the near future and there's a powerful new enemy killing people by hacking into their minds. Major and her District 9 police crew must hunt him down and stop him before he kills again. However, once face to face with this new cyber enemy, Major finds there's more to his story, and hers then she new. Will these revelations threaten her mission? Oh hell yeah.

Ghost in the Shell is a far cry from the thoughtful and clever vision created by Masamune Shirow and original anime film directed by Mamoru Oshii. This Americanized version is all action and no heart. It has some impressive visual effects and fans of science fiction may enjoy the futuristic production design but, Johansson's wooden and weak performance render this film almost unbearable to watch. Cyber punk and original Ghost in the Shell fans do yourself a favor and go watch the anime versions (this film was a melding of both anime films 1 & 2).

We are giving this film a 6 on the Justice and Doom Meter which is generous as this constitutes small Justice, very small. Consider the Justice rating a shoutout to the impressive supporting cast including the phenomenal Juliette Binoche as scientist Dr. Ouelet, Pilou Asbæk as Major's partner Batou (you'll recognize him as Theon Greyjoy's dastardly uncle in Game of Thrones), Michael Pitt and Takeshi Kitano. The stunning visual effects and production design equally deserve much Justice. Save those standout features, this film doesn't live up to its potential as a visionary classic in the realm of cyber punk.

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



Posted by: Sarah Mason on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:07:04 amComments (1) ghost in the shell, movie reviews, anime

The Walking Dead: Telltale Series - New Frontiers 3 - Game Review 8/10

Jake Essoe, host of The HMC's Game Review series, 'Confessions of a Basement Dweller' is back with a review of The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series, New Frontiers Episode 3 'Above the Law'.

After the shocking events of 'Ties That Bind: Part Two', Javier struggles to find a role in his newly reunited family. Meanwhile, tension within the walls of Richmond grow. Will Clementine and the rest of the group turn against Javier? It may be time to choose between the family you're born into and the family you've made...

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier acts as both a new beginning for players fresh to the series and unfamiliar with Clementine, as well as a continuation for players who have experienced Seasons One and Two.

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode Three: 'Above The Law" is rated 'M' (Mature). It is available for download March 28, 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC/Steam, iOS, and Android-based devices.

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




Zombies for Every Occassion - Train to Busan & The Girl with All the Gifts Reviews

This week the Harold & Maudecast hosted by Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe, celebrates its 290th episode with two new Now Streaming movie reviews, "The Girl with All the Gifts" and "Train to Busan" both zombie films, cause we love zombies.

The Girl with All the Gifts, released September 2016, Directed by Colm McCarthy, written by Mike Carey based on his novel by the same name. Starring, Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine and Sennia Nanua. 

In a dystopian future a bizarre fungus as infected the population turning it's initial hosts into rabid, zombie-like creatures. When a save-humanity at all costs scientist and a empathetic teacher discover one of their child test subjects may hold the key to saving humanity, they set out on a dangerous quest of survival and redemption. 8.5/10

Train to Busan, released in South Korean and Asia July 2016, Now Streaming on Netflix, written and directed by Sang-ho Yeon, starring Yoo Gong, Dong-seok Ma, Yu-mi Jung and Soo-an Kim.

A overworked father travels with his young daughter by train to visit his estranged ex-wife. Unbeknownst to them and the other passengers, a zombie outbreak is about to take over their train and they must work together to survive. 8.8/10

Visit www.thehmcnetwork.com for complete write ups on these reviews as well as more TV, movie, streaming and game reviews.




The Walking Dead Season 7 Finale Review

This week on We Talk Dead, hosted by Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The HMC, review and recap of The Walking, Season 7 finale episode 16, 'The First Day of the Rest of Your Life'.

Dwight pleads for his life as a vengeful Daryl can barely be contained egged on by Tara still mourning over the loss of Denise. Not so fast, we might need this guy. Turns out Dwight is a pretty proficient Lumberjack, tree blockade anyone? Unfortunately it doesn't stop Negan and his Saviors from descending upon Alexandria ready to rumble. But wait! Rick's got the Heepsters, right? Meanwhile in a dark undefined room not explained till the end of the episode, Sasha keeps having dreams or flashbacks of her and Abraham chatting it out lovingly in the room they first consecrated their feelings in (Cudlitz makes a surprise appearance). What is that all about? Sadly, we find out but it's one hell of a heroic reveal. Thank you Sasha! And just when we think all is lost, we're reminded, we got lots more friends. Negan, next time don't bring a bat to a tiger fight.

The Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead delivered some momentary, but much needed justice for fans. It appears a bigger battle is in store for us in Season 8 but for now, we're celebrating. #SHIVA2020

For more episodes of We Talk Dead, movie and game reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com



Posted by: Sarah Mason on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:03:45 am walking dead, season 7 finale, tv reviews



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.


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