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.
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This week on The Harold & Maudecast, Episode 302, Countdown to Thrones & SDCC. Hosts Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe Countdown to the Season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones with recaps, theories, predictions and more. With San Diego Comic Con only three weeks away, we've got the list of the hottest panels and a preview of what to expect at SDCC 2017. Now playing in theaters, BABY DRIVER, Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD), new action heist film hits theaters and we give it our full Justice & Doom review.
For more podcasts, movie, game reviews, con coverage and more visit www.thehmcnetwork.com
Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review the film BABY DRIVER, written and directed by Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD) starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm.
Baby (Elgort) is a reluctant yet talented wheel man coerced into driving for crime boss Doc (Spacey) to pay off an old debt. Baby's unique use of music makes him unstoppable behind the wheel but draws suspicion from the crew. When Baby meets the woman of his dreams, Deborah (Lily James), he must decide how much he's willing to risk before it's too late for a new life.
BABY DRIVER is the not your usual bank heist, action film. It's highly stylized and makes clever use of its soundtrack--which is essentially the other lead character in the film. Edgar Wright, who along with collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost gave us the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ and AT WORLD'S END, makes an uncommon but brilliant transition to action genre proving once again, a good film is all about the writing. The story drives this picture along with some great performances. With one fell swoop Elgort graduates from teen drama prince (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, The DIVERGENT SERIES) to Oscar worthy actor. He's fantastic as the questionably quirky, music-dependent orphan who finds his way out of his hard luck circumstances with love.
We highly recommend this film. Go see it in theaters -- it warrants a big screen view. 8.6/10
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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
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This week on The Harold & Maudecast - Episode 300! Yes, it is our 300th episode thanks to our friends at American Giant and Toy Zoo and other awesome sponsors.
In episode 300, Hosts Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe recap their week at the E3 video game conference with their Best of E3 highlights. Also in this episode movie reviews - SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY, from writer/director Matt Schrader featuring John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman, Junkie XL, Danny Elfman, Enio Morricone, Trent Reznor, Randy Newman, Quincy Jones, Howard Shore & all the great film composers whose scores have elevated the movies they punctuate to greatness. Also reviewed in this episode, MY FRIEND DAHMER, based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Derf Backderf, this is the true, haunting story of Jeffrey Dahmer in high school. The film premiered at the LA Film Festival.
Visit www.thehmcnetwork.com for more reviews, stories, podcasts and interviews.
This week on The Harold & Maudecast Episode 299, hosts Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe preview of E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles June 13-15 -- Nintendo Switch, Microsofts new console XBOX One X and its 4K play, Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus from Bethesda, Assassin's Creed Origins and much more!
Also we review IT COMES AT NIGHT, in theaters now. In an undefined post apocalyptic world where an airborne threat terrorizes humanity, Paul (Joel Edgerton), a former teacher turned survivalist desperately tries to protect his wife and teenage son. Paul's strict sense of order is threatened when Will (Christopher Abbott) lands at their door seeking refuge for himself and his family. The two families work together to survive until paranoia and mistrust creep into their seemingly cooperative co-existence resulting in monstrous consequences. 8.2/10
Additionally upcoming TV and Movie previews, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, the hot list of Summer movies and more.
Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review The Leftovers, Series finale, "The Book of Nora".
Season 3, Episode 8, "The Book of Nora" opens with Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) announcing her sound mind and body intent to go over the other side. Brother Matt (Christopher Eccleston) is by her side to say goodbye. Flash forward to many years in the future a much older Nora is delivering doves to a church -- fans will remember this scene from the Season 3 premiere. We are soon reunited with Kevin, also much older, who surprises Nora at her home and spins a tale of vacations and old crushes. The truth of Kevin's journey, and Nora's is slowly uncovered and revealed at the very end leaving fans to sort out for themselves whether they got an answer to the ultimate question -- what really happened to the departed?
The Leftovers finale may leave the casual fan confused but, if you're thinking this was another Lost finale, which was loudly criticized by fans who felt jipped out of a conclusion, then you've missed the point entirely. Damon Lindeloff and the creators of The Leftovers have the balls to leave this ending up for interpretation in a way that is completely true to the essence of the series. This final episode is not filled with bizarre sequences or madcap suspense in fact the story is quite prosaic. The world has moved on from the Sudden Departure and Nora and Kevin, now older, none the wiser, are normal folk. Their lives are filled with mundane routines and two week vacations. In the hands of a lessor show this may feel like a let down particularly after the crazy brilliance of the previous episode "The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother). But this is The Leftovers which means, exploration into spiritual salvation vs damnation, weird but poignant metaphors, suicidal tendencies, poetic music interwoven strategically to punctuate in just the right places, loose ends tied up from previous seasons, and still a lot of unanswered questions. The final monologue, delivered by Nora, is the crescendo of this masterpiece concluded by its ethereal signature piano concerto.
Did we get our answer to the questions of what really happened? You decide. We're gonna take the opening song's advice and Let the Mystery Be.
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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 HBO's The Leftovers, Season 3, Episode 7 "The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother).
Well it's back to purgatory, or whatever this place is, for Kevin Garvey where the Grateful Remnant (GR) have become the ruling party. President Kevin Harvey (as he's called in this world) must work fast to stop assassin Kevin Harvey, his identical twin brother, from spoiling his plans for a nuclear launch. Assassin Kevin must work fast. He's got messages to distribute and Christopher Sunday to find so his father can stop the rain. Confused? Of course, It's The Leftovers!
One more episode to go and The Leftovers just keeps getting better and better. This episode showcases Justin Theroux's amazing yet unsung acting chops -- please give this man an award! Equally outstanding is Ann Dowd who returns as Patty Levin. There are many familiar faces popping up in this episode, like pieces of a puzzle that we can't quite put together. Never fear, it's in Leftovers we trust to sort it all out in the series finale which will air on June 4, 2017 on HBO.
For now, take a listen to our review and recap of this crazy but brilliant episode. Visit www.thehmcnetwork.com for more tv, film, game reviews and more!
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.
For over 10 years The HMC has been producing popular podcasts, digital content and events. The Harold & Maudecast is the flagship podcast for The HMC Network. Hosted by writer/producer, Sarah Mason and writer/comedian, Jake Essoe, The Harold & Maudecast offers a fully-informed look at your favorite movies, series, comics, conventions, video games and more. They combine critical analysis with passionate fandom. Go beyond the basics and get down and dirty with our in-depth, funny analysis and commentary.
Also on this feed are episodes of our other podcast series, Age of Distraction hosted by screenwriters Warren Lewis and Stephen Godchaux, True Field Test for production professionals, Conversations with Cooler People Than Me interview series, Justice and Doom Movie and Series Reviews.
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