Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Recommended Reading

Here I go linking to David Brooks again. The New York Times' conservative columnist looks at the current lineup of folks vying for the White House and comes away feeling wistful about the guy who'll be clocking out next January:
To hear Sanders or Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson campaign is to wallow in the pornography of pessimism, to conclude that this country is on the verge of complete collapse. That’s simply not true. We have problems, but they are less serious than those faced by just about any other nation on earth. People are motivated to make wise choices more by hope and opportunity than by fear, cynicism, hatred and despair. Unlike many current candidates, Obama has not appealed to those passions.
Read the rest here.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Nostalgia Theater: Sliders Slides Into Oblivion

The success of Fox's X-Files revival, now in the middle of a six episode run, got me thinking about other genre series from that same era. That, in turn, slid my mind over to Sliders, which began airing on Fox as a two-hour movie in March of 1995. Created by Tracy Tormé (a Star Trek vet and son of singer Mel) and Robert K. Weiss, the series had a terrific premise and cast, and with novels, comic books, etc., it also had the makings of a genuine crossover hit. That is, until network politics scuttled the whole thing and left Sliders as a gruesome reminder of what happens when art and commerce have a head-on collision.

"Bern Your Enthusiasm"

As soon as it became clear that Larry David was going to be Saturday Night Live's go-to Bernie Sanders this election season, we all knew this parody was inevitable. And once David was announced as the host for last night's episode, it was a matter of when, not if, they'd go there. And man, they didn't disappoint. This is pretty good. Pretttttttty, pretttttttttty, pretttttty good.

Friday, February 05, 2016

More Recommended Reading

On the other hand, here's Salon's Cody Cain to drive home yet again what a disaster a hypothetical Trump presidency might be.

Recommended Reading

Jonathan Chait says Donald Trump is the least bad option among the various contenders currently jockeying for the Republican nomination. It might sound counter-intuitive, but as these things go he makes a certain amount of sense.
Trump’s candidacy represents, among other things, a revolt by the Republican proletariat against its master class. That is why National Review devoted a cover editorial and 22 columns to denouncing Trump as a heretic to the conservative movement. A Trump nomination might not actually cleave the GOP in two, but it could wreak havoc. If, like me, you think the Republican Party in its current incarnation needs to be burned to the ground and rebuilt anew, Trump is the only one holding a match.
There's more here, including a parallel example from recent history.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

The MovieFilm Podcast: Episode 87

It might be the dog days of January and February at movie theaters, but that doesn't mean the MovieFilm gang doesn't have plenty to talk about! First up, the '90s are alive and well with FX's The People vs. O.J. Simpson and Fox's The X-Files revival. Then, some thoughts on the new release The Finest Hours, Disney's harrowing true life Coast Guard rescue film. From there, it's on to some Listener Letters and reactions to the trailers for upcoming sequels Independence Day: Resurgence and Alice Through the Looking Glass

But that's not all, we also have plenty of headlines to discuss: The Fast & Furious saga races towards its planned conclusion, while the Terminator franchise, on the other hand, hits an unplanned conclusion. Meanwhile, '80s favorite Masters of the Universe might finally be getting the big budget blockbuster treatment, and Elizabeth Banks has signed on to play an unlikely role in the big screen version '90s kidvid fave Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. All that, plus Star Wars news, and much more.

You can catch it through the embed below or via iTunes or Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (and make sure to write us a review or leave a star rating!). Like always, you can drop us a line at MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com, or at our our Facebook page to tell us how we're doing!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Recommended Reading

Donald Trump may have come in second to Ted Cruz in last night's caucuses in Iowa, but that hardly means the ex-Apprentice host is out of the contest. And as this in-depth piece by Eli Stokols and Ben Schreckinger over at Politico shows, his current political run has been the product of extensive analysis of the electorate that he's trying to woo. He may sound nuttier than a fruitcake, but don't call him crazy.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Honest Agents

I dig the show, but this is still pretty funny.

Nostalgia Theater: Jake and the Fatman Edition

Two weeks ago I discussed the P.I. series Riptide, which lasted three seasons on NBC. That got me thinking about how series star Joe Penny landed himself a gig just two seasons later where he was once again playing half of a quirky detective team, this time as the titular
"Jake" in CBS' Jake and the Fatman. One of those patented "gimmick" detective shows that were the Eye network's bread-and-butter back in the day, Penny was Jake Styles, a roguish L.A. cop who also worked as an investigator for tough-as-nails (and big-boned) prosecutor J.L. "Fatman" McCabe (William Conrad). Together, they'd solve crimes. That was the show. Here's the pilot intro, with the characters helpfully describing each other to us:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Recommended Reading

Salon's Steve Almond on what the Fox News/Donald Trump fissure that saw the nutbar billionaire pull out of last night's Republian debate tells us about Rupert Murdoch's propaganda arm:
...it turns out that Fox News, like the party whose bidding it does, has never been about conservatism. Not deep down. What the network does is use ideology as a Trojan horse. The real product, all along (and as with the GOP) has been emotion. They retail hate and resentment and grievance.  
Every day, they tell mostly older, white, culturally dislocated Americans who they should be angry at, and who they should fear. And because they do it so well, they make hundreds of millions of dollars.  
Up until Trump came along, they were the best in the business. There was no politician who could stand up to them.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Nostalgia Theater Podcast: Tim Dunigan Remembers Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future

Our journey through pop culture's past continues here on the Nostalgia Theater Podcast! For our second episode, I'm joined by none other than Tim Dunigan, better known to children of the 1980s as the titular star of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future (read my Nostalgia Theater entry on the show here). The live action adventure series may have been a kids' show primarily intended as a tie-in to Mattel's action figures and accessories, but in its scant twenty-two episodes it managed to tell far-reaching stories about fascism, collaboration, betrayal, and loss. Listen in as Tim Dunigan discusses how he got the role, and what it was like bringing post-apocalyptic future of Captain Power to life, not to mention his time playing another iconic hero -- Davy Crockett! Check out the show via the embed below, or subscribe via iTunesStitcher Radio, or TuneIn Radio. As always, send all questions or comments our way via MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com, and don't forget to hit "like" on our Facebook page!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

From The Onion...

I'm 36, so this totally doesn't apply to me. I swear.
34-Year-Old Man May As Well Keep Pursuing Dream At This Point
OMAHA, NE—Admitting he wasn’t really qualified to do much of anything else after all this time, local 34-year-old Ryan Wells told reporters Wednesday that, at this point, he might as well just keep following his dream of someday becoming a successful musician. “It’s definitely too late for me to go back to school, and I’m not going to get an office job or anything like that with the résumé I’ve got, so I figure, why not just stick with what I’ve been doing,” said Wells, adding that he’s okay with his current schedule of rehearsals and occasional late-night gigs and has grown accustomed to living in small apartments anyway, so he didn’t see much of a problem with continuing to strive after his lifelong goal for the indefinite future. “It’s not like anyone really expects anything different from me anymore, either; they all pretty much ask about how the band stuff is going right off the bat when I talk to them. So, I guess I’ll just keep doing this from here on out.” Wells went on to say that he foresees no real issues with his plan to keep following his dreams, provided that his roommate of eight years doesn’t suddenly decide to move out.

Nostalgia Theater Rewind: Reopening The X-Files

Tonight sees the ballyhooed return of The X-Files to Fox's airwaves after what feels like an interminable fourteen year interregnum. During that time the Chris Carter-created franchise attempted a big screen rebirth in '08 by way of their second feature film, but that didn't really go anywhere. As such, it seems entirely appropriate that our indefatigable agents Mulder and Scully are once again plying their alien-hunting ways on TV screens, and the fact that this run is going to be an abbreviated six episodes gives the whole thing more of an "event" status. With that in mind, I thought what better time to look back at my own feature looking back at The X-Files from a few years ago on the occasion of twenty years since its debut. So click on through, because the truth is...in here.

Continue reading...

Friday, January 22, 2016


Stephen Colbert celebrates the return of Sarah Palin onto the national scene via her endorsement of Donald Trump:


Canadian Business has a fascinating, lengthy story up looking the birth and death of the much-maligned Target Canada venture, which shuttered last year after many years of travails. Give it a read!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Recommended Reading

Yesterday's endorsement by Sarah Palin of Donald Trump's presidential run led to a fun twenty-four hours of snark ("Dumb & Dumber," "I'm With Stupid," that kind of thing). But in a broader sense, the way that Trump is so decisively the frontrunner in his field, with no serious challenger emerging thus far, all the while representing an amped-up version of Palin politics certainly puts her role in the party into stark focus. As TPM's Josh Marshall notes:
Let's put it starkly. Whose Republican party is this? McCain's? Romney's? Bush's? Boehner's? Ryan's? There's little question that the 2016 GOP is the party of Sarah Palin. Donald Trump is simply the successor who is bringing what she started to fruition - the Joshua to her Moses, the Umar to her Muhammad.
I have to think both Trump and Palin would love that last comparison. Anyway, Marshall continues, and you can read it here.

Suicide is Painless

Fresh from discussing it on the latest MovieFilm show, here's our latest look at the David Ayer-directed supervillain team-up pic Suicide Squad, due to hit this August. This one really gives the spotlight to the various Squad-ers, including Will Smith's Deadshot, Jai Courtney as Boomerang, Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, and of course Jared Leto as the biggest Bat-baddie of them all.

If I were to guess, just from this it sure looks like this movie could propel Harley, who first originated in the '90s Batman animated series, straight into mainstream superstardom. And while I'm biased because the John Ostrander-Luke Ross Suicide Squad comic from the '80s is one of my favorite runs of all time, as far as these "DC Cinematic Universe" installments go, this assemblage is far more intriguing than the comparable one from Batman v. Superman a few weeks ago.

The MovieFilm Podcast: Episode 86

For this week's show we're joined once again by our old friend (and Joblo.com editor-in-chief) Paul Shirey, for a fun and free-ranging conversation on all the latest out of Hollywood. First up, we offer some thoughts on new releases Ride Along 2 and 13 Hours, and then we dive right into your questions and comments for us as we answer your Listener Letters. After that, it's on to Headlines, including the diversity problem at the Oscars, remembering the late, great Alan Rickman, and news that Fox TV's 24 is going to continue minus its signature star Kiefer Sutherland. Finally we have our thoughts on the just-released trailer for the upcoming super-villain pic Suicide Squad, and what it could mean for Warner Bros. ambitious superhero universe-building plans. Listen to it below or via iTunes or Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (and make sure to write us a review!). Drop us a line at MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com, or at our Facebook page to tell us how we're doing!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Undercover Kylo

Host Adam Driver reprised his Star Wars: The Force Awakens character on last night's SNL. Hilarity ensued.

Nostalgia Theater: Giving a Rip About Riptide

Perry King, Joe Penny, and Thom Bray
I've spent a lot of time cataloguing the various "gimmick" detective shows that the 1980s served up an inordinate supply of, and here's one more to add to the roster. Riptide is another creation of Frank Lupo and the late Stephen J. Cannell, and the only thing that surprises me is that it didn't last longer given how comfortably it fits in with the kind of stuff audiences embraced during that decade.

The show, which premiered as a two-hour movie in January of 1984 before sequeing into a weekly skein, starred Perry King and Joe Penny Cody Allen and Nick Ryder, two army buddies who decide to try their hand at the P.I. game. With that in mind, they call their shingle the "Pier 56 Detective Agency," set up an office in Allen's boat, the Riptide, and various exciting adequate adventures ensue:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Recommended Reading

After last night's circus of a Republican debate, wherein the majority of the field stood in mute obeisance to the Trump v. Cruz throwdown, Jonathan Chait asks whether the GOP has simply thrown in the towel as far as seriously trying to knock down the Trump candidacy:
Republicans have decided to start treating him as a regular candidate and a member of their party in good standing, rather than an impostor who has hijacked it on a lark. He faced the same softball questions as everybody else, with no follow-ups. (Would you put your business in a blind trust if elected? Trump: Oh, yeah, I’d let my kids run it. In other words, no.)
As Chait goes on to say, the corollary to this is that a growing number of Republican-leaning voters are becoming okay with the notion of the Donald being their standard-bearer come November. Could we actually be heading toward a Trump nomination? Yikes, it's sure starting to look that way.

Zaki's Review: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Two days ago, I showed my Public Speaking class a video of Michael Bay attempting to deliver a speech at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show before a teleprompter fumble forced the director of Bad Boys and Armageddon to abandon the stage. Now, just to be clear, the point of my showing that vid wasn't to toss tomatoes at the man who's reaped box office bounties to the tune of billions of dollars as helmer of Paramount's long-running Transformers franchise. Rather, the goal was to show how anyone, no matter how successful, can be overcome by insecurity in an unfamiliar situation.

Anyway, immediately after that class (in a bit of timing that I assure you was entirely coincidental), I headed to a screening of Bay's latest opus, the "based on true events" political thriller 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. As I watched the film, adapting the bestseller by Mitchel Zuckoff, I couldn't help but think of that image of the director scampering off the stage at CES. Couldn't help but think of the insecurity underlying the bravado. And at that moment I was hit with a sudden moment of clarity. When you think about it, you have to figure it's not easy being Michael Bay.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Recommended Reading

The New York Times' David Brooks, no liberal lion, he, unpacks the particular strain of cruelty that underscores the politics and persona of Ted Cruz, currently second to Donald Trump in much polling for the Republican nomination:
Cruz manufactures an atmosphere of menace in which there is no room for compassion, for moderation, for anything but dismantling and counterattack. And that is what he offers. Cruz’s programmatic agenda, to the extent that it exists in his speeches, is to destroy things: destroy the I.R.S., crush the “jackals” of the E.P.A., end funding for Planned Parenthood, reverse Obama’s executive orders, make the desert glow in Syria, destroy the Iran nuclear accord.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Nostalgia Theater Podcast: Talking G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero With Buzz Dixon!

Welcome to the first episode of the all-new Nostalgia Theater Podcast! As longtime readers of my site know, I've run a feature by that same name here at Zaki's Corner for many years now, so I decided it was time to branch out and "expand the franchise," so to speak. The purpose of this show is to do exactly what the print feature does: Look back at beloved and not-so-beloved pop culture artifacts from bygone days, talk to the creators who made them matter, and the fans who continue to love them. For the first show, I was honored to spend a few hours talking with animation vet Buzz Dixon about his work on the legendary G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero animated series in the 1980s, as well as the animated movie that came afterwards. Listen to the show via the embed below or at iTunes and Stitcher Radio, and if you have any questions or comments, send them my way via MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Nostalgia Theater: The Tragic Tale of Cover Up

Last week I discussed the short-lived sci-fi time travel series Voyagers!, starring Jon-Erik Hexum, and I mentioned that I'd come back to his story soon. Sadly, in addition to cutting short a promising new series, the cancellation of Voyagers! also had the trickle down effect of cutting short the career of a promising young actor as well. In fall of 1984 Hexum landed the lead role of "Mac" Harper, fashion model/undercover CIA agent in CBS series Cover Up. Here's the intro for the show, which co-starred Jennifer O'Neill:

Friday, January 08, 2016

Diffused Congruence: Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

Happy New Year! Starting 2016 strong with our latest episode! We are truly honored to be joined by one of the foremost Muslim scholars in America, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah. Dr. Umar takes us on a riveting journey as he shares his personal story, with stops along the way reflecting on America, metaphysics, Islam in America and the modern world, to name just a few. Listen to the show via the embed below, or via iTunes or Stitcher Radio. As always, please hit "like" on our Facebook page, and send any comments or questions to DiffusedCongruence@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Recommended Reading

Yesterday President Obama announced a series of executive actions aimed at closing some of the loopholes in gun laws, and which might, in some small way, make a dent in the shocking number of gun-related fatalities that our country amasses every year. While the usual poo-poo'ing from the usual suspects followed, an op-ed in today's New York Times makes a very salient point:
Given the situation, it’s hard to imagine a serious conversation about guns as long as politicians in thrall to the gun lobby choose to misrepresent what supporters of gun safety laws are actually saying. Those supporters, by the way, include the 90 percent of Americans who favor universal background checks for gun buyers.
The reticence by certain vested interests (the NRA, their pocketed politicians) to make a good-faith effort at common sense reform is both baffling and angry-making. Read the rest here.

It's Over John. No, Seriously.

A year ago yesterday I linked to a Variety article announcing Rambo: Last Blood, the fifth film in the blood-drenched action series. The piece proclaimed Sylvester Stallone that was getting ready to suit up (or suit down, I guess) once again as his iconic '80s characters (not to be confused with his iconic '70s character, who he was also getting ready to reprise at time). You may recall that was itself a turnaround from his previous statement that he was done-done-done playing Rambo.

The MovieFilm Podcast: Episode 85

Happy new year! It's a super-sized episode of the show as Brian and I take a look back at our top ten favorite flicks from the year just passed. With varied lists that include everything from big budget epics like Mad Max and Mission: Impossible to smaller releases like Trumbo and The Big Short, we go through the reasons why these were the movies that rose to the top for us. Where did we end up ranking them? You'll have to listen to find out!

But that's not all: We also answer a few Listener Letters with some very different opinions about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and also analyze the record-breaking release of the Disney blockbuster. 2016 is here, and we couldn't be happier to saddle up for a new year of the show! You can catch it through the embed below or via iTunes or Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (and make sure to write us a review or leave a star rating!). Like always, you can drop us a line at MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com, or at our our Facebook page to tell us how we're doing!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Nostalgia Theater: Voyagers! Edition

I've gotten a lot of requests over the years to talk about Voyagers! here in Nostalgia Theater, so I figured I'd avail myself of my very first entry of 2016 to look back at the short-lived time travel skein. Premiering on NBC in fall of 1982, Voyagers! centered on Phineas Bogg (Jon-Erik Hexum), an eccentric "voyager" from the future tasked with policing history and making sure things go as they were meant to.

Created by James D. Parriott (who would dream up vampire cop show Forever Knight in the early '90s), Voyagers! was kind of a forerunner to Quantum Leap, down to a pocket computer (the "Omni" in this case) that let them know when things needed fixing. Teaming with 1980s kid Jeffrey (Meeno Peluce), Bogg got into various adventures throughout time, such as landing in Salem, MA during the witch trials, or in the Wild West. Here's the intro:

Friday, January 01, 2016

Wayne Rogers, RIP

Was sad to learn of the passing of actor Wayne Rogers yesterday after a lengthy illness. Though he had a lengthy career in the industry, the 82-year-old Rogers is of course best known as Alan Alda's second banana "Trapper" John McIntyre on the first three seasons of CBS' seminal comedy series MASH. The show's early years were infused with a madcap zaniness that came from creator Larry Gelbart, and was embodied by the perfect pairing of Alda's Hawkeye Pierce with Rogers' Trapper.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Cinema Year That Was: Zaki's Flick Picks 2015

It's been a great year for movies, with a diverse assortment of high-profile and smaller scale films, true stories and big surprises, all emerging as some of my favorites for this year. Here's a countdown of my top ten for 2015:

(Click the links to read my full-length reviews/features)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: The Year in Reviews

I have my "top ten" for the year on track for tomorrow, but in the meantime here's an overview of all the movies I did full reviews during calendar year 2015, with a little blurb from each. This was a big year for me, as I reviewed more flicks than ever before. (This doesn't include retro or archival reviews, of which there were also a few.) Catch them all after the jump!

2015: The Year in Interviews

As in previous years, 2015 offered me some pretty terrific opportunity to chat with some very interesting folks about their latest projects. For your ease, I've compiled them into a list below. Check them out after the jump!

INTERVIEW: Director Jay Roach on Trumbo

After a career spent honing his craft on some of the most memorable comedies of the past twenty years (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents) and some of the most gripping political dramas in recent memory (Recount, Game Change), it feels like director Jay Roach has ascended a new plateau of sorts with the riveting character study Trumbo. The film stars Bryan Cranston in the title role of the cantankerous screenwriter who gained a different degree of prominence thanks to his place in the Hollywood 10 -- filmmakers blacklisted for supposed anti-American beliefs.

In addition to Cranston, the film boasts such talents as John Goodman, Helen Mirren, Louis CK, and Diane Lane in supporting roles, all of whom lend the proceedings the proper sense of gravitas. I had the chance to speak with director Roach during his recent swing through San Francisco, and as I learned during our chat, for him this project was about more than doing justice to Trumbo's incredibly compelling biography. It was also about making some observations about the state of our current discourse in this modern age. Read on for highlights from one of the favorite interviews I've ever done.

Monday, December 28, 2015

This is Strange.

Via Entertainment Weekly, here's our first glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch all duded up in his sorcerers' best as Stephen Strange, Marvel's Master of the Mystic Arts, for the Doctor Strange feature film due out Thanksgiving. I know nothing about what to expect from the movie, but I am a fan of the early comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, about an arrogant surgeon forced to find a new path when an accident robs him of his surgical abilities.

Given the thematic turf it needs to cover, Doctor Strange promises to be one of the wonkiest -- and thus riskiest -- offerings yet from Marvel Studios, currently bounding from victory to victory. I'm hoping we'll get to see some footage from the Scott Derrickson-directed pic soon, but for now, Cumberbatch looks great, and this is a promising start. Jump over to EW for some more pics.

Diffused Congruence: Talking Star Wars With Omer Mozaffar

We've had a great 2015 here at Diffused Congruence, and we wanted to wrap up the year's offerings with something a bit less serious than perhaps we're used to. With the current release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens tearing up box office records in its wake, old school Star Wars fans Parvez and Zaki decided it might be fun to spend an episode unpacking this revival of the storied franchise. To that end, we've invited lecturer and film critic Omer Mozaffar to join us for a fun conversation about this latest visit to the galaxy far, far away. Listen to it below, or download at the link. Also, be sure to hit us up at our Facebook page to let us know how we're doing!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Force A-shaken

As you know, I enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens quite a bit. I think it's a bold start to the new era of the franchise, and I'm excited to see where things go next. (And clearly I'm not alone based on the box office records that continue to fall.) That said, there's one teeny little aspect of the Star Wars revival that's always bothered me just a bit.

Going back to when it was first announced back in 2012, I knew we'd lose the closure offered by Return of the Jedi. The happy ending as the heroes defeated the baddies would now be lost to us forever. Here's io9's Rob Bricken, echoing my thoughts (minor spoilers, I suppose, so be aware before clicking past the jump):

Nostalgia Theater Extra: Year in Review 2015

With the year winding down, it's time once again to look back at this year's crop of Nostalgia Theater posts to see which ones rose to the top and were the most popular:

Nostalgia Theater: Users Are Losers!

Traditionally I close out my the year's crop of Nostalgia Theater entries by picking some random commercial from my childhood, and here's a spot that got a fair amount of airplay during the '80s campaign to keep kids off drugs (here's another post I did on the subject waaaay back in '07). While the "take a bit out of crime" slogan, with ubiquitous mascot McGruff the Crime Dog front-and-center, was fairly well known, they clearly felt the need to zazz things up a bit, so they roped in singing sensation (?) Regina to join the cartoon dog. It began airing in '87, and was still playing when I was in high school, so at least into the early '90s. To be honest, I think this commercial counts as the biggest hit Regina (last name: Richards) ever had, as three decades later I still find myself humming it. And seeing as how I never started on drugs, I guess that makes me one of the campaign's success stories.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Still Not Sure What I Think of Deadpool

It's easy to forget that the next film in Fox's X-Men series isn't this summer's X-Men: Apocalypse. Instead, they're going off the reservation a bit and giving us Deadpool, based on the long-running "Merc with the Mouth" who's been a cult fave since his inception in the early '90s. While star Ryan Reynolds definitely feels like a born-to-it choice to play the wisecracking title character, I'm still not sure how I'm feeling about the Tim Miller-directed film, even after seeing the gratuitous red band trailer that dropped yesterday AM. That said, there's some pretty funny stuff in there, and I do applaud Fox for being willing to do something different within the superhero genre in general and the X-franchise in particular, so let's see where we land when Deadpool debuts Valentine's Day weekend. Watch the trailer after the jump, and tell me what you think:

Recommended Reading

Fascinating read by Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo looking at billionaire Sheldon Adelson's attempts to buy media outlets he can then use as megaphones for his extreme right wing views. It's a sad insight into the long, slow death spiral of traditional media as the needs of traditional journalism bump headlong into the sad realities of generating content in the Internet age. Read the whole thing and just feel the depression wash over you.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Taibbi's Holiday Message: Calm the F$#@ Down!

Here's Matt Taibbi with a very pertinent reminder this holiday season of how we've collectively lost all sense of proportion in terms of actual threats to life and limb:
It's not that there aren't real threats. The problem is that no one in popular culture is incentivized to mitigate our fears of those threats, or place them in context. Fox News is not going to sell many ads running stories called "Mexicans Are Basically Nice People Just Like Us." CNN isn't going to grab eyeballs showing videos of Muslim immigrants in New Jersey just hanging out watching soccer. 
Much more to read here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The MovieFilm Podcast: The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Episode!

The Force has awakened! With this weekend's release of Star Wars: Episode VII already leaving several box office records in its wake, Disney's $4 billion relaunch of the legendary franchise is off to an auspicious start (click here to read my non-spoiler review). For this final MovieFilm show of 2015, we mark the return of Star Wars from a galaxy far, far away by dispensing with the traditional format and instead going all-in for an in-depth, spoiler-filled conversation about the J.J. Abrams directed space epic.

What did we think of The Force Awakens, what worked for us, what didn't work for us, what were our reactions to some of the biggest moments, and where would we like to see the Star Wars saga go next now that we can expect new installments semi-regularly. We cover it all in this very special episode, and you can listen through the embed below or via iTunes or Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (and make sure to write us a review or leave a star rating!). Like always, you can drop us a line at MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com, or at our our Facebook page to tell us how we're doing!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Nostalgia Theater Rewind: Star Wars Comes to Saturday Morning

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters last Thursday (read my review here), and it's already well on its way to the very top of the all-time box office champs. With all the Star Wars nostalgia that's understandably pervading the pop culture sphere, I thought I'd flash back to some of my own previous Nostalgia Theater installments. In two separate entries in 2012 and 2013, I looked back at Ewoks and Droids, two Star Wars-themed animated offerings that then-honcho George Lucas put into development shortly after the conclusion of the original trilogy in 1983. While they were paired together initially, neither show lasted a particularly long time, but they've nonetheless staked out a rather unique place for themselves within the annals of one of the most famous franchises of all time.

Click here to read my remembrance of the animated Droids.

Click here to read my piece on the franchising of Ewoks.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

From The Onion...

This made me laugh.
Guy Wearing Chewbacca Costume Torn Between Seeing ‘Star Wars’ And ‘The Big Short’
BOSTON—Going back and forth between the two options as he approached the movie theater ticket counter, a man dressed in a full Chewbacca costume told reporters Thursday that he was torn between seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the new financial film The Big Short. “I’ve been waiting for the new Star Wars movie to come out for a while, but then again, Brad Pitt’s supposed to be really good in this, and it could be cool to see [director] Adam McKay do a drama—jeez, I don’t know,” he said, adjusting his Wookiee mask and admitting that he just wasn’t sure whether he was more in the mood for an epic adventure film or an ensemble drama. “It’d be kind of interesting to hear the story behind the housing market collapse, but on the other hand, I’ve been camped out to see The Force Awakens for the past eight days. Actually, now that I’m looking at it, In The Heart Of The Sea sounds pretty good, too. Man, this is tough.” At press time, the man had removed the gloves of his Chewbacca costume to look up the Rotten Tomatoes score of each film on his phone.