Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The MovieFilm Commentary Track: Raiders of the Lost Ark

It’s a skip week for the regular show, so we thought it was a perfect time to hit “play” on one of our all-time favorite flicks and record a commentary track! For this episode we talk through 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, the film that introduced intrepid archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones to the moviegoing world. Whether you watch along with us at home or just listen on the go, you'll find lots of behind-the-scenes trivia, story discussion, and our personal remembrances of the Steven Spielberg-George Lucas-Harrison Ford classic. Listen 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, August 06, 2017

Nostalgia Theater Podcast: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock Commentary Track

Back for another Commentary Trek continues! This time I'm rejoined by my friend Glenn Greenberg, former Marvel Comics editor, and writer of many Hulk and Star Trek comics, for the third feature voyage for original Star Trek crew, 1984's Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. As always, you can hear our own personal histories with this installment, plus plenty of trivia and behind-the-scenes factoids. As always, we had a blast with this one, and we're alread planning ahead for The Voyage Home! Click below to listen, or subscribe at iTunesStitcher RadioTuneIn Radio, or Google Play (and remember to leave a review!). As always, send all questions or comments our way via MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com, and don't forget to hit "like" on our Facebook page.

Friday, August 04, 2017

The MovieFilm Podcast: Dunkirk + The Dark Tower


After more than ten years in development, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has finally come to movie screens, and the MovieFilm boys are here to offer their takes on the would-be franchise-starter from Sony Pictures. Does the Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey adventure movie signal a bold beginning or an ignominious end? We offer our takes on that, as well as Christopher Nolan’s wartime opus Dunkirk. But that’s not all!

We also talk the upcoming TV series sequel to 1980s classic The Karate Kid, the dissolution of the much-ballyhooed Transformers writers’ room, a familiar face joining Ron Howard’s Han Solo Star Wars spin-off movie. Plus: Quick takes on the new Death Wish trailer starring Bruce Willis, and thoughts on a whole slew of sad Hollywood passings in the past few weeks. Listen through the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. As always, please hit “like” on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Zaki's Review: The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower has spent more than a decade kicking around Hollywood’s dreaded development pipeline, and it’s easy to see why. Since the debut entry of Stephen King’s magnum opus in 1982, the franchise has racked up eight total books and a legion of fans all over the world. As such, certainly from a pure dollars and sense perspective, this is exactly the kind of thing that franchise-hungry studios are looking for in the ever-expanding hunt for sequel-friendly intellectual property to exploit.

Continue reading at Fandor...

Thursday, August 03, 2017

The MovieFilm Commentary Track: RoboCop

For our latest commentary track, the MovieFilm Podcast celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of RoboCop! The sci-fi classic directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Peter Weller first hit theaters during summer of 1987, and its legacy is whirring and humming along even this many years later. In this track we discuss the background on how the film got made, interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and our own personal histories with one of the most defining movies of the 1980s. Listen through the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. And as always, please hit “like” on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Zaki's Review: Dunkirk

The evacuation of Dunkirk occurred seventy-seven years ago at the outset of the second World War. After the German push across France and Belgium threatened to wipe out allied forces in one fell swoop and change the direction of human history, the rescue of nearly half a million soldiers across the English Channel from the port of Dunkirk kept victory from Hitler's grasp. Dunkirk fundamentally altered the trajectory of the war, though of course anyone who was in it at the time -- just trying to stay alive long enough to make it home -- couldn't possibly have known that.

While the episode is rightly revered in Europe and England (where the phrase "Dunkirk spirit," for pulling together through adversity, is still a common part of the parlance), it's also a story that's likely unknown to the vast majority of Americans. As such, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk will likely be the first exposure for many to this fascinating piece of history, one that exposes in equal measure human beings' unerring capacity for inflicting senseless atrocities on one another, and showing selfless compassion even in the face of unspeakable odds.

Monday, July 24, 2017

More Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

GeekPulse Radio Podcast: Episode 9

I had the opportunity to join the good folks at Geeks + Gamers on GeekPulse Radio last week, and in addition to engaging with a fun and wide-ranging conversation about the latest headlines with the hosting trifecta of Chris Kubiak, Jonathan Youngblood, and Chris Clow, I also had a chance to dive in for an in-depth chat about my own history with film criticism, my love of the Planet of the Apes franchise, and what I thought of Fox's trilogy-closer War for the Planet of the Apes. Had a really good time with this, and I'm confident you'll enjoy listening just as much as I enjoyed being a part of it. Listen to parts and two below, and subscribe to the show on iTunes here.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Zaki's Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

Six years ago, Twentieth Century Fox executed one of the most skillful under-the-radar reboots in movie history with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. As directed by Rupert Wyatt (from a script by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver) it was a grounded, character-based "prequel" of sorts to its Planet of the Apes franchise that was embraced by audiences to the tune of nearly $500 million worldwide. In addition to laying the pipe for the 1968 classic, Rise offered audiences remarkable marriage of groundbreaking digital effects and performance capture technology to visualize its menagerie of hirsute heroes -- led by Andy Serkis as hyper-intelligent chimp Caesar.

Director Matt Reeves stepped in for 2014's sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which upped the intensity of its scenario while also carrying the ball inexorably forward towards the preordained conclusion of simian domination promised by its title, and was rewarded with critical love and an even greater global haul. Taken together, these two films were notable not only for their special effects advances -- at least as much of a game-changer as John Chambers' ape prosthetics from the original batch of Apes adventures -- but also for how they made audiences complicit in the downfall of their own species, all under the auspices of popcorn entertainment.

Zaki's Retro Review: RoboCop

That was how critic Maggie Anderson described her experience watching the original RoboCop in 1988, a few months after its release, while writing for London’s Evening Standard. On the surface, you can kind of see where she was coming from: Virtually all of its lean103-minute running time is packed with bullets, gore, and profanity. But while Ms. Anderson’s reaction was hardly unique, it was also hardly representative of the mainstream. Rather, RoboCop represented one of those rare instances where critical and popular acclaim were out of sync. What makes this even more impressive still is that this was — on the surface, anyway — a standard issue action vehicle with a gloriously goofy title that almost dared audiences to dismiss it out of hand. Heck, per his own telling, even director Paul Verhoeven tossed the script across the room without reading it as soon as he saw the title.

Continue reading at Fandor...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The MovieFilm Podcast: War for the Planet of the Apes

This week Brian & Zaki talk War for the Planet of the Apes in a spoiler-filled discussion of the third and final entry in the Apes series' current trilogy! Additionally, Zaki interviews David Lowery, writer and director of A Ghost Story, the boys discuss Matt Reeves abandoning Ben Affleck's draft of The Batman script, as well as Star Wars news, Listener Letters, and plenty of other movie talk! You can listen through the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. And as always, please hit “like” on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Diffused Congruence: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed

For this episode we're joined by Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, currently running for governor in the state of Michigan. While Dr. El-Sayed's candidacy is historic for a number of reasons, including being the first Muslim to seek the state's highest office, he comes to the race with a long background in public service and a desire to further help. Listen to our conversation at the embed below or at this link. As always, send any questions or comments to diffusedcongruence@gmail.com, or at our Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Spider-Man's Long Journey Home

Fifteen years ago last May, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man debuted to an astounding $100 million+ in its first three days of release — until then, the White Whale of opening weekends. The franchise, which is one of the most successful in history, is due for its second reboot with this week's Spider-Man: Homecoming. But even though Marvel Comics’ web-slinger has now become a valued, signature property for Sony Pictures, he spent more than a decade lingering in development hell before his first movie hit theaters in 2002.

Bear in mind that, until very recently, Marvel had never enjoyed a successful big-screen adaptation. Not one. This might seem hard to believe in today's post-Iron Man age, but back then their cinematic prospects were one long, uninterrupted joke, with mega-flops like 1986's Howard the Duck and also-rans like 1990's The Punisher and Captain America (not to mention 1994’s never-released Fantastic Four) serving as periodic punch-lines. But the timing couldn't have been better for Spidey.

Continue reading at Fandor...

Random Thought

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Is It Jaws Podcast: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

A few months ago I had the chance to join my friend Paul Spataro on his fun movie review show Is It Jaws? where we discussed 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which rebooted the brand after lying fallow for a decade. With this week's release of War for the Planet of the Apes, the episode has just dropped, and it's a pretty good listen if I do say so myself. As you know, I'm a big fan of the flick, so having the chance to really dig into it with a fellow fan was a lot of fun. If you've never listened to Paul's show, you can get more info and subscribe here, and check out my guest shot at this link. I've also recorded a follow-up episode discussing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, so keep it peeled for that as well!

Actively Stupid.

An activist who wears a blue vest says Fox is trolling him with an Apes character in a blue vest. Literally one of the dumbest things I've ever seen on Twitter. 🙄


Sunday, July 09, 2017

Nostalgia Theater Podcast: Batman: The Animated Series Turns 25!

In just a few short months, the legendary Batman: The Animated Series hits its big quarter-century anniversary. In order to mark the occasion, I'm joined by John Trumbull -- author of an expansive oral history of the series for Back Issue! magazine featuring interviews with most of the key creatives -- for a fun and free-ranging conversation including John's conversations with Bruce Timm, etc. about the animated Batman's journey to the screen, how the series changed the playing field for all kidvid going forward, praise for the amazing ensemble cast (Kevin Conroy! Mark Hamill! Richard Moll! Adrienne Barbeau!), and our picks for some favorites from the show's 100-plus episodes. You can listen to it at the embed below, or subscribe at iTunesStitcher RadioTuneIn Radio, or Google Play (and remember to leave a review!). As always, send all questions or comments our way via MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com, and don't forget to hit "like" on our Facebook page.

Friday, July 07, 2017

The MovieFilm Podcast: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming is in theaters now, and Brian & Zaki have a spoiler-filled chat to celebrate the wallcrawler’s entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe! How does it stack up to previous Spider-flicks? Does Tom Holland supplant Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in our hearts and minds? Also: director Matt Reeves’ comments on directing The Batman, rumors of a Rocky rematch in Creed 2, and more on the behind-the-scenes turmoil at the Star Wars Han Solo spin-off movie. Plus: more reactions to Transformers: The Last Knight in Listener Letters! Listen through the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. And as always, please hit “like” on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The MovieFilm Commentary Track: Planet of the Apes (2001)

With the impending release of Fox's much-anticipated three-quel War For the Planet of the ApesBrian and Zaki decided this was a perfect time to revisit the misbegotten Planet of the Apes "re-imagining" from 2001 directed by Tim Burton and starring Mark Wahlberg. We discuss the project's long road to the screen, including the many notable filmmakers like Peter Jackson and James Cameron whose abortive attempts at reviving the Apes brand never made it to the screen, and also why the movie we did get is such a fascinating failure. It's not just two hours of throwing poop at the screen, and you can listen through the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. And as always, please hit “like” on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Zaki's Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

When I reviewed The Amazing Spider-Man -- Sony's 2012 insta-reboot that ditched the franchise continuity that director Sam Raimi had started just ten years earlier -- I compared it to a kid hitting reset on a video game just because he'd lost a "life."

Even with the less-than-stellar reception accorded 2007's Spider-Man 3, there was nothing so broken that a solid sequel couldn't have fixed without necessitating a baby-with-the-bathwater approach. Nonetheless that's exactly what we got, with the studio quickly pulling the trigger on a "Here we go again!" reboot, and director Marc Webb & star Andrew Garfield handed the unenviable task of making audiences think they hadn't seen this exact story not that long ago. Still, as I said at the time, "the Spider-Man myth is more powerful than any of its individual tellings, and with Andrew Garfield behind the mask, it'll likely continue to spin for several years yet."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Great Moments in Presidential Rhetoric

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Zaki's Review: Transformers: The Last Knight

Ten years ago Paramount and director Michael Bay birthed the big screen Transformers franchise, and I was entirely onboard with it. In hindsight, this would prove to be the solitary shining moment for this series, with everything after a very determined race to the bottom. When the first sequel came out in 2009, I pretty much hated it, as I did the third film two years after that. When the fourth hit theaters in 2014, I...didn't end up minding it as much. But as it turns out, that was nothing more than a momentary blip. What we'd call, in stock trading parlance, a "dead cat bounce."

And now here we are with Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth installment of a series that's practically daring you to care about anything in it or about it at this point. Even with IMAX and 3D being dangled as value-added elements, the big budget series based on Hasbro's long-running action figures has become shorthand for the calcifying corrosion that's befallen summer movie season in recent years. Don't spend time on coherence and clarity on a story level, just go bigger, louder, and explodier. Don't worry, the audiences can always be counted on to dutifully line up at the turnstile and hand over their money -- even if they complain along the way.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Diffused Congruence Podcast: Hakim Archuletta

As we get ready to close out Ramadan, we're joined by special guest Hakim Archuletta on the latest show for a lengthy and engaging discussion about his journey to Islam, as well some counsel from the 30 years he's spent working in the healing arts profession. Check out the show at the embed below or at this link. As always, send any questions or comments to diffusedcongruence@gmail.com, or at our Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The MovieFilm Podcast: Transformers: The Last Knight

Transformers: The Last Knight is in theaters now, and hoo-boy, we’ve got lots to say about Michael Bay’s latest rock ‘em, sock ‘em robot romp starring Mark Wahlberg. Listen in as we attempt to make sense of the plot, divine directorial intact, and ultimately figure out what the heck we were doing in the theater! But that’s not all! We also discuss the divergent box office fortunes of Wonder Woman and The Mummy, mention the sudden retirement of Daniel Day-Lewis, and more! Plus: Listener Letters, some big Star Wars News, and all the other features you’ve come to expect! You can listen through the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. As always, please hit "like" on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Batman-on-Film.com Podcast: The Star Wars Prequels

I once again joined the Batman-on-Film.com Podcast this past weekend for a fun and far-ranging conversation about the much-derided, still-divisive Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. Love 'em or hate 'em, they've been part of the Star Wars tapestry for coming up on two decades now, and so it's worth at least looking at them from a holistic perspective. At least, that was the perspective I offered to host Rick Shew and the other members of the BOF Roundtable for this very interesting conversation:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Zaki's Retro Review: Batman Returns

When the time came to craft a follow-up to his 1989 mega-hit Batman, Tim Burton made exactly the movie he wanted — and exactly the movie Warner Bros. didn't.

Given how superheroes have taken over cinemas over the last decade or so, it's easy to forget what a gamble that initial Batman had been when it first came out. The only serious take on superheroes before then had been 1978’s Superman, directed by Richard Donner and starring Christopher Reeve, and that franchise didn't take long to peter out: Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987) signaled the ignominious end (for nearly twenty years, it would turn out) of the Man of Steel's big-screen career.

Continue reading at Fandor...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The MovieFilm Commentary Track: Batman & Robin Turns 20!

Holy trainwreck! This week marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most fascinating misfires in movie history, Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin. The film’s less-than-stellar box office reception in summer of ‘97 marked the end of the Dark Knight’s first movie series, and in the years since has become a fascinating case study for how studios can kill their golden goose franchises. With that in mind, Brian and Zaki have used the occasion to dive in for a feature-length commentary track as they attempt to make sense of George Clooney’s single turn as the Caped Crusader while keeping count of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze ice puns and puzzling over why Bruce Wayne would put moulded rubber nipples on his Batman suits. It’s a fun and freewheeling conversation that we hope you’ll enjoy being a part of. Listen 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!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The MovieFilm Podcast: The Mummy

Is The Mummy magnificent, or merely a mess? The MovieFilm boys tackle the Tom Cruise monster mash -- first entry in Universal’s ballyhooed “Dark Universe” -- and try to figure out whether it should live forever or go back under wraps. But that's not all! We also pay respects to the late, great Adam West following his passing, and share our fond memories of the Batman star and his seminal series. In addition, we also talk up the latest developments on Justice League and X-Men: Dark Phoenix, discuss the trailers for Black Panther and Flatliners, and catch up on the latest Star Wars news! You can listen through the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. And as always, please hit “like” on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Batman-on-Film.com Podcast: Wonder Woman

Click the embed below to catch my appearance on the latest Batman-on-Film Podcast. I joined hosts Bill Ramey and Rick Shew, as well as regular panelists Justin Kowalski and Ryan Hoss for an in-depth discussion on the latest -- and most definitely greatest! -- entry in DC's Expanded Universe, Wonder Woman. As always, I had a great time chatting with the gang, and I'm sure you'll enjoy listening to it as well.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Diffused Congruence Podcast: Celebrating the Big Five-Oh!

Parvez and Zaki take a break in the middle of Ramadan to celebrate fifty episodes of the podcast! Listen in for a fun and free-ranging conversation about a whole host of current events, including the tragic terror attacks in London last week, the Capitol Hill testimony of ex-FBI director James Comey, and what lies ahead for the increasingly scandal-engulfed Trump administration. Check out the show at the embed below or at this link. As always, send any questions or comments to diffusedcongruence@gmail.com, or at our Facebook page.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Nostalgia Theater: When Adam West Came Back to Batman!

With yesterday's passing of legendary Batman actor Adam West, it's understandable that much digital ink has been spilled singing the praises of his turn on the '66-'69 TV series based on the DC Comics, and the decades-long impact it ended up having. It's also led to a renewed round of righteous appreciation for the show that gave him his immortality. However, it's worth remembering that while Batman took up permanent residence in the brainpans of those who grew up watching, it also did a number on career of the guy playing the title role.

After Batman went off the air in '69, Adam West suddenly found himself out of work, and spent much of the next few decades trying to get out of its shadow. It wasn't until much later that the star found a second act by lampooning his own image, but for awhile there, his most consistent work came via reprising the Dark Knight (er, sorry, Bright Knight) in various different forms. I talked about one such instance last year, but the first time was in 1977's short-lived The New Adventures of Batman, which aired on CBS:

Friday, June 09, 2017

Zaki's Review: The Mummy (2017)

It's been more than fifty years since Universal's web of interconnected monster movies -- Frankenstein! Dracula! The Wolf Man! -- have dominated the big screen, but the studio has been desperate to recapture that halcyon glory ever since. And when you think about it, it's entirely understandable. After all, long before Marvel Studios was a glint in anyone's eye, before anyone thought to have Batman and Superman square off together onscreen, Universal had already laid claim to the concept of a shared cinematic universe, with its roster of creatures comforting audience from the early '30s through the late '50s.

And while they've tried in years past -- whether with 2015's Dracula Untold in 2015 or 2010's The Wolfman or 2004's Van Helsing -- to reignite those franchise fires, no attempt has really caught on with modern audiences. The closest they came to a box office phenomenon was with 1999's The Mummy. Though the Stephen Sommers-directed film borrowed its title and iconography from the 1932 Karl Freund original, it otherwise went its own way with an Indiana Jones-lite adventure story, and was rewarded with enough success to merit two increasingly far-fetched sequels (though I do have a soft spot for 2001's The Mummy Returns, featuring the cinematic debut of one Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson).

Thursday, June 08, 2017

The MovieFilm Podcast: Wonder Woman + Zoe Lister-Jones on Band Aid

Summer movie season continues! This week: An in-depth, spoiler-filled discussion of Warner Bros. freshly-minted megahit Wonder Woman! But that's not all, you can also hear Zaki's interview with writer/director/star Zoe Lister-Jones about her fresh new comedy Band Aid. In addition, hear quick takes on the trailers for Murder on the Orient ExpressAmerican Made, and Logan Lucky, as well as all the Headlines, Listener Letters, and Star Wars news you've come to expect. Listen through the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. And as always, please hit “like” on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Zaki's Original Review: The Mummy (1999)

First published: May 14, 1999

The 1930s and ‘40s or something of a golden age for horror movies in general, and Universal Pictures horror movies in particular. With lightning rapidity, the Studio pumped out a vast coterie of unforgettable monsters ranging from Lugosi's Dracula to Chaney's Wolf Man the Karloff’s Frankenstein monster.

Occupying the lower tier of Universal Horrors was the Mummy series. Never quite as overtly terrifying as his creature kin, the Mummy (first brought to life by Boris Karloff in the 1932 film of the same name) still obviously left enough of an impression on director Stephen Sommers (the underrated Deep Rising) for him to mount a stylish remake cast in the ‘90s mold.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Nostalgia Theater Podcast: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Commentary Track

The Commentary Trek continues! After having a blast with our Star Trek: The Motion Picture commentary last month, I'm joined once again by my friend Glenn Greenberg, former Marvel Comics editor, and writer of many Hulk and Star Trek comics, just in time to celebrate the 35th anniversary of fan-favorite film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan! Listen and watch along with us as we discuss our own histories with this beloved film, as well as revealing interesting trivia and behind-the-scenes factoids. As always, we had a blast recording this one, and I'm confident you'll enjoy listening to it. Next up: The Search For Spock! Click below to listen, or subscribe at iTunesStitcher RadioTuneIn Radio, or Google Play (and remember to leave a review!). As always, send all questions or comments our way via MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com, and don't forget to hit "like" on our Facebook page.

Friday, June 02, 2017

The MovieFilm Podcast: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The MovieFilm boys kick off June on the high seas with an in-depth discussion of Captain Jack Sparrow's fifth (and final?) outing in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales! But before that, Zaki gives his thoughts on Baywatch and Captain Underpants - in addition to teasing his take on Wonder Woman - and Brian sees The Dark Knight through a whole new lens after revisiting Michael Mann's crime epic Heat. Plus, Universal and Warner Bros. battle over the word "dark," debating the merits of continuing with The Walking Dead, and Zaki interviews chef Jeremiah Tower, subject of the new documentary Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent. Hear all of this and much, much more via the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. As always, please hit "like" on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Zaki's Review: Wonder Woman

Despite being one of the most iconic heroes in the DC Comics stable, Wonder Woman made her cinematic entree under less than ideal circumstances when she bounded into the already-overstuffed climax of last year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder. As played by Gal Gadot, the character provided one of the few moments of genuine uplift in that dour spectacle, but while her extended cameo was meant to prime the pump for her this week’s Wonder Woman solo feature, directed by Patty Jenkins, still I couldn’t help feeling a bit wary.

As I said at the time, the movie felt like, "a nightmare, mirror-image version of the one in the comics," making me question in advance my ability or desire to sit through several more of these things. I'm someone who genuinely liked 2013's Man of Steel, but if your big idea as a studio is to culminate your big Superman reboot by having him snap a baddie’s neck (no matter how badly he feels afterwards), what would the celluloid spin on one of his classic contemporaries end up looking like? That was my foremost concern as we geared up for the very first silver screen appearance of the first (and most famous) female superhero in comic book history.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Covfefe Conundrum

Monday, May 29, 2017

Zaki's Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Before last week, my sole experience with the Pirates of the Caribbean films was seeing the first one during its theatrical release in 2003 while honeymooning in Hawaii. At the time, I remember my reaction being something along the lines of, "It was okay...I guess." While the effects were suitably snazzy and director Gore Verbinski's skill behind the camera is undeniable, it was about a half-hour longer than it needed to be, and Johnny Depp's Oscar-nominated turn as Captain Jack Sparrow aside, the entire experience passed in one glass eyeball and out the other.

Given my relative apathy toward the original, I skipped the first sequel, Dead Man's Chest, when it dropped a few years later (as I did with all the subsequent ones), and my most lasting memory is utter befuddlement at how those films rode the waves to box office glory. For the first time in my filmgoing life, it just felt like the zeitgeist had left me stranded ashore. But with the onset of the Disney mega-franchise's fifth installment, I steeled myself for the hard reality that I needed to get up to speed very, very quickly, and so I mainlined ten hours of Pirates movies in rapid succession, culminating in the latest, Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nostalgia Theater: The First Wonder Woman!

With this week's impending release of Warner Bros.' much-anticipated Wonder Woman feature film, I thought it might be fun this week to take a brief look back at the character's very first foray into live action, which is definitely a far cry from the version that Gal Gadot is playing, and doesn't even have much to do with the original DC comics. Instead, this version took some broad cues from comics of the late '60s/early '70s that saw Wonder Woman ditch her trademark star-spangled bathing suit in favor of being de-powered and wearing "mod" clothing.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The MovieFilm Podcast: Alien: Covenant + Clayne Crawford on A Fighting Season

It's a packed, extra-size episode of the MovieFilm Podcast this week! Hear Zaki's interview (beginning at 44:20) with actor Clayne Crawford of TV's Lethal Weapon to discuss his new film, the compelling war drama A Fighting Season, as well as what it's like to take on Mel Gibson's iconic alter ego. After that, it's on to a spoiler-filled chat about Alien: Covenant, the latest entry in the long-lived Fox sci-fi/horror franchise. Did we like it? Did we loathe it? You'll have to breach the Spoiler Wall to find out! In addition, hear quick takes on movies we've caught recently, brief remembrances to mark the sad passings of former James Bond star Roger Moore and rocker Chris Cornell, and a special round of Star Wars news to mark the franchise's 40th anniversary! You can hear it all all via the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. As always, please hit "like" on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Archival: Star Wars: 20 Years and Still in Force

First published March 27, 1997
Note: With today marking the fortieth anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars, I thought it'd be fun to dip into my personal archives and present the remembrance I wrote for my high school paper, The North Current, on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, with the Special Edition release still fresh in theaters. I cringe a little while reading this (dig that timely reference to the Flintstones movie!), and I'd like to think my writing has improved in the intervening two decades, but for the completeness' sake, here it is!

It's still hard to believe that its has been twenty years since the Star Wars saga first entered the public arena. During that time, the films and their strange and wonderful assortment of characters have become an indelible part of the collective consciousness. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia are all unforgettable characters who have evolved beyond their movie origins and transformed into icons.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More Moore

Roger Moore, RIP

In a 2015 interview with Fox, Sir Roger Moore, at that point long since retired from his signature role as Ian Fleming’s elegant superspy James Bond 007 and promoting his then-new autobiography One Lucky Bastard, was asked where he'd rank himself among the other actors who've temporarily taken stewardship of the legendary part. "I think a little bit behind George Lazenby I suppose," he offered, referring to the actor who infamously appeared in only one film before bolting.

Continue reading at Legacy.com...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Still Normal.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Totally Normal.

Nostalgia Theater Rewind: Alien Action Figures!

With Alien: Covenant currently sitting atop the box office (read my very mixed review) here, I thought it'd be fun to dive back in time to my entry from a few years ago (just before the release of Prometheus, as it happens) looking at the short-lived line of action figures and accessories from Kenner in the early '90s based on the Fox sci-fi/horror franchise. It was a bygone, magical time when you could turn R-rated movies into family entertainment. Click the link below to check it out!

Continue reading...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Zaki's Review: Alien: Covenant

 Click here to read my 2012 review of Prometheus


Alien: Covenant is a movie all about pondering the nature of existence, yet it can't seem to figure out why it exists.

The original 1979 Alien remains a masterpiece even thirty-eight years out, and I doubt director Ridley Scott could have anticipated back then the evergreen property it would end up becoming for home studio Fox. From then to 2012, the film (which I've previously called "cinematic alchemy" for how perfectly all of its elements just work) spawned five cinematic follow-ups (including two spin-off entries), and with all manner of comic books, action figures, video games, etc. More than that, its titular creature has become one of the most iconic horror icons of the modern (post-Universal Monsters) era.

No small feat, that.