Superman: Man of Tomorrow

Superman: Man of Tomorrow DVD Release Date September 8, 2020

DC Animation continues to create successful stories of the characters of the DC Universe. Here is a good example of giving everyone a great Superman movie.

It has been reported recently that the good folks at Warner Brothers are not anxious to do a Superman movie because they believed that he is not a character that the world can relate to these days. That is certainly poppycock as this amazing animated film can attest.

Another look at the origin of Superman, Man of Tomorrow shows us the first few appearances of Superman (Darren Criss) and place him in conflict with a monster accidentally created at Star Labs during Superman’s fight with alien bounty hunter Lobo (Ryan Hurst).

The monster, an accidentally mutated janitor named Roy Jones (the one and only Grant Ward from Agents of SHIELD, Brett Dalton), gained absorption powers and became the animated version of Parasite.

Parasite forced Superman to team up with Lex Luthor (Zachary Quinto) and the Martian Manhunter (Ike Amadi) to try and protect Metropolis.

I liked a lot of the slight adjustments to the normal Superman story here. The inclusion of Lobo and J’onn J’onzz made this surprising and the manner in which the movie used Lex Luthor was original. Lois Lane (Alexandria Daddario) was also just a little tweaked from what we are used to and it made Lois even more likable.

The animation was different than what we were used to in other DC movies and I kind of dug it. It had that comic book feel to it, without being the normally clunky animation used by the studio.

There really is no excuse for WB to ignore the calls for a new live-action Superman movie. Superman is absolutely a character that can be relatable to the masses. Superman: Man of Tomorrow adapted a successful comic series into a fantastic animated movie. It also included themes that are straight out of today’s society (aliens- fear around them). Superman has been around for decades for a reason.

4.5 stars 

Iron Man 2020 #4

Iron Man 2020 (2020) #4 (of 6) - Comics by comiXology

Iron Man 2020 #4

Writers: Dan Slott & Christos Gage

Artist:  Pete Woods

Cover Art:  Pete Woods

The Iron Man 2020 storyline continues here as the Machine Rebellion takes a turn to the negative side after the “death” of Mark One last issue.  As this moves toward the final two issues, major events happen here that will certainly lead to the wrap up of the series.

Dan Slott, who will be leaving Iron Man after this saga concludes, built a fascinating story here with Friday on her mission (which I am going to try to not spoil).  Another aspect of the issue that I liked more than I had ever before was the connection between Machine Man and Jocasta.  This pair was an unexpected joy in Iron Man 2020 #4.

The whole Machine Rebellion storyline has not been a personal favorite of mine, but this issue was the one that made it more of a connection to me.  I am interested to see where the title goes from here.

I do want to state that I think the art from the interior of the book as well as the cover is fantastic.  This story required more of a detail in the art than some comics may and Pete Woods came to play here.  The cover especially is beautifully rendered.

Itsfine

Iron Man 2020 (2020) #4 (of 6) - Comics by comiXology

 

 

Unsubscribe

A horror movie filmed on Zoom with a budget of $0 topped the US ...

I saw a story online today about a video on Vimeo that became the number one movie of the day on June 10th according to Box Office Mojo and it is a fascinating story.

Apparently, in an effort to try an reach a lifelong dream, Christian Nilsson and Eric Tabach were able to create a horror movie using the Zoom platform and a group of YouTubers called Unsubscribe.  Then, they rented out a theater, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Island, and purchased all of the tickets themselves.

With that strategy, their film reportedly made $25,000 in box office tallies, with a budget of $0.

Is it a technicality?  Of course.  Unsubscribe did not actually earn any money from that streaming, but the promotion certainly could lead to more.  It lead to me renting the video on Vimeo this morning, so they at least made themselves $3.99.

Here is the trailer:

 

I watched this video this morning and I thought they did a really good job.  The horror film focused in on the culture of today’s world in how people are obsessed with followers on different social media accounts and how they would do practically anything to increase that number.

It is the troll called Whitey (Ozark’s Charlie Tahan) who is looking to delete these accounts and, perhaps, the YouTubers as well.

As it is a short film (30 minutes), the specifics are not developed as much as it could be, but what is here is really strong.  The YouTubers do a decent job in their performances and are believable.

Along with Tabach, other YouTubers involved in the story included Tyler Brash, Sneako, Zach Kornfeld, Thomas Brag and the Yes, Theory guys and Lauren Brodauf.  Toss in actress  Michelle Khare, who has been cast in a new HBO Max series and there is quite a compilation of YouTube commenters.

The final scene of Unsubscribe adopted one of the worst of the horror tropes and brought the film down somewhat.  However, it was an interesting short that really had a comment on the YouTube and other social media culture.  The film had an “Unfriended” feel about it, but for what was brought in to this film, it is worth a watch.

The Plague Nerdalogues

The Plague Nerdalogues" Are EXACTLY What We Need Right Now

I have been a fan of the podcast Fatman Beyond for awhile now.  I love listening to Kevin Smith tell a story and comment on the pieces of pop culture that I embrace.  However, that podcast is more than just Kevin Smith regaling us with his wit and stories.  His co-host may be the heart of the show.

Marc Bernardin has been a writer for Entertainment Weekly, the LA Times and many television programs.  His voice on Fatman Beyond is one of intelligence and passion, mixed with a vast realism of the world at large.  He both balances discussions with Smith and enriches them at the same time.  During Smith’s tour with his latest movie Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Bernardin took over the podcast, altered the title to Blackman Beyond, and did not miss a step.

With COVID-19 ravaging the country and quarantine driving some to drastic action, Marc Bernardin decided that he would find the positive direction that would help the world.

Contacting some of the top genre actors in the business, Marc organized a new web site called The Plague Nerdalogues.  Famous people recreating famous monologues from the greatest “nerd” cinema of all time on video.  By requesting a one-time donation of whatever you can afford, you have access to the list of videos.

Now the second wave of videos are hitting.  The first group of videos raised money for No Kid Hungry, a national campaign run by Share Our Strength to focus on child hunger and poverty in the world.  The second wave is raising money for the Black Lives Matter charity.

ImageThe videos, which include both the waves, are found on the website, http://theplaguenerdalogues.com.  Just some of the celebrities involved include Kevin Smith, Jorge Garcia, Jonathan Frakes, Grant Gustin, Will Forte, Phil LaMarr, Alan Smyth, Gary Anthony Williams etc.  They are performing monologues from movies & TV such as Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Avengers: Endgame, V for Vendetta, The Silence of the Lambs, etc.

Will Forte as Bryan Mills from Taken was unlike anything I expected.  As a huge LOST fan, I loved Jorge Garcia as Caesar from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.  There is a monologue from the Batman 1966 movie is hilarious.  I have not had a chance to watch everything available, but these look just tremendous.

Marc Bernardin should be commended for his efforts to make something that can help the situation of the world during this time of uncertainty.

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Unstoppable (2010)

UNSTOPPABLE: Original Movie Poster at Amazon's Entertainment ...

One of the most tense, anxiety-filled movies about trains that you are ever going to see.  Plus, it has Chris Pine and Denzel Washington.

What more could you ask for?

Oh, how about Rosario Dawson too?  Excellent.

Denzel was Frank and Chris Pine was Will, and they were together running a train.  Frank was the grizzled veteran and Will was the newbie, both with their own personal life issues interfering with their thoughts.  However, when there is a runaway train out of control, Frank and Chris are the last chance of stopping the train.

Sure, there was a lot of silly coincidences going on here.  The way the train starts off on its own is silly.  Some of the attempts to stop the train came from the mind of people who must not have really wanted that train to stop, because it was not going to work.  Yet, all of that just makes the film work more.

The heroism of the two main characters is just off the charts and everybody loves rooting for underdog heroes to succeed when it seem they have no chance at all surviving their struggle.  The news broadcast of this event really showed this.

Why they did not just do what they did at the end… before things got out of control, I do not know.  I am not trying to think about it too deeply.

Chris Pine and Denzel Washington are great together.  They make a pair of people who are easy to root for and who are interesting to fill the time between dramatic rescue attempts with some good banter about trains.  Throw in the always wonderful Rosario Dawson as Connie, the woman on the radio, and this trio was just perfect for what this movie was.

Unstoppable was just a lot of high tension fun.  Exciting, exhilarating and suspenseful.  Implausible?  Sure.  Still great.

classic

UNSTOPPABLE: Original Movie Poster at Amazon's Entertainment ...

Netflix Dubbing

Netflix Launches Top 10 Daily Rankings of Most Popular Titles ...

During this time of social distancing, I have been interested in seeing as many movies as I can.  Sure the theaters are closed and all of the big time movies are being pushed back to the fall or 2021, but I was sure that there would be plenty of great movies on streaming to fill my time.  And that is basically true.

However, I have found an issue.  On Netflix, I have tried to watch two separate films that I could not finish because I could not stand it any more.  These movies, The Platform and The Decline, were both of interest to me, but I could not finish them, and it was for one reason.

Dubbing.

Both of these movies are foreign language films that have versions of them on Netflix with English language speaking dubbed over the actual language.  I hated that.

Why do I hate this?  Here are the reasons.

  1.  It is terribly distracting.  I find myself watching the actors’ mouths instead of paying too close of attention to what they are saying.
  2. The voice acting is not the same as the original voice.  It does not match the actor and it loses emotion.  I used to not watch movies with subtitles because I did not want to read a movie, but I can’t tell you how much I prefer that to what I am seeing on these films on Netflix.
  3. I have found it way too easy to lose interest in the films with these dubbing.

Why do the films decide to do this?  I assume that the people in charge believe that viewers would not watch a movie with subtitles.  I wish there was a way to choose one way or the other.  If I want to watch without dubbing, it would be cool to be able to do it.

Either way, I have not been able to stick it out with these films.  It has been a shock to me when I watch the films with the subtitles because after a while, the subtitles seem to disappear and I do not even realize that I am reading any longer.

So I find the films like Parasite, Train to Busan, Old Boy, films that I have recently watched, are much more entertaining for me than those that have been dubbed.  I would not have thought that even last year.

 

 

Coronavirus to End the World

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Okay, maybe that is a bit of hyperbole.

At least, I hope it is hyperbole.

The Coronavirus, also called COVID-19, is spreading across the planet at a rapid speed and it is something that is hard to fathom.  Especially for someone like me, who lives in the middle of the country.  Many of these viruses and diseases from the past years always felt like something that they talked about on the news, but had little to no impact on my life.

However, with COVID-19, that is a totally different situation.

This virus has been deemed a worldwide pandemic and it has started to spread across the United States of America.  There are cases here in Iowa and we have even had some schools closing for a few weeks.  The feeling of the impending virus is a reality.

And now it is affecting the Geek Nation as well.

A Quiet Place II, The New Mutants, Mulan, Fast 9 release dates have been postponed over the fear that box office receipts would be negatively influenced.  Falcon & Winter Soldier had to cancel their shoot over seas in The Prague.  Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson were revealed to have caught the virus and are currently in quarantine in Australia.  Marvel Studio’s Shang Chi has been shut down when their director, Destin Daniel Cretton, has self-isolated.

The list of canceled or postponed events continued with the 2020 Canada Film Festival, the 58th Ann Arbor Film Festival, Disneyland, late night TV shows such as Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, Ebertfest, Wondercon, Broadway, 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony, TCM Classic Film Festival, 2020 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, CinemaCon 2020, PaleyFest 2020,  SXSW 2020, among others.

While, at this point, Wrestlemania 36 is still scheduled, but there are rumors that it will be postponed soon.  MLB has canceled the remainder of the spring training games and has delayed the start of the season.  NBA has closed down for a month and then will reassess.  NHL is closed. The March Madness Basketball Men and Women Tournament has been canceled as has all the NCAA tournaments in any sports.  The Masters golf competition is closed.  There is speculation that the Olympics that are to be held in Japan will also be canceled.

And this is just the beginning.

It has affected my own viewing habits too.  I am currently getting over a cold and I have a nagging cough.  I have avoided going to the movie theater, not because I am afraid to catch the virus, but because I did not want other audience members looking cross at me every time I coughed.

Or worse.  Because the world is going a tad crazy here.  Fights in stores over toilet paper truly makes me wonder what kind of post-apocalyptic future we could truly handle.  Is the fight over toilet paper an American thing or did this happen in Italy or other European countries when that country was shut down?

Hopefully, all of this preemptive maneuvers help to minimize the effect and the exposure of the virus.  Remember to wash your hands and be safe.

2020 is off the charts right now.

I’m off to watch Netflix….

Razzies 2020

Image result for razzies 2020

Nominees…

WORST PICTURE
Cats
The Fanatic
The Haunting of Sharon Tate
A Madea Family Funeral
Rambo: Last Blood

WORST ACTOR
James Franco / Zeroville
David Harbour / Hellboy
Matthew McConaughey / Serenity
Sylvester Stallone / Rambo: Last Blood
John Travolta / The Fanatic & Trading Paint

WORST ACTRESS
Hilary Duff / The Haunting of Sharon Tate
Anne Hathaway / The Hustle & Serenity
Francesca Hayward / Cats
Tyler Perry / (As Medea) A Madea Family Funeral
Rebel Wilson / The Hustle

WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain / Dark Phoenix
Cassi Davis / A Madea Family Funeral
Judi Dench / Cats
Fenessa Pineda / Rambo: First Blood
Rebel Wilson / Cats

WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
James Corden / Cats
Tyler Perry / A Madea Family Funeral (as “Joe”)
Tyler Perry / A Madea Family Funeral (as “Uncle Heathrow”)
Seth Rogan / Zeroville
Bruce Willis / Glass

WORST SCREEN COMBO
Any Two Half-Feline/Half-Human Hairballs / Cats
Jason Derulo & His CGI-Neutered “Bulge” / Cats
Tyler Perry & Tyler Perry (or Tyler Perry) / A Madea Family Funeral
Sylvester Stallone & His Impotent Rage / Rambo: Last Blood
John Travolta & Any Screenplay He Accepts

WORST DIRECTOR
Fred Durst / The Fanatic
James Franco / Zeroville
Adrian Grunberg / Rambo: Last Blood
Tom Hooper / Cats
Neil Marshall / Hellboy

WORST SCREENPLAY
Cats / Screenplay by Lee Hall and Tom Hooper
The Haunting of Sharon Tate / Written by Danial Farrands
Hellboy / Screenplay by Andrew Cosby
A Madea Family Funeral / Written by Tyler Perry
Rambo: Last Blood / Screenplay by Matthew Cirulnick and Sylvester Stallone

WORST REMAKE, RIP-OFF or SEQUEL
Dark Phoenix
Godzilla, King of the Monsters
Hellboy 
A Madea Family Funeral
Rambo: Last Blood

WORST RECKLESS DISREGARD for HUMAN LIFE and PUBLIC PROPERTY
(New Category for 2019)
Dragged Across Concrete
The Haunting of Sharon Tate
Hellboy 
Joker
Rambo: Last Blood

RAZZIE REDEEMER AWARD
Eddie Murphy / Dolemite Is My Name
Keanu Reeves / John Wick 3 & Toy Story 4
Adam Sandler / Uncut Gems
Jennifer Lopez / Hustlers
Will Smith / Aladdin

EYG Oscar Predictions

 

Image result for oscar predictions

Hey everyone.  Oscars are tomorrow night and I am going to make my official predictions.  I usually do not do very well on these so well see how it goes.  However, I do think there are several of these awards that are easy to predict this year.  I will give my “Will Win” and “Should win” picks for each category.

BEST PICTURE

“Ford v Ferrari”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
“Marriage Story”
“Parasite”
“1917”
Will Win:  “1917”
Should Win: “1917”
I can see Parasite pulling a shocker here, but I believe this 1917’s award to lose.  My personal favorite film here is Jojo Rabbit, but that film does not have a chance.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
Florence Pugh, “Little Women”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”
Will Win:  Laura Dern
Should Win:  Scarlett Johansson
Laura Dern has been winning everything leading up to the Oscars and she is fantastic in Marriage Story, but I think Scarlett Johansson is above amazing in Jojo Rabbit.  She is the heart of that film and deserves this award.  She ain’t getting it though. 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
Will Win:  Brad Pitt
Should Win:  Robert Downey Jr.
Brad Pitt is another near lock as he has won this everywhere.  He is very good in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood even though I did not love that film.  Downey Jr. was not nominated, but he deserved better for his role of Tony Stark.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

South Korea, “Parasite”
Spain, “Pain and Glory”
France, “Les Misérables”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”
Will Win: “Parasite”
Should Win: “Parasite.”
No brainer.   Parasite wins this going away.  It may win Best Picture.  It is not losing this one.  

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”
Will Win:  “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
Should Win:  ??????
Haven’t seen any of these so it is a total guess.  

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“American Factory”
“The Edge of Democracy”
“Honeyland”
“For Sama”
“The Cave”
Will Win:  “American Factory”
Should Win: ???????
Another category where I have not seen any of the nominees.  Guessing again.  

ORIGINAL SONG

“I’m Standing With You,” “Breakthrough”
“Into the Unknown,” “Frozen II”
“Stand Up,” “Harriet”
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” “Rocketman”
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” “Toy Story 4”
Will Win:  “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” “Rocketman”
Should Win: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” “Rocketman”
Elton John and Bernie Taupin have the biggest pedigree among the writers here.  I actually like “Lost in the Woods” from Frozen II way more than “Into the Unknown.”

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
“I Lost My Body”
“Klaus”
“Missing Link”
“Toy Story 4”
Will Win:  “Klaus”
Should Win:  “Klaus”
I heard some speculation that Klaus is picking up momentum and I hope that is true because it is the best of these movies.  Toy Story 4 is my second choice.  

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“The Two Popes”
“Joker”
Will Win:  “The Irishman”
Should Win:  “Jojo Rabbit”
I certainly hope that I am wrong here, because I would love to see Jojo Rabbit win this award, but I am afraid the Academy can’t ignore Scorsese.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Marriage Story”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Parasite”
“Knives Out”
“1917”
Will Win:  “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
Should Win:  “Knives Out”
This is where the Academy will heap its love on Tarantino for this self-indulgent Hollywood flick.  I so prefer the intelligent and original Knives Out from Rian Johnson. 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”
Will Win:  Joaquin Phoenix
Should Win:  Joaquin Phoenix
An easy one.  Phoenix was transcendent as Arthur Dent, the man who would become the Joker (maybe?) 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
Will Win:  Renee Zellweger
Should Win:  Renee Zellweger
I nearly picked Saoirse Ronan for “Should Win” but Zellweger was truly masterful as Judy Garland.  She is winning and it is the right choice.  

DIRECTOR

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”
Will Win:  Bong Joon-ho
Should Win:  Sam Mendes
I think it is a two man race here and I can see either coming away with the win.  It might go to Bong Joon-ho since Parasite is not winning Best Picture.  A runner-up type award.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“1917”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Parasite”
Will Win:  “1917”
Should Win:  “1917”
1917 will win a bunch of technical categories cause it is beautiful to look at. 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

“1917”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“Joker”
“The Lighthouse”
Will Win:  “1917”
Should Win: “1917”
See above.  Oh, and Roger Deakins.  

COSTUME DESIGN

“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Little Women”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”
Will Win:  “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
Should Win:  “Jojo Rabbit”
Jojo Rabbit has amazing costumes and colors everywhere.  Still, I think the Academy will give love to the film about Hollywood.  Go figure. 

SOUND EDITING

“1917”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Joker”
Will Win:  “Ford v Ferrari”
Should Win:  “Ford v Ferrari”

SOUND MIXING

“1917”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Ad Astra”
“Joker”
Will Win:  “1917”
Should Win:  “1917”
Split the sound categories between 1917 and Ford v Ferrari.  This could go eitehr way.

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“Dcera (Daughter)”
“Hair Love”
“Kitbull”
“Memorable”
“Sister”
Will Win:  “Hair Love”
Should Win:  “Memorable”
Hair Love has some buzz, but the ending of Memorable is beautifully heart breaking.  I think I am cheering for Hair Love though.

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

“Brotherhood”
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbors’ Window”
“Saria”
“A Sister”
Will Win:  “Saria”
Should Win:  “The Neighbors’ Window”
I think Saria wins because of it is most relevant in the world today.  I prefer either The Neighbors’ Window or Nefta Football Club.  

ORIGINAL SCORE

“1917,” Thomas Newman
“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir
“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat
“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams
Will Win:  “Joker”
Should Win:  “Joker”
The music of Joker is mesmerizing and this could become the comic book movie category as Black Panther won last year.  1917 could be the spoiler here.  

VISUAL EFFECTS

“Avengers: Endgame”
“The Lion King”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“The Irishman”
“1917”
Will Win:  “The Lion King”
Should Win:   “Avengers: Endgame”
Avengers: Endgame should be honored somewhere here and the fact that it won’t be is a crime.  The fully disappointing Lion King is beautiful to look at and will win despite the lack of any expression on the lions’ faces.

FILM EDITING

“The Irishman”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Parasite”
“Joker”
“Jojo Rabbit”
Will Win:  “The Irishman”
Should Win:  “Parasite”

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Bombshell”
“Joker”
“Judy”
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
“1917”
Will Win:  “Bombshell”
Should Win:  “Bombshell”
Forever to be known as the Suicide Squad Award.  Bombshell transformed well known actors into FOX News people seamlessly.  
Let’s see how poorly I have done this year.  Go Avengers!!!

Oscar Shorts 2020

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I had a chance to see the five live action shorts and five animated shorts that were nominated for Oscars this year today and I enjoyed them.  I thought the animated ones were considerably better than the live actions ones although the live action shorts were decent.

This is going to be my order for these shorts.  I will also follow up each list with which one I believe is going to win the Oscar.

Best Live-Action Short Film

#5.  Brotherhood.  A man returned from fighting is Syria with ISIS and arrives into a conflict with his father.  I did not like this one much at all.  The performances were fine.

#4.  Saria.  The true story of a group of orphans from an orphanage in Guatemala that attempted to flee to the US only to be recaptured.  Two sisters, including the titular Saria, are the focus of the tale.

#3.  Nefta Football Club.  A couple of kids intercepted a shipment of drugs crossing the border by accident and they do something total unexpected with them.  I enjoyed the structure of the film and it had some wildly funny moments.  I am torn between this one being #3 or this one being #2.

#2.  A Sister.  Or Une Soeur (Belgium).  A woman calls for help in the back seat of a car and the tension is ratcheted up to an unbearable height.

Image result for the neighbors window#1.  The Neighbors’ Window.  A couple can see right into the window of their neighbors and spend time watching the life of their neighbors play out.

 

The Neighbors’ Window was the most entertaining of the five film, and had an intriguing twist at the end.  It did feel somewhat shaky at the very beginning because at first the husband seemed focused on the neighbors and then the wife got mad.  Then she became focused too.  That was a bit odd.  I really liked the Belgium film A Sister, but the ending seemed a little anticlimactic for as anxiety-ridden the film had been.  Nefta Football Club was really fun and probably has the best ending of the bunch.

However… my choice for what the Academy will give the Oscar to is…

Image result for saria oscar shortWill Win:  Saria.  This is the true story that the Oscars seem to love and the relevance in the world today will take this to the gold.

 

Best Animated Shorts.

 

#5.  Daughter.  A daughter recalls her relationship with her father in a hospital room and there is a bird involved.  The animation was interesting as the characters looked like paper mache puppets, but it got old real quickly.

#4.  Sister.  This one was actually about the Chinese plan to only allow a family to have one child.  It had some interesting moments with an annoying little girl bothering her older brother but the realization of what was happening felt preachy and fell flat for me.

#3.  Kitbull.  Charming and sweet, Kitbull is the relationship between a stray kitten and a pitbull.  This one was fun and cool to watch, but did not have that deeper message that the top two have.  This was highly entertaining though.

#2.  Memorable.  A man is losing his memory slowly.  Though never specifically stated, I immediately thought it was from Alzheimer’s Disease (though it could be another form of dementia too).  Artistically beautiful, particularly at the very end.

Image result for hair love#1.  Hair Love.  I love this short.  The story of a little black girl who needs to have her hair done and only her father can do it.  This is so charming and heart-felt.  I had used it in my class to work on inferences and it was so great.

I loved Hair Love.  One of the greatest parts of this is the normalization of the African-American father who has dreadlocks and tattoos, but is shown as any other person.  It is funny and deeply moving.  Memorable was feeling heavy-handed and manipulative to me for the first half of the short, but my opinion changed at the end with one of the most remarkably artistic and beautiful scenes as our main character tries to paint the woman who he does not remember is his wife.  It is truly a powerful moment.  Kitbull is great and you can check it out on Disney + but it does not match the top two.

Will Win: Hair Love.  I think this one has the buzz about it, but it would not surprise me if Memorable sneaks in and snatches that Oscar away.  The others are simply also-rans.

 

Thank God January’s Over!

 

January in the movie world is always a month where the movie studios dump the films that are not … good.  Studios give us those films that are not expected to do much or maybe that has been waiting on the shelf.

January is notorious for bad movies.  Unfortunately, 2020 was especially poor.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that there may be 4-5 films released in January 2020 that could end up int he Top 10 Worst list at the end of the year.

There were two good movies in the month.  Bad Boys for Life surprised me in how good it was.  When I first heard that Bad Boys for Life was being released in January, I knew what to expect.  It was able to overcome those expectations.  The other great movie in January was streamed on Amazon Prime.  It was called Troop Zero.  A third film, Guy Ritchie’s The Gentleman was okay, the end of the film really saving it.

Then there are the Oscar films that come out wide in January, but these do not count.  1917, Just Mercy, Pain and Glory.  These are 2019 films that I only see in January.

The rest of the films…

The Grudge (2020).  Dolittle.  The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson.  Gretel & Hansel.  Underwater.  The Turning.  The Rhythm Section.  A Fall From Grace.

Eight of them.  Some of these are just horrendous.  The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, which I streamed on Vudu, is perhaps in the Top 10 of my all-time worst list.  Dolittle had Robert Downey Jr and yet it was just a a trainwreck of a film.  The Grudge is a reboot that should have stayed unbooted.

Personally I was kind of enjoying The Turning until the ending sent that film tumbling off the cliff.  Netflix’s A Fall From Grace was probably the best of this sorry bunch.  Gretel & Hansel looked great but that does not excuse the lack of story.  Saw The Rhythm Section today and found it needlessly convoluted.

Thankfully, today marks the beginning of February.  Next week is the Birds of Prey film and things will now pick up… hopefully.

The Outlaw and his Journey that Changed the Movie Trivia Schmoedown

Outlaw

If you are not a Patreon for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, you should immediately join up because you receive content like this documentary (as well as a ton of other awesome material).

SPOILER-FREE

Image result for The Outlaw John Rocha"John Rocha, known in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown as The Outlaw, is not only one of the greatest players in the history of the Schmoedown, but also one of the most impactful and influential performers to ever play the game.  So there are very few who deserve a documentary about their time int he Schmoedown more than John.

Personally, John Rocha is one of my favorite competitors.  He was one of the first to really embrace the character in the trivia contest.  It was not just answering the questions.  It was the promos, the character work, the intensity, the heel mannerisms of The Outlaw.  He is one of the most inspirational forces in the league and this new documentary, dropped on Patreon on Friday, January 31st for $10 tier and above members, does a remarkable job showing just how important John Rocha was to the evolution of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown.

I am not going to spoil anything about the documentary because I want everyone to see it on their own (join up at patreon.com/schmoedown).  Kristian Harloff, chairman of the Schmoedown, has said that he plans on keeping this documentary as a Patreon exclusive.  I know that I was very happy to have been one to see it today.

Image result for The Outlaw John Rocha"The documentary features all of the big names of the Schmoedown giving their honest thoughts and backstage impressions of John Rocha.  Such notable competitors as Ben Bateman, Dan Murrell, Samm Levine, Rachel Cushing, William Bibbiani, Kevin Smets, Mike Kalinowski… just to name a few talked about Rocha both in front of the camera and backstage and how he drove himself to become someone who would be found on the Mount Rushmore of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown.

The documentary did not shy away from some of the controversial moments of Rocha’s Schmoedown career either and the section on these moments where John faltered was one of the most inspirational parts of the doc.  I will say that, for a moment, I was worried that they were just going to brush past that without going into depth on the rochatopic, which would have felt as if there was a hole in the narrative.  However, they did these moments justice and, by looking at them, show how much perseverance John Rocha has.

Congratulations to everyone at the Schmoedown Entertainment Network (SEN) for this documentary.  It was 51 minutes long, directed by Eric Rodriguez, aka NerdChronic, and it was a wonderful analysis about a beloved figure in the show’s history, a man whose Schmoedown career helped to shape what the Schmoedown has become over the last four or five years.  Heel, face or tweener, John Rocha, ups and downs, never failed to be real or genuine.  It is why the audience of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown has gravitated toward John Rocha.  The Outlaw has gravitas.

 

MINOR SPOILERThe only thing I would have like to have had was some comments from John’s long time partner Matt Knost, from Top 10.  That felt as if it were the only thing missing here.  

Outlaw

The G.O.A.T- Schmoedown Season 7

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SPOILERS FOR MOVIE TRIVIA SCHMOEDOWN LIVE EVENT IN NEW YORK

Last night, the Movie Trivia Schmoedown kicked off their seventh season with a live show in New York with a pair of matches.  Drew Ghai defeated Robert Meyer Burnett in the undercard and, in the main event, there was a triple threat match with William “The Beast” Bibbiani vs. “The Kid” Brendan Meyer vs. “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.

Murrell1The greatest of all time (aka The Goat) Dan Murrell won what is arguably one of the greatest triple threat matches of all time, 27 points to 26 points (The Kid) to 25 points (Bibbs).

There is something truly special about Dan Murrell.  He is my personal favorite Schmoedown competitor among a group of wonderfully entertaining people, but it is more than my own like or dislike.  He exudes respect.  He is as honorable of a man as you are going to find.

MovieFightsI was introduced to Dan Murrell on Screen Junkies’ Movie Fights Live program.  This debate show took movie topics and the competitors would argue their choices for the topic.  Dan Murrell was the fact checker on the side couch.  He would keep the debates in control, filling in information for the audience.  Covering the social media as well, I would love every time that Dan Murrell would give me a shout out from my Tweet about the show.  He also would step in to fight some weeks and he became the Movie Fights Live Champion because of his intelligent, cohesive and complete arguments.

It is about this time when the Schmoedown started its expansion and the first match they promoted was Dan Murrell vs. John Campea.  They promoted this intriguing match as AMC vs. Screen Junkies and they did them with a series of trash talking videos, first from John Campea, and then by Dan Murrell.  I remember being very excited to watch this match, with my allegiances solidly with Dan.

Murrell dominated that match-up and he started his first run in the Schmoedown, becoming the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Champion.  Through some great rivalries with “The Outlaw” John Rocha and Mark Reilly, Murrell cemented himself as a champion.  He eventually stepped aside, going into a retirement that we all hoped would not be permanent.

Thankfully, it was not.

5horsemenMurrell was re-introduced as a new member of the Five Horsemen, along with former rivals Rocha and Reilly.  After a major shock of losing to Andrew Ghai, it seemed as if Dan might have had the Schmoedown pass him by.  However, he did not just step away again never to be seen again.  Instead, he began to figure out what it took to compete in the new world of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown.  It would not be wrong to say that Ghai’s heel antics disturbed and bothered Dan, and he had to figure a way to change the way he played the game.

ghaiwinsghaiwinsDan Murrell is always up for a challenge.

There were ups and downs in the next few months, but he found his footing and Dan defeated the seemingly unbeatable Edwin Erwin at the New York live event last year, scoring a perfect game.

Last year was hugely successful for Dan Murrell as he defended that title once, won the Free-4 -All, won the team titles with John Rocha and ended the year announcing a new challenge:  entering the Innergeekdom division of the Schmoedown.

However, fate entered the orbit of that man referred to as The GOAT.  Season 7 was scheduled to start with another live event in New York featuring the Innergeekdom championship on the line as champion Kevin “The Smasher” Smets defended against Dan’s lady love, Mara Knopic.  Unfortunately, health issues for Mara forced that match to be delayed.  Schmoedown Chairman Kristian Harloff approached Murrell to headline the event in a triple threat match.

finstockExchangeEven though it meant he had to delay his entry into Innergeekdom, Murrell accepted the challenge.  The winner of the match would be the number one contender for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship and would receive a championship match in Atlanta on February 29th vs. current champ Ben “The Boss” Bateman, who happened to be a member of the Finstock Exchange along with Dan.

The level of play in this triple threat match was remarkably high, with each competitor only missing one question each.  Dan and The Kid missed theirs in the first round and William Bibbiani missed his in the second round.  The problem for Bibbs was that the question he missed could be stolen by his opponents.  Both Dan and the Kid got that steal and earned an extra two points.

That was the complete swing of the match.  Bibbiani had a perfect round one and was ahead 9-7-7 going into round two, but that steal gave Murrell the lead and put the entire game into his own hands.  All he had to do was answer his three questions in round three correctly and there would be nothing that Shazam (Bibbiani and The Kid’s team name) could do about it.

Not that there was not controversy and awkwardness in the match.  There was a series of challenges made that took away from the momentum of the match, but, many times, the strategy of the challenge is used as a way to change momentum, not for actually questioning the validity of a question.  Bateman is the current master of this strategy, something he criticized Bibbiani for on an episode of SEN Backstage.

challengeYou can see Dan get frustrated every time a challenge was made.  It made me think of the old days on Movie Fights when Angry Dan would come out and would blast whoever needed blasting with an epic rant.  But as the mind games were playing out around the stage, Dan did not let it get to him.  I kept saying to my screen, just answer your questions, Dan (not that he could hear me, but it was my way of supporting him).

There was one challenge in particular, coming from Bibbs, who I love by the way, about Dan’s answer for the actor who played the owner in Jurassic Park.  Dan answered Sir Richard Attenborough and Bibbs challenged that it should have been “Lord” Richard Attenborough instead.  This was the one time in the match that the crowd turned on Bibbs, but I believe he was being honest in his challenge.  However, there is no doubt that it was meant to try and shake Dan as well.  The challenge was denied and Dan got the points.  Interestingly enough, Dan turned out to be right, as Attenborough had not received the title “Lord” until about a month after Jurassic Park was released.

winnerDan weathered all the ridiculousness of the challenges without letting it knock him off his track and, coming down to his final 5 point question, if he answered it correctly, he would win.  It came in the dastardly category of Movie Quotes, one category that typically could be very difficult.  Not this time as Dan knew the answer and wound up winning the match.

In the post match interview, Bibbiani was asked if Dan Murrell was his Kryptonite. He responded that if that were so, it would only affect him, but Dan Murrell affects everyone. He compared Dan to a deadly weapon that should be registered with the government and only be used in self-defense, not against good, nice people like the Mouthy Mercs.  Then he turned, pointed to the Kid and said, “How could you Dan Murrell this?”

Dan always carries himself with such dignity and he clearly respects everybody involved in everything that he does, it is almost impossible not to root for the man.  He is the ultimate “face” character.  Actually, he is not a character.  “Dangerous” Dan Murrell is simply who he is.  A deeply competitive man who carries himself with class as every competitor, in whatever competition you are involved in, should.

The match next month: Ben Bateman vs. Dan Murrell for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Singles Championship could be one of the best of all-time.  Dan has a chance to become a four-time Singles Champion and be double-belted. There is something about a live crowd that brings the best out of the GOAT.  He is currently undefeated at live shows.

It is as if every year, the GOAT adds to the list of accomplishments that only solidifies him as the greatest of all-time.  And that is not just movie trivia.

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Oscar Nominations 2020

Image result for Oscar nominations

BEST PICTURE

“Ford v Ferrari”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
“Marriage Story”
“Parasite”
“1917”

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
Florence Pugh, “Little Women”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

South Korea, “Parasite”
Spain, “Pain and Glory”
France, “Les Misérables”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“American Factory”
“The Edge of Democracy”
“Honeyland”
“For Sama”
“The Cave”

ORIGINAL SONG

“I’m Standing With You,” “Breakthrough”
“Into the Unknown,” “Frozen II”
“Stand Up,” “Harriet”
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” “Rocketman”
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” “Toy Story 4”

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
“I Lost My Body”
“Klaus”
“Missing Link”
“Toy Story 4”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“The Two Popes”
“Joker”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Marriage Story”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Parasite”
“Knives Out”
“1917”

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”

DIRECTOR

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”

PRODUCTION DESIGN

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“1917”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Parasite”

CINEMATOGRAPHY

“1917”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“Joker”
“The Lighthouse”

COSTUME DESIGN

“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Little Women”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”

SOUND EDITING

“1917”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Joker”

SOUND MIXING

“1917”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Ad Astra”
“Joker”

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“Dcera (Daughter)”
“Hair Love”
“Kitbull”
“Memorable”
“Sister”

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

“Brotherhood”
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbors’ Window”
“Saria”
“A Sister”

ORIGINAL SCORE

“1917,” Thomas Newman
“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir
“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat
“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

VISUAL EFFECTS

“Avengers: Endgame”
“The Lion King”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“The Irishman”
“1917”

FILM EDITING

“The Irishman”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Parasite”
“Joker”
“Jojo Rabbit”

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Bombshell”
“Joker”
“Judy”
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
“1917”