Venganza Media Gazette

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New Podcast – Now Peaking Episode 41: There’s fire where you are going

Hosted by Arnie Carvalho, Jakob Conkling and Stuart Atkinson

Twenty-five years after Agent Cooper ate some damn fine cherry pie in Twin Peaks, WA, he again dined on the confection–this time in the company of Las Vegas casino owners. Can popping another cherry in his mouth restore his memory? Also this week in Twin Peaks Shelly finds her daughter out of control…and calls Becky’s father for help.  Plus another (partial) decapitation, and a recounting of the Twin Peaks events at San Diego Comic-Con International, it’s all on this Now Peaking episode–so take a ‘Peak’!

This episode is for annual subscribers to the Now Playing archives. You can get Now Peaking episodes individually, or a Now Peaking season pass, at NowPeakingPodcast.com

You can also get this episode and every donation show we’ve done– plus a 12 month subscription for all new shows! Details can be found on our Podbean Subscription page.

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Every dollar you donate goes to make this show the best it can be. Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy the podcast!

July 28, 2017 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | Comments Off on New Podcast – Now Peaking Episode 41: There’s fire where you are going

IMAX, 4k, Ring the Death Knell for 3D

by Arnie Carvalho

Did James Cameron wait too long for his Avatar sequels? It seems that by the time Avatar 2 is released (optimistically scheduled for 2020) the 3D format utilized by that 2009 original may be a thing of the past.

IMAX Announces 2D “Preference”

IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond announced this week that the company will be reducing the number of 3D screenings on their high-priced, large format projectors and screens. He cited a “clear preference” from North American audiences for 2D films.

This statement of direction does not signal an abrupt shift. IMAX’s most recent release, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, was filmed and released only in 2D. (Nolan has a history of disliking the 3D format, refusing Warner Bros’ requrest for his Dark Knight films to be released in the format which commands a higher ticket price.)  Before that, the 3D post-converted Spider-Man: Homecoming was shown on IMAX screens in a combination of 2D and 3D presentation.  This is a change from even a year ago when most IMAX viewings required the audience to don a pair of special, plastic glasses.

This follows a recent history of movie-goers intentionally choosing 2D presentation and falling 3D ticket sales.

Home Video Flattens Out

It’s not only in theaters that 3D is dying. Movie viewers also have shown a preference for the 2D picture in their homes. In 2010, riding off Avatar’s success, High Definition Blu-Ray discs started shipping in 3D formats (the first of which was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs).  3D features were included on all high-end 1080p televisions and home projectors.

However, with the recent advances in 4k resolution, 3D has become a feature of the past. Over the past few years television manufacturers like Sony and LG have phased out 3D capabilities on most of their 4k televisions. With their 2016 models LG only offered 3D on their curved television sets; in 2017 3D was removed altogether.  Likewise 4k home projectors are removing support for 3D, with only Sony offering true 4k projectors that are backwards-compatible with the 3D Blu-Ray format.

Indeed, there is no established standard for 4k home video content to be displayed in 3D; currently movie buyers must choose between the higher resolution or the greater depth in their films.

Is this a win for consumers?

These changes follow the standard market practice of meeting consumer demand.

The 3D format has long been rife with viewer complaints.  In addition to being forced to wear glasses to watch 3D content, be it in theaters or at home, many viewers could not appreciate the added dimension. Per vision insurance company VSP, 5% of the population cannot percieve 3D, and another 25% have trouble perceiving 3D images.  Another 25% or more have complained of headaches, eye strain, and eye fatigue from current 3D digital projection.

These complaints have gotten many people to buy special “2D Glasses” which allow them to see (non IMAX) 3D films in 2D format. (Now Playing Podcast host Marjorie can vouch for these glasses’ effectiveness.)

Many theater-goers also complained about the unreliable quality of 3D in films, much due to the post-conversion process many studios use to save money. The vast majority of 3D films were post-converted–in 2017 only Transformers: The Last Knight was shot natively in the 3D format. On Now Playing Podcast we have complained about lackluster 3D in Spider-Man: Homecoming, War for the Planet of the ApesPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and other movies.

Hollywood studios fought this trend. Many studios intentionally limited 2D availability of films, including 2012’s Prometheus, in order to reap higher profits from the inflated ticket prices.

Will this hurt studios?

Yet despite these consumer complaints, studios have continued to push the 3D format, which commands higher ticket prices.  As movie budgets continue to expand, the higher priced 3D tickets, IMAX tickets, and other “premium” theater experiences have bolstered studio bottom lines.  More, the 3D Blu-Rays sell for $30 or more, while their 2D counterparts are often half that. (Of note, the higher-resolution 4k Blu-Ray discs are often priced equal to, or higher than, their 3D counterparts.)

While the 3D Post Conversion can add $10 million or more to a film’s cost, the increased revenue often offsets that. Many older films, including Jurassic Park and Top Gun were post-converted and re-released to theaters to grab their studios a quick buck.

Yet this switch back to 2D may not bring cheaper ticket prices. AMC Theaters charges the same for 2D and 3D IMAX screenings. It’s possible theaters may raise all ticket prices to current 3D prices to help offset these losses. Also, studios and theater chains have discussed having “event movie” pricing, where tickets cost more for big-budget blockbusters with or without “premium” gimmicks like 3D.

No change for animation?

The movie format that has generated the greatest 3D success is kids’ fare and computer-animated movies, such as LEGO Batman and Moana.  As these films are entirely computer-generated the 3D is more ingrained in their development. The effects are better, and the audience for those films are primarily younger and not yet burnt-out by the format. While Gelfond made no specific mention of animated films staying in 3D, it is likely these will remain in that format for years to come.

Modern 3D History

The modern 3D era was brought in by Cameron in two waves. In 2003 the first modern, digital 3D film was his IMAX documentary Ghosts of the Abyss.  The format had a slow growth over the next six years, mostly as a gimmick in kids films including Spy Kids and The Polar Express.

The change to 3D was a clumsy one. Superman Returns and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix both had select scenes converted to IMAX 3D–requiring customers to don and remove

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_3D_films_(2005_onwards)

glasses through the films.

Modern 3D came into its own in 2009. By that time the 3D cameras required had come down in price. Horror films (which had heavily relied on 3D in the ’80s) got into the game with My Bloody Valentine 3D and The Final Destination.  Animated films premiered in the format, including Coraline, Monsters vs. Aliens, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

But Cameron ushered in a new age with the 3D film Avatar. Somewhat bolstered by 3D and IMAX ticket prices, Avatar became the top-grossing film of all-time. This created a 3D “gold rush” among studios, exponentially increasing the quantity of 3D films produced.

This growth continued until 2011, when 63 3D movies were released.  Growth then leveled off through 2015, when the number of films started to decline.

With these changes to home video and IMAX formats, it is likely 3D films may return to their pre-Avatar numbers.

What do we lose, besides depth?

I’m no great fan of 3D. However, as a movie-goer who prefers to see the movie as the director intended, I’m slightly upset by the loss of the 3D home format. Every movie I’ve purchased since 2010 has been in 3D, if available. I was especially happy with the Transformers films which not only were released in 3D but also changed to the IMAX aspect ratio for their home video releases.

I remember growing up watching movies like Friday the 13th Part III, Jaws 3-D, Emmanuelle 4, and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare on video. All three films had 3D components in theaters which translated poorly to television.  The moments of “I can tell that should be 3D” worsened each viewing experience.

I recently purchased my first 4k TV and had to go through great pains to find one that would continue to support my 3D Blu-Ray discs. It seems in the next five years any movie with great 3D, such as Avatar, Tron: Legacy, and X-Men: Apocalypse will only be seen in their flattened versions.

Even movies filmed in 2D, such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had effects sequences specifically designed in 3D to showcase the technology.

Home movie viewers will lose the ability to view many movies from the past decade as they were intended to be seen.

Final Thought

But overall, I believe 3D is a gimmick that more than ran its course. I applaud IMAX for choosing consumers over studios, and I hope that filmmakers now focus on plot and character depth, instead of manufactured depth on the screen.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments!

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Podcast – Now Peaking: Episode 41: There’s fire where you are going

Hosted by Arnie Carvalho, Jakob Conkling and Stuart Atkinson

Twenty-five years after Agent Cooper ate some damn fine cherry pie in Twin Peaks, WA, he again dined on the confection–this time in the company of Las Vegas casino owners. Can popping another cherry in his mouth restore his memory? Also this week in Twin Peaks Shelly finds her daughter out of control…and calls Becky’s father for help.  Plus another (partial) decapitation, and a recounting of the Twin Peaks events at San Diego Comic-Con International, it’s all on this Now Peaking episode–so take a ‘Peak’!

July 28, 2017 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | Comments Off on New Podcast – Now Peaking: Episode 41: There’s fire where you are going

New Podcast – Now Playing: T2: Trainspotting

Hosted by Arnie Carvalho, Jakob Conkling and Stuart Atkinson

Trainspotting was a breakthrough film, gaining acclaim for both director Danny Boyle and star Ewan McGregor. Now, twenty years after their original tale of Scottish heroin addicts, the stars and director come together to catch up on the lives of Rent Boy, Spud, Sick Boy, and Franco. Who kicked the habit, and who hasn’t? And what consequences are due for Renton stealing the £16,000?  Choose life! Choose to listen to Now Playing and find out!

July 25, 2017 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | Comments Off on New Podcast – Now Playing: T2: Trainspotting

New Podcast – Now Playing: Galaxy Quest

Hosted by Arnie Carvalho, Jakob Conkling and Stuart Atkinson

Kirk. Picard. Janeway. Taggart? Galaxy Quest is a loving spoof of Star Trek, but it’s also a true space-faring adventure. The cast is comprised of stars including Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver, plus respected character actors like Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell.  It was a modest success in ’99, but has gained a cult following on video. What do Arnie, Stuart, and Brock think? By Grabthar’s hammer, become a Now Playing patron and you can hear this exclusive bonus review!

July 21, 2017 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | Comments Off on New Podcast – Now Playing: Galaxy Quest

New Podcast – Now Peaking Episode 40: Laura is the one.

Hosted by Arnie Carvalho, Jakob Conkling and Stuart Atkinson

25 years after Laura Palmer was murdered she showed up in the doorway of FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole. Or did she? Perhaps it has something to do with Mr. C and his mysterious text messages to Diane. Or is the answer held in Twin Peaks where The Log Lady tells Hawk “Laura is the one”? The hits keep on hitting in this episode of Twin Peaks, so join Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob to hear about it!

July 19, 2017 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast | Comments Off on New Podcast – Now Peaking Episode 40: Laura is the one.

New Podcast – Now Playing: Trainspotting

In 1996 director Danny Boyle exploded on the indie film scene with his octane-fueled heroin comedy-drama Trainspotting. Based on the eponymous novel by Irvine Welsh, the film has a unique vibe, a killer soundtrack, and turned Ewan McGregor into a star. Can the 20-year-old film give the Now Playing hosts the same high it once did? Choose life. Choose Now Playing. Inject this into your ears now!

July 18, 2017 Posted by | News | Comments Off on New Podcast – Now Playing: Trainspotting

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS arrives on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack September 5

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The horror-comedy film The Cabin in the Woods is coming to 4k Blu-Ray on September 5th.

Produced and co-written by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, this film brings to the big screen the meta comedy and horror that was Buffy‘s trademark.  You can hear our full review of this movie in the Now Playing Podcast archives.

The 4k Combo pack (with Blu-Ray and Digital HD copies) is $22.99 and up for pre-order now.  We’ll provide a review of the technical aspects of this release when it’s available.

Lionsgate’s full press release is below:

Discover the truth behind The Cabin in the Woods when it arrives for the first time on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray™ and Digital HD) September 5 from Lionsgate. Featuring an all-star cast includingChris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, and Fran Kranz, the critically acclaimed horror will be available in stunning 4K Ultra HD resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR), which delivers the brightest, most vivid and realistic color with the greatest contrast. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray will also feature Dolby Vision™ high-dynamic range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos immersive audio. Dolby Vision transforms the TV experience in the home by delivering greater brightness and contrast, as well as a fuller palette of rich colors. Together with the captivating sound of Dolby Atmos, consumers will experience both cutting-edge imaging and state-of-the-art sound technology for a fully immersive entertainment experience. Co-written by producer Joss Whedon (The Avengers franchise) and director Drew Goddard (Cloverfield), The Cabin in the Woods 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack will be available for the suggested retail price of $22.99.

 

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

A rambunctious group of five college friends steal away for a weekend of debauchery in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed. Sound familiar? Just wait. As the teens begin to exhibit standard horror movie behavior, a group of technicians in a control room are scrutinizing, and sometimes even controlling, every move the terrified kids make! With their efforts continually thwarted by the all powerful eye in the sky, do they have any chance of escape?

4K/BLU-RAY/DIGITAL HD SPECIAL FEATURES

·       Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Drew Goddard and Writer/Producer Joss Whedon

·       “We Are Not Who We Are: Making The Cabin in the Woods” Featurette

·        “An Army of Nightmares: Make-up & Animatronic Effects” Featurette

·       “Primal Terror: Visual Effects” Featurette

·       “The Secret Secret Stash” Featurette

·       WonderCon Q&A

·       “It’s Not What You Think: The Cabin in the Woods BonusView™ Mode” (Blu-ray™ only)

 

CAST

Kristen Connolly          The Happening, Revolutionary Road, “Zoo”

Chris Hemsworth        Thor franchise, The Avengers franchise, Rush

Anna Hutchison          The Right Girl, “Go Girls,” “Power Rangers Jungle Fury”

Fran Kranz                  The Village, “Dollhouse,” Donnie Darko

Jesse Williams “Grey’s Anatomy,” Lee Daniels’ The Butler,Brooklyn’s Finest

Richard Jenkins           Jack Reacher, The Visitor

Bradley Whitford         “The West Wing”

  

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Year of Production: 2012

Title Copyright: The Cabin in the Woods © 2012, Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Type: Theatrical Release

Rating: Rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Closed Captioned: N/A

Subtitles: English, Spanish, English SDH

Feature Run Time: 95 Minutes

4K Format: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 16×9 Widescreen 2.40:1 Presentation

Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition, 16×9 Widescreen 2.40:1 Presentation

4K Audio Status: English Dolby Atmos, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio Optimized for Late-Night Listening

Blu-ray Audio Status: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio™ 

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , | Comments Off on THE CABIN IN THE WOODS arrives on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack September 5

War for the Planet of the Apes

Hail Caesar! The smart ape and his herd return to the big screen for the final battle: War for the Planet of the Apes.  Starring Woody Harrelson as a human Colonel who spent years hunting the apes…but may have a secret mission besides. Fans seem to be going ape for this latest film in this prequel series. Donate to Now Playing to find out if our hosts thought this was a War worth fighting!

July 15, 2017 Posted by | News | Comments Off on War for the Planet of the Apes

PEELERS Review: This Zombie/Stripper Film Isn’t APEEL-ing, it’s Appalling.

Review copy provided courtesy of October Coast Publicity

I like zombies.  I like strippers. So it seems zombie-strippers would be (pardon the pun) a no-brainer.  But 2008’s Jenna Jameson/Robert Englund film Zombie Strippers fell in its high heels. 2012’s Zombies Vs Strippers failed to get a rise out of me. And defying my expectations, Sevé Schelenz’s new film Peelers is even worse than those two previous efforts.

Peelers’ concept is simple enough. When four coal miners accidentally strike oil they head to the Titty Balls Strip Club to celebrate. And it’s the club’s last night as owner “Blue” Jean Douglas, played by Wren Walker, has sold the club to a land developer who plans to shut it down.  Soon their night of revelry turns into revulsion as the black ooze infected the miners turning them into bloodthirsty, mindless killers. No one in the club is safe, and the infection is spreading.

This set-up seems like a perfect throwback to ‘80s slasher films. I had low expectations for Peelers, but if it could give me base genre thrills along the lines of Prom Night 3 (yeah, part 3, not even part 1) or Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan I would have given this film a solid recommend.

Sure enough, the film’s set-up seems to indicate that’s what I’ll get as we’re introduced to owner “Blue Jean”, her bad-boy brother Logan (Madison J. Loos), and the various strippers, bouncers, bartenders, and cooks that populate the Titty Balls.  Instantly we see a large cast we know will lead to a decent body count.  And it doesn’t take long before the miners arrive, and one begins regurgitating and transforming into a zombie.

And I was jazzed by some comic book cred. One character is named Logan, and another is Remy.  I could chalk that up to a coincidence, but when the bartender drops a line about adamantium it’s obvious writer Lisa DeVita is an X-Men fan.

From there all the film had to do was coast on “cruise control” and give me some inventive kills along the way.  Unfortunately first-time screenwriter DeVita can’t even accomplish that.

The set-ups in this film are so obvious I thought DeVita was trying to be funny. In the first fifteen minutes of the film we are introduced to what I can only call Chekhov’s arsenal: the strip club has a baseball bat, several handguns, and even, improbably enough, a chainsaw. Clearly every awkwardly-shown item will (and does) lead to later zombie defense.

But soon I realize the script wasn’t being ironic, it’s just poor.  The plotting is confusing in several ways.  For example, the miners believe they found oil, but it smells awful and converts them to zombies. Yet later we’re told it is still actual oil that can fuel your vehicle…and turn you into the living dead?  

Beyond ridiculous, the script is downright ignorant. (Minor spoiler) The kryptonite for these oil monsters isn’t a gunshot to the head, it’s….water? The rationale is “Water and oil don’t mix” so, obviously, water will kill these bloodthirsty beasts?  

Unlikely as it seems, the stupidity only escalates from there! The survivors in the club could just run away, but “Blue Jean” marshals them to stay and fight, lest these monsters go to the general population. Yet no one realizes that if they just wait out one good rainstorm then the problem will take care of itself.

Additionally, this group has every weapon known to god and man, but not one person has a cell phone?

If I gave the film the benefit of the doubt I’d say this was all intentional humor, but the leaden dialogue delivered by a cast of complete unknowns makes it all seem deadly serious. And deathly boring.

Yet I found myself slightly impressed with the production. Post-viewing research told me Peelers was a Kickstarter-funded film made for about $20,000. For that small sum Peelers achieved quality sound work, and decent camerawork. I looked up cinematographer Lindsay George and he has over a decade’s work on shorts and television. The result is a professional looking production that seems to make spectacular work of existing lights, and good effect of digital video cameras that work well in low-light conditions.  

Some of the gore effects are also passable for cheapie-horror.  

But if I’m complimenting a movie for saying it’s well lit, I’m stretching to find compliments. George is a good cameraman but he had nothing good in front of the camera to film.  And several times he’s let down by poor staging and editing that makes action scenes downright confusing.

If you’re only requirement for this film is gratuitous nudity, yes, you’ll find it here, but every single bit of it is undercut by the most repugnant of “humor.”  One stripper does her dance, only to end by giving guys in the front row a golden shower.  Another stripper is late into her third trimester. I’ve been to a couple dive clubs in my life, but this is simply grotesque.  

And yes, one zombie is indeed killed when the pregnant stripper’s water breaks on his head. If you think that sounds cool, you’ll still be bored as hell by Peelers.

It takes a lot to revolt me. The strippers here pulled it off. So…congratulations? But it wasn’t even in the fun Human Centipede way. More in the vein of “no one should have to watch this.”

Finally, the title Peelers was misleading. From the poster, showing an amputated stripper, and the title I thought I’d be watching a film about creatures that peel the skin off their victims. It would be the ultimate strip-club irony–a monster that continues to “undress” their nude victims. But these beasts just bite and gouge. The title, I suppose, references the strippers, but I’ve never heard a dancer called a “peeler” before. I suppose it’s a shame the title Striptese, Zombies vs Strippers, Zombie Strippers, Showgirls, and Zombeavers were taken. (FYI, every single movie listed there is more enjoyable than Peelers).

The end result is a film that seems to think it’s a cheapie From Dusk ‘Til Dawn rip-off, and ends up being so much worse than either of Dawn’s direct-to-video sequels.  It’s not even fun in a so-bad-it’s-good way. It’s a mind-numbing 90 minutes that I will never get back.

The cover art reads “You may not get the happy ending you were looking for.” I certainly didn’t. Neither will anyone who watches this imbecilic production.

Congratulations to the film crew for accomplishing what they did on so little budget, but next time perhaps give that script a second draft before you start shooting. 

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Movies, News, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on PEELERS Review: This Zombie/Stripper Film Isn’t APEEL-ing, it’s Appalling.

Now Peaking Episode 39: This is the chair. – For Annual Subscribers

25 years after Laura Palmer’s body washes up on shore (or is that 26 years? Or 27?) the evil Agent Cooper doppleganger continues his criminal activities. Will he bring about an end for Las Vegas idiot Dougie Jones? And what happened to Ike the Spike after his attempt to kill Dougie backfired? Perhaps the answers are found in a special chair…but not the one Andy and Lucy can’t agree upon. What do we mean? Follow that mesmerizing tone to this episode of Now Peaking and hear about all of it!

This episode is for annual subscribers to the Now Playing archives. You can get Now Peaking episodes individually, or a Now Peaking season pass, at NowPeakingPodcast.com

You can also get this episode and every donation show we’ve done– plus a 12 month subscription for all new shows! Details can be found on our Podbean Subscription page.

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Every dollar you donate goes to make this show the best it can be. Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy the podcast!

 

July 14, 2017 Posted by | News | Comments Off on Now Peaking Episode 39: This is the chair. – For Annual Subscribers

Episode 39: This is the chair. – For Subscribers

25 years after Laura Palmer’s body washes up on shore (or is that 26 years? Or 27?) the evil Agent Cooper doppleganger continues his criminal activities. Will he bring about an end for Las Vegas idiot Dougie Jones? And what happened to Ike the Spike after his attempt to kill Dougie backfired? Perhaps the answers are found in a special chair…but not the one Andy and Lucy can’t agree upon. What do we mean? Follow that mesmerizing tone to this episode of Now Peaking and hear about all of it!  

NOTE: This listing is for annual subscribers to our show. You can also get this review individually for a small donation.

Every dollar you donate goes to make this show the best it can be. Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy the podcast!

 

July 14, 2017 Posted by | News | Comments Off on Episode 39: This is the chair. – For Subscribers

Episode 39: This is the chair.

25 years after Laura Palmer’s body washes up on shore (or is that 26 years? Or 27?) the evil Agent Cooper doppleganger continues his criminal activities. Will he bring about an end for Las Vegas idiot Dougie Jones? And what happened to Ike the Spike after his attempt to kill Dougie backfired? Perhaps the answers are found in a special chair…but not the one Andy and Lucy can’t agree upon. What do we mean? Follow that mesmerizing tone to this episode of Now Peaking and hear about all of it!

July 14, 2017 Posted by | News | Comments Off on Episode 39: This is the chair.

Issue 183: San Diego Spider-Con

San Diego Comic-Con is one week away. Soon Funko, LEGO, Hasbro, Diamond Select Toys, Kotobukiya, eFX Collectibles, and many more toy companies will reveal new products. Plus…exclusives! On this episode of Marvelicious Toys, Justin, Marjorie, and Arnie give you the run-down of what you’ll need to get!

Plus, this past weekend another hit Marvel movie came out: Spider-Man: Homecoming! Join the hosts for their thoughts on the film, and the toys! Including the Toys ‘R’ Us exclusive Spider-Drone!



All this and more in this new issue of Marvelicious Toys!
Source: Marvelicious Toys

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Podcasts | | Comments Off on Issue 183: San Diego Spider-Con

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man has finally come home! While Marvel Studios started without its most popular characters, an agreement between studios (aided by some North Korean hackers) has now made it so Marvel’s most super of heroes, Spider-Man, can stand alongside the other cinematic Avengers. But this is this third big-screen incarnation of the wall crawler in 10 years. Does this one swing higher than Raimi’s and Webb’s movies? Listen to find out!

July 11, 2017 Posted by | News | Comments Off on Spider-Man: Homecoming

On 10th Anniversary, ‘Now Playing’ Hosts Talk Milestones, Memorable Moments

Let’s jump back in time 10 years to summer 2007. Sam Raimi had just tanked the Spider-Man franchise, the Fast & Furious films had stalled with Tokyo Drift, and nobody knew if George Lucas would ever launch another Star Wars trilogy.

This was when Now Playing Podcast first went on the air. Back when we still believed Crystal Skull might be good and before they rebooted Freddy’s origin story to make it, just, icky.

Not only does 2017 mark Now Playing’s 10th anniversary, the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes review marks its 700th episode. That’s a lot of movies (and also the occasional failed TV pilot or one of those superhero shows that played theatrically in Bulgaria or wherever).

To mark the occasion, the show’s hosts came together for a Q&A about their time behind the mics and what’s changed during the last 10 years.

Venganza Media Gazette: What do you remember thinking after you heard your voice for the first time on Now Playing?

Arnie: “Well our first episode was recorded in a car in the parking lot of a Toys r Us. So my thought was, ‘For being in a car that doesn’t sound TOO bad.’”

Marjorie:I was used to hearing my voice on Star Wars Action News but I still thought I sounded under 13. And then you have the thoughts such as ‘I really sound like that?’ or ‘What if people find my voice irritating?’”

Stuart: I like to be behind the scenes — directing, writing, evaluating other people’s art. It was pretty painful to step in front of a mic and even more awkward listening to myself on some of my early shows. I was grateful that there weren’t too many listeners back in 2008 and early 2009.”

Jakob: “I was no stranger to hearing my voice; I had sang in bands and had been podcasting on and off for a few years prior. But at the time a huge part of our listenership were horror fans, a genre I wasn’t very familiar with. So there was some anxiety with having my introduction with the SAW movies and having to speak about a genre I just didn’t have a lot of exposure to.”

Venganza Gazette: What’s changed about you as a host?

Jakob: “I watch a lot more movies and I discuss them a lot more — not just with my co-hosts, but with my family. We spend a lot of time discussing why a film does or doesn’t work.”

Marjorie: I have a different view of movies now. I see so much more that goes into a movie. More than just ‘it was good.’ I also can’t ever ‘turn off’ reviewing. When I see movies I’m not reviewing, I tend to dissect them.” 

Jakob: “My wife and I share what we consider great scenes with our girls, even if they may be too young for the entire movie. Is it crossing a line that we reenacted the ‘I drink your milkshake’ scene from THERE WILL BE BLOOD for our 10 and 6-year-old?”

Stuart: ”The biggest change for me is the zip code where I record. I’m no longer ‘Stuart In L.A.’ When I started Now Playing I always worried that things I said might come back to haunt me working in the Los Angeles entertainment industry. Now that I’ve stepped away from that scene, I sleep better at night.”  

Arnie: The differences are greater than the similarities, in my mind. What’s the same? A rotating cast of hosts and we devote one episode to one movie. What’s different? Everything else. Now Playing started as a show where we would record short, spoiler-free movie reviews.”

The first Now Playing Podcast episode, a review of "Spider-Man 3" was released on May 4, 2007.

The first Now Playing Podcast episode, a review of Spider-Man 3 was released on May 4, 2007.

Stuart: “A long show in 2007 was 30 minutes. Now we go twice as long on an episode of Twin Peaks.”

Arnie: “They weren’t going to be edited at all, as editing takes five-to-10 times the length of a given show.”

Brock: I do remember editing the first show I did with my wife – back then it was a two person review show, much like what Arnie and Marjorie do on Star Wars Action News.”

Arnie:As I had Star Wars Action News already I didn’t feel I had the time to undertake more editing. So they would be instant reaction thoughts, recorded immediately upon leaving the theater, and published as-is [with] minimal editing, [and] we also were going to focus on new releases only. Now we go through the history of film, with spoiler-filled critiques that are very long, and very well edited by a great team including Heath and David.”

Jakob: “We just go so much more in depth now. But for me, personally, I approach the show with a different attitude. When I first came on, I had a MST3K mentality. I mean, I had to review a bunch of SAW films — not really my thing — so I thought, ‘How many jokes can I make?’ Now, while we still shoot for humor at times, I try focus on the filmmaking and storytelling so I can articulate how those contribute to a film, good or bad.”

Brock: “Today we are a well-oiled machine, even more comfortable sharing our opinions and talking with one another. The shows back then, and especially when we started the roundtable format, had the best we could do technically at the time, and now the production values are insanely great thanks to our equipment, sure, but mostly because of the countless hours Arnie puts in producing each and every episode. And also the incredible, tireless work of our talented editors who make us all sound so good.”

Marjorie: “We are all so much older and wiser! I think that we all found our rhythm with each other. I have a natural rapport with Arnie because we are married and therefore spend a lot of time together. But Stuart, Jakob and myself had to build that.” 

The July 14 review of War for the Planet of the Apes will mark Now Playing Podcast's 700th episode.

The July 14, 2017 War for the Planet of the Apes review marks Now Playing Podcast’s 700th episode.

In addition to hitting the 700th episode milestone, several of the hosts are racking up big numbers behind the microphone. When the War for the Planet of the Apes review is released, Arnie will have hosted 676 Now Playing episodes, Stuart will have hosted 618, and Jakob will have hosted his 469th show.

Venganza Gazette: Do you have a favorite Now Playing episode?

Stuart:INCEPTION was an early favorite of mine because I think it was such a turning point for the show. Now Playing proved in that podcast that we could do more than heckle. On top of really liking the movie, I was proud of the way we broke down all of Nolan’s multi-level storylines and daunting thematic readings in a very concise 73 minutes.”

Arnie: I really am proud of PROMETHEUS. That was a film with disparate, and surprising, opinions from the hosts, and yet the conversation was always lively, and I think everyone made such great points. I re-listened to that show recently because of ALIEN: COVENANT and so it’s recent to my memory, but even before that it was a go-to for me to see three of the hosts bringing their A-game.”

Brock:I really liked what the guys did with RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Sometimes with a really good movie, a classic, practically flawless movie the show can be a little harder for us panelists to do. You can’t tear it apart, and there aren’t always opportunities to make jokes because the jokes have been made for 30 years already. Everyone is so familiar with the movie itself and the behind the scenes information already and on top of that the listeners know going in it that the hosts are all going to give it a green arrow. The team embraced all these challenges and showed us why Now Playing is as good as it gets with review shows. The guys did a great job with the commentary, the trivia, and played off one another beautifully making an entertaining show that was structurally and technically proficient. So much so that I have enjoyed listening to that show multiple times over. A highlight for me is when Stuart brought up the CASABLANCA correlation; not many people get that aspect of RAIDERS and I’m glad he did and shared it with the audience.”

Jakob: “I’m really enjoying our current Now Peaking discussions for TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN. What’s fascinating is we had the chance to do a whole David Lynch retrospective building up to this new series. With Lynch, as an auteur, there is so much of him in this return to Twin Peaks. It feels like a culmination of his entire aesthetic and viewpoint. Within the first two episodes we had brought up the influences of ERASERHEAD, BLUE VELVET, LOST HIGHWAY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, and INLAND EMPIRE. I’m still not sold on this third season, but it has been insightful to discuss it in the context of Lynch’s complete works and not just the original run of the television show.”

Venganza Gazette: What’s the most positive feedback you’ve ever received from a listener?

Arnie: I can’t begin to express how touched I am by some listeners’ messages to us.  From troops stationed overseas who use our show to experience movies they can’t yet see to adults who say our show is like a conversation with friends, each message means so much.”

Marjorie: There have been a few people who have written to us about how listening to Now Playing got them through a rough patch in their life. And I think it’s utterly amazing that, even remotely, I was able to help someone.” 

Stuart: I never thought three people riffing on movies had the potential to heal, but I have been incredibly moved by all the stories fans have shared over the years about how we helped them laugh away depression, death, and some real big life challenges.”

Arnie:A handful of people have e-mailed with a very specific message and I’m humbled every time I read them.  These are people who have been in bad situations: illness or accident, divorce, job loss, the death of someone close to them, or sometimes a combination of those.  These are people who tell us they felt hopeless.  One person said, ‘I felt like I would never be able to laugh again.’  A couple people mentioned contemplating suicide.  These are deeply personal moments being shared via e-mail with us. Then their notes change tone and discuss how our show helped them through. We entertained them, in that one case we gave him the first laugh he’d had. We took their minds off their troubles and brought them a bit of happiness. That is my dream come true — to be able to entertain people and give them a few moments where they aren’t thinking about their day, their responsibilities, and their problems.”  

Stuart: “I never expected to have such impact on anyone, and I’m incredibly humbled by that.”

Arnie:It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I considered being a lawyer or a stockbroker. But in high school I realized the importance of entertainment in my life.  I had my own dark days in my teen and early adult years. What got me through those times were video games, movies, television, books – entertainment. So starting in high school, and really for the rest of my life, my goal has been to entertain. I wanted to give people that escape the way Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Will Wright, and Stephen King helped me to escape. My path to finding podcasting as that vehicle was a winding one, but it was the outlet I found. And I can’t express how touched I am when I read what we do does provide that for some of our listeners.  It fills me with purpose, and reminds me that we’re not just discussing the eighth in a bad series of direct-to-video sequels, we’re hopefully also entertaining and informing at the same time.”  

Venganza Gazette: What’s the strangest feedback you’ve ever received from a listener?

Brock: “I was at a Comic Con, talking to the vendor on the other side of the table about an action figure or something, and this guy standing next to me exclaimed ‘Hey, you’re Brock! I recognize your voice!’ That was pretty cool to be picked out by my voice alone.”

Marjorie: “I had some weird messages from guys who liked my voice.” 

Stuart:It was pointed out very bluntly a few times on Facebook that I have a ‘squeaky voice’ when I get excited. Hey, I’m not going to say that’s untrue, but there’s only so much I can do about that until I finish going through puberty. How I wish I could hire Barry White to say all the things I’ve got to say!”

Brock: “There was this one [comment] we received years ago that accused me of trying to sound professional, putting on a radio voice when I talk or something. Arnie told Stuart and I about this thing one night when we were recording, and we all got a great laugh because this is how I talk! I wouldn’t have the patience or the discipline to put on a fake voice for hours on end, each and every time we do a recording session. I mean, I guess that is sort of a compliment, that my voice sounds that way, but the guy clearly didn’t have a clue about what he was talking about.”

Jakob: “One listener offered to pay for my dental work after he punched my teeth out because of my views on one film. I wonder if the police I had to involve became fans of Now Playing after I reported [him]?”

Arnie: I need to be vague about this for privacy, but a listener wrote in and told me how, in 2012, he had a workplace encounter with Bradley Cooper [and] he ended up turning Cooper on to Now Playing, specifically our HOWARD THE DUCK show. The next day Cooper told him he laughed his ass off listening to that podcast. He said he downloaded some other shows, including our ROCKY reviews. That is totally surreal to think of the voice actor who performed in GUARDIANS has listened to our HOWARD THE DUCK review.”  

Stuart: We get a lot of positive feedback when we slam a problematic movie like HOWARD THE DUCK or HALLOWEEN III.”

Venganza Gazette: What’s the one film you’re still waiting to review?

Jakob: I’d love the work through Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER. It’s a film that I’ve done a complete 180° on since its theatrical release. Originally, I recognized the amazing acting but the story left me cold. I recently re-watched it with my wife, who is a huge Phillip Seymour Hoffman fan. As we worked our way through the film, she helped me realize what a heartbreaking romance it is in the midst of some heavy ideas about religion and post-war America. I would love to discuss such a dense piece of work.”

Stuart:THE MANITOU! There is no crazier horror movie from the 1970s. It would be a perfect Easter Egg pairing with THE OMEN and ROSEMARY’S BABY franchises.”

Marjorie: “I would love to do a 70s disaster movie retrospective. There was a small heyday of disaster movies.”

Arnie: DONNIE DARKO is a favorite film of mine that I think is so rich for analysis, even if the director did make it so obvious with various supplements and the director’s cut.  

Brock: BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. It’s my favorite movie, and the first movie I say when people ask me for a film recommendation. Every time. Not enough people watch it anymore but they really should. It’s not a traditional western, but can be a hard sell to people who deeply dislike westerns. Perhaps we can bundle it THE STING and that sequel they made in 1979 with Tom Berenger. I have avoided watching that sequel but I’d watch it for Now Playing.”

Arnie:I made a vow to never watch S DARKO, the cash-grab DONNIE sequel with hardly anyone from the original involved.  If we reviewed DONNIE I’d probably have to watch S, and I really don’t want to taint my love of the original with a super-shitty sequel.”

Now Playing Podcast will release its War for the Planet of the Apes episode as part of its 2017 Spring Donation Drive. Supporters of the show can hear the review, along with all of the episodes in the Planet of the Apes series, at NowPlayingPodcast.com.

 

July 10, 2017 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Baby Driver

No, Baby Driver is not about an infant taking his parents’ car for a spin. Baby Driver is the latest film from Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Shaun of the Dead auteur Edgar Wright. For his fifth studio film Wright brings his unique take to the car chase genre. Or is it the musical? No matter. Load up your iPod Classic, pop in your ear buds, and join the hosts of Now Playing for this revved up movie review!

July 4, 2017 Posted by | News | Comments Off on Baby Driver