Venganza Media Gazette

Tech, TV, Movies, Games, and More

5 Questions for Jakob’s 500th Now Playing Podcast Review

Jakob Brewster celebrates his 500th episode of Now Playing Podcast

As Justice League limps out of theaters, anguished studio executives are lamenting the superhero flick’s failure to capture box office glory. Little do they know the arrival of DC’s team-up did capture one long-awaited milestone: Jakob Brewster’s 500th episode of Now Playing Podcast.

The host joined the show on November 6, 2009 during the Saw retrospective (a series that recently came back from the dead) and has since lent his perspective to some of Now Playing’s biggest retrospectives, including the Marvel, Children of the Corn, and Fast and the Furious films.

To mark the anniversary of his 500th show, Jakob took part in a Q&A with the Venganza Media Gazette.

Gazette: First, congratulations on 500 episodes of Now Playing Podcast. When you first signed on, did you ever think you’d get the chance to review the fifth sequel to Hellraiser?

Jakob: Thanks! I know it wouldn’t have been possible to make it to 500 if it weren’t from some great franchises out there like Children of the Corn and Leprechaun that churn out so many quality sequels to push Now Playing to keep going and mining these cinematic gems.

You always hope a franchise makes it to a fifth sequel, because that’s when the mythology is really developed and some rich stories can finally be told. Hellraiser: Hellseeker really completes the circle by bringing back Kirsty (played by the original Ashley Laurence) and finishing her story in such a way that even the best fanfic couldn’t achieve.

The shame is that not every franchise capitalizes on this opportunity. Like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, their sixth film in was The Avengers. Wow, what a misstep! They had set up such a great nemesis when hinting of The Leader (Tim Blake Nelson) in one of the only passable MCU films, The Incredible Hulk. And they do nothing with him! He’s the only villain that would require a whole team of heroes to defeat him. Also, that CGI model for Bruce Banner looked nothing like Edward Norton in The Avengers.  

Gazette: You recently celebrated your milestone with a review of Justice League, how has that movie raised the bar for superhero films?

Jakob: It accomplished so much! On a technical level, it proved that computers can create 1000 percent realistic humans. This is great because it will let actors really focus on perfecting their craft instead of having to spend all their time grooming and looking perfect. No longer exists the burden of wasting time getting your hair styled or shaving a beard when the magic of CGI can render you as perfect and real looking as Henry Cavill’s upper lip.

It also introduced a layer of subtext that has never been explored in the superhero genre (Halle Berry’s Catwoman came close). I mean, Batman dresses as a bat to scare bad guys. But he also has a giant robot spider to ride around in? That’s two animals, plus lots of people are afraid of robots. So Batman is two kinds of phobia plus both animals? Chris Nolan wishes his Dark Knight trilogy plumbed the depths of psychology like this.

I could go on for hours gushing about Justice League. It feels as pivotal as when people were first awed by the last great achievement in superhero cinema, Superman and the Mole Men.

Gazette: Now that he’s directed both the Avengers and Justice League, which superhero team should Joss Whedon tackle next?

Jakob: Honestly, it feels like Justice League has reinvigorated Whedon. The Avengers felt like a clip-show episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think Whedon’s real calling is to make sense of production disasters. He saved Justice League from [Zack] Snyder and created a front-runner for the Best Picture Oscar. I’d like to see him save a franchise cut from the same cloth as superheroes. Something with a history of cartoons, comic books, toys, a whole team of good guys fighting evil. I say give him Michael Bay’s Transfor — all of [his] released films. Have him reshoot some scenes with Shia LaBeouf and a few of the action scenes and I think everyone will understand how great that franchise could be.

Gazette: Your 500 episodes of Now Playing Podcast are longer than the combined runs of Knight RiderBaywatch, and Baywatch Nights. Besides Looking for Freedom, what’s your favorite David Hasselhoff album?

Jakob: I’m going with his latest album, 2012’s This Time Around. This was a redemption album for the drunken cheeseburger incident. It took a lot of courage to put himself out there again like that. His fans… and the world, really, have embraced him for being so brave.

Gazette: Lightning round: Three thoughts on that Avengers: Infinity War trailer?

Jakob:

  1. Disney has destroyed the Marvel movies. They used to be edgy and, while never achieving the greatness of, say, Return of Swamp Thing, they felt like they had something to say about our lives. Now because Disney needs a new Disney Princess to market to little girls, they’ve created this new princess… The Anos, or something, who goes around collecting jewelry?
  2. Again, Disney is now putting its own characters in these films?! At the end, Thor asks some people who they are and I swear Mickey Mouse is standing there. Though the CGI model is waaaay off. He looks like a raccoon, not a mouse.
  3. A group of heroes come together to fight hoards of aliens and a being from another dimension who is powered by a magic box? I’ve already seen this in Justice League. It was first, it was better, and it just has better characters. For example: Cyborg vs. Iron Man. One is made of space metal and the other iron (which I think is getting rusty because it is so red from oxidation). No contest.

Hear Jakob in Now Playing Podcast’s current Death Wish retrospective, and read his thoughts on underrated movies in the podcast’s first book, Underrated Movies We Recommend

December 6, 2017 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast | , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

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

On Oscar eve, Now Playing Podcast hosts name their Best Picture picks

Let’s face it: Deadpool was never going to get a Best Picture nomination.

Despite the Golden Globes nom and those articles building up its Oscar chances, there was no way an R-rated superhero flick about sex and guns and unicorns was going to end up in the same category as 2016’s prestige films.

Now Playing Podcast host Arnie Carvalho put it best the morning the nominees were announced: #OscarsSoPredictable.

The Oscars are the Oscars. Movies like The Artist win Best Picture. Movies like Deadpool win MTV Movie Awards, which are still a thing all these years later.

So, in honor of the many films that won’t be celebrated at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony, the Now Playing hosts made their picks for Best Picture of 2016.

And the awards go to:

         The Nice Guys

“I rarely give any movie a perfect 5-star ranking. It seems every movie has something that could be fixed, tightened, or improved in some way. For this score I demand a movie that feels perfect immediately. This year I only ranked one movie 5-stars. Only one film had the intelligence, the entertainment, and the charm for such a ranking. It’s a film I loved when I first saw it in May, and each home viewing has deepened my appreciation.“ — Arnie 

“Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowe are surprisingly good together. Being a period piece, you never know if it’s going to come off schlocky, but this worked. This movie turned me around on Gosling, who I had not been a fan of previously. The action and drama is just the right pace to keep you in the movie. And let’s not forget Angourie Rice, who played Ryan Gosling’s daughter. She was plucky and had an amazing presence for such a young actress.” — Marjorie

           The Lobster

“Easily 2016’s most cracked and surprising discovery for me. I kept thinking as I was watching this crazy sci-fi story about people forced to mate or be changed into animals that it couldn’t possibly sustain its delirious energy for much longer… AND the thing just kept opening itself up to bold, new interpretations! You laugh because the situations are as absurd as our own deeply held conceptions of love and marriage.” — Stuart

         The VVitch

“The VVitch is an almost perfect horror film that held me in suspense as American puritanism faces off against the supernatural. The movie spends great effort on authenticity, from its stylized spelling to sets and costumes to the dialect, making it easy to get lost in its haunting atmosphere. But even better is the depth of the film with its layered subtext commenting on religion, class, and gender.” — Jakob

         Edge of Seventeen

“I think many people dismissed it as a Juno ripoff, but this movie has a big heart and Hailee Steinfeld’s performance as an outcast teen dealing with the death of her father and the inevitability of growing up is impressive and emotional. Woody Harrelson is surprisingly charming and down to earth here as well.” — Justin

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on On Oscar eve, Now Playing Podcast hosts name their Best Picture picks

Why ‘Jason Takes Manhattan’ was Now Playing Podcast’s toughest show

To mark the 10th anniversary of Now Playing Podcast in 2017, hosts and staff are looking back at defining moments throughout the show’s history.

On February 4, 2009, Now Playing Podcast released one of its most memorable early episodes. On the eighth anniversary of the Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan review, host Arnie Carvalho reflects on the behind-the-scenes craziness that listeners never heard on the air.

Friday the 13th Part VII was our most loved show on that series. It was also our first big failure. It was our third recording on a Sunday night. We suddenly learned recording this many shows is exhausting, even for shorter shows. We made a ton of jokes about Friday the 13th but there was no content. More, it was our shortest recording of the series by far.

I walked away from the conversation with my sides hurting from laughter, but exhausted and frustrated the show wasn’t better. Stuart the e-mailed me and said he didn’t think the show was very good either. We roped Brock into the conversation, he agreed, and we re-recorded that show top to bottom.

BUT… that attempt wasn’t very good either. We were much better about explaining the beats of the movie, but we had told each other all of our jokes, and the fun wasn’t there.

I spent about 60 hours working on that show. I took both versions into the editing software and I took the funny from Recording No. 1 and put it with the thoughtfulness and the structure of Recording No. 2. The result was what some people still call our funniest show.

By the way, while doing the series it was Brock that started pushing for Star Trek. He seemed as excited for the Trek reboot as I was for the Friday the 13th one. I wasn’t feeling it, but then when we saw the download numbers for Friday the 13th, and when we realized how much fun we were having, we were all excited to boldly go into our next retrospective!

Now Playing Podcast’s Friday the 13th Retrospective Series was released from January 9 to Feb. 20, 2009. The 13 episode series can be heard on the Now Playing Podcast website.

February 5, 2017 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , | Comments Off on Why ‘Jason Takes Manhattan’ was Now Playing Podcast’s toughest show

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Fifteen years ago Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich transformed Resident Evil from a successful video game franchise to a hit movie series. They released a new film every two to three years, and made almost one billion dollars worldwide.  Now, after a five year absence, they are back to conclude the series in The Final Chapter. Can Alice defeat the big boss and give the series a fitting ending–or do our hosts just want to hit the “reset” button and start the game over?  Join Stuart, Justin, and Arnie to find out!

February 2, 2017 Posted by | Movies, News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , | Comments Off on Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Now Playing Podcast Q&A: ‘Twin Peaking,’ Podbean, and More

Now Playing Podcast 10th Anniversary Banner
The launch of Now Playing Podcast’s Podbean support page has given listeners something many have been demanding for years: access to the show’s celebrated bonus episodes, which had previously been available exclusively during Now Playing’s bi-annual donation drives.

With those episodes now available via Podbean purchase and subscription options, listeners have been able to catch up on classic series’ including Jaws, Alien, and Planet of the Apes.

Yet, the question remains, does this mean Now Playing’s donation drives are going away?

Host Arnie Carvalho answered that question and more in a Q&A with the Venganza Media Gazette.

Venganza Gazette: How does the new Podbean option affect the donation drives?

Arnie C: We’re going to have a Silver Donation Series for a new retrospective: Pirates of the Caribbean. That’s a five-episode series, one that listeners have been demanding for some time. The Silver level series will be available both through PodBean and, due to listener demand, also through the “classic” method through PayPal for those who want the shows in iTunes.

The classic donation wiill be $10 for all 5 shows. With Podbean, the new Pirates series will be available for $2.99 per episode, pick which episodes you want.  After the donation drive ends the Podbean episodes will increase to $3.99 per episode.

That will be the only new movie series reviewed for donation this Spring.  While we normally do three movie series, with Now Peaking and the opening of the vault we don’t want our listeners to feel over-extended.  So the Gold and Platinum series will just be rereleases of series that are currently on PodBean, but getting new installments this Spring or Summer.

All that said, there will be a couple other bonus episodes.  We usually did some Easter Egg podcasts with donation drives.  Now we are going to release those types of one-off reviews to Patrons who support the show on an ongoing basis.  Details for that are on our Podbean Patron page.

Venganza Gazette:  How long will the episodes be available through PodBean?

PodBean’s technology allows us to offer these old shows. Until now we’ve have had to process all donations by hand and could not balance offering so much. If we continue past our 10th anniversary depends on listener feedback.

Venganza Gazette: What are the major differences between Podbean and the “classic” donation?

Arnie C: The advantage to going Podbean is instant access. In the past, donors received those shows via email, now they don’t need to wait, and they can choose which episodes they want if they don’t want the entire series.

The advantage of going “classic” is a slightly lower donation for the entire bundle. Those donors will also be grandfathered in for any future sequels, much like current donors with Alien, Jaws, etc.  But we are still processing all donations by hand, sending out weekly e-mails by hand, and so on.  PodBean purchases are by the episode so any new installments received would require an additional payment.

Venganza Gazette: And there’s a new Alien on the way…

Arnie C: And a new Planet of the Apes film. Both retrospectives will be available on Podbean — Alien is there now – but, again, those series’ will also be available through the “classic” donation method. Alien will be our Gold level series, for the traditional donation of $25 or more, also getting you the Pirates shows.

The Platinum level series will be all three: Pirates, Alien, and Planet of the Apes. In total, that’s going to be 20 reviews for a donation of $40 or more.

And of course, anyone who previously donated through Kickstarter, our 5th Anniversary DVD, or the original Apes and Alien series will get these new episodes e-mailed to them with no additional donation needed.

Venganza Gazette: What’s the plan for your Twin Peaks retrospective, Now Peaking?

Arnie C: Now Peaking is sort of a sub-show to Now Playing.  It will not be on the Now Playing site, it has its own web site at NowPeakingPodcast.com.  It also has its own Twitter and Facebook feeds.  That said, it is being made by us at Now Playing. It will be hosted by me, Jakob, and Stuart, and edited by our crack team.

Twin Peaks had an interesting formula–each episode of the series was one day in the life of Twin Peaks.  We will follow that pattern.  Our first show will be released February 24th (the day Laura Palmer’s body was discovered in Twin Peaks).  That review of the pilot episode will be available for free both on the Now Playing Podcast feed and on NowPeakingPodcast.com.

After that, future episode reviews will be part of a donation series, the money covering the costs of Now Peaking and also supporting Now Playing.  These podcasts will come out one a day until late March, keeping up with Twin Peaks’ in-universe timeline.  Then, when the Showtime series starts in May, we’ll release new episodes weekly.

There will be a total of 40 episodes or more, depending on how many Showtime releases this summer.  They will only be available through PodBean with each episode costing $0.99 each. You can also get a Season Pass of all the episodes for $29.99.

We are all really excited about Now Peaking and a chance to deep dive into the Twin Peaks universe.  Every book from The Secret Diary of Larua Palmer to The Secret History of Twin Peaks will be reviewed on Books & Nachos, the show itself will be reviewed on Now Peaking, and the Twin Peaks movie, Fire Walk With Me, will be reviewed on Now Playing, free for everyone to hear, on March 28, 2017!

The Now Playing Podcast Pirates of the Caribbean Retrospective Series begins May 5. The entire show schedule can be seen on the Now Playing Podcast website.

January 27, 2017 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Resident Evil: Retribution – Patron Early Release

Thank you to all our Patrons who support our show!

We are humbled by the amount of support we have received from you Patrons, exceeding all our expectations in just a few weeks!

So we are happy to give you this early release of our review of Resident Evil: Retribution.  This will be available on the main feed for everyone on Tuesday, Jan 24th

Ten years after Resident Evil first hit screens it came back for Retribution!  This fifth movie brings back actors, and plot points, from previous installments. Can the return of Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory, Colin Salmon, and Oded Fehr breathe new life into this zombie series? Join the Now Playing hosts to find out!

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , | Comments Off on Resident Evil: Retribution – Patron Early Release

Resident Evil: Afterlife

It was no surprise that Resident Evil would return for a fourth film. That original series creator Paul W.S. Anderson returned, however, was surprising. Bringing James Cameron’s 3-D cameras he attempted to make the most eye-popping yet. Did this breathe new life into Afterlife or should we call in the executioner? Join the Now Playing hosts to find out!

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , | Comments Off on Resident Evil: Afterlife

Now Playing Podcast hosts reflect on ‘Friday the 13th’ series

To mark the 10th anniversary of Now Playing Podcast in 2017, hosts and staff are looking back at defining moments throughout the show’s history.

This week a Now Playing Podcast listener generously pointed out that Jan. 9, 2017 marked the eighth anniversary of the show’s first retrospective series, Friday the 13th. While eight years – the bronze and pottery anniversary – doesn’t get the attention of 10 or 15 years, there are a couple of reasons Now Playing listeners will want to look back on the occasion.

A New Beginning

The Now Playing Podcast hosts look back on the Friday the 13th retrospective.

The original “Friday the 13th” poster.

Today’s listeners take for granted Now Playing’s weekly releases, the hosts’ heavy research, detailed plot summaries, and professional production value. But before that first retrospective in 2009, the show was still finding its footing. Episodes were released once or twice a month, with revolving pairs of hosts, and, most notably, very brief runtimes. Most shows averaged about 20 minutes, a far cry from the 90-120 minute format it’s known for today.

Those Friday the 13th reviews started Now Playing on the path, but at the time it was just an experiment. With a reboot of the series on the way, the idea was to go back and review all previous entries (unusual for a show that largely focused on week-of releases and had “Now Playing” in the title), take a new approach to the editing process, and add a third host.

Brock:Friday the 13th was my first introduction to Stuart. I remember Arnie telling me he had a friend in mind for the third host – the one who did the Clone Wars cartoon movie review – but [Arnie] wasn’t sure if Stuart would want to do it.”

Arnie: “Stuart had also done the review of Midnight Meat Train with me and that long-time friendship led to great chemistry on the mic.”

Stuart: “I remember feeling uncertain about the necessity of a retrospective, or what I could contribute. I was very reserved, and was actually playing chess on my computer until my mouse clicking busted me. [I thought], ‘You mean I can’t do that?’”

Brock: “Those first few shows were not only an experiment in format, but also in our chemistry.”

Arnie: “We were getting a feel for what we were doing. My notes were scattered, Brock didn’t want to share points ahead of time, and Stuart sent long, written reviews of each film before recording.”

Here is an excerpt from Stuart’s write-up of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter:

I’m now convinced there never was much merit to this series, and the only reason it was so profitable was because it was created the ideal date scenario for teens in the 80s.  Kids snuck off to watch a forbidden R-rated movie where they would be stimulated by nudity, sex, and violence.  And like a gateway drug, watching would lead to doing and I wish we had statistics on how many station wagon back seats saw action post-screening.  And since they came out in such quick succession, and movies didn’t get rushed to videotape in less than a year, you could practically guarantee that you could attend a FRIDAY film and get laid at a theatre or drive-in near you whenever you could land a date.  Who would have guessed Jason had so much in common with Dr. Ruth?  And why do I keep having to review soft porn like it’s worthy of intellectual discourse?

Brock: “I remember editing some of the Friday the 13th shows and how (by today’s standards) rudimentary our tracks were that it made for some, let’s call them ‘challenges’ in the editing process.

Arnie: “It was intended that each movie recording would be only 10 minutes. When I started sending notes Brock was afraid the shows would be too long.”

Brock: “Once the download numbers started coming in and the response we were getting exceeded all expectations Arnie and I were just blown away. We knew we hit in something. “

Arnie: “Before the Friday the 13th series we would get between 50 and 500 hits per show. With Friday the 13th we started at 5,000 and went up from there. I remember being ecstatic at getting 40,000 downloads in one month!”

Brock: “And then I advocated we do Star Trek as a follow up. That was a tight window but we made it and well, look where Now Playing is now.”

New Blood?

The eighth anniversary of Now Playing’s Friday the 13th retrospective is also a reminder that it’s been eight, EIGHT years since we last saw Jason Voorhees on screen. Proposals for a sequel, reboot, and television series have been discussed for years, but the most significant (and it is significant) development for the property has been Gun Media’s Kickstarter-funded Friday the 13th video game, which is expected to be released later this year.

As for the next theatrical film, that’s anybody’s guess. The Now Playing hosts will be there, but they’re not holding their collective breaths for any of the rumored release dates.

Arnie: “I expected a sequel in 2011 or 2012, especially after seeing the huge opening for the 2009 film.”

Stuart: “That Platinum Dunes reboot was not something to build on (ditto Freddy) so it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve been unable to come up with a proper sequel.  That said, I thought for sure we’d have another TV series. A CW show with kids at a lake house that worry about pimples, peer pressure, and getting impaled by a guy in a hockey mask.”

Brock: “Studios keep coming back to Leatherface and his chainsaw, so it is only a matter of time before Jason dons the hockey mask once again.”

Arnie: “Paramount does have that new film about to go into production (theoretically). Is it coming out this year? It’s supposed to shoot this Spring for release…October? Next February? With so many false starts (the found footage idea being the worst) I’m not making any plans just yet. I’m ready to go camping whenever Jason returns to Crystal Lake, and hey, this Friday is Friday the 13th!”

Now Playing Podcast’s Friday the 13th Retrospective Series was released from January 9 to Feb. 20, 2009. The 13 episode series can be heard on the Now Playing Podcast website.

January 13, 2017 Posted by | Movies | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Sith Unleashed in Your First Look at STAR WARS: DARTH MAUL #1!

 

 

A Sith Unleashed in Your First Look at STAR WARS: DARTH MAUL #1!

On Sale February 1st!

 

New York, NY – January 9th, 2016 – This February, hatred has a new face. But first, Marvel Entertainment & Lucasfilm Ltd. are pleased to present your first look inside STAR WARS:  #1 – the next thrilling Star Wars limited series comes to comic shops and digital devices everywhere! Blockbuster writer Cullen Bunn (Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, Monsters Unleashed) and artist Luke Ross (Star Wars: The Force Awakens Adaptation) take you inside the mind of Darth Sidious’ star pupil as he embarks on a personal quest – with deadly consequences!

 

Bred on hate, fear, and anger. Steeped in the ways of darkness…trained to kill. Darth Maul’s time as an apprentice to Darth Sidious has long been cloaked in shadows, but at last we will reveal his tale of revenge. His master tells him to embrace his anger, but to stay hidden and bide his time. Maul has waited long enough – his patience growing ever thinner. His moment to step into the light has finally come. Prepare for a tale of unbridled rage as Darth Maul readies one of his first encounters with his mortal enemy…with the Jedi.

 

Go inside the mind of the fan-favorite character as Bunn and Ross bring you the highly anticipated STAR WARS: DARTH MAUL #1 – available February 1st!

 

For more info, visit Marvel.com for a full interview with writer Cullen Bunn.

 

STAR WARS: DARTH MAUL #1 (of 5) (DEC161069)

Written by CULLEN BUNN

Art by LUKE ROSS
Cover by ROD REIS

Variant Covers by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE (DEC161071)

And MARK BROOKS (DEC161072)

Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (DEC161073)

Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant by TERRY DODSON (DEC161074)

Movie Variant (DEC161076) and Animation Variant (DEC161075) Also Available

Reis Sketch Variant Also Available (DEC161070)

FOC – 1/9/17, On-Sale – 2/1/17

 

 

[amazon_link asins=’0345435419,B014HY5W5W,B005F1QBMK’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’vengmedi0c-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a511e2c6-d8e2-11e6-af35-070f484d2bea’]

January 12, 2017 Posted by | Comic Books, News, Star Wars | , | Comments Off on A Sith Unleashed in Your First Look at STAR WARS: DARTH MAUL #1!

Resident Evil: Extinction

Alice goes Beyond Thunderdome on the Fury Road in Resident Evil: Extinction — a Mad Max movie for gamers (it even ends with a final fight in a cage!). In this post-apocalyptic wasteland a group of survivors band together to travel to Alaska, where they are promised a civilization free of zombie infection. But who is their biggest obstacle — the zombified birds and humans, or Umbrella Corporation’s middle management?  Grab a game controller and join the Now Playing hosts to find out!

January 12, 2017 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , | Comments Off on Resident Evil: Extinction

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

The first Resident Evil film ended with what seemed like the end of the world — Alice alone in a desolate, abandoned Raccoon City.  Picking up from that very moment Apocalypse reveals all is not lost as there is plenty of life in the city, but not for very much longer.  With new friends Jill Valentine and Carlos Olivera, can Alice make a deal to escape before the city is nuked, all while dodging attacks from Project Nemesis?  Do the hosts care, or do they want to see the city burn? Listen to find out?

Discuss this movie with the hosts in the Now Playing Podcast forums

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | Comments Off on Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Now Playing Opens the Vault for 10th Anniversary

For years Now Playing Podcast listeners have received bonus podcasts for supporting the show during its bi-annual donation drives. These exclusive retrospective series’ have included some of the most sought after reviews – Alien, Child’s Play, Jaws, and others. When the donation drives end, those series’ have always gone back into the Now Playing “vault,” rarely to be heard again.

But we recognized that not every listener has been with Now Playing since the beginning. Maybe you first caught the show during the Marvel retrospective, and never had a chance to hear The Thing series. Maybe you became a listener during the Fast & Furious series, and have always wanted to hear The Matrix review.

So, as Now Playing Podcast enters its 10th year, we are opening the vault in a brand new way, through our Podbean Hosting Site. Now listeners who previously missed out can download every donation series in Now Playing history. And, because so many of you have been asking for an a la carte option, you can download individual shows, even our exclusive secret Easter Egg podcasts such as our 2010 San Diego Comic Con review of I Know Who Killed Me.

Another option available is the subscription option, which allows you to support Now Playing and receive all previous donation series’ plus every additional bonus show for 12 months.

How it Works

To access these bonus episodes you will need a PodBean account and a Web browser. Once you’ve made your donation for the episode you can listen on the PodBean player (available in the App Store), download it to your device, or listen on your computer.

We are in the process of adding all previous retrospective series’ to Podbean, but you can access the first series, Child’s Play via the Now Playing website.

Crowdsourcing Support

If you’re not interested in the vault series’ and just want to support the show, you can do so through our PodBean Patron page. You’ll be helping our show and still receive campaign rewards — including exclusive, bonus podcasts! These shows will not be available for purchase — they are only available to our backers, or those who get an annual subscription for all our shows.

Now Playing Podcast couldn’t have made it 10 years without listener support. Here’s to you and another 10 years!

January 4, 2017 Posted by | News | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Now Playing Opens the Vault for 10th Anniversary

Child’s Play 3

Andy Barclay has joined a military base, so it’s time for Chucky to be doll that he can be, in Child’s Play 3! Is the third-time the charm for our psychopathic plaything, or should this torturous toy be recalled? Listen to find out!

NOTE: This Podcast was originally made available to donors for a limited time. As part of Now Playing’s 10th Anniversary we are making this show available again!

You can get this review now and help support Now Playing!

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!

January 3, 2017 Posted by | Movies, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts, Reviews | Comments Off on Child’s Play 3

Child’s Play

Originally Released September 27, 2010

Charles Lee Ray has a problem. He’s a strangler, but having used voodoo to transfer his soul into the body of a doll, he cannot wrap his little doll hands around anyone’s neck. So he has to find a way out of the doll by possessing the body of 6 year old Andy, before he stays a doll too long and is trapped in the doll forever! Listen as Arnie, Stuart, and Brock do the voodoo that they do so well and review this 80’s classic slasher film!

NOTE: This Podcast was originally made available to donors for a limited time. As part of Now Playing’s 10th Anniversary we are making this show available again!

You can get this review now and help support Now Playing!

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!

January 3, 2017 Posted by | Movies, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts, Reviews | Comments Off on Child’s Play

Kristy Swanson Signed Our ‘Deadly Friend’ DVD and You Could Win It!

Kristy Swanson signs cover of "Deadly Friend" DVD

Kristy’s autograph on the “Deadly Friend” DVD cover.

We fired a lot of basketballs at “Deadly Friend” during our Fall Donation Series, but Now Playing Podcast will always have love for its star, Kristy Swanson. She’s our first Buffy. She’s Christie Boner. She’s the mannequin in “Mannequin Two!”

Kristy proved she’s also a friend of the show by signing our “Deadly Friend” DVD at Days of the Dead Chicago, and now it could be yours!

Enter to win the signed DVD by going to the Now Playing Podcast forums and leaving a post about one of the 16 films in our Fall Donation Series. Supporters have heard us review all five films in “The Fly” series and our “Horror of ’86” reviews will lead into our “Re-Animator” retrospective before year’s end. Tell us which of the films we’ve covered is your favorite and why, and you could be our winner!

The contest runs through Dec. 31, when our donation series comes to an end, and a winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. You don’t have to be a donor to participate, so don’t miss your chance to win!

ENTER HERE

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Conventions, Movies, News | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Venganza Q&A: Why 1986 was a huge year for Now Playing Podcast

Cover art for the Now Playing Podcast Horror of 1986 retrospective series

The Now Playing Podcast Fall Donation series runs through December 31, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Playing Podcast has a thing for 1986. The proof is in the archives. If you count nine of the films on tap for this fall’s donation drive, you’ll find the hosts have reviewed at least two-dozen pictures that are celebrating their 30th anniversary. That includes Howard the Duck, Aliens, The Golden Child, Transformers: The Movie, – man, 1986 was the best year. If Now Playing Podcast ever reviews Solarbabies I’ll die happy.

In a Venganza Media Gazette Q&A, hosts Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob talk about that year in movies, and why it’s one for the ages.

Venganza Gazette: What do you remember about 1986 and that huge summer at the movies?

Jakob: By 1986 I was just old enough to start to really understand that some movies were good and some were bad. I remember begging my parents to take me to Howard the Duck. This was the first time I remember feeling hyped for a film — it was from George “Star Wars” Lucas — and then coming out of the theater thinking, “What’s this strange new feeling? I’m disappointed with that film. Movies can be bad?” Now I can see the man behind the curtain as opposed to being at a point filled with all the emotions and memories that come from discovery.

Arnie: It was the year I started to go to the movies every week of my summer vacation, and often more than once. I was 11 years old and starting to read behind-the-scenes articles and magazines, novelizations and source material. If you read my 40-Year-Old Critic review series on the Gazette you know movies were always in my blood, but in 1986 they also became the air I breathed. So we have a perfect storm–the studios producing big franchise films, and me being very nostalgic of that period having seen so many of these with friends and family.

Stuart: I had seen half of those [donation drive] movies as a child the year they were released and had a strong sense of nostalgia reflecting on them – remembering the theater I went to, my thoughts as a kid. Every decade has its own flavor, and the 80s was certainly an era that excelled at producing franchise ready summer entertainment that put big special effects and youth centric storylines at the forefront of moviemaking. For me 1986 was the greatest concentration of that type of film.

Arnie: If you look at the [1986] calendar, from May 9 to August 22, almost every week had a big blockbuster or franchise film release. Short Circuit, Top Gun, Poltergeist II, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Invaders from MarsKarate Kid II, Psycho III, Aliens, Nothing in Common, Friday the 13th Part 6, and even Maximum Overdrive – Stephen King himself being a movie franchise.

Stuart: Everyone seemed to be chasing after the Spielberg aesthetic and box office.

Venganza Gazette: Can you compare it to another year or era in film?

Stuart: The 1990s was a return to that 70s emphasis on director driven stories and provocative visions. But the millennium has definitely brought us back to a 80s blockbuster mentality.  I think 2012 was just as big a year for Now Playing as 1986 because we saw new installments to big long franchises like Marvel, Batman, Alien, not to mention the kickoff to new series like Hobbit and Hunger Games.

Venganza Gazette: What did you think about going back 30 years for the 2016 donation drives?

Stuart: to have the opportunity to go back and see the influential films of my youth is a great way of charting my own personal growth, as well as the evolution of genre films. I’ve reached an age where my childhood feels like a very distant memory.

Jakob: Especially the sci-fi series. I think many of our listeners had similar feelings — why else would they be so excited to listen to us talk about Space Camp? The horror series is a little different because I was too young and my parents would never allow me to see these films when they were released. But there is still that nostalgia – that era with the VHS box art. I remember looking at House and April Fools Day and just thinking they must be the scariest movies ever!

Stuart: Even the turkeys and one-off curiosities not deemed box office successes are fun to go back to because they all reinforce the virtues and values of the era’s film movement.

Jakob: I guess I’ll find out if these films can live up to their great poster art.

Venganza Gazette: Any chance of a sci-fi or horror of 1987 series coming?

Stuart: I don’t know that I hold every summer in such high regard as the one from 1986. I don’t think we’re looking to do this every year. No “Sci-Fi of Summer 1987.”

Venganza Gazette: Do you think it’s important for younger filmgoers to go back and see films released before they were born – and not just the classics?

Arnie: Important isn’t a word I would use. I don’t spend my time seeking out obscure films from the 1920s through the 1960s – it’s the classics that are important to see.

Jakob: I think anyone who cares about film as an art form and an ongoing story – both from a technical viewpoint and humanities – will want to search out films from any era. The concept of “canon” or “classics” are useful as starting points. But the “losers” can be just as interesting as the winners of film history.

Arnie: There is a lot of fun to be had in films 20, 30, and 40 years old, sometimes because the movies are great, and sometimes because they’re now so out of date or fantastically awful. God knows not every film we’re covering is one that deserves preservation in the Library of Congress’ vaults.  I’d simply hope that younger film enthusiasts are open to older films.

Stuart: It’s often been lamented that there is nothing new under the sun, and all ideas have been done before.  But I see that as the reason why someone would bother to look at old films.  I find it fascinating to see how previous generations of filmmakers tackled the same genres and storylines.

Arnie: I have found some great enjoyment in films before my time, many of which I was initially resistant to see – The Maltese Falcon and Curse of the Fly for example.

Jakob: Stuart’s excitement for director Samuel Fuller convinced me watch his movies from the 1950s and 60s. Many of these old, B-movies by Fuller are so brazen in their politics and viewpoint that it is hard to forget them.

Stuart: While some film grammar from certain eras may seem obtuse and off putting to modern audiences, I’ve found that almost every decade excelled at at least one kind of art form (be it musicals, romantic comedies, or Westerns). Going back to the ’80s is about watching a generation hit its stride with horror and science fiction.

Jakob: If someone’s top 10 is a list of blockbusters from the last five years, they’re probably pretty boring. Don’t be boring. Don’t let someone else define your classics, greats, and canon.

The Now Playing Podcast 2016 Fall Donation Series runs through December 31, 2016 and features three retrospectives: The Fly, Horror Movies of 1986, and the Re-Animator series.

Now Playing Podcast is reviewing 9 films from 1986 as part of its Fall 2016 Donation Drive

Cover art to Now Playing Podcast’s “Horror of 1986” retrospective series

October 2, 2016 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Venganza Q&A: Why 1986 was a huge year for Now Playing Podcast

Oh Yeah, Now Playing Podcast Reviewed ‘Ferris Bueller’s’ 30th Anniversary Soundtrack

In the pre-Napster days, there was nothing more frustrating than having to scour every record store in a 40-mile radius to find that rare song that for some inexplicable reason had been left off the soundtrack to a hugely popular movie. (Do you have any idea how many years it took me to find Dramarama’s “Anything, Anything” because my worn out, taped-off-WGN copy of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 shrunk the end credits to the point where I couldn’t read the name of the band? Yes, I’m still mad about this Chrysalis.)

Now Playing Podcast reviews the 30th anniversary edition soundtrack to Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Front cover art

Fans of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off know that pain. They’ve known it for 30 years as they desperately tried to recreate the film’s greatest moments but came up short where it really counted. Sure, it’s easy to get “Day Bow Bow” and “Twist and Shout” on your playlist, but good luck getting your hands on “Beat City.” How are you supposed to make that traffic-free morning commute into Chicago without The Flowerpot Men riding shotgun?

At long last, the search for scratchy bootlegs has come to an end. Specialty label La-La Land Records has come to the rescue (again) with the first official release of the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off soundtrack. Since 2009, producers Dan Goldwasser and Neil Bulk have been working to collect the rights to nearly all of the film’s music, and the result is a 35-track collection that includes the aforementioned Beat City (and seven other singles), composer Ira Newborn’s original score, and even the marching band overlay of Twist and Shout.

In an interview with Now Playing Podcast, Goldwasser and Bulk discussed the “daunting” task of assembling the soundtrack, why the project took seven years to realize, and why not all of the film’s music could be included.

So join Arnie, Marjorie, and Justin as they discuss the music of Ferris, and Arnie talks to Goldwasser and Bulk as well as an interview with, and performance by, the group Blue Room!

 

The release of the Ferris Bueller soundtrack comes during an unofficial “Celebration of ‘86” at Now Playing Podcast. The show’s bi-annual donation drives have featured “Sci-fi Summer of ‘86” and “Horror of ‘86” retrospectives, respectively, as well as a surprise July review of that year’s Short Circuit. Listeners can also expect Now Playing’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off review before the end of September.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off Soundtrack Review By Now Playing Podcast

Insert page for 30th anniversary “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” soundtrack

 

September 16, 2016 Posted by | Movies, News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Venganza Q&A: ‘Fly’ On the Wall With the Hosts of Now Playing Podcast

Although the podcast is famous for chronicling Hollywood’s history of sequels and remakes, it’s not often the show ventures as far back as the mid-20th century.

Now Playing’s 2016 Fall Donation Drive kicked off Friday with a review of 1958’s sci-fi classic The Fly. The five-film Fly retrospective will cover the original Vincent Price starrer and its atomic age sequels, before leading into David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake and its 1988 sequel.

In a Venganza Media Gazette Q&A, hosts Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob discuss remaking beloved science fiction and reinventing fear for 80s era audiences.

Venganza Gazette: First there was Carpenter’s The Thing, then The Fly, and later The Blob. What was it about remaking 50s sci-fi in the 80s?

Stuart: In the 50s we feared that scientists were dangerous, insensitive tinkerers who were always on the verge of bringing about the downfall of man with reckless experimentation in nuclear power and communication with aliens. I think that same fear can be found in 80s films, but we were putting more of the blame on robots and personal computers, as well as the conformity of mass-produced suburbia.

Jakob: Isn’t everything in the 80s about evil robots, or can I just not wait to revisit Chopping Mall?

Stuart: Just look at Jeff Goldblum – so lovable in The Fly, and yet behind his disarming quirkiness is a compulsion to enable technology to remap and transform the human body. He’s going to not only mutate, but also synthesize with the machine that causes his destruction.

Venganza Gazette: Machines did appear as recurring villains in the 80s.

Jakob: The 80s were all about materialism, so the biggest fear is the claustrophobic horror of all your “stuff” crashing in and turning against you.

Arnie: Mix that with jobless people feeling put-off by machines that can do their work for them, and a fear of the “other” due to tensions with the Soviet Union, it was a time to escape and have allegorical stories instead of bleak reality. Studies have shown that when things are bad, people actually go to horror movies more. They face a fear they can handle to cope with the things they can’t.

Venganza Gazette: And that drives Hollywood’s decision to remake old horror properties?

Jakob: Fears change decade to decade. I think if something must be remade, it should be done to reflect the fears and anxiety of the time.

Arnie: I also think many times there is a fandom involving the creators. They grew up watching these films and now, as adults in Hollywood, they have a chance to bring it back. Movies that spoke to creators at a young age and stuck with them were rife for reinterpretation. Though I would argue that the 80s remakes like The Fly and Thing brought radically new elements to the films that many of today’s remakes do not.

Venganza Gazette: Example?

Jakob: The originals had obvious limitations. You’re lucky if you get a decent rubber mask, and [1950s] social norms would never allow the extremes of a dismembered head sprouting legs and crawling across the screen in a film.

Stuart: [It was] a time when we were exploring the boundaries of movie effects and could really depict graphic deaths and grotesque things on the screen. There are lots of reasons to love and respect genre films from the 1950s, but very few of them get under your skin and horrify you.

Jakob: Vincent Price was a great actor, but he belongs to a different era of Hollywood. Can you imagine him investigating Jeff Goldblum’s transformation into a fly?

Stuart: The acting was too stilted, the special effects too embryonic, and the concepts often pulled back from the abyss so that audiences wouldn’t get too upset. It was an overall optimistic decade. Remakes don’t have the luxury of being original, but the best ones (like THING and FLY) can take familiar subject matter further into unsettling places.

Arnie: That could be why today’s remakes aren’t clicking as much as the 80s ones were. Now they’re just playing with CGI that, due to budget, is usually obvious and far from scary.

The Now Playing Podcast 2016 Fall Donation Series runs through December 31, 2016 and features three retrospectives: The Fly, Horror Movies of 1986, and the Re-Animator series.

September 10, 2016 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Venganza Q&A: ‘Fly’ On the Wall With the Hosts of Now Playing Podcast

Hear Venganza Media Podcasts on TuneIn

Venganza Media podcasts are available on TuneIn Radio

Venganza Media podcasts Star Wars Action News and Now Playing Podcast are now available on streaming audio service TuneIn, giving listeners the option to hear new and past episodes through an expanding list of platforms, including smart TV’s, gaming consoles, vehicles, and devices such as the Amazon Echo and Roku set-top box.

Users with a free or premium account can download the TuneIn Radio app to access the shows, which can be saved for quick access under the “favorites” setting.

By adding its shows to the TuneIn library, Venganza Media joins a list of content providers that includes The Nerdist, CNN, and Major League Baseball.

San Francisco-based TuneIn launched in 2002 as RadioTime and now offers users access to more than 100,000 radio stations, along with millions of audiobooks, podcasts, and on-demand programs.

August 11, 2016 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Star Wars Action News | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hear Venganza Media Podcasts on TuneIn

Now Playing Podcast to Deliver Summer of Sci-fi

Now Playing Podcast announced its Spring 2016 Donation Series last week, a lineup of film reviews bookended by two highly requested comedy franchises along with a motley crew of cult classics from the summer of 1986. The latter series, dubbed “Sci-Fi of Summer 1986” should appeal to some of the show’s longtime fans who have been lobbying for those films that they may have missed in theaters but grew up watching on USA “Saturday Nightmares” or Joe Bob Briggs’ “Monstervision.”

As is tradition, donors will get to choose between Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers.

Silver

The Silver Level series ($10 or more) features Will Smith in his prime, headlining Now Playing Podcast reviews of the Men In Black franchise, along with Independence Day and its upcoming sequel.

Gold

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 6.21.31 PM

“Invaders from Mars” ad from 1986.

The Gold Level series ($25 or more) is where things get really interesting. For the first time, the Now Playing hosts will dissect a series of non-franchise releases with no connection to one another: Critters, Tobe Hooper’s Invaders From Mars, SpaceCamp, Labyrinth (starring Jennifer Connelly and the late, great David Bowie), John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, and Night of the Creeps. While none were blockbusters in 1986, they still have their fans, most notably Big Trouble and Creeps, which listeners have long requested Now Playing review.

While there is no official Carpenter retrospective, the Big Trouble review will check off another title in the director’s filmography. The Now Playing hosts have previously reviewed Halloween, The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and They Live, with Christine somewhere on the show’s future calendar as part of the Stephen King retrospective. We can all cross our fingers for The Fog or Escape from New York someday, but in the meantime it’s more than a gift to have the director writing the foreword to Now Playing’s first book, “Underrated Movies We Recommend.”

Platinum

When the summer is in full swing, the donation series will focus on one of the greatest comedies of all-time, its pretty great sequel, and the controversial remake/reboot that arrives July 15. A Platinum Level donation of $35 or more will deliver all of the aforementioned reviews, and the Ghostbusters retrospective. The director of Bridesmaids and Spy helms the latest incarnation of the New York-based paranormal investigators and eliminators, and following a mixed reception to the first trailer, it will be fascinating to see if this new Ghostbusters can amass the kind of fan following the first films earned.

The Now Playing Podcast Spring Donation Drive runs from April 1 to July 31, with the first review scheduled for release on April 22.  Sign up now to get all of these bonus shows!

April 3, 2016 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Now Playing Podcast to Deliver Summer of Sci-fi

What’s on tap for Now Playing Podcast in 2016

Looking ahead to what will be the ninth year of Now Playing Podcast, I don’t know how you top 2015. In terms of franchises — Fast & Furious, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Mad Max, Star Wars — I’m not sure you can get any bigger. But, thanks to Hollywood, there’s never been a better time to be a franchise-focused podcast, and so the show will go on!

So, listeners will hear more Marvel, DC, and Star Wars in 2016, for sure. There are even Star Trek and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequels to look forward to. But the Now Playing Podcast calendar is constantly in motion, so here’s a peak at what you’ll definitely hear in the coming months.

January: The Grindhouse Universe

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 3.07.53 PM

Machete don’t podcast. But Now Playing does!

After taking listeners inside 2007’s Grindhouse experience, Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob will get even bloodier with two characters spawned from the film’s faux trailers: Machete and Hobo With a Shotgun. The former stars the great Danny Trejo, who finally got to headline his own film in 2010, and returned for a sequel, Machete Kills.

While not a runaway success, the first Machete was well received and, as this article correctly points out, was “tailor-made for the current political climate.” The sequel, released three years later, was not as well received, and that’s about all I’ll say about it. Oh, it had Mel Gibson as a villain.

The idea for Hobo With a Shotgun came from another Grindhouse trailer, but one you would have only seen if you saw the film in Canada. The feature length Hobo stars Rutget Hauer, who you might remember from 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or possibly some other films.

January-February: Listener Requests

Our heroes, ladies and gentleman.

Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen.

Things will get really interesting in late January. That’s when we’ll hear reviews of listener requests made during 2015’s Kickstarter campaign to fund the show’s first book, “Underrated Movies We Recommend.” Listeners who supported the book at a certain level had the option to choose a film for the hosts to review, and the first one to be covered is 1987’s Masters of the Universe. It’s been almost 30 years and they still haven’t gotten a new He-Man movie made, so this is all we’ve got to hang onto folks. Just Dolph Lundgren and Courtney Cox and the lady who played Bruce Willis’ cheating wife in The Last Boy Scout as Teela. It’s a treasured memory, to some people.

If you’re looking to do some extra research before the Now Playing review, I recommend checking out Electric Boogaloo: the Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films. Cannon is the company that made the film, and Electric Boogaloo is a great behind-the-scenes documentary for film industry buffs. It’s on Netflix now, as is Masters of the Universe, coincidentally.

On the heels of He-Man, Now Playing will take up another listener request, a review of 1997’s Japanese anime epic Princess Mononoke.

February: Pool, Dead.

It's the part I was born to play baby!

It’s the part I was born to play baby!

The first Marvel character to make it to the screen in 2016 is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and if he were it’s unlikely Disney would allow him to exist in a hard R film. Ryan Reynolds takes his fourth turn in a superhero flick with the part he was born to play — and played a version of in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but the less said about that one the better.

February-March: DC Heroes Return

This happened.

This happened.

The first really big retrospective of 2016 will feature a cadre of characters that aren’t connected in the same cinematic universe, but they’re all part of Now Playing’s ongoing DC Comics series. Listeners can look forward to hearing the hosts talk Stardust, American Splendor, and the animated Gen 13; as well as the 2003 adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the highly requested review of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, which leads into the release of his Man of Steel follow up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Also featured in this retrospective is a real treat for DC Comics fans, a review of 1979’s live-action Legends of the Superheroes TV specials. Decades before the CW made quality DC shows (and I’m hoping for more of the same from Legends of Tomorrow), NBC took Adam West and Burt Ward – more than a decade removed from Batman – and gave them headlining gigs in shows that also featured appearances by Green Lantern, Sinestro, Solomon Grundy, The Huntress, The Flash, Hawkman, and somebody named Ghetto Man, according to Wikipedia. Alas, two of DC’s biggest superheroes were missing from the lineup, because they were busy starring in blockbuster films and on CBS.

If you don’t know what Legends of the Superheroes is, just watch the intro on YouTube. The whole concept has a Star Wars Holiday Special feel about it, and I can’t wait to hear how this thing came about.

So that covers the first few months of Now Playing Podcast in 2016, and that’s just on the air. I can’t forget to mention that behind the scenes the hosts are furiously finishing their work on “Underrated Movies We Recommend.” It’s set to ship in the second quarter, and you can pre-order it now at the Now Playing Podcast website.

Maybe 2016 will be Now Playing’s biggest year after all.

 

December 31, 2015 Posted by | Movies, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What’s on tap for Now Playing Podcast in 2016

Stuart in L.A.: Don’t mistake ‘Hunger Games’ for ‘Twilight’ romance

When The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 bows in U.S. theaters on Nov. 20, it will cap a film saga that has seen four films in three years, grossed more than $2 billion (at the time of Part 2’s release), and transformed leading actress Jennifer Lawrence into one of Hollywood’s most lauded, and richest stars.

The film’s release will also mark the end of Now Playing Podcast’s Fall 2015 Silver Level donation series, in which listeners can hear reviews of the aforementioned Hunger Games franchise, as well as the two Japanese Battle Royale films. Both series’ are based on popular novels that feature groups of children isolated by their governments and forced to kill one another for survival. Yet while there is no question that Battle Royale was conceived and presented as a violent thriller, The Hunger Games has occasionally been written off as a Young Adult fantasy for teenage girls – akin to the Twilight franchise.

In addition to reviewing the films for Now Playing Podcast, host Stuart Atkinson is also reviewing the Battle Royale and Hunger Games novels for Now Playing’s sister podcast, Books & Nachos. Stuart spoke with the Venganza Media Gazette about the differences between The Hunger Games books and films, the audience it attracts, and whether the franchise has a future after this fall’s sequel.

Q: Is there a misconception that The Hunger Games is geared toward young teens? The violence is very adult.

Stuart: “I think it’s a misconception to think these films could ONLY be enjoyed by teenagers. I first became aware of Hunger Games as a book phenomenon in 2010. I’d read a magazine article explaining that today’s young women and girls love reading dark science fiction involving kiddie death matches. That kinda blew my mind. I have a young niece. It made me wonder why such nihilism would appeal to girls her age. Once I read the trilogy, it was obvious that this story had much wider appeal. It touches on ideas and satirizes things that anyone engaged with our 21st century social media culture is going to find entertaining.

Q: You’ve mentioned that The Hunger Games have more in common with Stephen King’s The Running Man than Twilight.

Stuart: Yeah, I see The Hunger Games as part of a long tradition of stories involving children killing each other for sport. Battle Royale, King’s The Long Walk (which he wrote before The Running Man), and even Lord of The Flies. I haven’t read Twilight or seen any of the movies, but my perception is that it’s a soap opera where a girl must choose between two dudes. Hunger Games has a love triangle too, but it would be a real stretch to call it a romance. Lionsgate owns the film rights to both Twilight and The Hunger Games, and I think they’ve marketed them as sister franchises. Don’t believe the poster. Katniss enters the arena fighting for her life, not trying to get a date. Think of this as Disney Channel greenlighting The Running Man.

Q: Without giving too much away, what are the biggest differences between the books and the films?

Stuart: I definitely feel like the movie makers struggle with how to portray child violence in a PG-13 movie, particularly in the first movie. You read The Hunger Games and there are some really ghastly things in there that they wouldn’t dare bring to the screen. Reading the story makes your mind deliver the R-rated version Lionsgate was unwilling to make.

Q: For those who haven’t read the books or seen the films, is there a definitive end to this series? Any chance of sequels or spinoffs?

Stuart: There are characters left alive at the end of Mockingjay, so I suppose there could always be more. But I see a very definitive end to this particular story. If they made more films in the Hunger Games universe they would probably involve new characters in a new trilogy in some distant time afterward. Kinda like Star Wars Episode VII, or these not-quite Harry Potter spinoffs they have planned for next year.

Now Playing Podcast’s The Hunger Games Retrospective Series begins Friday, Nov. 6.

November 6, 2015 Posted by | News, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Comments Off on Stuart in L.A.: Don’t mistake ‘Hunger Games’ for ‘Twilight’ romance

Brock returns to co-host Now Playing Podcast ‘SPECTRE’ show

At the end of every 007 adventure the same line appears in the credits: “James Bond Will Return.”

He’s not the only one back for 2015’s SPECTRE. When Now Playing Podcast listeners start streaming the latest review in the show’s James Bond Retrospective Series, they’ll hear a familiar voice.

Brock. James Brock.

Although he’s the voice of Now Playing Podcast’s opening narration and closing credits, listeners haven’t heard longtime co-host Brock review a series since the 2013 Riddick retrospective. Brock, who sat on the panel for Now Playing’s first retrospective in 2009, talked about his return to the show as a co-host and what’s next after Bond.

Q: How much have you missed being a regular co-host? Are there any recent series’ you wish you could have been a part of?

Brock: “I do miss it, and some days more than others — especially the recording sessions, the interaction with my fellow panelists. You all got a taste of what it is like to record the episodes on the live [Kingsman] show and with each episode’s outtakes. We can have a great deal of fun recording these shows. There are times when it hits me unexpectedly, like when — and I am sure we all do it, co-hosts and listeners alike — you listen to the show and you find you are talking back to the podcast in response to something a host said. So in that warped way I am on every panel! Truth be told, I feel blessed to be part of this amazing show and am looking forward to my return to the panel.”

Q: You’re back for Bond, what about that series are you most looking forward to?

Brock: “Are you kidding? SPECTRE is back in the fold, which likely means Blofeld! Us Bond fans have been looking forward to SPECTRE and Blofeld’s return since Diamonds Are Forever. In the For Your Eyes Only pre-credits scene they strongly hint that is Blofeld of course, but they never actually call him that by name. I am also hoping they connect SPECTRE to the mysterious Quantum organization in Quantum of Solace, which is also the one Le Chiffre was working for in Casino Royale. They completely skipped over that in Skyfall, so here’s hoping we get some answers and connections. We will see soon enough.

“On paper, they made some good decisions with casting Christoph Waltz, David Bautista and Monica Bellucci, and bringing back director Sam Mendes. But it always comes down to a good script. Skyfall is the most successful Bond movie to date, so the audience expectations are at an all-time high for the series. I have hope SPECTRE will keep the Bond resurgence going strong.”

Q: Have you been practicing saying “Brock, James Brock” in the mirror?

Brock: “In the mirror, no. In the car or in the shower, absolutely. This is a podcast, after all; it’s all about how it sounds, not how it looks.”

Q: You’re also coming back for Creed, are you excited for the film? What were your thoughts when you heard there would be a spinoff to Rocky?

Brock: “I think the idea is solid, a logical progression to continue the series while allowing itself enough space within that concept to become its own thing. I much prefer this idea than yet another unwanted, unneeded remake of a classic or a gimmicky reboot. I like that Creed is focused on a new character that younger audiences will want to watch, that they can get behind and root for; and simultaneously the fans of the original series can have an instant connection with because we are familiar with the character’s father. Ideally, Creed is a strong enough movie to potentially start a whole new series of successful spin-off films.”

Q: Is this something we can come to expect in the future? Will Brock be back for the next Halloween film, the next Friday the 13th, or even a Jaws sequel??

Brock: “That is the plan, yes. I look forward to coming back to the panel as much as opportunity and my schedule will allow.”

Q: 2016 will be the ninth year of Now Playing, which means the 10th anniversary is coming fast. Did you ever see the show lasting this long, and why do you think it’s been so successful?

Brock: “Truly unbelievable, isn’t it? After that first retrospective series I knew we were on to something. The potential of this show is limitless. The only thing I ever thought would make the show stop would be the inevitable running out of movie series to review! But thankfully, with Hollywood as sequel happy as ever, and obsessed with rebooting every dormant brand name series they can find, Now Playing should be able to go on for quite a long time to come.

“I think there are three big reasons why the show is so successful. First, it is the format: we do retrospective series’ where we devote a full podcast episode to each entry in a movie series — including the sequels or TV movies — that don’t always get, or frankly deserve, that sort of scrutiny or attention. The second reason is the panel. We all get along and feed off each other nicely, you can’t fake good chemistry. But on top of that, we all come prepared. That is a big part of Now Playing, that we put the time in for each and every series, and as a result we have informed, and often hilarious, conversations about all sorts of genres of movies, no matter what grouping of hosts are on the panel for a particular series. And lastly, the show is successful because the hosts and the audience take the ride through each movie series together. We hear feedback from our fans on social media and the forums about their opinions, their ideas, which hosts they think will give the green or red arrow on the next episode and so much more. We love that we have such involved and knowledgeable fans that join us each and every week at Now Playing.”

Now Playing’s James Bond Retrospective Series continues Nov. 10 with the review of SPECTRE.

 

November 4, 2015 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Horror Master John Carpenter Teams With Venganza Media

HORROR MASTER JOHN CARPENTER TEAMS WITH VENGANZA MEDIA

Iconic director will pen foreword to company’s first book

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Springfield, Ill. – Oct. 30, 2015 – John Carpenter, the visionary creator of the Halloween film franchise and director of cult classics The Thing and They Live, is teaming with the hosts of Venganza Media’s Now Playing Podcast, and adding his name to the company’s first publishing project, Underrated Movies We Recommend.

Carpenter will write the foreword to the fan-funded book, which features discussions and reviews of 125 undiscovered and underappreciated films selected by the hosts of Now Playing Podcast. The renowned “Master of Horror” will share his thoughts on films that fly under the radar, but slowly build a strong following of fans and become classics in their own right. Underrated is a celebration of filmmakers like Carpenter, the director, producer, screenwriter, and composer who is earning the respect of a new generation drawn to such memorable films as Escape From New York and The Fog.

Carpenter’s participation also adds another incredible chapter to the story behind Underrated and the fan-driven effort to bring the book to life in 2016. Launched as a 30-day Kickstarter project with a $40,000 goal, the book became an instant must-have for Now Playing Podcast listeners, who powered the campaign past its goal in the first four days, and went on to raise an astonishing $115,482 in pledges. Fans can pre-order the book now at the Now Playing Podcast website.

Underrated is being produced during one of the busiest years in Now Playing Podcast history. As the hosts write furiously behind the scenes, they continue to deliver extensive weekly reviews of 2015 biggest blockbuster franchises, including Star Wars and Jurassic Park. This fall, the show’s faithful supporters are also being treated to reviews of The Hunger Games franchise and the films of Quentin Tarantino.

Suggested tweet: Film legend @TheHorrorMaster to pen foreword to @NowPlayingPod #NowUnderrated book!

About Venganza Media Inc.

Venganza Media Inc. is an independent multimedia company and home to the Venganza Media Podcasting Network. Film fans and collectors worldwide know Venganza as the producer of Star Wars Action NewsMarvelicious Toys, and Now Playing Podcast. Since 2005 Venganza has delivered thousands of hours of entertainment to listeners, while its staff and fleet of contributors have established the company as a premier source for film reviews, celebrity interviews, and collecting news for audiences of all ages.

About Now Playing Podcast

Since its launch as a short-form, off-the-cuff movie review show, Now Playing Podcast has grown into one of the most successful and celebrated independent programs online and consistently ranks among iTunes’ Top 10 TV/Film podcasts. Its ability to stand out in a crowded field is largely attributed to Now Playing’s highly-acclaimed retrospective format, keeping listeners engaged week-after-week as its panel of critics chronicle decades of hits-and-misses while maneuvering Hollywood’s hectic release schedule.

Media Contact: Jason R. Latham JasonL@VenganzaMedia.com

October 30, 2015 Posted by | News | , , , , , | Comments Off on Horror Master John Carpenter Teams With Venganza Media

This is ‘The Force Awakens’ trailer

“There were stories about what happened.”

“It’s true. All of it.”

The newest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer just premiered and promptly blew us all away.

What can you say? It’s glorious, and it does a fantastic job of keeping us clueless with regard to the plot. No doubt everyone who wants to see it has seen it, but here’s the trailer one more time. And just below are some hi-res screen shots provided to Venganza Media by Lucasfilm and Disney. If you have a favorite shot from the trailer, come over to the Now Playing Podcast Facebook page and share it with the rest of us!

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Courtesy: Disney

October 19, 2015 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , | Comments Off on This is ‘The Force Awakens’ trailer

Release dates set for ‘Ant-Man’ Blu-ray, VOD

Marvel's Ant-Man, courtesy Disney

Courtesy: Disney

Marvel’s Ant-Man, the 12th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will be released on Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 8, 2015, Disney announced on Friday.

The Paul Rudd starrer, which earned more than $400 million worldwide, will be available via digital download three weeks earlier, on Nov. 17. In its announcement, Disney revealed the releases would be stocked with bonus features that include audio commentary by Rudd and director Peyton Reed, the Making of an Ant-Sized Heist: A How-to-Guide and Let’s Go to the Macroverse featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.

Read the complete Ant-Man fact sheet

Now Playing Podcast reviewed Ant-Man following its summer release, HEAR THE SHOW NOW!

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Movies, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Release dates set for ‘Ant-Man’ Blu-ray, VOD

Win an exclusive ‘Rampaging Hulk’ statue!

hulk1

Courtesy: Entertainment Earth

Even at 9 ½-inches, he’s still a big guy.

Marvelicious Toys has partnered with Entertainment Earth to give one lucky listener an exclusive “Rampaging Hulk” statue by Kotobukiya. Here’s the description from the EE website.

Incredible “Rampaging” Hulk! Jumping off the screen of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and into your collection, the incredible “Rampaging” Hulk is striding forward, ready to smash anyone and anything in his path! This Avengers: Age of Ultron Rampaging Hulk ArtFX Statue – Entertainment Earth Exclusive presents “the other guy’s” look when he was under the spell of the Scarlet Witch, including a lighter green skin tone and lighter purple pants with a darker accent of red streaks. Rampaging Hulk also boasts a darker shade of red in and around his eyes. This one-of-a-kind piece features the high-quality sculpt and dynamic paintwork of Kotobukiya’s ArtFX line. In 1:10 scale it measures roughly 9 1/2-inches tall on a special interlocking diorama base and is made of high-grade PVC.

How to Enter:

To win the exclusive “Rampaging Hulk” just click the link below and enter your Facebook account or email address. The contest runs from 12 a.m. Oct. 14 to 12 a.m. Oct. 19, and the winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. There is no fee for shipping and handling, but entrants must reside in the United States or Canada.

ENTER NOW

hulk2hulk3hulk4hulk5

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Comic Books, Movies, News | , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Hollywood Shuffle: Inside the Now Playing Podcast schedule

We were supposed to be getting Tom Cruise for Christmas. That was the plan anyway, as Now Playing Podcast had circled a December release date for the latest Mission Impossible film. Release dates don’t always stick. In the case of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, the Christopher McQuarrie-directed sequel was scheduled to open Dec. 25, but was moved up nearly five months to July 31.

This is the reason Stuart in LA keeps two schedules – one in Excel and one in his head. The Now Playing Podcast host has been overseeing the show’s calendar for years, arranging and rearranging release dates for its many retrospectives, bonus shows, and the occasional one-and-done flop (Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens).

With Now Playing’s Mission Impossible Retrospective Series set to begin on Tuesday, Stuart took a few minutes to chat about the show’s calendar and the ongoing Hollywood shuffle.

Q: What happened with Rogue Nation’s release date?

“My personal belief is that Paramount needed to beat Bond to the screen; 007 taking on Blofeld in November’s Spectre made Rogue Nation look like small potatoes in December. Once it was clear that Bourne 5 wasn’t going to be ready until summer 2016, Cruise pounced on the open July release date. [Rogue Nation] will be on DVD by the time Bond is in theaters. Honestly, our calendar is so full in the second half of the year that we probably wouldn’t have had room to cover Mission Impossible if it had kept its original release date.”

Now Playing Podcast has already announced that its long-awaited Star Wars retrospective will arrive in the later half of the year, and just last week news broke that Now Playing’s 2015 Fall Donation Series would cover the entire Quentin Tarantino catalog, leading up to the release of the director’s The Hateful Eight.

Q: How did you end up in charge of the NPP schedule?

“I actually really enjoy lists. I make a list for everything; what I’m going to do this week, restaurants I want to try, release dates for movies I want to see, albums I want to hear, upcoming concerts, etc. It’s my way of pretending I am in control of a chaotic world, I guess. Doing the NPP schedule is just a logical extension of the way I run my life.”

Q: Because you live and work in Los Angeles, do you have an “inside track” on release dates?

“How I wish that were true! It would be great if the marketing departments from these studios leaked me their release plans early. No, I read it in the trade magazines like everyone else. Box Office Mojo is a great site.”

Q: What’s the craziest last-minute schedule shuffle you’ve had to make?

“A week before we were going to release Blade Runner Universal moved The Adjustment Bureau out of July 2010 and into Valentine’s Day 2011. So we literally had no shows to release. The only things we had in the can were the 8 other Philip K. Dick podcasts. We ended up filling the hole with really random things: the X-Files two-fer, Scott Pilgrim, The Lost Boys trilogy. Back then we also took a few weeks off between series’. That’s something we’d never do now.”

Q: How far ahead is the calendar planned?

“The calendar is set for the rest of the year. I have some very good ideas about what 2016 will look like, and I’m aware of all the continuations to franchises we’ve started coming back in 2017 and beyond. But I try not to get too attached to any plans because they are sandcastles on a very turbulent beach. One release change and it is all gone.”

Much of that future planning involves Now Playing’s Stephen King Retrospective Series, which began with the Carrie reboot in 2013. The hosts plan to review every King adaptation that has made it to the screen, but the end date is still unclear.

Q: How far ahead does the Stephen King retrospective go?

“It has been our hope to tie Stephen King back to another theatrical adaptation at some point. We were all set to sync up the NPP calendar with the release date of It. But now that Cary Fukunaga has walked away from that project, I have no idea when we’ll get to It. That said, it’s nice to have a series that can be broken up into small parts. King allows me to spackle any holes that appear in the calendar. Like, if they suddenly decide to yank Star Wars out of December, there will still be a Shawshank Redemption.”

Now Playing Podcast releases new episodes every Tuesday on its main feed. The 2015 Spring Donation Series – covering the Indiana Jones, WestWorld, Goonies, and Jurassic Park films – runs through July 31.

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hollywood Shuffle: Inside the Now Playing Podcast schedule

Keep Arnie awake at The Ultimate Marvel Marathon!

We’ve long suspected that Marvelicious Toys and Now Playing Podcast host Arnie Carvalho gets less sleep than the kids at Westin Hills. So if anyone can survive The Ultimate Marvel Marathon – an 11-film binge of the entire MCU, from Iron Man to Age of Ultron – it’s Arnie.

He’ll take his seat at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Kansas City’s AMC Studio 28, and you can show your support by printing out your own Now Playing Podcast or Marvelicious Toys racing bib!

Follow Arnie on Twitter @TheArnieC and tweet your marathon pics using the hashtags #CrazyArnie and #StayAwakeArnie.

Now Playing Podcast’s Avengers: Age of Ultron review will be released Tuesday, May 5, after Arnie’s had time to recover. By the way, that marathon is sold out. So Arnie’s looking at 29-plus hours in that theater, without a lot of room to stretch. Pray for him.

Print your Marvelicious marathon racing bib!

Print your Marvelicious marathon racing bib!

Print your Now Playing Podcast marathon racing bib!

Print your Now Playing Podcast marathon racing bib!

April 28, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Keep Arnie awake at The Ultimate Marvel Marathon!

Now Playing hosts talk Indy, Crichton and more

Dr. Jones prepares to introduce villain Mola Ram to Kali.

Dr. Jones prepares to introduce villain Mola Ram to Kali.

Twice a year, Now Playing Podcast holds a pledge drive, offering bonus shows as a “thank you” to listeners who support independent podcasting. This spring, hosts Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob will be reviewing the Indiana Jones films and “Goonies” for Silver Level donors, and the “Westworld” and “Jurassic Park” series’ from novelist Michael Crichton at the Gold Level.

Jakob: Indiana Jones has been requested by many, many listeners for a while. It’s always exciting getting to talk about iconic films; to get into the technical side that makes them more than just a “cool” movie, but true historic cinema.

Arnie: It’s been discussed as long as we’ve been doing Retrospective Series’. I always vetoed it, not wanting to end on a lousy film — and one I’d reviewed in the early days of Now Playing to boot.

Stuart: Lucas and Ford would tease the possibility of an Indy 5, but I never believed it was imminent.

Jakob: We found a way to end [the retrospective] — not on Crystal Skull — but on another Spielberg production about hidden treasure and booby traps that will hopefully wrap this series up more positively.

Stuart: It had been so long since I’d seen most of the Indy movies, I really was looking forward to re-experiencing it through adult eyes.

Arnie: I haven’t seen Crystal Skull since theaters–and never wanted to again!

Jakob: I do have a story for the podcast about meeting someone who had only seen Crystal Skull, which brought a unique perspective.

Stuart: [Arnie and Jakob] say they could quote every line from Raiders. I only remembered it in fragments… how did that monkey eating the poison date tie in with melting Nazis? I was excited to have a loved series on the docket.

Yul Brenner as the Gunslinger in "Westworld."

Yul Brenner as the Gunslinger in “Westworld.”

The inclusion of Michael Crichton’s “Westworld” and “Futureworld” for Gold Level donors comes as HBO prepares to debut a JJ Abrams and Jonah Nolan series adaptation of the films, which tell the now-familiar story of chaos at a futuristic theme park. “Westworld” was released in 1973, while the sequel arrived three years later. The concept was also adapted into a 1980 television series, “Beyond Westworld.”

Stuart: They seemed like the right films to add to the four Jurassic Park’s to make it Gold Level.

Arnie: That was Stuart’s esoteric pick, but it makes sense as a tie-in to Jurassic Park. Both are theme parks run amok, brought to us by Michael Crichton.

Stuart: I don’t think I ever read a review of Jurassic Park in 1993 that didn’t mention Crichton’s Westworld as an influence.

Jakob: They’re not films I’m familiar with, but that’s one of the joys of Now Playing — getting the opportunity to watch movies that haven’t hit your radar.

The park is open.

The park is open.

Although “Jurassic Park” remains the most successful adaptation of a Crichton novel, there have been more than one dozen films based off his work. Crichton has also received writing credits for numerous screenplays, including 1996’s “Twister.” However, Now Playing’s Spring Donation Series may be the only time films based on his novels are reviewed on the show.

Arnie: Given that we’re doing Jurassic Park as a donation series I think we can rule out a full Crichton retrospective. It would be unfair to put “All Crichton other than Jurassic” on the main feed while Jurassic Park is locked in the vault. I don’t see Rising Sun and The 13th Warrior as big draws for a future donation drive.

Stuart: I agree with Arnie that it’s no longer a possibility as a franchise. But who’s to say a one-off of Twister or Congo might not appear when you least expect it.

Jakob: The only way I’m going to watch Twister again is if we do a “really stupid natural disaster movies” retrospective, with the likes of Volcano, Dante’s Peak, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012. And I don’t see that happening. So, no, I’m not interested.

The first episode in the Spring 2015 pledge drive — “Raiders of the Lost Ark” — will be released to donors on April 17. Details can be found on the Now Playing Podcast website

April 4, 2015 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Now Playing hosts talk Indy, Crichton and more

Listeners power Venganza Kickstarter campaign to historic finish

Venganza Media Logo

LISTENERS POWER VENGANZA KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN TO HISTORIC FINISH

Fans pledge more than $115,000 to fund company’s first publishing project 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Springfield, Ill. – March 19, 2015 – Proving once again that they are among the most loyal and loving fans in the world, the listeners of Venganza Media’s Now Playing Podcast rallied together in unprecedented fashion to fund the company’s first publishing project, Underrated Movies We Recommend.

A 30-day Kickstarter campaign – which began with a $40,000 goal – ended Thursday having amassed $115,482 in pledges from 1,209 listeners. They gave generously throughout the campaign and many even increased their pledges to keep the momentum going down the stretch. With each milestone reached, the Now Playing Podcast hosts added rare and exclusive rewards as a “thank you” to donors supporting the campaign and the show.

“As an independent show with no sponsors we have always relied on our listeners,” said show creator and host Arnie Carvalho. “The amount of support we’ve received has floored all of us. But I shouldn’t be shocked, I’ve always known Now Playing has the best fans in the world.

Originally conceived as an e-book, Underrated Movies We Recommend is now on track to be released in hardcover and audio format in early 2016. The audiobook became a major draw in the closing days of the campaign, as listeners jumped at the chance to hear the four hosts discuss their favorite undiscovered and underappreciated films. Behind the scenes, the hosts are already deep into the writing process, and they have already revealed nearly half of the 125 Underrated titles they’ll be reviewing in the book on Facebook and Kickstarter. All of this is happening while Now Playing Podcast is in the middle of its Fast & Furious retrospective series, covering the entire series on the show’s main feed.

About Venganza Media Inc.

Based in Springfield, Ill., Venganza Media Inc. is a privately-owned multimedia production facility and home to the Venganza Media Podcasting Network. Film fans and collectors worldwide know Venganza as the producer of Star Wars Action NewsMarvelicious Toys, and the company’s flagship program, Now Playing Podcast. Since its formation in 2005, Venganza has delivered thousands of hours of entertainment to listeners, while its staff and fleet of contributors have established the company as a premier source for film reviews, celebrity interviews, and collecting news for audiences of all ages.

About Now Playing Podcast

Since its launch as a short-form, off-the-cuff movie review show, Now Playing Podcast has grown into one of the most successful and celebrated independent programs online and consistently ranks among iTunes’ Top 10 TV/Film podcasts. Its ability to stand out in a crowded field is largely attributed to Now Playings highly-acclaimed retrospective format, keeping listeners engaged week-after-week as its panel of critics chronicle decades of hits-and-misses while maneuvering Hollywood’s hectic release schedule.

March 19, 2015 Posted by | News | , , , | Comments Off on Listeners power Venganza Kickstarter campaign to historic finish

VENGANZA KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN CLOSING IN ON STRETCH GOAL

VENGANZA MEDIA KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN CLOSING IN ON $95K STRETCH GOAL

Exclusive podcasts, print and audiobooks offered to supporters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Springfield, Ill. – March 10, 2015 – Having met its $40,000 funding goal in just 10 days, Venganza Media this week entered the final leg of its Kickstarter campaign to finance Underrated Movies We Recommend, the first publishing project from the hosts of Now Playing Podcast.

With 9 days remaining on Kickstarter, Underrated is closing in on a $95,000 stretch goal, which would boost the project from an e-book of 100 movie reviews to a printed copy and audiobook featuring 25 additional reviews. The audiobook is currently among the most requested options from the show’s listeners.

To reach the stretch goal, Now Playing Podcast has increased the incentive to participate, offering new, Kickstarter-exclusive podcasts to the campaign. These exclusive shows include reviews of Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange and the notorious Olivia Newton-John dud Xanadu, along with previous Now Playing listener poll entries Super 8 and Wes Craven’s Shocker.

In addition to increasing their podcast output, the hosts continue to reveal the films they’ll review in Underrated. So far, 37 titles have been announced and can be viewed on the show’s Kickstarter page.

Venganza’s Underrated Movies We Recommend campaign runs until Thursday, March 19.

Suggested tweet: Support @NowPlayingPod #NowUnderrated book and get @Kickstarter exclusive podcast reviews!

About Venganza Media Inc.

Based in Springfield, Ill., Venganza Media Inc. is a privately-owned multimedia production facility and home to the Venganza Media Podcasting Network. Film fans and collectors worldwide know Venganza as the producer of Star Wars Action NewsMarvelicious Toys, and the company’s flagship program, Now Playing Podcast. Since its formation in 2005, Venganza has delivered thousands of hours of entertainment to listeners, while its staff and fleet of contributors have established the company as a premier source for film reviews, celebrity interviews, and collecting news for audiences of all ages.

About Now Playing Podcast

Since its launch as a short-form, off-the-cuff movie review show, Now Playing Podcast has grown into one of the most successful and celebrated independent programs online and consistently ranks among iTunes’ Top 10 TV/Film podcasts. Its ability to stand out in a crowded field is largely attributed to Now Playings highly-acclaimed retrospective format, keeping listeners engaged week-after-week as its panel of critics chronicle decades of hits-and-misses while maneuvering Hollywood’s hectic release schedule.

March 10, 2015 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on VENGANZA KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN CLOSING IN ON STRETCH GOAL

Ride out with Now Playing ‘Fast & Furious’ series

Now Playing Podcast has unveiled the cover art for its The Fast and the Furious retrospective, a 7-film series that begins Tuesday, Feb. 24 and runs through the release of Furious 7 in early April.

NP_FastFurious-Art_1400

The release schedule can be found on the Now Playing website. While there, fans can also choose an upcoming podcast by taking part in a listener poll. The winning film will be revealed during the March 3 review of 2 Fast 2 Furious.

February 23, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off on Ride out with Now Playing ‘Fast & Furious’ series

Poll lets you choose film for Now Playing Podcast

Snip20150218_141

The poll will close Feb. 27.

Tuesday’s live episode of Now Playing Podcast featured plenty of bonus material for fans, including the chance to choose a movie for the hosts to review in the coming weeks.

A poll on the Now Playing website gives listeners the option to choose from Babadook, Wes Craven’s Shocker, Sinister, John Carpenter’s They Live, and The Usual Suspects.

Carpenter’s 1988 sci-fi actioner (starring Rowdy Roddy Piper!) immediately took the lead in early voting, but fans of Craven’s Shocker countered with a #VoteShocker hashtag on social media. As of Wednesday morning, They Live still led, followed by The Usual Suspects.

The poll closes Feb. 27, and the winning selection will be announced during the March 3 review of 2 Fast 2 Furious.

Listeners who don’t have a favorite in the poll can still choose a film for Now Playing Podcast to review by supporting the show’s Kickstarter campaign.

Snip20150211_79

Now Playing Podcast needs your support to fund “Underrated Movies We Recommend”

 

February 18, 2015 Posted by | News, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Poll lets you choose film for Now Playing Podcast

Venganza Kickstarter campaign offers once-in-a-lifetime rewards

Snip20141124_34

VENGANZA MEDIA KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN OFFERS ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME REWARDS

Take a seat and review a film with the hosts of Now Playing Podcast

This Kickstarter Campaign is now live!  Visit it at 
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1346264441/now-playing-underrated-movies-we-recommend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Springfield, Ill. – February 11, 2015 – Despite logging nearly 500 film reviews in 8 years, the hosts of Venganza Media’s No. 1 ranked Now Playing Podcast aren’t ready to slow down, and for the first time they’re giving listeners a chance to join them on the air.

Today Venganza Media announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund the company’s first publication: Underrated Movies We Recommend. The project will see the Now Playing hosts leap from the podcast to the page with intense discussions of 100 films you might have missed, but are still worthy of your time.

The campaign begins during the Feb. 17 live review of Kingsman: The Secret Service at NowPlayingPodcast.com. To reach its $40,000 goal in 30 days, Venganza Media is giving fans the opportunity of a lifetime: choose a film, any film, and co-host an episode of Now Playing Podcast. The show will be recorded, edited, and released to the world in early 2016.

Other rewards available on Kickstarter include printed and downloadable copies of Underrated, Now Playing Podcast artwork, autographed merchandise, lifetime subscriptions to bi-annual bonus shows, and access to the prized Now Playing Podcast vault, which contains long-sought episodes released exclusively to donors and unavailable for years, including the Jaws, Alien, Evil Dead, and Poltergeist retrospective series’.

Suggested tweet: Support @NowPlayingPod #NowUnderrated book on @Kickstarter and you could co-host the show!

About Venganza Media Inc.

Based in Springfield, Ill., Venganza Media Inc. is a privately-owned multimedia production facility and home to the Venganza Media Podcasting Network. Film fans and collectors worldwide know Venganza as the producer of Star Wars Action NewsMarvelicious Toys, and the company’s flagship program, Now Playing Podcast. Since its formation in 2005, Venganza has delivered thousands of hours of entertainment to listeners, while its staff and fleet of contributors have established the company as a premier source for film reviews, celebrity interviews, and collecting news for audiences of all ages.

About Now Playing Podcast

From its humble beginnings as a short-form, off-the-cuff movie review show, Now Playing Podcast has grown into one of the most successful and celebrated independent programs online and consistently ranks among iTunes’ Top 10 TV/Film podcasts. Its ability to stand out in a crowded field is largely attributed to Now Playings highly-acclaimed retrospective format, keeping listeners engaged week-after-week as its panel of critics chronicle decades of hits-and-misses while maneuvering Hollywood’s hectic release schedule.

Media Contact: JasonL@VenganzaMedia.com

February 11, 2015 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Now Playing Podcast to open vault during live ‘Kingsman’ show

Snip20150202_24

It’s true. It’s happening. There’s photographic proof.

Now Playing Podcast officially announced Monday that it will open the vault containing its previously released donation shows on February 17, following its first-ever live review of Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Snip20150202_26

One listener will win the entire donation library, but they must be present for the live show and follow-up Q&A, starting at 9:30 p.m. EST.

Inside the vault — which I imagine is welded shut and bound in human flesh like the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis – are the precious few retrospective series’ that Now Playing Podcast offers listeners during its bi-annual pledge drives.

The Alien series, Child’s Play, Jaws, Evil Dead, Exorcist, Poltergeist – that’s not even half of what you’ll find inside. But the hosts promise all will be up for grabs.

Snip20150202_23

Now Playing Podcast launched its first pledge drive in 2010 with reviews of the five Child’s Play movies (with a sixth film added to the series in 2013). Host Arnie Carvalho has credited listener support for keeping Now Playing on the air, and in return the hosts have continued to up the number of shows offered per donation drive (a total of 13 were available in Fall 2014) while sprinkling in secret shows like Garbage Pail Kids and Troll.

It’s been more than two years since Now Playing Podcast gave listeners a chance to loot the vault.

So why now? And what’s the catch?

“We’re not opening them for new donations,” Carvalho said. “What that means… what we are doing… we’ll reveal during our live show.”

Although just one fan will win it all, the host added that it won’t be the only opportunity to grab the long-sought donation shows.

“Hopefully 2015 will be Now Playing’s biggest year yet,” he added. “And giving listeners a chance to get these old podcasts is just the beginning.”

Snip20150201_5

February 2, 2015 Posted by | Movies, News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Now Playing goes live for ‘Kingsman’ review

Snip20150110_76For the first time in its 8-year history, Now Playing Podcast will review a film live and give listeners the chance to interact with its hosts, Venganza Media officially announced on Saturday.

The live breakdown of director Matthew Vaughn’s spy thriller Kingsman: The Secret Service is set for 9:30 p.m. EST on Feb. 17. It will be followed by a Q&A with hosts Arnie Carvalho, Jakob Brewster, and Stuart Atkinson, which listeners will be able to access via a live stream on the Now Playing Podcast website.  The hosts have also promised some surprising announcements on the show about a new project for Now Playing Podcast.

Now Playing recording sessions have been known to last several hours (the raw cut of 2012’s Alien 3 review clocked in at 3 hours and 30 minutes), so an edited version of the review will also be made available for listeners who can’t stay up too late.  There is no plan to release the Q&A or the unedited recording as a podcast; those are for the listeners who are able to attend the live broadcast.

Kingsman was adapted from 2012’s “The Secret Service” comic book series. Originally set for a U.S. release in November, its debut was pushed to Feb. 13, forcing Now Playing to shuffle its schedule, but opening a window to review the film with listeners in live attendance.

Carvalho, who has hosted live shows for Venganza’s Star Wars Action News and Marvelicious Toys podcasts, said the process requires four computers running simultaneously in the recording studio.

“I feel like Scotty on the Enterprise during these shows,” he said. “My office is strung up like a Christmas tree with the amount of cables running through here.”

With the addition of a live show, Now Playing continues to tinker with the format of its weekly podcast. Recent examples include November’s bonus review of the documentary Plastic Galaxy (a mash-up with Star Wars Action News) and the brilliantly edited but trippy “reverse review” of Christopher Nolan’s Memento.

January 10, 2015 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Now Playing episodes to stream while waiting for Santa

It’s December 24. You’ve already watched Scrooged and Christmas Vacation, and the only holiday options left on Netflix are Santa Paws and those ABC Family Christmas movies where Melissa Joan Hart falls in love with Mario Lopez.

It’s not all bad. Turn off the TV and turn up some classic episodes of Now Playing Podcast. If your relatives complain (or ask what a podcast is) just tell them these shows are holiday-themed. That’ll keep them quiet, and keep you entertained until TBS starts showing A Christmas Story at 8.

Here are 5 Now Playing episodes to stream while waiting for Santa:

Die Hard

Snip20141223_7

That guy was also in a James Bond movie.

Does Die Hard get three recommends? The answer is obvious, but the episode is engaging for its scene-by-scene comparisons to the film’s source material; Roderick Thorp’s “Nothing Lasts Forever.” The Die Hard Retrospective Series also includes a review of Frank Sinatra’s The Detective (the first appearance of Thorp’s hero, Joe Leland) and gets better as the films get worse (there’s plenty to laugh at in A Good Day to Die Hard).

Gremlins

Snip20141223_8

Where did they even learn to read?

Released on Christmas Eve of 2013, the Gremlins episode has hosts Arnie, Stuart and Jakob flashing back to their childhood selves and trying to figure out if they should laugh or cry during Phoebe Cates’ tragic Christmas story. There are clips of people performing that monologue on YouTube. Watch them.

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2

Snip20141223_10

It never gets old.

Because #GarbageDay.

Batman Returns

Honestly, I'd rather play this SNES game than watch "Batman Returns" again.

Honestly, I’d rather play this SNES game than watch “Batman Returns” again.

Hosts Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob put the spotlight on the Tim Burton sequel that was too dark for McDonalds. This episode is great for its exploration of early 90s Bat-mania and is stacked with behind-the-scenes trivia (Marlon Wayans still gets residuals for this movie?). Highlights include the story of how Batman-obsessed Arnie swayed Stuart into seeing the film, and (spoiler alert) the former’s reaction when Returns turned out to be a bust.

The Aviator

Leo listening to Arnie bash his movie.

Leo listening to Arnie bash his movie.

Because December 24 is Howard Hughes’ birthday, and because this episode could have been titled The Aviator: Arnie Unleashed. The host begins his verbal assault on Scorsese’s 2004 biopic seconds after the opening credits and refuses to let up during the hourlong episode. He’s not trying to be funny, but his criticisms are hilarious. “I don’t think you’re gonna give this movie one thing Arnie, you really seem out to kill everyone down to the caterer,” co-host Stuart says at the 43-minute mark.

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Movies | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 5 Now Playing episodes to stream while waiting for Santa

First looks at Bond, ‘Terminator’ sequels

Snip20141204_76Thursday brought back-to-back looks at sequels for two iconic film franchises that will be on the Now Playing Podcast calendar in 2015.

Director Sam Mendes introduced the cast of the 24th “official” James Bond film at a news conference in the United Kingdom. The sequel’s title, SPECTRE, was also announced, and a one-sheet for the film was released online.

SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) battled Bond throughout many of the early films in the series. It’s not yet known what role the organization will play in the sequel, or if SPECTRE will have any ties to Quantum, the group introduced in 2006’s Casino Royale and exposed by Bond in Quantum of Solace.

While SPECTRE is the 24th film in the Bond series, the Now Playing Podcast review will be No. 26 in our James Bond Retrospective Series. In 2012, Arnie, Stuart and Brock reviewed all of the Bond films, including 1967’s Casino Royale and 1983’s Never Say Never Again.

To find out how those films fit into the Bond universe, and to hear reviews of the others, check out the retrospective at NowPlayingPodcast.com.

By the way, if you want to catch up on some classic Bond, Netflix and Amazon Prime just added a handful of films from the series to their libraries.

HE’S BACK

Now to Terminator: Genisys. The first trailer went online Thursday morning, and was met with a largely negative reaction on the Now Playing Podcast Facebook page.

As one fan pointed out, it appears the filmmakers are taking a page from 2009’s Star Trek and attempting to reboot the series within itself, creating an alternate timeline where the Arnold Schwarzenegger T-800 has been protecting Sarah Connor for years and preparing her for the arrival of Kyle Reese and the Terminator in 1984.

Judging by the early reaction, fans are ready to hate Genisys. But it’s just one trailer and a couple of really unimpressive magazine covers. There’s still plenty of time to make a better impression between now and July 1, 2015.

Terminator was one of the first series’ covered by Now Playing Podcast, back in 2009 when McG helmed the hated Terminator: Salvation. It’s worth going back to that retrospective not only to hear the reviews, but also to see just how far the show has come since those early days.

Arnold’s been waiting for you.

December 4, 2014 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on First looks at Bond, ‘Terminator’ sequels

Now Playing plots holiday heist with ‘Ocean’s’ crew

Snip20141116_85

The “Ocean’s Eleven” series starts Dec. 16

Now Playing Podcast is ringing in the New Year Rat Pack-style, and listeners can join the caper as hosts Jakob, Stuart, and Arnie cap 2014 with reviews of the original Ocean’s Eleven and the George Clooney-led Ocean’s Trilogy.

The lighthearted series is a shift for the heavily horror, sci-fi and superhero-focused show. You’d have to go all the way back to December 2011’s Rocky series to find a Now Playing retrospective without tights, gunfights or gore (except for this part).

The hosts, who spent the better part of 2014 laboring through adaptations of Stephen King’s Night Shift stories, took some time out from recording to chat about their expectations for this A-list franchise.

Q: These movies were hard to miss, what are your Ocean’s memories?

Stuart: I have only seen the first George Clooney movie, and my memory of it is vague but pleasant. I tend to like series’ with a long history to them.

Jakob: I’ve actually seen that first one a handful of times and I remember almost nothing of [Ocean’s] Twelve. I can only hope the sequels have that party vibe of Ocean’s Eleven. That’s why we decided to transition from 2014 to 2015 with these films. Everyone wants to ring in the New Year with a great party.

Stuart: I look forward to seeing the Rat Pack define the Vegas of 1960, before the town and the franchise become more of a theme park attraction with the contemporary films.

Snip20141116_83

The 1960 “Ocean’s” crew

Q: Arnie, did your recent trip to Las Vegas stir Ocean’s memories?

Arnie: I actually stayed at the Bellagio, and while I didn’t encounter Terry Benedict, I did get to watch the fountain show — with Ocean’s well on my mind. I was itching to re-watch the series after that trip.

Strangely the best Vegas connection I had wasn’t from the Ocean’s series, but from The Stand. The crucifixion scene was filmed on Fremont Street in Vegas and some of the signage was very familiar!

Q: Jakob, has there been any talk of starting a “Rat Pack Retrospective”?

Jakob: There wasn’t any talk previous to the decision to cover the original Ocean’s Eleven. Whether we are open to it now? Well, I don’t want to spoil how we feel about the film.

Having covered Sinatra previously in The Detective to kick off our Die Hard series, listener feedback wasn’t great for going back to older films. But I never want to say we absolutely won’t do a series. Maybe we’ll have a “Rat Pack Retrospective” hosted by all of our fathers.

The contemporary "Ocean's" crew

The contemporary “Ocean’s” crew

Q: Stuart, after sitting through Children of the Corn and Leprechaun, are you relieved to take a break from horror for the holidays?

Stuart: There were longer franchise options discussed – the four Gingerdead Man films might have fit nicely under the tree in a different year. But I’m not sure anyone was eager to unwrap anymore low-rent slasher flicks.

I like that we’re getting more into the spirit of New Year’s Eve with Ocean’s Eleven. We hope that listeners are feeling festive too, and won’t mind saving Santa’s Slay or You Better Watch Out for another time.

The 4-film Ocean’s retrospective begins December 16, following the 2-part Maniac series. At the same time, the Now Playing Podcast Fall Pledge Drive will continue on a separate feed, where donors can hear reviews of the Peter Jackson Hobbit films.

 

November 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Now Playing plots holiday heist with ‘Ocean’s’ crew

New look for Now Playing

VENGANZA MEDIA DEBUTS NEW LOOK FOR NOW PLAYING PODCAST
Website redesign gives users access to new content, show release schedule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Springfield, Ill – November 5, 2014- Today Venganza Media Inc., the producers of popular collecting podcast Star Wars Action News, unveiled a new website for its flagship program, Now Playing Podcast. The show’s worldwide audience now has easier access to its extensive film review archive and schedule, as well as a redesigned streaming media player and expanded content from show contributors.

“Now that we’re closing in on 500 movie reviews, it seemed a natural step forward to improve the user experience,” said Now Playing Podcast creator and host Arnie Carvalho. “Our listeners keep us on-the-air, they’ve asked for the ability to easily view and search our upcoming review calendar as well as our archives. We want them to know that we listen to them as well.”

The new show calendar can be accessed from the Now Playing Podcast home page, and will include details of weekly film reviews as well as series’ covered during Now Playing’s bi-annual pledge drive.

The website’s revamped archive page includes a drop-down menu — another requested feature — that will allow users to easily search and select their favorite Now Playing Podcast reviews.

In addition to the updated search and schedule features, users will find expanded biographies of the Now Playing Podcast staff, as well as links to news content from the company blog, the Venganza Media Gazette.

About Venganza Media Inc.
Based in Springfield, Ill., Venganza Media Inc. is a privately-owned multimedia production facility and home to the Venganza Media Podcasting Network. Film fans and collectors worldwide know Venganza as the producer of Star Wars Action News, Marvelicious Toys, and the company’s flagship program, Now Playing Podcast. Since its formation in 2005, Venganza has delivered thousands of hours of entertainment to listeners, while its staff and fleet of contributors have established the company as a premier source for film reviews, celebrity interviews, and collecting news for audiences of all ages.

About Now Playing Podcast
From its humble beginnings as a short-form, off-the-cuff movie review show, Now Playing Podcast has grown into one of the most successful and celebrated independent programs online and consistently ranks among iTunes’ Top 10 TV/Film podcasts. Its ability to stand out in a crowded field is largely attributed to Now Playing’s highly-acclaimed retrospective format, keeping listeners engaged week-after-week as its panel of critics chronicle decades of hits-and-misses while maneuvering Hollywood’s hectic release schedule.

Facebook: Now Playing Podcast
Twitter: @NowPlayingPod

November 7, 2014 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , | Comments Off on New look for Now Playing

After lows of ‘Corn’ series, ‘Now Playing’ looks forward to Nolan films

Artwork for Now Playing Podcast Christopher Nolan Retrospective Series

Artwork for Now Playing Podcast Christopher Nolan Retrospective Series

Now Playing Podcast host Arnie Carvalho once read an email from a listener urging him to review only bad movies because it leads to funnier conversations.

“He said we should just be a comedy show,” the film critic said from his Manhattan hotel room on Saturday, while on a break from covering New York Comic Con.

Did that listener have a point?

“None of us wants that,” Carvalho answered. “We enjoy covering all types of movies, but if we only watched low-rent trash I think our souls would die.”

It’s a marvel he and his Now Playing co-hosts — Stuart Atkinson and Jakob Brewster – even have any life left in them after enduring nine films based on Stephen King’s Children of the Corn.

This week’s review of Children of the Corn: Genesis not only marks the climax of the Corn saga, but also an exhausting exploration of King’s Night Shift collection; more than two dozen reviews of mostly forgettable film adaptations like The Mangler, Graveyard Shift and Trucks.

Few films in the Night Shift series have been worthy of a recommend, but that hasn’t kept hardcore Now Playing listeners from making the show one of the highest rated on iTunes throughout 2014, with seven of the nine Corn reviews appearing in the Top 10 rankings for TV/Film podcasts.

“I really expected listenership to drop off as we got deep in those fields,” Carvalho said. “But our listeners are awesome.”

“I only half-jokingly say more people downloaded our review of Children of the Corn 7 than actually saw Children of the Corn 7.”

With Night Shift in the rear view, Now Playing Podcast launches its next retrospective on Tuesday: A five-episode study of director Christopher Nolan’s filmography, leading up to next month’s Interstellar.

After considering other horror properties to follow Corn — including Hellraiser and The Amityville Horror — Carvalho shifted gears and lobbied hard for a director-focused retrospective, targeting Nolan after Now Playing previously covered his Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception.

“The hosts needed some meatier films to chew on, and I also think listeners want to hear about movies they’ve actually seen,” he joked. “With the good movies we usually can have deeper conversations about filmmaking, themes, and intent.”

“The problem with the Corn series was that by the 9th film there was nothing left to say, it’s like the old joke about the definition of insanity.”

October 11, 2014 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Corn Connection: ‘Genesis’ brings series to close

This marks the final entry in The Corn Connection series, and much like the Children of the Corn films, it’s going out with a whimper.corn9

Now Playing Podcast released its final review in the Corn retrospective on Tuesday, and after scraping the IMDB page for Children of the Corn: Genesis, I was able to find just one “star” who appeared in another film covered on the show.

Sure, there are actors you’ll recognize, like Billy Drago from The Untouchables and Cyborg 2. But I don’t see a Cyborg retrospective in Now Playing’s future. Nor do I see the hosts turning to television for The Office retrospective, just so they can reference lead actress Kelen Coleman, who guested in a few episodes as Dwight Schrute’s love interest, Isabel.

The only true connection in this final Corn film is actor Duane Whitaker, who plays the character Pritchett.

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, the face will. Whitaker’s career is loaded with various villain and hillbilly roles, most notably 1994’s Pulp Fiction, where he played the shop owner who holds Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames prisoner until Zed shows up. You know what happens next.

He’s also shown up in a slew of genre pics, everything from Feast to Tales From the Hood to From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money.

But if you want to find Whitaker in the Now Playing Podcast archives, you’ll find him in the Halloween, Rob Zombie and Texas Chainsaw Massacre retrospectives.

In Zombie’s Halloween 2, he played one of the hillbillies who gets killed by Michael Myers in a field after calling out the killer for trespassing. It was brutal.

Whitaker also played Dr. Bankhead in The Devil’s Rejects, another Rob Zombie picture; and one of his earlier horror roles came in 1990’s Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.

So that’s that. Nine entries up, nine entries down, a few dozen connections made to the Now Playing Podcast archives. Mission accomplished. Thanks for reading!

Did we miss anyone? If you spot an actor or actress with a connection to Now Playing Podcast leave a comment and help a fellow listener!

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Corn Connection: ‘Genesis’ brings series to close

‘Leprechaun: Origins’ director talks rebooting silly series with legit horror

When it comes time to reboot a film franchise, creators go on about returning a series or its characters to their “roots.”origins1

In the case of 90s horror-comedy Leprechaun, starting over means starting from scratch, for any attempt at a straight remake would mean sending the monster back to a farmhouse in North Dakota.

That’s one of the glaring problems with Leprechaun, pointed out by fans and critics alike. For six films, a grinning, green-suited Warwick Davis shamed the Irish in cities big and small, in outer space, and (twice) in the “hood” — everywhere but Ireland.

“That [concept] is hard to make scary,” said Zach Lipovsky, the Canadian-born filmmaker and VFX specialist helming this year’s reboot of the oft-ridiculed franchise, Leprechaun Origins.

“The ambition was to make a legitimately scary movie from something that inherently isn’t scary; it’s not tongue-in-cheek at all,” Lipovsky told Now Playing Podcast during a Q&A session at San Diego Comic-Con. “That’s something which is challenging when you have the premise of a leprechaun.”

Convincing audiences to take a chance on a series that had gone stale more than a decade ago meant reversing the Leprechaun-out-of-water formula from the previous films. This time, the human characters venture to the monster’s birthplace, an isolated village in the Irish countryside (played here by Vancouver).

“We used tons of atmosphere; everything has that misty, foggy kind of look,” Lipovsky said. “The characters are in a very old town, a place they shouldn’t be that’s kind of lost to time.”

In order to legitimize his monster, Lipovsky went about researching Celtic lore and cryptozoology, and ruled out any look that would liken it to the character on the Lucky Charms box.

Professional wrestler Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl was also brought in to replace Davis (Origins is produced by WWE Studios), and the actor underwent a daily three-hour makeup routine to become the creature.

“We thought maybe he came from underground – came from a gold mine or a natural cave that had gold deposits,” Lipovsky said. “[We researched] underground creatures like mole rats and Gollum, and things that kind of looked like walking scrotums.”

“The idea was to start fresh and look at the origins of leprechauns and what could be the creature – that isn’t a little guy in a green suit,” he added. “To be able to reinvent a mythology in that way is kind of awesome for a creator.”

Audiences won’t see Postl “full Leprechaun” in promotional materials, but Lipovsky promised a look more monster than human, and hinted that his Leprechaun is not so much a gold-hoarder as he is a gold-eater.

“There are some pretty disgusting scenes in the film where unfortunate people have gold on their body, and they’re in the wrong country for that,” he said.

When asked if Origins would include Easter eggs for Leprechaun fans, Lipovsky said he wanted to acknowledge the “legacy” of the franchise, adding that audiences should look for “certain iconic props” that tie into past installments.

“I think the previous franchise did an awesome job of being tongue-in-cheek, and that kind of made it what it was,” he said.

While it performed respectably upon its release in 1993, the original Leprechaun is best remembered today for having a then-unknown Jennifer Aniston in the starring role.

Some fans argue the series arrived late to the party; early 90s audiences that might have embraced the silly slasher during the genre’s heyday had moved on to “horror at home” thrillers like Pacific Heights, Unlawful Entry and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle – films in which established, well-liked actors took turns portraying the “psychopath-next-door.”

While Hollywood studios rode the wave, the Leprechaun and other low-rent villains (Pumpkinhead, Dr. Giggles, the Trickster from Brainscan) fell flat, and those that produced sequels were forced to go the direct-to-video route.

Leprechaun chose the latter, and producers continued to churn out below-average product, sending Davis’ character off Earth (Leprechaun 4) and later pairing him with rapper-actor Ice-T (Leprechaun in the Hood).

Lipovsky believes the series’ checkered history will work in his favor when audiences sit down to watch Origins.

“I actually kind of hope people tune in to it expecting something kind of fun and silly, so their guard is down; then as stuff starts to go haywire they’re just horrified,” he said. “That would be probably even better.”

And while the director is “wide open” to the idea of an Origins sequel, don’t count on seeing his monster in space.

“Maybe the Irish hood.”

October 3, 2014 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘Leprechaun: Origins’ director talks rebooting silly series with legit horror

Corn Connection: No stars, but good ‘Now Playing’ links in ‘Corn’ remake

Scanning IMDB resumes for this week’s Corn Connection entry really made me feel old. corn-2009

It wasn’t so bad during the first seven films, because I knew most of the “children” in the Corn series had aged by now, and some of them are older than I am. But I got a stark reminder of my age while looking through the credits of the 2009 Children of the Corn remake for this week’s episode of Now Playing Podcast.

But this series is not called “Gettin too old for this #&$%.” So let’s take a look at where you can find the 2009 Corn players in the Now Playing archives.

It wasn’t easy.

Kandyse McClure (Vicky Stanton)Carrie Retrospective

The biggest “star” with any link to Now Playing Podcast is McClure, who takes over for Linda Hamilton in Corn. If anyone watching the film has that funny feeling she’s been in another poorly-received Stephen King remake, it’s because she also starred as Sue Snell in the 2002 TV movie remake of Carrie.

That film was reviewed in the second entry in Now Playing’s massive Stephen King Retrospective Series. It was only last fall, but since then the show has covered so much King, there should be something to make any fan happy in the archives.

Daniel Newman (Malachai)Batman Retrospective

The actors in this Corn film are not stars, and they’re not mentioned by name on Now Playing Podcast. But at least the shows are still entertaining.

Newman, who plays Malachai in 2009’s Children of the Corn, played “Thug No. 2 in Basement” in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. That’s a really good listen in the Now Playing archives, and will help you get ready for the upcoming Christopher Nolan Retrospective Series, which is coming as soon as Arnie, Stuart and Jakob find a way out of the cornfield.

Robert Gerdisch (Preacher Boy)Superman Retrospective

Gerdisch played Whitney Fordham in 2013’s Man of Steel. I assume that character is similar to the character Whitney Fordman from Smallville, but you never know with Zack Snyder.

Leo Howard (Additional Voices)G.I. Joe Retrospective

Yes, even doing “additional voices” can count as a connection. And this kid Howard has been on camera, he appeared as “Young Snake-Eyes” in 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

So, for an unimpressive sequel with an unimpressive cast, those are some pretty impressive Now Playing links.

Did we miss anyone? If you spot an actor or actress with a connection to Now Playing Podcast leave a comment and help a fellow listener!

 

October 1, 2014 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Corn Connection: No stars, but good ‘Now Playing’ links in ‘Corn’ remake

Corn Connection: ‘Revelation’ boasts some of series’ best links

The seventh installment of this Corn Connection series is a step up from the previous one, even if the film we’re talking about, Children of the Corn: Revelation, is every bit as unbearable as Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return.revelation

The difference between the two is variety. While 666 featured seemed to find the same connections over and over (Robocop, Corn), the Revelation cast has connections to more than a half-dozen Now Playing Podcast series’ that haven’t been written about in this series.

So, if you’re wrapping up the latest episode in the Now Playing Podcast Children of the Corn Retrospective Series, here’s where you can find some of that film’s stars in the Now Playing universe.

Michael Ironside (Priest)Philip K. Dick Retrospective, The Karate Kid Retrospective, Terminator Retrospective, X-Men Retrospective

Let’s start with the obvious; Michael Ironside probably can’t walk down the street without someone shouting, “See you at the party Richter!”

It’s one of the actor’s best known roles, and Total Recall was reviewed by Now Playing back during the 2011 Philip K. Dick Retrospective.

Ironside also had roles in The Next Karate Kid and Terminator Salvation, two films reviewed in 2010 and 2009, respectively.

And he also appeared as the captain of a battleship in X-Men First Class, although he wasn’t credited. Why he wasn’t credited is a mystery I haven’t not yet Googled. It’s almost a distraction that he wasn’t credited, like I’m thinking more about that than I am about First Class.

Ron Selmour (uncredited)Blade Retrospective, Black Christmas Retrospective, Tron Retrospective, Riddick Retrospective

Selmour had bit parts in The Chronicles of Riddick, the Black Christmas remake and Tron Legacy. But as soon as I saw his face on IMDB and his Blade: Trinity credit I said, “I know that dude!”

He’s one of the “Nightstalkers” that teams up with Wesley Snipes for about five minutes before he gets killed. I think he gets one line and then gets taken out alongside Patton Oswalt. And his character is named Dex. And Oswalt’s character is named Hedges. That movie has the worst names.

There’s nothing I can say about Blade: Trinity that hasn’t been said on Now Playing Podcast, so please, if you like to laugh, take a listen to that show.

Crystal Lowe (Tiffany) Final Destination Retrospective, Fantastic Four Retrospective, Black Christmas Retrospective

This actress has done a few horror films, including Final Destination 3 and the Black Christmas remake; both covered by Now Playing Podcast.

But I wonder if she gets recognized most for her role as “Hot Party Girl No. 3” in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer? It’s been a while since I’ve seen the picture, but I’m sure she’s the best thing about it.

By the way, Lowe will have another Now Playing mention added to her profile when the show covers Insomnia as part of the upcoming Christopher Nolan Retrospective Series.

Troy Yorke (Jerry) Final Destination Retrospective

Yorke had an uncredited role in the first Final Destination. Nuff said.

Kyle Cassie (Armbrister)Lost Boys Retrospective

Hey, it’s the first Lost Boys mention in the Corn Connection series! Cassie played the character “Jon” in the direct-to-DVD sequel, Lost Boys: The Tribe.

Claudette Mink (Jamie)Philip K. Dick Retrospective

This actress had a role in John Woo’s Paycheck, another film featured in the Philip K. Dick retrospective.

So there you have it. A pretty impressive lineup of links to the Now Playing Podcast archives. I’m still excited that I found that guy from Blade 3. Seriously, that’s a show to listen to.

The Corn Connection is winding down, only two more entries left in the film series, which means two more trips to the corn for the Now Playing hosts. Get the next show Tuesday!

Did we miss anyone? If you spot an actor or actress with a connection to Now Playing Podcast leave a comment and help a fellow listener!

September 27, 2014 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Corn Connection: ‘Revelation’ boasts some of series’ best links

Corn Connection: Isaac isn’t only one returning for ‘666’

The sixth installment in the neverending enduring Children of the Corn series sees the return of a star from the original film. It’s not Linda Hamilton.isaac

It’s no secret either, as the title gives it away; this is the film that brings back child cult leader Isaac (John Franklin). You can hear the actor introduce this week’s episode of Now Playing Podcast, in which the hosts also explain how Franklin played a critical role in getting the 1999 sequel made.

As it turns out, he’s not the only familiar face (familiar used loosely). Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return features a pair of famous genre stars, along with a few names who are returning to the Corn series as new characters.

That turns out to be great news for this week’s Corn Connection, as you’ll be able to get away from the fields and enjoy some of the better films reviewed in the Now Playing archives.

Nancy Allen (Rachel)Carrie Retrospective, Robocop Retrospective, Poltergeist Retrospective

Nancy Allen is one of those stars who gets a lot of coverage on Now Playing Podcast. Not only did she make an appearance in last fall’s Carrie retrospective, but her work in the Robocop series was profiled earlier this year, and she showed up in the Poltergeist donation series. The latter was available exclusively to donors.

Stacy Keach (Doc Michaels) Batman Retrospective

Keach’s resume goes back decades, but the actor only appears one other time in the Now Playing archives; he voiced Carl Beaumont and the murderous Phantasm in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

John Franklin (Isaac) Children of the Corn Retrospective, Child’s Play Retrospective

It’s all about Isaac.

Franklin, as mentioned above, returns to the Corn series more than a decade after he starred in the original film. Franklin also did voice work for the first Child’s Play film, which was reviewed on Now Playing but released exclusively to donors.

Gary Bullock (Zachariah) – Robocop Retrospective, Children of the Corn Retrospective

Bullock just showed up in the previous Corn film, credited as “Farmer.”

This isn’t the first time he’s appeared in a series as two different characters; Bullock also appeared as “Hack Doctor” in Robocop 2 and then as “Gas Station Clerk” in Robocop 3.

William Prael (Jake)Children of the Corn Retrospective

This is where it gets silly. Prael, like Bullock and Franklin, also has a previous Corn film on his resume. He appeared in Children of the Corn IV, where he is credited as “Concerned Father.”

It’s not over, there are still three Corn films to go. And, as Arnie teases in this week’s episode, there’s a very familiar face to look forward to next week.

Did we miss anyone? If you spot an actor or actress with a connection to Now Playing Podcast leave a comment and help a fellow listener!

September 24, 2014 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Corn Connection: Isaac isn’t only one returning for ‘666’

Corn Connection: Familiar faces in ‘Fields’

corn5

The Now Playing Podcast review of Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror went online Tuesday, and while I won’t spoil the review, I will say the film has something going for it; this entry boasts the most recognizable cast in the series.

That doesn’t mean they’re all A-listers. It just means I know who they are. I’ve seen them on TV or film, some in better productions and some in ones less noteworthy than the fourth Children of the Corn sequel.

Still, it’s a welcome relief after desperately scraping the bottom of IMDB to find connections in the previous Corn films.

Check out some of these names: Kane Hodder, Eva Mendes, David Carradine, Fred Williamson, Alexis Arquette, Ahmet Zappa. There are even more; actors and actresses I recognize from Escape from New York and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and Arquette’s not the only Pulp Fiction alum in the cast.

But as much as I enjoy seeing familiar faces, The Corn Connection doesn’t list their resumes, just their places in the Now Playing Podcast archives.

So let’s get started:

Kane Hodder (Bartender)Friday the 13th Retrospective Series, Daredevil & Elektra Retrospective, Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses & Devil’s Rejects Retrospective Series

I thought it best to get Hodder out of the way first, because he’s Jason Voorhees!

Hodder played the iconic screen slasher in four Friday the 13th films, all of them covered during Now Playing’s first retrospective series in 2009.

I didn’t want to get into Hodder’s stunt credits, because I’m focusing on films where he portrayed a character.

You can also catch Hodder in the Now Playing Podcast review of 2003’s Daredevil, part of the Marvel Movie Retrospective. He also had an uncredited role in Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, a film reviewed by Now Playing in 2009.

Alexis Arquette (Greg)Child’s Play Retrospective Series, Sometimes They Come Back Retrospective Series

At the time of Children of the Corn V’s release in 1998, Arquette already had a pretty good-sized resume, with roles in Pulp Fiction and Threesome. He was even the vampire DJ in 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (something I learned just now).

Arquette’s breakout role would also come in 1998, when he co-starred in Adam Sandler’s The Wedding Singer. But this same year he also had a role as Jennifer Tilly’s doomed neighbor Damien in Bride of Chucky, a film that was covered by Now Playing, but was only available to donors.

The actor popped up again earlier this year when Now Playing covered Sometimes They Come Back… Again as part of the ongoing Stephen King retrospective.

Eva Mendes (Kir)Ghost Rider Retrospective Series

Fields of Terror was the first film for Mendes, who was just a few years away from becoming a Hollywood star. Despite appearances alongside leading men such as Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Steven Seagal, Mendes only appears once in the Now Playing Podcast archives; when she co-starred with Nicolas Cage in 2007’s Ghost Rider.

Adam Wylie (Ezeekial)Child’s Play Retrospective Series

Wylie was a child actor in the 90s who many people remember from his role on Picket Fences.

He appeared one other time in a film covered by Now Playing Podcast; 1990’s Child’s Play 2.

Gary Bullock (Farmer)Robocop Retrospective Series

Bullock has credits in two films covered by Now Playing Podcast, playing separate characters in Robocop 2 and Robocop 3. He’s credited as “Hack Doctor” in the former, and “Gas Station Clerk” in the latter.

Edward Edwards (Lilly’s Father)Robocop Retrospective Series

Mr. Edwards’ resume include a number of minor television and film credits, including the the role of “Manson” in 1987’s Robocop.

Danny Goldring (Mr. O’Brien)Batman Retrospective Series

This actor is credited as “Grumpy” in 2008’s The Dark Knight, a film featured in Now Playing’s 2012 Batman Retrospective Series.

I had to research the name Grumpy, and I assumed he was one of the clowns who take part in the bank robbery that opens the film. I was right. Goldring is the one leading the robbery; he’s the one with the most lines, including the memorable, “What bus driver?”

So that’s a pretty good lineup for a Corn sequel. Before sneaking a peek at IMDB for next week’s entry, make sure you listen to this week’s episode of Now Playing Podcast.

Did we miss anyone? If you spot an actor or actress with a connection to Now Playing Podcast leave a comment and help a fellow listener!

 

September 17, 2014 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Corn Connection: Familiar faces in ‘Fields’

Corn Connection: ‘The Gathering’ surprises with actual stars

“This can’t be right, I know these people.” – Arnie Ccorn4

Now Playing Podcast surprised listeners Monday night with the early release of its Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering review, the latest entry in the Stephen King Retrospective Series.

The film was certainly not in award contention when it hit video stores in 1996, but many of its stars may look familiar to viewers, and one member of the cast would go on to greater fame and an Academy Award nomination.

In this week’s Corn Connection, we’re taking that star’s resume, along with the rest of the Corn IV cast, and pointing you toward their places in the Now Playing Podcast archives:

Naomi Watts (Grace Rhodes) DC Heroes Retrospective Series

Naomi Watts is a household name today, but the 21 Grams and Mulholland Drive actress had just a few indie credits under her belt when she headlined in The Gathering. Her most notable role at the time of the film’s release was alongside Lori Petty in Tank Girl, a poorly-received adaptation of the British comic book.

Tank Girl was reviewed in 2013 as part of Now Playing’s DC Heroes Retrospective Series.

Karen Black (June Rhodes) – Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses & The Devil’s Rejects Retrospective Series

Karen Black, who passed away last year, had enjoyed a long career before appearing in Children of the Corn IV. Today she is celebrated as a pioneering “Scream Queen” and horror fans may know her best from her role as Mother Firefly in director Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses.

Now Playing reviewed House and its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects, in 2009.

William Windom (Doc Larson)Planet of the Apes Retrospective Series

This actor’s IMDB resume lists more than 250 credits, but he wasn’t a star in the Now Playing universe until this past summer, when the hosts reviewed Escape from the Planet of the Apes, a show that was made available during the Spring 2014 Donation Series.

Marietta Marich (Rosa Nock)The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Retrospective Series

Marich should be recognizable to Now Playing listeners; she played Luda Mae Hewitt, the matriarch of the crazed clan that raised Leatherface in 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its 2006 prequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.

Both films were covered during 2010’s Chainsaw retrospective.

Harrison Young (Drifter)Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses & The Devil’s Rejects Retrospective Series

Another actor who went on to work for Rob Zombie, Harrison Young starred as doomed father Don Willis in House of 1000 Corpses. You might also recognize him as the elder Private Ryan in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.

Overall, those are some pretty good connections. Things should pick up next week when Now Playing covers the fifth (of nine!) Corn entries. We won’t spoil it, just go to IMDB if you’re curious.

Did we miss anyone? If you spot an actor or actress with a connection to Now Playing Podcast leave a comment and help a fellow listener!

September 9, 2014 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Corn Connection: ‘The Gathering’ surprises with actual stars

‘Corn Connection’ finds A-lister among ‘Harvest’ players

corn3

Every actor has to start somewhere, and somewhere is often low-budget horror.

There are plenty of examples; Leonardo DiCaprio in Critters 3, Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander in The Burning, and Jennifer Aniston in a film Now Playing Podcast donors can hear about very soon.

As for this week’s Now Playing Podcast review of Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest, we managed to find some famous faces among the cast. Okay, make that one star, some genre actors and a couple of extras you might recognize if you watch a lot of bad flicks.

But I’m not here to reprint IMDB resumes; the Corn Connection shows you where to find the actors and actresses within the Now Playing archives. So let’s get going.

Charlize Theron (Young Woman/uncredited)Alien Retrospective Series

Harvest was Theron’s first film, before she went on to become a superstar in movies like Mighty Joe Young, The Legend of Bagger Vance and Aeon Flux. Also Monster.

It’s crazy to think that an actress like Theron was only referenced on Now Playing Podcast once, but it’s true; back during the 2012 donation drive, when the hosts covered Prometheus as part of the Alien Retrospective Series. Unfortunately, that series is no longer available.

Michael Ensign (Father Frank Nolan)Superman Retrospective Series

Ensign is an actor you’ll recognize, although maybe not for his role as a newscaster in 1978’s Superman. I’m sure he gets more looks from fans who loved him as the snooty hotel manager in Ghostbusters, or in his role as the evil bus driver in License to Drive.

Ed Grady (Dr. Richard Appleby)Children of the Corn Retrospective Series

Does it count if your Now Playing moments came twice in the same retrospective series? Because that’s the case with the late Mr. Grady, who played the same character in the second installment, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice. Maybe someday the hosts will cover Grady’s role in The Notebook.

Rance Howard (Employer)Psycho Retrospective Series

Howard, like Theron, has had roles in major blockbusters (his son is Splash director Ron Howard). Howard, like Theron, only appears once in the entire history of Now Playing Podcast (1998’s Psycho). And Howard, like Theron, appeared in a donation series that’s no longer available on the main feed (bummer).

Rif Hutton (Arnold)Star Trek Retrospective Series

Hutton’s resume includes a long list of television and film credits, but only one of those movies was featured on Now Playing Podcast. So look for his role as a Klingon guard the next time you sit down to watch Star Trek: Generations.

Anthony Hickox (Hans, also executive producer)Return of the Living Dead Retrospective Series

Hickox appeared as Dr. Hickox in Return of the Living Dead 3, another film that’s currently locked in the Now Playing Podcast archives. But he’s also a director, with a resume that includes Waxwork, Waxwork 2: Lost In Time and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.

Brian Peck (Jake Witman)X-Men Retrospective Series, Return of the Living Dead Retrospective Series

Peck’s resume lists a number of genre films, but his role as Hot Dog Stand Patron in X-Men and News Reporter in X2: X-Men United made him part of the Now Playing universe. He also appeared in the first three Return of the Living Dead films as the characters of Scuz, Special Zombie and Ballistic Technician, respectively. Unfortunately, those Living Dead shows are locked away in the vault.

So there you have it. A few more recognizable actors than the previous Corn film, but many who only have connections to Now Playing donation series’. Wondering how you can become a donor? This way.

Did we miss anyone? If you spot an actor or actress with a connection to Now Playing Podcast leave a comment and help a fellow listener!

September 3, 2014 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘Corn Connection’ finds A-lister among ‘Harvest’ players

Corn Connection: Thinnest threads in ‘Final Sacrifice’

Snip20140826_5

In The Corn Connection, Venganza Media searches the Now Playing Podcast archives for films featuring the cast of The Children of the Corn series

Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice exists in that very odd place for low-rent horror sequels: It’s not good enough to bring back actors from the first film, and not quite bad enough to draw genre stars willing to sign on for ironic reasons, or for the chance to have their names above the title.

Even Pumpkinhead II had Punky Brewster, and those Prophecy sequels had Christopher Walken.

The Final Sacrifice has… no one.

An exhaustive search through the annals of IMDB turned up only the thinnest threads connecting the “stars” to the Now Playing Podcast archives. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge, and perhaps take a listen to some shows you might have missed along the way.

So, for your listening pleasure, here’s where you can find the cast of Children of the Corn II and the films they’ve appeared in:

Christie Clark (Lacey Hellerstat)A Nightmare on Elm Street Retrospective Series

Clark was a child when she played Jesse’s sister Angela in Freddy’s Revenge. And you probably thought you could rewind to see her in the pool party scene. Shame on you.

Wallace Merck (Sheriff Blaine)Friday the 13th Retrospective Series, Robocop Retrospective Series

Mr. Merck was one of the unfortunate paintball players that stumbled upon a resurrected Jason Voorhees in Jason Lives. Spoiler: He didn’t make it.

He also played “Gun Shop Owner” in Robocop 2, which Now Playing covered earlier this year.

Joe Inscoe (David Simpson)Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Retrospective Series

This actor appeared as “Police Officer No. 2” in the first TMNT film. Again, we’re grasping at straws here.

Marty Terry (Mrs. Burke/Mrs. West)Philip K. Dick Retrospective Series

Terry appeared in a “Pre-Crime PSA” in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report. You can go back and try to spot her, or you can go listen to the Now Playing hosts talk about the picture.

Robert C. Treveiler (Wayde McKenzie)Carrie Retrospective Series

This actor appeared in another sequel to a King film that the author wanted nothing to do with: The Rage: Carrie 2. He played a “patient.” One can only assume it’s during the mental hospital scenes. Do we really have to go back and verify?

Bonus! Treveiler does have a role in Frank Darabont’s The Mist, which Now Playing Podcast will get to (eventually) as part of its Stephen King retrospective.

So there you have it. Not too much in The Final Sacrifice to link back to the archives. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps we should simply thank the actors for their participation, and part ways.

Maybe we’ll have better luck next week with Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest.

Did we miss anyone? If you spot an actor or actress with a connection to Now Playing Podcast leave a comment and help a fellow listener!

Listen to Now Playing’s review of Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice now at NowPlayingPodcast.com

 

August 27, 2014 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Corn Connection: Thinnest threads in ‘Final Sacrifice’

Corn Connection: Terminator, Living Dead, and Garbage Day!

As Now Playing Podcast embarks on its nine-part Children of the Corn series, listeners are invited to take part in some behind-the-scenes fun; pointing the stars of the franchise toward their places in the Now Playing archives.

Stars? Actually, yes. It turns out, the cornfields are full of familiar faces. Perhaps the word “stars” is stretching it a bit, but there’s no doubt you’ll recognize some of them.

So, what about that 1984 Children of the Corn film? Which actors and actresses went on to further mention on Now Playing Podcast?

Here’s a look:

Linda Hamilton (Vicky) – The Terminator Retrospective Series

There will never be another Sarah Connor (just try it reboots!). Corn was released in theaters about seven months before The Terminator in 1984, and if it weren’t for her iconic role, it’s likely we wouldn’t be talking about Hamilton again unless Now Playing Podcast ever reviews King Kong Lives.

R.G. Armstrong (Diehl) – Predator Retrospective Series

This actor has a career dating back to the 1950s, with more than 180 credits listed on his IMDB page. But to Now Playing Podcast listeners, he’ll always be remembered as Gen. Phillips, the man who sent Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team of commandoes into the jungle, where they ended up facing the Predator.

Why did he pick Arnold? Cause some damn fool accused him of being the best!

John Franklin (Isaac) – Child’s Play Retrospective Series

Listeners will get to know John Franklin very well during the Corn series, as his turn as Isaac will likely be the role that defines his Hollywood career.

But Franklin did make an appearance in another Now Playing series; he did voice work for the first Child’s Play film. Unfortunately, that’s a series currently locked away in the Now Playing vault.

Courtney Gains (Malachai) – Halloween Retrospective Series and Back to the Future Retrospective Series

Gains is one of those 80s actors that you’ll swear you saw in 100 films. You’re probably right some of the time, the rest of the time you’re mistaking him for Stu Charno or Jason Lively.

But Gains has made a couple of appearances in films reviewed by Now Playing Podcast. He’s got an uncredited role in Rob Zombie’s Halloween and also the first Back to the Future film.

The latter will have you scratching your head, but pop in that disc (or tape?) again and take a look. You’ll see Gains in a pivotal scene. Here’s a hint: Earth Angel.

John Philbin (Amos) – The Return of the Living Dead Retrospective Series

Philbin is another actor that you’ll recognize in several roles, most notably as a member of Patrick Swayze’s gang in Point Break.

But he also played a role in The Return of the Living Dead, which is currently locked away in the Now Playing Podcast vault.

Eric Freeman (Israel, uncredited) – Silent Night, Deadly Night Retrospective Series

Wait, Eric Freeman? That Eric Freeman? Garbage Day Eric Freeman??

Yes, one of the most mocked memorable villains in the annals of Now Playing Podcast makes an uncredited appearance in the first Corn film. Sadly, he doesn’t get the chance to speak his most famous two-word line.

But you can enjoy the best/worst that Freeman offers as an actor during Now Playing’s hilarious 2012 holiday series. Enjoy Arnie’s Christmas jingles!

That does it for Children of the Corn. Did we miss anyone? If you spot an actor or actress with a connection to Now Playing Podcast leave a comment and help a fellow listener!

August 20, 2014 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Corn Connection: Terminator, Living Dead, and Garbage Day!

Make the ‘Corn Connection’ with ‘Now Playing Podcast’

Let’s be honest. None of us really expect to see row after row of green arrows once the Now Playing Podcast hosts emerge from their nine-part Children of the Corn Retrospective Series.

If it weren’t for their commitment to reviewing every movie spawned by the works of Stephen King, we wouldn’t, for example, be circling Sept. 23 on the calendar for the release of Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Revenge.

But Arnie, Stuart and Jakob are taking the plunge, and so we will join them on this epic binge of bad sequels. Only this time, we’re going to have some fun with it.

With our hosts seated in front of their microphones, those of us behind the scenes will be playing Six Degrees of Now Playing.

It’s The Corn Connection.

Every week we’ll run down the list of players from each of the nine Corn films, and direct an arrow toward their place in the Now Playing Podcast archives.

When you IMDB the casts of Hollywood horror franchises, you’ll often see familiar faces. Some are names that will soon become household (see Hellraiser: Hellworld), and some once were (Isaac’s Revenge).

So come back to the Venganza Media Gazette each week and take a trip around the Now Playing Podcast archives. And if you spot an actor or actress that’s made an appearance in another film reviewed by Now Playing, leave a comment and help a fellow listener discover what they might be missing.

We’ll start Tuesday following the release of 1984’s Children of the Corn over at the Now Playing Podcast website.

NP

How many connections can you make?

 

 

August 19, 2014 Posted by | News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Make the ‘Corn Connection’ with ‘Now Playing Podcast’