November Special – Testing 1 2 3

Whoa!  Where does the time go?  As I explain on November Special: targcastTesting 1 2 3, I’d hoped to bring the podcast back in September, but then I ran into server troubles.  But, it looks like things are back to normal…except for the fact this is the time I’d be slowing down because Christmas gets big and busy.  But I thought I’d toss one off to make sure that things do in fact work.  So, what’s in this test-cast?

  • I explain my reservations about The Force Awakens and why I’m trying to stay cautiously optimistic
  • My thoughts on the announcement of a new Star Trek series and how it’s going to be exclusive to a streaming service we’ve never heard of.
  • I share my Force Friday adventure…which I’ve already blogged about
  • Talk about the holiday blockbusters I’ve already seen
  • And various ramblings about Marvel’s Netflix plans.  (As I write this, I’ve only seen the first three episodes of Jessica Jones and it looks good, gang.)

So give a listen to November Special: Testing 1 2 3!

Download here!

And let’s see if iTunes still works!

Movie Review – The Peanuts Movie

The Peanuts MovieThe Peanuts Movie Poster

Directed By Steve Martino

Starring the voices of Noah Schnappe, Mariel Sheets, Alex Garfin, Hadley Belle Miller, Venus Omega Schultheis, Francesca Angelucci Capaldi, Bill Melendez, Kristin Chenowith, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

Backstory

I’ve always been fascinated by Charlie Brown in animation.  Who hasn’t seen A Charlie Brown Christmas at the holidays?  I remember a friend of mine had A Boy Named Charlie Brown on VHS when I was a kid, and I watched it a lot at his house.  So the thought of a 21st century, CGI Charlie Brown movie had me a little bit nervous.  Could the charm of the original Peanuts animation be retained when Charles Schutlz passed away 15 years ago?

Plot

It is winter, and things are going as they typically do for Charlie Brown.  His clever plot to finally successfully fly a kite in winter, when the Kite Eating Tree is hibernating, backfires.  But then, a new, little red-haired girl moves into the neighbourhood, and Charlie Brown is instantly smitten.  Charlie Brown then launches on a series of mis-adventures to try to get the Little Red Haired Girl’s attention.  Complicating (or easing?) matters is the fact that Charlie Brown just got a perfect score on the standardized tests, making him a school celebrity.  Meanwhile, Snoopy has his vivid fantasies as a World War I flying ace.  Will Charlie Brown finally catch the eye of the Little Red Haired Girl?  Will Snoopy finally shoot down the Red Baron?

What I Liked

Holy crap.  This is incredibly faithful to the original comic strips.  It would have been far too easy to make it a gritty origin story and answer how Charlie Brown and Snoopy first met or why Charlie Brown is bald, but no.  This is just like opening up the Sunday comics and reading Charlie Brown.   The characters are exactly like we know them.  And, as always, Snoopy’s fantasies are a remarkable diversion.

What  I Didn’t Like

Well, as I feared when I first saw the trailers, the pop songs seems a little out of place.  And, because it is so faithful, things do get a tad predictable.

Final Verdict

This movie made me cry.  It’s just such a perfect Charlie Brown film.

4 Nibs

Movie Review – Spectre

SpectreSpectre Poster

Directed by Sam Mendes

Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, and Andrew Scott

Backstory

Yay!  Time for a new James Bond movie.  I geeked out hard at the end of Skyfall.  It felt like the reboot they started on this Daniel Craig run was complete.  We had a new M, Q and Moneypenny were finally back…all the pieces were in place.  And then, when they announced the title as Spectre, the geeking out went into overdrive.  James Bond’s arch-enemy — the international terrorist organization known as SPECTRE, led by Ernst Blofeld — is finally back!  While I have enjoyed the Daniel Craig run, I was starting to look forward to some of the more classical elements of Bond to return.   Would Spectre provide that payoff?

Plot

We catch up with 007 where it appears that he’s gone rogue in Mexico, tracking down an assassin.  When he accidentally destroys a city block, he’s placed on leave.  Bond then reveals to Moneypenny that he was on a mission given to him by the previous M’s dying words, and his rogue investigation is starting to uncover a terrorist organization known as SPECTRE…an organization that may have been responsible for all the acts of the previous Bond films.  As Bond continues peeling back the layers of SPECTRE, he’s soon confronted with many ghosts from his past.  Who is in charge of SPECTRE?  And why do they have it in for 007?

What I Liked

Again, so many of the classic Bond elements are being reintroduced.  We get gadgets!  We get a gadget-laden car!  The villain has an honest-to-goodness lair!  And, for once, the Daniel Craig Bond is allowed to ride off into the sunset with the Bond girl!  And speaking of, there is a lighter tone to this, as Bond is able to crack a smile now and then, and there’s some much needed levity re-injected into the proceedings.   This is starting to feel more like classic Bond.

What I Didn’t Like

Well, given the dour seriousness of the previous Craig outings, the classic Bond elements do seem a tad out of place.  There is one moment, while hilarious, does make Bond out to be a tad psychotic.  They also add some new wrinkles to the mythology of SPECTRE and Blofeld that seem a touch pointless.  In our new world of cinematic universes and continuity, trying to link it all with the previous Craig films is a touch forced.  And, in all honesty, I’m not a fan of the Sam Smith theme song.

Final Verdict

While Skyfall is still truly the best of the Bond run, I enjoyed this.  It’s still not the Bond of yore, but it’s closer to it than it’s been for a long time.

3 Nibs.