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Movie Trailer Reviews
59 minutes | a month ago
TV Review: Lovecraft Country Season 1 Episode 8 - 10 Review
Kriss, Ro and Brandon are back to review and discuss the last three episodes of Lovecraft Country: Jig-a-Bobo Rewind 1921 Full Circle There’s a lot to discuss with not just these three episodes but the whole series. The first thing though is that HBO did a great job of giving Misha Green the space to tell this story (and make the appropriate adjustments for the show compared to Matt Ruff’s novel). It’s not just important that a Black woman got to tell this story but it also shows the benefits of giving creators the space and room to tell the full story. The final episode being called “Full Circle” is appropriate for how it pulls in a lot of elements from the previous episodes as well as themes to connect everything. To those paying attention, those threads were always there but sometimes audiences need to see the finished product to really put it all together. Lovecraft is definitely a show that could benefit from a second (or more) viewing to catch even more hints at how things will come together. There’s also a needed conversation about the generational pain and trauma that is passed down through Black families. Atticus and Montrose’s complex relationship becomes more clear and understandable at the end of this series. The series doesn’t make excuses for it but focuses more on how to break the cycle so the next generation is allowed to live without those burdens. Make sure you subscribe to Movie Trailer Reviews on iTunes, Spotify and your favorite podcast app to listen as Ro, Kriss and Brandon discuss these three episodes and the entire series. Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don’t miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork Our shirts are now on TeePublic. https://teepublic.com/stores/mtr-network Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
26 minutes | a month ago
The Columnist Review
Culture columnist Femke Boot (Katja Herbers) is used to getting negative comments online. She’s always believed it should be possible to be nice about having different opinions. But the backlash to a recent article taking a stance against ‘Black Pete’ challenges her belief in people’s decency. When the internet trolls turn vicious and Femke realizes one of her neighbors is among them. The realization proves too much and Femke snaps and pushes her neighbor to his death. What starts as a drama about the boldness of keyboard warriors and the loss of civility in debate and discourse swiftly shifts into a all out horror movie. Because Femke decides its time to get back at her harassers – and use the adrenaline rush to break through her writers block – face to face. Both Kriss and Ro found The Columnist to be a Fantasia Fest highlight. It’s unexpected twists, solidly disturbing performances and highly relevant (and relatable villain) subject matter. It dip it’s toe into plot-driven social commentary without ever losing the drive and entertainment value. Listen as they discuss this festival favorite. The Columnist is currently streaming at the Chicago International Film Festival until October 25th. Tickets are $12.00. Directed by Ivo van Aart | Country The Netherlands | Runtime: 83 minutes Follow more of our Film Festival Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @TheMTRNetwork
15 minutes | a month ago
The Witches Movie Review
There are certain movies that automatically make the Halloween marathon, or at least they should. For years, cult classic The Witches, based on Rolad Dahl’s book by the same name, starring Anjelica Huston has landed somewhere on that list between Hocus Pocus and Nightmare on Elm Street. Now, HBO hopes you add the Anne Hathaway-led remaking directed by Robert Zemeckis to that watch list. This film – still geared towards children (allegedly) – offers a few unsettling chills and plenty of campiness wrapped in sly humor. Leaning into Dahl’s The Witches It’s 1967, a young boy (Jahzir Bruno) and his Grandma (Octavia Spencer) find themselves trapped in a hotel during a convention of witches plotting to bespell the world’s children turning them into mice. The duo – along with some unlikely accomplices – must outwit the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway) and thwart her master plan. Viewing audiences grew up with the child-friendly version this story (this is a lie, Huston’s coven of witches scared the bejeezus out of plenty). It’s a wicked adventure of a boy left unexpectedly orphaned – who’s then attacked by a wicked witch – learning to persevere. For the most part, the main plot points remain unchanged. And while Zemeckis tries to (re)capture the darker undertone of Dahl’s forty-year-old tale, the Kenya Barris and Guillermo del Toro crafted script updates time, place, and the ethnic origins of several main characters along with reworking certain key story elements. (L-r)OCTAVIA SPENCER as Grandma, JAHZIR BRUNO as Hero Boy, and STANLEY TUCCI as Mr. Stringer in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “THE WITCHES,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photograph by Daniel Smith The costumes are stellar, the cast and location (Alabama) add just the right touch of macabre, and the practical effects and CGI work together to create the right edgy if uptight notes. So, the really question is will it appeal to today’s audience? Listen as Ro gives a quick breakdown of The Witches and how she thinks it stacks up against the source material and 1990 Roeg adaptation. The Witches premieres on HBOMax October 22, 2020 Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don’t miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork Our shirts are now on TeePublic. https://teepublic.com/stores/mtr-network Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
34 minutes | a month ago
SDIFF: Interview with Rick Korn
Director Rick Korn took some time to sit down with the MTR Network and discuss his latest documentary Harry Chapin: When in Doubt Do Something. Singer/songwriter and philanthropist Harry Chapin’s best known in music circles for his number one single Cat’s in the Cradle. But, Harry Chapin, the man, threw his entire self – and his career – in to being an citizen activist. He wanted to end poverty and hunger in the world; he was willing to dedicate his platform, time and energy wholly to the cause. Watch the Full Interview: https://youtu.be/Wzv2AKPvk3Y Rick Korn is a film/TV producer, writer, and director who works with different non-profit organizations – including WHYHunger, co-founded by Harry Chapin, – producing fundraising concerts. He’s last documentary focused on the rescue and recovery 9/11 workers. During its production, Korn interviewed Chapin’s former partner, Bill Ayres. His casual query of Ayers wondering why no one’s ever made a documentary about Harry elicited the response, “Why don’t you do it?” Korn discusses bringing this story to life, his person connection to Harry Chapin and what he how he hopes learning more about Chapin and the activism Chapin dedicated his life to will motivate others to stop doubting, and do something. What Would Harry Chapin Be Doing? Taking up Harry’s mission, like many before him, director Rick Korn and his partners are throwing a free docu-concert to encourage people to get out and vote. TONIGHT, Tuesday, October 20, 2020 DO SOMETHING AND VOTE | BENEFIT CONCERT DOCUMENTARY Featuring commentary from: Harry Chapin, John Lewis (final words as read by Morgan Freeman), Jon Stewart and John Feal, Onondaga Indian Chief Oren Lyons, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Greta Thunberg And performances from: Alabama Shakes, Black Puma’s, Head and the Heart, Keb Mo, Bruce Springsteen, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Raye Zaragoza, and Harry Chapin Available Free LiveXLive at 8:00 PM ET | Tune in HERE The docu-concert benefits over 25 charities including WhyHunger, LI Cares, Sandy Hook Promise, Fealgood Foundation, and Michelle Obama’s When We all Vote. To donate to any of the charities and get voting information, visit https://bit.ly/cauzedosomething. All donations will be matched. Follow more of our Film Festival Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @TheMTRNetwork
33 minutes | 2 months ago
TIFF 2020: Concrete Cowboy
Idris Elba as a cowboy? I mean who wouldn’t be sold? Overall, Concrete Cowboy is a solid film based on the real life Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club in Philadelphia. It’s a mix of fictionalizing the club with a (sometimes stereotypical) story of a young teen reconnecting with his father. Caleb McLaughlin plays Cole, a troubled teen that is sent by his mother to live with his father Harp (Idris Elba), in a last ditch effort to get Cole to turn his life around. Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF Concrete Cowboy is one of those films that is solid but could have been so much more if given to directors and writers with a bit more lived experience with the subject. There are times where it feels that this film tries to handle more complex issues and the script just wasn’t equipped for that. Where this film works is when it focus on the story of Fletcher Street and the riding community. This film uses actual members of the community in some of the roles and they such a good job that it might not be until the end of the film when they do a montage of some of them and their real names that you realize they weren’t actors at all. It works because Concrete Cowboy leans on seasoned actors like Elba, McLaughlin, Lorraine Toussaint and Method Man to help flesh out the story. Yes you read that right. Method Man is quietly rises in my rankings of rappers turned actors. What’s actually impressed me about Clifford Smith (gotta use his government for this one) is the roles he’s taking. We know he can do the silly and ridiculous (The How High films are still hilarious). But we’re seeing him in more roles like the one he plays in Concrete Cowboy where he’s taking a more serious and balanced role. I’m here for it. He’s clearly good at it and he has the range. Unfortunately, Concrete Cowboy doesn’t stick to what it’s good at. The film decides to go the route of Cole being “pulled back in” by a friend, played by Jharrel Jerome, in the neighborhood. A lot of time is wasted on this storyline that could have been better served really going into more details about the neighborhood, the history of Fletcher Street, urban cowboys and more. Instead it feels that we get just parts of these stories and not the whole picture. It also takes the audience away from its strong suit (the actors and chemistry). While we do get enough of the turmoil between Harp and Cole, there could have been more. We also only get hints of the relationship/friendship between Harp and Leroy (Method Man) and Lorraine Toussaint is criminally under used. Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF All in all, Concrete Cowboy is worth checking out but it will leave audiences feeling a bit empty and wanting more. Now if that feeling of wanting more leads to more people looking up and supporting the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club then it still ends up being a net positive. Follow more of our Toronto Film Festival 2020 Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork
29 minutes | 2 months ago
TIFF 2020: Violation Review
Rape revenge movies can be hard to review and after watching Violation during the Toronto Film Festival, I’m still not sure if it’s a good movie or not. The problem with reviewing rape revenge movies is that that there are two ways to look at them. On one hand, you can treat them just like every movie and grade them one acting, coherent plot, the way they’re shot, etc. The other way to review them is to grade them on a curve based on how good the revenge is. If you’re lucky, the movie will both be traditional good, with a fairly deserving dish of revenge being served. Unfortunately for Violation, I’m less sold on it as a good movie than I am on giving it a pass for the way the revenge was enacted. Without spoiling I’ll just say, this is why you never eat Karen’s homemade ice cream at the company pot luck. Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF The first 40 minutes of this movie works. Madeleine Sims-Fewer plays Miriam, a woman that is a trying to reconcile with her sister (Anna Maguire) on a weekend retreat with their significant others, who is raped by her sister’s husband Dylan (Jessee LaVercombe). Violation tells the story of Miriam not only getting revenge one Dylan but also how she was gaslit by both Dylan and Greta after revealing to Greta that she was raped. This is where Violation succeeds. The way this film handles rape and the subsequent shaming and gaslighting of victims is one of the more realistic depictions in a film. Rape typically isn’t the “stranger danger” kind but rather a true violation by someone the victim trusts. Follow that up with the immediate shift in blame by the abuser and the betrayal of family and Violation can hit really close to home. Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF Unfortunately, this film can’t stick to where it’s good at. Where Violation goes wrong is its non-linear, barely coherent story. This pains me to say this because I love a non-linear story. It’s clear that Dusty Mancinelli and Sims-Fewer (who also co-directed the film) got a bit in-over-their-heads with their first feature length film. While I love a non-linear story, the key to making them work is making sure the audience is aware of anchor points in the story so they know where in the timeline they are. on top of that, Violation jumps between time points almost too frequently to let key scenes sink in for the audience. This is the real tragedy of this film since its theme of not only rape but gaslighting is done really well, yet the audience doesn’t get a chance to digest some very important moments because the film hops to the next scene in a different point in time. Violation is a film that should have been better and more. It’s worth checking out for the revenge sequence but when it’s all said and done, you’ll just wish there was a bit more focus to make it a complete film. Follow more of our Toronto Film Festival 2020 Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork
60 minutes | 2 months ago
Interview With: Perry Yung from Cinemax Original Warrior
I had the opportunity to speak with actor Perry Yung – who plays Father Jun leader of the Hop Wei Tong in Cinemax Original Warrior. We discussed how he found his way starring on television after years away, what Warrior brings to television, how he works around trope to seize opportunities to subvert stereotypes, and his thoughts on representation in the age of 44. Who is Perry Yung? Perry Yung is an American actor and musician from Oakland, CA. He plays Father Jun in Cinemax’s Warrior, produced by Justin Lin, Shannon Lee (Bruce Lee’s daughter) and Jonathan Tropper (Banshee show creator). Yung was fan favorite Ping Wu on Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick and has guest starred on shows like, Gotham and The Blacklist. You may also recognize him as the Doctor in John Wick: Chapter 2. Warrior, the Western… Based on the writings of Bruce Lee and brought to life by his daughter Shannon Lee, Warrior sits at the intersection of costume drama and spaghetti western. Only this fights involve bladed weapons and master martial artists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTfLx35b2Sw&ab_channel=FilmIsNowActionMovieTrailers Show Premise: Warrior takes place in the latter half of the 19th century during brutal gang wars in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The show premiered on April 5, 2019 and follows martial arts prodigy Ah Sahm, a Chinese immigrant who arrives in the City of Lights under mysterious circumstances. Once he proves his prowess as a fighter, Sahm is sold as a fighter to one of Chinatown’s most powerful organized crime families. He came searching for his sister and ends up embroiled in a bloody turf wars between the gangs and struggle to survive amidst the rising anti-Chinese racism and societal/political upheaval in the city. Cinemax Original, Warrior, returns with a second ten episode season of its high action crime drama set in 19 century San Francisco during the Tong Wars. And Father Jun once again tries to ensure his tong survives regardless the obstacle. If this show isn’t on your Fall watchlist you’re missing out because it’s brutal, full of intrigue, and high drama. The action is kinetic. The plot multilayered. And the show as beautiful as it is bloody. Warrior Season Two begins Friday, October 2 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on Cinemax https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_wSj_1fWtY&t=3s&ab_channel=Cinemax Warrior Stars: Andrew Koji Kieran Bew, Olivia Cheng, Dianne Doan, Dean Jagger, Langley Kirkwood, Hoon Lee, Christian McKay, Joe Taslim (“A Night Comes For Us”), Jason Tobin (“Fast & Furious 9”), Joanna Vanderham (“Eddie & Sunny”), Tom Weston-Jones and Perry Yung. New season two series regulars include Celine Buckens, Dustin Nguyen, Chen Tang, Miranda Raison and recurring series regular Maria Elena Laas. The series will also be available on demand and on MaxGo.com. Warrior was created by and is executive produced by Jonathan Tropper (Cinemax ‘s Banshee) under Tropper Ink Productions, executive produced by Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond and Fast & Furious 9) for Perfect Storm Entertainment and executive produced by Shannon Lee for Bruce Lee Entertainment. Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don’t miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork Our shirts are now on TeePublic. https://teepublic.com/stores/mtr-network Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
65 minutes | 2 months ago
TV Review: Lovecraft Country Episodes 5 - 7
Kriss, Ro and Brandon are back to review episodes 5 to 7 of Lovecraft Country. Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don’t miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork Our shirts are now on TeePublic. https://teepublic.com/stores/mtr-network Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
40 minutes | 2 months ago
TIFF 2020 Review: Pieces of a Woman
The first 25 minutes of Pieces of a Woman should be enough to tell you that you’re not prepared for the emotional toll of this movie. It should absolutely come with a trigger warning but at the same time is a must watch. At first this film seems like it’s about loss and grieving after Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) lose their child after a difficult home birth. However, what director Kornél Mundruczó and writer Kata Wéber really do is tell the story of how society dictates to women how they should feel and behave. This film really exposes how selfish people can be even when it appears (even to themselves) that they’re being selfless. Losing a child is a tragic, heartbreaking experience for parents. But only one of those parents carried the baby inside their own body and that’s the reality we have to life with. A woman who loses a child should be able to grieve (or not) how they want and shouldn’t have to shoulder the emotional baggage of everyone else’s grief and expectations. Pieces of a Woman works because of the two leads in the film, Shia LaBeouf and Vanessa Kirby. As I said in my capsule review, I want someone to give Shia LeBeouf a hug. I’m worried about him. Although maybe I shouldn’t because he’s come such a long way. From screaming “OPTIMUS!!!!” every 2 seconds in those terrible Michael Bay Transformers films to that weird stretch as a battle rapper, he’s had some rough patches. But with Honey Boy, The Peanut Butter Falcon and now Pieces of a Woman, he’s put together not only the 3 best performances of his career, but three roles that at least put him in the conversation during Oscar season. We can make all the jokes we want but LeBeouf has more than proven that he’s a damn good actor. To be honest, part of my concern for his well being comes from the fact that he plays these roles so damn well, I start to question if he’s even acting. When it’s hard to discern where the fictional character begins and where the real person is, particularly when its different roles with their own unique traits and quirks, then it’s safe to say, that’s some damn fine acting. But the real star of Pieces of a Woman is Vanessa Kirby. LeBeouf puts in a great performance but this is Kirby’s movie. Whatever your feelings about Pieces of a Woman are, the one thing that should be agreed upon is that Vanessa Kirby is absolutely fantastic in this film. If you weren’t a fan of Kirby before, you should leave this film as one. I’ve seen some reviews that suggest that Kirby didn’t really connect because at times she felt too stoic and emotionally detached. The irony of that is how meta that critique is. Martha spends most of the film having to defend herself from her mother and husband who think she’s not showing enough emotion after what happened and therefore must need their help or that something is wrong with her. To complain that Kirby isn’t showing enough (or the correct emotional reaction) as Martha really does miss the whole point the film is trying to make. Pieces of a Woman was one of my favorites of TIFF 2020, coming in second to One Night In Miami. It’s a film that will definitely generate more conversations as more people see it. Netflix picked this up to distribute which makes sense. This film fits well in the conversation like Marriage Story did and is definitely worth checking out. Follow more of our Toronto Film Festival 2020 Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork
47 minutes | 2 months ago
TIFF 2020 Review: Nomadland
If there was any doubt if Marvel’s The Eternals was in good hands with Chloé Zhao at the helm then Nomadland should be all the evidence you need. Nomadland is a slow burn, but the journey it takes the audience is worth it. This is a gorgeous, well-acted film but it might actually be too subtle with some of the themes for the average viewer. The film follows Fern (Frances McDormand), a widow who has settled into a nomad lifestyle living out of her van as she follows seasonal work throughout the midwest. McDormand plays Fern in typical McDormand fashion and it works extremely well here. Not only is Fern dealing (or rather not dealing) with the loss of her husband but also the loss of her entire way of living. When the factory in her town went out of business, so did the town (even losing its zip code). Fern has all that remains of her life left in a storage unit and her utility van that she lives out of as she travels from seasonal job to seasonal job. McDormand really captures Fern’s internal struggles as someone who can’t completely let go of her past but also doesn’t want to ask for help or seem dependent on others (even her remaining family). Image credit: 01 Courtesy of TIFF This film also explores several reasons why so many live the nomad life. This film does a good job of telling those stories or rather, making the audience aware of these through the other people Fern interacts with. It really comes down to some people choosing the life while other are forced. Some have sold everything they own and decide to live on their own terms. Others are forced into this life due to their economic situation. And that distinction between choice and being forced are where some of my issues with the film surface. There are times when I wish this film hit a bit harder. Sometimes it feels as though when Nomadland peels back the layers on what happens with these forgotten towns in America, it doesn’t completely go down the path. Nevertheless this is a solid, well-made film. It’s no real fault of the film that I wanted more from it, if anything it’s a sign that it did it’s job. While fiction, there’s a lot of truth and reality in it and if at the end it made me want more and ask more questions, then it’s done its job as a film. Follow more of our Toronto Film Festival 2020 Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork
35 minutes | 2 months ago
TIFF 2020 Review: One Night in Miami
Is there anything that Regina King can’t do? She’s been a versatile actress for 35 years that has always impressed. I could have a heated argument with myself over what my favorite Regina King role is (Her role as Detective Lydia Adams on the criminally underrated Southland is always going to be up there). It’s nice to see her finally get her due. On top of her acting she’s also apparently a vampire that hasn’t aged at all. Her and Paul Rudd drink from the same fountain of youth. So when I saw she was trying her hand at directing a feature length film, I had no doubt that she could pull it off and was not disappointed with the result. For a directorial debut, One Night in Miami is pretty ambitious project. Adapting a play into a movie is always a bit difficult and doing it for your first feature film is even harder. But King along with writer Kemp Powers really pull this film together and make it very engaging. One Night in Miami is the fictionalized tale of the convergence of four black icons in Miami in the height of the civil rights movement. The film has Malcom X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Cassius Clay(Eli Goree), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) meeting up right after Clay won the heavyweight championship. Each man is facing a crossroad in their career and how they reconcile their career with the civil rights fight for rights Black people (and themselves) are facing. While this fictionalized “meeting of the minds) didn’t happen, it’s also not too far fetched to think that each of these men had similar conversations (albeit maybe not with each other) with others at some point. Anytime there is a film based on a play, a key part in the success is the acting and One Night in Miami is no exception. As I mentioned in my early capsule review, Aldis Hodge is criminally underrated. He’s racked up a series of roles recently that really make me hope that he gets the really big role next. Leslie Odom Jr is another one of these supremely talented Black actors instantly commands the screen whenever he appears. It's funny. Leslie Odom Jr is one of those actors that everyone recognizes and seems to be in everything, yet still seems like he's not given enough roles. Part of that could be that any time he's on screen is never enough and you just want more. Honestly, One Night In Miami could be the jumping off point for a Sam Cooke bio film with Leslie Odom Jr as Cooke and I wouldn't be mad at all. What really makes this film work though are the two actors playing Malcom X and Cassius Clay. King uses the talent of Odom Jr and Hodge to give support to Kingsley Ben-Adir and Eli Goree who are less well known yet knock out the roles of Malcolm X and Cassius Clay with ease. There are several times when Goree goes on one of those infamous Muhammad Ali ad libs and you'll find yourself hitting rewind because it sounds so much like Ali. Ben-Adir also is fantastic as Malcolm X. He presents a more vulnerable and measured character than I think most people would associate with their idea of Malcolm X but feels natural. All together this cast makes this film not only insightful but relevant to today. The conversations between this men, while fiction, feels like the conversations they would have had and directly represent some of the conversations we have today about the movement and fight for Black lives and rights. King does a great job of depicting the various opinions of these men as all valid and doesn't necessarily take a side. In today's world where there's so much infighting and debate on the "right way" to fight for rights, I think it is important that One Night in Miami takes the stance that everyone might not agree on the exact method but the sum of the parts is what matters. Amazon Studios picked up One Night in Miami so it should be hitting the screens soon (just in time for award season). When it does, audiences shouldn’t hesitate to give this film a watch. They won’t be disappointed.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
Movie Review: Train to Busan Presents Peninsula
Anyone who saw Train to Busan in 2016 (or any time after), was very excited to hear about a sequel to that film. The first film not only had zombies that made the fast zombies from Dawn of the Dead seem like amateurs but there was also a tight, emotional story about survival wrapped in the action. Unfortunately the sequel, Peninsula, leans more into being about action and CGI than being a more grounded, emotional story. There is definitely an entertaining film here. The zombies are just as terrifying as they were in the original. Feral, contortionist, fast zombies are a fear of everyone and Peninsula doesn't disappoint in that aspect. There's a scene on a boat where an infected is discovered and it's creepy and brutal and terrifying. Had Peninsula kept with that setting, it would probably have rivaled Train to Busan. Unfortunately that was not the decision made. Where Peninsula comes up short is the story. This film takes place four years after the first film and sets up the Korean peninsula as being completely isolated from the rest of the world. Apparently the rest of the world was able to contain the virus/infection while leaving South Korea (particularly Busan) completely abandoned to the infected. A compelling story might have really focused on those left behind to survive for 4 years against the zombie hordes, but instead this film focuses on Jung Seok sneaking back into Busan with his brother-in-law in order to smuggle a truck loaded with cash back out for some seedy individuals. The film tries to reconcile this plot with a lukewarm explanation about how Korean survivors of the outbreak living in Hong Kong are treated as second class citizens and that Jung Seok and his brother are desperate to find a way to get out of their current situation. What follows is then a mash up of several other movies from Tokyo Drift to Mad Max to any number of dystopian zombie movies. There's a young girl who probably should be in the next Fast and Furious movie who drifts around corners and runs over zombies (because apparently Toyotos are built to run over zombies with no actual damage to the car). There's also a cadre of ex-military (I think they're ex-military) soldiers that were left behind who now hunt down survivors and pit them against zombies. It's all just convoluted and honestly doesn't feel like Train to Busan at all. No one can deny that Train to Busan Presents Peninsula is entertaining. It's just a bit disappointing if you were expecting the same quality and impact as Train to Busan. This sequel is sadly easily forgettable. Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don't miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork Our shirts are now on TeePublic. https://teepublic.com/stores/mtr-network Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
26 minutes | 3 months ago
Movie Review: Sputnik
If you’re looking for a ground breaking alien creature-feature, Sputnik may leave you a bit disappointed. However, if you’re looking for a film that puts a unique spin on the typical “astronaut brings some alien life form home with them” trope, then Sputnik will be right up your alley. One of the problems with a typical alien creature feature is that they all follow pretty much the same themes. Sputnik takes a slightly different path and straddles the line between trying to contain a deadly alien creature and determining the line between man/alien. By doing that, it differentiates itself enough from other films and makes Sputnik a highly effective film. One of the key elements of a good creature feature film is obviously, the creature. An effective creature can turn a typically mediocre film that could easily be forgotten into a memorable one. Sputnik starts off a bit slow bu that makes The first time the creature appears even more jolting. The more that’s revealed about the creature (what it eats and how it comes out of astronaut Konstantin Veshnyakov are only made more intriguing by the questions that aren’t answered (Is it a parasite or some other symbiotic creature, can it be controlled, etc). Borrowing from The Thing, Sputnik leans heavily into using the personalities of the human characters to drive the conflict. The "who is really more of a monster?" trope has been done plenty of times before so again, this isn't ground breaking. That said, the film does a great job developing Oksana Akinshina's Tatyana and contrasting her character against the men she's having to deal with. Overall Sputnik is a Sci-Fi horror film worth checking out. The creature alone is enough to give you nightmares and the performances also help keep the audience engaged. Watch Sputnik now on Amazon Prime. Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don't miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork Our shirts are now on TeePublic. https://teepublic.com/stores/mtr-network Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
81 minutes | 3 months ago
TV Review: Lovecraft Country Ep 2 - 4 Review
Kriss, Ro and Brandon are back to discuss the last 3 episodes of Lovecraft Country (Whitey's on the Moon, Holy Ghost, A History of Violence). This show continues to impress and is also a perfect example of what (good) happens when Black people (particularly Black women) are allowed to tell stories involving Black people from our lens. Honestly, the best parts of Lovecraft Country have been the parts that lean on the horror and harassment Black people face more than the traditional fantastical horror elements. This once again proves that the horror Black people face is terrifying. Lovecraft Country is also doing a great job of (sadly) showing how evergreen racism is in this country. You can't watch Leti get taken on a "rough ride" in the back of that police car in Holy Ghost and not think of Freddie Gray. The fact that the cops only showed up after Leti got fed up with the harassment and decided to lash back out reminds us of the way cops only show up when Black people are fed up and in many cases were part of the original harassment. Watching the cops drive past the mob of angry white people and not do anything is right up there with police in riot gear fist bumping white militiamen and vigilantes at Black Lives Matter protests. Even the more subtile things hit hard. Ruby rejecting the notion that she could still apply for the job at the department store because there's no way they'd hire two Black women, much less a Black woman with a larger figure is still something Black people feel. We constantly feel like we're in competition with each other because of how few opportunities we're given. It's not only surreal but infuriating to see how little things have changed. Out of the last three episodes, Holy Ghost is the strongest. This is due to the focus and story revolving around Leti. Jurnee Smollett is putting in one fantastic performance through the whole series, but particularly with this episode. There was something cathartic about seeing Leti take a baseball bat to those racist white people's cars then later on seeing the three racist white dudes meet their end in the haunted house. Between all that and her literally leaning on the power of the ancestors to cleanse the house of evil, this was a powerful episode. Listen as we discuss these three episodes. We talk about: How each of the three main characters (Atticus, Leti and Montrose) have their own demons to face The use of color and music to really make Black people pop on the screen Reckless vs Impulsive aka Atticus vs Leti Following the story through the eyes of the female characters and more Oh and Ro & Brandon hint at the fact that no one is prepared for episode 5. So strap in. Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don't miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork Our shirts are now on TeePublic. https://teepublic.com/stores/mtr-network Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
31 minutes | 3 months ago
The Mortuary Collection
The Mortuary Collection, a 2020 Fantasia Festival Official Collection, is an horror anthology collection available in the on-demand library. Written and directed by Ryan Spindell, this anthology offers four twisted tales of the dead. Between the striking cinematography leveling up the visuals and the meta storytelling it's one not to miss. Spindell's love letter to the past is a cohesive narrative that sets the stage (hopefully) for more. Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown) caretaker and mortician at Raven’s End Mortuary, knows the histories of the dead. Their stories fill the countless books on Dark's shelves. When a woman shows to answers his help wanted add she challenges him to share macabre stories so she "knows what she's getting into." Caitlin Custer as Sam in The Mortuary Collection Ro said it after finishing and stands by, The Mortuary Collection is a brilliant blend of all the best elements from 70s/80s horror comics/movies, & pulp fiction. It's lush, goulish, and delightfully twisted anthology. If you like the Creep Show or Tales From the Crypt then this one's definitely for you. It entertains, disturbs, and is at turns, flat out creepy. Ro and Kriss dug all four stories and the wraparound narrative that make up the mixtape that is The Mortuary Collection. Listen in as they dig into this Fantasia Film Festival Official Selection. Follow more of our Film Festival Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @TheMTRNetwork
60 minutes | 3 months ago
Clapboard Jungle: Surviving the Independent Film Business Life as a creative in a world not suited to supporting art in the mainstream is a struggle. It takes more than having a dream. You've got to be ready to hustle. That hustle requires skill, multi-tasking, business savvy, and luck. When it come to being an independent filmmaker, the grind has unique challenges. In Clapboard Jungle: Surviving the Independent Film Business, screening on-demand during Fantasia Film Festival 2020 filmmaker Justin McConnell shares his struggle to take his film projects to the next stage. The goal? Secure enough funding to bring them to the screen. But, Clapboard is far more than just a snap shot of the hustle. This documentary follows McConnell as he learns to navigate the production side of the film festival circuit all while writing, directing and working gigs to keep the lights on. McConnell, bookends his journey between interviews with others in the film industry in ways that highlight that his struggles aren't new or likely to end for anyone looking to climb that ladder. Stories from Insiders Clapboard broadens the conversation and shifts the energy from just being a personal diary to a real behinds-the-scenes look at what trying to get in the room (literally) where the deals happen is like. The sheer number of people including George A. Romero, Larry Cohen, Paul Schrader, Justin Benson, Larry Fassenden, Barbara Crampton and Guillermo del Toro sharing advice and giving the honesty is on its own impressive. Listen as Kriss and Ro discuss exactly how invested they became in McConnell's years-long journey and the highs and lows of grinding indie film style. The utter tenacity of it all is kind of incredible to witness. We felt stressed watching McConnell repeatedly tested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlJ9M_H0rGU Follow more of our Film Festival Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @TheMTRNetwork
23 minutes | 3 months ago
ABFF Interview: Director Lanre Olabisi
A Storybook Ending turns the question, "what would you do if you realized the person you just killed while defending yourself was in fact a cop" into a timely dark farce. In 18 minutes, writer/director Lanre Olabisi creates a dynamic and layered neo-noir plot that's an excellent balance between the real and the ridiculous. Starring Rotimi Paul (The First Purge), Carra Patterson (Straight Outta Compton), Sawandi Wilson (Isn’t It Romantic) and Toni Ann DeNoble (Manifest) this dark comedy tackles a blend of timely issues in the most unlikely setting and circumstances. A Storybook Ending is a comedy of errors that digs in to marital imbalance, greed, and the fear underlying it all, a fear of the police. A Storybook Ending screened on August 21st in the HBO Short Film Competition during the 2020 American Black Film Festival. It's one of only five shorts in the prestigious short film competition. Ro sat down with Lanre to discuss his short film, the inspiration behind the story and how the comedy is a perfect gateway into confronting the issues lurking beneath the laughs. Follow more of our Film Festival Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @TheMTRNetwork
27 minutes | 3 months ago
Nikola Tesla is one of the most influential and yet obscure inventors in modern history. A lot of the technology that we enjoy today can be traced back to his ideas, patents and inventions. Yet most people still don't know much about the man. Unfortunately, Michael Almereyda's Tesla isn't going to do much to expand people's understanding of the man. Tesla is frustrating 102 minutes. This is a film that suffers from an identity crisis due to Almereyda's uncertainty of the film he was trying to make. Was this film supposed to delve more into who Nikola Tesla was and give a historical background? Was it supposed to focus on his historical achievements and why they were so important? Was it supposed to tie Tesla's inventions and genius with today's technology? Amazingly, the film sticks its toe in each of those things yet does nothing to make them compelling or interesting. Ethan Hawke is not a bad actor but was not the right choice for Tesla. While Tesla might have been a bit awkward, he was still a presence that attracted people to him. Hawke's portrayal is void of any real emotion or charm or charisma. Eve Hewson does what she can but the script does her and her character (Anne Morgan) no justice. Tesla essentially turns Morgan into an inconsequential character whose sole purpose is to be a sometimes narrator for the story and a way to introduce Tesla to more powerful men. Tesla is a wasted opportunity. At least with Nikola Tesla, his inventions and impact on the world will be remembered. The same cannot be said for this film Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don't miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork Our shirts are now on TeePublic. https://teepublic.com/stores/mtr-network Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
49 minutes | 3 months ago
Words on Bathroom Walls Review
Words on Bathroom Walls is the latest contemporary romance adapted to film. The novel by the same name by Julia Walton release in 2018. It was wildly popular and viewed as an emotional look into living with an mental illness by some and an unnecessarily biting commentary on the Catholic Church by others. But overall, Words was well received and stuck a chord with many readers. It's not completely surprising to see it made into a feature length film. Official Synopsis: Diagnosed with a mental illness halfway through his senior year of high school, a witty, introspective teen struggles to keep it a secret while falling in love with a brilliant classmate who inspires him to not be defined by his condition. Words stars Charlie Plummer, Taylor Russell, Andy Garcia, AnnaSophia Robb, Beth Grant, Walton Goggins, Molly Parker, Devin Bostic, Lobo Sebastian. Since this film adaptation from Roadside Attractions hits theaters (yes, you read that correctly) August 21, 2020. It felt like a good time to sit down and discuss how a story initially told through journal entries translates onto the big screen. Ro's joined by Shanna (co-host of the Supergirl recaps) for a dive into of how the film handles the book's themes, its casting and what we really think works (plot and visuals) about Words on Bathroom Walls; with a few tangents along the way. DIRECTOR Thor Freudenthal SCRIPT BY Nick Naveda based on Julia Walton’s novel of the same name Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don't miss an episode! Follow Ro on Twitter: @BookBlerd @TheMTRNetwork
33 minutes | 3 months ago
Bentonville Film Festival Movie Review: Black Boys
Black Boys is Humanization in Context Black Boys focuses on Black young boys and men in America. It' explores how they're dehumanized as a group. It unravels the ways in which society deliberately limited and then blamed for failing to excel. “As much as we try to hold on to our humanity, you realize you live in a world where your humanity is constantly being challenged and constantly being questioned.” - Tyrone Howard It's a timely and necessary documentary that does more than simply help people see beyond their own experience to that of others living in the same society. Director Sonia Lowman centers real people and real struggles in ways that bring the humanity of Black boys into sharp and inescapable focus. The documentary's savvy in it's approach. Breaking the discussion up into sub-sections. This allows for a focused discussion that feeds into the greater whole in ways that inform and capture the humanity of the people sharing their stories and lives. Black Boys is a reminder that these young boys and men are more than the sum of their physical parts. Listen as Kriss and Ro discuss this 2020 Bentonville Official Selection and how the documentary poignantly demonstrates the importance of changing the way we think about the humanity of Black boys, talk about inequity, and never forgetting that heroes are the last thing anyone needs. Director(s): Sonia Lowman Writer(s): Sonia Lowman Producer(s): Sonia Lowman, Chad Williamson, Elliot Kotel Editor(s): Evald Ridore Cinematographer(s): Jeanne Tyson Production Designer(s): N/A Music Composer(s): N/A Cast: Malcolm Jenkins, Carmelo Anthony, Malcolm London, Vic Mensa, Cris Carter, Jemele Hill, Greg Scruggs, Howard Bryant Follow more of our Bentonville Film Festival Foundation 2020 Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: https://press.mtrnetwork.net Subscribe: Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @TheMTRNetwork Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
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