August 8, 2019 Podcast

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New in Theaters

Reviews

In today’s podcast, I share my thoughts about Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Universal, 2019). Also, I discuss the past, present, and future of the Fast and Furious film series.

Ludacris, who stars in many of the Fast and Furious movies, recently posted this to his Instagram feed.

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🍿🍿🍿🍿

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Vin Diesel has been posting pics from the FF9 set on Instagram, too. Here’s one of them.

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Day 16! Grateful, Blessed and Inspired. #Fast92020

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August 1, 2019 Podcast

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New in Theaters

Classic Cinema Corner

Three classic films to discuss this week:

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July 18, 2019 Podcast

Welcome to this week’s podcast!

New in Theaters

The Lion King (2019) remake from The Walt Disney Studios. I reviewed this film on last week’s podcast and on the blog, too.

Classic Cinema Corner

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Review: “The Lion King” (2019)

Fancy technology and new CGI tools can’t save this dull, uninspired remake of Disney’s beloved animated musical The Lion King.

Photorealistic CGI Pride Rock in THE LION KING (2019)

Directed by Jon Favreau [Iron Man (2008), The Jungle Book (2016)], this new photorealistic re-telling of The Lion King is mostly a shot-for-shot and almost word-for-word remake of the 1994 original animated film from Disney Animation. The filmmakers have provided us with a beautifully-shot nature documentary-style of film (with animals that speak English, that is…) that sacrifices art for realism.

Scar and the hyenas in THE LION KING (2019)

The realism, while very well done, strips the story of one of the things that made it great in the first place—the incredible art and animation created by the artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Without the art and heightened interpretation of the natural world as done by the Disney Animation team, the film just becomes an impressive but lifeless technological shell of its former self.

Young Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa in THE LION KING (2019)

A major disappointment in choosing to follow the original script so closely is that the new vocal and musical artists brought on board (namely Donald Glover, the voice of grown-up Simba, Beyoncé, the voice of grown-up Nala, and music producer Pharell Williams) weren’t given anything new or interesting to do (Beyoncé gets half a new song near the end of Act II and is also involved with a Lion King-inspired album soon to be released but that’s it). I hate to be prescriptive here, but I was hoping for at least some new songs or some new material for these incredibly talented people to participate in that would make this re-telling more unique (think of what Disney did with the Broadway production of The Lion King).

The comic relief characters Timon (voiced by Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (voiced by Seth Rogen) are funny enough and, thankfully, get a new line or two that actually made me laugh, but still should have been given more to do as well. And, sadly, the great actor Chiwetel Ejiofor’s interpretation of the villainous Scar can’t compare with the campy and scary performance of Jeremy Irons from the original animated film.

Every five minutes during the screening, I just wanted the projectionist to roll the 1994 original instead of this needless, uninventive rehash. I know that Disney is probably not going to stop with these remakes, at least not in my lifetime, but I sure wish they would just appropriately honor and re-release the original animated films on the big screen and focus their tremendous creative and financial resources in more original ways.

Nala and Simba feeling the love tonight in THE LION KING (2019)

The Lion King remake is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for “sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements.”

My score: 2 out of 5 stars

Images ©️ Disney

July 11, 2019 Podcast

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s podcast!

New in Theaters

Reviews

The Lion King (2019) remake from Disney; opens in theaters July 19

Classic Cinema Corner

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is playing films from 1939, aka “Hollywood’s Greatest Year,” every Friday in July. Check out the full schedule here. Also make sure to check out the excellent TCM-produced documentary about 1939 on Friday, July 6 at 6:45 PM ET.

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July 3, 2019 Podcast

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s podcast! And Happy U.S. Independence Day to you and yours!

New in Theaters

Reviews

Spoiler-free review of Spider-Man: Far From Home

Classic Cinema Corner

I’m halfway through my TCM Essentials viewing project. Three recent films of note were all from the mid- to late-1940s:

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New Promotional Pics for “The Lion King” (2019)

Check out these fancy pics for Disney’s The Lion King (2019) remake! Maybe we should just call it The Beyoncé Movie!

Images ©️ Disney

Donald Glover as Simba
Beyoncé as Nala
JD McCrary as Young Simba and Shadi Wright Joseph as Young Nala
Seth Rogan as Pumbaa, John Oliver as Zazu, and Billy Eichner as Timon
Alfre Woodard as Sarabi
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar
Eric André as Azizi, Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari, and Florence Kasumba as Shenzi

June 26, 2019 Podcast

Welcome to this week’s podcast!

New in Theaters

Classic Cinema Corner

Safety Last! (1923) now playing on The Criterion Channel. Here’s the link to the Safety Last! walking tour in downtown Los Angeles, California. And make sure to check out all of the great films available from The Criterion Collection.

Recommendations

  • Toy Story 4 (Pixar Animation Studios)
  • Avengers: Endgame re-release (Marvel Studios). See it this weekend at select theaters and get this cool poster (below) while supplies last.
©️ Marvel

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June 18, 2019 Podcast

Welcome to this week’s podcast (which is happening on a Tuesday rather than Thursday this week).

New in Theaters

Reviews

Toy Story 4 (spoiler-free; also check out the spoiler-free written review on my blog)

Classic Cinema Corner

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe to the podcast on Apple iTunes. Have fun at the movies this week and thanks again for tuning in.