TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi” Update for March 2020

I am still carrying on with my 2020 movie project of watching all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at Amazon.com and Shop TCM). The complete list of 50 films is here.

Here’s the current rundown on the films I watched in March (courtesy of my Instagram feed; and sorry to be slow in posting this). Most of the March movies were alien invasion or monster movies (or both)…not necessarily comforting viewing during the COVID-19 pandemic currently happening, but these are still great sci-fi films.

The War of the Worlds (1953)

Them! (1954)

Godzilla (1954)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Forbidden Planet (1956)

April 16, 2020 Podcast

Welcome to another “Social Distancing” episode of the podcast where we discuss more films that you can watch from home.

New on Video on Demand

Trolls World Tour (DreamWorks Animation)

“Bond 25” Project

Now that the theatrical release date for No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond 007 film, has been moved to November 2020, I thought it might be fun to watch all 24 of the James Bond films in order. First up is Dr. No (1962) and it’s great.

And here are some other interesting James Bond links:

10 Unique Films on Disney+

I discuss 10 under-the-radar films currently available on the Disney+ streaming service.

Here’s a link to the article about Walt Disney’s involvement with the U.S. government’s Good Neighbor Policy: https://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/donald-duck-diplomat.

A Few More Options for this Weekend and Beyond

Thanks for Tuning In!

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts. I hope that watching some great movies will bring you peace and comfort this week. Be safe out there! Thanks again.

April 6, 2020 Podcast

Welcome to this week’s COVID-19 “Social Distancing” podcast!

Since all movie theaters are closed right now (or should be), here are some home viewing movie options for your viewing pleasure.

AFI Movie Club

The American Film Institute (AFI) has recently established the AFI Movie Club where every day for the foreseeable future they will select a film for people across the country to virtually watch together. The club’s tagline is “movies to watch together while we’re apart.” More info and a complete list of the films and where to stream them is available on the AFI web site.

TCM Classic Film Festival: Special Home Edition

Sadly, this year’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, California has been officially cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. But TCM has turned lemons into lemonade and is bringing a home version of the festival to the TCM network. Save the dates of April 16-19, 2020 (the same dates of the now cancelled festival) for some great films and commentary from past festivals. More details and a complete schedule are available on the TCM website.

Walt Disney Animation Studios on Disney+

I’ve picked 10 of my favorite films (and it was really hard just to pick 10…I really love these films) from Walt Disney Animation Studios that are all playing on the Disney+ streaming service. Learn more about Disney+ at disneyplus.com.

Thanks for Tuning In!

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts. I hope that watching some great movies will bring you peace and comfort this week. Be safe out there! Thanks again.

Review: “Onward”

Two elf brothers go on a magical quest in their world where magic has been pushed aside in Pixar Animation Studios’ latest wonderment Onward.

Onward is the type of high concept movie that is a hallmark of Pixar. A film that sounds so bizarre and audacious, yet while you’re watching it, you feel completely at home. I call the filmmakers at Pixar “magicians” because that’s what they do so well—they create magical, unique film experiences using beautiful art, impressive technology, and real emotional resonance.

And magic is really what Onward is all about. The magical world where the film takes place is populated with nothing but magical creatures—mermaids, dwarfs, unicorns, dragons, wizards, etc.—but over time, the magic of their lives has given way to technology, suburban sprawl, and “progress.”

Our two protagonists, teenage elf brothers Barley (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Ian (voiced by Tom Holland), are given a gift by their mother (voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who has been a single parent ever since her husband, and the boys’ father, tragically passed away. (The dad died when Barley was very young and Ian was in utero.)

The gift is a magician’s staff and a magic crystal with a spell which supposedly will bring the father back to life for a day. While Barley is a major player of a “Dungeons & Dragons”-style of role-playing game and big believer in the past magical lore of the world they live in (again, mostly tied in with the D&D game), Ian, who turns 16 at the beginning of the film, is more practical and is just trying to find his place with his peer group and in his life.

Barley and Ian keep trying the spell and they begin to conjure up their dad’s body; however, the magic crystal breaks halfway through and only the lower half of their dad makes it back to the world. So, the boys, along with their deceased father’s legs, set out on a quest to try to find another crystal to finish the spell so they can spend some time with their dad before sunset causes the magic spell to end.

Onward at its core is really a buddy movie where the two brothers go on big adventure as they try to work together towards the common goal of spending time with their father. The film is a personal one for director Dan Scanlon, who lost his father at a young age and decided to pose the question of what it would be like to meet up with a deceased parent, if only briefly. Wrapping this emotional concept up in a buddy/fantasy movie was definitely a magic trick and overall the filmmakers really succeed.

Ultimately, the main part of the Pixar “magic,” and where Onward truly delivers, is in its emotional authenticity. I won’t give anything away, but during the final third of the film when everything starts coming together, the film really delivers a satisfying and meaningful emotional experience which speaks serious truth about family relationships. (You might want to bring a Kleenex or two with you to the theater.)

And just as a side note, a new Pixar short is not included in front of Onward (check out the plethora of great Pixar shorts now playing on Disney+); instead, we get a short starring The Simpsons (yes, those Simpsons) which are now part of the Disney family thanks to The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The short is called Playdate with Destiny and it prominently features Maggie Simpson who gets smitten by a baby boy her age that she meets at the park. It felt a bit strange but not necessarily completely out of place to be watching a Simpsons short at a Disney movie. I guess it’s just where and how things are today.

Onward is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association for “action/peril and some mild thematic elements.”

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As an added bonus, check out these cool Onward posters.

All images ©️ Disney/Pixar

TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi” Update for February 2020

I am still having a blast with my 2020 movie project of watching all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at Amazon.com and Shop TCM). The complete list of 50 films is here.

Here’s the current rundown on the films I watched in February (courtesy of my Instagram feed).

Things to Come (1936)

The Thing from Another World (1951)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

It Came from Outer Space (1953)

March 6, 2020 Podcast

Welcome to this week’s podcast!

New in Theaters

(New in the last couple of weeks, that is…)

Reviews

The Call of the Wild and Onward.

Classic Cinema Corner

I’m so excited to attend this year’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival! Limited passes are still available. More details at tcm.com/festival.

Thanks for Tuning In!

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Have fun at the movies this week and thanks again for your support.

February 12, 2020 Podcast

Happy Valentine’s Day week and welcome to this week’s podcast!

New Movie Roundup

Reviews and Commentary

The happy and triumphant return of the modest-budget Disney family film is happening on Disney+ with films like Noelle, Togo, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, and next month’s Stargirl. You should totally get Disney+ if you like this genre of films. Sign up at disneyplus.com.

Classic Cinema Corner

Thanks for Tuning In!

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe on Apple Podcasts. Have fun at the movies this week and thanks again for your support.

TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi” Update for January 2020

Sorry I’m a little slow in posting this, but I’ve been having a blast with my 2020 movie project of watching all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at Amazon.com and Shop TCM). The complete list of 50 films is here.

Here’s the current rundown on the films I watched in January (courtesy of my Instagram feed).

A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Metropolis (1927)

Frankenstein (1931)

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

The Invisible Man (1933)