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Deep Blue Sea – The Podcast – Episode 44 – Baby Shark Waterslides, Underwater Chainsaws, and Limitless Maniacs

May 7, 2021

You can listen to Deep Blue Sea – The Podcast on Apple Podcasts, SpreakerSpotify, Tunein, Podcast Addict, Amazon, Google Podcasts, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to like our Facebook page!

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Mark and Jay are joined by Kevin Kulp (@KevinKulp on Twitter) to discuss the seventh chapter of the Deep Blue Sea 2 DVD. In this episode, they discuss shark exorcisms, follow-up splashes, and underwater welding in shark movies. Enjoy!

Make sure to check out Kevin’s most excellent shark movie list!

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 362 – Blade, Blood Raves, and Ice Skating Uphill

May 7, 2021

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Mark and Jack Austin (From the Alter Ego Podcast) discuss the 1998 superhero film Blade. Directed by Stephen Norrington, and starring Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson and N’Bushe Wright, the film focuses on what happens when ambitious vampires try to ice skate uphill. In this episode, we talk about the excellence of Wesley Snipes, grounded action, and 1990’s comic book adaptations. Enjoy!

Please make sure to follow and listen to the Alter Ego Podcast.

Wrath of Man: Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham Reunite for an Effective and Dark Thriller

May 6, 2021

Quick Thoughts – Grade – B+ – Wrath of Man – The remake of the 2014 French film Cash Truck is a hard-hitting thriller that features unorthodox storytelling and effective action. It’s also loaded with an excellent cast featuring Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan and Josh Hartnett. 

Wrath of Man feels like an old school thriller that features tough guys, saying tough things, while they engage in tough shenanigans. This isn’t meant to sound reductive, as the Guy Ritchie directed film knows how to create welcome amounts of thrills that build towards a wildly violent finale that makes you miss wildly violent gunfights. Drawing from 23 years worth of gangster films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, The Gentlemen, Revolver, and RocknRolla, Ritchie has set his sights towards white-knuckled thrillers like Dragged Across Concrete, Den of Thieves and Heat, that take place in the United States and feature robberies gone wrong, and the wild consequences that follow. 

Wrath of Man focuses on what happens when a mysterious man named Harry “H” Hill (Jason Statham) starts working at an armored truck company shortly after a massive heist that ended with millions stolen, and two guards dead. Harry shows up at the Los Angeles-based company with a stacked resume, surly attitude, and mono-syllabic speaking style that make him less than popular with his brash coworkers. The only connection he makes is with his trainer Bullet (Holt McCallany), who’s relaxed vibe and shared dislike of Sweaty Boy Bob (Josh Hartnett) make him someone Harry can drink beers with. After an attempted robbery ends with H murdering six people with incredible ease, things take a unique turn as the non-linear storytelling introduces us to new-and-dangerous characters, who all come together at the end for some old-school chaos. 

It would be fun to write more about the specifics of the film, but after going into it blind, it would be a disservice to spoil the twists-and-turns that Ritchie and co-writers Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies have in store. However, it’s worth mentioning that Statham wears some wonderful cardigans, Johnny Cash music is used expertly, and after Sicario, Let Him Go, Shot Caller, and Fargo, Jefrrey Donvan has become one of the best character actors working today. Also, it’s neat watching how the different worlds of criminals, armored guards, and military  veterans differ greatly, as their language, discussions and interactions have a different ebb-and-flow that showcase who they really are. 

Alan Stewart (Band of Brothers, The Gentlemen, Aladdin), the Director Photography deserves a special mention as the steadicam and static camera shots are always interesting. Between Ritchie’s framing, and Stewart’s camera, the audience is given some memorable shots that establish power dynamics, and showcase the thrilling violence. 

Final thoughtsWrath of Man brings a welcome dose of violence and twists, and it’s nice seeing Guy Ritchie branch out to different kinds of tough-guy films.

John’s Horror Corner: Spiral (2019), an effective social thriller about good neighbors, bad experiences and paranoia.

May 5, 2021

MY CALL:  If Get Out (2017) is a social thriller, then so is this. Although Spiral is not in the same league. This was good. Even very good… but definitely not great in my opinion. But it surely succeeds at tactfully keeping you guessing.  MORE MOVIES LIKE SpiralThe Invitation (2015), Get Out (2017), Us (2019) and Them (2021, Amazon series) come to mind.

Having just moved to a somewhat rural town, Malik (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman; Grave Encounters 2, American Horror Story) and Aaron (Ari Cohen; It, It Chapter 2) have a candid, lived-in relationship with their teenage daughter Kayla (Jennifer Laporte). Their parent-teenager dynamic rings all too true and sparks kind memories of my own adolescence.

The year is 1995. Selfies are taken with Polaroids, and same-sex couples are far from broadly accepted in small towns They soon find the locals are not accustomed to having a black neighbor any more than they are a same-sex couple. At one point we find the word “faggots” spray painted on their living room wall… my eye twitched and my heart sunk into my stomach dreading what may befall them in after this point in the plot. But please, don’t turn away at this trigger warning. This film has so many kind things to show us about its main characters and there is more than meets the eye to the story. We are left to wonder if the kindest neighbors are the most dangerous, or if they truly aim to steer Malik and Aaron from the neighbors with ill intentions, or if indeed any of the neighbors mean them any harm at all.

This plays out more like a thriller/mystery than the trailer may suggest. Strange things begin to happen that point to ‘strange’ motives in their neighbors (including Chandra West of Z, White Noise, Puppet Master 4-5; and Lochlyn Munro of Needful Things, Dracula 2000). Malik and Aaron have experienced hateful trauma in the past and are now fearful something similar may find them here… and that whatever hatred finds them will also befall their daughter.

If Get Out (2017) is a social thriller, then so is this. Although Spiral is not in the same league. This was good. Even very good… but definitely not great in my opinion. At least not compared to the wonderful horror releases of the last several decade.

Director Kurtis David Harder (Incontrol) opens strong, but I feel the second half of the film doesn’t deliver as promised. I found the end simultaneously unsatisfying (in concept) and satisfying (in execution). Most of the punch is packed in the first 60 minutes, and not so much the last 20, with much of the punch being the more casual social interactions with their neighbors.

Random Star Wars Data for May the 4th: Stars Wars Films and Running Times That Can Be Divided By Four

May 4, 2021

In honor of May the 4th, I have something fun for you. I looked at the running times of the 12 theatrically released Star Wars films, and noted which of them have a running time that can be divided by four (there are four of them). Then, I gathered their domestic box numbers, Tomatometer scores, and IMDb user scores to see if the films have better averaged numbers than the other eight films with running times that can’t be divided by four. The results are fun!

Quick Note: This data isn’t important, but it’s cheeky and I like it, so I wanted to share it with the world. Also, I didn’t include the full titles, or dates, because you know the movies already.

Here’s the running time, domestic box office, Tomatometer and IMDb information for each film (I went ahead and ranked them). The films with running times that are divisible by four are bold

Running Time (ranked)

  • The Last Jedi – 152 minutes
  • Attack of the Clones – 142 minutes
  • The Rise of Skywalker – 141 minutes
  • Revenge of the Sith – 140 minutes
  • The Force Awakens – 138 minutes
  • The Phantom Menace – 136 minutes
  • Solo – 135 minutes
  • Rogue One – 133 minutes
  • The Return of the Jedi – 131 minutes
  • The Empire Strikes Back – 124 minutes
  • A New Hope – 121 minutes
  • The Clone Wars – 98 min

Domestic Box Office Comparison (inflated)

  • A New Hope ($1.669 billion)
  • The Force Awakens ($1.013 billion)
  • The Empire Strikes Back ($919.2 million)
  • The Return of the Jedi ($881.3 million)
  • The Phantom Menace – $846.2 million)
  • The Last Jedi ($633.3 million)
  • Rogue One ($566.3 million)
  • Revenge of the Sith ($555.9 million)
  • The Rise of Skywalker ($515.2 million)
  • Attack of the Clones ($500.1 million)
  • Solo ($219.9 million)


  • Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – 94%
  • Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – 93%
  • Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope – 92%
  • Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi – 90%
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 84%
  • Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi – 82%
  • Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – 80%
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story – 69%
  • Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones – 65%
  • Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace – 52%
  • Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker – 51%
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – 18%

IMDb Scores

  • The Empire Strikes Back – 8.7
  • A New Hope – 8.6
  • The Return of the Jedi – 8.3
  • The Force Awakens – 7.9
  • Rogue One – 7.8
  • Revenge of the Sith – 7.5
  • The Last Jedi – 7
  • Solo – 6.9
  • The Rise of Skywalker 6.6
  • Attack of the Clones – 6.5
  • The Phantom Menace – 6.5
  • The Clone Wars – 5.9


Here are the averages for the four films that have a running time that is divisible by four.

  • Tomatometer Average – 79%
  • Domestic Box Office Average – $739 million
  • IMDb Average – 7.4

Here are the averages for the eight films that don’t have running times that are divisible by four

  • Tomatometer Average – 69.25%
  • Domestic Box Office Average – $676 million
  • IMDb Average – 7.3

Conclusion Star Wars movies that have running times that can be divided by four have higher Tomatometer, Domestic Box Office and IMDb averages! You are welcome.

They are loving this data.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode One Review

May 4, 2021

Quick Thoughts about Episode OneStar Wars: The Bad Batch is a welcome addition to the Star Wars animated world, and is refreshingly unique as it follows Clone Force 99, a group of defectively born, and battle-hardened clones throughout the post-Clone Wars universe. 

The official synopsis for the show is “Members of a unique squad of clones find their way in a changing galaxy in the aftermath of the Clone War.” Originally conceived in 2012 by George Lucas, who wanted to create clones who were “more unique than their counterparts,” the group had a rough road to the screen as The Clone Wars was cancelled by the Cartoon Network shortly after Disney acquired LucasFilm in 2013. The delay was unfortunate, but the end result is a fun new show that will expand Star Wars-lore, and give the world a crew of Dirty Dozen-esque clones who beat people (and robots) up around the galaxy

What makes the first two episodes so enjoyable is watching how the crew deals with the regime change after Order-66 shakes the universe to its core. In the first episode, The Bad Batch made up of Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Crosshair and Echo (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), return from a mission, and have to deal with changing times under the watchful eye of General Tarkin (Stephen Stanton), who is inspecting the clone army. He isn’t a fan of The Bad Batch because they can disobey direct orders, which makes them wildcards on the battlefield, and possibly unable to obey specific directives. What follows is a lot of fun, as each character begins to show more personality as they engage in a lot of fun action scenes and wild moments which won’t be spoiled here. 

If you are a fan of Star Wars, you will love these refreshingly gruff, sullen and violent characters. Why? They offer a change of pace, as they aren’t as serious as the Jedi, or as stoic as the heroes of The Mandalorian. It’s nice seeing a grittier galaxy be explored, and it’s a lot of fun watching the crew deal galactic trouble.

Final thoughts: if you are a fan of the Star Wars animated world, you will love this show. Also, the show is executive produced by Dave Filoni, a man who lives-and-breathes Star Wars, so you know you are going to get a quality product by someone who loves the world.

John’s Horror Corner: Mirrors (2008), a very creepy remake featuring one of the best death scenes of its decade.

May 3, 2021

MY CALL: The story isn’t compelling, but the scares, creeptastic reflections and gore make for some unforgettable horror fun. If only for Amy Smart’s death scene, this is not to be missed! MORE MOVIES LIKE MirrorsFor more evil mirror movies try Oculus (2014) or Mirror Mirror (1990). But I’d skip Mirror (2014)

After losing his family and job as a police officer, Ben (Kiefer Sutherland; Flatliners, Stand By Me, Taking Lives, Dark City) takes a job as a night security guard at a shopping mall that tragically burned down. As soon as his first shift, Ben notices some creepy things. What he sees in and through the mirrors not only escalates, but somehow extends to his family’s home to haunt his estranged wife (Paula Patton; 2 Guns, Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol) and kids.

Okay, say what you want about this movie, but the visceral gore and flesh-tearing effects are positively outstanding. We see completely on-screen throat gashes, slow wincing throat slits, cheek-ripping jaw-breaking, and all manner of exquisite blood spewing to accompany them. Other disturbing imagery includes a horrifically burned partially naked woman.

The scene that makes this movie is Amy Smart’s (The Butterfly Effect, Flight 7500, Seventh Moon, Campfire Tales, Strangeland) unforgettably brutal death scene. Everything about this scene is perfect, from her non-matching reflection’s malevolent demeanor to the absolutely soul-rattling gore effects that ensue. This is easily one of the best death scenes of its decade!

This film plays on the horror trope to not trust one’s reflection, and it plays that sinister tune very well. As the story progresses the rules that govern our mirror-bound spirits seem to change and develop radically, making the final act full-tilt bonkers compared to the preceding 60 minutes. Whereas we start with haunted mirrors, we gradually move into full-scale house haunting and some aggressive “crossing-over.”

Director and co-writer Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D, The Hills Have Eyes, Crawl) remakes the South Korean Into the Mirror (2003) with brutal pizzazz. Aja really seems to like remakes. But that’s fine, since I love all three that he’s done! I appreciated most of the antics that unfolded, as well as the ending. Recommended!

REMAKE/REIMAGINING/REBOOT SIDEBAR: For more horror remakes, I strongly favor the following: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Thing (1982), The Fly (1986), The Blob (1988), The Mummy (1999), The Ring (2002), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Friday the 13th (2009), Piranha 3D (2010), Let Me In (2010), Evil Dead (2013), Carrie (2013), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), It (2017), Suspiria (2018) and Child’s Play (2019). Those to avoid include Body Snatchers (1993; the second remake), War of the Worlds (2005), The Invasion (2007; the third remake), Prom Night (2008), Night of the Demons (2009), Sorority Row (2009), Patrick: Evil Awakens (2013), Poltergeist (2015), Martyrs (2015), Cabin Fever (2016), Unhinged (2017), The Mummy (2017) and Wrong Turn (2021). I’m on the fence about An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), The Grudge (2004), Halloween (2007), It’s Alive (2009), My Bloody Valentine (2009), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), Fright Night (2011), The Thing (2011; a prequel/remake), Maniac (2012), Rabid (2019), Pet Sematary (2019) and Castle Freak (2020), which range from bad to so-so (as remakes) but still are entertaining movies on their own.


The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 361: Dark Shadows, Tim Burton and Eva Green

May 2, 2021

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Mark and Zanandi (@ZaNandi on Twitter) discuss the 2012 film Dark Shadows. Directed by Tim Burton, and starring Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Helena Bonham Carter, the $150 million budgeted film focuses on the strange happenings in a quaint fishing town. In this episode, they discuss Depp-fatigue, werewolves, and horror movies that make people happy.

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

John’s Horror Corner: The Skeleton Key (2005), an atmospheric lesson in superstition and southern sensibilities.

May 1, 2021


MY CALL:  I have always loved this film. This isn’t the most exciting movie, nor is it shocking or gory or scary. This film relies on the well-informed development of its characters to patiently cultivate our sense of dread as a mystery slowly unfolds before us. So if you can handle a smartly written but slowburn horror, you should give this a try.  MORE MOVIES LIKE The Skeleton KeyWell, for more Hoodoo you should turn to Spell (2020). I’m also inclined to suggest Get Out (2017). For more geriatric horror, try The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014), Bubba Ho-tep (2002), Late Phases (2014), The Visit (2015), Anything for Jackson (2020) and Relic (2020).

Deep in the swamp outside of New Orleans, hospice nurse Caroline (Kate Hudson; Good People) takes an in-home job at a grand plantation estate, the home of Violet Devereaux (Gena Rowlands; Taking Lives) and her invalid husband Ben (John Hurt; Hellboy I-II, Alien). Hired by the Devereaux’s dapper young estate lawyer (Peter Sarsgaard; The Killing, Flightplan) to make Ben’s final days more comfortable, Caroline finds herself in a home of antiquated ways and superstitions. From the accents to the cinematography of the swamps, this film is beautifully southern down to the charming, gentlemanly candor delivered by Sarsgaard.

Violet isn’t terribly trusting of her non-southern house guest, whether in regard to domestic chores, theft of their silver place settings, or the thoughtful care of her husband. They resist each other’s differences, struggling to find any common ground.

This is a horror film which invests tremendously in our learning about the characters—all of them. Patient but never slow, this film takes its time revealing the creepy nooks of the old house, Violet’s southern traditionalist ways, glimpses into the former homeowners’ lives, and various concepts on which we may focus our suspicion. As Violet gradually finds trust for Caroline, Caroline seems to be losing trust in Violet and both of them seem to care more aggressively for Ben. Meanwhile our discovery of folk magic and local lore spin the plot yet thicker.

What transpires toys with our expectations. As the story unfolds we wonder more and more… is this a supernatural horror, or a superstitious thriller? The pacing slowly builds as the movie advances until reaching a steadily exciting state for the final scenes.

Very pleasantly, this is among the few PG-13 horror movies that doesn’t feel like it had to pull any punches to be PG-13. We were deprived of no gore or any sort of gratuitous nudity. This movie never needed any of that. And that’s not to say that “needing” those things is a fault. I’m simply saying this particular story didn’t stand to benefit from them. Yet as PG-13 this remained every bit as creepy as I could imagine it being, while every bit as interesting.

Director Iain Softley (Hackers, K-Pax) and writer Ehren Kruger (The Ring 1-2, Scream 3) did an excellent job keeping this film classy and, as far as I can tell 16 years after its release, rather timeless. This is no ‘shock and awe’ gorefest nor is it a rollercoaster of jump scares. This film is all about investigating its characters and basking in an increasingly creepy atmosphere. So it may not be as intensely dreadful as The Ring (2002) or The Grudge (2004), or as fun as Dead Silence (2007) or Lights Out (2016). But this had its own stylish way, the patience of old southern countenance… and I continue to love it more with every viewing.

Monster Hunter: Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa Fight Monsters. It’s Wonderful

May 1, 2021

Quick Thoughts – B – Monster Hunter is a fun monster movie that features Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa battling pugnacious creatures in another world. If you are looking for a movie that features people fighting monsters, you’ve come to the right place.

If you are looking for a fun creature feature that gets to the action quick, and never lets up, Monster Hunter is the movie for you. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, this adaptation of the incredibly popular Capcom role-playing game rewards viewers with copious monsters and a lot of action icon Tony Jaa. The 47% Tomatometer score isn’t a surprise, but, if you are a fan of Anderson and Jovovich, you will easily get on the movie’s wavelength, and will be able to enjoy the carnage. 

Monster Hunter focuses on the exploits of Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich), a United States Army Captain who is sucked into a new world with a squad of United Nations soldiers. After several brutal attacks by Nerscyllas (large spiders) and a Diablo (gigantic monster who can swim in the sand – think Tremors), Artemis is left alone and injured on an isolated rock oasis. After a wild They live-esque brawl, Artemis teams up with Hunter (Tony Jaa), a fellow warrior who was also left stranded on the rock oasis after his Monster Hunter squadron was ambushed by Diablos. Together, the two have to figure out how to defeat the Nerscyllas AND Diablo, so they can escape the desert death trap and continue on with their mission. The good news is that this happens in the first 45 minutes! The rest of the film won’t be spoiled, just know that it involves gigantic monsters, explosions, and a cheeky cat. 

Monster Hunter is a wonderful popcorn film that doesn’t take itself seriously, and solely focuses on people fighting monsters (it’s very refreshing). Anderson wanted the movie to look authentic, so he and Jovovich traveled to Namibia in an effort to capture the feel of the game, and showcase vast stretches of desert that add to the production design. The monsters all look great, and they feel like legitimate threats that can only be defeated with critical thinking and lots of slow-motion. The cinematography by Glen MacPherson (Pompeii, The Three Musketeers) captures the African landscapes and monster mayhem expertly, and he must love working with Anderson because it’s their sixth film together. 

Final thoughts – The movie is called Monster Hunter. Enjoy the monster hunting. Also, it’s super cool seeing action icons Jovovich and Jaa in the same film.

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