I’m continuing to discover some good podcasts out there, so I’m going to talk about three of the ones I’ve recently found.  I’ll link the websites below, but these are all available free on iTunes as well (or other venues, check their websites).

International Waters is a comedy quiz show pitting U.S. and U.K. comics against each other for bragging rights over who knows the most about pop culture.  Failing that, if they’re wrong they can still earn points just for being funny.  Think Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, only a lot more irreverent, with loosey-goosey rules and swearing.

American Cinematographer magazine now has a podcast!  Full disclosure that I have not yet listened to one, but here’s the description from the website:

American Cinematographer interviews cinematographers, directors and other filmmakers to take you behind the scenes on major studio movies, independent films and popular television series.

Recent episodes include interviews with the cinematographers of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Crow (1994) and Mad Men.

Crime Writers on Serial continues the obsession with NPR’s Serial podcast that covered the murder trial of Adnan Syed and his possible retrial.  We now have podcasts on Serial, podcasts on the podcasts on Serial, etc. etc.  This one gathers true crime authors Rebecca Lavoie, her husband Kevin Flynn, Lara Bricker and Toby Ball in discussions about Serial, Undisclosed (an excellent podcast by three attorneys that digs even deeper into the Syed case), and also extends into other topics, such as the television show True Detective.

So there’s three more worth giving some time to.  If you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment below!

#InternationalWatersPodcast #AmericanCinematographerPodcast #CrimeWritersOnSerialPodcast #podcasts

At the D23 EXPO Disney announced it will be adding Star Wars attractions to Disneyland in Anaheim, California and to Disney World in Orlando, Florida (concept art here).

This is in addition to previously-announced Star Wars-themed cruises on the Disney Fantasy.

StarWarsposterRogue One, the first standalone film of what is to be a series of one-offs, has begun filming and is being directed by Gareth Edwards.  It comes out in the U.S. on December 16th, 2016.  It stars Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk.

Disney landed Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow to direct Episode IX, which will come out in 2019.  The trilogy begins with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, premiering December 18th of this year in the U.S. and U.K., among others.  It will be followed by Episode XIII in 2017.

Oh, yeah – and here’s the first official poster for The Force Awakens.

Disney also announced that Toy Story will get an attraction at Disney World in Orlando, complete with a Slinky Dog roller coaster.

#RogueOne #StarWars

Hollywood continues its run of remakes of old television shows and reboots of old films.  There are some classics that just shouldn’t be remade, a very few that are actually better than the originals, and some that are a new take entirely and are worthy of a look.  Although I can get a little weary of all the remakes, Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. looked like a good time from the very first trailer.

It stars Henry Cavill (Superman) as American CIA agent Napoleon Solo, Armie Hammer as Russian KGB agent Illya Kuryakin, and Alicia Vikander as Gaby Teller.  In the television series Solo was played by Robert Vaughn, and Kuryakin was played by David McCallum, whom most people now know as Ducky on NCIS.

Hugh Grant also makes an appearance as Waverly, Solo’s boss.

While Guy Ritchie may best be known to some as Madonna’s ex-husband, he has made some of the funniest and best movies out there, including Snatch with Brad Pitt and Jason Statham, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (also with Statham), and the two Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law Sherlock Holmes films.  He was the perfect director for U.N.C.L.E., putting humor together with a great cast, some excellent action scenes, and 1960’s cool.

Yes, the film maintains the ’60s era style of the television series, along with Cold War-era animus between the CIA and the KGB.  The plot is thin, with a beautiful villainess named Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki), a nuclear bomb, and hints of what became in the show a shadowy criminal organization called THRUSH.  But the plot is not the draw here, and frankly I’m glad it’s not a convoluted one, because it’s really secondary anyway to the humor and just the sheer enjoyment of watching the interaction between the main characters, as well as the clothes and cars of the era.

Here’s the 5-minute trailer shown at Comic-Con:

The action scenes are great, the chemistry between the three leads is perfection, and overall it was definitely worth at least a matinee ticket, especially  if you’re a fan of the original TV show.  Brit Cavill does a credible American accent (as he did in Man of Steel), and Hammer pulls off a Russian accent as well.  Together they’re a team I could definitely watch again in a sequel that would hopefully not have to spend so much time on character introductions.

Outside of the backstorying, which went on a little long, I have only a couple of gripes.  One is that the action scenes are done so well that you wish there were more of them.  The other one is an odd one, but during one chase scene I thought the music was off.  Not sure why really, but it just didn’t seem to fit and was a bit jarring.

Spoiler alert for this paragraph:  This might not come as much of a surprise, but some people are funny about anything that could resemble a spoiler, so I thought I’d warn you.  At the end of the film there’s a scene where Waverly tells Solo, Kuryakin and Gaby they’re going to be staying together as a team for a while longer, and gives them their next assignment.  So it appears there’s already a sequel in mind (complete with location, so there must be a general notion of what the plot would be).

Tom Cruise’s 99th Mission Impossible flick may take some of the wind out of its sails at the box office, but hopefully U.N.C.L.E. will generate enough bucks to warrant a sequel.

Overall, a fun time, especially if you’re a fan of the ’60s television series, Henry Cavill, and/or Armie Hammer.  If you’re not already, this flick may make you a fan.  (The old series can still be seen on MeTV or you could always go to Amazon and pick up a DVD.)

BTW, speaking of Jason Statham and remakes, one of the previews was for the reboot of The Transporter, this time starring Ed Skrein.

#TheManFromUNCLE #HenryCavill #ArmieHammer

Here’s some great news for Tolkien geeks!  A previously unpublished novel, The Story of Kullervo, will be published this year.  The Mary Sue has the story.

The book is a sequel of sorts to The Silmarillion.  The novel was never finished, so fair warning that you might want to wait for some info on whether it’s complete enough to make good reading.

The Mary Sue’s article states that Amazon will be releasing it on October 27th in the U.S., but the website says a Kindle edition will hit this month, August 27th, with a hardcover to follow next April.

Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Kullervo, son of Kalervo, is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. ‘Hapless Kullervo’, as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny.

Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruelest of fates.

#Tolkien #StoryOfKullervo

You may have heard that Benedict Cumberbatch is doing Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre in London.  He has asked that members of the audience refrain from using their cell phones, especially to film the play.

This is one of those things people just shouldn’t have to be told.  But apparently there have been several instances lately of theater goers displaying really bad manners and doing everything from texting (actress Patti Lu Pone recently stopped a play and grabbed a cellphone from an audience member who was texting) to trying to charge their phone by going up onstage and plugging it into a (fake) electrical outlet on the set.  I’m not kidding.

Can we all just agree that it’s bad manners — not to mention distracting to the actors — to play around with your cell phone during a play?  Or at a movie theater for that matter.

While we wait to see whether Halt and Catch Fire gets a third season, Lee Pace will be doing New York Stage & Film’s Powerhouse Season from July 31st to August 2nd.  More info here at BroadwayWorld.com.

Speaking of Halt and Catch Fire, the ratings for the 2nd season were not good.  The critics loved it, though, so a third season may depend on whether AMC thinks it’s worth more as a critical darling than a ratings winner.  Here’s a hint, AMC – move it away from Sunday nights.  There’s just too much competition for it to make a dent.

#Theater #LeePace #HaltAndCatchFire

The extended edition of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, may end up in theaters, according to TheOneRing.net (TORn).  If you’re interested mid-October appears to be the timing.

It looks like it will roll in at right at 3 hours, about 12 min. longer than the original version.  The Blu-ray and DVD will be available in time for the holidays.

#TheHobbit #BattleoftheFiveArmies


There are two season finales on Sunday of note.  One is Poldark on PBS, starring Aidan Turner.  I’ve already seen the entire season as Amazon released the DVD already, so all I’ll say is there’s a cliffhanger.  A big one.

The other season finale is AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, with Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishe.  If you saw episode 9, Kali, you know Cameron did something very naughty, and we wait to see what Joe is going to do about it.  We also wait to see if there will be a third season.

If you can find it, Ian McKellen’s flick Mr. Holmes is now playing.  It has an 87% on the Tomatometer, so that’s good.  McKellen also did a great interview on The Nerdist that’s worth a listen.  If you’re hungry, he gives instructions here on how to make really good scrambled eggs.  Always useful.

Sorry to bring bad news, but after shopping ABC’s former show Forever with Ioan Gruffudd around, creator Matt Miller says there are no takers.  At any rate, leading lady Alana de la Garza (Jo), has signed up with Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, according to CinemaBlend.

Warner Bros. has just put out a BTS look at The Man From U.N.C.L.E., with Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer.  Just in time for the weekend.  Enjoy:

#TheManFromUNCLE #Poldark #HaltAndCatchFire #MrHolmes

James Bond Is Back…

…with a full trailer for SPECTRE (via Empire).

It has Daniel Craig again as Bond.  Ralph Fiennes has his first film as M, Ben Whishaw is back as a very young Q, and Naomie Harris returns as Moneypenny.

Guests this time include Christoph Waltz as baddie Oberhauser, Andrew Scott (Moriarty in the Beeb’s Sherlock), Dave Bautista, and Monica Bellucci.  Oh, and a slick new Aston Martin DB10.  Thanks, Q!

It opens on October 26th in the UK and Ireland, November 6th in the US, Canada and several other countries.

Craig has signed up for one more Bond.  After that, we’ll see if he returns again, or if the part goes to Henry Cavill, who was on the short list when Craig was chosen, but was determined to be too young for the part at the time.

#JamesBond #SPECTRE #007

Emmy Nominations!

The 2015 Emmy nominations are now out.  And finally – Tatiana Maslany gets a nomination for Orphan Black!  It took way too long for this to happen.  But all is not roses, the show itself should have been nominated but was not.

Downton Abbey is nominated in the Outstanding Drama Series category, and stars Joanne Froggatt and Jim Carter are nominated in the supporting actress and actor categories.

Alan Alda scored a nod for his guest arc on The Blacklist.

There were some headscratchers and some snubs, as per usual, but it was no surprise that Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, House of Cards and Mad Men received a plethora of nominations each.  That’s a lot of nominations.

Fox will broadcast the awards on September 20th.

The complete list of nominees is here on the official Emmy website.  Congratulations to all!

#Emmys #EmmyNominations

P.S. Re Podcasts

I had a lengthy podcast post already, but I’m back with some additional comments.

First, if you read my original post you’ll know I was not very impressed with Stuff You Should Know when I listened to their episode on ESP.  That one was a little rough.  However, I’ve listened to a couple of others, namely the one on Ouija Boards and one on the Deep Web.  Both of those were pretty good, and a definite improvement on the ESP one.  So give it a shot if you’ve a mind to, and you can find a subject that intrigues you.  That shouldn’t be hard, because these guys do episodes on anything and everything.

While you’re waiting for another season of Serial (and many of us are), there are some other criminal-related podcasts you can listen to.  One is from BBC Radio 4 and is called Who Killed Elsie Frost?  This series delves into the unsolved 1965 murder of 14-year old Elsie in an English town.  Her sister and brother are involved in the reinvestigation of her case and appear on this podcast, along with the investigators from iPM who are looking into the murder.

Another podcast that might be of interest is Criminal.  This one doesn’t follow a single case with multiple episodes like Serial, but each episode is about an individual case.  The cases might be large or small, but they’re all different.  For instance, Ex Libris is about a thief who only steals rare books, while Animal Instincts presents a case that may or may not be murder, with a resolution that may surprise you.  The title is a hint.

#Podcasts #CriminalPodcast #StuffYouShouldKnow #WhoKilledElsieFrost

The Hobbit and Poldark star Aidan Turner will star in an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None for BBC1.  Aidan will be taking the part of Philip Lombard.

It will be in three parts, and will co-star Charles Dance, Sam Neill and Miranda Richardson, according to this article in The Guardian.  It will be produced by the same company as Poldark, which has been extremely popular and has turned Aidan into a hot property.

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors.  And Then There Were None is, IMHO, the best Christie novel, despite it being devoid of one Miss Marple.  The BBC bought the exclusive rights to Christie’s works recently, closing the door on any more Miss Marple episodes with Julia McKenzie, which had aired on ITV.

The article says the mini-series will come to the US next year, but it looks to be a Christmas-time treat for the UK.

#AgathaChristie #AidanTurner #AndThenThereWereNone

The BBC’s Sherlock series now has an official Twitter account, @Sherlock221B, if you want to plug into it.  They have been tweeting from San Diego Comic-Con, where Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue and Rupert Graves just finished doing their panel.

Sherlock_2015_specialMoffat announced that the Sherlock special will be shown in certain theaters around the world.  It has already been filmed, and is set in the Victorian times of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories.  Here is a promo pic of Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in their Victorian duds.  The episode is a standalone and is not attached storyline-wise to the modern-day series.  It will be released around Christmas, at least in the UK.  No word yet on whether it will be released at the same time elsewhere.

Here’s hoping that Rupert Graves’ appearance at SDCC means he’ll be doing more Sherlock than he had been.  I’ve missed his Lestrade.

Moffat says he and co-creator Mark Gatiss have not started writing series 4 yet.  We’ll have to wait a while for it, I believe it won’t be out in the UK until 2017.  The creators have said they would like to tighten up the amount of time between its appearance on the BBC and PBS, so hopefully that series will be shown here in the US shortly after its UK run.  Of course, there are ways to see it before the PBS run, but hey, I’m no snitch.

Also released was a teaser for the Christmas special – this is so weird, seeing them in Victorian times.  Look at Mrs. Hudson!

Sherlock is a production of Hartswood Films.

#Sherlock #BenedictCumberbatch

If you miss young Han Solo, take heart.  StarWars.com announced today there will be a standalone movie to tell the story of how Han became the lovable rascal Luke and Leia first ran into way back in 1977.

It will be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (The LEGO Movie).  Writing duties will be shared by Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote one of my all-time favorite films, Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as some Star Wars flicks — and his son Jon.

Miller and Lord put out this statement:

This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with. We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.

Question: will Chris Pratt play Indiana Jones in a reboot of that franchise, take on Han Solo, or neither?  Disney owns Star Wars just like it owns Marvel, but it might be a bit much to expect that Pratt will have the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and end up in a Star Wars movie too.  The casting for this will be interesting.

The film is scheduled to be released on May 25, 2018.


Poldark was a massive hit over in the UK, and now it looks like it’s also a big hit here in the US on PBS’ Masterpiece program.  The 2015 remake of the 1970’s version starring Robin Ellis has The Hobbit’s “hot dwarf” Aidan Turner and a whole legion of new fans on both sides of the Atlantic.  Poldark is being called Aidan’s “Mr. Darcy” role, and everyone knows how near and dear to many women’s hearts Mr. Darcy is!  It is, in short, catnip to anyone who loves romance, sweeping views of Cornwall, British historical dramas, horses, and/or a gorgeous badass gentleman with a heart of gold and a rakish tri-cornered hat.  I’m in.

With Downton Abbey ending next season, the BBC was hoping for a hit with Poldark to take its place, and it looks like it has it.  They’re so happy with the production that they have signed Aidan to a multi-year contract, and with 12 Poldark novels from author Winston Graham there should be enough material for several additional series, the second of which begins filming this September.

Series 1 is available for pre-order on Amazon and will start shipping next week.  As anyone who has ever compared the BBC and PBS versions of previous series knows, PBS cuts some time out of their version to allow time for their promos and commercials.  The DVD and Blu-ray covers shown on Amazon has the PBS logo but also says on the front that it’s the full UK version, so that’s good news.  Amazon has followed that up with buying exclusive streaming rights to the series, as well as some other Masterpiece programs like Wolf Hall.  They currently have exclusive streaming rights already to Downton Abbey.

Poldark also has its first award nominations.  The series, Aidan and co-star Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza) have received TV Choice Award noms.  Congratulations!

Here’s a promo for the third episode, coming up this Sunday:

Poldark isn’t the only thing occupying his time, however.  Aidan is currently filming Look Away with Chloe Sevigny and Matthew Broderick in the Hudson Valley of New York, according to Deadline.  He’s already finished filming The Secret Scripture with Rooney Mara, Vanessa Redgrave and Eric Bana.  That one is an Irish film, filmed in Ireland and funded by the Irish Film Board.  Which is appropriate, because Aidan is not, in point of fact, British – he is from Dublin.  The film was directed by Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot).

#AidanTurner #Poldark #LookAway

Benedict Cumberbatch is going back to his radio roots in a new Rumpole of the Bailey, Rumpole and the Portia of Our Chambers on BBC Radio 4.  The series starts tomorrow, Friday, July 3rd at 2:15 p.m. London time.

Benny has voiced the part of the younger Rumpole several times.  Radio Times has the story here.

batmansupermancomiccon_deadlineEntertainment Weekly has six photos from the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  This is just in time for San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), which begins July 8th with Preview Night and continues through the 12th.  The complete program schedule is now online here.

Batman v Superman star Henry Cavill will be a busy guy at SDCC.  Not only is Dawn of Justice going to have a major presence, but he will also be part of a panel for his upcoming flick The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with co-star Armie Hammer.

And yes, geek favorites Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) will be there on behalf of their crowd-funded web series Con Man.

Image: Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice via Deadline

#SDCC2015 #BenedictCumberbatch #HenryCavill


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