Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

New Releases:

Joker – After over a year of speculation of what this film would be, it’s connections to all the existing canon of DC Comics’ cinematic universe and really what the state of this Batman villain is going forward, this Todd Phillips directed film has arrived and Joaquin Phoenix is being praised for his performance in it, which doesn’t surprise me a bit. With zero connection to any pre-existing comic story or film, this is the story of how struggling comedian Arthur Fleck became the Joker, a criminal mastermind that terrorizes Gotham City. Looking at the film’s trailer, to me, it comes across as a gritty version of Martin Scorsese’s The King Of Comedy with a violent and clown-themed twist. It’s really hard not to have the bar raised high for this movie as this character is so revered but I think it’s going to astound audiences.

Blu-Ray:

Spider-Man: Far From Home – The first movie to follow after the massive changes that Avengers: Endgame brought to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this film is the story that brings closure to this phase, let’s us mourn Tony Stark and prepares us for what’s coming next. I want to keep this one really short as spoiler territory is a hard thing to avoid with this but the film is basically about the world trying to get back to normal after the dusting or what this film calls “the blip” when a new threat to the planet emerges with what may be a new hero in the form of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio. The movie is the perfect blend of spectacle and laughs filtered into an awkward teenager rom-com, exactly what we needed after the dire consequences of Infinity War and Endgame. This film is a big movie experience in every way and demands to be seen.

Anna – French action director Luc Besson is back with another woman led ass-kicker movie. The film stars Sasha Luss, a relatively unknown actress who featured in Besson’s last movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets in a predominantly CGI role, but she looks totally badass in the trailer. She plays the title character, a beautiful and deadly assassin and really that’s all I know about it and with this great action director, well, that’s all you need to know. The rest of the cast is solid too with Helen Mirren, Luke Evans and Cillian Murphy. If you’re looking for some brainless stuff and need some serious Atomic Blonde stylized stuff, this is your ticket.

Wild Rose – This seems to be a really great time for music in movies as we’ve recently received biopics of two of the greatest rock n roll acts of all time, Queen and Elton John, and had the high profile remake of A Star Is Born and the phenomenal indie film Teen Spirit. In this new film that is getting top-notch reviews, Irish singer and actress Jessie Buckley plays a Glasgow singer who is pursuing her dream of moving from Glasgow to Nashville to become the next country star. The movie comes from director Tom Harper, who has directed a slew of great British television and the Woman In Black sequel, so I know this film with have a visual style to go along with its music. This may be one of those hidden gem films.

Anna And The Apocalypse – It’s like this movie was made to get me riping out it out of the DVD packaging for both a musical and a Christmas movie, two genres that don’t have a high success rate with me. How do they do this? A zombie Christmas movie. Absolutely brilliant. Basically, a group of friends living in a small town in England have to survive a zombie outbreak during the holiday season and I feel like instant classic ensues. You see more of this genre-bending could go a long way to grabbing yourself some new fans against their will but all in all, the songs are catchy, the gore is a lot of fun and the production level is there. Plus, there is a musical sequence with the main characters completely oblivious to the chaos around them that rivals Shaun Of The Dead.

Framing John DeLorean – We all known the DeLorean as Back To The Future made it such a huge part of our pop culture that you really need to live under a rock to not know about it but is the rise and fall of the DeLorean Motor Company as common of knowledge? This film is the only film to be made on the man who had a dream and screwed everyone in the process to keep it alive as four different films were optioned but never came to fruition, one produced by DeLorean himself. This documentary takes a fascinating approach of being a linear story told about the rise of an idea, the execution and then the scandalous fall through bad deals and a cocaine bust with re-enactments starring Alec Baldwin. The final result is ambitious and engrossing, such an interesting way of telling a real story.

Doom: Annihilation – Look, the original Doom movie with Karl Urban and The Rock gets a really bad rap and while it’s nowhere near a good movie it’s pretty damn entertaining and has a sweet POV sequence that has only been done again in Hardcore Henry. That said, I really don’t feel this sequel or reboot was necessary and it’s haphazardly bad and not even in a fun “so bad it’s good” way, it’s just plain bad. The characters are cardboard cutouts only made to die and the effects slowly slide from bad to worse, even if they do some practical makeup stuff that could have been cool. This is just another obvious direct to video production looking for some video game money.

Itsy Bitsy – Well, I guess you can’t win them all as Shout and Scream Factory helped distribute this mess of a creature feature that I should have known was bad just based on the name alone. The story follows a single mother of two who is deeply grieving for her youngest child who was killed in a car accident. Moving them out of New York to a secluded mansion in a small town where she is to be the caregiver for an elderly collector suffering from MS. One of his relics happens to contain a giant spider within that terrorizes everyone. This movie is an absolute mess will pretty much no redeeming features besides a couple of cool monster effects. Not even worth a moment of your time.

The Addams Family & Addams Family Values – Anyone who is a 90s kid like myself will have a deep love for both of these movies and now they are both in one Blu-ray package together. With an animated film coming next week to theaters, relive the perfect big-screen live-action representation of the iconic Addams family played beautifully by the legendary Raul Julia, Angelica Huston, a very young Christina Ricci and the kid who played Pugsley, Jimmy Workman, who is actually the older brother of Modern Family’s Ariel Winter. This movie proved that they didn’t Tim Burton to make this movie creepy, kooky, spooky and ooky because director Barry Sonnenfeld did that quite handily. Also never forget that the second movie featured the hit M.C. Hammer song “Too Legit To Quit” but I know you would never let that slip your mind being such big fans and all.

Gunsmoke: Season 15 Volume 1 & 2 – When I was a kid my dad had me watching all the shows he grew up on like Bonanza, The Rifleman and this show about U.S. marshal Matt Dillon (not the actor), a man employed to keep his town of Dodge City peaceful and calm, which you know never happens. With six hundred and thirty-five total episodes totalling twenty seasons by the time the show wrapped up, it’s hard to tell you exactly what these two volumes are exactly about but the great thing about Gunsmoke is that you can drop in just about anywhere.

Tell Me A Story: Season 1 – A band new series from the creators of The Vampire Diaries, I had never heard of this show until it was sent to me by the people at Paramount but now I’m pretty excited about it as the fan base has really latched onto this show. If you are a regular reader of my piece here each week then you will know that I love a good horror anthology and that is exactly what this is. Created by the man who wrote Scream, this show takes classic fables like interweaves The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel and reimagines them in a modern setting with a cast of recurring characters played by The Vampire Diaries’ Paul Wesley, Zoo’s James Wolk and Aladdin’s Billy Magnussen.

Charmed (2019): Season 1 – Everything that was old is slowly but surely becoming new again as this show about three witch sister, originally played by Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano then eventually Rose McGowan when Doherty was fired, gets brand new life again on the CW. Stepping into the roles now are Be Kind Rewind’s Melonie Diaz, Into The Badlands’ Madeleine Mantock and Shades Of Blue’s Sarah Jeffery who take the series in a darker direction which is maybe why some of the original fans of the series it was spawned from absolutely hate it. Progression is either forgotten or hated in these types of shows.

Avatar: The Last Airbender & The Legend Of Korra – The complete series of Avatar The Last Airbender was released on Blu-ray back in June but when I never received a copy of it, I was mighty upset. Now the show has been paired with its companion series in a new double set and I am so happy to have it in my hands. This is a massively popular anime series produced with the help of Nickelodeon that had both the fan support behind it from the beginning as well as some big critical acclaim. We just won’t speak of the M. Night Shyamalan garbage that was derived from it.

Steve’s Blu-Ray Geekout:

Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am? – In my opinion, the greatest saxophone player of all time gets his due in this documentary made eight years after his death. Clarence was known for his forefront role in the E Street Band, backing “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen, but this documentary digs deep into his life, showing the more intimate side of the musician, something no fan has ever gotten to see before. Full disclosure on my knowledge of Clemons, I was educated at a young age because he appeared in Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure as one of “The Three Most Important People In The World” and I had questions for my mom.

Who Saw Her Die? – Back to the giallo films from Arrow Video, a genre I have become increasingly fond of. This movie stars one time James Bond actor George Lazenby as a sculptor and the father of a young girl who is brutally murdered in a series of killings in France. Taking matters into his own hands, he and his wife start their own investigation into who may be the killer, putting themselves at risk as the body count rises. Being made in 1972, the movie is definitely cheesy due to the time period but still pretty entertaining and as wooden as Lazenby is, it kind of works in this one. This isn’t going to astound anyone but it’s pretty a pretty entertaining serial killer film.

Television:

Big Mouth: Season 3 (Netflix) – It’s time to get uncomfortable with our bodies all over again as this lewd, rude and massively crude animated comedy returns with all-new episodes. I adore anything that Nick Kroll and John Mulaney do and when you throw Maya Rudolph and Jason Mantzoukas into the mix than I am in love. For those who don’t know about this show, it is the awkward and sometimes brutal coming of age story of two best friends in the throes of puberty. Watch it at your own risk but keep it in mind that it is totally my kind of messed up.

Peaky Blinders: Season 5 (Netflix) – This massively popular BBC creation makes its anticipated return to the streaming site, featuring an incredible cast led by Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory, Anya Taylor-Joy, Aiden Gillen and Finn Cole in great supporting roles. The series is a gangster family epic set in 1919 Birmingham, England, a ruthlessly brutal gang who sewed razor blades in the peaks of their caps to take care of their enemies, led by their fierce boss Tommy Shelby, Murphy’s character. The new season has Tommy as the now the newly elected Labour MP for Birmingham South but dealing with new problems in the wake of a massive Wall Street crash. People are going to be all over this one.

Raising Dion: Season 1 (Netflix) – This is a show that I really just found out about this week but it looks pretty interesting. The show is about a widowed young mother whose life is thrown into disarray when she discovers that her son has superpowers and tries to figure out how to raise him safely and responsibly. The cool thing about this series is that it’s a family-oriented show so the whole family can get in on it but there are no recognizable stars in the show at all so the acting is a little lesser in quality.

In The Tall Grass (Netflix) – It’s really funny because I’m in Vancouver this week to cover the Vancouver International Film Festival and this movie actually played the fest but I was being bored to death at the time by Terrence Malick so I completely missed it. Now everyone can see it, the new film from Cube director Vincenzo Natali, based on a novella written by father and son duo Stephen King and Joe Hill. The film is about a sister and brother who venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas after hearing a cry for help. Quickly they discover that the have entered an endless maze and there is something hunting them down. This is totally my kind of movie and I really hope it washes all my bad feelings away about It: Chapter 2. You owe me, Steve!

Goliath: Season 3 (Amazon Prime) – This show became the most streamed show on the Amazon Prime service well before anyone knew about it, at least in Canada, so I expect this Billy Bob Thornton led sleazy lawyer series is hotly anticipated coming into its third year. The show has Thorton as a disgraced lawyer who has fallen so far down the ladder that he is now essentially an ambulance chaser. This all changes when he gets the opportunity to stick it to his former firm and earn some redemption with a special case that lands in his lap. Featuring a recurring role from William Hurt and created by television magician David E. Kelley, it looks to have all the makings of a great show.

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