Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

New Releases:

The Super Mario Bros. Movie – For a nineties kid like myself, I am owed an accurate adaptation of possibly the most widely recognized video games of all time because the one we got in 1993 feels like a fever dream. Nintendo partnering with the Despicable Me studio Illumination Entertainment might be the gift we never knew would deliver as the trailers for this new animated version look like a love letter to all of our starts in gaming. The story follows a Brooklyn plumber named Mario who travels through the Mushroom Kingdom with a princess named Peach and an anthropomorphic mushroom called Toad to find Mario’s brother, Luigi, and to save the world from a ruthless fire-breathing Koopa named Bowser. Pretty standard and I’m almost guaranteeing a massive win for Illumination and a greenlit sequel as both Mario and Sonic see successful franchises, as they should be, being the heavyweights. I would even say that this is an early Oscar contender in the Best Animated department for next year.

Air – It’s been thirteen years since Ben Affleck was behind the camera, the last being his Dennis Lehane adaptation Live By Night, so knowing he had, not only just a new movie but one starring Matt Damon alongside himself, I was very interested. It also happens to be based around the greatest basketball player of all time and one of the most iconic pieces of footwear as well. The film follows the story of shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro, played by Damon, and how he led Nike in its pursuit of the greatest athlete in the history of basketball who hadn’t even set foot on an NBA court yet, Michael Jordan. Affleck stars in a supporting role as the founder of the company Phil Knight and a huge cast backs them including Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, Chris Messina and Academy Award winner Viola Dais. The early reviews for the film are stellar and it’s great to see Affleck return to the acclaim that he was receiving over a decade ago with Argo, The Town and Gone, Baby, Gone.

Chupa – Shy 13-year-old Alex (Evan Whitten) flies from Kansas City to Mexico to meet his extended family for the first time. There he meets his grandfather and former lucha libre champion Chava (Demián Bichir), energetic, wrestling-obsessed cousin Memo (Nickolas Verdugo), and fearless, hip cousin Luna (Ashley Ciarra). But just as Alex begins to get his bearings, he discovers a mythical creature living under his grandfather’s shed: a young chupacabra cub, which he recognizes from stories of the feared, full-grown chupacabra, fabled to feed on farmers’ livestock. Alex soon learns that his new friend “Chupa” has a secret history with his family, and that dogged, dangerous scientist Richard Quinn (Christian Slater) is hunting the misunderstood creature to try and harness his powers. To protect Chupa from impending danger, Alex sets off on the adventure of a lifetime, one that will push the bonds of his newfound family to the brink, and remind him that life’s burdens are lighter when you don’t have to carry them alone.

Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now – Admittedly, Lewis Capaldi’s music isn’t something I would just put on during the weekend but I will acknowledge how powerful his voice is and his songwriting is really solid. That said, his music is just so sad at its core, with such heartbreak and loss in the lyrics, which is so crazy because Lewis himself feels like such a silly and funny guy at his core. This documentary, produced through Netflix, follows Lewis from his beginnings as a teen singer-songwriter who earned his fame after a performance went viral, leading to a big following on social media and the massive success of his first record. The follow-through of the film is in Capaldi’s journey in creating his follow-up record as well as dealing with personal issues in his anxiety and mental health. At points, the film feels pretty standard in the music dc department, a fly-on-the-wall look at this artist’s life but through Lewis, there is his personality that sets his story apart from everyone else. That said, I don’t see myself picking up his vinyl anytime soon but I walked away with more appreciation for his art.


M3GAN – Cult horror got off to a jump start this year as the first release weekend of 2023 had this sci-fi horror from the genre audience’s favourite studio Blumhouse landing in theatres and it was an unexpected little piece of self-aware brilliance. Much like Barbarian took hold of moviegoers in September last year, this new film has all of the makings of earning that soft spot in horror lovers’ hearts and the fact that it has a full-on dance scene punctuated with murderous mayhem is just a cherry on the chilling sundae. The film follows a robotics engineer who builds a life-like android doll and decides to activate it to be a companion for her niece that has recently lost both of her parents. The friendship between the two is fast and the attachment between the two grows until our titular robotic doll starts to take it too far and begins to off anyone she deems a threat to her new friend. Based on a story by one of the greatest minds in modern horror, James Wan, the man behind Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring and Malignant, this feels like another facet of his creative prowess, this one being a sort of Chucky renewal for the modern age in a small way. Wan leaves the directing duties to Gerard Johnstone, a creator who astounded with his movie Housebound in 2014 and with this being his big North American break I think his introduction went very well as we have a sequel greenlit already.

Confess, Fletch – In this delightful comedy romp, Jon Hamm stars as the roguishly charming and endlessly troublesome Fletch, who becomes the prime suspect in a murder case while searching for a stolen art collection. The only way to prove his innocence? Find out which of the long list of suspects is the culprit–from the eccentric art dealer and a missing playboy to a crazy neighbour and Fletch’s Italian girlfriend. Crime, in fact, has never been this disorganized.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Movie Franchise – Now that the original cast has had the entire series and their movies moved up to the next echelon of physical media, it’s now time for the Next Generation movie to do the same. Whether you find yourself as a Wars or Trek fan, we can still agree that at least one of these four movies is awesome and I think we might even agree on which one it is. Now on Blu-Ray and 4K, you have the first foray into feature films with Generations, which had Picard meeting Captain Kirk, First Contact, the epic fight against the Borg, Insurrection, the discovery of a conspiracy with the Federation and Nemesis, Picard doing battle against his own younger clone. First Contact is my obvious favourite but all of these movies are awesome in their own right. You also have to give it up for a young Tom Hardy as the villain in the last film.

South Park: Season 25 – Let’s all take a trip back to the world created by demented Colorado native Trey Parker and Matt Stone as there is a brand new season of one of the greatest animated shows of all time. I will also say that it makes a good play to be the actual best of all time with the simple fact that it never had a bad season and continues to be subversive and edgy. Season 25 has the continued saga of Randy Marsh and his cannabis farm Tegrity Farms but now is facing off with his new neighbour, Tolkien’s dad who has successful dreams of his own farm. This season is also the set up to all of the streaming movies that were released on Paramount+ so it is worth catching up on to binge all of those.

Steve’s Blu-Ray Geekouts:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – The initial adaptation of the bestselling Stieg Larsson novel, this was a landmark film for me beyond that as it put star Noomi Repace on my radar and I’ve been a fan ever since. This is also a decidedly messed up story that had my jaw on the floor and as much as I love the David Fincher remake with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, this original has the edge. For those who have never had the sick pleasure of this revenge series, the story follows a journalist who is aided by a young female hacker with a hellbent path of her own in his search for the killer of a woman who has been dead for forty years. This movie is so rich with character and intrigue, one of my favourite thrillers in the last twenty years and it’s really sad that Larsson didn’t live to see the mark that his stories made and the effect that they would have on cinema. This film helped deliver an awakening to the R-rated thriller at the box office that is still felt today.

I’ll Cry Tomorrow – Deprived of a normal childhood by her ambitious mother, Katie, Lillian Roth becomes a star of Broadway and Hollywood before she is twenty. Shortly before her marriage to her childhood sweetheart, David Tredman, he dies and Lillian takes her first drink of many down the road of becoming an alcoholic. She enters into a short-lived marriage to an immature aviation cadet, Wallie, followed by a divorce and then marriage to a sadistic brute and abuser Tony Bardeman. After a failed suicide attempt, Burt McGuire comes to her aid and helps her find the road back to happiness after sixteen years in a nightmare world, not counting the first twenty with her mother.

Camille – An attractive woman going by the name of Marguerite lives in Paris and is a courtesan, kept by the rich aristocrat Baron de Varville. When the handsome young Armand sees her for the first time, he immediately falls in love. Camille is not so easy as to fall for his charms immediately. She lives a comfortable life, after all. As she comes to have feelings for him, Armand’s father intervenes asking her not to cast a shadow on his son’s future prospects and she agrees. In her greatest time of need, however, the loving Armand returns to her.


Beef (Netflix) – Two people let a road rage incident burrow into their minds and slowly consume their every thought and action. The show is the first A24-produced series and stars comedian Ali Wong and Academy Award nominee Steven Yuen.

Dave: Season 3 (Disney+) – The show centers on a neurotic man in his late 20s who has convinced himself that he’s destined to be one of the best rappers of all time. Now he must convince his closest friends because, with their help, he actually might convince the world. Simultaneously exasperating and inspiring to his friends, he vows to leave no stone unturned on his quest to become the next superstar. The half-hour comedy is based on the life of rapper and comedian Dave Burd, better known by his stage name Lil Dicky.

Schmigadoon!: Season 2 (AppleTV+) – In a parody of 1940s musicals, backpacking couple Melissa and Josh get trapped in Schmigadoon, a magical town filled with singing and dancing townspeople; they learn they can’t leave without finding true love, which they thought they already had.

Tiny Beautiful Things (Disney+) – Kathryn Hahn has been a favorite comedic actress of mine for years, ever since her supporting roles in Step Brothers and the wholly underrated The Goods: Live Fast Sell Hard so when she is given the lead role in a new Hulu original, you now I’m paying attention. Another thing that has me excited is that most of the series is directed by Desiree Akhavan, a gifted indie filmmaker who did a couple of great features with The Miseducation Of Cameron Post and Appropriate Behavior as well as episodes of Hacks, Ramy and more. This series has Hahn playing a woman who reluctantly takes on an anonymous, unpaid position with an advice column called Sugar. Unsure of herself at first, she finds a way to weave her life experiences together to help those seeking guidance even as she is in a rock bottom position in her own life. Seeing Hahn take on this dramatic role with a darkly comedic edge, she slips into it so brilliantly and, even though the character starts off as pretty sour and unlikable, you still want to root for her. As the series progresses, it becomes even more unpredictable and I think it will pick up an audience sheerly through word of mouth. It is a damn well-written series and I’m loving it.

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