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SW orig A   SW retro C

Yep, Disney is trying to appeal to your nostalgic side.

December is here at last.  And for hundreds of millions of moviegoers across the globe that means Star Wars is coming.

The latest out of the gates to promote Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the new retro style posters, complete with poster folds like old marquee owners would have received in the mail from the studios and posted at the front of their theaters.

SW retro B  SW orig B

Why go high tech when you can go low tech?

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CB Xmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired December 9, 1965, and tonight ABC will mark its 50th anniversary with an airing of the holiday classic and a new special about the show.  It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, will be hosted by Kristen Bell and feature several celebrities including singer Sarah McLachlan.

As with each year since 1965, the most beloved Christmas classic of all time is airing early in December, so early that it’s always so easy to miss.  Set the DVR now to catch both the show and the documentary.  It will feature details about the creation of the show and creators Charles M. Schulz, Bill Melendez, Lee Mendelson, and Vince Guaraldi.

If you miss the show tonight, pick up this DVD anniversary edition of the classic here from and the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack re-mastered in 2012 here.

It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown airs tonight, November 30, 2015. at 7 p.m. Central on ABC, followed by the original A Charlie Brown Christmas at 8 p.m.

C.J. Bunce


The Avengers and cast from Avengers 2: Age of Ultron are returning to theaters next summer for the next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War.

Check out this trailer for Captain America: Civil War:

Captain America: Civil War hits theaters May 6, 2016.

C.J. Bunce

Kylo Ren trailer

What?  Another trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? 

Isn’t it enough that every object in Target and WalMart have Star Wars tie-ins this weekend?  Maybe not.

Check out the latest trailer, featuring the new Darth Maul-inspired villain, Kylo Ren:

You know when it arrives.  No need to remind you, right?

C.J. Bunce

Jones 1

By Art Schmidt

Netflix debuted the first season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones last Friday, November 20, 2015, in the same one-hour (roughly), thirteen-episode format as many of its other hit series including House of Cards and Marvel’s Daredevil.  The fourth official Marvel Cinematic Universe property to hit the small screen in live-action format since the success of the first Marvel’s The Avengers movie in 2012, Jessica Jones takes the edgy, sexy, delightfully menacing feeling of Daredevil and adds in more edge, more sex, and more menace.

And the result is more awesome.

FYI, from now on, we’re going to drop the “Marvel’s …” in front of every-friggin-thing because: A) Even Matt Murdock could see the heat from the Marvel logo coming off of a flat screen, and B) We get it, we even agree, Marvel has done a fantastic job with its properties these last several years, but even us ardent fans of all things Marvel are starting to get sick of seeing that red-and-white logo plastered in front of every-friggin-thing.

Whereas the well-written Daredevil series focused on a heroic figure trying to overcome the odds and clean up the streets in the neighborhood where he grew up, Jessica Jones is almost a character out of a bad crime novel.  She’s a borderline alcoholic private dick who huddles in alleys and hangs from fire escapes to get dirty pictures for the seedy, pitiful clients she gets from the law firm full of sharks she contracts out to.  She lives in a run-down apartment which barely doubles as her office, she turns to the bottle when she can’t sleep and then goes out late at night, not to fight crime but to take more pictures of people at their worst so she can make more money to buy more booze.

Jones 2

At this point you might be asking: Where are the super powers?  Where are the super villains?  What is this show?

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WKRP Nessman reporting Thanksgiving stunt

Pull the turkey TV dinner out of the oven. Throw some butter on those peas. It’s time again for your annual tryptophan coma. And another annual tradition.

Here at we like our Thanksgiving with turkeys. Not just one turkey. Several turkeys. Flying overhead even. Yes, it is time again for your annual viewing of one of the two best Thanksgiving episodes of TV ever. Finish this phrase: “As God is my witness, I thought…” You don’t know how it ends? Then watch and enjoy our traditional viewing of the greatest Thanksgiving episode of TV ever:

And in between your seconds and thirds on mashed potatoes, corn casserole, bean casserole, pea casserole–and don’t forget the gravy–then check out other Thanksgiving blasts from the past here. And don’t forget the cranberries.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Staff


By J. Torrey McClain

I have an outsized morbid curiosity.  I am in the midst of reading “Devil in the White City” about the 1893 World’s Fair and the serial killer that lurked just outside its gates.  I definitely enjoyed reading Bill James’s foray into something not related to baseball, “Popular Crime.”  I’ve included several books by criminal profiler John Douglas in my reading list over the last fifteen years.  I wrote about “Green River Killer: A True Detective Story” for  So, those personal facts may color my opinion, but I’m going to go ahead and say that if you’re looking for a true crime podcast, you can’t do any better than the season that “You Must Remember This” devotes to Charles Manson and the murders he and his family committed in the summer of 1969.* (

*However, if you’re looking for runner-ups, I suggest the first season of “Serial” from the producers of “This American Life,” and the ongoing “Criminal” that is part of the Radiotopia podcast network.  I’m sure you’ve already read WAY too much on “Serial,” but I may have to add my own “Hey Listen To This!” post on “Criminal” and several of the other members of Radiotopia.

Host Karina Longworth knows how to tell a story, gives the listener a bunch of great facts and lets you know when she ventures into the realm of speculation and rumor.  Each podcast episode comes with its own blog post that notes the sources Karina uses to edify and explain the years Manson spent living free outside of prison.  She connects Manson to various other figures in Hollywood like Dennis Wilson and Doris Day.  (I must say the Wilson part really intrigued me and got me to add his digital double album, “Pacific Ocean Blue & Bambu” to my music wish list.)  She takes her time telling the story, so the series runs for twelve episodes and each episode is at least a half an hour.  It’s not a rush job, it’s not a sample of one evening in the life, it’s a darn comprehensive look at a specific time and place centered around one of the most sensational and senseless crimes of the century.**

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You can’t get much funnier these days than the latest from action hero Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and stand-up comedian Kevin Hart.  Next summer they are teaming up in the buddy comedy Central Intelligence.  Both Hart and Johnson have been cranking out movies lately but they rarely miss a step.

In Central Intelligence Hart plays an accountant who reunites with a high school pal who ended up in the CIA, played by Johnson.  And Johnson’s agent decides to bring Hart’s character along for the ride.  It all looks pretty funny.

Central also features Ryan Hansen and Aaron Paul.

Check out Hart and The Rock in this first trailer for Central Intelligence:

Central Intelligence hits theaters June 17, 2016.

C.J. Bunce


The 2012 fairy tale film Snow White and the Huntsman was a pretty fun romp, telling a completely re-imagined version of Grimm’s Snow White story.  Next year most of the cast (no Snow White) is back in The Huntsman – Winter’s War, a version of the Ice Queen tale with one of our favorite actresses, Edge of Tomorrow’s Emily Blunt, as the new antagonist.

Blunt plays the sister of evil queen Ravenna.  Played again by Academy Award winning actress Charlize Theron.  Also returning is Chris Hemsorth as The Huntsman, Nick Frost as Nion, and Sam Claflin as William.  New to the story is Crimson Peak’s Jessica Chastain as the warrior Sara.

Check out this beautifully done trailer for The Huntsman – Winter’s War:

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by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Last month we offered our review of Guillermo del Toro’s new gothic film, Crimson Peak, raving over its atmosphere and performances.  Since it won’t be released in a home-viewing format for a while yet, how are we supposed to refresh our Crimson Peak fix until then?

Read the movie tie-in novel, of course!

crimson peak cover

Crimson Peak by veteran horror author Nancy Holder is a dead ringer for its onscreen counterpart, offering a scene-by-scene text recreation of the film.  But Holder often goes deeper, offering perspectives from characters not fully expressed on screen, elaborating on the story’s emotional arc, and adding to the haunting atmosphere with her own nuanced, sometimes surprising voice.

If you’ve seen the film, there’s nothing new here.  At times the book feels flat, as if the words alone can’t live up to the actors’ performances, and the author was required to give as close a blow-by-blow account as possible.  But in other moments, Holder’s own prose shines:

It watched the house’s breath scatter the dry leaves that drifted in, drifted by.  The walls were bleeding from fissures in the wallpaper.  Stab wounds, or a razor blade drawn across a vein? Moths flew out; maggots fed.  The mad head of the house was rotting, and night was dragging her wings across the moon, tracing filigree on the floor.  In the attic, more black moths were dancing because it was cold, because it was dark. Because they were hungry.

For the butterfly.

Oooh, shivery!

The biggest challenge here is the same minor plot weakness that caused the film to stumble a bit at the end.  With so much glorious setup, with the fantastic otherworldly intervention of the supernatural–which is what drew us to this story, after all!–Crimson Peak deserves a bigger payoff, a less predictable and mundane explanation for all the horror.  But Holder actually manages the material a little more deftly than it appeared on screen; the pacing is more dread-inducing as she doles it out piecemeal.  We already know what’s happening, and yet the book’s buildup is better than the film’s letdown.  Whatever Holder can’t render as stunningly via prose (del Toro’s visionary ghosts), she makes up for in suspense.

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