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Tag Archive: Christmas 2018


Merry Christmas!

It’s that time of year again, time to take a look forward at what movies should be on your radar for 2019.  Are you going to see them all?  Heck no.  These are the genre films we think borg readers will want to know about to make their own checklists for the coming year–and they are only the films we know about so far.  We pulled 78 of the hundreds of films that have been finalized or are in varying stages of final production, slated for next year’s movie calendar.

What looks to top the list for most fanboys and fangirls?  The last of the nine films in the Star Wars saga.  Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.  Shazam! is DC’s contribution.  Quentin Tarentino returns to movies to direct Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Martin Scorcese is back with an all-star cast in The Irishman (on Netflix).  M. Night Shyamalan finishes his dark superhero trilogy with GlassArnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton return in TerminatorJordan Peele is back with another horror film with Us.

Do you like sequels?  This is your year.  Another Men in Black, X-Men, Shaft, Happy Death Day, Lego Movie, Hellboy, John Wick, Kingsman, Jumanji, The Secret Life of Pets, How to Train Your Dragon, Fast and the Furious, Zombieland, Addams Family, Charlie’s Angels, Godzilla, Shaun the Sheep, Annabelle,and Stephen King’s It and Pet SemataryDisney is trying to get you to move into your local theater with another Toy Story, Aladdin, Dumbo, Frozen, and Lion King–all in one year.  Yep, lots and lots of sequels are coming.

Some films don’t have locked-in release dates yet.  Amazon Prime and Netflix haven’t revealed dates for these 2019 releases:

  • Martin Scorcese’s The Irishman, a film about Jimmy Hoffa starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, and Bobby Cannavale (Netflix)
  • The Kid, a Western biopic with Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan, and Vincent D’Onofrio (Netflix)
  • The Man Who Killed Hitler Then Bigfoot, starring Sam Elliott (Netflix)
  • 6 Underground, a Michael Bay film starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Hardy, Dave Franco, and Mélanie Laurent (Netflix)
  • The Last Thing He Wanted, Dee Rees directs Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, and Toby Jones; journalist quits newspaper job to become an arms dealer for a covert government agency (Netflix)
  • The Laundromat, Steven Soderbergh directs Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, James Cromwell, about the Pentagon Papers (Netflix)
  • Radioactive, Rosamund Pike plays Marie Curie, with Anya Taylor-Joy (Amazon)

Some of these films will have revised release dates, or get pushed to 2020.

So grab your calendar and start making your plans–here are the movies you’ll want to see in 2019 (and many you might not):

January

Glass – Superhero, M. Night Shyamalan trilogy part 3, stars Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy; continues where Unbreakable and Split left off – January 18.

Serenity – Mystery/Thriller, stars Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong, Diane Lane; sorry, no relation to Firefly – January 25.

King of Thieves – Heist Comedy, stars Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon, and Ray Winstone – January 25.

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This is our recommendations for gifts for your best friends–your dogs–whether for the holidays or whenever–each of these toys was tried and tested by hounds who, as a breed, are pretty stubborn as playtime goes.  Each toy below passed their scrutiny with flying colors.  Ultimately your dog wants you, your time, and a warm home.  But some of these items will help you connect with your dog.

We bought more than one of some of these over the years, usually so individual dogs didn’t have to share, like the Twist’n’Treats.  Only one of these on the below list ever broke–the Tug-a-Jug–because a human dropped it onto a hard floor and the base cracked, and we replaced it, but over the years we bought at least three and the dogs loved them.

Always monitor your dogs when playing with toys.  Pieces can be chewed off quicker than you might think, and you don’t want an emergency room visit to have something removed if swallowed.  We suggest avoiding toys with “squeakers”–these get removed by dogs easier than anything else and can also be swallowed, choke a dog, or otherwise block her system.

This PetSafe brand Twist’n’Treat rated #1 with our dogs.  It unscrews so you can put small treats, kibbles, or biscuits inside.  It’s easy for a dog to chew, and it takes some time and effort for your dog to unscrew it to get the prize inside.  It’s also easy to tighten it over time after it gets easier for the dog to figure out.

This PetSafe brand Tug-a-Jug rope toy and treat dispenser is a big hit.   Two dogs will play tug-o’-war with it, and if a person holds it, as many as three dogs can take turns pulling the rope down to release a kibble treat.  The holes at the bottom allow the scent of the treats inside outward to attract your furry friend.  It unscrews simply to add more treats or to clean it.

Do you have a dog who loves to work his brain? Then this one is for him/her.  It’s a casino with slots and removable toys for dispensing treats.  Your dog will figure it out, component by component.  Drawers open only after the dog figures out how to remove the bone pegs on top.  It’s from Outward Hound, and you can’t go wrong with any of their educational pet toys.  Make sure you monitor use on this, especially with a bigger dog who might be inclined to chew the plastic bone parts.

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In the event you somehow forget to get your cat something for the holiday season, we have some tested items that are sure to please your cat as much as they did our furry friends.  Some of these can still be shipped in time for Christmas by Amazon.  But your cat probably won’t care if they have it in time.  Ultimately your cat wants you, your time, and a warm home.  But some of these items will help you connect with your cat.

A new book by the animal trainer for the Harry Potter movies will get you involved with your cat.  Think your cat can’t learn all the tricks dogs know?  Then you need to read Superstar Cats: 25 Easy Tricks to Make Your Cat Shine in the Spotlight.  Professional trainer Julie Tottman explains what is needed (like treats, a blanket, etc.), how long the trick might take, and step-by-step her method of getting Daniel Craig’s cat to lie down on command in Spectre, or Crookshanks the cat to carry an object from point A to B as in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Get it for your cat or your favorite cat lover for a stocking stuffer available now from Running Press here at Amazon.

Rule one of playtime for any pet?  Don’t let them play unsupervised.  Animal hospitals are full of cats and dogs that swallow a small item, and many toys can be chewed up and swallowed if the cat or dog has enough time to do it.

What have we found to be the #1 toy for our cats?  Just like the National Toy Hall of Fame named the ball, the stick, the blanket, and the cardboard box to its list of toys for humans, our cats routinely pick this over the rest:  It’s the plastic strapping material that holds heavy shipments you might find wrapped around a boxed self-assembled shelf.  Home Depot and Lowe’s have these literally lying on the floor in their aisles, as they are used to hold multiple boxes on shipping pallets.  We learned ours was a toy when a heavy box arrived and the cats went crazy for it.  Just wash it before use.  How do you use it?  Just run it along the floor, twist, or twirl it, and watch your cat go crazy.  And it’s free.  We picked up a few extra lengths from a helper at Home Depot.

The #2 favorite cat toy?  A cardboard box.  Any box will do.  They’ll sleep in it.  Hide in it.  Chew on it.  If you order anything from CatIt, their box has great pre-printed holes, so you pull out the item and your cat is likely to use the reassembled box with cut holes longer than the toy it contained.  Drop in a ball (or another piece of cardboard, or one of these things I don’t remember buying that my cat found under something somewhere) and they’ll never get tired of it until it falls apart and you replace it.  Again, it’s free.

Still want to buy your cat some actual toys?  Here are eight more recommendations, tried and tested by our cats:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The Christmas movie releases began big this weekend with the first out of the gate: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, an animated superhero movie in a year that has seen the animated Incredibles 2 and live action versions of Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Deadpool 2, and Venom.  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse holds its own against them all.  A rich story and layered characters in an easy to digest, familiar, multi-verse story make this rise above other recent animated superhero shows.  In-world references to comic books–sporting the main characters on the covers, multi-view panel sequences, and even first-person narrative captions appear pulled from the pages of any real-world Spider-Man book.

The cast list has been publicized for months, and as the trailers promised, the voice actors take the film from good to great.  Familiar–maybe over-used–Spidey villain Kingpin, played by Liev Schreiber, is trying to take control of all the multi-verses with a new weapon that initially pulls in Spider-heroes from five other universes.  Shameik Moore plays star Miles Morales, a new Spider-Man trying to find his way at the beginning stage of his journey in his universe along with Chris Pine (Star Trek, Jack Ryan, Wonder Woman) as your more familiar neighborhood Spider-Man.  After an explosion Miles catches up with another Spider-Man, Peter B. Parker, a view of Parker in another dimension 20 years older, played perfectly (and hilariously) by Jake Johnson (Jurassic World, The Mummy, New Girl).  They are soon joined by cool and confident Spider-Woman aka Gwen “Spider-Gwen” Stacy, voiced by Hailee Steinfeld (BumbleBee, True Grit, Ender’s Game).  Early scenes present lots of great action, including a memorable scene where Miles drags Peter to safety aboard a speeding commuter train, but this story is more about sentiment and humor.  And it gets better.

Three other Spider-heroes arrive.  Rounding out the cast previewed in the trailers is Spider-Man Noir, allowing the great Nicolas Cage another superhero role after his performance as Big Daddy in Kick-Ass (after almost starring in a Tim Burton Superman movie years ago).  A lifelong comic book connoisseur, Cage was born to portray superheroes, and here his Spider-Man is pure perfection.  The oldest of spin-off Spideys emerges with the entrance of Peter Porker aka Spider-Ham (John Mulany), first seen in print back in 1983.  And a newer webslinger, the anime heroine Peni Parker from Earth-14512 (Kimiko Glenn), complete with her high-tech “SP//dr Suit,” gets her own great scenes.  The film features plenty of surprise characters, too.

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November of course means Novembeard–where participants grow beards to raise awareness of men’s health issues.  Or, just because beards are cool and it’s become an annual tradition.  So who better to celebrate than the actor who has made a beard work for him throughout his career?  That would be Kurt Russell.  As Snake Plisskin in Escape from New York.  As MacReady in The Thing.  As Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China (stubble counts).  (Russell only had a moustache in Tombstone so we’ll skip that one).  As the sheriff in Bone Tomahawk.  As John Ruth in The Hateful Eight.  As Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.  Even his son Wyatt knows how to sport a cool beard–He wore won this year as the star of Lodge 49.  So what’s left for the guy with the cool beard to take on next?  How about playing the guy with the best beard of all time?  That’s Santa Claus, of course.

The best part?  In this trailer for Netflix’s new The Christmas Chronicles, Russell isn’t playing just another “Bad Santa” role.  Sure, it looks like a traditional family Christmas show, but Russell revealing how cool Santa is (and always has been) and lines that sound like they were written for Jack Burton?  That’s an inspired choice.

He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so you’d better clean up your act right now.

The movie stars Benji star Darby Camp and The Babysitter’s Judah Lewis as kids who want to film Santa in action.  Look for co-stars Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Father of the Bride, Darrow & Darrow) as their mom, plus Lamorne Morris (New Girl, The Guild) and Martin Roach (Kick-Ass 2, The Shape of Water). 

Check out this new trailer for The Christmas Chronicles:

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