To let you in on a little behind-the-scenes action here at Cinema Sentries, me and boss-man Gordon spent some time tossing around ideas on what to call this new series. The idea for the series sprang from the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. At the end of each show, everyone in that week’s panel talks about something from pop culture that’s been making them happy. It's always my favorite segment and I love the concept of finding things both big and small that bring you joy and sharing that with whoever will listen. The idea of doing something similar
Recently in Opinion
Give this a read, you numbskulls.
No matter what the news tells you, there's lots of awesome things happening all around.
It is universally acknowledged that 2016 sucked. The world of entertainment and art lost an unimaginable number of talented creators. Early in the year, we lost Prince and near its end our Princess. Star Wars lost its lovable Droid, the rebooted Star Trek its Chekov. Our favorite TV mom from the '70s passed and soon there after went the best dad of the '80s. Ziggy Stardust fell from Earth and with him Leonard Cohen, too. Professor Snape will never cast a spell again and Willy Wonka’s chocolates are all gone. The list goes on and on. The width and breadth
With 2016 at its long overdue close, it's time for me to tell you what I considered the best releases in the world of comics and graphic novels.
It felt like a dumpster fire kind of year, but let me tell you - it was a delightful year for comics. Just think about it: DC launched its Rebirth title, which was wildly successful and one of the most popular single issues to date. On the other hand, we had the controversial Civil War II from Marvel. That event has mixed feelings across the board, and no one seems to be able to decide if it was actually that good (or helpful). As for me, 2016 was a year of discovering comics creators that I loved and watching them
How many shows do their top-11 lists share?
In which Shawn and Kim take a look back at the brilliant storytelling shows from 2016. Shawn: If T&A is good at one thing, it's recognizing good and bad TV. Sometimes, those two things are all wrapped into one show. The end of the year is when I usually finish clearing out the DVR and assessing what shows will stay on the list and which ones need to be deleted to make room to try some new things. This is the Golden Age of television. It's probably more likely to call it the Golden Age of the Serial Story. The
The Sentries & Friends wish to nominate....
Last week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their nominees for their 2017 induction ceremony, which will be revealed in December and awarded next April. According to their website, "Artists—a group encompassing performers, composers and/or musicians—become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock & roll." The nominees are: Bad Brains (eligible since 2007) Chaka Khan (eligible since 2003) Chic (eligible since 2002) Depeche Mode (eligible since 2006) Electric Light Orchestra (eligible
At its best, TV tells unique stories that don't fit into the limited motion picture format of 90-200 minute limitations.
Rolling Stone just conducted a major poll involving actors, writers, producers, critics, and showrunners to come up with the 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, a list they describe as "the definitive ranking of the game-changing small-screen classics." They aren't exactly breaking any big news here. TV is good. In fact, currently TV is really good. The era of the creator is among us. Multiple networks like HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC, History, and WGN are making showrunners and creators the auteurs of the day. The more networks get out of the way of the creative folks, the better the
2016 takes another one of my heroes.
It would be too easy to pick my five favorite Gene Wilder films. It would include the favorites like Willy Wonka and Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. I sat down and didn't want to write a quick tribute to this amazing man by listing films that most everyone has heard of and probably watched a hundred times. So I wanted to delve a little deeper into the filmography. Here's a few films that are worth taking another look at. 1. THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES' SMARTER BROTHER (1975) Gene wrote and directed this film also. Sigerson is younger than both
Did your favorites make the cut?
The editors of BBC Culture "decided to commission a poll of critics to determine the 100 greatest films of the 21st Century," even though it's only been 15 years (and incorrectly though intentionally included the year 2000,) because they "wanted to prove that this century has given us films that will stand the test of time, that you will continue to think about and argue about if only you give them a chance and watch them." Not sure why they think this would change the minds of those who thought like that, but so many people love looking at lists.
How my favorite television show became my port in a storm.
Three years ago today, my family and friends gathered at my parent's house to celebrate the life of my father Alan Staniforth, who had died the month before. Two weeks ago today, Marc Maron's television show, Maron, aired its final episodes on IFC. If you are wondering how these two are related, I'm about to tell you. Two weeks ago, on Monday morning, I started my morning commute as I do every morning with Marc Maron and his WTF podcast. A few minutes into episode #723, Marc started talking about the Maron season 4 finale. Then he said it. He
It has been met with constant criticism and seemingly more so than previous reboots and remakes of classic films. What makes this film franchise stand out above the rest?
The past few years have been met with constant reboots and remakes of old classics, such as Jurassic Park and Spider-Man. Although some have been treated as a money-grab, others have been tactfully remade and received dozens of positive reviews. Regardless, Hollywood stays hopeful and relies on the nostalgic factor of older audiences who once loved popular films of the past. Probably one of the best recent examples of this eternal hope is the soon-to-be-released reboot of the iconic 1984 film, Ghostbusters, gender-switched and set to appear in theaters July 15. Any time a film gets a reboot, you can
"For every Human Target that comes and goes without notice, there will be a Constantine that leaves far too early." - Shawn
In which Shawn and Kim discuss the weekly DC Comics-based shows and shirtless heroes. Shawn: I've caught up on most of my comic-based shows recently. One of the newest ones elicited quite a few opinions, so I thought we should touch base on where we're at with these. For every Human Target that comes and goes without notice, there will be a Constantine that comes into our world and leaves far too early. DC'S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW (CW) The latest addition to the Arrowverse is a breath of fresh air. I am not going to deny I love this series
Bowie made many musical masterpieces, but it was hard to list them all. These are just a few that really spoke to me.
David Bowie was a genius, a rebel, a god, and a musical innovator who had no equal. He was brilliant, sexy, and unclassifiable; he was also quite radical. Just like the Beatles, his music defined and refined a generation. When I first saw him, he was like a beacon of light, this beautiful creature who didn't look like anyone I had ever seen. When I first heard his voice, chills went up and down my back like never before. Who was this handsome, androgynous man? Where did he come from? I decided to pick a few of these songs that
A creepy song on the end credits of a creepy movie created a lifetime fan.
David Fincher led me to David Bowie. I doubt that was a typical path to the Thin White Duke, but it's how I got there. I went to watch Se7en because the review in the Daily News said it should have gotten an NC-17 for its grisly crime scenes, so that was something I had to see. This was back when it was easier for young and impressionable teens to get into R-rated movies (two years later I would be barred from seeing Lost Highway at the same theater, even though I was 17 - I just couldn't prove it.)
RIP to the Thin White Duke.
Being an only child, but having some hip uncles who were more like older brothers, I got exposed to a lot of great musical artists at a very early age. One of those musicians was David Bowie. Not unlike Prince after him, Bowie was one of those performers who were so diverse, it was nearly impossible to like everything he did (You can’t please all of the people all of the time), but when he hit the mark, he hit it hard. Being a Queen fan as well, I was intrigued when I saw that the new track on the
A thoughtful and abstract look at the best and worst of TV in 2015.
In which Shawn and Kim reflect on their favorite televison programs and the disappointments. Shawn: We've had a few opportunities in 2015 to write about the TV shows that entertained and frustrated us. But I thought it would be good to put a bow on the year with the Best and Worst moments of TV 2015. In no particular order. BEST MOMENTS 1.) THE WALKING DEAD (AMC) - We started the year with Tyreese's death and end up with the death of Deanna. In between, we had developments that I didn't agree with and ones that intrigued me. I know
What's on your wish list?
Before heading out to brave the sales-hunting crowds or shopping from the comfort of the Internet, some of us thought we'd offer recommendations for our loved ones--er, that is, to our readers on items that would exciting gifts. Greg Barbrick Trumbo (2015) will definitely be in my top ten this year, and watching it reminded me of the neglected classic Spartacus (1962). Although I do own a double VHS edition of it, the new Blu-ray is what I hope to see under the tree this year. The film was director Stanley Kubrick's first big-budget feature, following his critically acclaimed Paths
In which the bastardness of the executioner is debated and characters questioned.
The following entries were written simultaneously by Shawn and Kim as a summary of the one and only season of The Bastard Executioner. Any repeated observations are strictly because their twisted minds think alike. Kim: I’m pretty sad that Kurt Sutter pulled the plug on The Bastard Executioner just as I felt it was starting to really get going. I get it though. It was plagued by a pretty complex storyline that really couldn’t be done in an hour(ish) a week, plus, a shitty time slot. I know I had to DVR on Tuesdays and would get around to watching
Kim and Shawn take another walk down TV Street and look back at their March thoughts.
In which Kim and Shawn riff again on some recent TV thingies... Kim: Back in March, we talked a bit about what we’d been watching on TV that season and I thought it would be interesting to have a look back at what we wrote and see how things have changed. As an aside, I hate change. I realize it’s a part of life and I do put on my big-girl panties and deal with it, but I don’t like it. I also don’t like the word "panties." Or wearing them. But those are different subjects. Let’s take a quick
Genre? Cast? Plot? Storytelling? What factors entice you to tune in to a show, or take a pass?
Even with DVR and on-Demand viewing to allow maximum scheduling opportunities, the amount of tv content available to us far exceeds that amount that we can actually consume. To that end, we must make conscious choices about what we choose to view, and when. I got to thinking about this the other day when I went to add Elementary to my Netflix queue only to find it isn't available. I wondered why I didn't start watching it from the beginning even though I remember finding the premise interesting. That got me to thinking about that choice we make - do
"Is this a parallel universe where no one has ever seen a zombie movie, except for that one kid?"
In which Shawn and Kim (and some fictional characters) offer advice to the gang from Fear the Walking Dead. Shawn: I intercepted some correspondence from The Walking Dead characters. I've quoted just some of the pertinent parts. 1. Carl writes - "Hey, Matt. Get your crap together. I was shot and whined less than you. And Chris, put away the camera and get some knives. I almost bit it like four times by messing around. Everyone get their shit together before your dad goes crazy and starts killing other dads." 2. Shane writes - "Travis, go ahead and sleep with
At least we have Sunday Dead again!
In which Kim and Shawn offer their initial thoughts on the first epiosode of the Fear the Walking Dead. Kim: 1) Boys who dress in midriff pirate shirts are asking for trouble. 2) I have no idea what the characters' names are. I think the father figure dude might be Travis. The Mom is maybe Angie, but I don't really think so. The kids are girl, druggie, and emo boy. Hopefully, I got that right. I do know the first girl you see turned in the church - she's Gloria. That is really the only name that I'm certain on.
T&A focuses their attention of the young, unlikely leader of the group: Glenn.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) continue to discuss their favorite characters on television. "No one is impressed, man. Walk away." - Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) Shawn: I want to continue our talk about our favorite characters with Glenn Rhee from The Walking Dead. He's the most likable post-apocalyptic pizza delivery guy ever. I've loved him ever since his introduction to us as just a voice. Rick is trapped in the tank in Atlanta and over the radio we hear the "Hey you...dumbass." It's appropriate that we first hear him because I see him as our "voice of reason"
The con programs I am most intrigued by are...
Comic-Con International's WonderCon returns to the Anaheim Convention April 3-5, 2015, which has been its home since 2012, to the delight of many in Southern California and to the disappointment of many in Northern California. Fans come to celebrate their pop-culture obsessions, honoring what has come before and learning what new things they can discover. While I am interested in taking part in a number of WonderCon events, the programs I am most intrigued by are listed below. Friday Star Trek: They're Not Really Dead As Long As We Remember Them Friday April 3, 2015 1:00pm - 2:00pmRoom 207 While
Each year it is harder to decide on what to see.
With the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival a week away, I have started planning my schedule. Each year it is harder to decide on what to watch. I go in thinking I will stick with films I have not yet seen, but all-time favorites have a tendency to sneak onto my schedule. Below is my list of the top films I am most excited about and likely to attend (as of right now). Thursday: Too Late for Tears (1949): My festival will start off with my most sought after genre, film noir. I have never heard of the film but
Kim and Shawn take a thoughtful look at the man with the mullet.
In which Kim (@kimfreakinb) and Shawn (@genx13) step back to look at one of their favorite characters. "The smartest man I ever met happened to love my hair. My old boss, T. Brooks Ellis, the director of the Human Genome Project. He said my hair made me look like, and I quote, 'a fun guy,' which I am." - Dr. Eugene Porter Kim: I want to talk about characters, because they are truly what makes or breaks a show. How much do you like the people you're rooting for or hate the ones you want to see die a horrendous
What they talk about when they talk about what they are watching this season.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) riff on some recent TV thingies... Shawn: It's been far too long since we caught up. So I've got a few thoughts to spray out regarding some of the TV you may or may not have been watching. American Crime (ABC): One episode in and I'm interested. I think it's going to run a fine line for me. I see parts of the show like the parents dealing with the death of their son (two strong actors there - I especially like Timothy Hutton) to play out in ways that we don't always
His work will live long and the audience will prosper from it.
Leonard Nimoy died on February 27 due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which he claimed was due to having been a smoker even though he had kicked the habit nearly 30 years. Though he had a long career as an actor playing a variety of parts, he became forever identified the world over as Star Trek's Mr. Spock, the half-human/half-Vulcan First Officer of the Enterprise. He not only played Spock on the initial TV series for three seasons, but would return to it many times over the years from The Animated Series and the theatrical movies, and
Bruce Sinofsky has passed away at 58, but the work he did for the West Memphis Three lives on.
Part of the reason I tend to review a lot of documentaries for Cinema Sentries because I know, on a personal level, how the work of documentary filmmakers can change your life. The film community has lost one of its greats as I found out yesterday when Bruce Sinofsky died at the age of 58 from complications related to diabetes. I cannot say that I knew Bruce Sinofsky well, but his worked changed my life. I only met Bruce once, and it was at the West Memphis Three benefit I put together at the Melrose Improv back in 2004. Both
Did we mention yours?
When the Academy Award nominations are revealed in just a few hours, the final stage of marketing/recognizing films and filmmakers of 2014 will commence. With all the shenanigans that go on behind the scenes by those campaigning and by those voting, it's understandable why people like Woody Allen, who has himself been nominated 24 times and won four Oscars, says "the whole concept of awards is silly." That's a sentiment a few of us around these parts agree with. Considering how different people's tastes are, can any group actually determine what work is the "Best"? Humphrey Bogart suggests the answer
My 10 most overlooked and eight most overpraised.
I saw about 30 movies in theaters in 2014. Some are getting tons of attention during awards season, and rightfully so. Others have disappeared seemingly without a sound, not rightfully so. Following are my 10 Most Overlooked and Eight Most Overpraised for 2014, in no particular order. 10 Most Overlooked The One I Love: Trippy and intriguing relationship dramedy with Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass Rosewater: Serious, scary but ultimately uplifting directing debut by Jon Stewart Top Five: Super-timely comedy from truth-teller extraordinaire Chris Rock Life of Crime: Dumb criminals are always funny, plus a fine Jennifer Aniston performance Venus