Jon's 365 Movies in 365 Days Challenge: Movies #34-40

For every day of the year, I will be watching a movie I have never seen before. Follow me on my journey each week as I recap the films I see and give my thoughts on them. Hopefully you are exposed to new titles that you thought would never interest you or are given a new perspective on a film you have already seen.

#34. The Spectacular Now (2013) 8/10

Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley star in this romantic coming of age tale of two opposite minded classmates who fall for each other in their senior year of high school. Teller plays a careless with no future in his sights while Woodley is a good girl who wants a better life for herself. The two young actors have an undeniable charm about them that would inevitably make them stars and also features a solid performance from upcoming “Captain Marvel” lead Brie Larson. “The Spectacular Now” is currently on Netflix.

#35. Lemon (2017) 4/10

Comedic actor Brett Gelman stars in this odd independent comedy following a strange man with bad social skills as his life begins to unravel after his girlfriend leaves him. I was intrigued by the idea Gelman as a lead in one of these low budget projects, especially because he also wrote the movie. But despite enjoyable supporting performances from the likes of Judy Greer and Michael Cera, the film never really has you rooting for it’s main character and the tone felt unbalanced at times. “Lemon” can currently be found on Hulu.

#36. Love, Gilda (2018) 9/10

Gilda Radner, one of the funniest ladies to ever be in entertainment, gets her story told in this documentary.  I was not fortunate enough to enjoy Radner in her prime, so this movie did a wonderful job showing her immense talent and the impact that she left. From SNL to her relationship with late actor Gene Wilder, to her untimely death, director Lisa Dapolito pays a great tribute to a legend. “Love, Gilda” is currently streaming on Hulu.

#37. Win It All (2017) 8/10

The first of two gambling-based movies on this week’s list, “Win It All” stars Jake Johnson  and Keegan Michael Key in a comedic drama about a gambling addict who winds up in debt after gambling away someone else’s money. I really enjoyed this performance from Johnson. He fits well in these lower movies like "Drinking Buddies” and “Safety Not Guaranteed” that allows him to give a more layered take on his characters. “Win It All” can exclusively be found on Netflix.

#38Baby Mama (2008) 8/10

One of the best comedic duos out there, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler started their transition from SNL cast members to movie stars  in this hilarious comedy surrounding surrogate pregnancies. Fey has always done a good job portraying the uptight straight-laced characters and that remains the same in this movie. Poehler plays the polar opposite to Fey which leads to some hilarious scenes between the two characters as their personalities clash. I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite underrated actors Greg Kinnear have a good role in this film also. You can find “Baby Mama” on Netflix.

#39. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018) 6/10

Adam Sandler and his famous crew of famous friends gather once again in animated form in the third film from the “Hotel Transylvania” franchise. This time the story takes us away from the hotel and takes the monsters on a summer cruise to the lost city of Atlantis. While these movies have never offered much depth in terms of story, this proves to be another harmless gag movie with some rather impressive animation effects to help make it enjoyable to look at.  “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” can be found streaming on Netflix.

#40. Mississippi Grind (2015) 9/10

Rounding out the two gambler stories for this week’s recap, “Mississippi Grind” is a fascinating tale of a gambling addict in debt who befriends a fellow gambler. Believing to have found his lucky charm, the addict and his new friend, take a road trip to New Orleans for a high stakes poker game. The film features incredible acting from Ben Mendelhson, Ryan Reynolds, and Sienna Miller. It also embraces the southern atmosphere to it’s fullest from it’s location settings to the excellent music playing throughout the movie. “Mississippi Grind” is currently streaming on Netflix.


Jon's 365 Movies in 365 Days Challenge: Movies #27-33

For every day of the year, I will be watching a movie I have never seen before. Follow me on my journey each week as I recap the films I see and give my thoughts on them. Hopefully you are exposed to new titles that you thought would never interest you or are given a new perspective on a film you have already seen.

#27. Hitch (2005) 7.5/10

In anticipation of Bad Boys 3, which just started shooting, I went and watched the quintessential male rom-com “Hitch”. Boy, do I miss the days where Will Smith did great comedies. Smith stars as Hitch, a man who helps guys who would usually be the underdog woo the one the woman they love. When Hitch finds himself in a relationship, things suddenly start to go opposite of his expectations. This movie to me is Smith at his comedic best since Fresh Prince of Bel Air. “Hitch” can be found streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

#28. Despicable Me 3 (2017) 7/10

The adventures of Gru and the Minions continues in the 3rd installment of the popular animated franchise. Steve Carrell comes back for another fun adventure as the former villain turned hero. I had a lot more fun with this movie compared to the second movie, mostly due to the excellent animation and voice performances by Carrell, Kristen Wiig, and Trey Parker. I think the fact that the Minions took more of a backseat in this movie made it more fun for me to enjoy as well. You can find “Despicable Me 3” streaming on Netflix.

#29. The Clapper (2018) 2/10

I knew almost nothing about “The Clapper” other than the premise before I decided to check it out. I was intrigued by the pairing of Ed Helms and Tracy Morgan, but what I ended getting was a boring, unfunny movie with uninspired performances from everyone except Russell Peters. The Clapper has now become the first movie in the challenge that I have opted to just stop watching before it ended.  The Clapper is currently streaming on Netflix.

#30. Jigsaw (2017) 5.5/10

Thirteen years after the “Saw” franchise first began, The Spierig Brothers bring the eighth movie to screens everywhere with “Jigsaw.” While never being known for top notch acting or storytelling, the best thing about the “Saw” movies has always been the highly creative traps set by the titular villain. While this is not the best outing for the franchise, “Jigsaw” brings just what it needs to for die-hard audiences of these films. “Jigsaw” can currently be found streaming on both Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

#31Casting JonBenet (2017) 7/10

Casting JonBenet is a documentary telling the events of the mysterious murder of young pageant girl JonBenet Ramsey back in 1996. Rather than interviews with people directly involved with the story, the film features interviews with people from Ramsey’s hometown in Colorado as they all audition for parts in reenactments of the events surrounding the crime. It is a dark story that is very well crafted as it presents different theories and talks about what could have happened to this young girl and why it is still unsolved. Casting JonBenet can be found streaming on Netflix.

#32. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) 7.5/10

Finally, I have chosen to dive into the rest of the Indiana Jones series of films after having only seen Raiders of the Lost Ark. Temple of Doom definitely steps things up a notch in the fun department. I quite love the addition of Short Round as a young, comedic sidekick to Indy. My only complaint would be the Kate Capshaw character which was a massive step down from Karen Allen’s great performance in Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can find all of the Indiana Jones movies currently streaming on Netflix.

#33. The Thing (1982) 8/10

For the longest time I have heard countless people on various shows and podcasts sing praises for John Carpenter’s The Thing. Well, I can say now that those people were very right. This Carpenter classic tells the story of a team out in the arctic who are terrorized by an unknown creature who takes the form of the humans or animals it gets ahold of. Kurt Russell is at his vintage best here which is no surprise, but the standout for me was the extremely grotesque special effects that still manage to be unsettling to this day.


Jon's 365 Movies in 365 Days Challenge: Movies #20-26

For every day of the year, I will be watching a movie I have never seen before. Follow me on my journey each week as I recap the films I see and give my thoughts on them. Hopefully you are exposed to new titles that you thought would never interest you or are given a new perspective on a film you have already seen.

#20. Stripes (1981) 9/10

One of the few Bill Murray movies I hadn’t gotten around to seeing, Stripes fully lives up to my expectations as to what an all-time classic should be. Ivan Reitman’s second movie hits all the right marks that a military comedy should strive to hit. The film also features hilarious moments from a great ensemble cast including Harold Ramis, John Candy, Warren Oates, Sean Young, and John Larroquette. Almost 40 years later, Stripes stands the test of time. Stripes is currently streaming on Netflix.

#21. The Voices (2014) 7/10

Ryan Reynolds stars in the wild, dark comedy along with Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick as he plays an upbeat, schizophrenic man who listens to the voices in his head that are manifested through his pet dog and pet cat. His character is stood up on a date with a coworker, but when she is stranded and needs a ride, the voices in his head take over and he ends murdering her. This is one of Ryan Reynolds’ finest performances in his impressive career, as it allows him to properly balance his comedic style of acting with dramatic acting through the story’s light take on dark themes. The voices provided by Reynolds, his pets are a definite highlight, as are the performances of Arterton and Kendrick as decapitated heads who are voices in Reynolds’ mind. “The Voices” can be found streaming on Hulu.

#22. Her (2013) 9.5/10

Joaquin Phoenix shines in this fascinating 2013 romantic comedy that was nominated for Best PictureSet in a dystopian future, Her follows a lonely man named Theodore who develops a relationship with a virtual operating sytstem (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). This brilliant story concept is probably the most unique take on human relationships I’ve ever seen, which is saying something since it’s technically not a relationship between two humans. Phoenix shows why he’s one of the best actors working today and Johansson’s voice work is caring while also heartbreaking. You can find “Her” currently streaming on Netflix.

#23. Lady Bird (2017) 9/10

Nominated for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars, Lady Bird is an extremely well-made comedy starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf as a mother and daughter as they struggle to come to terms with their relationship before the latter leaves for college. Greta Gerwig’s feature film debut is loosely based on aspects of her own life, feels like the story of a real life family. Laurie Metcalf’s perormance is probably the best of her career as well, as it also nabbed her an Academy Award nomination for supporting actress. It’s a great story about wanting to get away from your surroundings but not forgetting where you came from that made you who you are.  “Lady Bird” can currently be found streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

#24. The Squid and the Whale (2005) 8/10

This 2005 independent film directed by Noah Baumbach tells the semi-autobiographical story following two brothers as they both deal with the separation of their parents in the mid-80’s. The film is a brutally honest look at what divorce can do to a family. They somehow find a way to make certain situations very funny while also being either embarrassing or tender. Jeff Daniels and Jesse Eisenberg stand out as the better performances in this movie, but Laura Linney also does an exceptional job too. The film also won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. “The Squid and the Whale” can be found currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

#25. Fyre Fraud (2019) 6/10

One of two documentaries released in the same week, “Fyre Fraud” tells the infamous story of Fyre Festival, a festival on an island in the Bahamas that turned out to be just a big scam. It is pretty astounding how this entire story unfolds and that it only happened in 2017. The documentary features an interview with the man responsible for organizing the event, and it’s pretty baffling to watch him interpret the events from his point of view. Overall, I felt the documentary had too much of a “Let’s hate on Millenials” rather than telling the story of the people affected by it. Fyre Fraud can be found streaming on Hulu.

#26. Permanent (2017) 3/10

Rainn Wilson and Patricia Arquette star in this unfunny story about an awkward family living in a small Virginia town in the early 80’s. Despite Kira McLean’s charming efforts as Aurelie, the movie never seems to reach the potential that it’s cast is capable of. I was not into the over-the-top crude humor presented in some scenes, and the film as a whole felt like a shorter movie dragged out to be longer than it needed to. Permanent can be found streaming on Hulu.


Jon’s 365 Movies in 365 Days Challenge: Movies #13-19

For every day of the year, I will be watching a movie I have never seen before. Follow me on my journey each week as I recap the films I see and give my thoughts on them. Hopefully you are exposed to new titles that you thought would never interest you or are given a new perspective on a film you have already seen.

#13. The Shape of Water (2017) 9.5/10

The Academy Award winner for Best Picture directed by the great Guillermo Del Toro, “The Shape Of Water” lives up to the hype and delivers a unique, heartwarming tale of love between two outcasts. Sally Hawkins’ performance as the mute Elisa is extremely endearing and full of wonder as she plays a mute cleaning woman working at a secret government lab housing the human oil amphibious creature they are holding. Accompanied by an amazing score by Alexandre Desplat and outstanding supporting roles from Richard Jenkins and Michael Shannon, “The Shape of Water” is a near perfect film-watching experience. “The Shape of Water” is currently streaming on HBO.

#14. I Heart Huckabees (2004) 8/10

Jason Schwartzman and Mark Wahlberg lead a stacked cast of actors in this story as two men on an existential journey to find the meaning of life. David O. Russell directs this piece where Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin play a couple who work as existential detectives as they follow Schwartzman and Wahlberg’s characters on their journey and hilarity ensues. It was cool to see a movie by Russell that preceded his much bigger hits like The Fighter and American Hustle. The film also features appearances by Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Richard Jenkins, Talia Shire, and the feature film debut of Jonah Hill. "I Heart Huckabees" is currently streaming on HBO.

#15. Reign of the Supermen (2019) 8/10

The newest animated feature in the DC Animated Universe, “Reign of the Supermen” is a great follow up to last year’s “Death of Superman.” After the Man of Steel’s death at the hands of Doomsday, Metropolis suddenly finds themselves with four different supermen (Superboy, The Eradicator, Steel, and Cyborg Superman) all looking to fill Superman’s shoes. When one of them is revealed to be a plant by the villain Darkseid, the other three, along with Lois Lane, must find a way to defeat him and discover that there may be a way Superman can come back. The animation is much better than previous DCAU movies, and the voice cast continues to be one of the many highlights of these adventures. “Reign of the Supermen” is available for purchase on digital platforms.

#16. Hearts Beat Loud (2018) 8.5/10

A movie that not many people were talking about in 2018, "Hearts Beat Loud" is one of the best independent films of the year. Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons lead this story about a father/daughter duo who start a band together before big changes affect both of their lives. The chemistry between Offerman and Clemons is incredibly natural and keeps you invested in this somewhat familiar story format. Also, the movie features some great original songs composed by Keagan DeWitt. You can find “Hearts Beat Loud” currently streaming on Hulu.

#17. Blue Jay (2016) 9/10

Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson star in this film about former lovers who spend the day reconnecting after years without seeing each other. Shot entirely in black and white, Paulson and Duplass have a natural rapport with each other that is perfectly portrayed on screen. But when their shared regret is finally brought up for both of them to confront, you see why this relationship ended in the first place. Paulson is always great on screen, but Duplass puts on one of his better film performances in this movie as a man who is still somewhat haunted by the past regret they share together. "Blue Jay" is currently streaming on Netflix.

#18. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) 8.5/10

This creepy horror film stars Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox as a father and son who work together in a morgue. When a mysterious corpse is brought in, their examination uncovers revelations that lead to the two men being trapped and terrorized by the Jane Doe. The tension building up to the scares are executed very well in this movie and Emile Hirsch puts on one of my favorite performances of his in a long time. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is currently on Netflix.

#19. 10 Years (2012) 7/10

This 2012 ensemble comedy follows multiple stories all taking place at a 10-year high school reunion. Whether it’s Chris Pratt being a drunken mess, Channing Tatum reuniting with a high school flame, Oscar Isaac and Kate Mara’s story of two friends who never revealed their feelings for each other, or Justin Long competing for the attention of the prom queen, this movie has something for everyone to enjoy. “10 years” can currently be found streaming on Hulu.

 

 


Jon's 365 Movies in 365 Days Challenge: Movies #6-12

For every day of the year, I will be watching a movie I have never seen before. Follow me on my journey each week as I recap the films I see and give my thoughts on them. Hopefully you are exposed to new titles that you thought would never interest you or are given a new perspective on a film you have already seen.

#6. Spring Breakers (2012) 7/10

James Franco shines in this crime film about a group of young college girls who get caught up in a crime spree during their spring break vacation. Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez star as college girls who want the most out of their spring break vacation and ultimately wind up in jail. But when they are bailed out by Franco’s character, things take a massive turn and the movie truly becomes what it sets out to be. Though a slow start, Spring Breakers goes from being a movie about eye candy to a raw story about innocents being swayed into a life of crime. Spring Breakers is currently on Netflix.

#7. Hard Candy (2005) 8.5/10

Ellen Page made her film debut in this dark thriller about a young girl who baits and traps a suspected pedophile played by Patrick Wilson. From beginning to end, both Page and Wilson put in performances that are still their best performances to date. This low budget indie film is well-executed on almost every level and will have you feeling slightly unsettled from beginning to end. Hard Candy can be found streaming on HBO.

#8. Annihilation (2018) 9/10

After knocking it out of the park with his feature film debut Ex Machina back in 2014, director Alex Garland excels once again with this female-led Sci-Fi Horror based on the novel of the same name. Natalie Portman stars as a former solider turned biologist named Lena who joins a team of military scientists as they must enter a mysterious quarantined zone known as “The Shimmer.” The film also features performances from Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson. Alex Garland has proved himself to be a must-see director in the Sci-Fi genre. Annihilation can currently be found streaming on Hulu.

#9. Locke (2013) 9/10

Steven Knight writes and directs this fascinating independent starring Tom Hardy as the only character to appear on screen for the entire movie. Hardy’s performance carries the entire film as we follow his character, Ivan Locke, as he drives to be at the birth of a child he conceived through a one night stand. While on the road, we follow Locke as he engages in multiple speaker phone conversations with the likes of his wife, co-workers, sons, and also the pregnant mistress who is about to deliver his baby. Now streaming on Netflix, Locke runs just under 90 minutes, which is a perfectly suitable amount of time for such a small story/setting.

#10. The Last Boy Scout (1991) 4/10

The Last Boy Scout is an action movie that is absolutely of it’s time. Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans star as an unlikely duo working to stop a plan involving blackmail and assassinations in a corrupt effort to legalize sports gambling. An absurd plot, extremely dated dialogue, and Bruce Willis doing the best he can with what he is presented with, The Last Boy Scout doesn’t hold up compared to other classic action movies. It is also no surprise that Damon Wayans’ days as a leading man were limited to My Wife and Kids.

#11. Punisher: War Zone (2008) 8/10

With the second season of the Marvel Netflix series The Punisher debuting on January 18th, I had to prepare by finally watching Lexi Alexander’s extremely violent take on the vigilante character in Punisher: War Zone. Ray Stevenson steps into the shoes of The Punisher as he wages war on all crime and corruption. While The Last Boy Scout was cheesy in a bad way, Punisher: War Zone takes it’s cheesiness and embraces through some campy performances by Dominic West and Doug Hutchinson and over the top gore in it’s action sequences. A good time from beginning to end credits, War Zone was the best version of the character until Jon Bertnthal’s in Marvel’s Netflix Universe.

#12. Making Fun: The Story of Funko (2018) 10/10

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been a lover of Funko Pops for quite a while now. Last year, Netflix released a fantastic documentary telling the story of the pop culture phenomenon that has taken over the toy world. Most of all, the film is truly a love letter to fandom of all kinds. We hear stories from the likes of Kevin Smith, Alice Cooper, Lou Ferrigno, Elvira The Mistress, Zack Ryder, and more as they share the things that they enjoyed growing up that help shaped the people they would eventually become. Hear stories from lifelong Funko Funatics as they share how the collecting community has impacted their lives in more ways than one. Making Fun: The Story of Funko can be found streaming only on Netflix.

-Written by Jon Rico

 


Jon’s 365 Movies in 365 Days Challenge: Movies #1-5

For every day of the year, I will be watching a movie I have never seen before. Follow me on my journey each week as I recap the films I see and give my thoughts on them. Hopefully you are exposed to new titles that you thought would never interest you or are given a new perspective on a film you have already seen.


#1. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)  8/10

To kick off the challenge, I watched the new interactive film on Netflix, “Bandersnatch”, which is part of the Black Mirror series created by Charlie Booker. The film uses “choose your adventure” format, which was a first as far as movie watching experiences go for me. I had a lot of fun making the decisions that took the main character, a video game developer living the in 1980’s named Stefan, through many different variations of multiple scenes throughout the film.


#2. Rampage (2018) 6/10

Based on the popular arcade game, Rampage is exactly what you would expect it to be. A modern
-day monster flick that has nods to the game that inspired it, Rampage hits all the beats that it needs to as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson leads this generic but fun action movie. Jeffrey Dean Morgan channels his inner Negan in a role as a government agent…..so that’s fun to watch. Streaming on HBO, watch as a giant albino gorilla, crocodile, and wolf tear through the cities with a bag of popcorn.



#3. Eighth Grade (2018) 9.5/10

One of the best movies of 2018 that flew under the radar, Eight Grade is the feature film directorial debut by stand up comedian Bo Burnham. The film follows an eighth grade girl named Kayla, played, by Elsie Fisher, as she gets ready to begin her transition to life as a high school student. Fisher’s performance is incredibly relatable and at times can show how frightening life can be for young girls at a crucial age in their life. The film currently holds an astounding 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and can be found on Blu-ray and all digital platforms.


#4. Burnt (2015) 7/10

Bradley Cooper stars in this 2015 drama about a renowned chef trying to revive his career after his reckless lifestyle destroyed his reputation. I love movies set in a culinary world, and this movie did not disappoint. Cooper masterfully plays his character who strives for perfection with li
fe or death stakes at hand. The movie also features solid performances from Emma Thompson, Sienna Miller and Daniel Bruhl, and features a somewhat useless cameo from Uma Thurman.


#5. Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) 4/10

A sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s imaginative monster flick from 2013, Pacific Rim: Uprising takes place 10 years after the events of the first film where we follow John Boyega as the son of Idris Elba’s deceased character as he must reluctantly follow his father’s footsteps as humanity must stop another Kaiju invasion from destroying the world. Directed by Steven S. DeKnight, Pacific Rim: Uprising takes all the imagination that Guillermo Del Toro brought to the original movie and brings us a CGI action-fest that brings little substance with it. While Pacific Rim was made with passion, Uprising is made simply to capitalize on the following gained by it’s predecessor, leading to a boring and disappointing follow up to such a promising franchise.

Written by: Jon Rico


Jon's Most Anticipated Films of 2019!

2018 is now behind us, which means it is time to look forward to the future of 2019! Join me as I preview my most anticipated movies for this new year. What are you looking forward to the most?

Glass (January 18)
Director: M. Night Shayamalan
Plot Details: Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr. Glass. Joining from Split are James McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast. Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.


Captain Marvel  (March 8)
Directors: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Plot Details: Follows Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot whose DNA is fused with that of an alien during an accident. The resulting alteration gives her the superpowers of strength, energy projection, and flight.


Us (March 15)
Director: Jordan Peele
Plot Details: While no official synopsis has been offered, Peele’s highly anticipated sophomore outing as a filmmaker following “Get Out” once again dives into the horror/thriller realm as it centers around two families of both white and black race who are tormented by sadistic people who look exactly like them.


Shazam (April 5)
Director: David F. Sandberg
Plot Details: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).


Hellboy
Director: Neil Marshall
Plot Details: Hellboy returns to the big screen, this time played by Stranger Things actor David Harbour for a fresh take on the demon from Hell as he faces off against a medieval sorceress who seeks to destroy all of humankind. The film also features performances from Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich.


Avengers: Endgame
(April 12)
Directors: Joe & Anthony Russo
Plot Details: The Avengers have triumphed over Loki, and they’ll face Ultron…but nothing could prepare them for the menace of Thanos. How will the remaining Avengers deal with the fallout of Avengers: Infinity War?



POKÉMON Detective Pikachu (May 10)
Director: Rob Letterman
Plot Details: The first-ever live-action Pokémon adventure, POKÉMON Detective Pikachu stars Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu, the iconic face of the global Pokémon phenomenon—one of the world’s most popular, multi-generation entertainment properties and the most successful media franchise of all time.

Fans everywhere can now experience Pikachu on the big screen as never before, as Detective Pikachu, a Pokémon like no other. The film also showcases a wide array of beloved Pokémon characters, each with its own unique abilities and personality.


Aladdin (May 24)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Plot Details: Disney continues their run of live-action remakes of their classic animated films with Aladdin. The film will tell the story of a young man who is granted three wishes from a magical genie who is trapped in a lamp that the young man has taken into his possession. Pena Massoud will play the titular role, while Naomi Scott will play Princess Jasmine and Will Smith will play the infamous Genie.

 

BrightBurn (May 24)
Director: David Yarovesky
Plot Details: What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister? Written by Brian and Mark Gunn, this movie will tell us just  what would happen if Superman was not here to be the hero we know him to be.

 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31)
Director: Michael Dougherty
Plot Details: The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as it's members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.


Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5)
Director: Jon Watts
Plot Details:  While no plot details have been officially released, we do know everyone’s favorite wall-crawling hero returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe this summer. But Peter won’t just be saving New York City this time as his adventures will lead him overseas to Europe! Also, we’ll finally see the live action film debut of famed Spidey villain, Mysterio!


The Lion King (July 19)
Director: Jon Favreau
Plot Details: Set on the African savannah, the story told of a young lion named Simba who is cast out into the wilderness after his father, Mufasa, is killed by his evil uncle Scar. Years later, Simba returns to reclaim his throne.


IT Chapter Two (September 6)
Director: Andy Muschietti
Plot Details: Because every 27 years evil revisits the town of Derry, Maine, IT: Chapter Two brings the characters—who’ve long since gone their separate ways—back together as adults, nearly three decades after the events of the first film.


Joker (October 4)
Director: Todd Phillips
Plot Details: Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, stand-alone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.


Star Wars: Episode IX
Director: JJ Abrams
Plot Details: No details yet have been officially released on the highly secretive production, but Episode IX will feature the end of the Skywalker Saga that began 40+ years ago.

 

Honorable Mentions:
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Alita: Battle Angel
How To Train your Dragon: The Hidden World
John Wick: Chapter 3
Toy Story 4
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Men in Black: International
The New Mutants
The Addams Family
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Knives Out


Jon's Netflix Recommendation: The Christmas Chronicles

Families looking for a new Christmas movie to watch every year will have to look no further. Netflix recently dropped their latest Christmas release starring Kurt Russell as St. Nick himself in The Christmas Chronicles. The film tells the story of two siblings who must help Santa save Christmas after they crash Santa’s sleigh. Kurt Russell leads this mostly unknown cast that also features appearances by Lamorne Morris and Goldie Hawn.

From start to finish, The Christmas Chronicles is loads of fun while also filled with lots of heart. Kurt Russell embodies the role of Santa Claus unlike anyone before him. Much like the children in the film, you will want to believe in Santa Claus again thanks to his memorable performance. While Russell provides mostly the humor aspect to the film, it is the lead sibling characters played by Judah Lewis and Darby Camp who provide the true heart of the movie as two squabbling siblings working together to save Christmas and reignite their Christmas spirit after losing their father earlier in the year.

During this holiday season, I can think of nothing better to watch Christmas morning while opening presents with the family than this movie. Balancing tones extremely well, there is a lot to enjoy for younger and older fans. Laughs will be had and tears will be shed thanks to proper storytelling and charming on-screen performances led by one of film's most beloved actors. So start up the fire and gather up the loved ones to enjoy what is sure to be a modern Christmas classic.

The Christmas Chronicles is currently streaming on Netflix.


Jon's Netflix Recommendation: Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell

For those of you that have not noticed, Netflix recently released the newest comedy special “Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross and Dave Attell.” Taking place at the famous Comedy Cellar in New York City, the two comedy legends took the stage together for three straight nights and took turns roasting each other, anyone and anything that was in sight. Released as three separate episodes, the specials are all unique to the crowd they are performing in front of, so repetition of the jokes from previous nights are easily avoided. When either Attell or Ross tells a particularly funny joke about each other or crowd, they are met with a mic bump from the other comedian to acknowledge how good the joke just was, hence the title of the show. 

Each episode, which ranges from 35-45 minutes each, provides endless laughs from beginning to end as Ross and Attell have an on-set chemistry together that feels like a show about two good friends just having a good time on stage. Jeff Ross delivers the savage roast jokes that he has become famous for while Dave Attell shows why he is one of the greatest comedians working ever with his quick comebacks and laid back demeanor. The shows feature plenty of hilarious surprise appearances from the likes of Bob Saget, Gilbert Gottfried, Hasan Minhaj, Paul Rudd, and Bruce Willis. 

If you’re a fan of stand up comedy and aspects of what makes the culture surrounding it as a whole so fascinating, these episodes perfectly capture what great comedy can bring to fans week in and week out on a normal basis. It provides the chance to see how underrated legends like Gilbert Gottfried and Bob Saget are in the world of comedy today. You can choose to watch the episodes one night at a time or in one sitting and it will not be a disappointment. Bumping Mics With Jeff Ross and Dave Attell can currently be found streaming on Netflix. 


My Experience: NXT Takeover: War Games & WWE Survivor Series -By: Jon Rico

WWE took over Staples Center in Los Angeles, California this past weekend with back-to-back events starting with NXT Takeover on Saturday night followed by WWE Survivor Series to wrap it all up on Sunday night. Both nights the arena was filled with high energy crowds for hours of intense, high-paced action. NXT Takeover events continue to be the superior wrestling shows when paired with a main roster PPV event the following day. With Triple H in charge of the creative direction of the show as well as the booking, the rise in success the brand has seen in the last 3 years has been astronomical compared to the early days of NXT.

Two of the standout matches from NXT Takeover were Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano and the NXT Championship match between Tommaso Ciampa and Velveteen Dream. The former saw the return to the ring for Black, who had been sidelined for months with an injury. Johnny Gargano proved why he is one of the most entertaining NXT superstars of all time as he partook in his record setting 11th Takeover event. It’s hard to imagine him being utilized in a similar way on the main roster, which is why he is one of the few performers that I hope never leaves the NXT brand.

In an incredible back and forth matchup for the NXT Championship, Tommaso Ciampa retained his title against rising superstar Velveteen Dream. Since returning as a heel and winning the championship, Ciampa has become one the most entertaining performers on the entire WWE roster both on and off TV. The rise in popularity for Velveteen Dream has been nothing short of spectacular and the combination of the two performances by both men provided audiences with one of the best matches of the year.

The action packed night concluded a barbaric War Games match between The Undisputed Era and the team of Ricochet, Pete Dunne, and The War Raiders. Using two rings surrounded by one giant cage, the two teams battered each other for over 45 minutes using chairs, kendo sticks, tables, the cage itself, and sacrificing their own bodies at any cost to secure the victory. The MVP’s of the match go to Ricochet, Roderick Strong, and Warbeard Hanson, all whom put in exceptionally magnificent efforts in this chaotic affair.

The following night was the 32nd annual WWE Survivor Series event and while it was not as great as NXT the night before, it still provided us with many fun matches and moments to make it a satisfying show to see live. For the first time ever, I got to see the likes of Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, Drew McIntyre, and Jeff Hardy wrestle live which was a huge thrill for me as a longtime fan. Team RAW swept the night with wins over Team Smackdown, proving they were the more dominant show once again. Overall, as better as Survivor Series could have been, the event lived up to my expectations and was a great cap to a fun weekend of professional wrestling.