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What We're Watching: January 15, 2021

At Now Playing Podcast, we don't just review movies. We watch them too. A lot. More than we probably should. Here's what we're watching this week.   ► Jakob: "Frances McDormand drifts around the United States in Nomadland (2020), an intriguing study of those who for economic, philosophical, or more personal reasons have chosen to live off the grid and in their vans. Many of the characters are real life 'nomads' and it brings an authenticity to the film. It is…

What We're Watching: January 8, 2021

At Now Playing Podcast, we don't just review movies. We watch them too. A lot. More than we probably should. Here's what we're watching this week.  ► Arnie: "With all the rumors swirling about Andrew Garfield and Jamie Foxx appearing in Spider-Man 3, I went back, for the first time since theaters, and checked out The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). The film's flaws have amplified in the years since I first saw it, but there's no denying the stunning visuals Marc…

Where Does the DCEU Go From Here?

Note: A version of this story appears in the January 1, 2021 edition of Now Playing's IN FOCUS newsletter. You can subscribe via the Now Playing website here. Sometime around 2008 or 2009, Marvel Studios committed to building a shared universe and continuity for its characters. We all know how that turned out. Sometime around 2013 or 2014, fans started looking forward to a shared universe of DC Comics characters using the just-released Man of Steel as the foundation for world-building.  Now it’s…

What We're Watching: January 1, 2021

At Now Playing Podcast, we don't just review movies. We watch them too. A lot. More than we probably should. Here's what we're watching this week. ► Jakob: "I’m ringing in the New Year with a double dose of existential horror. Possessor (2020) follows the toll on an assassin who overtakes other’s bodies to carry out hits that can’t be traced back to her. While director Brandon Cronenberg, son of body horror master David Cronenberg, carries on his father’s aesthetic…

Everything Coming to Now Playing Podcast in January 2021

Now Playing Podcast enters its 14th year in 2021 and still hasn’t run out of movies to talk about.  The first month of the new year is very much like many months in 2020 – devoid of new theatrical releases, save for the latest effort from Resident Evil duo Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson. But the month will also see the kickoff of two all-new retrospectives; the highly requested The Omen series and the Uwe Boll adaptations of the Bloodrayne video game franchise.  January 2021 also includes…

Get Him a Body Bag: Remembering the 1984 All-Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament

Though Now Playing Podcast built its brand reviewing classic slashers and comic book franchises, we've been known to venture into the realm of sports entertainment. Today (December 19) marks the 36th anniversary of the famed All Valley Under 18 Karate Championship. Hosted at the All Valley Sports Arena, the 1984 tournament is globally recognized as a turning point for regional karate, thanks to the emergence of then-unknown competitor Daniel LaRusso and his controversial victory over defending champion Johnny Lawrence. As even non-karate fans…

Warner Bros. Day-and-Date HBO Max Plan is Good for Movie Lovers. Really!

by Arnie Carvalho "The movie theaters are dead! Let us weep for the theatrical film experience!"  Those are the types of cries I've heard in articles, online, and in-person since Warner Bros. announced its bold move of releasing all their 2021 films, including would-be blockbusters The Suicide Squad and The Matrix 4, on HBO Max the same day they go to theaters. Certainly Wall Street thinks so as theater stocks fell hard after the news broke.  I think WB's move…

Announcing: The Now Playing Advent Calendar

Prepare for a month of yuletide cheer from Now Playing with our Advent calendar. Each day we'll spotlight a classic Christmas-related review from our archives...and end with a brand new Patron-exclusive review on Christmas day! It starts tomorrow, so prepare to be merry!

Everything Coming to Now Playing Podcast in December 2020

It’s been a long and exhausting year, but Now Playing Podcast is leaving 2020 on a high note, with nine all-new episodes for listeners and supporters. It’s a good thing December has 31 days.  Here’s everything coming to Now Playing Podcast in December 2020. December 1 - 48 Hrs. December was supposed to be the month of Eddie Murphy, with our hosts taking their first real deep dive into the actor/comedian/singer/GOAT’s filmography. But now that Amazon has moved the Coming to America sequel to March, it’s going to…

What 'Wonder Woman 1984' Means for WarnerMedia, HBO Max, and the Future of Moviegoing

By Jason R. Latham Wonder Woman 1984 will be delayed no more. After bouncing around the 2020 schedule -- from June to August to October to Christmas Day -- while U.S. states struggled to contain the spread of coronavirus, WarnerMedia on Wednesday announced it would stick to its December 25 theatrical release date but also premiere the film for one month on its HBO Max streaming service at no extra cost to subscribers. The decision -- inconceivable and unconscionable prior…

An Oral History of Now Playing’s ‘Friday the 13th’ Retrospective

In a crowded field of competing film-focused podcasts, Now Playing Podcast has managed to separate itself from the pack via its acclaimed retrospective format, keeping listeners engaged week after week as the show’s panel of critics chronicle decades of Hollywood franchise hits (and misses).  But it wasn’t always the plan. Now Playing Podcast launched in 2007 as a short-form, off-the-cuff movie review program focused on new releases. Early reviews of Spider-Man 3, Iron Man, and The Dark Knight not only lacked the in-depth conversation that listeners are now…

‘Navigator’ Star Recounts Pitfalls of Child Stardom, Redemption in ‘Life After’ Documentary

By Heath Chamerski On August 1 1986, Walt Disney released Flight of the Navigator. Considered a seminal family sci-fi flick, it grossed $18 million at the box office on its way to becoming a cult hit on VHS and cable. Navigator is the story of 12-year-old David Freeman, who mysteriously disappears in 1978 only to return eight years later, not having aged a day, and before long he's whisked away on an alien spacecraft and with the help of a…

'Halloween' Franchise Ranked

by Jason R. Latham Every fan holds a certain film or franchise close to the heart, and it’s not always easy to articulate the reasons why. Beloved films don’t have to be box office hits or critical darlings, and it’s okay to overlook a movie’s flaws because of the way it makes you feel.  My Halloween fandom goes back to the early 90s, after Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street had both played themselves out. But even earlier, I remember elements of the Halloween franchise…

Everything Coming to Now Playing Podcast In November 2020

Despite all that’s happened in 2020, there’s a lot to be thankful for at Now Playing Podcast. This year, we’ve launched our IN FOCUS newsletter, hosted a series of summer watch parties, started up a Letterboxd channel, and we never missed a week of podcasting. That last part is only possible because of the support of our listeners, and so we’re rewarding you in November with a full slate of  new episodes every Tuesday and Friday. This month’s schedule features two all-new retrospectives, a long-requested sci-fi horror series…

The Scariest Films Our Hosts Have Ever Seen

Do you remember which film gave you the biggest jump scare of your life? All of us can point to at least one example of, “The scariest movie I ever saw!” but as we all know, one person’s nightmare fuel is another person’s fandom. For every viewer so freaked out by Freddy Krueger that they can’t watch another A Nightmare on Elm Street movie, there’s another happy to indulge in annual Nightmare marathons and endless replays of that Freddy’s Greatest Hits album. But enough about the…

Is This How Theaters Die? Not With a Bang, But a Whimper?

October is a time for scary movies to play large in packed theaters. But this is 2020. The theaters aren't packed, and the scariest thing in the auditorium may be the person two seats away from you with a cough or a runny nose. There have been many think pieces published regarding the viability of cinemas in 2020 and beyond. This is not one of those. It's now clear: the theatrical experience as we know it won't survive their coronavirus…

31 Nights of Now Playing Horror

At long last, we’ve reached October, and this one is bigger than ever.  Not only does Halloween fall on a weekend – so me and Geto Boys will be trick-or-treatin’ – but it’s the end of Daylight Saving Time in the U.S., meaning an extra hour to indulge in your favorite horror flicks. To celebrate this glorious occasion, we here at Now Playing Podcast have compiled a list of recommends for a bloody October binge. These 33 picks cover decades of horror…

Everything Coming to Now Playing Podcast in October 2020

At last, October has arrived, and we can take a break from the horrors of reality to enjoy make believe scares. This month, Now Playing Podcast is serving up some laughter alongside buckets of blood, with Tremors on the main feed and two long-requested retrospectives on their way to supporters of the show’s bi-annual donation drive. Here’s everything coming to Now Playing Podcast in October 2020. October 6 – Tremors 4: The Legend Begins It’s odd when a prequel has a number…

After 'Black Widow' Exit, Is Bond Bound for 2021?

The departure of Disney’s Black Widow leaves No Time to Die as the lone tentpole film on the November calendar. The 25th James Bond film, and the last to feature Daniel Craig as 007, has been delayed once already in 2020. Will fans have to wait even longer? As Bond is undoubtedly a British export, Now Playing Podcast editor and UK resident Adam Berry weighs in on No Time to Die’s fate, and the current state of moviegoing, from across the pond.  Currently, major theater chains – Showcase, Odeon, Vue,…

Marvel Moves Black Widow (Again) - Release Date May, 2021

Is a year without a new Marvel movie really a year? (No, New Mutants doesn't count) Marvel's Black Widow is now opening May 7, 2021 -- more than a full year after its original release date of May 1, 2020, Disney announced on Wednesday. The decision to punt what would be the first film in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have an expected ripple effect on the studio's calendar. As a result of Black Widow's move, Marvel's…