Sunday, July 15, 2018

Critically Acclaimed #36: 'Color of Night' and 'Body Heat'


It's a no-holds-barred battle between erotic thrillers! This week on Critically Acclaimed, we're taking a look back at the sexy but notoriously awful "Color of Night," starring Bruce Willis and a cavalcade of characters actors who are too good for this tawdry material, and comparing it to Lawrence Kasdan's explosively sultry neo-noir "Body Heat," starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner as ill-fated lovers who plan to commit murder!

Plus, new reviews of "Skyscraper," "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation," "Eighth Grade," "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot," "Siberia" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream!"

Give it a listen!


Friday, July 13, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (2018)


William Shakespeare's classic comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream" gets another new cinematic adaptation with a contemporary rendition, courtesy of director Casey Wilder Mott. Rachel Leigh Cook ("She's All That"), Hamish Linklater ("Legion"), Lily Rabe ("American Horror Story"), Finn Witrock ("American Crime Story"), Avan Jogia ("Ghost Wars"), Fran Kranz ("Much Ado About Nothing") and Charity Wakefield ("The Player") co-star in this Shakespearean Hollywood story about love potions and film students.

In his review at The Wrap, William Bibbiani says Mott's adaptation is "unlikely to become any high school drama teacher's go-to DVD for a rainy," and critiques aesthetic, which "looks like a film school project made with a lot of heart, a lot of passion, and not a heck of a lot of skill."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (2018) at The Wrap

Top Photo: Brainstorm Media

Thursday, July 12, 2018

William Bibbiani Highlights 'Underrated Movies That Aren't Underrated Anymore'


If everyone knows a movie is underrated, is it still underrated?

In his latest feature for IGN, William Bibbiani looks at eleven movies that are mostly famous for being better than they're famous for. And that means it's time to admit that films like "Halloween III," "Starship Troopers" and "Grease 2" are all just plain good - and maybe even classic - motion pictures.

Find out what he picked!

Read: William Bibbiani Highlights "11 Underrated Movies... That Aren't Underrated Anymore"

Top Photo: Paramount Pictures

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot'


Joaquin Phoenix stars as disabled alcoholic cartoonist John Callahan in "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot," a new biopic from director Gus Van Sant ("Good Will Hunting"). Jonah Hill and Rooney Mara co-star in a film that focus on Callahan coming to terms with his addiction and becoming an artist to articulate his frustrations with his life.

In his review of "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot" at IGN, William Bibbiani calls the film "earnest but conventional," but that the emphasis on only one aspect of Callahan's life makes it feel like "a missed opportunity to turn a distinctive, interesting person's life into a distinctive, interesting movie."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot" at IGN

Top Photo: Amazon Studios 

Canceled Too Soon #105: Van-Pires (1997)


Every popular show has knockoffs, but few shows spawned weirder imitators than "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers." Case in point, "Van-Pires," a cheap live-action/CGI action series about teenagers who turn into vampire cars and prevent the evil Tracula - who may or may not have been voiced by Jonathan Davis, the lead singer of Korn - from drinking gasoline.

Oh yeah, and it's got an original soundtrack by John Entwistle from The Who. Yes, really.

It's one of the weirdest ideas for a kids show ever, but was Canceled Toon Soon? William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold put the pedal to the metal and explore the hard-rockin', very stupid world of "Van-Pires" in the latest episode of the podcast.

Give it a listen...!

Witney Seibold Reviews 'Eighth Grade'


Although I have done no serious sociological studies on this, a lifetime of casual conversations – as well as my own personal experience – have dictated that the eighth grade is essentially Hell. Puberty comes roaring into your life like a mac truck full of grease and confusion, smearing an unclear vision of sexuality on your eyes, and sealing your mouth shut with hormonal anxiety. And through this, you're expected to go to school, read books, communicate with your guardians, and perhaps even start dating. It's a miserable, miserable time.

Bo Burnham's new film “Eighth Grade” achieves something remarkable: It captures the universal glorious poetry of that horrid, adolescent misery. With an enormous amount of grace and understanding, Burnham puts the camera right at a 13-year-old's eye level, allowing us to see and to experience every last scrap of awkward terror that Kayla, the shy lead character, feels. 


William Bibbiani Reviews 'Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation'


"Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" stars Adam Sandler as Count Dracula, a well-intentioned monster who runs a vacation getaway for other creepy-crawlies. In the third outing, Dracula's daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) decides that her father needs a vacation, and books them on a cruise to Atlantis along with all their monster friends, but the ship's captain, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) has more sinister plans in store for them.

In his review at IGN, William Bibbiani says "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" is "at its best when it's just a delivery system for the gags," arguing that "you might laugh so hard you ignore how uninspired the rest of this movie really is."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" at IGN

Top Photo: Sony Pictures Animation

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Movie Trivia Schmoedown: Jeff Sneider vs. William Bibbiani


William Bibbiani is back and it's his most important Movie Trivia Schmoedown match yet! He's competing against Collider's own Jeff Sneider for a #1 contenders match, and if he doesn't win, he might not play again for the rest of the year.

What does William Bibbiani know about movie trivia? Will he be competing against Samm Levine for the championship in the very near future? 

Watch the latest episode to find out!


William Bibbiani Reviews 'Skyscraper'


Dwayne Johnson stars in "Skyscraper," a new action-thriller about a man with one leg, scaling a giant building that's on fire, to rescue his family from gun-toting bad guys. Neve Campbell ("House of Cards"), Chin Han ("Marco Polo"), Noah Taylor ("Preacher") and Pablo Schreiber ("American Gods") co-star in this blockbuster thriller, which reunites Johnson with his "Central Intelligence" director Rawson Marshall Thurber.

In his review at IGN, William Bibbiani says that "Skyscraper" takes place in "a parallel reality where action is its own reward," and praises it for being "gigantic and silly."

Read: William Bibbiani reviews "Skyscraper" at IGN


Top Photo: Universal Pictures

Monday, July 9, 2018

Critically Acclaimed #35: 'See No Evil' and 'Don't Breathe'


The year was 2006, and everyone was gaga for Kane! The WWE wrestler starred in his own slasher movie as a serial killer who liked to gouge out eyes, but "See No Evil" didn't take the world by storm. But the terrifying thriller "Don't Breathe" sure as heck did in 2016, and watching these two films back-to-back reveals a heck of a lot about why one of them works, and why the other one does.

In the latest episode of Critically Acclaimed, William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold also review "Ant-Man and the Wasp," "The First Purge," "The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter," "Fireworks" and "Sorry to Bother You." They also answer your letters!

Give it a listen!


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Double Features: 'The First Purge' (2018)


No motion picture exists in a vacuum. Every week on Double Features, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold watch a new release and offer their individual picks for the perfect film to watch right afterwards, illuminating the themes, the artistry and the history of each movie.

This week's new release: "The First Purge," the prequel to the violent, political and highly lucrative "The Purge" franchise, which details how the dystopian future began, with a horrifying experiment on Staten Island. Y'Lan Noel ("Insecure"), Lex Scott Davis ("Superfly") and Marisa Tomei ("Spider-Man: Homecoming") co-star, in a film directed by Gerard McMurray ("The Burning Sands").

Here's what the critics picked...!


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Witney Seibold Reviews 'Sorry to Bother You'


Lakeith Stanfield ("Get Out") stars in "Sorry to Bother You," a new comedy from writer/director Boots Riley, about a telemarketer who starts talking like a white person to get ahead at work. The gambit pays off better than expected, leading to a moral quagmire. Tessa Thompson ("Thor: Ragnarok"), Jermaine Fowler ("Superior Donuts"), Terry Crews ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine"), Armie Hammer ("Call Me By Your Name") and Danny Glover ("Lethal Weapon") co-star.

In his review at IGN, Witney Seibold says that "Sorry to Bother You" is "easily one of the best films of the year," and praises the film for its "salient politics" and its "bright liveliness, filmic daring, and cynical humor." 

Read: Witney Seibold Reviews "Sorry to Bother You" at IGN

Top Photo: Annapurna Pictures

William Bibbiani Presents The Best Political Horror Movies



The Fourth of July and "The First Purge" arrive on the same week, so now is the perfect time to look back at the extensive overlap between the horror movie generic and politics. 

In his latest piece for IGN, William Bibbiani offers his picks for the best political horror movies ever made, with themes that span racism, sexism, capitalism, nuclear war and social conformity.

Read: William Bibbiani Picks "The Best Political Horror Movies" at IGN

Top Photo: Toho

Canceled Too Soon #104: Legally Blonde: The Series (2003)


Two years after the blockbuster success of the Reese Witherspoon comedy "Legally Blonde," audiences were given a sequel, "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde." But that same year, the director of the "Legally Blonde" sequel also shot a TV pilot, written and produced by music superstar Rachel Sweet, and starring Jennifer Hall ("Up All Night") as Elle Woods, a fashion-obsessed Beverly Hills lady who goes to Harvard Law School.

A television series based on "Legally Blonde" seems like a great idea, so what went wrong? Why didn't this series get picked up and become the next "M*A*S*H?" And was it... Canceled Too Soon?

William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold dive right in, in their latest crossover with the Critically Acclaimed podcast, which reviewed all of the "Legally Blonde" feature films earlier this week.

Give it a listen!


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Eight TV Pilots That Did Everything Right


[The following article was sponsored and assigned by our Patreon subscriber Topher White (The Elder). To learn how to sponsor and assign articles to William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold for publication at Critically Acclaimed, visit our Patreon page.]

“The way they pick TV shows is, they make one show. That show's called a pilot. Then they show that one show to the people who pick shows, and on the strength of that one show they decide if they want to make more shows. Some get chosen and become television programs. Some don't, become nothing.”

~ “Pulp Fiction”

The art of television is, in many ways, the art of the pilot. Most TV shows begin with the creation of just one episode, and they rely on the strength and promise of that episode to get more episodes made. It’s very difficult to get a TV show off the ground if you can’t at least make one good episode. Which is probably as it should be.

But what makes a good pilot episode? It boils down to two simple factors. It has to introduce the characters and their world in an entertaining way, and it has to prove that there are other great stories to tell with those characters, within that world.

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Fireworks'


A teenaged boy fails to protect the girl he likes, and goes back in time to fix his mistakes - again and again - in "Fireworks," a new anime movie that combines romance, slice-of-life drama and an enigmatic MacGuffin. But all is not magical in the world of "Fireworks," and our hero soon discovers that escapism has drawbacks.

In his review at The Wrap, William Bibbiani says that "Fireworks" is "a sleepy summer day of a movie," and praises the film's everyday fantasy, even though it "never really pops."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Fireworks" at The Wrap

Top Photo: GKIDS

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'The First Purge'


The history of the shocking dystopia from "The Purge" franchise is finally revealed in "The First Purge," the prequel to the blockbuster horror franchise. It's the first attempt The New Founding Fathers have made to institutionalize an annual holiday where all crime is legal, and ground zero is Staten Island, where the locals are most indifferent until government-sponsored death squads show up to rain terror on the island and stir up the audience. 

In his review at The Wrap, William Bibbiani says that "The First Purge" is "a severe and potent allegory," although the film "de-escalates the violence to a notable degree" compared to the previous entries.

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "The First Purge" at The Wrap

Top Photo: Blumhouse

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Critically Acclaimed #34: The 'Legally Blonde' Trilogy


Elle Woods wears hot pink, loves animals, and has mastered the "bend and snap." But is she ready for Harvard Law School? You bet she is! And she also takes on Washington D.C., and bequeaths her uptight boarding school to her similarly-attired twin cousins in the blockbuster "Legally Blonde" movie trilogy.

In the latest episode of Critically Acclaimed, William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold review the entire "Legally Blonde" trilogy, and also make room for a review of the troubling new sequel "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" and a bunch of letters from our listeners!

Give it a listen!


Canceled Too Soon #103 - VR.5 (2015)


Virtual reality: the cause of, and solution to, all of the 1990s' problems. In the short-lived Fox television series VR.5, Lori Singer ("Footloose"), Anthony Stewart Head ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and Michael Easton ("Total Recall 2070") use this amazing technology to enter the subconscious mind of criminals and solve mysteries. Over a dial-up landline. Ain't computers amazing?

"VR.5" is one of the many post-"The X-Files" sci-fi shows that tried to tap into contemporary anxieties, but this one couldn't find an audience, and lasted only 13 episodes. 

But was it... Canceled Too Soon? William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold explore this cult series in the latest episode of the podcast.

Give it a listen...! 



Friday, June 29, 2018

Double Features: 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' (2018)


No motion picture exists in a vacuum. Every week on Double Features, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold watch a new release and offer their individual picks for the perfect film to watch right afterwards, illuminating the themes, the artistry and the history of each movie.

This week's new release: "Sicario: Day of the Soldado," starring Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin and Isabela Moner ("Transformers: The Last Knight"). In this sequel to the critically acclaimed "Sicario," American agents are sent into Mexico to start a cartel war, which will give the U.S.A. the excuse they need to start a war. But when the teenaged daughter of a drug kingpin sees too much, it leads to a moral quandary for these government-sanctioned murderers.

Here's what the critics picked...!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Ant-Man and the Wasp'


After the doom-and-gloom devastation of “Avengers: Infinity War” it was believed that “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” a lighthearted comic caper about wisecracking shrinking superheroes, would be just the palate cleanser Marvel fans needed. And maybe, just maybe, it really is part of some brilliant ploy to make ease our collective pain by lowering the franchise’s stakes. But it’s probably just a normal action-comedy with modest ambitions, because people make those all the time without ulterior motives.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

William Bibbiani Ranks Every John Grisham Movie


This week marks the 25th anniversary of the "The Firm," Sydney Pollack's ripping legal thriller, which starred Tom Cruise, earned two Oscar nominations, made big bucks and helped make author John Grisham into a household name. The film set off a wave of high-profile Grisham adaptations - including "The Client," "A Time to Kill" and (sigh) "Christmas with the Kranks" - which represent some of the best, and some of the worst films of the era.

In his latest article for The Wrap, William Bibbiani looks at every single John Grisham movie - including the Little League Baseball drama and the 1950s farmhouse film that nobody ever talks about - and ranks them, from the very worst to the very best.

Read: Every John Grisham Movie, Ranked Worst to Best

Top Photo: Paramount Pictures

Monday, June 25, 2018

William Bibbiani Climbs 'Dante's Peak' and 'Volcano'



The year was 1997, and audiences had two blockbuster volcano movies to choose from: "Dante's Peak," which was basically "Jaws" if the shark was an exploding mountain, and "Volcano," in which a giant volcano spewed forth lava in the heart of Los Angeles. Both films have their charms, but over two decades later people still argue over which disaster movie was, well, more explosive.

In his latest article for IGN, William Bibbiani takes another look at "Dante's Peak" and "Volcano" to determine which film works better, and which film is more fun. The answers might not be the same!


Top Photos: Universal Pictures /  20th Century Fox

Canceled Too Soon #102: 'Hey Vern, It's Ernest!' (1988)


His name was Ernest P. Worrell, and he was everyone's favorite comedy character in the late 1980s, thanks to a series of popular television commercials and hit movies like "Ernest Goes to Camp" and "Ernest Saves Christmas." So it only made sense to give Ernest his own television series, and it's not surprising that it won multiple Emmy Awards.

So why did "Hey Vern, It's Ernest!" only last one season? What made Jim Varney's character so popular, and what kept his TV show from hitting the big time? William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold examine this strange sketch comedy series, marvel at its bizarre construction, and try to come up with their very own episode.

Give it a listen!


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Critically Acclaimed #33: 'Cool As Ice' and 'The Wild One'


You may be cool, but nobody is as cool as Ice! This week on Critically Acclaimed, by listener request, we're reviewing the notorious 1991 pop culture rebel romance "Cool As Ice," starring Vanilla Ice back during that brief time when he was cool. And we're pairing it with one of the most culturally influential motion pictures of the 1950s, "The Wild One," starring Marlon Brando at his sexiest!

Plus, reviews of the new releases "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," "Damsel," "Brain on Fire" and "The Catcher Was a Spy"!

Give it a listen!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Double Features: Set It Up (2018)


No motion picture exists in a vacuum. Every week on Double Features, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold watch a new release and offer their individual picks for the perfect film to watch right afterwards, illuminating the themes, the artistry and the history of each movie.

This week's new release: "Set It Up," starring Zoey Deutch ("Vampire Academy") and Glen Powell ("Everybody Wants Some!!") as executive assistants who trick their overbearing bosses, Lucy Liu ("Elementary") and Taye Diggs ("Empire") into dating each other. It's one of the most talked about romantic comedies in years, and everybody seems to be watching it on Netflix.

Here's what the critics picked...!



The Movie Trivia Schmoedown: Critically Acclaimed vs. MODOK


It's an all-new episode of the coolest movie trivia gameshow in the world! William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold represent Critically Acclaimed in a duel to the death with MODOK, comprised of Matt Atchity (What the Flick?!) and Grae Drake (Rotten Tomatoes). The winners will reign supreme! The losers will feel kinda bad about it! And they will ALL dress like weirdos!

Who will win in the latest Movie Trivia Schmoedown, and what bizarre choice will make William Bibbiani tell his co-host, partner and best friend Witney Seibold, "I'm never trusting you again?"

Watch the episode now to find out!


William Bibbiani Reviews the 'Sense8' Series Finale


The Netflix original series "Sense8" is, according to William Bibbiani, one of the best and most important television shows of the decade. It's a science-fiction story about eight completely different people, from all over the world, who suddenly discover they have a psychic connection. Now, they share each other's passions, their problems, their skills and their lives, and learn just how big - and just how small - the world really is.

The series finale of "Sense8" is now available on Netflix, and in his latest video appearance on What The Flick?!, William Bibbiani and Alonso Duralde talk about what the show accomplished, the difficult job the showrunners had in finishing this series in just 2 1/2 hours, and why we need a show like "Sense8" now more than ever.

Watch it now!


Thursday, June 21, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews "The Catcher Was a Spy"


Paul Rudd stars in "The Catcher Was a Spy" as Moe Berg, a Major League Baseball player and an espionage agent during World War II. Directed by Ben Lewin ("The Sessions"), the film details an assassination attempt against Werner Heisenberg (Mark Strong), who may have been developing nuclear weapons for the Nazis. 

William Bibbiani argues that "The Catcher Was a Spy" is "dramatically inert," and "undersells every major moment," but argues that "if you don't know anything about Berg it might be mildly interesting."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "The Catcher Was a Spy" for The Wrap

Top Photo: IFC Films

Witney Seibold Reviews 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado'


Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin star in "Sicario: Day of the Soldado," the sequel to the Oscar-nominated thriller "Sicario," directed by Denis Villeneuve ("Blade Runner 2049"). In the film, the American government conspires to start a war between drug cartels in Mexico, to justify starting a war. Matt Graver (Brolin) and Alejandro Villick (Del Toro) kidnap the daughter of a cartel boss, Isabela (Isabela Moner) but when she witnesses too much, their loyalty to one another is tested.

Witney Seibold says that "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" feels "instantly dated" from a political perspective, but praises the film's "assured and energetic direction," and "gritty, intense action."

Read: Witney Seibold Reviews "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" at IGN

Top Photo: Sony Pictures

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Damsel'


Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska star in "Damsel," an eccentric western about a young eccentric man trying to rescue his kidnapped lady love, and the unexpected revelations that await him and the alcoholic parson he's hired to perform the wedding ritual. As the film progresses, Wasikowska takes over the center stage, and the film turns the whole western genre completely on its head.

William Bibbiani praises "Damsel" for being "the best kind of revisionist western, with a fresh perspective, and a vital, relevant point to make," although he critiques the film's comedy for "hitting the same note over and over."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Damsel" at The Wrap

Top Photo: Magnolia Pictures

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado'


Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin star in "Sicario: Day of the Soldado," the sequel to the Oscar-nominated thriller "Sicario," directed by Denis Villeneuve ("Blade Runner 2049"). In the film, the American government conspires to start a war between drug cartels in Mexico, to justify starting a war. Matt Graver (Brolin) and Alejandro Villick (Del Toro) kidnap the daughter of a cartel boss, Isabela (Isabela Moner) but when she witnesses too much, their loyalty to one another is tested.

William Bibbiani describes "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" as "uniquely dissatisfying," and says this sequel "strips away the meaning and the hypnotic visual style from the original."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" for The Wrap 

Top Photo: Sony Pictures

The 14 'Star Wars' Movies, Ranked from Worst to Best


[The following article was sponsored and assigned by our Patreon subscriber Charles Testrake. To learn how to sponsor and assign articles to William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold for publication at Critically Acclaimed, visit our Patreon page.]

You will be disappointed.

Modern internet film discourse has – as I'm sure you've noticed – come to dictate that pundits and critics write extended retrospectives of long-running film series every time a new installment of said series is released in theaters. Every new Marvel, every new James Bond film, every new “Star Wars” film warrants a revisitation and a re-ranking of all the films in the series. A curious pattern you may notice: The newest installments typically rank high on these lists. Only the passage of time will see them slip.

Although I have worked in film journalism for years - going back long before Disney's acquisition of “Star Wars” - it may surprise the reader to learn that this will be my first ranking of all 14 of the “Star Wars” features. I am fine having avoided this, as (and this may have me pilloried and ostracized from certain corners of the internet) I have never been much of a “Star Wars” person. I wasn't weaned on the films like many of my peers, having seen my first “Star Wars” film in 1996 at the age of 18.

I have, however, seen all 14 of the films that have been released to date, and I do have a good idea as to their relative standing. And, yes, to erase any ambiguity, I do consider the TV specials and the animated released to count among the canonical chapters of the “Star Wars” saga; many pundits tend to conveniently “forget” them in such rankings.

Here, then, is my ranking, with each film ranked on the Critically Acclaimed scale of C- to C+.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Let's Get Physical Media: Pacific Rim, Night of the Lepus and More (6/19/18)


Physical media is alive and we’re trying to keep it that way! Every week on Let’s Get Physical Media, we highlight a handful of the most interesting new releases on Blu-ray - including cult films, classics and recent hits - to make sure you know what’s worth your hard-earned money.

June 19, 2018 brings us giant robots, giant rabbits, a harsh indictment of the gun industry and a harsh indictment of the health care industry. So there’s something for everyone as long as you want something super goofy or super serious, with nothing in between.

Let’s take a look!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Critically Acclaimed #32: Eragon and Conan the Barbarian


Swords and sorcerers and dragons, oh my! This week on Critically Acclaimed, by listener request, we're reviewing the epic fantasy that completely failed to spawn a franchise, "Eragon," and pairing it with one of the most incredible pulp adventures ever captured on camera, the original "Conan the Barbarian!" 

Plus, reviews of the new releases "Incredibles 2," "Tag," "Superfly" and "Set It Up!"

Give it a listen!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Tag'


Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress and Jake Johnson star in "Tag," a new comedy about a group of middle-aged friends who have been played the same game over tag for decades. They wear disguises, infiltrate each other's businesses, and perform feats of acrobatic insanity just to declare each other "it." And when the game's undefeated champion announces his retirement, his friends will stop at nothing to tag him once and for all.

William Bibbiani says that "Tag" treats its childlike game like "an action-packed extravaganza, replete with elaborate fight choreography, acrobatic stunts, and twists and turns that would make serial killer Jigsaw nod in approval," but criticizes the film's inconsistent tone and genre, arguing that "it feels as though three or four different films are fighting for dominance."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Tag" for The Wrap

Top Photo: Warner Bros.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Canceled Too Soon #101: "Barbie and the Rockers" (1987)


In the 1980s, every TV series had its own toy line. But one of the most popular toys in history didn't have a hit series. That almost changed with "Barbie and the Rockers," Mattel's answer to Hasbro's hit "Jem and the Holograms" toy and cartoon series. 

It's a two-part pilot for a Barbie TV series, with lots of music, dancing and time travel. So why didn't it last more than two episodes? William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold review the shows that got made, and explain why Barbie couldn't compete with Jem on television, and what happened to all the unused ideas for the series!


William Bibbiani Argues "The Incredible Hulk is the Most Underrated MCU Movie"


It's the ten-year anniversary of "The Incredible Hulk," the second film in the immensely popular Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also the most overlooked film in the franchise. Critics and fans frequently dismiss the film, directed by Louis Leterrier ("Transporter 2") as a straightforward action movie, featured that would later be explored more satisfactorily in "The Avengers," and that Mark Ruffalo would ultimately give a superior performance to "The Incredible Hulk's" Edward Norton.

But in his latest article at IGN, William Bibbiani says "The Incredible Hulk" achieves many dramatic goals that frequently elude many of the more popular MCU movies, telling a complete narrative, embracing the darkness inherent to the character, exploring a rich love story, and organically integrating the character into a larger universe.

Read: William Bibbiani Argues "The Incredible Hulk is the Most Underrated MCU Movie" 


Top Photo: Universal Pictures / Marvel Studios

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Witney Seibold Reviews 'Superfly'


Trevor Jackson stars in "Superfly," a remake of the iconic blaxploitation classic, originally directed by Gordon Parks Jr., with one of the most celebrated movie soundtracks in history. The remake, from music video filmmaker Director X, tells the story of an Atlanta criminal trying to extricate himself from the drug trade.

In his review, Witney Seibold says the remake "ups the style game considerably," compared to the original, and "loses a lot of the original's scrappy charms and forthright righteous indignation."

Read: Witney Seibold Reviews "Superfly" for IGN

Top Photo: Sony Pictures

Let’s Get Physical Media: Tomb Raider, More American Graffiti and More (6/12/18)



Physical media is alive and we intend to keep it that way. Every week on Let’s Get Physical Media, we highlight a handful of the most interesting new releases on Blu-ray - including cult films, classics and recent hits - to make sure you know what’s worth your hard-earned money.

June 12, 2018 brings us one of the most underrated sequels in movie history, one of the best yeti movies nobody’s ever seen, a sublimely bizarre aerobics/ninja/exorcism hybrid, and a spectacular 2018 adventure film that deserved a bigger audience.

Let’s take a look!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Critically Acclaimed #31: The Lawnmower Man and eXistenZ


Game on! This week on Critically Acclaimed, by listener request, we're reviewing the virtual reality video game thriller "The Lawnmower Man," and we're pairing this notoriously silly cyber-thriller with the fiercely intelligent, incredibly squishy, and incredibly underrated biological cyber-thriller
"eXistenz!"

Plus, reviews of the new releases "Ocean's 8," "Hereditary," "Hotel Artemis" and "Bernard and Huey!"

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Double Features: Hereditary (2018)


No motion picture exists in a vacuum. Every week on Double Features, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold watch a new release and offer their individual picks for the perfect film to watch right afterwards, illuminating the themes, the artistry and the history of each movie.

This week's new release: "Hereditary," starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne and Alex Wolff as a family torn apart by shared tragedy, trauma and a history of mental illness. It's one of the most acclaimed horror movies in years, and has already earned a rave review from William Bibbiani.

Here's what the critics picked...!


William Bibbiani Reviews 'Bernard and Huey'


Jim Rash and David Koechner star in "Bernard and Huey," a new comedy from director Dan Mirvish ("Between Us"), based on the comic strip by Jules Feiffer. Rash and Koechner play the title characters, college friends whose power dynamic has shifted now that they are middle-aged, and which shifts back when they suddenly move back in together.

In his review, William Bibbiani argues that the film "seems to be under the misapprehension that acknowledging the shallowness of the characters and storyline is, in itself, clever."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Bernard and Huey" for The Wrap

Top Photo: Freestyle Digital Media

Thursday, June 7, 2018

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Hereditary'


Toni Collette stars in "Hereditary," a new horror thriller from writer/director Ari Aster, about a family recovering from tragic death, and the ramifications of their incredibly dark history. Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff and Ann Dowd co-star in a film that blurs the lines between the supernatural and insanity.

William Bibbiani says that "Hereditary" is "a terrifically frightening motion picture on almost every level" and praises Toni Collette's "virtuoso performance," but argues that the film "overplays its hand" in the finale.

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Hereditary" at IGN
Top Photo: A24

William Bibbiani Interviews Dean DeBlois About 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'


Dean DeBlois has directed or co-directed some of the best animated features of the century, including Disney's "Lilo & Stitch" and the "How to Train Your Dragon" trilogy at Dreamworks Animation. That fantasy series is finally coming to a conclusion next year, in "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World," which will finally explain why dragons disappeared from the face of the Earth.

In this new interview, William Bibbiani interviews Dean DeBlois about the upcoming movie, the importance of ending the franchise, the emotional impact of the series, and why the next installment has a subtitle instead of a number.

Read: William Bibbiani Interviews Dean DeBlois About Why the "How to Train Your Dragon" Series Has to End at IGN

Top Photo: Dreamworks Animation / Universal Pictures

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Witney Seibold Reviews 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'


The original “Jurassic Park,” now 25 years old, is still remembered fondly and enthusiastically. It is often discussed in effusive terms and frequently considered one of the best Hollywood blockbusters of its decade. It spawned two warmly-received sequels in the ensuing years – in 1997 and in 2001 – neither of which recaptured the magic or the fervor of the original. After 2001, audiences had to content themselves with pleasant re-visitations of the 1993 classic and simply enjoy the wonderment that Steven Spielberg delivered so effectively.

The blindingly powerful success of Colin Trevorrow's “Jurassic World” in 2015 may have revealed that audiences, while adoring the original, perhaps always clamored for something, well, a little different. “Jurassic World” jettisoned the wonderment of “Jurassic Park,” sped up the pace, featured broader characters, and replaced them with more dinosaur mayhem, and more high-concept silliness. Audiences, it seemed, were weary of a thriller about a dozen hapless humans evading dinosaurs through an incomplete theme park. They now wanted the full-scale slaughter of theme park guests and greedy corporate suits at the talons of the monsters. At some point in the last 25 years, the dinosaurs became the good guys.

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Hotel Artemis'


Jodie Foster stars in "Hotel Artemis," a new crime thriller written and directed by Drew Pearce ("Iron Man 3"), about a secret, high-tech emergency room for criminals. Jodie Foster runs the hotel, Dave Bautista plays her orderly, and Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Charlie Day and Jeff Goldblum play the larger than life bad guys who stumble, bloody, through their doors.

In his review, William Bibbiani says that "Hotel Artemis" is "very fun" but "hollow," and he critiques the film for its "broad-stroked characters populating an otherwise ultra-detailed fictional criminal underworld." 

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Hotel Artemis" at IGN


Top Photo: Global Road Entertainment

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Ocean's 8'


Sandra Bullock leads an all-star cast in "Ocean's 8," a spin-off of Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's 11" reboot franchise, in which an ex-con assembles a team of women with special skills to an astoundingly valuable necklace from the Met Gala in New York City. Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games") directs, and Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling and Sarah Paulson co-star.

In his review, William Bibbiani says that "Ocean's 8" is "the most satisfying installment in the franchise," and that the film also "delivers sharp commentary on celebrity culture."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Ocean's 8" at IGN

Top Photo: Warner Bros.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Canceled Too Soon #100: Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)


It's the 100th episode of Canceled Too Soon, and we're celebrating with our most requested show ever! It's "Freaks and Geeks," the celebrated comedy that jumpstarted the careers of Judd Apatow, Paul Feig, Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Busy Philipps, John Francis Daley, Martin Starr and this week's special guest, Samm Levine!

William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold look back on what made "Freaks and Geeks" so special, and interview Samm Levine for behind the scenes stories about his favorite episodes, in this epic 100th episode spectacular!


Critically Acclaimed #30: 'The Haunted Mansion' and '13 Ghosts'


We're your best nightmare! This week on Critically Acclaimed, by listener request, we're reviewing the family horror comedy "The Haunted Mansion," based on the Disney amusement part ride, starring Eddie Murphy. And we're pairing this expensive CGI would-be blockbuster with William Castle's ultra-cheap, but infinitely more effective all-ages haunted house classic "13 Ghosts!"

Plus, reviews of the new releases "Adrift," "Upgrade," "Action Point," "The Misandrists" and "American Animals," and we also respond to more of your emails!

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