Sunday, June 30, 2019

Critically Acclaimed #84: Toy Story 4, Child's Play and Annabelle Comes Home!

It's a cavalcade of all-new movie reviews on this week's CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED!

Film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold catch up on the new releases "Toy Story 4," "Child's Play," "Annabelle Comes Home," "Anna," "Ophelia" and "Endzeit" on the latest episode of the podcast, as they gear up for next week's big episode, with their picks for the best movies of the year so far!

Give it a listen!

Witney Seibold Reviews 'Midsommar'

"Midsommar," Ari Aster's follow-up to "Hereditary," evokes "The Wicker Man" and, like its predecessor, a whole lot of emotional angst. It's a harrowing film with a slow pace and a lot of wailing and weeping. And, yes, it will eventually explode into violence, even as the Swedish citizens remain placid and smiling. 

In his review of "Midsommar" on IGN, Witney Seibold calls "Midsommar" a "languorous and meticulously crafted slow-burn horror films about real-life grief interrupted by encroaching, unexpected outerworld dread." It's a film of emotional isolation, but, unfortunately, it has some of the same structural problems as "Hereditary." 

Read: Witney Seibold Reviews "Midsommar" at IGN 

Top Image: A24

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Canceled Too Soon #153: Gene Roddenberry's Spectre (1977)

Everyone knows Gene Roddenberry created the utopian sci-fi series "Star Trek," but most people don't realize he also produced a failed TV pilot for a show about demons and orgies! SPECTRE starred Robert Culp and Oscar-winner Gig Young as paranormal investigators who get roped into a supernatural conspiracy involving John Hurt and fetish outfits aplenty.

It might seem like an odd chapter in Gene Roddenberry's career, but as film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold point out in this episode the podcast, it's not that much of a stretch if you track the subtext (and text) of Roddenberry's work. 

But the real question is, was "Spectre" really... CANCELED TOO SOON? !

Give it a listen and find out!

Monday, June 24, 2019

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Annabelle Comes Home'

The evil doll Annabelle is back in "Annabelle Comes Home," a supernatural thriller about teenagers who get trapped in a house with an army of demons while the paranormal investigator Warren family is out for the evening. Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman and Katie Sarife star in a supernatural thriller from writer/director Gary Dauberman.

In his review of "Annabelle Comes Home" at Bloody-Disgusting, William Bibbiani calls the film "satisfying, dramatic and spooky spin-off," and praises the performances as well as the new, demonic additions to the "Conjuring" franchise.

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Annabelle Comes Home" at Bloody-Disgusting

Top Photo: Warner Bros.

Canceled Too Soon #152: Exo-Man (1977)

In 1977, just a few weeks after the release of "Star Wars," came a failed TV pilot that so much like "Iron Man" people thought it was actually Iron Man for decades! It's the story of a physics professor who gets paralyzed by the mob and uses a high-tech supersuit to exact his vigilante revenge on the mob! 

It is... EXO-MAN!

On the latest episode of CANCELED TOO SOON, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold sit down with EXO-MAN and decide, once and for all, if this notorious failed pilot deserved to go to series.

Give it a listen!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Two-Shot: Virtuosity and Enchanted!

In the 1990s, when cyborg Denzel Washington wasn’t fighting white supremacists in a futuristic prison, he was hunting virtual reality serial killers in nanotech bodies that looked just like Russell Crowe. That’s the premise of the supremely weird VIRTUOSITY, a cyber thriller about artificial intelligence and Russell Crowe eating glass.

And somehow, it’s the perfect double feature with ENCHANTED, a modern Disney classic about an animated princess who gets trapped in the cynical, real world! See where we’re going with this?

Join film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold as they show you the place where good taste and bad taste collide, every week on THE TWO-SHOT

Give it a listen!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

William Bibbiani Ranks All the 'Child's Play' Movies!

Chucky the killer doll has been committing heinous acts of murder for over 30 years now, and that means - with the release of the new remake of "Child's Play" - the time has come to look his whole franchise!

Check it out, because William Bibbiani has ranked all of the "Child's Play" movies, from the original to the weirdo sequels to the remake, this week at The Wrap!

Read: William Bibbiani Ranks the "Child's Play" Movies at The Wrap

Top Photos: United Artist

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Child's Play' (2019)

The killer doll franchise gets an update in Lars Klevberg's "Child's Play," a remake of the 1988 horror classic about a boy whose best friend, a toy, turns out to be a serial killer. Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry and Gabriel Bateman co-star in the new version, in which Chucky is a high-tech luxury item that can also control other household objects and use them to commit murder.

In his review of "Child's Play" at Bloody-Disgusting, William Bibbiani says the film is "fast-paced, gory, inventive" but held back by its awkward attempts to harken back to, whilst differentiating itself from, the original film.

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Child's Play" at Bloody-Disgusting

Top Photo: United Artists 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Midsommar'

Ari Aster's follow-up to the critically acclaimed horror thriller "Hereditary" is here, and it's "Midsommar," an ambitious folk horror fable about American students getting swept up in a Swedish cult. Florence Pugh ("Fighting With My Family") and Jack Reynor ("Free Fire") and Jack Reynor star, in a film produce by A24.

In his review of "Midsommar"at Bloody-Disgusting, William Bibbiani calls it "as ambitious and overpowering a horror movie as you are likely to see this year," but finds fault with the film's familiar structure, slow pacing and ham-fisted allegories.

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Midsommar" at The Wrap

Top Photo: A24

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Canceled Too Soon #151: Still Star-Crossed (2017)

Did you ever wonder what happened AFTER the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? If you hadn't, there's no need to start now! STILL STAR-CROSSED has all the answers, in a historical epic set in Verona, where the surviving cast of William Shakespeare's timeless tragedy continue their never-ending feud even after they were supposed to have learned their valuable lesson.

"Still Star-Crossed" hails from Shondaland, the hit television production company that brought you "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and "How to Get Away with Murder," but this one only lasted one season! On the latest episode of CANCELED TOO SOON, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold dive into this ambitious, slightly campy series to figure out what worked, what didn't, and what's just plain weird.

Give it a listen!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Critically Acclaimed #83: Men in Black: International, Shaft and Listener Mail!

You took the time to write us and we're going to answer your emails in the latest episode of CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED! 

William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold answer questions about everything from "Home Alone" to the purpose movies can serve in these tumultuous times in the latest episode of the podcast!

Also this week, Bibbs and Witney review the new releases "Men in Black: International," "Shaft," "The Dead Don't Die" and "The Spy Behind Home Plate!"

Give it a listen!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Witney Seibold Reviews 'Toy Story 4'

It was nine years ago when “Toy Story 3” seemingly closed out its series on a perfect note: Woody the cowboy, Buzz the spaceman, and all his toybox compatriots were handed – in a wistful scene that evokes tears just in the recollection – from the hands of Andy, their now college-aged owner, into the waiting arms of an enthused toddler named Molly. Kids grow up. It was time to put away childish things. And, once again, Pixar, with rare universal access to it, opened up the pipeline directly into our collective hearts.

As such, the announcement of a late-in-the-game follow-up to “Toy Story 3” elicited rage from my blackened soul. 

The Two-Shot: The 15:17 to Paris and The Best Years of Our Lives!

Clint Eastwood cast real-life heroes in "The 15:17 to Paris," a biographical film about the American friends who seemed fated to save the day when a terrorist strikes aboard a train in Europe. And yet critics balked, the mainstream audiences didn't go for it, and generally speaking - when it comes to the movie at least - most people didn't seem to care.

So why is "The 15:17 to Paris" the perfect double feature with "The Best Years of Our Lives," a 1946 drama made by and for real-life veterans, about the trials and tribulations that befell soldiers after they returned home from war? One film made no impression, while the other was a box office blockbuster that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. 

Film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold explore what makes one film work and another fall flat in the latest episode of THE TWO-SHOT!

Give it a listen!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Shaft' (2019)

Shaft is back, and so is Shaft, and so is Shaft! Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their title roles in Tim Story's "Shaft," which adds a new generation to the family, played by Jessie T. Usher. They unite and overcome their differences to solve a murder and uncover a conspiracy in the latest reboot of the iconic franchise.

In his review of "Shaft" (2019) at IGN, William Bibbiani laments the transformation of the franchise into a comedy featuring "jokes that would have been outdated and ignorant decades ago," as well an unsettling streak of homophobia.

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Shaft" for IGN

Top Photo: Warner Bros.

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Men in Black: International'

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson reunite in "Men in Black: International," a globetrotting sci-fi adventure from director F. Gary Gray ("The Fate of the Furious"). A spin-off of the hit comedy series starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, "Men in Black: International" tells the story of two mismatched agents who get embroiled in an intergalactic conspiracy. Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani and Rafe Spall co-star.

In his review of "Men in Black: International" at The Wrap, William Bibbiani says the film proves "Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth are two of the most likable movie stars in the galaxy," but laments the "highly conventional screenplay" which boasts "no new ideas."

Top Photo: Sony Pictures

Monday, June 10, 2019

Canceled Too Soon #150: 'The Lone Gunmen' (2001)

It's time to bring CHRIS CARTER MONTH to an appropriately abrupt conclusion with THE LONE GUNMEN, one of the most notorious one-season wonders in TV history. The comic relief sidekicks from "The X-Files" got their own TV series, with decent ratings and critical acclaim, with conspiracy-driven storylines that accurately predicted tech companies spying on consumers and - in the show's shocking pilot - the 9/11 attacks.

"The Lone Gunmen" is a show with a huge cult following, and that's why we saved it for a special occasion! Film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold dive into the show that only lasted one short season, before getting an unexpected and disappointing conclusion on "The X-Files." 

Was this show the classic everyone makes it out to be? Was "The Lone Gunmen" really... CANCELED TOO SOON?

Give it a listen and find out!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Critically Acclaimed #82: Dark Phoenix, The Secret Life of Pets 2 and Our Favorite Food Movies!

Most movies don't really care what the characters are eating, but some movies make our mouths water! In the latest episode of CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold take a look at their favorite "food movies," the films that turn our daily need for sustenance into dramatic inspiration, telling funny, romantic and even frightening stories about what we devour to stay alive.

Also this week, Bibbs and Witney review the new releases "Dark Phoenix," "The Secret Life of Pets 2," "Late Night" and "Funan!"

Give it a listen!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

William Bibbiani Reviews 'The Secret Life of Pets 2'

The secret life of pets gets a lot less secret with "The Secret Life of Pets 2," the sequel to the original animated blockbuster about adorable critters with personalities and adventures that would surprise the heck out of their owners. The sequel stars Patton Oswalt (taking over for Louis C.K.), Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey and Harrison Ford as critters with adventures like trips to the farm, losing an important chew toy, and rescuing a white tiger from an abusive circus.

In his review of "The Secret Life of Pets 2" at IGN, William Bibbiani calls the film "a mediocre retread of the original, with a few good gags but very little reason to exist, aside from temporarily distracting children and putting their parents to sleep."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "The Secret Life of Pets 2" at IGN

Top Photo: Universal Pictures

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Nine-Shot: All the 'Planet of the Apes' Movies!

It's one of the most important and influential sci-fi movie franchises in history, but have you actually seen all nine of the "Planet of the Apes" movies?

On a very special episode of THE TWO-SHOT, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold review every single "Planet of the Apes" movie. From the groundbreaking, Oscar-winning original to its extremely weird sequels, to Tim Burton's notorious failed reboot, to the blockbuster visual effects extravaganzas starring Andy Serkis and a team of VFX artists and animators!

How do these films hold up? What does the original series have that the more popular reboots are lacking? And is the Burton film REALLY all that bad?

You'll have to listen to this week's episode of THE TWO-SHOT to find out!

Give it a listen!

William Bibbiani Reviews 'Dark Phoenix'

The X-Men are back for one last adventure in "Dark Phoenix," the final film in the main X-Men franchise before Disney takes over. Sophie Turner ("Game of Thrones") takes the spotlight for a retelling of "The Dark Phoenix Saga," a classic comic book storyline about Jean Grey going mad with power, that was previously adapted in "X-Men: The Last Stand." James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jessica Chastain co-star.

In his review of "Dark Phoenix" at The Wrap, film critic William Bibbiani praises the action sequences but says the new film "makes the same old mistakes" as the "X-Men: The Last Stand," the first attempt to adapt the saga to the big screen, calling the new version "one-sided, paranoid and sexist."

Read: William Bibbiani Reviews "Dark Phoenix" at The Wrap

Top Photo: 20th Century Fox

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Critically Acclaimed #81: Godzilla, Ma, and The Best Animal Movies Ever!

The winner of our Critically Acclaimed sweepstakes asked us to do an episode about our favorite animal movies, and by golly, we're going to give it them! This week on CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED, film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold present their favorite movies starring animals of all shapes and sizes, from kids movies to horror movies, from doggies to fishies and beyond!

Also this week, Bibbs and Witney review the new releases "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," "Ma," "Domino" and "Always Be My Maybe," and tell you everything you need to know about Robert Pattinson starring last he

Give it a listen!