BEST EPISODES of Marc Maron WTF PODCAST!

Catching Up

PODCASTS : Currently Listening to WTF. There is a reason why people who hate interviewers and hate interviews decide to do this show.

Marc Maron manages to be actually concerned and interested in what these people have to say, and just wants to have a conversation with them and it illicits a trust in the interviewed and the listener. And it comes across. There is a reason President Obama chose this podcast to give arguably one of the most potent public interviews/conversations a seated President has ever given.

There is something about audio that lends itself to an intimate conversation better than video. It involves the listener in the theater of the mind, and you end up actually listening to people rather than just watching the spinning plates, the stock in trade of most tv talk shows.

Airing since 2009, now in its eighth year, The first three years of the WTF Podcast it was strictly comedians. But the names became ever larger so that by the end of 2011 he was interviewing movie star level comedians.

2012 was when it really transitioned from a comedian interview show to just a great ‘whoever interests me’ interview show. And 2015 with the startling appearance of President Obama on the show is when it rocketed into the Stratosphere of world wide prominence, with now a whole new level of guests appearing.

Episode #327 from 2012 starring Jimmie Walker, was recommended by another great podcast… 11oclock Comics, and became my first introduction to Marc Maron and WTF. That episode, a brilliant show that is a wonderful history of comedy, it remains one of the best episodes, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Mark Maron’s WTF is arguably not just one of the best ‘podcast’ shows, but is orders of magnitude better than any ‘talk show’ you’ll find on TV, or cable, or streaming.

Here are a few episodes that stand out for me as, not just this show done well, but really pivotal and important additions to culture and the history of entertainment.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, just some of the ones that stood out to me.

Without further ado they are:

#327 JIMMY WALKER 2012 Brilliant and informative history of post 60s comedy and the comedy clubs
REMEMBERING ROBIN WILLIAMS August 11 2014 – Heartbreaking and an essential listen
#523 BOB NEWHART 2014 Excellent
#544 ANDRE ROYO 2014 Fun
#593 HENRY WINKLER 2015 Rich
#605 TOMMY DAVIDSON 2015 Engrossing
#613/614 PRESIDENT OBAMA 2015 Podcast of the Year
#621 SIR IAN MCKELLAN 2015 Riveting and charming, and a masterclass on being an actor and surviving it
#622 WYATT CENAC 2015 Compelling
#624 SINBAD 2015 I like that he stood up for Bill Cosby, as Cosby remains very much THE comedian of much of the pivotal years of the late 20th century, and remains a person I hold in high regard
#638 SIR PATRICK STEWART 2015 Genius and very open about a harrowing coming of age
#684 WILLIAM FRIEDKIN 2016 Brilliant
#761 MIKE SHANNON 2016 Unexpectedly charming and nuanced
#783 BIll PAXTON 2017 Wonderful
#804 WALTER HILL 2017 Great and Bittersweet stories. Including playing part of episode #783 at Bill Paxton’s funeral

Hear these and more here:

https://wtfpod.libsyn.com

Fantastic Fridays: OPIUM AND THE KUNG-FU MASTER Roku Amazon Prime Movie Review!

THE SHAW BROTHERS tends to be thought of as a maker of period/classic Kung Fu Films, and while that is their bread and butter, there is a wealth of diversity in the Shaw Brothers’ Output that isn’t readily apparent.

But once you start diving into their catalog you find a wealth of diversity in genre and period and storytelling.

The Message/Anti-Drug  Movie was a staple of Nancy Reagan era politics. She the bandaid to her husband’s cartel creating foreign policy that was flooding the inner cities with white death.

In OPIUM AND THE KUNG-FU MASTER  you find the message movie wrapped in great sets, cinematography, performances, script and stellar fight scenes. Enjoyable and addictive movie from beginning to last superb fight scene.

Watch it via your Roku or Fire TV and catch it free courtesy of AMAZON PRIME. The print on Amazon prime is in superb hd quality and is the most affordable way to see this movie. the bare-bones bluray is unfortunately quite expensive.

however, it is definitely one to own/have in your collection if you can swing it. it is one of the best shaw brother movies.

Opium and the Kung Fu Master [Blu-ray]

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Best TV shows by decade! 1950s to 2017!

Best TV shows by decade!

1950s
DRAGNET
GUNSMOKE
HONEYMOONERS
I LOVE LUCY
THE LONE RANGER
RAWHIDE
RIFLEMAN

1960s
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

RIFLEMAN
STAR TREK
TWILIGHT ZONE
GUNSMOKE
HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL
OUTER LIMITS
THE FUGITIVE (the template for decades of shows to follow, from THE HULK to WEREWOLF)
RIFLEMAN

1970S
SANFORD AND SON
GOOD TIMES
HAPPY DAYS
MASH
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
MORK AND MINDY
UFO
SPACE 1999

 

1980s

THE COSBY SHOW
SPENSER FOR HIRE
HILL STREET BLUES
MIAMI VICE
QUANTUM LEAP
THREE’S COMPANY
STAR TREK NEXT GENERATION
WEREWOLF (Starred the great Chuck Connors, this short lived series was great!)
ROBIN OF SHERWOOD (Best interpretation of Robin Hood ever!)

 

1990s
ER
FAMILY MATTERS
FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR
THE SIMPSONS
MARRIED WITH CHILDREN
MARTIN
SEINFELD
WINGS
STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE
BABYLON 5
X-FILES
HOMICIDE
NYPD BLUE
BUFFY

 

2000s

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
SPOOKS
BREAKING BAD
HUSTLE
TOP GEAR
TORCHWOOD
DOCTOR WHO (The Dave Tennant Years)
THE WIRE
FIREFLY
THE VENTURE BROTHERS
JUSTICE LEAGUE

2010s (There was a while in the 2000s where after the writer’s strike everyone was signaling the death nell of scripted television, as channels ramped up their reality tv programming. Thankfully the 2010s sees scripted television not only alive and well, but thriving on an unprecedented level. The rise of streaming TV has created an unprecedented production of shows to fill the VOD demand. 

With Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu becoming world class producers of content, the 2010s sees not only the quantity of Television options at the highest it has ever been in the history of the world (with exoosure to the best TV shows of other nations), but the quality of the programming exponentially better. 2010s is a golden age of TV.

 

 

 

HEMLOCK GROVE
BATES MOTEL
PENNY DREADFUL
ROME
SPARTACUS
BLACK MIRROR
AMERICAN HORROR STORY
HOUSE OF CARDS
DAREDEVIL
RIPPER STREET
LUKE CAGE
JESSICA JONES
SUPERNATURAL
GREEN ARROW
IZOMBIE
ELEMENTARY
THE FLASH
THE GOOD WIFE
LONGMEYER
WALLANDER
THE AMERICANS
LEGION
LUTHER
BADLANDS
ALPHAS
COSMOS
BEING HUMAN BBC 1ST 3 SEASONS ONLY
TEEN WOLF
BLACKLIST
STRANGER THINGS
TOPGEAR BBC ONLY
NARCOS
THE 100
MARCO POLO
GLITCH
SHERLOCK
RECTIFY
HAWAII FIVE-O
LEVERAGE
THE CLONE WARS
ZOO
HELL ON WHEELS
AGENTS OF SHIELD
ASCENSION
CRIMINAL MINDS
TRANSPORTER
BURN NOTICE
HATFIELDS & MCCOYS
BROADCHIRCH
HELIX
INSPECTOR POIROT
JACK TAYLOR
HINTERLAND
THE MAGICIANS
LIFE
YOUNG JUSTICE
DOLLHOUSE
BEING MARY JANE
PERSON OF INTEREST
FRONTIER
THE MESSENGERS
ALMIGHTY JOHNSONS
DARK MATTER
MARSEILLE
THE CLEVELAND SHOW
BOONDOCKS

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES -Nickelodeon

Movie of the Day : THE HUNTED (2013) DVD Review!

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BODkwMDY1MzI4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjAyNDMzMDE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_.jpg

THE HUNTED(2013)There have been numerous movies with the title THE HUNTED, this one from 2013 is the best. 

I am QUITE impressed by this film. Star, writer, director and producer Josh Stewart crafts methodically and surprisingly, from earnest, everyday beginnings… moments of horror profound. Taking a primal sound meant to denote a response to horror, and making it in and of itself a vehicle of horror.

The editing (william yeh) and Sound Design (WALTER WERZOWA) in this film is brilliant, horror like comedy is timing, and this film is timed perfectly to… grip you, in moments not unlike, terror. The DVD featurette is a must watch when you finish the film, as is the fun director’s commentary. Go into the film, knowing as little as possible, and it will reward you.

An impressive debut film from Josh Stewart. Everyone wants to make a horror film but not everyone should or is capable of it. Stewart shows out the gate a deft hand and an assured eye, marrying perfectly the moments that seemed earnest and true, and the moments that chill. Looking forward to his follow-up films.

He joins a small but growing list of impressive filmmakers OF the disturbing to be on the lookout for.

JAMES WAN (INSIDIOUS, THE CONJURING)
LEIGH WHANNEL (INSIDIOUS 3) – A definite improvement over Insidious 2. Hair-raisingly talented.
DAVID F. SANDBERG (LIGHTS OUT)
NICHOLAS McCARTHY (PACT, AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR, HOLIDAYS)
DAVID ROBERT MITCHELL (IT FOLLOWS)
TI WEST (HOUSE OF THE DEVIL)
OREN PELI (PARANORMAL ACTIVITY FRANCHISE)
TOMAS ALFREDSON/MATT REEVES (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN/LET ME IN)
JAUME BALAGUERO (REC)
NEIL MARSHALL (THE DESCENT)
BONG JOON-HO (THE HOST)
JONATHAN GLAZER (UNDER THE SKIN)
GUILLERMO DEL TORO (PAN’S LABYRINTH)
(PONTYPOOL)
(THE WOMAN IN BLACK)
J.T. PETTY (THE BURROWERS)
PAVEL KHVALEEV (III, THE RANDOM, INVOLUTION)
BONE TOMAHAWK
SAUNA
CHRISTOPHE GANS (THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF, SILENT HILL)

A Fortress Features production.

 

Hunted [DVD] [2013] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

First Great Theatrical Experience of 2017 — KONG : SKULL ISLAND in 3D!

It takes a lot to get me out to the theater these days. 2016 was one of my most anemic theater going years. Having only seen a couple movies in the theater (among them the excellent CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR).

The slow movie going year could be linked to several reasons, some personal and singular, and some endemic of larger more encompassing perspectives.

The rise of Netflix and Streaming options has brought cinema quality programming to your living room or bedroom, around your schedule. So no trying to make your schedule fit around a movie showing, and all the baggage of parking, and seats, and annoying crowds, and of course the expense.

So for those reasons and others the theater wasn’t top on my list in 2016.

2017 and I’m incentivized to see quite a few movies in the theater. One reason is the reopening of one of my favorite regional movie theaters, as an upscale adults only dinner and a movie venue.

Perfect for couples or close friends, I decided to check out a matinee showing of KONG : SKULL ISLAND over other available options at this theater (such as LOGAN and JOHN WICK II and GET OUT, all of which I intend to see) for the main reason I wanted to test out the spectacle and 3D quality of this new theater, and what better way than a loud, explosive, monster movie.

So I reserved my seats, picking the perfect seats of course, and quite impressed with their meal and drink menu. Forget the overpriced artery clogging Popcorn and Hotdogs and Candy that comprises the fare of your typical theater, this theater offered a full and quite impressive meal and drink menu, brought to your spacious clean, well kept seats, no less. We had the crabcakes, bistro burger, korean wings, with a Berry Blast drink for me and a Mocha Latte for her. And did I mention the excellent attentive service.

So we are planted in front our huge curved screen, it’s a matinee showing so not only do we have our whole row free, we have our whole section free, with probably a total of less than 20 people in the large yet intimate theater. Meaning the theater and screen is large, but the number of seats are few.

So that’s the setup. What about the movie?

The best part of the Peter Jackson 2005 KING KONG movie, was the one hour period on the island (once we get past Peter Jackson’s annoying portrayal of Native Life as monstrous, evil and subhuman), that one hour was fantastic sequences of monster and Kong Mayhem, and should have been the whole movie.

Once that movie leaves the island it loses all interest and excitement, crawling toward a tepid ending.

KONG:SKULL ISLAND, 12 years after Peter Jackson’s mistake, learns admirably from the flaws of his film, crafting an entire movie on Kong’s home, the Island of Monsters, Skull Island, and it is absolutely kick-ass!

The idea to set it in 1973, at a pivotal time for America and the World, I thought was a stroke of genius and gives real motivation to Samuel L. Jackson’s Ahab inclined character, who see’s in the monster of Kong, this fight, a chance to win the war that he was denied, to change shame into glory. I like the opening, the setup to the actual Mayhem that is Kong, quite a bit, which says a lot about the quality of the filmmaker and the film.

Usually the least interesting part of any monster movie, is the prelude to the appearance of the Monster, when you have to endure boring cardboard characters killing time. That was the issue with the GODZILLA movie by the producers of this film, it was mostly setup and concentration on the human drama, but the humans and the human drama in that movie was as of much interest as watching paint dry.

Here, the setup and the characters feel fleshed out and earned, and part of that is grounding these soldiers in 1973. Survivors, but somehow not victors. Going from one barely war abroad, to a frightening barely understood war at home awaiting them, Skull Island, is very much a reprieve to Jackson’s Colonel. And the men under him, caught in the machinations of dreams of Glory, well they are understood to.

And all the characters are quickly enlisted for this obscure mission, all powerful, compelling actors, not a Jack Black insight. But actors all who can compel and own their time onscreen… their closeups. So I’m thoroughly entertained and into the movie, before Kong goes Ape, so to speak. And when he does go Ape… it is… EPIC!!!

This is why Theaters have value in an age of Netflix and Home Theaters, because a home theater is no match for a commercial theater when you have no annoying audience to deal with, this was the fury of Kong unleashed… this was spectacle, this was Blockbuster, and this was worth every penny paid!

Should you see it in 3D? I typically find 3D is a wasted expense in most situations. I think it is expertly done here, and is really the type of movie that cries out for really good 3D. KONG is really good use of 3D, and I think like AVATAR is a must see in 3D!

KONG is only the second feature film of Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, nothing in his filmography would indicate he could handle a big budget blockbuster of a monster movie, but much like the Russo Brothers of CAPTAIN AMERICA fame (who also came out of feature film obscurity) Roberts rises to the occasion, shattering expectations.

I loved this movie from beginning to end. It blows away recent failures such as GODZILLA and the aforementioned KING KONG, and bodes well for future films. Stay past the trailer for a nice Marvel style Easter Egg.

Grade: A solid and easy B+!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

MUST LISTEN Audio Books for BLACK HISTORY Month and every other month! :) Part 2 of 2

The 2nd must listen audio book for Black History Month or any month is the mind breaking MUMBO JUMBO by the great Ishmael Reed.

Ishmael Reed, who was honored with the MacArthur “genius” award, is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and two-time nominee for the National Book Award. Mumbo Jumbo, a literary masterpiece, is an ironic and unconventional detectivestory infused with African-American cultural heritage. A strange psychic epidemic called “Jes Grew” is spreading through the country, affecting millions. PaPa LaBas, a HooDoo detective, is trying to find the origins of the JesGrew – not because he wants to cure it, but because he’s ready for a new kind of society.

mumbojumbo

Composed of the memorable personalities and the little remembered tragedies and triumphs of the roaring 20s, MUMBO JUMBO weaves these truths into an overarching fictional narrative that goes from the beginning of civilization to the fall of man.

But the fiction is so peppered with essential truths, like the best of all fiction, that it will change fundamentally how you look at everything, from museums to curse words to bull fights. If MIDDLE PASSAGE is my favorite audio book, MUMBO JUMBO  I think , in opposition to its name, is the most enlightening and powerful audio book I’ve ever listened to, for the  way it opened up my mind to… broader definitions of history and broader definitions of ourselves. Magnificent.

Version:

Unabridged
Author: Ishmael Reed
Narrator: J. D. Jackson
Genres: Fiction & Literature
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published In: July 2005
# of Units: 8 CDs
Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes

Get your copy here:

 

Mumbo Jumbo