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Saturday, January 16, 2021

More Capsule Reviews in the Time of Coronavirus (5)

Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical

Obviously, there haven't been opportunities to see live theater or musicals lately, but when my wife told me she wanted to check out a streaming musical based on the Pixar film Ratatouille that grew out of a TikTok video that went viral, I was obviously apprehensive. Apparently, someone on TikTok composed, wrote and posted a song for a number from a “Ratatouille” musical to which other TikTok users began contributing from both the professional and amateur theater ranks, encompassing staging, costume design and more. It was eventually presented online as a fundraiser for the Actors Fund, as a streaming show.

Like many such productions, I planned to give it 10 minutes or so to see if it was worth my time — quite effectively, the show brings you in from the very start, with its “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show!” enthusiasm. But make no mistake, this is a nearly fully-realized, professional production, starting with the performers, all delightful, who include Titus Burgess as Remy the Rat, Andrew Barth Feldman as Linguini (who played “Dear Evan Hanson” on Broadway) and Wayne Brady. As one observer noted, the goal was to put on a “professional” production and the results show that there is a lot of talent out there (young and otherwise). In the credits, you get to see many of the contributors and snippets of the original TikTok songs—many of which are also on YouTube.

Watch the full musical:


Fandome 2: Superman Radio Show Re-Creation

Following the success of DC Fandome on August 22, 2020, Warner Brothers scheduled a follow up with additional material on September 12. Among the offerings was the re-creation of a 1940s episode of the Superman radio show, as a fundraiser for the Creative Coalition. The presentation, available online, featured a cast that rotated its parts among multiple actors, including, as Superman, Tim Daly (who played Superman on the animated series) and Daniel Dae, and others like Jason Alexander, Terry Crews, Giancarlo Esposito, Jason Isaacs, Richard Kind, Tony Shalhoub, and Henry Winkler.

While the show was fun and all the actors did a presentable job, as someone who was involved in a faux “radio show” as well, the show underscored how radio drama is an art in itself. Since voice and sound is the only dramatic tool for the medium, radio drama requires a bit more energy to avoid any dead air and keep the listener engaged. As an example, I thought Isaacs, as the villain, did especially well, throwing his whole body and voice into his performance.

It was a fun exercise—with so many table reads of classic movie and tv scripts being done in this age of coronavirus, the show was a nice addition.

Watch the radio show re-creation on YouTube: 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Entertainment Round up for 2020

Below is my annual end-of-year entertainment roundup for 2020!

Like everyone else, I was stuck at home for most of the year due to COVID-19, which no doubt contributed to a banner year of film and television consumption. Last year I separated films seen in the theater and on DVD from those seen online—for this year, I further refined the list by also separating streaming films from "series," regardless of whether they were on TV or a streaming service (including limited series).

Among my favorite series and/or films this year were Queen's Gambit (Netflix), Enola Holmes (Netflix), Soul (Pixar), Quiz (AMC), The Great (Hulu), Happiest Season (Hulu), the Glorias (Amazon Prime), Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix), Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Netflix), Toast of London (Netflix), and Medical Police (Netflix). Honorable mentions go to Mank (Netflix), the Band's Visit (Prime), and the Return of the Hero (Prime). Late discoveries include Bombshell, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Wonder Wheel, Just Mercy, and World on Fire. As usual, I also revisited past favorites, including the West Wing, Gorky Park, Great News, and others.

Although I wasn't as enthralled by the Mandalorian on Disney Plus like some people (in fact, I found it downright boring), the second season turned out to be much more appealing.

In addition, at the beginning of 2020, I mentioned that I had transitioned from a satellite tv series to YouTubeTV. After now having had it nearly a year, I can say it was a great decision, I'm very happy with the service and the much lower pricepoint (which allowed us the cushion to sign up for a few other streaming services).

While of course stay-at-home guidance prevented us from seeing live shows, we actually enjoyed several terrific live online concerts by the Fab Four, a Beatles tribute band, which was a treat. And despite the cancellation of this year's San Diego Comic-Con, I exhibited at the virtual show, Comic-Con@Home and enjoyed checking out DC Comics' FanDome.

I didn't read as many books as I would have liked (comics, graphic novel or otherwise), but I enjoyed Woody Allen's Apropos of Nothing and Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by John "Derf" Backderf.

As we enter 2021, it will be interesting if I maintain this pace!

Films/DVDs
The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Extended & Extras) - DVD (12/28/2020) The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - (Extended & Extras) DVD (12/6/2020) Jojo Rabbit - DVD (12/22/2020) - rewatch Help! - DVD (11/27/2020) - rewatch Remains of the Day - DVD (9/4/2020) - rewatch Three Kings - DVD (8/16/2020) - rewatch Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood - DVD (8/15/ /2020) - rewatch Hannah and Her Sisters - DVD (4/11/2020) - rewatch Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood - DVD (2/27/2020) - rewatch Masters of Sex, Season 2 (DVD - Disc 2) (1/25/2020) Jojo Rabbit - DVD (1/5/2020) - rewatch

Streaming Films

Ford v. Ferrari (12/28/2020) - rewatch
Soul - Disney Plus (2/28/2020)
Wonder Woman 1984 - HBO Max - (2/25/2020)
Frank and Ollie - Disney+ (12/21/20)
Young Victoria - Hulu (12/20/2020) - rewatch
Shattered Glass - IMDB (12/11/2020) - rewatch
Pawn Sacrifice - Hulu (12/4/2020)
Mank - Netflix (12/4/2020)
China’s Schindlers - Prime (12/6/2020)
Rescue in the Philippines - Refuge from the Holocaust- Prime (12/6/2020)
Saints and Soldiers: The Void - Prime (12/6/2020)
The Real Inglorious Bastards - Prime (12/5/2020)
Bombshell - Hulu (11/29/2020)
The Man Who Invented Christmas - Hulu (11/27/2020) - rewatch
Last Christmas - Prime (11/27/2020)
Friends and Romans - Prime (11/27/2020)
2001: The Making of a Myth - Prime (11/27/2020)
Ides of March - Prime (11/24/2020)
Happiest Season - Hulu (11/24/2020)
Misbehavior - Prime (11/24/2020)
CQ - Prime (11/22/2020)
The Nice Guys - Hulu (11/22/2020)
The Living Daylights - Prime (11/14/2020) - rewatch
You Only Live Twice - Prime(11/13/2020) - rewatch
Thunderball - Prime (11/12/2020) - rewatch
From Russia WIth Love - Prime (11/12/2020) - rewatch
Rebecca - Netflix (11/8/2020)
The Queen’s Gambit eps 1-3 - Netflix (11/1/2020)
I Am Woman - Netflix (10/25/2020)
The Glorias
- Prime (10/25/2020)
Yes God Yes – Prime (10/24/2020)
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm - Prime (10/23/2020)
Trial of the Chicago 7 - Netflix (10/17/20)
Ask Me Anything - YouTubeTV (10/04/2020)
Anna Karenina - Prime (10/02/2020)
The Post - YouTubeTV (10/4/20) - rewatch
Man from UNCLE - YouTubeTV (10/4/20) - rewatch
Boys in the Band - Netflix (10/4/2020)
Love Birds - Prime (9/29/20)
Seth Myers comedy special - Prime (10/1/2020)
Ship of Fools - TCM (9/29/20)
What If - Prime (9/26/2020)
Enola Holmes - Netflix (9/25/2020)
The Love Punch - Prime (9/24/2020)
Children’s Hour - Prime (9/20/2020)
Charade - Prime (9/19/2020)- rewatch
Audrey Hepburn Magical - Prime (9/17/2020)
Casablanca - Prime (9/15/2020)- rewatch
Pen15, eps 1-3 - Hulu (9/12/2020)
I, Tonya - Hulu (9/10/2020) - rewatch
The Rewrite - Amazon rental (09/06/2020)
Rebel in the Rye - Hulu (9/5/202)
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women - Hulu (9/5/2020)
The Last Full Measure - Hulu (8/30/2020)
Batman and Bill - Hulu (8/30/2020)
Sully - YouTube TV (8/28/2020)
The Assistant - Hulu (8/26/2020
Adaptation - Amazon rental (8/16/2020)
Dora and the Lost City of Gold - Hulu (8/17/2020)
Pride and Prejudice - Prime - rewatch
Rushmore - Prime - rewatch
The Lady Vanishes - Prime
To Sir, With Love –  (8/8/2020) - rewatch
The Return of the Hero - Prime (8/2/2020)
The Winning Season - Prime (7/17/2020)
Love and Mercy - Hulu (7/16/2020) - rewatch
The Italian Job - Prime (7/8/2020)
Monuments Men - IMDB TV (7/3/2020) - rewatch
Hamilton - Disney Plus (7/3/2020)
O' Brother, Where Art Thou? - Prime (7/4/2020) - rewatch
Guys and Dolls - Prime (7/2/2020) - rewatch
A Mighty Wind - Prime (7/1/2020) - rewatch
Heaven Can Wait - Prime (6/30/2020) - rewatch
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga - Netflix (6/28/2020)
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn- Netflix (6/27/2020)
Trumbo - Netflix (6/27/2020)- rewatch
The Queen - Netflix (6/22/2020)- rewatch
Frost/Nixon - Netflix (6/21/2020)- rewatch
The Conspirator - Prime (6/23/2020) - rewatch
Chariots of Fire – YouTubeTV (6/21/2020) - rewatch
Selma - Amazon Prime (6/19/2020)
Marshall - Amazon Prime (6/18/2020)- rewatch
The Band’s Visit - Amazon Prime (6/14/2020)
Just Mercy - Amazon Prime (6/14/2020)
12 Angry Men - Amazon Prime (6/7/2020)
The Great Escape  - Amazon Prime (5/30/2020) - rewatch
Rocketman - Hulu (5/26/2020)
The Front - Amazon Prime (5/24/2020) - rewatch
Eat Drink Man Woman - Amazon Prime (5/21/2020) - rewatch
The Year of Living Dangerously - Prime purchase (5/17/2020) - rewatch
The Emperor - Prime (5/9/2020)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Disney+ (5/5/2020)  - rewatch
Comic Book Confidential (20th Anniversary Edition) - Prime (5/4/2020)
Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four Movie - Prime (5/2/2020)
Public Enemy - TCM (5/2/2020) - rewatch
The Escort - YouTube (5/2/2020)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - Netflix (5/1/2020) -rewatch
The Artist - Netflix (5/1/2020) - rewatch
The Post - YouTubeTV (04/30/2020) - rewatch
Shanghai - Prime (04/30/2020)
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley - Prime (04/29/2020)
Rude Dude - Prime (4/27/2020)
Midway - Prime Rental (04/26/2020)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Netflix (04/23//2020) - rewatch
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley - Prime (4/22/2020)
The Terminal - YouTubeTV (04/13/2020) - rewatch
The Hunt for Red October - YouTubeTV (04/12/2020) - rewatch
Love Wedding Repeat - Netflix (04/11/2020)
Never Surrender - Prime (4/11/2020)
Wonder Wheel - Prime (4/10/2020)
Woody Allen: A Documentary (Part 2) - Prime (4/9/2020)
Woody Allen: A Documentary (Part 1) - Prime (4/8/2020)
Love and Death - Prime (4/8/2020)- rewatch
Coco – Disney Plus (4/9/2020) - rewatch
Spotlight – IMDB TV (4/7/2020) - rewatch
The Big Short - Amazon Prime (04/03/2020) - rewatch
Gorky Park
- YouTubeTV (04/04/2020) - rewatch
Marc Maron: Too Real - Netflix (04/02/2020)
Dean - Netflix (04/02/2020)
Morning Glory - Amazon Prime (03/29/2020)
Manhattan - Amazon Prime (03/29/2020) - rewatch
Clueless - Amazon Prime  (03/29/2020) - rewatch
Emma - Amazon Prime  (03/28/2020)
Reds - Amazon Prime (03/26/2020) - rewatch
Rocketeer - Disney Plus (03/22/2020) - rewatch
Lawrence of Arabia - YouTube TV (03/21/2020) - rewatch
Sands of Iwo Jima - Amazon Prime (03/14/2020) - rewatch
Blade Runner 2049 – IMDB TV (3/8/2020)
Fighting with My Family - Amazon Prime (3/2/2020)
Downton Abbey - Amazon purchase (2/29/2019) - rewatch
Executive Suite - YouTube TV (2/25/2020) - rewatch
Tootsie - YouTubeTV (2/17/2020) - rewatch
Ghosts of Mississippi - YouTubeTV (2/16/2020) - rewatch
Argo  - YouTubeTV (2/9/2020) - rewatch
And Justice for All - YouTubeTV (2/9/2020) - rewatch
Keeping Up with the Joneses - YouTubeTV (2/2/2020)
Outsourced - Amazon Prime (1/26/2020) - rewatch
Mission Impossible: Fallout - Amazon Prime (01/16/2020) - rewatch
Solo: A Star Wars Story - Netflix (1/11/2020) - rewatch
Tall GIrl - Netflix (1/5/2020)

Streaming Series/TV
From the Earth to the Moon - HBOMax (12/31/2020) - rewatch Great News - Netflix (12/23/2020) - rewatch
Venture Brothers - S1 Eps 1-4 - Hulu (12/20/2020)
The West Wing Seasons 5 - Netflix (12/19/2020)
The West Wing Seasons 4 - Netflix (12/12/2020)
The West Wing Seasons 6-7 - Netflix (11/21/2020)
The West Wing Seasons 1-3 - Netflix (10/20/2020)
The Right Stuff eps 1-2 - Disney+ (10/9/2020)
Emily in Paris (10/9/2020)
Sense and Sensibility (2008 PBS adaptation) - Hulu (8/9/2020)
Starring Adam West - Prime (7/10/2020)
Better Off Ted Seasons 1–2 - Hulu (7/4/2020)
Toast of London: Season 1: "The Unspeakable Play" Netflix - (6/27/2020)
Black Monday S1 E1 - Amazon Prime (6/228/2020)
Life After Flash - Amazon Prime (6/18/2020)
Quiz, S3 - AMC (6/18/2020)
Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film - Amazon Prime (6/14/2020)
Tokyo Trial- Netflix - (6/14/2020)
High Fidelity - Hulu (6/11/2020)

Quiz, E1-2 - AMC (6/7/2020)
By Sidney Lumet - Amazon Prime (06/06/20)
One Zoom to Rule Them All – Reunited Apart: Lord of the Rings - YouTube (6/2/2020)
Space Force, S1 E1 - Netflix -(6/1/2020)
Reunited Apart Makes a SPLASH - YouTube (5/27/2020)
The Coolest Guy Movie Ever: Return to the Scene of the Great Escape - Amazon Prime (5/25/2020)
The Great, S1 E3-7 - Hulu (5/24/2020)
The Gallery, eps 1-4 - Disney+ (5/22/2020)
NewsfrommeTV – Interview with Scott Shaw! - YouTube (5/24/2020)
Produced by George Martin - Amazon Prime (5/23/2020)
Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell (Classic Albums) - Amazon Prime (5/22/2020)
World on FIre, Ep. 2-7 (Masterpiece Theatre) - YouTube TV (5/18/2020)
The Great, S1 E2 - Hulu (5/17/2020)
Comic Masters: AexToth Part 1- Episode 88 - YouTube (5/16/2020)
Star Wars From Puppets To Pixels: Digital Characters In Episode II Documentary - YouTube (5/16/2020)
The Great, S1 E1 - Hulu (5/14/2020)
Ron Livingston Band of Brothers Video Diary - YouTube (05/16/2020)
Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill - Netflix (5/8/2020)
Clone Wars (Season 7, finale last four episodes) – Disney+ (05/05/2020)
Frankenstein (UK National Public Theatre) -
Band of Brothers, Eps 5-10 - Prime (04/19/2020) - Rewatch
The Hollywood Collection: William Holden - The Golden Boy  - Prime (04/19/2020)
Never Surrender:  A Galaxy Quest Documentary (4/17/2020)
World on Fire, Ep. 1, - PBS app (4/6/2020)
Misery Loves Comedy - Prime (03/30/2020)
30 Rock - Netflix (3/29/2020)
Arrested Development - Netflix (3/29/2020)
Year of the Rabbit - Eps 1-3  - YouTubeTV (3/6/2020)
James May: Our Man In Japan - Season 1 - Amazon Prime (2/28/2020)
SNL - Season 1 episodes - YouTubeTV (2/17/2020) - rewatch
Medical Police/Episodes 9–10 (2/3//2019)
Sense and Sensibility - Amazon Prime (PBS Series) (2/3/2020)
James May in Japan - Amazon Prime (1/31/2020)
Medical Police/Episodes 6-8 - Netflix (1/31/2020)
Little Dorritt (01/20/2020)
Howard’s End (2018 PBS series) (01/19/2020)
Catch 22 - Hulu (01/18/2020)
Medical Police/Episodes 1-5 (1/11/2020)

Live Performance

Rock and Roll Music - Fab Four (10/4/2020)
Rubber Soul Live Stream - Fab Four (9/12/2020)
The Cavern - Fab Four (8/22/2020)
DC FanDome 2 (9/12/2020)
DC FanDome (8/22/2020)
Best of 1965-1966  - Fab Four (7/25/2020) Comic-Con@Home
Heartbreakers 2 - Fab Four (7/11/2020)
Heartbreakers - Fab Four (7/3/2020)
All We Need is Love2- Fab Four (6/28/2020)
All We Need is Love - Fab Four (6/19/2020)
Let it Beard - Fab Four (5/29/2020)

Books
Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf (12/25/2020)
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist by Adrian Tomine (9/8/2020)
Name of the Game by Will Eisner (08/03/2020)
Apropros of Nothing by Woody Allen (04/03/2020)
My Friend Dahmer - John “Derf” Bergderf (04/22/2020)