City of Stars, are you shining just for me?

We’re over halfway through the year, and sadly, I think 2016 has been a pretty crappy year at the movies. The summer was riddled with mediocre blockbusters, and while there have been some standout movies, the majority of the stuff I’ve seen has left me unimpressed. So I’m really happy to see a good, old-fashioned movie musical coming out in December, with actors I like and from a writer/director who really impressed me with Whiplash. La La Land looks suitably whimsical and pretty, and the songs seem catchy. I’d say this is the kind of charming entertainment that we’re about due after this overall crummy year at the movies.

La La Land comes out December 16, 2016.

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Review: Jean-Claude Van Johnson (Season 1, Episode 1)

It’s the annual pilot season for Amazon Studios again and during this period, they present a litany of pilots which their customers vote on to be promoted to full series. Perusing through the list, I felt ambivalent about whether The Tick could continue without the barrel-chested Patrick Warburton in the title role and Kevin Bacon’s I Love Dick looked like a mumblecore fiasco. However, one title definitely tickled my fancy- the self-referential Jean-Claude Van Johnson.

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Shouts From the Back Row – Episode 262 – The Films of Steven Spielberg

spielbergportraitShouts From the Back Row returns to tackle one of the giants of cinema: Steven Spielberg. What can you possible say about someone whose career is so interwoven with the very fabric of today’s cinematic landscape? Find out as Gill, Robin, and TK struggle to overcome technical difficulties to touch upon everything Spielberg. Click here to download the episode!

Shouts From the Back Row’s theme music was composed and performed by Vince Nitro!

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Before They Were Stars: Julianne Moore in “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle”

We’ve covered Julianne Moore’s early work (especially on soap operas) pretty extensively on The Back Row, but Moore was so prolific when she was a burgeoning that it seems like there is no limit to the amount of “Before They Were Stars” footage we can find! Here she is in the 1991 thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle – a rather torrid movie about a killer nanny bent on revenge – and we get to see the future Oscar-winner deliver a pretty fantastic, hammy performance in a rare case of death-by-greenhouse.

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Last Link of the Day: Steve Martin’s Olympic Diving Finals

If the Olympics were more like this, I’d tune in.

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Before They Were Stars: 15-Year Old Michael Phelps is Interviewed on WJZ-TV Baltimore

Before he was the most decorated Olympic athelete of all time, Michael Phelps was just a kid who loved swimming and wanted nothing more than to “get faster.” With the Olympics in full swing, reddit user “stevethenewsguy” decided to dig into the archives of his early work as a sports interviewer for local Baltimore TV station WJZ-TV and unearth this great clip from an interview with a teenaged Michael Phelps. Here’s some background from stevethenewsguy’s post:

It was just a few weeks into my first job as a sports producer. A couple years ago I remembered the interview and amazingly they still had the raw tape. We had the entire interview posted on their website this week as a flashback, but a lot of what he says in the full interview is about his preps for the World Championships back in 2001. This little snippet was my favorite part.

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What the Quimp?! – Episode 8 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

buffyWe’ve been away for a while, but at long last, What the Quimp?! is back with a brand new episode! On this show, Magill, Sarah, and Becky discuss the Buffyverse – the brainchild of the man behind some of Marvel’s biggest movies: Joss Whedon. From the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie to the multiple Buffyverse TV series to the extensive continuation of the Buffyverse stories in comic form, no Buffy-stone is left un-Buffy-turned! Click here to download the episode!

If you’re a resident of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, support your local independent comic vendor by visiting Comet Comics!

The What the Quimp?! theme music was composed and performed by Vince Nitro! Our lovely header art was created by Becky McKercher!

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Castor’s Underrated Gems: Vampire’s Kiss (1988)

Vampires kiss.jpg

At the witching hour in NYC, the opening title sequence for the fiendishly pell-mell, daft cult classic Vampire’s Kiss is drenched in atmospheric ghoulishness. When a bat flutters around his apartment, it’s a toss-up as to who is frothing more rabidly: the winged beast or Cage as the womanizing literary agent. In the commentary, director Robert Bierman politely alludes that Cage was a bit unbridled and unhinged during filming which only enhances the surreal quality of the film.

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Into the Woods

A group of college students venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James’ sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods, but as the endless night wears on, the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly, they begin to realize the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined.

When The Blair Witch Project took the world by storm in 1999, I was on board the hype train from day one. This was in the early days of the net, before it really became what it is today, and no one had ever experienced the type of viral marketing that The Blair Witch Project was attempting. Many people apparently believed that the film was a horrifying documentary – the marketing campaign was just that good – and the movie became one of the most profitable of all time. The sequel, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, was a complete disaster, and the franchise basically died after that. Sure, there were some books, video games, CD’s, and TV specials, but after Blair Witch 2, no one really cared anymore. Now, many years later, horror cult director Adam Wingard announced that he was working on a project titled The Woods, and low and behold, it turned out to be a Blair Witch quasi-sequel/quasi-reboot! I honestly wouldn’t give two shits about this were it not for Wingard’s involvement. You’re Next and The Guest are two of my favourite grindhouse thrillers of recent years, and I feel like if anyone can bring something new to the Blair Witch, it’s this guy.

Blair Witch comes out September 16, 2016.

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The Reviewinator: Jason Bourne (2016)


The fifth (or is it fourth?) entry in the Bourne franchise brings back its titular character for another round of hyper-kinetic chase sequences and black-ops conspiracy. Now with all of his memories intact, Jason Bourne has new secrets to learn about himself, as well as his past. And if you had any reservations about the Damon-less The Bourne Legacy, feel comfortable knowing that you can officially write that one off for this, the true sequel to the first three movies. But that may not be as comforting a thought as it sounds.

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