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So, what is a reboot, anyway?

The recent news that the upcoming installment of the Scream franchise will be titled simply Scream sparked yet another round of people on the Internet being confused by movie terminology. Most articles about this new Scream movie refer to it as a "relaunch" because if they call it a reboot, then certain people will get up in arms about how it's a sequel and therefore not a reboot due to the participation of Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox. But, it's not incorrect to call it a reboot, even with those returning stars. 11 years will have passed in between entries by the time this one is released. It has new directors (RIP Wes Craven), new writers, many new characters, and a different studio is behind it. There are too many new elements for it to not be considered a reboot. But continuing the stories of Sidney, Dewey, and Gale means its also a sequel. The terms are not mutually exclusive. Confused? let's define some stuff. “ Reboot ” is an inclusiv

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Star in "On the Rocks," a Bittersweet Fairytale from Sofia Coppola: Review

  Sofia Coppola's latest film, On the Rocks , premiered on AppleTV+ on October 23. Being a big fan of the director's previous work, I watched it immediately. But why did it take me so long to write this review? Well, it's a movie that I needed to sit with. I gave it a second watch before I even thought about writing a review. There's a lot at work here and it deserves my time and consideration. But that was not because I was unsure about whether I liked it or not. I knew right away that this low-key comedy was destined to be one of my favorite movies of the year. Rashida Jones stars as Laura, a writer who lives in a beautiful SoHo loft with her two daughters and her husband (Marlon Wayans), who Laura suspects of having an affair. Her father Felix (Bill Murray, in a performance that reminds you not to take Bill Murray for granted) convinces her that they must investigate her suspicions, sending them off on a fanciful adventure that leads them all over New York and beyond

"B Positive" Has Lots of Potential and a Star in Annaleigh Ashford: TV Review

There are few actors working today who I consider to be more talented than Annaleigh Ashford. If the name isn't familiar, let me enlighten you. Annaleigh Ashford has been in several Broadway musicals, including Kinky Boots . She won a Tony Award for playing a wannabe ballerina in You Can't Take It With You . She deserved another Tony for an entirely different but also very funny display of physicality as the titular canine in Sylvia . She proved her dramatic chops with a moving performance as Dot and Marie in a 2017 Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George . She broke up all of Helena's lines in a production of Midsummer Night's Dream in Central Park and refitted them into a brilliant comedic mosaic that had the audience in stitches. Apart from her extensive stage work, she appeared for four seasons of the Showtime series Masters of Sex . She had a terrific supporting part in the excellent recent movie Bad Education . And she was reported to be in talks for t

Netflix vs. HBO Max vs. Disney+ vs. Hulu: Streaming Services Ranked

The entertainment industry is at a moment of change. Resources that were once spent on TV networks and theatrical releases are being funneled into streaming services, as media conglomerates race to catch up with game-changing, industry-revolutionizing Netflix. The "streaming wars", the competition between the studios to sure up talent and content deals as they ask audiences to buy their monthly subscriptions, is in full swing.  One day, a book will be written about the streaming wars and it'll include a clear picture of which services crashed and burned and which ones emerged victorious. I look forward to reading that book and looking back on this moment in time with hindsight, but until that day, all I can do is offer my opinion on each service and say which ones I feel are worthy of your money and time. I'm only going to talk about the services that are directly vying to be the new Netflix, not niche ones like Shudder or the Criterion Channel. Also, a proper ranking

"Muppets Now" on Disney+ Is Not The Disaster It Could've Been: Review

When Muppets Now was first announced, I thought the concept seemed safe, uninspired, too kiddie, and boring. The original idea, for the Muppets to star in short-form videos parodying Internet culture, seems to have been revised between now and then, since the videos have been stitched together into six half-hour episodes, the first of which premiered on Disney+ on July 31. Connective tissue between the segments appears to have been filmed after the pandemic started, or else I assume that's why Kermit and Scooter are videochatting each other. While it's nowhere the disaster I initially suspected it would be, I still thought it was a pretty uninspired use of everyone's favorite felt comedy troupe.  Because of the apparent change in direction, Muppets Now is considerably light on the kinds of backstage antics that were often the highlight of any given episode of The Muppet Show . The absence of that putting-on-a-show chaotic energy puts a lot of pressure on the sketches to b

HBO Max: Full Breakdown (Plus Five Recommendations You Can Stream Right Now)

At launch, HBO Max, the brand new streaming service from WarnerMedia, is offering 10,000 hours of content. That's an eye-catching number, even if it's not a third of what Netflix offers. But unlike the steady stream of total junk that Netflix spits out every week, HBO Max has many shows and movies that are actually worth watching.  From popular recent movies to a vast classic film library, from Friends to every show regular old HBO has produced ( Sex and the City, the Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Succession , etc.), the number of options is kind of staggering. If you aren't already signed up (if you have HBO, you probably have this too), definitely check it out.  The website's infrastructure has been largely carried over from HBO Now, HBO's existing standalone streaming service, so it's pretty smooth and easy to use. The organization of all the content is solid, if not spectacular. Emphasized are what are called "HBO Max Hubs," which are dedicated pages

Scoob! Review: Scooby Doo's Big Screen Reboot is a Dud

I'll cut to the chase:  Scoob ! is a boring and unfocused mess, too busy selling toys and setting up sequels to bother with being entertaining. The new film, premiering in people's homes because movie theaters are closed, is an attempt to launch a new shared cinematic universe based on old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The result is characters from other old shows getting awkardly interpolated in the story of the Mystery Inc gang. Dynomutt and the Blue Falcon ( Dynomutt, Dog Wonder ) show up, as does DeeDee ( Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, whatever that is). The main villain is Dick Dastardly ( Wacky Races), who comes complete with some Minions ripoff robot sidekicks and a plan that involves opening a portal to the underworld or something. It's all very incongruous with the classic Scooby formula, in which the supernatural was almost always revealed to be smoke and mirrors.  The humor is aggressively topical, referencing smartphones and Tinder and Hemsworths. None of it i

The Ten Best Songs By Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim's 10 Best Songs  Today, March 22, is Stephen Sondheim's 90th birthday. In celebration, I thought I would rank the ten best songs with music and lyrics by the greatest musical theater composer there is. Honorable mentions: "Send in the Clowns," "Not Getting Married," "Sooner or Later," "Loving You," "Ladies Who Lunch," "I Never Do Anything Twice," "The Glamorous Life,""Could I Leave You?," "Putting It Together," "A Weekend in the Country," "Isn't He Something?," "Finishing the Hat" 10. "Too Many Mornings" How much time can we hope that here will be? Not much time, but it's time enough for me. If there's time to look up and see Sally standing at the door, Sally moving to the bed, Sally resting in my arms, with your head against my head. A beautiful, very sad duet from Follies , where two charac

Oscar 2020: Who Will Win?

2020 Oscars Predictions and Preview I was not planning on making Oscar predictions this year because I'm in London for the semester and I have better things to do. But I'm doing laundry and have some time to kill, so I figured I'd give it a shot. While I have not been following awards season as closely this year as in past ones, I did get the closest to it than I've ever been before when I had the opportunity to be in the red carpet viewing area for the BAFTAs last weekend. What a thrill it was seeing all of this year's big players maneuver through the crowded carpet and pose for photos. Renee Zellweger was there, as was Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Bong Joon Ho, Quentin Tarantino, Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Saorise Ronan, Florence Pugh, Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach, Laura Dern, Al Pacino and Joaquin Phoenix, all of whom are also Oscar nominees.  As for what's going to happen this Sunday, I'm not anticipating many surprises. For instance, t

The Ten Best of Films of 2019

Top Ten Films of 2019 10. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Marielle Heller is an incredible director and she's made yet another great film.  9. Pain and Glory Pedro Almodovar's deeply felt film is about the difficult process of aging and the painstaking process of creating art. It has one of the year's best endings.  8. Non-Fiction Olivier Assayas delivers another very interesting look at the way technology has changed culture and our relationships. This time, it's packaged in a sleek comedy about the affairs of people in the publishing industry. 7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood I have n't waded into the online discourse about this movie because I truly don't care, but all I know is that I thoroughly loved Quentin Tarantino's carefully crafted ode to a Hollywood that wasn't.  6. Hustlers Lorene Scafaria's Hustlers is a very smart and funny crime film that has a lot to say about economic conditions in America. The screenpla

Film Versions of "Little Women" Ranked

With Greta Gerwig's new version of Little Women now in theaters, it's time to look back at the versions that have come before. But first, a  note on what's not included in this ranking: I'm only ranking the major movie versions, so I'm excluding the lost 1917 British film, the lost 1918 American film, the 1978 TV miniseries starring Susan Dey and William Shatner, the 2005 Broadway musical (but watch this clip of Sutton Foster singing the one good song from the musical), the recent PBS miniseries, or the 2018 modern day movie version.  4. Little Women (1949) A Little Women movie lives or dies by its Jo, and unfortunately, June Allyson wasn't a great Jo. Though I'm usually a fan of her work, Allyson's performance here overshoots headstrong and lands on just plain irritating. It's a shame, since all the supporting players have been perfectly cast - including Liz Taylor as Amy, Margaret O'Brien as Beth and Janet Leigh as Meg. Also, this vers