The Fantastic Four
Film

Fancy watching Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four (1994)?

Although it’s tempting to think that superhero movies and TV shows are a new phenomenon, they actually go back a long way. Indeed, you can find the start of the craze as way back as the 1940s with Batman serials and movies at the cinemas.

While there were other series along the way, most notably the George Reeves Superman and the Adam West Batman in the 50s and 60s, it wasn’t really until the 70s that things really took off, particularly for Marvel Comics, who were somewhat late to the party.

Although it’s tempting to think of Marvel as always having been on top compared to DC, thanks to its current dominance with the MCU, most of its movies and TV shows of that period were misfires. The Incredible Hulk was a notably successful TV show in the 70s, but The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Thor, Daredevil and others all got floated as potential series or movies, usually with nothing good happening as a result… or during.

Skip forward to the early 90s, when superheroes were starting to come back in vogue, thanks to Batman, Tim Burton and Michael Keaton.

Simultaneously, Marvel was trying to get a Fantastic Four movie off the ground. And to help, they brought in cinematic legend Roger Corman as a producer.

Starring Rebecca Staab, Jay Underwood, Alex Hyde-White and Michael Bailey Smith, Corman’s Fantastic Four is probably the most true to the original comics of all the various productions, right down to the costumes, with our heroes getting special powers after flying a spaceship too close to a comet, after which they have to team up to fight Victor Von Doom (Joseph Culp).

Of course, making a movie authentic to a comic book and making a good movie aren’t necessarily the same thing. In true Corman style, The Fantastic Four cost just US$1 million to make. It also never got released. That should tell you something.

All the same, it managed to escape into the wild and you can now watch it on YouTube. Enjoy! I hope…

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Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Film reviews

What movies have you been watching? Including Ghost in the Shell, Guardians of the Galaxy – Volume 2 and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you each week what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching. TMINE recommends has all the reviews of all the TV shows TMINE has ever recommended, but for a complete list of TMINE’s reviews of (good, bad and insipid) TV shows and movies, there’s the definitive TV Reviews A-Z and Film Reviews A-Z. But it’s what you have you been watching? So tell us – if you want to live

This week, to cover all I’ve been watching while I was away on vacation in August, I’m breaking up WHYBW into manageable chunks. Yesterday, I dealt with all the boxsets I managed to make my way through and later in the week – probably on Tuesday, now I think about it… – I’ll be looking at the episodes of new and regular shows that I’ve watched, too.

But today, it’s movie time! So after the jump, I’ll be filling you in on what I thought about Ghost in the Shell (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy – Volume 2 (2017) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016).

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TV Cream's anniversary cassette
UK TV

TV Cream is 20 years old tomorrow

For those of you who don’t know, TV Cream is one of those annoying things in life (eg, Mark Kermode) that makes me wonder if I should continue doing something (eg, reviewing movies) since they do it so much better than I do. Celebrating its 20th birthday tomorrow, it’s pretty much the most comprehensive guide to Classic (rather than necessarily classic) TV, movies, books, music et al from back when we were all youngsters.

While I used to contribute to sister site Off The Telly back in the day, my sole real contribution to TV Cream was to ensure its guide to The Aphrodite Inheritance was accurate (my guide is still the toppest on the internet, mind). Perhaps because my input was so small, my few brushes with wider fame on Radio 5 and the like have led to nothing, while some of TV Cream’s more important contributors have actually been successful in life. Or maybe there’s some other reason.

Seen a TV clips show? Then you’ll almost certainly have seen TV Cream’s Steve Berry making some cogent comments on it. Enjoyed Adventures with the Wife in Space? That’ll be TV Cream’s Neil and Sue Perryman*. However, that’s far from the site’s full staff roster, so don’t go thinking that’s all there is to it.

Anyway, to celebrate their birthday, tomorrow the site will be unveiling an hour-long ‘anniversary cassette’ that shows what a talented bunch of people they all are, as well as just how many contributions Steve Berry has made to TV clips shows. There’s a couple of trailers below and if you come back here tomorrow, you’ll be able to see the full mix tape in action. I’ve seen it – I wish I was that talented.

* TV Cream tells me that Neil and Sue are best regarded as ‘friends of TV Cream’ rather than contributors

Amazon's The Tick
TV reviews

What boxsets have you been watching? Including Ozark, The Tick, Sneaky Pete and Pillars of the Earth

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you each week what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching. TMINE recommends has all the reviews of all the TV shows TMINE has ever recommended, but for a complete list of TMINE’s reviews of (good, bad and insipid) TV shows and movies, there’s the definitive TV Reviews A-Z and Film Reviews A-Z. But it’s what you have you been watching? So tell us! Ah go on. Go on, go on, go on

As I mentioned on Friday, TMINE is easing its way back into this whole ‘talking about tele’ thing, following a rather long and self-indulgent vacation. But that goes doubly, perhaps even trebly for WHYBW, given there’s been a whole month of entertainment since the previous WHYBW. I’m also still playing catch-up a bit.

So rather than try to tackle everything in one go, I’m going to stagger it all into manageable chunks. At some point in the next week or so, I’ll look at the new shows and the episodes of the regular shows that I’ve been watching; I’ll also do a separate entry on all the movies I watched.

But today, it’s time to go boxset-mad. Yep, left to my own devices (literally) and with a whole bunch of streaming services offering downloads now, I was able to take a few boxsets of TV shows on holiday with me to watch. I didn’t manage to get through all of them, but as well as Marvel’s The Defenders, which I’ve already reviewed, I managed to get through no fewer than three boxsets, some old, some new – and then I only went and watched another when I got back.

After the jump, then, let’s talk about Netflix’s Ozark, and Amazon’s Sneaky Pete and The Tick. Oh, and The Pillars of the Earth, because my wife wanted me to watch it. That’s an old one you’ve probably seen, though.

Continue reading “What boxsets have you been watching? Including Ozark, The Tick, Sneaky Pete and Pillars of the Earth”