Having always been a lover of both television and cinema since he was a child, Mark has spent his entire life marvelling at the wonder of the worlds, the characters, and the stories of both "the silver screen" and "the small screen" in films and TV shows from all around the world. Mark is a lover of memorable movies and television shows that leave their mark on their audience, because the stories that they tell and their characters are so compelling that it is no surprise that they are remembered so well. Mark loves sharing his experience of stories that need to be seen to be believed.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films, and the eleventh film in the "Star Trek" film franchise: the 2009 film "Star Trek" directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman. A reboot of the main characters of the original "Star Trek" TV series, portrayed by a new cast, the story of the film takes place in a alternate reality which was created when a Romulan mining ship, commanded by Captain Nero (played by Eric Bana) and a ship piloted by Ambassador Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy) arrived in the past after falling into a black hole - essentially changing how events would precede because of their presence, including: the death of the newly born James T. Kirk's father, George Kirk (played by Chris Hemsworth) the first officer of the USS Kelvin. As a result of the destruction of the USS Kelvin - which George Kirk had attempted to use to stop Nero's vessel, the Nerada - certain events played out differently than they they had in the original timeline that had been shown in all the previous TV series and films, and as a result certain characters ultimately met one another at different times and in different circumstances than they would have been expected to previously. Over the course of the film, we see the rapid beginnings of a friendship forged between James T. Kirk (played by Chris Pine) and Spock (played by Zachary Quinto), and the coming together of the iconic crew of the USS Enterprise, including: Nyota Uhura (played by Zoe Saldana), Hikaru Sulu (played by John Cho), Montgomery Scott (played by Simon Pegg), Doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy (played by Karl Urban), and Pavel Chekov (played by Anton Yelchin), as they become a team and fight against the wrath of Nero who personally blames Spock and the Federation for the death of his family who were destroyed on Romulus as a result of the elder Spock being unable to save them from a supernova explosion. The soundtrack of the film was composed by Michael Giacchino.
In this episode Mark talks about the tenth film in the "Star Trek" film franchise: the 2002 American science fiction film "Star Trek: Nemesis". The fourth film, as well as the final film, to feature the cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", sees Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew of the USS Enterprise-E be sent on a mission of peace to the planet Romulus - the homeworld of the Romulan Star Empire, a longstanding enemy of the United Federation of Planets - after the Romulan senate is overthrown by a clone of Captain Picard, called Shinzon (played by Tom Hardy), who is the leader of the Remans - a slave race from the neighbouring planet Remus - and who along with some Romulan senators plotted to engineer a coup d'etat to seize power. However, Shinzon - whose body is slowly degeneating - urgently requires a blood transfusion from Captain Jean-Luc Picard in order to stay alive, which leads him to conspire to draw the Enterprise-E to Romulus so that he can capture Captain Picard and use his genetic material, and then wage war against the United Federation of Planets aboard an advanced warship, known as the Scimitar, equipped with a deadly biological weapon capable of exterminating the humanoid crew of a ship or the population of a entire planet. And the film also bids a sad farewell to a beloved character - who choses to sacrifice themselves instead of watching their captain, their crew, their friends perish. The film also stars Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Levar Burton, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, and Ron Perlman. And the soundtrack of the film was composed by the late great Jerry Goldsmith.
In this episode Mark talks about the ninth film in the "Star Trek" film franchise: the 1998 science fiction film "Star Trek: Insurrection" directed by Jonathan Frakes. Featuring the entire cast of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" TV series - including Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, as well as Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis - the film also stars F. Murray Abraham, Donna Murphy, and Anthony Zerbe. The story of the film revolves around the crew of the USS Enterprise-E risking everything to come to the aid of the population of a defenseless and peaceful alien race, called the Ba'ku, who are being threatened with force relocation by another alien species, called the Son'a, who wish to the take advantage of and benefit from the rejuvenating properties of the Ba'ku's planet and the surrounding area of space. As Captain Picard and his crew investigate the situation further they uncover a conspiracy between a corrupt Starfleet Admiral and the Son'a to move the Ba'ku from their planet through any means necessary - unless the Enterprise-E can stop the conspirators in their tracks and forcibly defend the right of the Ba'ku to live wherever they wish, as well as inform Starfleet Command and the United Federation of Planets Council of what is due to take place.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films and one of the best films of the "Star Trek" film franchise: the 1996 film "Star Trek: First Contact" directed by Jonathan Frakes. Set in the 24th Century, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) is having nightmares about his experience six years before of being assimilated and transformed by a cybernetic alien race known as the Borg - during which he was given the identity "Locutus of Borg" and subsequently was forced to lead the Borg in an attack against his own Starfleet of starships with a mandate to eventually assimilate the entire population of Earth. Now, the Borg are threatening to assimilate the population of Earth once again - and after the Borg cube threatening Earth are eventually defeated by a Starfleet armada, with the assistance of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in command of the Federation starship USS Enterprise-E, the Borg launch a smaller vessel that travels into the past with the intention of assimilating the population of Earth in the 21st Century. Captain Picard and the Enterprise follow the Borg to the 21st Century and they discover that the Borg wish to stop the first official "First Contact" of humanity and an alien species - which, if successful, will usher in a profound new era of rejuvenation for the nuclear war stricken planet Earth and its human population, as well as inform them that they are not alone in the universe. Though thought to have been defeated, the Borg proceed to attempt to assimilate the Enterprise-E and its crew - which leads Captain Picard to engage the Borg in a face to face effort to defeat them before they can carry out the apparent goal of assimilating all of humanity; however, while on the surface of Earth, other members of the Enterprise-E crew assist Dr. Zefram Cochrane (played by James Cromwell) - the inventor of the first human spacecraft with a warp drive capable of travelling faster than light - in the launch of his ship "The Pheonix", which if successful will attract the attention of a nearby alien spacecraft and propel 21st Century humanity into the next generation of their evolution as a people and as a result secure the prospect of a future of prosperity that will spread throughout the galaxy. The incredible score of the film was composed by the late great Jerry Goldsmith. The film also stars Alice Krige, Alfre Woodard, Levar Burton, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Robert Picardo, Dwight Shultz, and Neal McDonough.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films and one of his favourite films within the "Star Trek" franchise of films: "Star Trek: Generations" directed by David Carson. The story of the film, which literally bridges and connects two iconic and distinctive eras, characters and generations of the "Star Trek" franchise - featuring characters from the Original Star Trek TV show and as well as the first six "Star Trek" films, and the main cast of characters from the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" TV series. The story of the film sees two iconic Starfleet Captains - Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) - meet within a crossroads of space and time, called the "Nexus", at a pivotal moment in their lives when they are questioning their own individual identities and also reflecting back upon their life and the choices that they have made. When it is discovered that a psychopathic doctor, Doctor Tolian Soran (played by Malcolm McDowell), is conspiring to return to the "Nexus" - a place of infinite joy and contentment, where time has no meaning - by any means necessary, including the killing of the entire population of a planetary star system, it is up to the two iconic captains of the Enterprise, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Captain James T. Kirk, to join forces, and turn back the clock in order to put the good of the many before the good of the few in order to stop Doctor Soran before he can once accomplish his diabolic plan. The film was the first "Star Trek" film that Mark ever saw at the cinema and as a result it will always hold special place in his heart - and to this day, even after years of multiple viewings, Mark continues to considering every viewing experience of this film to be an emotional one for many reasons. The film stars alumni James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, Whoopi Goldberg, and Alan Ruck, as well as some other recurring actors who played some memorable characters from the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" TV series.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films and one the best films of the "Star Trek" film franchise: "Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country" directed by Nicholas Meyer. Following the destruction of the Klingon moon Praxis - after which it is believed might see the potential extinction of the Klingon race entirely - the Klingon Empire decides to pursue a path of peace between themselves and their longtime adversary the United Federation of Planets and its Starfleet; and as a consequence Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the soon to be decommissioned USS Enterprise has been volunteered to be the Federation's symbol of peace and also to escort Chancellor Gorkon (played by David Warner) to peace talks due to take place on Earth. However, after the Klingon Chancellor's ship is seemingly attacked by the Enterprise and Gorkon is seemingly assassinated by Starfleet officers, Captain Kirk and Dr. Leonard McCoy are put on trial and are sentenced to life in prison on the reputed "Alien's graveyard", ice-covered, Klingon prison planet of Rura Penthe - while Captain Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), assisted by his new protégé Valeris (played by Kim Cattrall), investigate who it was that attacked and killed Chancellor Gorkon in an attempt to preserve the prospect of peace between the Federation and the Klingons. However, parties on both sides who wish to continue the conflict between Federation and the Klingon Empire are conspiring, including Klingon General Chang (played by Christopher Plummer) - and it is all up to Captain Kirk, Captain Spock, and the crew of the Enterprise to do all that they can to reveal the conspiracy and allow for the peace talks between the Federation and the Klingons to take place and be successful. The film is the sixth and the final film to feature the main cast members of the "Star Trek: The Original Series" TV show and it is a fitting tribute to their enduring legacy that will continue to live long and prosper for many years to come.
In this episode Mark talks about the fifth installment in the "Star Trek" film series: "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" directed by William Shatner. The story of the film concerns the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A being drawn into a hostage crisis on the planet of Nimbus III engineered by a renegade Vulcan by the name of Sybok (played by Laurence Luckinbill) in order to take possession of a starship capable of penetrating "The Great Barrier" where it is expected the mysthical planet of "Sha Ka Ree" lies - the purported place of creation - and where they will find the God at the center of many of the religions of the galaxy who awaits them there. However, Sybok is revealed to be none other than Spock's half-brother - and it is Sybok's psychic manipulation of the crew of the Enterprise into doing his will, as well as his personal relationship with Spock, that tests the friendship of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) in ways they have never known before. The soundtrack of the film was composed by the late great Jerry Goldsmith.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films and one of the films most widely considered to be the favourite film of fans and non-fans alike of the "Star Trek" motion picture franchise: "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" directed by Leonard Nimoy. The third part in an unofficial trilogy of films, the story of the film sees Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew of Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan), Sulu (George Takei), Chekov (Walter Koenig), and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) returning home to Earth from a three month exile on the planet Vulcan to stand trial for the events of the previous film - most notably stealing the USS Enterprise NCC-1701, which lead to the ship's destruction, and taking possession of a Klingon Bird of Prey type starship. However, as a result of an approaching alien probe that threatens all life of Earth if a response cannot be found to answer the powerful transmission of the probe, and after a planet-wide distress signal is broadcast warning all approaching vessels to stear clear of Earth or face the same fate. Admiral Kirk and his crew aboard the Klingon Bird of Prey, the "HMS Bounty", after analysing the call of the probe, realise that the only lifeforms capable of responding to the alien probe are the now-extinct species of humpback whales - which leads Admiral Kirk and his crew to determine that the only solution available to them is to attempt to time-travel to the 20th Century to find some humpback whales so that they can be returned to the 23rd Century so that they may assist humanity in their time of need and desperation. The film also stars Catherine Hicks as Dr. Gillian Taylor, Mark Leonard as Sarek (Spock's father), and Jane Wyatt as Amanda Gryson (Spock's mother). The beautiful soundtrack of the film was composed by Leonard Rosenman. And the dedicated to the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger which broke up 73 seconds after takeoff on the morning of January 28th, 1986.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" directed by Leonard Nimoy - which is the second movie in a three film arc within the "Star Trek" motion picture franchise that began with the preceding film "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". Seamlessly dovetailing with the events of the previous films, the story of the film sees Admiral James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner) and the remaining crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 are mourning the loss of their friend and their crewmate Captain Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy) and are attempting to live with the after-effects of their destructive encounter with the diabolical Khan as they make their return journey to Earth - most notably Dr. Leonard McCoy (played by DeForest Kelley) who, unbeknownst to anyone, now has Spock's "katra" - essentially his eternal soul - within his mind. However, as a result of the revelation of the existence of the Genesis Device and its potential as a weapon of unlimited power, Klingon Captain Kruge (played by Christopher Lloyd) engages in a mission to discover the secrets of Genesis and the Genesis planet that has now been created so that he can use it as a weapon of mass destruction against the galaxy. And ultimately the quest of the crew of the Enterprise to somehow resurrecting Spock crosses with Captain Kruge mission to posses Genesis and use it as a weapon - which leads to even more heart-breaking death and destruction that cannot be undone. The soundtrack of the film was composed by the late great James Horner.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite "Star Trek" films, and one of his favourite films of all time: the 1982 American science fiction film "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" directed by Nicholas Meyer. The story of the film sees Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 face-off against an old adversary of theirs by the name of Khan Noonien Singh (played by Ricardo Montalbán) - a genetically engineered criminal from the 20th Century - who in his opinion was marooned with his crew and his beloved wife 15 years before by then Captain Kirk on a planet that over time was transformed from a world filled with life to one that now resembles a wasteland. However, when Khan learns that there is a secret "Genesis Device" that has been created capable of transforming a lifeless planetoid into a perfect haven for his people, Khan decides to steal a starship in order to obtain this new device that could be seen as a weapon - and Khan also decides to impart his wrath of revenge against the now Admiral Kirk for all the loss that has been sustained. The film once again stars Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, and also stars Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, Paul Winfield, and Kirstie Alley. And the phenomenon score was composed by the late great James Horner.
In this episode Mark talks about the first film of his favourite film franchise: the 1979 American science fiction film "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" directed by Robert Wise - based upon and a direct continuation of the television series "Star Trek" created by the visionary writer and producer Gene Roddenberry. The story of the film sees now Admiral James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner) once again take command of the newly refitted starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701, and along with his crew investigate a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud known as V'Ger that could potentially pose a threat to the population of Earth. The film also stars Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett, Persis Khambatta, and Stephen Collins. The soundtrack was composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
In this episode Mark does a spoiler review of the first episode of the newly released "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" animated TV series - Episode #1: "Aftermath" - which is an animated TV series on Disney+ that is a direct sequel to the "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" animated TV series and a prequel to the "Star Wars: Rebels" animated TV series and the original "Star Wars" trilogy of films.
In this episode Mark celebrates May the Forth, also known as "Star Wars", by talking about one of his favourite film, television, novel, comic book, and computer game franchises - the world wide phenomenon that is "Star Wars" created by George Lucas. And Mark also talks about his experience of having his vaccination yesterday. May the force be with you!
In this episode Mark talks about his upcoming Coronavirus vaccination... Mark talks about watching the hilarious 2009 film "Fanboys" directed by Kyle Newman, which is set in 1998, and whose plot involves some old high school friends who set out to infiltrate Skywalker Ranch to steal a rough cut of the highly anticipated film "Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace" months before its release... and Mark also talks about walking the line between being a fan of the Star Wars franchise of films, TV shows, and novels, and also being a fan the many TV shows, movies, and novels of the Star Trek franchise - and what differentiates the two incredibly successful, divergent, and phenomenonal fictional multi-layered multimedia science-fiction/fantasy universes and what makes them both vital and worthy of fan adulation from all around the world.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1997 American science fiction drama film "Contact" directed by Robert Zemeckis. Adapted from the 1985 film of the same name by Carl Sagan, the film tells the story of Dr. Eleanor "Elle" Arroway (played by Jodie Foster), a SETI scientist searching for evidence of extraterrestrial life, who discovers a signal that is believed to be from an advanced extraterrestrial civilization who have chosen to make contact with the people of Earth - which leads Elle to speculate and seek the assistance of all the governments of the world to realise the construction of an advanced machine that could potentially make first contact with an alien civilization a reality. The film also stars Mathew McConaughey, James Woods, Tom Skerritt, William Fichtner, John Hurt, Angela Bassett, Rob Lowe, Jake Busey, and David Morse. The beautiful music of the film was composed by long time Robert Zemeckis collaborator Alan Silvestri.
In this episode Mark talks about life... the ongoing vaccination roll out to combat the Coronavirus pandemic... the slow opening up and the resumption of some kind of semblance of normality... what people are doing to get through life at this testing time for the world in terms of exposing their artistry... and also the difference that Mark feels there is between writing for convience on a phone compared to writing physically in a notebook.
In this episode Mark talks about the 2020 Academy Award-winning American drama film "Nomadland" based upon the 2017 non-fiction book "Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-first Century" by Jessica Bruder. Written, edited, produced, and directed by Chloé Zhao, the film centres around the character of Fern (played by Frances McDormand), the recently-widowed, vandwelling nomad - who lost her job after the US Gypsum plant in Empire, Nevada, shut down, taking the entire community and ZIP Code with it - who travels across the United States of America seeking work as well as rendezvousing with other individuals who live the same nomadic lifestyle as she does - including real-life vandwellers such as Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells who play fictionalised versions of themselves. The film is an incredibly emotional, touching, and moving insight into the real lives of people who believe that no goodbye is final and instead is merely a "see you down the road. The film also stars David Straitham as Dave, who has feelings for Fern and who wants nothing more than to spend more time with her in a more stationary environment - however, Fern's gaze is always to the open road and the nomadic lifestyle that she loves and embraces.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2002 American science fiction action film "Minority Report" directed by Steven Spielberg. Loosely based on the 1956 short story "The Minority Report", set in the year 2054, the film stars Tom Cruise as John Anderton, the chief of Precrime - a specialised police department that apprehends criminals before they have committed a crime based on foreknowledge from psychics called "precogs" who are able to the future events before they happen. However, when John Anderton is identified as a suspect in a murder that has not yet taken place he goes on the run to uncover what the events are that will lead to him to commit this murder of someone he does not know, why, and if the predicted murder he is to commit is in fact a "Minority Report" - essentially an alternate prediction of future events than calls into question what is actually going to happen. The film also stars Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow, Colin Farrell, Neil McDonough, Lois Smith, Kathryn Morris, as well as a great cast of other accomplished actors who play some memorable characters throughout the film.
In this episode Mark talks about the 1997 action thriller film "Con Air" directed by Simon West, written by Scott Rosenberg and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The film stars Nicholas Cage as Cameron Poe, an honourably discharged Army Ranger Sergeant who was sentenced to prison for unintentionally killing one of three men trying to attack him and his wife, Tricia (played by Monica Potter), who was pregnant with his unborn daughter, Casey Poe (played by Landry Allbright). After spending 8 years in prison Cameron Poe is eventually paroled and boards the "Jailbird" flying prison transport aircraft, along with his diabetic friend, Mike "Baby-O" O'Dell (played by Mykelti Williamson) - however he finds himself having to contend with and survive the hijacking of the plane by several other inmates, including Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom (played by John Malkovich), Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones (played by Ving Rhames, Johnny "Johnny 23" Baca (played by Danny Trejo), and Garland "The Marietta Mangler" Greene (played by Steve Buscemi) - and while secretly working with U.S. Marshall Vince Larkin (played John Cusack) and attempting to not be killed along with the other convicts by DEA agent Duncan Malloy (played by Colm Meaney), all that Cameron Poe wants is to finally be reunited with his wife, Tricia, and meet his daughter, Casey, for the first time... but in this throughly enjoyable, action-packed and bombastic film nothing turns out as simple as anybody wants them too.
In this episode Mark talks about the thrill that he gets whenever he walks into a bookstore or a library anywhere in the world, or whenever he attends a convention and he is surrounded by people with similar interests to him. Mark talks about his "Homeland" TV show rewatch. And Mark talks about one of the most recent films he has seen for the first time, that he decided to watch on impulse: the 2019 film "Godzilla: King of the Monsters".
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1994 Academy Award winning American comedy-drama film "Forrest Gump" directed by Robert Zemeckis - starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson and Sally Field. And Mark also talks about some of the winners of the 2021 Academy Awards.
In this episode Mark wishes the late great William Shakespeare - one of the most renowned poets and playwrights there has ever been, who inspired Mark to become a poet - a belated Happy Birthday... Mark talks about the film "Rebel Without A Cause", starring the late great James Dean, and he talks about what the film means to him... and Mark talks about the last episode of "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier", as well as the Disney+ series as a whole, starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, and Mark talks about the recently released news that a new Captain America film is being developed starring a new Captain America in the wake of, and starring characters from, "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" TV show. This episode is an episode essentially about heroes.
In this episode Mark talks about the progress he is making of his rewatch of the TV series "Homeland"... Mark talks about life... and Mark also talks about the ongoing vaccination program that is slowly but surely allowing life to return to some kind of normality in England and all around the world - even though Coronavirus infections continue to increase - and Mark talks about why he believes vaccination is a vital component of finding a way out of the current world wide pandemic we are all living through on a daily basis... Mark talks about how grateful he was to have received so many blessings from both friends and family on his birthday a couple of days ago... and Mark wishes the entire world a belated Happy Earth Day!
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1991 American science fiction action film "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" co-written, produced and directed by James Cameron. A direct sequel to the 1984 film "The Terminator", as the second installment in the "Terminator" franchise, the film stars Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Edward Furlong, and Joe Morton.
In this episode Mark celebrates his fortieth birthday by talking about what life means to him and what he has learned over the last forty years. And Mark also recites his poem "Forty" which he wrote to commemorate his fortieth birthday today.
In this episode Mark does a review of the 2020 film "Promising Young Woman" directed by Emerald Fennell, starring Carey Mulligan as Cassandra "Cassie" Thomas who is seeking to avenge the death of her best friend, Nina, who was a victim of rape. This must-watch film powerfully exposes the ongoing and disgusting opinions and behaviours of men who attempt to take advantage of women when they are incapable of giving their consent to engaging in a sexual encounter act. And film also depicts the lengths that someone might go to to meet out their own form of justice upon the guilty. The film also stars Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, and Connie Britton.
In this episode Mark talks about the beautiful weather... Mark talks about his ongoing "Homeland" TV series rewatch... Mark talks about the Disney+ "Home Alone" remake... and Mark talks about a news article that he recently read concerning human-monkey embryo experimentation.
In this episode Mark talks about everything from the moving funeral of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh... watching The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values films... an article in today's The Sunday Times talking about language reform... and the birthdays of one of Mark's favourite actors and one of Mark's favourite directors.
In this episode Mark gives an update on what he has been watching, listening, doing, and experiencing over the last week: including rewatching of the TV series "Homeland", the film "Guardians of the Galaxy", and the release of his new book "Vega - The Vampire King".
In the final episode of the podcast Mark talks about his opinion on Book to Film/Television adaptations: the Good, the Bad, and those that in Mark's opinion were a success in some ways but ultimately completely missed the mark when the final result of their adaptation finally made it to the screen.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1986 American comedy science fiction film "Short Circuit" directed by John Badham starring Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens, Austin Pendleton, and G.W. Bailey with Tim Blaney as the voice of the robot "Number 5".
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1981 horror black comedy film "An American Werewolf in London" directed by John Landis and starring David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, and John Woodvine.
In this episode Mark talks about his new book "VEGA - The Vampire King" and his his new book's connection to his previous books. Mark also talks about his writing process and about what it takes to get a story translated from an idea on a page to potentially getting published into a book. Mark's new book "VEGA - The Vampire King" is available to own in paperback and for Kindle from Amazon now!
In this episode Mark talks about one of my favourite films: the 1989 American comic science fiction film "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" directed by Joe Johnston. Starring Rick Moranis as Wayne Szalinski, the inventor of an electromagnetic shrinking machine, who accidentally shrinks his own children, Amy (played by Amy O'Neill) and Nick (Robert Oliveri), as well as the kids of his next door neighbours, Russell "Little Russ" Thompson Jr. (played by Thomas Wilson Brown) and Ronald "Ron" Thompson (played by Jared Rushton), to a quarter of an inch in height, who have to make their way through their backyard to return home and back to their own size while fending off insects that are now more than twice their size. Also starring Marcia Strassman as Diane Szalinski, Kristin Sutherland as Mae Thompson, and Matt Frewer as Russell "Big Russ" Thompson, the film is a family favourite and well loved by critics and audiences all around the world. The film has a wonderful and memorable film score composed by the late great James Horner.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1986 American science fiction adventure film "Flight of the Navigator" directed by Randal Kleiser. The film stars Joey Cramer as David Freeman, a 12-year-old boy from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who on the night of the Fourth of July, 1978, while walking through the woods near his house, falls down into a ravine and is knocked unconscious. After David wakes up, and he makes his way home, but to his shock and horror he discovers that his parents and his little brother no longer live in the house because eight years have passed and the year is now 1986 - even though to David he had only been gane for what seems like a couple of hours at the most. After being returned to his parents, David is approached by NASA after they make a connection between David and a crashed alien spacecraft that has been discovered, hoping that David maybe the key to finding out where the alien spacecraft came from and who is its pilot. David feels drawn to the spacecraft by a compelling voice in his mind, and eventually David finds his way inside the spacecraft - the same spacecraft that abducted him eight years before and who needs the vital navigational information within David's brain to return the other alien subjects that were abducted and taken back to the planet Phaelon for further study. However, NASA wishes to keep the alien spacecraft and David for further study for as long as possible - which leads David and the spacecraft's robotic commander, "Max", to make their escape from the NASA facility they are being held at so that David can help Max complete his mission, and also give David the opportunity to become "The Navigator" and potentially find a way to return himself to where and when he was abducted. The films also stars Veronica Cartwright as Helen Freeman, Cliff DeYoung as Bill Freeman, Sarah Jessica Parker as Carolyn McAdams, Jonathan Sanger as Dr. Carr, Matt Adler as Jeff Freeman, and Paul Reubens as the voice of Max. The music is by Alan Silvestri.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1990 British fantasy drama film "Truly, Madly, Deeply", written and produced by Anthony Minghella. The story follows Nina (played Juliet Stevenson), an interpreter, who is grieving the recent death of her boyfriend, Jamie (played by Alan Rickman) who was a cellist before his sudden and untimely death. As Nina struggles to cope with Jamie's loss and unable to move on from him, and at a point of utter despair, Jamie suddenly reappears as a ghost - however, there is more to Jamie's reappearance to Nina than meets the eye, and as a result Nina finds herself reevaluating her relationship with Jamie she also meeting someone new who she develops feelings for, a psychologist by the name of Mark (played by Michael Maloney), which ultimately leads Nina to feel torn between the ghost of her dead boyfriend and the potential of a new relationship and a new beginning. The film is so beautifully written, directed, and acted, and it is a truly deep and heartfelt depiction of the power of love that can sometimes be perceived as madness but which in reality is a bond and connection shared that can live on after death.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: the American mystery/horror/drama television series "Twin Peaks" created by Mark Frost and David Lynch. Premiering on April 8, 1990, and running for two seasons before being cancelled, the series follows FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigates the murder of homecoming Queen Laura Palmer (played by Sheryl Lee) in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington. However, as a result of his investigation into the murder of Laura Palmer, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper also reveals and realises that there is more to the town of Twin Peaks than meets the eye - especially after he uncovers that the town is also a gateway to supernatural "lodges" of reality where supernatural and extradimensional entities live and exist, who have been observing, inhabiting, and influencing the people of Twin Peaks to do things that they would not ordinarily do for years. The series has a unique mixture of many elements that run through it - including supernatural events, melodrama, surrealism, off-beat humour, eccentric characters, and distinctive cinematography - that all combine to make the series so iconic and incomparable to any other series or film. The series is superbly written, produced, and directed - and its soundtrack, composed by Angelo Badalamenti, is also unlike that of any other TV series and is considered one of the most beloved and recognisable TV scores ever made. The series also has a phenomenonal cast of actors, including: Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn, Warren Frost, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Everett McGill, Jack Nance, Ray Wise, Harry Goaz, and many other recurring cast members who play instantly recognisable and memorable characters that all combine to make the series one of the greatest TV shows of all time - which has a devoted cult following of fans from all around the world.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2010 British historical drama film "The King's Speech" directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler. Inspired by actual events, the films stars Colin Firth as Prince Albert, Duke of York - the future King George VI - who struggles to cope with a stammer that he has had since he was a child, which over time has lead to him experiencing moments of discomfort while performing the mandatory public speaking addresses that he is required to make as a part of his royal duties. In an attempt to seek out a treatment for the Duke of York's condition, his wife, Elizabeth (played by Helena Bonham Carter), persuades him to see the Australian-born Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush), a non-medically trained speech defects therapist, who almost immediately insists on calling the Duke of York the same name that his family members call him, "Bertie", and who over time demonstrates effective speech therapy techniques that help Bertie overcome his stammering. Against the backdrop of the death of Bertie's father, King George V, the coronation and the subsequent abdication of Bertie's brother David (King Edward VIII), and Britain's declaration of war on Germany in 1939, Bertie must work to traverse feelings of unworthiness, the potential damage to the royal family as a result of his father dying and his brother's selfish act of abdication so that he could be with the notorious Wallis Simpson (played by Eve Best), while working together with Lionel Logue to enable him to find a way to not allow his stammer to define him and debilitate him from rising to the occasion of becoming King and having to address and be a beacon of hope for the British people as they face the looming threat of World War. The film also stars Guy Pearce as King Edward VIII, Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill, Derek Jacobi as Cosmo Gordon Lang, Jennifer Ehle as Myrtle Logue, Michael Gambon as King George V, as well as a cast of other wonderfully gifted actors who play characters and depictions of recognisable real life people who have influenced the world.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1988 American fantasy comedy-drama "Big" directed by Penny Marshall. The story of the film follows 12 year-old Josh Baskin (played by David Moscow), from Cliffside, New Jersey, who one night - while at a fun fare with his Mom, Dad, and little sister Rachel - encounters an antique arcade fortune teller machine called "Zoltar" and who makes a wish to it for him to be "big" and then overnight grows into becoming an adult version of himself (played by Tom Hanks). When the fun fare moves on, taking the mysterious "Zoltar" fortune teller machine with it, Josh is forced to flee his family home to temporarily live in New York City while they attempt to find out where the "Zoltar" fortune teller machine is so that he can be turned back into a kid again. Josh is assisted by his best friend, Billy Kopecki (played by Jared Rushton), who immediately helps him with money, with finding a rundown apartment in New York City, and with finding a job to survive the six weeks that it will take to find out where the "Zoltar" machine will be next - which leads Josh to innitially take a job as a computer operator at MacMillan Toy Company, before he is recognised by the company's owner, Mr. MacMillan (played Robert Loggia), as having an insight into what toys children like and why, and is subsequently given a promotion to becoming vice president in charge of project development at FAO Schwartz. As Josh's reputation in the toy company grows he begins to attract the attention of a rival at the company, Paul Davenport (played by John Heard), who is jealous of Josh's rapid rise and also of all the attention now being put on Josh. Josh also starts to attract the attention and the affection of Susan Lawrence (played by Elizabeth Perkins), who over the course of the film starts to feel a youthful exuberance because of her interactions with Josh, and who starts to fall in love with Josh - but who has no idea who Josh really is, nor how old he really is. The iconic soundtrack to the film was composed by the great Howard Shore.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1993 American crime-thriller film "Falling Down" directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Ebbe Roe Smith. The film stars Michael Douglas as William "D-Fens" Foster, a divorced and unemployed former defense engineer, who is attempting to make his way on foot across the city of Los Angeles to the house of estranged wife, Beth Treviño (played by Barbara Hershey), to see his daughter, Adele Foster-Treviño, on her birthday. William "D-Fens" Foster finds himself stuck in a traffic-jam on one of the hottest days of the year, in a car with no air conditioning, who seemingly spontaneously decides to abandon his car and proceed to see his daughter on her birthday by walking the streets of L.A. - however, along the way, among other things, "D-Fens" decides to take his inner frustrations about society out on a convenience store owner, he is accosted by two gang members, he causes a scene for the workers and the customers at a fast food restaurant, and he comes face-to-face with a neo-nazi. On the same day that William "D-Fens" Foster is having one of the worst days of his life, Sergeant Martin Prendergast (played by Robert Duvall) is spending the last day of his police career before retires at his desk and was not expecting there to be anything in the way of serious criminal activity that would lead him away from his desk to have to go out and investigate; however, as the reports of the victims of William Foster's violent progress through Los Angeles start to come to the attention of Sergeant Prendergast, he finds himself on the trail of "D-Fens" in an attempt to discover who he is, why he is doing what he is doing, so that he may be able to stop him before he carries out any more criminal and violent acts that might see more people put in danger.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1999 American animated science fiction action film "The Iron Giant" directed by Brad Bird. Based on the 1968 novel 'The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, the story of the film, set during the Cold War in 1957, centres around a young boy named Hogarth Hughes (voiced by Eli Marienthal) - who lives with his Mother Annie Hughes (voiced by Jennifer Anniston) in the town of Rockwell, Maine - who one night discovers and befriends a 50-foot tall metal-eating robot who has fallen to Earth from outer space. Over the course of the film Hogarth and the Giant robot (voiced by Vin Diesel) start to get closer to each other and they enjoy every moment that they spend with one another, while attempting to continue to keep the fact of the Giant's presence on Earth a secret from his mother and also from the U.S. government - especially from the paranoid xenophobic U.S. government agent Kent Mansley (voiced by Christopher McDonald) who is investigating the Giant's whereabouts and is seeking to destroy them when they find them because they believe they are a threat to national security. Throughout the film Hogarth and "The Iron Giant" are assisted by Dean McCoppin (voiced by Harry Connick Jr.) - a beatnik artist and junkyard owner - in keeping the Giant from view and also giving them as much junk metal as they can eat, and who over the course of the film finds himself getting closer to Hogarth's mother, Annie. Throughout the film the threat to the Giant and to the town of Rockwell, Maine, grows - which ultimately leads the Giant to have to decide, as a result of the time that he has spent with Hogarth, their friendship, and the resounding message that Horgath gives to the Giant - that "You are who you choose to be" - to choose to put the lives of others before his own, just like the DC Comics character that the Giant becomes obsessed with emulating: "Superman". The beautiful and memorable score of the film was composed by Michael Kamen.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1989 American sports supernatural drama film "Field of Dreams" written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Adapted from the 1982 novel "Shoeless Joe" by W. P. Kinsella, the film stars Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella, an Iowan Corn farmer, who decides to build a baseball diamond on top of one of his corn fields, after being compelled by a mysterious voice which tells him: "If you build it he will come" - which leads to Ray Kinsella and his self-built baseball field to be visited by legendary baseball player "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (played by Ray Liotta), as well as other players that were a part of the so called 1919 "Black Sox Scandal" in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of purposely losing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money, as well as other now deceased baseball players. Apart from Ray, only his wife Annie Kinsella (played by Amy Madigan) and his daughter Karin Kinsella (played by Gaby Hoffmann) are innitially able to see the ghosts of the now deceased baseball players after they return to play the game that they love upon the magical baseball field - until Ray is compelled by the same mysterious voice to "ease the pain" of someone and to "go the distance", which leads him to travel across America to seek the assistance of a renowned, now reclusive, author by the name of Terence Mann (played by James Earl Jones), as well as fulfill the dream of a long since passed away baseball player by the name of Archibald "Moonlight" Graham (played by Burt Lancaster), who played in a game for the New York Giants in 1922, who ultimately left the game to become a doctor, but who always regretted never getting the chance to bat. However, because of Ray's decision to build his baseball field and with the finances of his family dwindling by the day, he must face the possibility of losing his farm and the baseball field as a result of Annie's brother, Mark (played by Timothy Busfield), attempting to take control of it from them for their own good. Along his journey across the country, Ray finds himself rehashing and attempting to come to terms with the broken relationship that he had with his late father, John Kinsella (played Dwier Brown), who was a devoted baseball fan, as he seeks to reconnect with him and the sport that they both loved. The beautiful score of the film was composed by the late-great film composer James Horner.
In this episode Mark does a *Hot Take* review on Season 3 of "American Gods", one of his favourite TV shows, inspired by the novel of the same name by Mark's favourite author Neil Gaiman + Mark discusses the recently reported news of the series' cancellation.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1985 American science-fiction comedy-drama film directed by Ron Howard. The story of the film revolves around a group of elderly residents from a retirement community in St. Petersburg, Florida, who start to feel rejuvenated after spending time in the swimming pool within the grounds of the house next door to their retirement home - which unbeknownst to them is being rented by four peaceful aliens (disguised as Humans) from the planet Antarea who have returned to Earth - upon which they had an outpost 10,000 years before - to retrieve twenty of their kin who were encased within rock-looking cocoons that now lie upon the ocean floor, which when retrieved are placed within the same swimming pool that the elderly residents enjoy swimming in, which, also unbeknownst to the elderly residents, has been charged with a "life force" that has many rejuvenating benefits for both Antarean and human biology. The film stars Don Ameche as Art Selwyn, Wilford Brimley as Ben Luckett, Hume Cronyn as Joe Finley, Brian Dennehy as Walter, Jack Gilford as Bernie Lefkowitz, Steve Guttenberg as Jack Bonner, Maureen Stapleton as Mary Luckett, Jessica Tandy as Alma Finley, Gwen Verdon as Bess McCarthy, Herta Ware as Rose Lefkowitz, Tahnee Welch as Kitty, Barret Oliver as David, as well as many other wonderful actors as some wonderfully memorable characters. And the memorable and beautiful soundtrack of the film was composed by the late-great film composer James Horner.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2003 American religious comedy film "Bruce Almighty" directed by Tom Shadyac and written by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe and Steve Oedekerk. The film stars Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan, a television field reporter for Eyewitness News on WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, who is desperate to become the new news anchorman at the television station he works for - however, after being passed over for promotion in favour of his rival Evan Baxter (played by Steve Carell), Bruce has an on-air meltdown which sees him being dismissed from the news station. Bruce does not take his dismissal well - which causes him to take out his frustrations on his always hopeful and optimistic girlfriend Grace Connelly (played by Jennifer Anniston) as well as openly blaming God for the recent misfortunes that have befallen him and he suggests that God himself should be the one who is fired... which leads God (played by Morgan Freeman) to offer Bruce the chance to try his hand at being God for a week and see if he can do a better job - to the delight of Bruce, because he now has the power to do anything that he can imagine; however, slowly but surely, Bruce learns that with absolute power comes absolute responsibility and that sometimes things happen in life for reasons that we cannot understand and which is why it is not always possible for everybody to get what they want. The film also stars Philip Baker Hall as Jack Baylor; Catherine Bell as Susan Ortega; Lisa Ann Walter as Debbie Connelly; Noel Gugliemi; and featuring a cameo from Tony Bennett as himself.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2001 action film "The Fast and the Furious" directed by Rob Cohen and written by Gary Scott Thompson and David Ayer. The first installment in the "Fast & Furious" franchise, inspired by the 1998 Vibe magazine article "Racer X" about street racing in New York City, the film stars Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner, an LAPD officer who goes undercover to investigate infamous street racer Dominic Torretto (played by Vin Diesel) and his crew of other street racers - including Letty Ortiz (played by Michelle Rodriguez), Jesse (played by Chad Lindberg), Leon (played by Johnny Strong), and Vince (played by Matt Schulze) - and their potential connection to several truck heists of electronic equipment by the unidentifiable drivers of three black Honda Civics on deserted Los Angeles highways. However, during his investigation and infiltration of Torretto and his crew, as well as Torretto's street racing rival Johnny Tran (played by Rick Yune), who is also a Vietnamese gang leader, Brian - while using the alias Brian Earl Spilner - starts to grow closer to Mia Torretto, Dominic Torretto's sister (played by Jordana Brewster), which leads Brian to begin to question his allegiance to his police superiors as well as to the members of the FBI task force he is working with. The film also stars Ted Levine, Thom Barry, Noel Gugliemi, Ja Rule. And the soundtrack to the film was composed by renowned electronic artist BT.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2009 American romantic science fiction film "The Time Traveler's Wife" directed by Robert Schwentke, based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Audrey Niffenegger. The film stars Eric Bana as Henry DeTamble, a Chicago librarian with paranormal genetic disorder that causes him to randomly travel through time, as he tries to build and sustain a romantic relationship, as well as a marriage and a family, with Clare Abshire (played by Rachel McAdams). The film also stars Arliss Howard as Richard DeTamble, Henry's father; Ron Livingston as Gomez, Henry and Clare's friend; Stephen Tobolowsky as Dr. Kendrick; and Michelle Nolden as Annette DeTamble, Henry's mother.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: the American science-fiction television series "Quantum Leap", created by Donald P. Bellisario. Set in the near future, the series stars Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett, a physicist who theorised that it may be possible to time travel within one's own lifetime, who decides to test his theory by stepping into the "Quantum Leap accelerator" and who subsequently vanishes and continuously finds himself leaping through space and time by temporarily swapping his consciousness in place of other peoples' to correct what are believed to have been historical mistakes in the past. However, Dr. Sam Beckett ultimately finds himself trapped in the past, looking into the eyes mirror-images that are not his own, "and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better". Dr. Sam Beckett is guided on his journey through time and space by Admiral Al Calavicci (played by Dean Stockwell), an observer of Project Quantum Leap from Sam's own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And as every episode's intro, narrated by co-executive producer Deborah Pratt, explains: "...Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap... will be the leap home" - however, the question still remains as to whether and when Dr. Beckett will ever return home. The series ran for five seasons, from March 25, 1989 through to May 5, 1993 - and is often sighted as one of greatest TV series ever made.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV series: the British television mockumentary sitcom "The Office" created, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The series follows the day-to-day office employees in the Slough branch of the fictional Wernham Hogg paper company. The series stars Ricky Gervais as David Brent, the general manager of the Slough branch of Wernham Hogg - a mostly ineffective boss, who is occasionally clueless to the effect of his own political incorrectness, his rudeness, his selfishness, his awkwardness, and his narcissism; but who is secretly insecure about himself, which causes him to sometimes make jokes at the expense of other people. Martin Freeman stars as Tim Canterbury, a sales representative at the Slough branch of the Wernham Hogg paper company - who is both witty and considerate, and who enjoys nothing more than playing practical jokes at the expense of fellow salesman and "team leader" Gareth Keenan (played by Mackenzie Crook) with the office's receptionist Dawn Tinsley (played by Lucy Davis), who Tim has a crush on but who is engaged to marry her fiancé, Lee (played by Joel Beckett). The series also stars Stirling Gallacher as Jennifer Taylor-Clarke, Oliver Chris as Ricky Howard, Ralph Ineson as Chris Finch, Patrick Baladi as Neil Godwin, as well as a wonderful cast of supporting actors who portray some incredibly memorable characters in The Office. Mark also talks about the 2016 British mockumentary comedy film "David Brent: Life on the Road", a direct sequel to "The Office" TV series, which follows Ricky Gervais' David Brent - now a cleaning products salesperson - as he attempts to live out his dream of being a rock star.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1987 science fiction comedy film "Innerspace" directed by Joe Dante. Produced by Steven Spielberg, the film revolves around a down on his luck navy pilot, Lt. Tuck Pendleton (played by Dennis Quaid), who resigns his commission to volunteer for a secret miniturization experiment that would entail him to be the pilot of a shrunken submersible pod and then be injected into a rabbit using a syringe. However, after Lt. Pendleton is successfully miniturized, the miniturization laboratory is attacked by a rival organisation who wish to steal the miniturization technology - which spurs one of the lead scientists of the project, Dr. Ozzie Wexler (played by John Hora), to flee the lab with the syringe containing the pod being piloted by Lt. Pendleton and, though they are mortally wounded, Dr. Wexler is successful in injecting Lt. Pendleton into an unsuspecting passers-by, hypochondriac Subway clerk Jack Putter (played by Martin Short). The film follows Jack Putter as he attempts to assist Tuck Pendleton in returning him to his original size before his air-supply runs out - and along the way they are both assisted in their efforts by Tuck's on-again/off-again girlfriend, Lydia Maxwell (played by Meg Ryan), as they are continuously pursued by the members of the rival miniturization project. The film also stars Robert Picardo, Kevin McCarthy, Fiona Lewis, Vernon Wells, Henry Gibson, Wendy Schaal, William Schallert, and Dick Miller.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1987 science fiction action horror film "Predator" directed by John McTiernan. The first installment in the Predator franchise, the film stars Arnold Schwarzeneggar as Major Alan "Dutch" Schafer, the leader of an elite paramilitary rescue team, who are recruited to save some hostages that have been imprisoned in guerilla-held territory in a Central American rainforest, but who unwittingly find themselves in the crosshairs of a Predator from a technologically-advanced alien race who stalk their targets while continuing to remain invisible and who hunt and kill those whom they see as their prey and who treat whomever they kill as trophies - including the members of an elite mercenary rescue team, whose numbers dwindle one by one as they face off and ultimately find themselves outmatched by this lone deadly extraterrestrial creature. The film also stars Carl Weathers as Dillion, Bill Duke as Sergeant Mac, Richard Chaves as "Poncho" Ramírez, Jesse Ventura as Blain, Sonny Landham as Billy, Shane Black as Hawkins, Elpidia Carrillo as Anna, R.G. Armstrong as Major General Phillips, and Kevin Peter Hall as The Predator.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2003 American martial arts film "Kill Bill: Volume 1" written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film stars Uma Thurman as "the Bride", the former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, who is attacked on the day of her wedding rehearsal and left for dead by her former colleagues and fellow assassins. Four years later, after surviving the attempt on her life and the life of her unborn child in a chapel in El Paso, Texas, the Bride sets out upon a mission of revenge against the other former members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and their leader, Bill (played by David Carradine), and she will stop at nothing until everybody who was present at her execution have paid for what they did. The film also stars Lucy Liu as O-Ren Ishii, Vivica A. Fox as Vernita Green, Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver, Michael Madsen as Budd, Julie Dreyfus as Sofie Fatale, Michael Bowen as Buck, Sonny Chiba as Hattori Hanzō, as well as a cast of other great actors playing memorable characters.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2000 American survival drama film "Cast Away" directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film stars Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, a time-obsessed systems analyst executive, who travels around the world to resolve productivity problems at FedEx depots, who becomes stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific. Throughout the film we see Chuck Noland desperately attempting to survive on the island where he finds himself, while using everything that he can find - including items within packages that he recovers from the downed FedEx aircraft that he was on - in order to stay alive so that he may one day return to civilization and reunite with his long-time Kelly Frears (played by Holly Hunt). And it is the thought of returning home to Kelly, along with the company of a certain blood-stained Wilson Sporting Goods volleyball, that keeps Chuck Noland motivated to do what must be done, to overcome his fears, and to make every effort to realise his dream of returning home through any means necessary. A wonderful and inspiring film that delivers a truly emotive message about why we should never give up, no matter our circumstance, no matter what we are going through, and no matter where we find ourselves in life. The film also includes a beautiful and stirring soundtrack by composer Alan Silvestri.
In this episode Mark talks about "Zack Snyder's Justice League", the four hour long, 2021 directors cut of the 2017 American superhero film "Justice League" - featuring the DC Comics superhero team the Justice League, which consists of Batman/Bruce Wayne (played by Ben Affleck), Superman/Clark Kent (played by Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot), Cyborg/Victor Stone (played by Ray Fisher), Aquaman/Arthur Curry (played by Jason Momao), and The Flash/Barry Allen (played by Ezra Miller, as they attempt to save the world from the forces of darkness, primarily the characters of Steppenwolf, Darkseid, and an army of Parademons. Set within the DC Extended Universe, "Zack Snyder's Justice League", which is the direct sequel to the events of the previous films "Man of Steel" and "Batman vs Superman", is director Zack Snyder's definitive version of the film that he had completed 90% of before he unfortunately had to leave production following the sad death of his daughter Autumn in 2017. The theatrical version of "Justice League", which came out in 2017, was an almost complete reshot and reconceptionalised version of the original film, that cut 80% of the original footage filmed by Zack Snyder in favor of footage filmed by replacement director Joss Whedon, in keeping with Warner Bros. Studio's vision of how the film should be and also keeping the film the two hours in length that they wanted it to be. Often referred to as the "Snyder Cut", "Zack Snyder's Justice League" was finally released on HBO Max and around the world on March 18th, 2021, after a long and successful campaign by director Zack Snyder, by supportive actors and an energized fan movement from all around the world who lobbied for years for Zack Snyder's original version of "Justice League" to be completed and to be released for all the world to enjoy. The film is dedicated to the memory of Zack Snyder's daughter Autumn.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2010 science fiction action film "Inception" written and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dominick "Dom" Cobb, a professional thief who specialises in industrial espionage, capable of extracting information from the minds of their targets using experimental military technology that allows them to infiltrate a person's subconscious through a shared dream world, who is offered the chance to have his criminal history erased as payment if he performs "inception" - the implantation of another person's idea into another person's subconscious - for Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe), a Japanese businessman who seeks the dissolvement of his competitors company. In order to complete their mission of inception, Cobb puts together a team to assist him - including: Arthur (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Cobbs partner who manages and researches their missions; Eames (played by Tom Hardy), an expert in forgery, identity theft, who has the ability to impersonate others inside the dream world; Yusuf (played by Dileep Rao), a pharmacologist; and Ariadne (played by Elliot Page), a graduate student of architecture who is recruited to construct various dreamscapes and mazes with the dream world. Michael Cane stars as Professor Stephen Miles, Cobbs mentor and father-in-law; Marrion Cotillard stars as Mal Cobb, Dom's deceased wife who continues to influence and effect his thoughts and his dreams; Collins Murphy stars as Robert Michael Fisher, the heir to a business and the target of Cobb's team; Pete Postlethwaite as Maurice Fisher, Robert Fisher's father and the dying founder of a business empire; Tom Berenger stars as Peter Browning, Robert Fisher's godfather; and Lukas Haas stars as Nash, an architect in Cobb's employ who betrays him and the team.
In this episode Mark talks about the 2009 American romantic comedy-drama film "500 Days of Summer" directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. The story of the film, as told in a nonlinear narrative structure, revolves around the recollections and the memories of Tom Hansen (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a trained architect who works as a writer at a greetings card company, of his relationship with Summer Finn (played by Zooey Deschanel), the new assistant to Tom's boss Vance (played by Clark Gregg). As depicted in the film, even from the moment that they meet one another, Tom and Summer's relationship seems to be one in which they enjoy doing the same things, they enjoy listening to the same music, and they enjoy every moment of the time that they spend with one another; however, over time, Tom and Summer's relationship starts to disintegrate - because, while Tom believes that they are a couple, Summer continuously refuses to put a label on their relationship, which ultimately leads to Summer and Tom to go their separate ways. Tom takes his break up with Summer incredibly hard, but with the help of Tom's half-sister Rachel (played by Chloë Grace Moretz), and Tom's friends McKenzie (played by Geoffrey Arend) and Paul (played by Mathew Gray Gubler), as well as with the harsh light of hindsight after Tom and Summer randomly run into one another again after some time has passed, both Tom and Summer come to the realisation that, as a result of their relationship with one another, even while they were apart, both of them found themselves reevaluating their belief on love, on fate - and ultimately they come to conclusion that though two people might always have been meant meet each other unfortunately not every couple is meant to stay in a relationship with one another, because sometimes people are fated to be with someone else who and when they may least expect to find the right person for them.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1997 American drama film "Good Will Hunting" directed by Gus Van Sant. Written and starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the film follows 20-year-old Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) who while working as a janitor at MIT is discovered to be a self-taught genius after he anonymously solves a difficult mathematical problem posted by Professor Gerald Lambeau (played by Stellan Skarsgård) as a challenge for his graduate students. However, even though Will Hunting is an unrecognised genius, he mostly spends his time drinking with his friends Chuckie (played by Ben Affleck), Billy (played by Cole Hauser), and Morgan (played by Casey Affleck). However, after Will is arrested by the police, following a fight with a gang led by someone who used to bully Will as a child, Professor Lambeau arranges for Will to avoid jail time if he agrees to study mathematics with Professor Lambeau and also participate in therapy sessions twice a week with a therapist - and after several failed attempts to find the right therapist for Will, in desperation, Professor Lambeau calls upon his old college roommate, Dr. Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams), who now teaches psychology at Bunker Hill Community - who grew up in the same area of South Boston as Will, and who was also subjected to the same psychological and physical abuse as Will was by their respective adoptive parents - to meet and to work with Will through the psychological trauma that still plagues him. While at bar one night with his friends, Will meets Skylar (played by Minnie Driver), a British woman about to graduate from Harvard College and planning to attend medical school at Stanford, who he is immediately drawn to, and quite quickly both Will and Skylar become a couple - and so deep is their love for one another that Skylar asks Will to accompany her and spend the rest of his life with her, which unsettles Will in ways that he cannot immediately admit. Over the course of the film Will's genius is revealed to eclipse even that of Professor Lambeau - and at the same time the more that Will and Sean spend time with one another the more that their friendship develops and grows into becoming one that influences and reveals who they are, who they want to be, what they want to do in the next stages of their life, and also who they want to be with and where.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1991 American action adventure film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" directed by Kevin Reynolds, based on the English folk tale Robin Hood. Set during the 12th Century, the story follows Robin of Locksley (played by Kevin Costner) - a nobleman who chose to follow Richard the Lionheart, King of England, during their Third Crusade to the Holy Land - who finds himself escaping imprisonment in Jerusalem and eventually returning to his home country of England, with a fellow prisoner, Azeem (played by Morgan Freeman) - who now owes Robin a life-debt for saving his life. However, after eventually returning to England, Robin discovers that the cruel Sheriff of Nottingham (played by Alan Rickman) now rules the lands of England - aided by his cousin Guy of Gisbourne (played by Michael Wincott), the witch Mortiana (played by Geraldine McEwan), and the corrupt Bishop of Hereford (played by Harold Innocent) - and who was directly responsible for the death of Robin's father, Lord Locksley (played by Brian Blessed). After briefly reuniting with Lady Marrion (played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) - a childhood sweetheart of Robin's - in order to relay a message to her from her brother, who died whole imprisoned in Jerusalem - Robin, with the threat of death hanging over his head, becomes at outlaw and gathers together a merry band of fellow outlaws - including Will Scarlet (played by Christian Slater) and Little John (played by Nick Brimble) - living within Sherwood Forest, who are eventually joined by Friar Tuck (played by Michael McShane), who decide to retaliate against the Sheriff of Nottingham by robbing the riches intended for him and redistributing them to the poor. The film depicts "Robin Hood" as he fights to clear his family name, as he fights to free England from the scurge of the Sheriff of Nottingham, and as he attempts to unite the people of England by inspiring them with tales of his deeds and by sharing his belief that all men and women are equal to one another and that wealth should be distributed to those who need it the most.
In this episode Mark talks about the 2014 Marvel Cinematic Universe film "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. The sequel to the 2011 film "Captain America: The First Avenger", the plot of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" centres on Steve Rogers/Captain America (played by Chris Evans) as he continues to adjust to living in a world he does not understand, nor recognise after being frozen in ice for 70 years, as well as him attempting to contribute to maintaining the safety and the security of the American people. While joining forces with fellow Avenger Natasha Rominoff/Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson), Steve Rogers/Captain America uncovers a conspiracy within the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. which ultimately brings him face to face with someone from his past who he discovers has been turned into a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier. The film also stars Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, as well as many some other amazing actors who give great performances as familiar characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as from the pages of the Marvel Comics that the films are inspired by.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV series: the British comedy-drama television series "Derek" starring, written by, and directed by Ricky Gervais. The premise of this heart-warming series that consists of 14 episodes revolves around Derek Noakes (played by Ricky Gervais), a 50 year-old care worker at Broad Hill home for the elderly, who is described by all who him as someone who is kind, helpful, selfless, who loves watching reality television, who loves watching YouTube videos, and who above all else loves animals and people equally. Derek has a childlike naivety, who may even be autistic, who values his friends and the close and caring relationships that he forms with the elder residents who come to be homed at Broad Hill. Kerry Godliman plays Hannah, the care home's manager who works night and day to be there for the elderly residents in her care and she is one of Derek's friends. Karl Pilkington plays Dougie, the home's caretaker who Derek lives with. David Earl plays Kevin "Kev" Twine, Derek's best friend who does not work at the home but spend most of his time there. The series also stars Holli Dempsey as Vicky, Brett Goldstein as Tom, as well some other great actors who play characters young and old who have a profound insight into life and who show why we should all look after and care for those who are most in need of our attention, especially those who may live on the margins of society.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1995 American submarine film "Crimson Tide" directed by Tony Scott and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. The premise of the film concerns the clash of wills between the new executive officer and the commanding officer of a U.S. nuclear missile submarine at a time of political turmoil in the Russian Federation in which ultranationalists are threatening to launch nuclear missles at the United States and Japan. Gene Hackman plays Captain Frank Ramsey, the seasoned commanding officer of the U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, USS Alabama, which has been assigned to a patrol mission and ordered to be ready to launch its missiles in a pre-emptive strike if intelligence that the ultranationalists threatening to attack the U.S. and Japan report that the Russian dissidents appear to be fueling their missiles for a immediate attack. However, Captain Ramsey and his new executive officer, Commander Ron Hunter (played by Daniel Washington), have a difference of opinion in their interpretation of their orders, which leads to the crew of the Alabama to be divided in their allegiance to whom and to which conflicting orders they should follow. The film has a great cast of actors, such as: James Gandolfini, Viggo Mortensen, Matt Craven, George Dzundza, Rocky Carroll, as well as other great actors in some wonderfully memorable roles.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2011 American science fiction romantic thriller "The Adjustment Bureau" written and directed by George Nolfi, based on the 1954 Philip K. Dick short story "Adjustment Team". The premise of the film tells the story of a United States congressman, David Norris (played by Matt Damon), who accidentally discovers that events that appear to be chance are in fact controlled by a mysterious and powerful group known as "The Adjustment Bureau" after they witness their choices being manipulated on multiple occasions in an attempt to stop him from following his heart and being with the woman who fate is seemingly drawing him to, a dancer by the name of Elise Sallas (played by Emily Blunt) after they have a passionate and life-altering romantic encounter with one another. Anthony Mackie stars as Harry Mitchell, a member of The Adjustment Bureau, who goes against the orders of his superiors and decides to help David Norris because he recognises how much David loves Elise and wants to be with her more than anything. The film also stars John Slattery, Michael Kelly, Terence Stamp, and Donnie Keshawarz.
In this episode Mark talks about the 2021 American television miniseries "WandaVision" created by Jac Schaeffer for the Disney+ streaming service. Set within the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the series features Marvel Comics characters Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (played by Paul Bettany). Taking place after the events of the 2019 film "Avengers: Endgame", the premise of the series revolves around Wanda Maximoff dealing with her grief after losing the love of her life, Vision, and her wish to revive Vision in some form so that they can live an idyllic American suburban life - which ultimately leads Wanda to take control of the town of West Westview, New Jersey, and its citizens in order for Wanda and Vision to live a life based upon the sitcom television shows that Wanda watched and enjoyed with her family as a young child. However not all is as it seems within the reality that Wanda creates, and the outside world - who are able to observe Wanda and Vision's interactions within their isolated hexagaonal-shaped reality - wish to discover why Wanda is doing what she is doing and they are also looking for a way to stop her before she causes any more harm than good. The series also stars Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness, Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, Randall Park as Jimmy Woo, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Evan Peters as Ralph Bohner, Josh Stamberg as S.W.O.R.D. Director Tyler Hayward, as well as a great cast of phenomenonal other actors.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: "Good Morning, Vietnam", which is a 1987 American war comedy-drama film written by Mitch Markowitz and directed by Barry Levinson. Set in Saigon in 1965, during the Vietnam War, the film stars Robert Williams as Airman Second Class Adrian Cronauer, a radio DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Service, who arrives in Vietnam to host a radio show, whose irreverent humour, his playing of rock and roll music, and his reading of censored news makes him hugely popular with the troops but an annoyance to his immediate superiors Lt. Steven Hauk (played by Bruno Kirby) and Sgt. Major Dickerson (played by J.T. Walsh). Loosely based upon the experiences of real life AFRS radio DJ Adrian Cronauer, the film conveys a rollercoaster of emotions for the main character, Adrian Cronauer, as he struggles to balance doing wants he wants to do - to give his fellow troops on the front line of the Vietnam War some entertainment and light relief - with the harsh reality of seeing war up close up and being drawn into personal relationships with those on both sides of the war. The film also stars Forest Whitaker as Private Edward Garlick, Robert Wuhl as Marty Lee Dreiwitz, Noble Willingham as Gen. Taylor, Chintara Sukapatana as Trinh, as well as other great actors and real people who give wonderful, believeable, and emotional performances.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2014 science fiction psychological thriller "Ex Machina" written and directed by Alex Garland. The premise of the film revolves around Caleb Smith (played by Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at a search engine company called Blue Book, who wins an office contest for a one-week visit to the luxurious home of the CEO of the company, Nathan Bateman (played by Oscar Isaac), who has in truth invited Caleb to carry out the Turing test - a way of testing a machine's ability to exhibit behaviour equal to, or exactly that of, a human - on a new intelligent humanoid robot he has created by the name of Ava (played by Alicia Vikander). However, over the course of the film, Caleb ultimately becomes an unwitting participant of the Turing test he is supposed to be administering to Ava, as well as a means for her to pass the test and enable her escape through any means necessary.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV series: the award-winning 2003-2009 American military science fiction television series "Battlestar Galactica". A re-imagining of the 1978 "Battlestar Galactica" TV series by Glen A. Larson, the show was developed by and Executively Produced by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, beginning as a three-hour miniseries before being followed by four regular seasons, whose premise tells the story of the Battlestar Galactica and its military crew as they lead and defend the last human survivors of the Twelve Colonies following a devastating sneak attack by an android race of their own creation known as the Cylons, as they search for the fabled thirteenth colony known as Earth. The series stars Edward James Olmos as Commander/Admiral William Adama (the commanding officer of Battlestar Galactica), Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin, Katee Sackhoff as Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, Jamie Bamber as Lee "Apollo" Adama (Admiral Adama's son), James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar, Tricia Hefler as Number Six, Grace Park as multiple versions of the Humanoid Cylon Number Eight, Michael Hogan as Saul Tigh (the executive officer of Battlestar Galactica), Aaron Douglas as Chief Galen Tyrol, Tahmoh Penikett as Karl "Helo" Agathon, Luciana Carro as Louanne "Kat" Katraine, as well as so many other amazing actors who play so many great and memorable characters throughout the series - including the character of Tom Zarek who is played by the late Richard Hatch, who was best known for playing the role of Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica TV series.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2014 American action-thriller "John Wick" directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, and written by Derek Kolstad. The first chapter of a successful film franchise, "John Wick" stars Keanu Reeves as a retired professional hitman, who is grieving the loss of his wife who has recently died of a terminal illness, who is drawn out of retirement when his house is broken into, his car is stolen, and his puppy (a gift of his deceased wife) is killed, and as a consequence John Wick (aka. "The Boogeyman") starts upon a road of revenge against those responsible. The film also stars Michael Nyqvist as Viggo Tarasov, Alfie Allen as Iosef Tarasov (Viggo's son), Adrianne Palicki as Ms. Perkins, Bridget Monynahan as Helen Wick (John's deceased wife), Ian McShane as the mysterious and enigmatic Winston (the owner of The Continental Hotel), Willem Dafoe as Marcus (an experienced assassin and former mentor of John Wick), as well as many other noteworthy actors who give great performances as memorable characters.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite Star Wars films: the 2016 film "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" directed by Gareth Edwards - with extensive reshoots undertaken by Tony Gilroy, who cowrote the screenplay with Chris Weltz. The first anthology film set within the Star Wars universe, the film is both a sequel to "Star Wars: Episode III - "Revenge of the Sith", which came out in 2005, as well as a direct prequel to "Star Wars: IV - A New Hope", which came out in 1977, and serves as bridge between the events of these two eras of the epic space opera franchise. The premise of the film concerns a group of rebels who acquire intelligence that an ultimate weapon capable of destroying entire planets, called the "Death Star", is nearing completion and could be capable of giving the Galactic Empire the means to wipe out any form resistance anywhere in the galaxy in an instant; however, with the assistance of Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones), a former criminal, and her connection to Galen Erso (Jyn's father), the research scientist principally responsible for designing the Death Star, the newly formed Rebel Alliance see an opportunity to obtain the technical schematics of the Imperial battlestation from a secure facility so that they may lead to finding a vulnerability within its design that could be used to destroy it. The film also stars Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic, Donnie Yen as Chirrut îmwe, Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus, Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook, as well as other wonderful actors and other instantly recognisable and iconic Star Wars characters who have appeared multiple times throughout the film franchise.
In another Marvel Cinematic Universe themed episode, Mark talks about the 2013 American superhero film "Thor: The Dark World" directed by Alan Taylor. The sequel to the 2011 film "Thor" and the 2012 "The Avengers", the premise of the film concerns the Marvel character Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) and his struggle to defend and protect his love interest, astrophysicist Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman), from the diabolical leader of the Dark Elves, Malekith (played by Christopher Eccleston), after she absorbs a weapon known as the Aether - which, when all the Nine Realms are aligned, could be used by the Dark Elves to bring about a prolonged period of darkness throughout the entire universe. Tom Hiddelston once again stars as Thor's adoptive brother, the trickster god, Loki; Anthony Hopkins once again stars as Odin, the King of Asgard and father to Thor and Loki; Stellan Skarsgård once again stars as Dr. Erik Selvig; Irish Elba once again stars as Heimdall; Kat Dennings stars as Darcy Lewis; Jamie Alexander stars as Sif; and Rene Russo once again stars as Frigga, mother to both Thor and Loki; and there also many other cameos from some great actors.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2014 American biographical comedy-drama "Big Eyes" directed by Tim Burton. The story of the film depicts the life of American artist Margaret Keane (played in the film by Amy Adams) - who is famous for painting portraits of people with big eyes - and how in the 1960s her then husband, Walter Keane (played in the film by Christoph Waltz), took credit for Margaret's successful and popular paintings and forced Margaret to live a lie and at the expense of her happiness, while Walter received all the praise and all the financial rewards. Written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the film follows the then Margaret Ulbrich as she leaves her ex-husband with their daughter Jane, Margaret's move to San Francisco to start a new life for herself and her daughter, Margaret's meeting and then marriage to Walter Keane, Margaret struggle to keep the secret that she and not Walter is the real artist of the "big eyes" paintings, Margaret's life of living in fear while being married to Walter, and Margaret's eventual escape away from Walter with her daughter Jane and their move to Honolulu, Hawaii, where Margaret would successfully expose Walter's plagiarism of her work for all the world to see.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2014 American drama film "Whiplash", written and directed by Damien Chazelle, about the relationship between an ambitious and talented jazz drummer, Andrew Neiman (played by Miles Teller) - a first year student at the prestigious Schaffer Conservatory in New York City - and the perfectionist Conservatory Studio bandleader, Terence Fletcher (played by J.K. Simmons) - who is notorious for pushing his students to their limits and subjecting them to psychological and emotional abuse. At first, Miles is a well-mannered, caring, joyful young man who likes going to the movies with his father, Jim Neiman (played by Paul Reiser) and who noticeably shy and awkward around Nicole (played by Melissa Benoist), who is a movie theater concessionist who becomes Andrew's girlfriend after he finally asks he out on a date. However, the more intense and visceral Andrew's experiences with his bandleader, Terence Fletcher, are, and the more obsessed and consumed with achieving perfection Andrew becomes, the more that he sacrifices his sanity as well as his relationships with those who care about him the most in order to become the best jazz drummer that he can be.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the inspirational 2015 science fiction film "The Martian" directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. Adapted by Drew Goddard from the 2011 novel "The Martian" by Andy Weir, the premise of the film depicts an astronaut, Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon), in the year 2035, who becomes stranded on the surface of Mars when his fellow crew members are forced to flee the planet after a severe dust storm threatens to topple over their Ascent Vehicle. Mark is innitially feared dead, however over time he is able to make rudimentary direct contact with Earth - and while Mark struggles to survive alone and he has to adapt to cope with the prolonged isolation of his predicament, NASA and his fellow crew members of the spacecraft Hermes work tirelessly over many months with Mark to rescue him and return him to Earth. The film also stars Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejifor, Sean Bean, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover, and Benedict Wong.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: the American crime drama television series "Better Call Saul" created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. Both a spin-off of, as well as a prequel to, the successful TV series "Breaking Bad", created by Vince Gilligan, the series revolves around the character of Jimmy McGill - an earnest lawyer and former con-man - and his series-long transformation into becoming the greedy criminal defense attorney and fan favourite "Saul Goodman". The series also serves to dramatise vital moments in the back story of several "Breaking Bad" characters and their connections to one another - such as: Mike Ehrmantraut (played by Jonathan Banks), Gus Fring (played by Giancarlo Esposito); and the series also introduces characters who Jimmy/Saul has a personal relationship with, as well as a more business-like relationship to, such as: Jimmy's brother Chuck McGill (played by Michael McKean), Howard Hamlin (played by Patrick Fabian), Nacho Varga (played by Michael Mando), Lalo Salamanca (played by Tony Dalton), and Jimmy's former colleague and love interest Kim Wexler (played by Rhea Seehorn) who undergoes a compelling evolution as a character throughout the series similar to that of, and definitely influenced by, Jimmy McGill's transformation into Saul Goodman - and it remains to be seen where the character of Kim Wexler is during the time of "Breaking Bad", and during the flash-foward events when Saul Goodman has become Gene Takavic, the manager of a Cinnabon store in Omagh, Nebreska, living as a fugitive from the law.
In this episode Mark talks about the charming 2021 American science fiction romantic comedy-drama film "The Map of Tiny Perfect Things" directed by Ian Samuels, from a screenplay and short story by Lev Grossman. The premise of the film revolves around Mark (Kyle Allen) and Margaret (Kathryn Newton) who are constantly reliving the same day over and again - so much so that they can anticipate when certain things are going to happen to the moment. Every morning and thoughout a typical day Mark hears, sees, and interacts with the same series of events and the same people who he daily encounters - until the time-loop of instances that he knows so well is figuratively stopped in its tracks when Mark meets Margaret and they discover that they are the only ones with any knowledge that time in an infinite state of repeat. Both Mark and Margaret begin to spend more time with one another, while they try and find a way to potentially escape their current temporal predicament, and along the way they decide to capture the tiny things and moments around their city that might otherwise go unnoticed - which when all combined together could potentially harbour an answer as to why Mark and Margaret are who they are, where they find themselves, and why they were drawn to one another.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the hilarious, family favourite, 1989 American comedy film "Uncle Buck" written and directed by John Hughes. The film stars John Candy as the unemployed, bachelor, and all-round slob, Buck Russell, who lives in the city of Chicago, who babysits his middle-class brother Bob and sister-in-law Cindy's three children - including one rebellious teenage daughter, Tia (played by Jean Louisa Kelly), who makes life difficult for her Uncle Buck whenever she can while he is overseeing her and her younger siblings Miles (played by Macaulay Culkin), and Maizy (played Gaby Hoffman). Amy Madigan stars as Chanice Kobolowski - Buck's girlfriend who has been dating Buck for eight years and who wants to get married and start a family with him - and Laurie Metcalf as Marcie Dahlgren-Frost - Bob and Cindy's neighbour who attempts to seduce Buck while he is home alone at the Russell family home. The film also stars Jay Underwood as Bug, Mike Starr as Pooter the Clown, Gareth M. Brown as Bob Russell, and Elaine Bromka as Cindy Russell.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows that he has been watching since he was a child: the British science fiction television series "Doctor Who". First premiering on November 23, 1963, with its pilot episode "An Unearthly Child", the premise of the show revolves around the adventures of a rogue Time Lord who calls themselves "The Doctor" - who fled the planet of Gallifrey just prior to the start of the series using a stolen TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) which allows its pilot to travel through space and time to anywhere in the universe: a time machine which has a vast interior, but which looks smaller on the outside - which, by using it's "chameleon circuit", allows the ship to disguise itself based on the surroundings it finds itself in but which continuously remains in a form based upon that of an early 20th Century blue British police box. "The Doctor" has remained a mysterious and enigmatic character throughout every incarnation of the TV series - and to this end, every time "The Doctor" regenerates - a physical transformation that occurs in Time Lord biology when they are near death - a brand new incarnation shows themselves and as a result a new actor takes on the role as the Time Lord. Currently their have been 13 different actors who have portrayed "The Doctor" - 12 male and 1 female - and the show in turn has had several different producers and writers who have contributed to the continuity and the narrative of the show and who have over the years fleshed out who "The Doctor" really is. "The Doctor" has had several different friends, assistants, and companions who have joined him on his adventures through time and space who always serve as the Time Lord's constant conscience, and who symbolise the viewers of the show who have watched the series and the title character literally change before their very eyes many times of the years.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the inspirational 1976 American sports drama film "Rocky" directed by John G. Avildsen, which was written and stars Sylvester Stallone. The premise of the film is the "rags to riches" story of Rocky Balboa: a working class Italian-American boxer, who works works as a debt collector for a loan shark in the slums of Philidelphia, who gets given the opportunity to prove himself as a fighter by being given a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. Also starring Talia Shire as Adrian, Burt Young as Paulie (Adrian's brother), Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill (Rocky's trainer), and Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed. This was the first film of many that tells the story of the character of Rocky Balboa's rise from an amateur club fighter to an elite athlete and boxer, his family, the start of a rivalry that would grow to become a relationship of both respect and friendship over the course of the other films, and Rocky's indomitable spirit to never give up no matter what opponent he is facing. "Rocky" is an inspirational film in so many ways, and it is a film that teaches us all the value of "going the distance" and not stopping until you have achieved all that you have worked hard for and perhaps sacrificed so much.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: the American psychological horror-thriller "Hannibal" developed by Excutive Producer and writer Bryan Fuller based on characters and elements from Thomas Harris' novels featuring one of literature and cinema's most iconic characters: Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The compelling and visually stunning series focuses on the relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) - who has an empathy disorder that allows him to essentially see through the eyes of psychopathic murderers - and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (played by Mads Mikkelsen) - a forensic psychiatrist who is secretly a cannibalistic serial killer - who expertly manipulates the FBI from within, while also attempting to build and sustain a bond and friendship with Will Graham. Laurence Fishburne also stars as Jack Crawford, the head of the Behavioral Sciences department of the FBI, who recruites Will Graham to help investigate a serial killer in Minnesota - which in turn leads him into the path of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who pushes Will Graham to limits of his sanity. The cast also stars Gillian Anderson as Bedelia Du Maurier (Dr. Lecter's psychotherapist), Caroline Dhavernas as Alana Bloom, Hettienne Park as Beverly Katz, Lara Jean Chorostecki as Fredericka "Freddie" Lounds, as well as a plethora of wonderful actors playing memorable characters that feature through all 3 seasons of this award-winning and phenomenonal TV series.
In this episode Mark talks about the 2020 American disaster film "Greenland" directed by Richard Roman Waugh. The film was produced by and stars Gerard Butler as John Garrity, a structural engineer living in Atlanta, Georgia, who along with his estranged wife Allison (played by Morena Baccarin) and their diabetic son, Nathan, as well as the entire population of the world, find themselves in an arduous and often heart-wrenching fight for survival as fragments from an imposing planet-detroying comet capable of causing a mass extinction of life on Earth race towards Earth. The film also stars Scott Glenn as Dale (Allison's Father), David Denman as Ralph Vento, Hope Davis as Judy Vento, as well as other cast members who give memorable and often powerful performances. The film not only has impressive special effects but it also has an engaging and an exhilarating premise, as well as a pace that races by and gives a sense of urgency to the viewer, as the stakes and the growing tension and the ever-present danger rises with every impact that is felt.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: the American science fiction drama television series "The X-Files" created by Chris Carter. The series mainly revolves around Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents Fox Mulder (played by David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (played by Gillian Anderson) who investigate so called "X-Files": which are usually unsolved cases involving paranormal or supernatural phenomena and/or invididuals. When the series first begins Fox Mulder is more of a true believer in the existence of paranormal phenomena and extraterrestrial life being the source of the cases they investigate, whereas Dana Scully is more skeptical and looks for a more rational and scientific theory to answer the mysteries that they are presented with; however, as the series progresses, both the belief of Mulder and the faith of Scully, as well as their relationship to one another, is tested in many ways. The theme of the 218 produced episodes, over 11 seasons, as well as the two motion picture releases, range from "monster of the week" to the grander series arc of a secret government conspiracy and the potential of an impending total alien invasion of Earth.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1968 American science fiction film "Planet of the Apes" directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and written by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling. Loosely based upon the 1963 French novel 'La Planète des Singes' by Pierre Boulle, the premise of the film revolves around an astronaut by the name of George Taylor (played by Charlton Heston) who crash-lands on a seemingly desolate planet in the distant future who comes to discover that the world that he and the only two other surviving crew members of his spacecraft find themselves on is one in which there is a society of evolved and highly-intelligent apes who are the dominant species over that of a primitive and mute human-like race. The film stars Charlton Heston as George Taylor who struggles to survive in a world where humanity have no rights, as he attempts to discover where he is and who it was who gave rise to the "Planet of the Apes" that finds himself on. The film also stars Roddy McDowall as Cornelius, Kim Hunter as Zira, Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius, James Whitmore as President of the Assembly, and Linda Harrison as Nova. The film was an instant Box Office success which lead to several sequels and remakes to be made, as well as a slew of merchandise that has been successful in firmly cementing the phenomena of the "Planet of the Apes" franchise into the public consciousness.
In another Marvel Cinematic Universe themed episode Mark does a review of the 2013 American superhero film "Iron Man 3" directed by Shane Black. A sequel to "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2", the premise of the film revolves around Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr) wrestling with the ramifications of the events of "The Avengers" film - during which Tony Stark/Iron Man was instrumental in ending the alien invasion that was "The Battle of New York", but who as a result is now suffering from anxiety and panic attacks because of the post-traumatic stress disorder that is plaguing him - which has led him to compulsively build dozens of new Iron Man suits with different designs and for various purposes. The film once again stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, and also stars Rebecca Hall, Guy Pearce, and Ben Kingsley as the antagonists behind the mysterious "Mandarin" who seeks to terrorise the world and kill Tony Stark.
In this episode Mark recites three of the most recent poems that he has written: "Naturally Reflective", "Every New Someone", "Loyal Companion", and he reflects upon who he is, what he misses, and why life and the time that we all have is so precious and should not be wasted.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films, the 1994 American superhero film "The Crow" directed by Alex Proyas, and Mark also pays tribute to the sadly missed Brandon Lee. Brandon Lee plays the character Eric Draven, a rock musician who is revived by a supernatural crow to avenge his own death as well as the death of his fiancé, Shelly. Based upon the comic book of the same name by James O'Barr, the film has a strong cult following and has spawned a franchise of spin-off novels, comics, a video game, films and a television series that take place within the same supernatural mythological storytelling universe, and continues to be culturally influential to this day. "The Crow" also stars Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, Bai Ling, Sofia Shinas, and Michael Massee, and was dedicated to Brandon Lee and his fiancé Eliza Hutton - as is this episode of the podcast dedicated to Brandon Lee and his memory, whose life was cut short far too soon.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1977 American science fiction film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", written and directed by Steven Spielberg. The premise of the film revolves around the character of Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss), an electrician from Indiana in the U.S., whose life is changed following an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO). Inspired by real life observations and first-hand reports from people who claim to have had "close encounters" with alien spacecraft and extraterrestrials, the film takes the viewer on a journey of discovery as it investigates the possibility of what first contact with beings not of this world may be like. Alongside Richard Dreyfuss, the film also stars Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiller, Teri Garr as Ronnie Neary, Bob Balaban as David Laughlin, and Francois Truffaut as Claude Lacombe - a French government scientist in charge of UFO-related activities in the U.S. who was inspired by real life UFO expert Jacques Vallée. The film is a fan favourite for lots of people and it's story is one that is captivating and awe-inspiring. The absolutely astounding film score by renowned film composer and long time Steven Spielberg collaborator John Williams is one that resounds long after being heard and is integral to the storytelling of the film in so many fundamental ways.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1993 American fantasy comedy film "Groundhog Day" directed by Harold Ramis and starring Bill Murray as the character Phil Connors, a cynical and egotistical weatherman, who after covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, becomes trapped in a time loop which forces him to repeat the same February 2 over and over again. The film also stars Andie MacDowell as Rita Hanson, a new television producer who Phil Connors falls in love with and who is integral in freeing Phil from his repeating cycle of reality, Chris Elliot as Larry the cameraman - as well as a plethora of other wonderful and well-known actors, such as: Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson, Brian Doyle-Murray as Buster Green, Maria Geraghty as Nancy Taylor, Angela Paton as Mrs. Lancaster, Rick Ducommun as Gus, Rick Overton as Ralph, Robin Duke as Doris the waitress, and director Harold Ramis (Bill Murray's Ghostbusters co-star) also cameos as a neurologist who Phil goes to seeking an answer to his predicament. The film is a hilarious, lighthearted, critically-aclaimed comedy that is a favourite film of many that tells the story of someone is has to find a way to accept his shortcomings, so that he may change his ways, transform and become a better person for repeating the same day, doing the same things, seeing the same people, over and over again, and ultimately learning what makes life truly meaningful.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 2013 American science-fiction romantic drama film "Her" - written, directed and produced by Spike Jonze. The film follows Theodore Twombly (played by Joaquin Phoenix), a man who develops a relationship with Samantha (played by Scarlett Johansson), an artificially intelligent virtual assistant personified through a female voice. The film is a commentary on the complexities of romantic relationships and predicts a time in the near future when technology and computer operating systems might become so advanced and even more integral to people's lives that the relationships and the attachments that develop between them and people could grow and evolve into becoming something even more meaningful and intimate than we could ever predict. The film also stars Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Chris Pratt.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1984 American science fiction film "The Terminator" directed by James Cameron. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as an advanced cyborg assassin called a "Terminator" who is sent back in time from the year 2029 to the year 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton) whose son, John Connor, will one day become the leader of the Human resistance in a post-apocalyptic future where an advanced artificial intelligence known as Skynet wages a genocidal war against humanity within a nuclear chard world. Kyle Reese (played by Michael Biehn), a soldier in the Human resistance against the machines, volunteers to follow the Terminator back in time to that he can protect Sarah Connor from being assassinated, kill the killing machine attempting to kill her and stop her unborn son from being born, and meet the woman who is more important to him than even she innitially realises.
In this episode Mark reads three of his most recent poems: "It's A Boy!", "Frozen Tears", and "Always". Mark also attempts to share a message of hope for those who like most of the world are struggling with living their life as best as they can during the challenging times the people of the world are currently facing.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films and the first film that he remembers seeing in a cinema as a child: the 1989 film "Batman" directed by Tim Burton. Based upon the DC Comics character of the same name, "Batman" redefined not only the superhero genre of films but its depiction of the "Dark Knight" refined how people interpreted who the character is and it also examined the tragic psychological burdens that he daily suffers with which compel the character of Bruce Wayne/Batman to continuously decide to don the cowl and become a crime fighter and a symbol of justice within the occasionally uncivilised city of Gotham City. The film stars Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Kim Bassinger as Vicki Vale, Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth, Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent, as well as several other great actors in memorable roles. "Batman", like "Superman: The Movie" before it, changed how audiences saw superheroes and revitalized the potential of superhero movies with its relative realistic depiction of extreme characters, places, and situations mixed with thought-provoking storytelling, that would come to revitalize and inspire an entire generation to once again become enthralled by the character of the "Batman".
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1978 superhero film "Superman: The Movie" directed by Richard Donner - written by Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, and Robert Benton - based upon the DC Comics character of the same name. The film stars an ensemble cast of phenomenonal actors, including: Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, Terence Stamp, and many others. The story of the film depicts the origin of Superman, his infacy, his youth in the rural town of Smallville, and while disguised as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent his double life, his bejourning romance with Lois Lane, and his battle against the diabolical villain Lex Luther. A favourite film of Mark's since he was a child, "Superman: The Movie" has inspired him in so many ways over the course of his life - and now, just as when he was a child - whenever he watches the film again he once again believes in the possibility that a man could fly - as the tagine of the film accurately boasts.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1986 coming-of-age film "Stand by Me" directed by Rob Reiner, based on Stephen King's 1982 novella 'The Body'. Starring Wil Wheaton as Gordie LaChance (aged 12), River Phoenix as Chris Chambers, Corey Feldman as Teddy Duchamp, Jerry O'connell as Vern Tessio, and Keifer Sutherland as John 'Ace' Merrill, the story of "Stand by Me" revolves around four boys in 1959 Castle Rock, Oregon, who go on a hike to find the dead body of a missing boy. Richard Dreyfuss also stars as the older Gordie LaChance - who also serves as the film's narrator - who after hearing of the tragic death of a childhood friend reflects back upon the memories and the unforgettable experiences that he shared with his friends during the Labor Day holiday weekend in 1959.
In this Marvel Cinematic Universe themed episode Mark talks about the 2012 American superhero film "The Avengers" (also known as "Avengers Assemble" in the UK) - written and directed by Joss Whedon. In this ensemble film, which was the first to feature many prominent Marvel characters from other Marvel films who also featured within the pages of Marvel Comics over the decades, "The Avengers" brings together "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" to face off against a powerful interstellar threat lead by Thor's brother Loki. Starring an all-star cast - including Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, and Tom Hiddelston - "The Avengers" paved the way for all the other Marvel Cinematic Universe to follow, and also showed that with great characters, great writing, great directing, great special effects, a truly epic superhero film could be produced that would become the benchmark for all others to follow.
In this episode Mark talks about the British dystopian science fiction anthology TV series "Black Mirror" created by Charlie Brooker. Made up of standalone episodes (which are alluded to all take part within the same fictional narrative universe) each of which examine humanities ever-evolving and over-dependant relationship with ever more advanced forms of technology, and dramatises questions such as: to what end society may become influenced in the actions that they choose to make in the future because of the overabundance of technology. Often told with a dark and satirical tone, and often dealing with controversial and contemporary subject matters, each episode of the series explores who humanity is and why some people are motivated to do what they do no matter the cost to themselves.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films of the last few years: the 2019 comedy-drama film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the film follows the fading career of character actor Rick Dalton (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (played by Brad Pitt) as they navigate the changing film industry. Set against the backdrop of real life events - such as the real life murder of film actress Sharon Tate (played in the film by Margot Robbie) - the film perfectly interweaves events fiction and fact as it tells an alternative tale of what might have been if Charles Manson and his followers had not been allowed to carry out their psychopathic and murderous acts. Featuring a star-studded cast and a memorable soundtrack, the film also serves as a tribute to cinema, television, and the golden age of Hollywood.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: 2010 American psychological horror thriller film "Black Swan" directed by Darren Aronofsky. Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder - the film revolves a production of Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' ballet by the New York City Ballet company, and it shows the psychological and physical trauma that obsessive dancer Nina (played by Natalie Portman) goes through in the process of attempting to embody and perfectly perform the dual role of both the fragile White Swan and the sensual Black Swan.
In this Marvel themed episode Mark talks about the 2011 American Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) superhero film "Captain America: The First Avenger" directed by Joe Johnston and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, starring Chris Evans the title character Captain America/Steve Rogers. Set during World War II, the film is an origin story for the title character as well as the starting off point for several familiar characters whose importance within the overall story of the "Infinity War saga" of the MCU would grow as more films were produced and as the interconnectness of the story being told was more fleshed-out. The film also stars Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, Hugo Weaving as Johann Schimdt/Red Skull, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Tommy Lee Jones as Chester Philips, Stanley Tucci as Abraham Erskine, as well as many other great actors who give phenomenonal performances as memorable characters.
In this episode Mark talks about the 2020 American coming-of-age period drama "The Queen's Gambit" created for Netflix by Scott Frank and Allan Scott, based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Trevis. Set in the late-1950s to the late-1960s, the miniseries of 7 episodes stars Anna Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon - an orphaned chess prodigy with exceptional visualisation skills who rises to the top of the chess world, but who also struggles with drug and alcohol dependency, as well as the on again/off again relationships and friendships that she develops with other gifted chess players in their own right whom she meets along the way.
In this episode Mark talks about one of the most acclaimed trilogies in motion picture history: "The Godfather trilogy", directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Split into three individual Parts, "The Godfather" series follows the trials and the tribulations of the fictional American Corleone mafia family, depicting both the rise of the patriarch of the family, Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando), as well as his son, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), and the series of costs that befall them and their family as they engage in matters of greed, money, curruption, and violence with rival organised crime families and adversaries who secretly conspire against them. Mark talks about the lasting legacy, the importance, and the influence that "The Godfather" films and their characters have had on other forms of media which tackle the subject of organised crime, as well as the many fans of the film series that there are all around the world.
In this episode Mark does a review of the third season of the exceptional American martial arts comedy drama television series "Cobra Kai" and he highlights some of the events that take place within the 10 episodes of Season 3 and the great character defining moments that occur - including some prominent cameos from some memorable characters from "The Karate Kid" film series.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1982 science fiction film "E.T. - the Extra-Terrestrial" produced and directed by Steven Spielberg - which tells the story of Elliot, a 10 year-old boy, who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth after their spacecraft accidentally leaves them while they are conducting a secret botanical specimen mission near a California forest. "E.T - the Extra-Terrestrial" is a firm family favourite for all generations and is widely regarded as being one of the greatest films ever made. The film stars Henry Thomas as Elliot, Dee Wallace as Mary (Elliot's mother), Drew Barrymore as Gertie (Elliot's younger sister), Robert MacNaughton as Michael (Elliot's older brother), and Peter Coyote as Keys (a government agent attempting to capture E.T.). The story of the film revolves around the strong bond and friendship that develops between Elliot and E.T. as well the efforts that are undertaken by Elliot, his siblings, and his friends to contact and reunite E.T. with his people.
In this episode Mark talks about the 2020 American computer-animated fantasy comedy-drama Pixar film "Soul", directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Kemp Powers - which follows a middle school music teacher named Joe Gardner, who seeks to reunite his soul with his body after they are accidentally separated, just before his big break as a Jazz musician. The film is funny and entertaining, and also explores deep and profound subjects - such as purpose, identity, fulfilment, and the profound influence and impact that music can have on people. "Soul" was first released worldwide on the streaming service Disney+ on December 25th 2020 and has already garnered positive reviews and praise from critics and viewers alike for its story, its animation, its voice acting, and for its soundtrack of amazing music.
In this episode Mark recites his Christmas themed short story "The Man in Red" from his 2018 book "Playing God" - which centres around a protagonist known for being a "man in black" and who is also known for helping as many people as he can, wherever he can, whenever he can, by using the gifts of a god and by being a source of hope and optimism wherever he goes.
In another Star Wars themed episode Mark talks about the 1983 epic science-fiction/fantasy film: "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" directed by Richard Marquand and written by Lawrence Kasdan George Lucas. The film is last film of the "Original Trilogy" of Star Wars films starring Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C3PO, Kenny Baker as R2D2, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calarision, Alec Guiness as Obi-wan Kenobi, and which introduced the menacing Emporer Palpatine played by Ian McDiarmid. The film introduces characters and plot points that would recur and become staples of all the stories set within the Star Wars universe in every form of media. Within the story of "Return of the Jedi" we witness the ongoing struggle of a father and a son - Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker - as they attempt to stay upon their opposing sides, while all the while being manipulated by the embodiment of the dark side of the force, as they fulfil their destiny to bring galactic balance and bring an end to the ongoing galactic conflict.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the epic 2000 historical drama film "Gladiator" directed by Ridley Scott and written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson. "Gladiator" stars Russell Crowe as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix - the ambitious son of Emporer Marcus Aurelius - murders his father and seizes the throne. Seeking to expose Commudus' murder of Marcus Aurelius, Maximus sets upon a path of revenge and redemption, following the murder of his wife and his son, and is reduced to slavery - however he eventually becomes a gladiator who rises in popularity in the eyes of the crowds and before long Maximus and Commudus must face each other within the arena of the Colleseum in order to decide the fate of Rome itself.
In this episode Mark does a review of the Season Finale of "The Mandalorian" - Season 2, Episode 8: "The Rescue" - in which there is a rescue attempted to save Grogu (The Child) from Moff Gideon (played Giancarlo Espisito) by The Mandalorian, Din Jarin (played by Pedro Pascal), and a group of allies that he has assembled... and there is also the return of a Jedi who seeks to help Grogu in his own way.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films and one of his favourite films to watch at Christmas: the 1990 American Christmas family comedy film "Home Alone" - which stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as Harry and Marv (burglars the "Wet Bandits"), John Heard as Peter McCallister (Kevin's father), and Catherine O'Hara as Kate McCallister (Kevin's mother). "Home Alone" has been a staple of Christmas for Mark and his family, as well as for many families, since its innitial release because of the entertaining way that it conveys the likelihood of how a resourceful eight year-old boy - in this case Kevin McCallister - might cope following his family accidentally leaving him home alone to fend for himself, as well as fend off the threat of two burglars with intentions on the contents of his family home. A great film for all ages, "Home Alone" just gets better with age - and for someone like Mark the film also serves as a doorway to his childhood and the many fond memories that he still recalls of watching "Home Alone" with his family every Christmas.
In this episode Mark talks about the 2011 Marvel Cinematic Universe film "Thor" directed by Kenneth Branaugh and starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. The film was one of the first to introduce the characters of Thor, Loki, and Odin to a wider audience - all of whom are live-action depictions of the same characters from Marvel Comics, which were all inspired from characters from Norse Mythology. This film is one about character, worthiness, angst, and growth for the title character and how he learns to be a better person and a better God of Thunder as a result because of his timely meeting with a mortal woman whom he comes to care for and fall in love with. The film also deals with such subjects as sibling rivalry, friendship, and why it is sometimes necessary to respect the wishes of your elders because in doing so that might be the only way to ensure that peace between two people can be sustained.
In this episode Mark talks about the 2015 film "Room" directed Lenny Abrahamsom and written by Emma Donoghue, based upon her novel of the same name. The film is about a 24-year-old woman, Joy Newsome (played by Brie Larson), who has been held captive for seven years and who has been forced to care for her 5-year-old son, Jack (played by Jacob Tremblay), who was born in captivity, and who struggles to live as best as they are able to while continuing to be imprisoned day after day within the confines of a 10-foot by 10-foot shed, with only a skylight for a window, which they simply refer to as "room". The film deals with such profoundly disturbing subjects as physical and psychological abuse, rape, abduction, trauma, forced captivity, as well as dramatising the truly agonising reality for people who daily have to suffer because of, and at the hands of, an abusive person. The film stars Brie Larson as Joy "Ma" Newsome, Jacob Tremblay as Jack Newsome, Joan Allen as Nancy Newsome, William H. Macy as Robert Newsome, Tom McCamus as Leo, and Sean Bridges as "Old Nick". And in Mark's opinion, "Room " is one of the most moving films he has ever seen and he recommends that everybody watch it or read the novel which it is based upon, because not only is the premise heartbreaking, as well as inspiring, but the acting all throughout is absolutely incredible - most notably Brie Larson as Joy Newsome/Ma and Jacob Tremblay as Jack Newsome and their astounding individual as well as collective, not to mention believable, performances.
In this episode Mark does a review of the latest episode of "The Mandalorian" - Season 2, Episode 7: "The Believer", in which we follow Din Jarin (The Mandalorian) and his newly assembled team attempting to seek out a means to find the location of where Moff Gideon is holding Grogu (The Child/Baby Yoda) captive with the help on an ex-Imperial Officer, Mayfeld (Bill Burr), who The Mandalorian has a recent history with.
In another "Star Wars" themed episode Mark talks about one of his favourite "Star Wars" films: "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" - directed by Irvin Kershner and written by Leigh Blackett and Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Lucas, which is set three years after the events of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" and centres around the Galactic Empire, led by Darth Vader, hunting down the Rebel Alliance, in particular Luke Skywalker - as well as Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca. This film is a seminal film in the "Star Wars" series of movies, as well as a revolutionary film in motion picture history, because of the way that it not only introduced new characters that have become important to the stories set in the "Star Wars" galaxy - such as Jedi Master Yoda, Lando Calarision, Boba Fett, and Emperor Palpatine - it also expanded upon the mythology of the original "Star Wars" film and set the standard for everything that still informs what "Star Wars" is to this day.
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: the American comedy-drama detective mystery television series "Monk", created by Andy Breckman, starring Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk who is a former homicide detective and a consultant for the San Francisco Police department who has an extreme case of OCD as well as many fears and phobias that he has to daily deal with. "Monk" ran for 8 seasons - from 2002 to 2009 - and continues to have a cult-following around the world, because of the light-hearted police procedural premise of the series as well as the engaging and entertaining characters and the actors who portray them. The series stars Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, Bitty Schram (seasons 1-3) as Sharona Fleming, Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger (seasons 3-8), Ted Levine as Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, Jason Gray-Stanford as Lieutenant Randy Disher - as well as many other amazing actors who have played memorable characters, some of whom recur throughout the series. The series is joyful, heart-warming, entertaining, funny, and sometimes harrowing - especially when the character of Adrian Monk is seen struggling to find more clues to aid him in solving the overarching mystery of the show that revolves around his wife, Trudy, and her apparent murder.