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The Mark Hastings Experience

The Mark Hastings Experience

By Mark Hastings
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.
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Currently playing episode

Episode #96: "Good Morning, Vietnam" (1987 Film)

The Mark Hastings Experience

Episode #96: "Good Morning, Vietnam" (1987 Film)

The Mark Hastings Experience

Episode #130: "Book to Film/Television adaptations: The Good, The Bad, and The Unbelievable"
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.
April 16, 2021
Episode #129: "Short Circuit" (1986 Film)
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".
April 16, 2021
Episode #128: "An American Werewolf in London" (1981 Film)
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.
April 16, 2021
Episode #127: "VEGA - The Vampire King" (My New Book)
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!
April 15, 2021
Episode #126: "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (1989 Film)
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.
April 14, 2021
Episode #125: "Flight of the Navigator" (1986 Film)
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.
April 13, 2021
Episode #124: "Truly, Madly, Deeply" (1990 Film)
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.
April 12, 2021
Episode #123: "Twin Peaks" (TV series)
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.
April 9, 2021
Episode #122: "The King's Speech" (2010 Film)
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.
April 8, 2021
Episode #121: "Big" (1988 Film)
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.
April 7, 2021
Episode #120: "Falling Down" (1993 Film)
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.
April 6, 2021
Episode #119: "The Iron Giant" (1999 Film)
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.
April 5, 2021
Episode #118: "Field of Dreams" (1989 Film)
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.
April 3, 2021
Episode #117: "American Gods" (Season 3 *Hot Take* review) + Series Cancellation
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.
April 2, 2021
Episode #116: "Cocoon" (1985 Film)
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.
April 2, 2021
Episode #115: "Bruce Almighty" (2003 Film)
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.
April 1, 2021
Episode #114: "The Fast and the Furious" (2001 Film)
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.
March 31, 2021
Episode #113: "The Time Traveler's Wife" (2009 Film)
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.
March 30, 2021
Episode #112: "Quantum Leap" (TV series)
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.
March 29, 2021
Episode #111: "The Office" (British TV Series)
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.
March 26, 2021
Episode #110: "Innerspace" (1987 Film)
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.
March 25, 2021
Episode #109: "Predator" (1987 Film)
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.
March 24, 2021
Episode #108: "Kill Bill: Volume 1"
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.
March 23, 2021
Episode #107: "Cast Away" (2000 Film)
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.
March 22, 2021
Episode #106: "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021 Film)
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.
March 19, 2021
Episode #105: "Inception" (2010 Film)
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.
March 18, 2021
Episode #104: "500 Days of Summer" (2009 Film)
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.
March 17, 2021
Episode #103: "Good Will Hunting" (1997 Film)
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.
March 16, 2021
Episode #102: "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (1991 Film)
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.
March 15, 2021
Episode #101: "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014 Film)
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.
March 12, 2021
Episode #100: "Derek" (TV Series)
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.
March 11, 2021
Episode #99: "Crimson Tide" (1995 Film)
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.
March 10, 2021
Episode #98: "The Adjustment Bureau" (2011 Film)
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.
March 9, 2021
Episode #97: "WandaVision" (TV Series)
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.
March 8, 2021
Episode #96: "Good Morning, Vietnam" (1987 Film)
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.
March 5, 2021
Episode #95: "Ex Machina" (2014 Film)
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.
March 4, 2021
Episode #94: "Battlestar Galactica" (2003-2009 TV Series)
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.
March 3, 2021
Episode #93: "John Wick" (2014 Film)
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.
March 2, 2021
Episode #92: "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" (2016 Film)
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.
March 1, 2021
Episode #91: "Thor: The Dark World" (2013 Film)
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.
February 26, 2021
Episode #90: "Big Eyes" (2014 Film)
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.
February 25, 2021
Episode #89: "Whiplash" (2014 Film)
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.
February 24, 2021
Episode #88: "The Martian" (2015 Film)
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.
February 23, 2021
Episode #87: "Better Call Saul" (TV series)
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.
February 22, 2021
Episode #86: "The Map of Tiny Perfect Things" (2021 Film)
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.
February 19, 2021
Episode #85: "Uncle Buck" (1989 Film)
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.
February 18, 2021
Episode #84: "Doctor Who" (TV series)
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.
February 17, 2021
Episode #83: "Rocky" (1976 Film)
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.
February 16, 2021
Episode #82: "Hannibal" (TV series)
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.
February 15, 2021
Episode #81: "Greenland" (2020 Film)
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.
February 14, 2021
Episode #80: "The X-Files" (TV series)
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.
February 12, 2021
Episode #79: "Planet of the Apes" (1968 Film)
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.
February 10, 2021
Episode #78: "Iron Man 3" (2013 Film)
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.
February 8, 2021
Mark The Poet - The Podcast: Episode #70: "Preciousness"
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.
February 7, 2021
Episode #77: "The Crow" (1994 Film)
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.
February 6, 2021
Episode #76: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977 film)
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.
February 4, 2021
Episode #75: "Groundhog Day" (1993 Film)
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.
February 2, 2021
Episode #74: "Her" (2013 Film)
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.
February 1, 2021
Episode #73: "The Terminator" (1984 Film)
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.
January 29, 2021
Mark The Poet - Episode #69: "Life As We Know It"
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.
January 27, 2021
Episode #72: "Batman" (1989 Film)
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".
January 25, 2021
Episode #71: "Superman: The Movie" (1978 Film)
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.
January 23, 2021
Episode #70: "Stand by Me" (1986 Film)
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.
January 21, 2021
Episode #69: "The Avengers" (2012 Film)
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.
January 19, 2021
Episode #68: "Black Mirror" (TV series)
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.
January 17, 2021
Episode #67: "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" (2019 Film)
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.
January 15, 2021
Episode #66: "Black Swan" (2010 Film)
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.
January 13, 2021
Episode #65: "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011 Film)
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.
January 11, 2021
Episode #64: "The Queen's Gambit" (2020 TV series)
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.
January 8, 2021
Episode #63: "The Godfather" (Film Trilogy)
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.
January 5, 2021
Episode #62: "Cobra Kai" (TV series) - Season 3 Review
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.
January 2, 2021
Episode #61: "E.T. - the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982 Film)
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.
December 31, 2020
Episode #60: "Soul" (2020 Film)
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.
December 28, 2020
Episode #59: "Playing God - The Man In Red" (short story)
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.
December 23, 2020
Episode #58: "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" (1983 Film)
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.
December 22, 2020
Episode #57: "Gladiator" (2000 Film)
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.
December 21, 2020
Episode #56: The Mandalorian (TV series) - Season 2, Episode 8: "The Rescue"
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.
December 19, 2020
Episode #55: "Home Alone" (1990 Film)
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.
December 17, 2020
Episode #54: "Thor" (2011 Film)
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.
December 15, 2020
Episode #53: "Room" (2015 film)
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.
December 14, 2020
Episode #52: The Mandalorian (TV series) - Season 2, Episode 7: "The Believer"
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.
December 12, 2020
Episode #51: "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" (1980 Film)
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.
December 11, 2020
Episode #50: "Monk" (TV series)
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.
December 10, 2020
Episode #49: "Alien" (1979 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1979 science fiction horror film "Alien", directed by Ridley Scott. The premise of the film revolves around the crew of the commercial space tug 'Nostromo', who encounter the eponymous Alien - a deadly and aggressive extraterrestrial Xenomorph that gets set loose on the ship and subsequently terrorises and attempts to eliminate the crew one by one. The film stars Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas, Sigourney Weaver as Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley - who is the main protagonist of the Alien film franchise - as well as John Hurt as Kane and Ian Holm as Ash. Since its innitial release the film has garnered positive reviews and it still continues to be well regarded as one of the best films ever made. The story of "Alien" and the character of Ellen Ripley has been continued in many forms, including several motion picture sequels - and both "Alien" and Sigourney Weaver's Ripley are often sighted for revolutionising the science fiction/horror genre through its depiction of a strong female protagonist, the exception practical special effects, and the tension that is generated by the action set pieces which drive the film's story from beginning to end.
December 8, 2020
Episode #48: "Iron Man 2" (2010 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about the Marvel Cinematic Universe film "Iron Man 2" - the 2010 sequel to the 2008 "Iron Man" - which once again stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man facing off against a new threat who wishes to enact revenge on him as result of his late father seemingly being betrayed by Tony Stark's father Howard Stark - while Tony struggles with his own ailing health. The film sees the first appearance of Scarlett Johansson as the character Black Widow and reintroduces Samuel L. Jackson as the enigmatic Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury - who would both become integral characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward.
December 7, 2020
Episode #47: The Mandalorian (TV series) - Season 2, Episode 6: "The Tragedy"
In this episode Mark does a review of the latest episode of "The Mandalorian": Season 2, Episode 6: "The Tragedy" - in which a fan-favorite returns, The Child is put in mortal danger, everything is thrown in chaos, and new allegiances are made.
December 5, 2020
Episode #46: "City of Angels" (1998 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1998 American romantic fantasy "City of Angels", directed Brad Silberling and starring Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan. Set in Los Angeles, California, the film is a loose remake of Wim Wenders' 1987 film "Wings of Desire". As with the original film "City of Angels" tells the story of an angel, Seth (played by Nicholas Cage), who falls in love with a mortal woman, Dr. Maggie Rice (played by Meg Ryan), and wishes to become human in order to be with her. The film has been a favourite of Mark's since he first saw it in 1998, because of the truly heartfelt and emotional story that it tells about what someone might do, and what sacrifices someone might choose to make, to be the one that they love - even an angel, who might have to give up everything that makes them who they are and what they have always known. The soundtrack of the film - which features songs by the Goo Goo Dolls, Sarah Mclachlan, Alanis Morissette, U2, and Peter Gabriel - is also wonderful and emotionally evoking, as well as hauntingly memorable in some cases. To Mark, "City of Angels" has a wonderful message of hope that runs through it - and it always stirs up memories, emotions, and profound spiritual and philosophical questions within him about who we all are, why we are all here, and what awaits us after we die.
December 4, 2020
Episode #45: "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" (1977 Film)
In this Star Wars themed episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films and the film that began the cultural phenomenon and franchise that is "Star Wars" immediately after it premiered on May 25th, 1977: "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope", which was written and directed by George Lucas. The film stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, Alec Guiness as Obi-wan Kenobi, David Prowse and James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C3PO, and Kenny Baker as R2D2. It was the first installment of the original "Star Wars" trilogy and it broke the mold in terms of cinematic storytelling, special effects, and it was immediately embraced by a new generation of movie-goers. "Star Wars" effectively invented the genre of the "Space Opera" and it has entertained and influenced many fans and filmmakers in their endeavours - and as a result of this film there has been many other stories told featuring the iconic characters that this film first introduced and there will undoubtedly be many more to come in the future. "Star Wars" continues to have a legacy and a fanbase that draws people to it because of its unique and compelling characters and stories that could only be told in a galaxy far, far away.
December 3, 2020
Episode #44: "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1968 epic science fiction film "2001: A Space Odyssey" directed by Stanley Kubrick who also produced and co-wrote the screenplay of the film with Arthur C. Clarke. The story of the film was inspired by a number of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, most notably his 1951 short story "The Sentinel" - which depicts humanities encounters with mysterious alien monoliths that profoundly affect the course of human evolution, as well as the voyage to Jupiter by the spacecraft Discovery One to reveal the source of a mysterious alien signal. "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a film that is a masterpiece of cinema in so many ways and it is a film that truly redefined what a science fiction film could be, because it covers several themes - such as the evolution of humanity, artificial intelligence, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life - that continue to be contemporary because of the way that technology and the question of if we are alone in the universe continues to evolve and influence the lives of everybody on Earth.
December 2, 2020
Episode #43: "Blade Runner" (1982 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1982 science fiction film "Blade Runner", directed by Ridley Scott and written by Hampton Fancier and David Peoples, based upon the 1968 novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick. The film is set in a dystopian version of 2019, in which synthetic humans known as "replicants" are bio-engineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world space colonies - however, when a fugitive group of advanced replicants flee to Earth to hide, Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) is tasked to track down and eliminate the group, led by Roy Batty (played by Rutger Hauer). The film explores themes such as identity, slavery, artificial intelligence, and where the path towards creating advanced machines who look and act human may eventually lead. "Blade Runner" has been culturally as well aesthetically influential since is initial release and it continues to draw audiences back to it because of the deeply profound possibilities that it proposes and investigates in regards to humanities burgeoning relationship with artificial life.
December 1, 2020
Episode #42: "Iron Man" (2008 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about the 2008 American superhero film "Iron Man", directed by Jon Favreau, based upon the Marvel comics character of the same name. "Iron Man" was the first film in what has over time become known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe - which is a continuously growing series of films and TV shows that are all interconnected with one another and which are all set in the same reality and occasionally feature cross-overs of live-action depictions of several different well-known and not so well-known heroes, characters, and storylines that have been featured in the pages Marvel Comics since its inception. "Iron Man" has a star-studded cast, including: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Jeff Bridges, Terence Howard, as well as several other cameos that would become a staple for the Marvel Cinematic Universe of films that would follow.
November 30, 2020
Episode #41: "Goodfellas" (1990 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1990 American crime film "Goodfellas", directed by Martin Scorsese - which is an adaptation of the 1985 non-fiction book "Wiseguy" by Nicholas Pileggi, who also co-wrote the screenplay of "Goodfellas" with Scorsese. The premise of the film revolves around the rise and the fall of mob associate Henry Hill and his interactions with many people who were a member of organised crime in New York City between 1955 and 1980. The film stars Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill (Henry's wife), Robert De Niro as Jimmy Conway, Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, and Paul Sorvino as Pauline Cicero, as well as many other incredible stand-out performances by many amazing actors. "Goodfellas" has continuously been highly regarded and heralded by both film critics and film fans alike as being one of the greatest films ever made, particularly in the gangster genre, since its release - and its content and style has been emulated numerous times on both television and in other films.
November 28, 2020
Episode #40: The Mandalorian (TV series) - Season 2, Episode 5: "The Jedi"
In this episode Mark does a spoilery review of the new episode of The Mandalorian - Season 2, Episode 5: "The Jedi" - which sees The Mandalorian finally come face to face with a fan favourite character from the Star Wars universe who may be able to shed some light on who "Baby Yoda" really is.
November 27, 2020
Episode #39: "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" (2005 Film)
In another Star Wars-themed episode Mark talks about the 2005 "Star Wars" film "Star Wars: Episode III - "Revenge of the Sith", written and directed by George Lucas. The conclusive film in the so called "Prequel Trilogy" of the Star Wars franchise of films, "Revenge of the Sith" centres upon the end of "The Clone War", the demise of the Jedi Order, the fall of Anakin Skywalker, aswell as the rise of the Dark Side of The Force, the birth of Darth Vader, and the fruition of the plan of the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious to rule the galaxy and exterminate the Jedi, as the era of the Galacfic Republic ends and a new Galactic Empire begins. "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" is considered by Star Wars fans and film aficionados alike to be one of the best Star Wars films of the franchise and it is a film that Mark has watched many times because of the expert storytelling, the great character development, and the seemless dove-tailing that "Star Wars" creator George Lucas employs to poetically connect one era of "Star Wars" to another.
November 26, 2020
Episode #38: "Jaws" (1975 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1975 American thriller "Jaws", directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the 1974 novel of the same name by Peter Brenchley. In the film, a man-eating great white shark attacks beachgoers at a summer resort town which prompts police chief Martin Brody (played by Roy Schneider) to hunt it with the help of a marine biologist (played by Richard Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter (played by Robert Shaw). The film "Jaws" has drawn Mark back to it many times over the years and after every repeated viewing of this incredible film Mark has gained an even deeper appreciation of why it is considered by many people, as well as himself, to be one of the greatest films of all time.
November 25, 2020
Episode #37: "Lucifer" (TV series)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV series: "Lucifer" - which is an American urban fantasy television series developed by Tom Kapinos based on the DC Comics character created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and Mike Dringenberg taken from the comic book series The Sandman and who was also the main protagonist of a spin-off comic book series published by DC Comics' Vertigo imprint. The series revolves around the story of Lucifer Morningstar (played by Tom Ellis) the Devil, who was condemned to rule hell for all eternity after attempting to stage a rebellion in Heaven... until he decides to take a vacation in Los Angeles where he runs his own nightclub named 'LUX' as well as becoming a consultant for the LAPD. The series also focuses of Lucifer's connection and his relationship with Dectective Chloe Decker (played by Lauren German) and the mystery of why she is not susceptible to his gift of drawing out peoples' hidden desires. The series also stars Kevin Alejandro as Detective Daniel "Dan" Espinoza, D.B. Woodside as Amenadiel, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen, and Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin. The series first three series premiered on Fox, until it was cancelled - but now all three seasons can now be streamed on Amazon Prime in the UK, and all the seasons afterwards can be streamed on Netflix worldwide.
November 24, 2020
Episode #36: "Jurassic Park" (1993 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the critically-aclaimed 1993 American science fiction adventure film "Jurassic Park", directed by Stephen Spielberg. "Jurassic Park" is a film adaptation of the 1990 novel of the same name, written by Michael Crichton - whose premise centres around the creation of a wildlife park of dinosaurs that have been brought to life by genetic scientists, with the investment of wealthy businessman and industrialist John Hammond played by Richard Attenborough. Set upon the fictional island of Isla Nublar, a small group of visitors - including Hammond's own grandchildren - struggle to survive and escape the island when a catastrophic shutdown of Jurassic Park's power and security precautions leads to the escape of some dangerous dinosaurs that see the visitors to the island as prey. The film has a star-studded cast, including: Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Peck, BD Wong, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight - and in 2018 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and it continues to be highly regarded by critics and audiences alike, as has the sequel films of the "Jurassic Park" franchise that it has spawned.
November 23, 2020
Episode #35: "Boyhood" (2014 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about another of his favourite films: the American coming-of-age drama film "Boyhood", written and directed by Richard Linklater - which stars Patricia Arquette, Ella Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, and Ethan Hawke. "Boyhood" was filmed over 12 years - from 2001 to 2013 - depicting the childhood and adolescence of Mason Evans Jr. from the age of six to the age of eighteen as he grows up in Texas with divorced parents.
November 22, 2020
Episode #34: "Joker" (2019 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about the 2019 American psychological thriller film "Joker" - directed, produced and co-written by Todd Philips - which is based upon the DC Comics character best known as the archenemy of the superhero Batman. Set in 1981, "Joker" follows the story of Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who is a failed stand-up comedian whose descent into insanity and nihilism inspires a violent counter-culture revolution against the wealthy in Gotham City. The film also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, and Marc Maron, as well as a plethora of other recognisable actors in supporting roles, within a story that was apparently inspired by two Martin Scorsese films - "Taxi Driver" and "The King of Comedy" - and serves as an alternative origin story for the Joker character. Mark talks about the premise of the film, as well as the exceptional acting talent of the actors portraying the characters - and Mark talks about the character of the Joker and which depiction of the character by all the actors to have played the role over the years is his personal favourite.
November 21, 2020
Episode #33: The Mandalorian (TV series) - Season 2, Episode 4: "The Siege"
In this episode Mark reviews the newest episode of The Mandalorian TV series: Season 2, Episode 4 (Chapter 12): "The Siege" - and Mark talks about the premise of the episode, the characters, and what moments stood out for him within the episode.
November 20, 2020
Episode #32: "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" (2002 Film)
In another Star Wars-themed episode, Mark talks about the 2002 Star Wars film "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" - which was written and directed by George Lucas, and which was the second installment in the Star War prequel trilogy of films but the fifth Star Wars film produced of the space-opera movie series. In this episode Mark talks about the premise of the film, the characters, and the additions to the Star Wars universe and its canon that were introduced in this film and which continue to influence all the films, the TV shows, the books, and the stories that are made to this day, and which are all set in the same growing universe of continuity that is the Star Wars galaxy.
November 19, 2020
Episode #31: "Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films and a family favourite film of many: "Mrs. Doubtfire" - which is a 1993 American comedy-drama film directed by Chris Columbus, based in the 1987 novel "Alias Madame Doubtfire" by Anne Fine. The film stars Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, and Robert Prosky, about a recently divorced actor, Daniel Hilliard (Robin Williams), who dresses up as a female housekeeper "Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire" to be able to interact with his children. The film has been a favourite of Mark's and of his family since he was young and in his opinion it is Robin Williams' best film and also testament to his extraordinary and unparalleled gift as an actor and as a wonderful human being - and his presence will always be sadly missed.
November 18, 2020
Episode #30: "Donnie Darko" (2001 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about the 2001 American science fiction psychological thriller film "Donnie Darko", written and directed by Richard Kelly - which includes a star-studded cast, including: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Mary McDonnell, Katharine Ross, Patrick Swayze, and Noah Wyle. "Donnie Darko" follows the story of the titular troubled teenager character Donnie Darko who finds himself led my a mysterious voice, as well as by by doomsday-related vision of a giant white rabbit, and his exploration of what they mean and what his purpose is in the world that he finds himself in.
November 17, 2020
Episode #29: "Firefly" (2002 TV series) & "Serenity" (2005 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about both the TV series "Firefly", which premiered in U.S. on the Fox network on September 20, 2002 - which unfortunately was cancelled after only 11 of the 14 produced episodes were aired - and its motion picture sequel "Serenity", which premiered on August 22, 2005. Mark talks about the space Western premise of the show and the film, both created by writer and director Joss Whedon, and he also talks about the amazing, compelling, and diverse crew of characters of the Firefly-class spaceship "Serenity" and the actors who played them, including: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass. Both "Firefly" and "Serenity" have been highly regarded by Mark since he saw them, as well their characters, and he explains why to him and to others like him both the TV series and its motion picture sequel are considered to special in many ways and will continue to be counted among some of the best that television and cinema has to offer.
November 16, 2020
Episode #28: "Lost In Translation" (2003 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: "Lost In Translation" - which is a 2003 American romantic comedy-drama film, directed by Sofia Coppola, which stars Bill Murray as Bob Harris - a fading American movie star who is having a midlife crisis - who travels to Tokyo, Japan, to promote a whisky, where he befriends Charlotte - a young American woman and a recent college graduate, played by Scarlet Johansson. This sublimely written, directed, and acted film has had a profound effect on Mark since he first saw it, and it will always hold a very special place in his heart.
November 15, 2020
Episode #27: The Mandalorian (TV series) Season 2, Episode 3: "The Heiress"
In this episode Mark does a spoilery review of the latest episode of The Mandalorian TV series: Season 2, Episode 3 (Chapter 11): "The Heiress" - in which we see the return of a character that some Star Wars fans may have been seen before, but this time they are personified in live action instead of animation. And we find out that The Way of The Mandalorian is not the way of all Mandalorians.
November 13, 2020
Episode #26: Star Wars - Episode 1: "The Phantom Menace" (1999 Film)
In another Star Wars-themed episode Mark talks about "Star Wars - Episode 1: The Phantom Menace", which premiered in 1999 and which was the first film in the "Prequel Trilogy" of Star Wars movies, written and created by George Lucas. Mark talks about the story of the film - which had divisive reviews and reactions to it by some critics and fans upon its initial release because it was felt that it was made specifically for children, but over the years the film has garnered a cult-following and is regarded more agreeably in no small part because of some of the protagonist and antagonist characters that were introduced within it. Mark talks about some of the popular Star Wars characters who were introduced in "The Phantom Menace" and the longevity of their legacy and popularity - especially the character of Darth Maul who it has recently been revealed could have been the main antagonist of the Sequel Trilogy of films if George Lucas' original outline for those films (Episodes 7-9 ) had been used, and what ramifications to the characters and to the overall story of the Star Wars saga, if George Lucas' Sequel Trilogy had been made, would have been.
November 12, 2020
Episode #25: "American Gods" (TV series) Seasons 1-2, a review
In this episode Mark talks about one of favourite TV series, adapted from one of his favourite books by one of his favourite authors, Neil Gaiman: "American Gods". Mark talks about the premise of both the novel "American Gods" and the first two seasons of the television adaptation - which revolves around a war that is by incited between the "Old Gods" of mythology and the "New Gods" of technology and globalisation. The "American Gods" TV series is executively produced by Neil Gaiman and it can be seen on both the Starz cable channel in the US and on Amazon Prime world-wide. In this episode Mark talks about the characters and the Gods that populate the story - who in some cases are both the protagonists and the antagonists of the overriding story of both "American Gods" the TV series as well as the novel of the same name - and he explains who the characters are, what motivates them, and what influences their actions. The series stars Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon, Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday, as well as a cast of other phenomenonal actors who play some memorable, compelling, and out of this world characters - such of gods, goddesses, jinn, a leprechaun, a dead wife, and other modern personifications of legendary mythological beings.
November 11, 2020
Episode #24: "Baby Driver" (2017 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about another of his favourite films: the 2017 action film "Baby Driver" - which was written and directed by Edgar Wright. "Baby Driver" stars Ansel Elgort, as the gateway driver "Baby" who is seeking to free himself of a life of crime who has tinnitus and who uses music as catharsis; and Lily James, who is Baby's love-interest and girlfriend in the film. Mark talks about what he thinks makes "Baby Driver" stand out as a great film: including its cinematography, its choreography, and its phenomenonal soundtrack which feels like another character in the film. Mark comments on how the songs that constantly play throughout the film - via Baby's iPod or a radio station - both add depth and significance to the part of the film they are within and which also add energy to certain scenes that feel effortless instead of forced. "Baby Driver" has a star-studded cast, including: Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez, and Kevin Spacey.
November 10, 2020
Episode #23: The Mandalorian (TV series) - Season 2, Episode 2: "The Passenger"
In this episode Mark reviews the latest episode of "The Mandalorian" - Season 2, Episode 2 - Chapter 10: "The Passenger". Mark discusses the events of the episode and he talks about what he liked about the episode. Mark also discusses the story of the episode - which some people have not had an initial positive reaction to - and he gives his opinion, as an author of books and stories, why he believes certain choices were made by the writer of the episode, series creator Jon Favreau. Mark also explains why he thinks viewers need to be patient when it comes to the delivery of answers to questions that have been posed by certain things and by certain characters in certain episodes for the benefit of their enjoyment of the encompassing story being told chapter by chapter - because like every good story of every good book, you can't rush something that may untimately turn out to be worthwhile.
November 8, 2020
Episode #22: "The West Wing" (TV series)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: 'The West Wing' - which is an American serialised political drama that was created by Aaron Sorkin that was primarily set in the West Wing of The White House, which depicted the fictional Democratic administration of President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet. The series ran from 1999 to 2006, during which it featured an enthralling and a phenomenonal cast of characters - including Martin Sheen as President Bartlet, Rob Lowe, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Allison Janney, Stockard Channing, and many other incredible actors over its seven season run, who all contributed to make The West Wing the incredible and groundbreaking television series that it was and will always be. The West Wing dealt with stories that ranged from political policy to personal tragedy - and over the course of the series its viewers were able to watch the main cast of characters evolve as well as dramatise the importance of democracy and of working together as a united country of people for a common purpose of continued prosperity for all the people of the United States of America, as voted for by the people of the United States of America.
November 7, 2020
Episode #21: "V for Vendetta" (2006 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: "V for Vendetta" - the 2006 dystopian political action film directed by James McTeigue and written by the Wachowskis, based on the 1988 DC/Vertigo graphic novel/limited comic book series by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Both the film and the comic book series center upon the relationship between the anarchist, masked freedom fighter, V (played by Hugo Weaving) and the character Evey (played by Natalie Portman) who find themselves drawn together as V enacts vengeance as a part of a personal Vendetta to overthrow the neo-faciscist totalitarian regime of an alternate-future United Kingdom, to expose their crimes, to unite the people, and to bring about a new beginning. Mark talks about why he loves "V for Vendetta" so much and why he is time and again compelled by its story, by its protagonist, and by the message of both the film and the comic series that states, as V says: "ideas are bulletproof" and that "there are no coincidences, only the illusion of coincidences"; and also as the character of Evey rightly states: "an idea can change the world". Mark also explains why he will always "Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot..." and why he will always remember the story of "V for Vendetta" and why to him both the film and the comic series need to be watched and enjoyed over and over and, of course, never be forgot.
November 5, 2020
Episode #20: "District 9" (2009 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about another of his favourite films: "District 9", directed by Neil Blomkamp - which is an enthralling 2009 science-fiction action film that deals with such subjects as xenophobia, racism, social segregation, and identity. The premise of "District 9" centres around the arrival of an alien species to Earth, whose spacecraft has spent over 20 years hovering over the city of Johannesburg, in South Africa, and over the course of the film we witness and we are presented with evidence of how this alien "prawn" species is treated by humanity, where they have been detained since their arrival, and what the opinion is of those who live in the shadow of the alien spacecraft and also those who have been tasked with controlling this alien race. The story of "District 9" and the main protagonist, Wikus van de Merwe played by Sharlto Copley, expertly shows several examples of the spectrum of humanity that exists on our planet - and the film asks us to consider what would humanity really do and how would humanity truly react to the seemingly life-changing revelation that we are not alone in the universe if they were asked to take care of a refugee alien species who they know very little about.
November 3, 2020
Episode #19: "The Hunt For Red October" (1990 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1990 submarine spy-thriller film "The Hunt For Red October", based on the book of the same name by Tom Clancy, which was directed by John McTiernan and which starred Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Sam Neil, and James Earl Jones. Mark talks about the story of "The Hunt For Red October" and the motivations of the main protagonists of the film, as well as the "Cold War" between the US and the USSR that the film takes place within. The episode is dedicated to the late great Sean Connery who died on October 31, 2020, at the age of 90 - and Mark talks about why he considers Sean Connery's portrayal of the character of Captain Marko Ramius to be one of his most defining film roles and well as his favourite.
November 2, 2020
Episode #18: "Ready Player One" (2018 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films, and one of his favourite book adaptations: "Ready Player One" - which came out in 2018 and which was directed by Steven Spielberg, based upon the novel of the same name which came out in 2011 written by Ernest Cline. Mark talks about the premise of both the film and the book, and he also talks about the characters and the themes that the story of both the film and the book deal with. Mark discusses the virtual world of the OASIS - which the majority of the story of the film and the book takes place in: a world within which anybody can do anything, can go anywhere, can be anything, and can be anybody that they want to be. Mark talks about why he believes the story and the themes of both the film and the book "Ready Player One" are more prescient now than ever.
November 1, 2020
Episode #17: "Halloween: Stories & Poetry"
In this Special Halloween-themed episode, Mark recites some Halloween/supernatural short-stories and poems that he has written over the years about this time of the year: including his short-story/poem "The Trick-or-Treaters"; his short-story/poem "Boo"; his short-story/poem "The Haunting of 14 Yucca Drive"; and his poem "Vampire State of Mind". And Mark would like to wish everybody a very Happy Halloween! 🎃
October 31, 2020
Episode #16: The Mandalorian (TV series) - Season 2, Episode 1: "The Marshal"
In this episode, Mark does a *Spoilery* review of The Mandalorian - Season 2, Episode 1: "The Marshal"; and Mark talks about what he liked about the episode, what characters stood out for him, and he also discusses how he thinks the events of the first episode of the season will influence the episodes of the series to follow - including the return of a legendary Star Wars character! This is the way!
October 30, 2020
Episode #15: "Ghostbusters" (1984 film)
In this epsiode Mark talks about another of his favourite movie franchises: "Ghostbusters"! Mark does a deep-dive into the premise of the original 1984 "Ghostbusters" film and the actors who portray the iconic characters of the original movie, as well as the 1989 sequel "Ghostbusters 2": including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis. Mark talks briefly about the 2016 "Ghostbusters" reboot, and he previews the upcoming sequel movie to the original films that is scheduled to be released in 2021: "Ghostbusters: After Life". And Mark gives a tribute to the late actor/director Harold Ramis by played the character Egon Spencer in the 1984 and 1989 "Ghostbusters" movies.
October 30, 2020
Episode #14: "The Matrix Trilogy" (Films)
In this episode Mark talks about another of his favourite movie trilogies: "The Matrix Trilogy" - which consists of 'The Matrix' (1999), 'The Matrix: Reloaded' (2003), and 'The Matrix: Revolutions' (2003). Mark does a deep-dive into the premise of 'The Matrix' film trilogy, the backstory, the plot, the significance of some of the main characters and how they influence the overriding story that connects the three original films of The Matrix franchise and the extended universe of stories which have been depicted in animation, as well as in comic form. And Mark briefly talks about the forthcoming sequel to the "Matrix Trilogy" that is scheduled to be released in 2022.
October 29, 2020
Episode #13: "Halloween" (1978 & 2018 films)
In this episode Mark talks about one of the most celebrated horror movie franchises: John Carpenters' Halloween films. Mark talks about the main premise of most of the Halloween films, and he also talks about their main protagonist, Laurie Strode played by Jamie Lee Curtis's, and the main antagonist, Michael Myers. Mark does a review of both the most recent 2018 'Halloween' film and the original 1978 'Halloween' film, and he talks about how the films effectively build tension in sometimes subtle, but powerful, ways in how they present the indomitable supernatural force of a character that cannot be stopped - through cinematography, as well as by using a synonymous and unforgettable soundtrack.
October 28, 2020
Episode #12: "Cobra Kai" (TV series) Seasons 1-2, a review
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV series at the moment: "Cobra Kai" - which is a sequel television series to the critically-acclaimed 'The Karate Kid' film series, which stars Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso and William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence. The first two seasons of 'Cobra Kai' are currently streaming on Netflix and the third season is expected to premiere in January 2021.
October 27, 2020
Episode #11: "Supernatural" (TV series)
In this Halloween/Supernatural-themed episode, Mark talks about another of his favourite TV shows: 'Supernatural' - in which he talks about the central premise of the series, as well as the main characters - Dean and Sam Winchester, played by Jenson Ackles and Jared Pedelecki - and the incredible supporting actors and characters that recur throughout the series. Mark also recites his poems "Scream!" and "Scary Movies".
October 26, 2020
Episode #10: My book "The Wolf In You"
In this episode Mark discusses both his 2017 novel 'The Wolf In Me' and its sequel novel 'The Wolf In You' which came out in 2019 - which, when combined, tell the tale of Olivia Hunter: the protagonist in both of Mark's books - who is a werewolf, as well as being a young woman trying to find her way in the world, and at the same time attempting to be the best mother than she can to her daughter, Melissa. Mark talks about where the idea for writing the story of Olivia Hunter came from and why his book 'The Wolf In You' stands out for him so profoundly among the stories he has written, and why he considers it to be his favourite book of those he has written thus far.
October 25, 2020
Episode #9: "Back To The Future, part I" (Film)
In this episode Mark talks about another of his favourite films, from one of his favourite trilogy of movies: 'Back To The Future'. Mark does a step-by-step run-through of the story of 'Back To The Future, part I' and he discusses the characters and the actors portraying them. Mark talks about why he loves the first 'Back To The Future' movie and why he will continue to watch it and every film of this universally celebrated trilogy over and over again.
October 24, 2020
Episode #8: "The Mandalorian" (TV series) - Season One, review
In this episode Mark discusses the first season of the first live-action Star Wars television series 'The Mandalorian' - which has been streaming on the Disney+ streaming service for almost a year now, and the second season is currently scheduled to premiere on Disney+ from October 30, 2020. Mark talks about the premise of the show, as well as some of the main characters and their motivations. Mark also talks about some of the events of the Star Wars universe of stories that preceed 'The Mandalorian' which have a definitive influence on the characters and the settings of the episodes within which the series is set chronologically in relation to the overall combined timeline of the Star Wars live-action and animated series' that preceed and succeed it.
October 23, 2020
Episode #7: "LOST" (TV series)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: LOST - and he discusses the mysterious premise of the series that engaged and enthralled millions of enthusiastic viewers from all around the world - Mark included. Mark digressed about who spending hours and days watching the groundbreaking series and engaging online with fellow fans in all the theories and spectaculation that surrounded the show over what the story of LOST was about, what answers there were to all the questions that viewers were asking, and who the central cast of characters were and how and why they were seemingly innately connected to one another. Mark discusses what he liked about the series and who his favourite characters were, and why LOST is for good reason consistently included in any and every list of the best TV shows of all time.
October 22, 2020
Episode #6: "Poetry of the City"
In this episode Mark talks about the inspiration and the poetry that he sees, hears, and experiences when walking around a city - and Mark explains why he believes cities are vital hives of diversity, change, language, and understanding where echoes of the past and hopes for the future meet and coexist seemingly harmoniously. And Mark recites his poem "Brum" that he was inspired to write by the city that he knows better than any: the city of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom.
October 21, 2020
Episode #5: "The Shining" (1980 Film)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: "The Shining" by Stanley Kubrick, based upon the book of the same name by Stephen King. Mark talks about the story of the film, the characters, and why he has continued to enjoy the film more and more, the more that he has watched it and learned more about it. Mark also explains why he believes "The Shining" is an example of exampliary cinematography. Mark also discusses why visual storytelling sometimes has an advantage over literary storytelling - mainly because of the necessary collaborations of both visual storytellers and sound storytellers that take place, which are essential and prevalent in films such as horror movies in the ways that they use certain cinematic techniques to build tension, mystery, and entrigue into a great scary movie's overall story.
October 20, 2020
Episode #4: "Mr. Robot" (TV series)
In this episode Mark discusses another favourite TV show of his: Mr. Robot - during which Mark discusses the multi-dimensional premise of the TV show, as well as the multi-dimensional characters that proliferate it: in particular, the characters of Elliott Alderson played by Rami Malek and "Mr. Robot" played by Christian Slater.
October 19, 2020
Episode #3: "Breaking Bad" (TV series)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: 'Breaking Bad' - and Mark does an in-depth breakdown of the story of 'Breaking Bad', its characters and their motivations, and he explains why he thinks 'Breaking Bad' is one of best TV shows ever made! And Mark recites his Breaking Bad-themed poems "Walter White (A Breaking Bad poem) and "Run Jesse, Run".
October 18, 2020
Episode #2: "Dexter" (TV series)
In this episode Mark talks about another of his favourite TV shows: "Dexter". Mark talks about the compelling, the complex, the multi-dimensional fictional serial killer Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall, and other characters and actors from 'Dexter', and the recent announcement that there is to be revival of the series coming in 2021. And Mark recites his poem "Dark Characters".
October 16, 2020
Episode #1: "The Sopranos" (TV series)
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite TV shows: 'The Sopranos' created by David Chase - whose cast starred many great actors over its seven seasons, including: James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, Eddie Falco as Carmela Soprano, Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, as well as several award-winning actors who through their memorable portrayals of their iconic characters and the exception writing propelled 'The Sopranos' into becoming considered as one of the greatest TV shows ever made. And Mark also recites his poem "Tony Soprano".
October 15, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #68: "A World of Poetry"
In this episode Mark talks about the world of poetry that we all live in and are constantly surrounded by at all hours of the day - but Mark explains that for him there are exact places and there are exact times when and where Mark is the most inspired than when anywhere else or at any other time. Mark explains that all stories and storytellers use the language of poetry in the art that they - both the literal and visual medium - as a vital component of the way that they tell their stories: whether that by using certain colours or sounds to illicit a particular facet of some thing of someone within the context of the story being told. Mark discusses the importance of numbers to people - in particular specific times of the day, like 10 o'clock in the morning and 10 o'clock at when Mark feels that he is either his most inspired and the most imaginative during the day; and Mark recites two poems that were written eight years apart, but which he was inspired to write at the exact place and at the exact time of the day: "As the bell tolled Ten" and "The Ten Bells". And Mark also recites his poem "Deus ex Poetica" (which is Latin for 'God from the poetry', essential) in which Mark expresses what poetry means to him and why he believes we live in a world of poetry.
October 14, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #67: "The Teacher and The Student"
In this episode Mark talks about the experience of being a teacher, the experience of being a student, and subsequently then seeing those who teach pass on what you have taught them to others in a constantly repeating cycle of teaching and learning. Mark talks about the fact that some people learn at different speeds and some people benefit from being taught differently so that they may grasp the solution to the questions posed to them in a way that is unique to them and how they understand the world around them. Mark talks about the importance of learning and the power of knowledge - and how people can sometimes learn more when they leave school than when they are at school about what it is that they want to do and who you want to be. And Mark recites his poems "The Teacher", "Graduation", and "First Day".
October 14, 2020
Special Announcement: "Mark The Poet - The Podcast" is now "The Mark Hastings Experience"
In this Special Announcement Episode, Mark makes an announcement that "Mark The Poet - The Podcast" is transitioning to become "The Mark Hastings Experience". Mark announces that the podcast will now include Mark's opinions on a great many of the things that his interest him - from his opinions on life, to films, to TV shows, to books; however what will not change is Mark's passion for writing poetry, and in every episode Mark will continue to share the poetry that he has written previously, the poetry that he has written recently, and the poetry that he has yet to write.
October 14, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #66: "All Things Supernatural"
In this supernatural themed episode Mark talks about his obsession with all things supernatural - especially when it comes to the stories that he writes and tells in the books that he publishes. Mark explains why he believes writing supernatural stories about supernatural characters gives him more freedom to be even more imaginative in the way that he tells his stories. Mark talks about some of the supernatural stories that he has written, who they are about, and why he was inspired to write them. Mark talks about his favourite supernatural TV show, "Supernatural" and why he believes it has lasted as long as it has. Mark talks about several of the supernatural and paranormal characters that have been depicted in movies and in myths from all around the world. And Mark recites his poems "Supernatural Obsession", "Superstitious", and "The Mermaid".
October 14, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #65: "The Ocean of Inspiration"
In this episode Mark talks about the process of being on the surface of the "ocean of inspiration" - the analogy that Mark likes to use when attempting to describe what it like to be a poet, a writer, an artist, in the process of creating a brand piece of art. Mark talks about the analogy of "feeding the Wolf" within him - and he imparts his thoughts on why what an artist creates depends greatly on what an artist is inspired by and what they feed the spirit of inspiration within them for sustenance. Mark talks about why he thinks the art of artists is not only important when and where it is created but it can also transcend space and time. And Mark recites his poems "Where it all started", "Anti-gravity", and "Future Me".
October 13, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #64: "The Importance of Colour"
In this episode Mark talks about the importance of colour in our daily lives and what colour means to different people at different times in their life. Mark describes how colour is used deliberately by both advertisers and advertisements to drawn people to choose a specific product over another, and also how the colour palette of nature and light can influence people into thinking, feeling, and acting in certain ways that can be transformative. Mark also recites his colour-inspired poems "Red", "Black", "Ode Blue", "Green", "The Rainbow", and "Lux".
October 12, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #63: "Vincent van Gogh"
This episode is dedicated to Mark's favourite artist: Vincent van Gogh - who he was, what he was, the incredible art that he created, the profound gift that he had as an artist, and how he was able to see and highlight the beauty and the poetry of nature and the universe like nobody else before or since has been able to. Mark talks about the legacy of Vincent van Gogh's art and how he has inspired and given so much joy to countless people from all around the world since his tragic death. Mark talks about the new 'Van Gogh Alive: The Experience' exhibition that he attended recently, and he explains the format and the setting of this incredible exhibition that celebrates Vincent van Gogh's life and his artwork. Mark recites a poem that he wrote which is dedicated to Vincent van Gogh, called "Vincent". Mark recites his poem "Art & Soul" which highlights what art means to him. And Mark recites his poem "Fire-starters" which is about the fact that there have always been artists of all mediums who have created art that has had a profound effect on people and who have influenced the world through their art, but who unfortunately died too young to see the full-effect of their artistic influence and the legacy that they left behind.
October 10, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #62: "Star Wars"
In this episode Mark talks about the epic space-opera, world wide cultural phenomenon, science fiction/fantasy franchise and universe of films, TV shows, books, comics and toys that is the one and the only 'Star Wars', created by George Lucas. The first film of the space-opera franchise, called simply 'STAR WARS' (now commonly known as 'Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope), was released back in 1977 - which Mark has been a fan of since he was a child. Mark talks about the overriding arc of the nine "Episodes" of the main Star Wars motion pictures that have been made - which range from stories of good vs. evil, light vs. dark, hope vs. fear - that span the so-called "Skywalker saga" which centres around and focuses on the Skywalker family, who are strong with "The Force" that binds all things in the Star Wars galaxy together. And Mark recites his Star Wars-themed poem "In A Galaxy Far, Far Away (A Star Wars poem)", and his poem "The Force".
October 9, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #61: "Norse Mythology"
In this episode Mark talks about one of the most interesting mythologies the world has ever known, which contains some of the most recognisable Gods that have ever been written about, which take centre stage in some of the stories and in some of the tales that have been retold for centuries - which includes characters, heroes, and figureheads that have guided and influenced the lives of countless people for centuries: Norse Mythology. Mark talks about the contemporary depictions of the Gods of Norse Mythology as retold by such writers as those from Marvel comics and also by his favourite author, Neil Gaiman - in particular within his book 'American Gods' and 'Norse Mythology'. Mark recites his poems "Thor's Hammer", "Poetic Mead", "The Modern Mythology", and "The Viking Way. And Mark discusses what he believes constitutes the modern mythology of the modern world - and who he believes are the "new gods" of the modern age.
October 8, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #60: "The Wolf In Me"
In this episode Mark talks about his first novel 'The Wolf In Me', which was published in 2017, and he explains in-depth about why he was inspired to write the story of his protagonist Olivia Hunter and The Wolf within her. Mark talks about the meaning behind the story of 'The Wolf In Me' and he recites an excerpt from his book that describes who the character of Olivia Hunter is and why she does what she does. Mark also recites his poems "The Wolf Within Me", "The Wolf of Winter", and "The Wolf Moon".
October 7, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #59: "Change"
In this episode Mark heralds the start of the month of October and the beginning of the hallowed season that so many people look forward to at this time of the year, by reciting his poem "October"; and by reciting his poem "Baba Yaga" Mark hopes to bring to life the superstitious side of people in preparation for Halloween. And with his poem "Rough" Mark shines a light upon the harrowing plight of those who are homeless: those poor people who day after day, night after night, are forced to call the city streets of the world their home - and Mark recounts a particular interaction that he once had with a so-called "rough-sleeper" and how he wishes that he could truly give the gift of "change" to anybody who asked for it.
October 6, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #58: "The Truman Show"
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films 'The Truman Show' - and by using this profound, inspirational, and thoroughly enjoyable film as a guide Mark talks about the concepts of reality, identity, control, materialism, voyeurism, and the journey that everybody is on throughout their life to discovery who they truly are. And Mark recites his poems "The Virtual/Reality", "Revolving Door", "Substantial Sustenance".
October 5, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #57: "Mobile World"
In this episode Mark talks about the "mobile world" that we all now live in: a world in which anybody and everybody can connect to one another, instantaneously, at a speed and in ways like never before in human history. Mark talks about the many mobile technological innovations that surround us all that everybody might accidentally take for granted, because the means to be connected to what is happening everywhere and at any time of the day is ubiquitous and expected in the modern age that we now live in. Mark talks about how much mobile technology has changed over the last 10 years and what gifts and abilities technology affords people in this day and age. And Mark recites some mobile-themed poems: "Mobile Life", "Mobile Inspiration", and "Mobile Poetry".
October 4, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #56: "In Retrospect: September 2019"
In this episode Mark looks back on September 2019 - a month and a year that Mark has mixed feelings about, because at the beginning of September 2019 Mark and his family had to contend with the harrowing reality that his Dad had had a heart-attack and that for days his Dad lay unconscious, and for weeks Mark's Dad lied in a hospital bed, day after day. Mark openly talks about the fear that lingered within him about whether Mark's Dad would make a full-recovery. Mark recites his poem "The Lion of His Pride" that was inspired by his Dad and by what Mark was feeling at that time in his life. Mark also recites his poem "The Driving Force" and his poem "The Warstone Angel".
October 3, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #55: "Johnny Cash"
This episode is dedicated to the "Man in Black" himself... the one and the only Mr. Johnny Cash! In this episode Mark talks about how much he loves and has been inspired by the music of Johnny Cash, and how he has always seen something of himself in Johnny Cash and how he has always seen something of Johnny Cash in himself. Mark talks about Johnny Cash's life and the demons that he had to daily live with; and Mark talks about his favourite songs written and performed by the "Man in Black". Mark also describes the pilgrimage that he set about upon in 2016 to seemingly follow in the footsteps of Johnny Cash, all the way to the Nickajack Cave, near the Tennessee River - and Mark recounts what it felt like to be somewhere that was a turning point in the life of Johnny Cash. And Mark recites his poems "Everything to Me", "Walking the Line", and "Man in Black".
October 2, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #54: "Starbucks"
In this episode Mark talks about his favourite coffee shop chain - which he has visited many different stores of all around the world, and where and when on almost every occasion he has been inspired to write a poem, or a part of one of his stories: the one and the only, Starbucks. Mark explains what it is about drinking, eating, and writing at Starbucks that has made all the difference over the years to what he writes and how he writes, and why he thinks that he has a lot to thank Starbucks for in regards to the inspiration that has has imbibed while in one of their many stores. Mark also recites his poems "Starbucks", "Mr. Poet", and "Write Away". And please note that this episode and this podcast is not sponsored by Starbucks in any way shape or form, but perhaps it should be - that's all that Mark is saying!
October 1, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #53: "The Saw Lady"
In this episode Mark talks about his incredibly talented and amazing friend Natalia Paruz a.k.a. "The Saw Lady". Mark was lucky to be able to meet, to talk to, and to hear Natalia Paruz play the magical, beautiful, ensorcelling music of her musical saw back in 2013, on the New York Subway - and Mark was instantly spellbound by the transcendental music that he heard, because of the way that "The Saw Lady" Natalia Paruz's music spoke to him, touched his soul, and inspired him in more ways than could ever be put into words. Mark has on occasion been able to describe in poetry how beautiful and amazing Natalia Paruz's music is and what it means to him within two poems: "Saw Lady of the Subway" and "Sawing Voice". And in this episode Mark once again recites some poetry dedicated to "the city that never sleeps", and one of Mark favourite places on Earth, New York City, in the form of his poem "The City".
September 30, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #52: "The Freedom of Expression"
In this episode Mark talks about the power that people have when they have the right to freely express themselves through their art - from writers, to painters, to musicians, to comedians - and how much depth certain artists imbue into their creations and with the power of their ideas, which all invariably start after being written down upon a blank sheet of paper. Mark talks about why it is important to dream about things and why it is important to express certain ideas - because it is through the sharing of dreams, thoughts, and ideas where the wisdom of truth lies. And Mark recites his poems "Bigger on the Inside", "Forever Dreamer", and "Imagine".
September 29, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #51: "Space Talk"
In this episode once again Mark talks about his fascination with all things space and he discusses the potential of life on other planets - such as Venus, Mars, or the moon of Jupiter Europa. Mark talks about the potential of future manned missions to other planets, in particular the red planet Mars - and why the thought of such missions in the near future is an exciting prospect that everybody should be excited about. Mark also recites his space-themed poems "Greetings from Europa", "Space Walk", and "Phoenix in the Dark".
September 28, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #50: "The Shawshank Redemption"
In this episode Mark talks about his film favourite of all time: 'The Shawshank Redemption' - and Mark describes in great depth the story of the film, the meaning and the symbolism of the film, the main characters, why he loves 'The Shawshank Redemption' so much, and why it his favourite film of all time over all the other many incredible films that he has seen over his life. Mark also recites his poems "Favourites", "Crossroads", and "One For The Road" - and he shares what connection he believes these poems in particular have to his favourite film: 'The Shawshank Redemption'.
September 27, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #49: "Truly Madly Deeply"
This episode is dedicated to the power of love - specifically the love that Mark shares with his fiancé Melissa. In this episode Mark recites some poems that were inspired by the love that Mark feels for, and the love that is reciprocated by, his fiancé Melissa that were all taken from Mark's book 'Truly Madly Deeply', which was published in 2016, which is filled with poems that describe the love felt by a couple who love each other unconditionally, and the retelling of the story of how Mark and Melissa first met. Mark recites his poems "Melissa", "My Chikadee", "Her Magical Powers", "Guardian Angel", and "The Air I Breathe".
September 26, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #48: "Autumn"
In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite seasons of nature: the beautiful and the respedant Autumn. Mark explains what he loves the most about Autumn/Fall, and he describes how magical and magnificent it is to him and how it has always been inspiring to him and to many people from all around the world, especially when they are outside and enjoying the transitions that can be witnessed in nature. Mark recites his poems "Autumn", "The Hallowed Season", and "Buona Fortuna". And Mark encourages people to go out into nature and enjoy the natural beauty that is out there - especially during this time of transition and adaptation for both nature and humanity combined.
September 25, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #47: "Stephen Hawking"
This episode is dedicated to the renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who unfortunately died in 2018. Stephen Hawking was an inspiration to countless people from all around the world over his life - Mark included; and in this episode Mark discusses why Stephen Hawking was, is, and will always be an inspiration and a hero to him - mostly because of the way that he never allowed his Motor Neuron Disease to stop him from achieving greatness in the eyes of many people through the power of his mind, his thoughts, and his theories concerning the beginning and the inner workings of the universe. Mark also recites his poems "Stephen Hawking", "Wanderlust", and "In Alignment".
September 24, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #46: "Birds"
This episode has an ornithological theme to it, because this episode is all about Mark's immense fascination with birds of ever kind, species, size, and disposition. In this episode Mark describes some of the many wonderful, magical, and inspiring experiences that he has had with birds from all around the world. Mark also recites his poems "The Dissimulation of Birds", "The Falcon", and "Corvus".
September 23, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #45: "Contemplating the Potential of Humanity"
In this episode Mark discusses the potential of humanity - while also reviewing some of the poems that he has written over the past six months which he has received wonderful feedback from: in particular his poems "Pool of Contemplation", "Infinity", and "The Comet". Mark explains what he thinks about the poems he has written and what they mean to him. And Mark discusses what direction he hopes the human race will collectively choose to take in the future if we are to one day reach for the stars.
September 22, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #44: "Time Travel"
In this episode Mark discusses one his favourite science fiction story types and themes in films, in TV shows, and in literature: time travel. Mark discusses some of his favourite depictions of Time Travel in entertainment - from the 'Bill & Ted' films, to the 'Back to the Future' trilogy, to 'Doctor Who', to 'Quantum Leap' - whose stories revolve around "time travelers" and "time machines" traveling into the future or to the past. Mark talks about the potential of there one day being real life "time tourists" and the potential paradoxes that might ensue as a result. And Mark also recites his poems "The Time Traveller" and "Be Excellent To One Another".
September 21, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #43: "The Thinker"
In this episode Mark talks about his preoccupation with the art of procrastination and Mark talks about the time that he has spent sitting, staring, thinking, imagining, and writing all of the creations of his own imagination that he has written over the years that were eventually published for all the world to read. Mark recites his poems "The Thinker", "Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am)", and "The Rhyme of the Constant Writer". And Mark explains why he loves being someone who thinks and feels deeply about a great many things.
September 20, 2020
Mark The Poet - Episode #42: "Ever The Optimist"
In this episode Mark talks about the importance of being a hopeful optimist, especially when faced with times in our lives when things seem out of our control. Mark discusses his theory that everybody is on a path and on a journey throughout their lives that can be filled with both beginnings and endings, which are occasionally interchangeable and one and the same. Mark also recites his poems "The Path of The Poet", "This is the way", and "Never Stop Reaching".
September 19, 2020