This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ Review; ‘The Peripheral’ and ‘1899’, Overhyped or Worth it?

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley run through a lightning round of reviews for shows they’ve been watching. First up is The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which John Latchem reviewed for MPN. Charles shares his thoughts about it, as well as a quick recap of the Marvel Phase 4 set of movies and shows, as this special concludes that series. He also gives his predictions for what to expect in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn’s final Marvel-directed movie before committing fully to leading the DC franchise at Warner Bros.

Afterward, Charlie updates listeners on his progress through the Amazon Prime series “The Peripheral” as well as the new cerebral Netflix drama “1899.” The former has proven to be a solid new sci-fi series, but, as for the latter, according to Charlie, it’s off to a rocky start.

At the box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever unsurprisingly still took the No. 1 spot over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery debuted on a limited number of screens but didn’t make a big splash. The hosts, who are both huge fans of the original, expect it to do extremely well on Netflix when it makes its streaming debut in late December. But looming on the box office horizon is the juggernaut Avatar: The Way of Water. It’s no question as to whether it will dominate ticket sales when it finally drops; the question is, exactly how much.

Lastly, the hosts cover an article announcing that Amazon has ordered a miniseries to cover the recent collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, to be produced by the Russo brothers. Charlie follows that particular tech sector closely and gives some context for the collapse, and the trend of studios to produce miniseries about similarly spectacular implosions of tech companies like Uber, WeWork and Theranos.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Wakanda Forever’ Revisited; ‘Peacemaker’ Achieves Cult Status

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News Podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley divert from the usual format to dig deep into what they’ve been watching and what’s been going on in the film industry.

First up, the hosts talk about the themes of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and some of the characters’ motivations and portrayals. According to Charles, in the original Marvel comics the anti-hero Namor was half-Atlantean and half-human, but since DC’s recent portrayal of Aquaman featured that exact backstory, the version of Namor in Wakanda Forever was tweaked to be a descendant of the Mayans.

At the box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever maintains its top spot and worldwide has grossed over $500 million in its first 10 days of release. It’s projected to make just shy of $900 million.

In the second spot is The Menu, a small-budget movie Charlie has been interested in since it’s been marketed as a horror movie but is written by two comedy writer veterans whose resumes include The Onion, Last Week Tonight, and Comedy Bang Bang. Meanwhile, arriving this week on Blu-ray is season one of HBO Max’s “Peacemaker,” which Charles highly recommends. As the direct sequel to James Gunn’s soft reboot/sequel The Suicide Squad, it garnered a strong cult following since its inception and is already greenlighted for a second season.

Lastly, we have some news out of Avatar 2’s production in a GQ interview with director James Cameron. Cameron has been pitching the long-awaited sequel as “the worst business case in movie history” as he alleges it will need to be one of the world’s highest-grossing movies of all time just to break even. In the interview, he recalls speaking to a Fox executive about production of the original Avatar: “I think this movie is going to make all the money … that’s exactly what I said, in caps, ALL THE MONEY, not some of the money, all the money.” Since Avatar remains the highest-grossing movie of all time, having made $2.9 billion to date, it’s fair to say Cameron called his shot and is confident about the performance of Avatar 2.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,’ ‘Blue Hawaii’ Reviews; Reflections on the Death of Kevin ‘Batman’ Conroy

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover a review of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. In much the same way that Weird Al writes parodies of famous songs, here he has co-written a movie that parodies famous tropes of biopics. Following this is a review for Blue Hawaii, the eighth film starring Elvis Presley — and the most lucrative one at the box office up to that point. 

At the box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as expected took the top spot and pulled a greater value in ticket sales in its first three days of release than previous box office champ Black Adam garnered in its entire run up to now. Charlie leads the podcast with a short review of Black Panther, which despite his derision of Marvel movies in the past he liked a lot.

To wrap things up, Charles covers a sad story about the passing of Kevin Conroy, prolific and famed voice actor for the animated Batman episodes. He talks about his experiences growing up watching many of Conroy’s features of the Dark Knight, and how he sees Conroy as the definitive iteration of Batman. He will be sorely missed.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Fall’, ‘Film Noir’; Box Office Report; Study Asks Does Movie Piracy Benefit Movies?

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley return to the early days of cinema, this time with a trio of film noir movies from Kino Lorber’s “Dark Side of Cinema” collection, this being the ninth installment.

Scott Marks reviews Take One False Step, Tangier, and Lady on a Train, all from the post-World War II 1940s. Charles remembers watching Lady on a Train in his classic film class, but Charlie pokes fun at him for only recalling the details of the movie present in the title — namely, that it stars a lady, and takes place in part on a train. Reviewer Marks mantains it is the least film noir of the collection, steering closer to comedy.

The other review of the week is for Fall, by John Latchem. What Charlie finds interesting about this movie is that it contains elements of guerilla filmmaking, which he thinks always adds some rawness to a movie. In this case, some of the equipment from the shoot was purchased, used, and returned immediately. Charlie recalls a movie where the crew didn’t acquire permits to shoot a scene on a subway and opted to discreetly film anyway.

At the box office, Black Adam continues its third, and likely last, weekend occupying the No. 1 spot. Worldwide, it has grossed over $300 million, but next weekend comes the next MCU movie, Wakanda Forever. Both hosts expect that movie to easily top Black Adam’s entire gross in a single weekend. The other movie capturing the hosts’ attentions is Avatar 2, which released another trailer. They’ll keep the joke going as long as possible that the movie will be incredible, but neither will remember a single detail about it.

Wrapping up the episode is a discussion about a study researching online piracy and its apparent lack of negative effect on movie sales. It argues that the desire for online streamers to download more movies motivates them to invest in higher bandwidth internet speeds, which benefits ISPs. The downstream effect was to accelerate the transition from cable TV to legal online streaming platforms like Netflix because the infrastructure to support streaming video is much more robust. It was an interesting study overall and makes a compelling argument against the typical narrative that piracy unequivocally hurts studios.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ ‘Nope’ Reviews; Box Office Report

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover the movie that Charlie has been raving about all summer: Top Gun: Maverick. In going over the review by John Latchem the movie is discussed as being a satisfying sequel to the original Top Gun, which came out over 35 years ago in 1986. Maverick pushes the nostalgia buttons for viewers who loved the first movie, but doesn’t lean too heavily on it as some recent franchise reboots have tended to do. Charlie goes on for an extended period about how his expectations for the movie were extremely low going into it and ended up vastly exceeding them. The combination of perfectly executed (albeit simple) plot beats and in-camera shots from jets made the movie well-deserving of Tom Cruise’s largest grossing film of all time.

Continuing the high profile lineup of the episode, the hosts cover another review by Latchem, for Nope, which Charlie has talked about seeing on a previous episode. It was a symbolism-heavy knockout by auteur director Jordan Peele, and while Charlie wasn’t quite as impressed with it as he was with Get Out, after thinking about it for a few weeks since initially seeing it he has concluded it was an excellent movie. On the opposite end of the spectrum, at the box office the No. 1 movie was Black Adam, leading the theatrical take for its second week of release, followed by an assortment of horror movies keeping in spirit with the Halloween season.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Battle of the Super Sons,’ ‘By Candlelight’ Reviews; Weekend Box Office Report; New DC Movies Creative Director

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley dive deep into the DC universe, starting with a review by John Latchem of the animated movie Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons. Charles recommends it, seconding the sentiment of the review. He also saw Black Adam during its premiere over the weekend and gives a two-minute, spoiler-filled micro review on the show’s new segment, “Charles rambles on a subject until Charlie stops him.” The second full review of the week is for “By Candlelight,” written by Scott Marks.

At the box office, exceeding expectations and blowing away the last several weeks of premieres, was, of course, Black Adam, marking Dwayne Johnson’s largest domestic opening ever. Meanwhile, in spite of Halloween getting closer and closer, Halloween Ends saw a massive drop in revenue from its previous weekend’s opening, earning a gross of only 20% of what it drew during its first weekend on the big screen.

Wrapping up with some industry news is word that James Gunn, known for superhero movies Guardians of the Galaxy, The Suicide Squad, and “Peacemaker,” has been tapped by DC to serve as its creative lead for the next four years. He will co-lead along with Peter Safran and the hosts are very intrigued by this new direction for DC movies.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Bullet Train’, ‘Murder at the Vanities’ Reviews; Weekend Box Office Report

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley discuss the review of Bullet Train by John Latchem. The hosts have been ribbing this feature since its trailer released months ago, and now that it’s come to physical media is it really as bad as they think it was?

Following that is a review by Scott Marks for Murder at the Vanities, a whodunit thriller from the 1930s that Charles saw long ago in film class. The hosts comment on the early days of cinema and traditional stage actors having to adapt for the camera, because as is mentioned in the review, the murder mystery in Vanities is incredibly obvious to the viewer.

Over the weekend, the latest film in the “Halloween” franchise’s reboot Halloween Ends took the No. 1 spot, followed by the seasonally appropriate horror movie Smile and family friendly movie Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.

Halloween Ends undershot analyst expectations for revenue (grossing $41 million at the domestic box office over the weekend instead of the projected $49 million) but still performed impressively considering it’s available to stream for free on Peacock. Charlie hasn’t visited theaters in a while, but opened the show talking about his viewing of the seedy Danish crime movie Pusher 2, which he described as “a hardcore version of Trainspotting, already known for being a hardcore movie.”

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘The Munsters,’ ‘In Bruges’ Reviews and a Look at ‘Fan Edits and Restorations’

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley dive into reviews of The Munsters and the 4K re-release of In Bruges. The Munsters is interesting because of a notoriously poorly edited trailer promoting the release of the movie, which negatively colored Charlie’s opinion of the movie. All Charles has heard is “it’s fine,” which falls in line with John Latchem’s thoughts in his review. As for the review of In Bruges by Scott Marks, Charlie has seen it and gives it his endorsement.

During the episode intro, the hosts cover a video essay titled the bizarre world of fan edits and restorations, which details the explosion of independent film edits that were kicked off with a cut of The Phantom Menace, spread far and wide by the earlier days of the internet. These cuts are compiled and available at

Lastly, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery will get a week-long theatrical release across all three major theater chains in November. Both Charles and Charlie loved the first movie and are looking forward to the sequel. However, at the box office, the post-summer slog continues with horror movie Smile netting the most revenue from ticket sales, but still only in the low $20 million range.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Meet Cute,’ ‘Turning Point’ Reviews; Weekend Box Office Report; New Streaming Stats

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover reviews for the Peacock streaming movie Meet Cute, written by John Latchem, and 1950s-era Kino Lorber release The Turning Point, written by Scott Marks. While Charlie doesn’t make a habit out of watching rom-coms, when he hears that Meet Cute has a time travel mechanic he’s instantly into it. 

At the box office, the horror movie Smile opened this past weekend with a more than $20 million debut. Avatar remains near the top of the charts, too, closing on $2.9 billion in total ticket sales; both hosts are simultaneously incredulous at Avatar’s success and increasingly excited about its sequel’s imminent release at year’s end. The episode is wrapped up with a series of streaming statistics, as there were multiple record-breaking shows and movies recently.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Bright Victory,’ ‘Thor’ Reviews; Netflix’s ‘Tudum’ Moment; Weekend Box Office Report

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley dive into the remastered 1950s classic Bright Victory, followed by the newest MCU movie Thor: Love and Thunder. Unsurprisingly, the hosts have more to say about Thor than a 70-year-old war movie, although Scott Marks’ review of Bright Victory does present some stark differences in cultural norms and script writing relative to modern movies. As for Thor, in spite of John Latchem highlighting the elements that make it a bright, fun movie, Charlie isn’t sold on it because he’s sick of the overbearing lightheartedness of many recent Marvel movies.

At the box office, in spite of (or, perhaps, partly because of) its pre-release controversy, Don’t Worry Darling took the No. 1 spot this past weekend. More interestingly, a theatrical re-release of Spider-Man: No Way Home (with a few minutes of deleted scenes spliced back in) appeared in the top 5, and even more astonishingly, Avatar made its return to theaters ahead of its anticipated sequel’s release in December. Both hosts puzzle over the paradox of Avatar having such a tremendous cultural impact when it was initially released in 2009 and soon after vanished from mainstream consciousness. 

On the streaming front, Netflix has announced 120 (!) new and continuing movies and shows. Charles and Charlie are looking forward to a few of the offerings, but with that many announcements, there’s bound to be something for everyone.