Many apologies, but I actually wrote this review about two months ago and never got around to posting it in the mayhem that was CHOC Walk and real life. But the movie is coming out on DVD next week. Think of this as your prep to decide if you're going to rent it or not.
What Is It: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is based on the 1960s NBC television series staring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. The character of Napoleon Solo (played by Vaughn in the television series and Henry Cavill in this adaptation) was conceived by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Another fun fact? The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is technically a sequel to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, as U.N.C.L.E.'s arch-nemesis (T.H.R.U.S.H.) was founded by Sebastian Moran following the death of Professor Moriarty.
This film works as the origin story for both U.N.C.L.E. and the partnership of CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (portrayed by David McCallum on television and Armie Hammer in the film). The rights to the film were initially purchased in 1993, but passed through the hands of many directors and screenwriters before ending up in the care of Guy Ritchie. It was finally released on August 14, 2015.
My Experience: I saw it in a relatively empty theater (are theaters ever full aside from midnight showings anymore?). Often to my embarrassment, some of the comedic moments didn't quite land with the other people I was sharing the theater with. I did find the experience enjoyable overall. The film was entertaining with bright pleasing visuals. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer both have charisma to spare and their easy chemistry makes up for anything lacking when it comes to plot lines.
Why You Should See It: While most films of the spy genre have gone the way of over the top action sequences and dark intellectual back stories, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. embraces the cheesiness of the genre it comes from. It sticks to the original 1960s setting. In the way few can do, Guy Ritchie is able to make the setting feel modernly retro rather than just old. Even Cavill's American accent seems drawn mostly from 60s television. It's a fun film and definitely a good way to spend an evening.
The Future: All involved in the film definitely appear eager to turn the film into a franchise, but whether or not this happens remains up in the air. Next year we will see Guy Ritchie's version of the King Arthur legend on the big screen. Armie Hammer has three films coming up (The Birth of a Nation, Free Fire, and Nocturnal Animals). Henry Cavill will be appearing on the big screen next in a little film called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. You might have heard of it.
The Band: Panic! at the Disco
The Song: Hallelujah
The YouTube Link:
Where you heard it first: I have no idea why I'm so obsessed with this song (and music video) right now, but ever since it popped up again in my daily shuffled playlist it's been stuck in my head. The song has been out for several months now. It is on Panic's upcoming Death of a Bachelor album next year.
Why it’s been stuck in your head: It's catchy plain and simple. The song showcases Brendon's amazing voice, and he sounds as good as he ever has. It's featured heavily in my NaNoWriMo inspiration playlist at the moment.
Why you recommend it to our listeners: Because I love it and need more people to fangirl with over how talented Brendon Urie is.
Terminally-ill Star Wars fan Daniel Fleetwood has only two months to live and is petitioning to see the new movie before it's December 18th release date. Spread the word! #ForceForDaniel
[UPDATED:] And Daniel Fleetwood got his wish. Good job, Internet!
Let’s go back to: 17 Again
A movie released in 2009 starring Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon, Matthew Perry, and Michelle Trachtenberg, 17 Again is still one of my favorite guilty pleasures. The movie told the story of 37-year-old Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry, Friends) who is currently going through a divorce with his wife Scarlett (Leslie Mann, Knocked Up) while still trying to connect with his two teenage children. Through means unknown to him, Mike is transformed back into his 17-year-old self (now played by Zac Efron of High School Musical fame) and with the help from his best friend, geeky entrepreneur Ned (Thomas Lennon, The Odd Couple), he's able to find a way to reconnect with his children (Sterling Knight of Melissa and Joey and Michelle Trachtenberg best known for her role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Why it means something to you or to our podcast: If you happened to listen to our movie-centric podcast episode, entitled "Get In Loser, We're Going Podcasting", you know that this movie is one that I will never get sick of. I can watch it over and over again and still laugh out loud at it. For those of you who don't know, I also have a slight obsession with Zac Efron and in this movie especially, he's at the top of his game. If you haven't yet had a chance to check out this movie, I highly suggest you do this weekend. It's awesome.
Where can you find it now? 17 Again can be rented or bought on iTunes or Amazon Instant Video or wherever movies are sold. Check out the original trailer right here!
The Artist: Andrew Keenan Bolger, the original Crutchie in Disney's Newsies on Broadway
The Song: "Letter from the Refuge"
Where you heard it first: I first heard this song (a new one written exclusively for the national tour) when I went to see Newsies at Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. Of course, the Crutchie I saw, Zachary Sayle, was amazing, but a good Broadway nerd knows that a song is almost always better when it's sung by the person who originated the role on the Great White Way. In August of 2015, the Newsies of Broadway reunited at 54 Below and the original Crutchie, Andrew Keenan Bolger, took to the stage to sing this new song from composer Alan Menken.
Why it’s been stuck in your head: This year for Halloween, I finally realized my dream of dressing as a Newsie. For those of you who don't know, I was recently admitted to the hospital and was discharged with a pair of crutches, giving me the perfect opportunity to dress as Crutchie, my favorite Newsie, for the holiday. When I was getting ready on Halloween night, I listened to this song on repeat, getting ready to assume my role as the adorable cripple who just wasn't fast enough to escape the Refuge.
Why you recommend it to our listeners: If you're as much of a fan of this show as my fellow co-host and I are, you'll love this song. Another song to obsess over? Yes please! And you'll recognize notes from another Newsies favorite song, "Santa Fe".
-- Kelly Lee