What does 2021 have in store for movie theaters? Is “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” all that wonderful a Christmas movie? How do non-Christians celebrate Christmas (or, as RMB calls it: Jewish Movie Day) … and much more! Here are the letters from Imagination Connoisseurs for Monday, December 21, 2020. 

Trying to pull the dicey future of the exhibition business into focus.

Dear Rob,

Hope you are well!

“The Terminator” has made a quick comeback. I got some questions in regards to Dune and the HBO Max service. I suppose they’re all interlinked, if you think about it. As of the writing of this letter, I forgot what they were. Give me a moment.

Oh yes:

1). In my last letter, you forgot to answer the last part of my question, so I’ll repost it here: Do you think HBO Max will increase or decrease the chances of Dune getting a sequel?

2). I noticed that on Youtube, the 2021 HBO Max release slate video has been removed from the official channel, even though it’s still visible on the Warner Bros twitter page and other fan pages on Youtube. Why do you think Warner Bros removed the 2021 HBO Max slate from their official Youtube page?

3). Deadline recently released an article titled “John Lee Hancock On A 30-Year Odyssey Making ‘The Little Things’ With Denzel Washington, Rami Malek & Jared Leto, And The Abrupt HBO Max Pandemic Pivot: The Deadline Q&A”. Over here, there are two sentences which states possible rumours that Warner Bros might pull Dune from HBO Max in favour of a theatrical release. What do you think are the chances of this?

Personally, I hope it remains on HBO Max, as it will allow people who were never interested in Dune to end up watching it out of curiosity and hence increase its popularity, justifying a sequel.

Some time ago, I published an article where I strongly believed that Dune might premier earlier than expected and I listed all of the reasons why I believed this would happen. This was before the Legendary-Warner Bros rift became public, but I believe the reasons I wrote are still valid.

The reasons were as follows:

• Dune was suppose to arrive on 18th December 2020. Waiting until 1st October 2021 will destroy the hype, especially after it easily surpassed the trailer viewings for both Robert Patterson’s Batman and Wonder Woman 1984.

• The theatres are not expected to generate pre-pandemic levels of revenue anytime soon, even in a post-pandemic world.

• This is also significantly due to Warner Bros’ simultaneous strategy, where a significant people will opt to watch on the HBO Max service as opposed to travelling towards the cinemas.

• Warner Brothers are now prioritizing their streaming service over the theatrical experience. This means they can pick and choose which ever release date they want.

• The operating costs of cinemas are too high to maintain. The smallest reduction in revenue, which is expected to carry on into the next year, will lead to the death of the big cinemas as a consequence.

• Some cinemas might choose to not air Warner Bros films in retaliation of their simultaneous strategy. I have covered their responses in a similar article.

• I introduced Dune to two of my friends recently. They are both intrigued and interested in the movie now, but both believe that October 2021 is a long way off. They will probably lose interest by that time. I imagine a similar scenario with everybody else.

If you are interested, here’s a link to the article.

What are you thoughts on this? Do you think Dune should premier earlier, or keep the October 2021 release?

Furthermore, Deadline also published a recent article which analysed the international performance of Wonder Woman 1984 and they believe that the HBO Max service itself had no impact on the performance abroad at the overseas cinemas.

Since HBO Max is expected to generate a large number of subscribers without any negative effects on the overseas box office, I really hope that Warner Bros keeps the HBO Max premier. There is no reason to not to.

I have been waiting for Dune for too long and I would like to see it as soon as possible. I’ve always been a streamer, so HBO Max or PVOD would be a great way for me to watch it in my big TV.

Thank you, Rob! Thank you for reading! I hope you have a great day!

Terminator out.
Arnold S.

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“It’s A Wonderful Life” but is it a wonderful film?

Hi Rob and Elysabeth,

It’s A Wonderful Life is arguably the quintessential Christmas movie.

This movie, to me, is always a delight to watch. The ending always tugs at my heartstrings when I hear the line, “the richest man in town”, then reading what is written on the card, the bell then ringing, and James Stewart looking up and winking.

Interestingly, while It’s A Wonderful Life is now a classic and beloved film, it received mixed reviews and flopped at the box office when it originally released in 1946.

However, three decades later, during the Christmas season of 1976, it started appearing on tv a lot, then finally striking a chord with people.

Frank Capra, himself, called It’s A Wonderful Life his favorite movie he has ever made, and would screen it for his family every Christmas season.

The film has also impacted pop culture in a big way. Regardless of the Christmas setting, we still see countless parodies and imitations of the film’s story structure, about a guardian angel who helps someone who has lost his or her way by showing him or her how life would be without him or her.

All in all, It’s A Wonderful Life is definitely a movie worth talking about for the Christmas season of Winening About Movies. It might have been a bit strange if you did not pick it as a movie to discuss, unless you both disliked it.

Thanks, live long and prosper.
Omar

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How do you separate the art from the artist?

Hello Rob and members of the PGS,

I’ve been thinking about the relationship between art and the artist, specifically the public perception of the art in light of the artist’s reputation.

I believe I know where you stand on this but would like to hear if it interferes with your experience watching Chinatown knowing Polanski’s involvement or enjoying some exceptional storytelling (see Superman: Agent of Batman) from Max Landis given his past difficulties.

Casey

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Another letter from Las Vegas

Hello once again Rob, my friend, and my fellow imagination connoisseurs.

I do apologize if this letter does arrive my owl. They can shit all over the place, or bite certainly and if it leaves a mess I’ve sent the closed form to lodge a formal complaint attached with this letter.

Before I get to the meaty parts of what I believe will make a great letter, I’d like to thank both you and your amazing moderators for such a great community.

Let’s get into the letter! Last I wrote I talked about my time as an extra. Living in Las Vegas was certainly a great time in my life. I met the beautiful woman I am marrying there I’ll have you know, and everything day she truly shows me just how much she really does love me.

Have you ever watched Coming to America? Where the hell might I be going with this? Or heard of Life with Louie? Louie Anderson that is where I am going with this. He will also be in the upcoming Coming to America 2. Just to toss that out there.

While living in Las Vegas I lived with my Dad, and it just happened the neighbor living under us happened to be Louie Andersons Brother. Louie was doing a comedy show at the time at the Excalibur.

My Dad and I became close to his brother. His name also happens to be Tom. I’d often help Louie’s brother out, and Louie himself who often visited would be greatful. We often went to his show. Louie was a really good friend to me and though I do not stay in touch with him I do often miss this wonderful kind human being.

He often let myself, my father and friends come to his shows for free. We often were invited to lunch or dinner at his place, and it became a yearly tradition to have thanksgiving with him. It was just a really enjoyable time for myself.

I had gotten to meet one of my favorite comedians, and actors and he considered me a friend. I looked up to Louie and even when my father passed he sent had given such a wonderful condolences.

I will always care for Louie and he will always be considered a friend of mine.

Just thought I’d share this. I’m really happy for the guy being in Coming to America 2.

Thanks Rob and my good friends in this community love you all 4k 10,000.

Your friend,
Thomas B.

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That time William Shatner boldly went into “TEKWAR”

Hello Rob,

I recently came across the 1994 television show Tekwar and decided to write you a letter about it after watching your recent video on working with William Shatner.

To those who don’t know, Tekwar is a show based on a series of books conceived by Shatner and ghost written by Ron Goulart. The series began as four TV movies, the first movie was directed by Shatner, and later an eighteen episode season.

Warren Zevon performed the aptly titled Real or Not for the end credits of the movies. Unfortunately the song wasn’t used for the later TV episodes. It’s a great song that I suggest everyone give a listen to even though it clocks in at one minute forty-five seconds.

The ratings were strong at first but sadly began to drop by episode four. This of course led to its cancellation and the show was pulled before the final four episodes could be broadcast. The SciFi channel later picked up Tekwar and rebroadcast the show in its entirety in 1996.

The series is set in the 22nd century and follows former police officer Jake Cardiagan played by Greg Evigan, who is released on early parole from cryogenic prison. Jake then goes to work for Walter Bascom played by Shatner himself, the CEO of the private security firm Cosmos in the hope of clearing his name and to bring down the Teklords, futuristic drug cartels who deal in the highly addictive drug Tek. Tek is a micro-chip that allows the user to live out their deepest fantasies.

It is the Teklords who framed Jake for murder which led to his imprisonment. Jake is backed up by his former partner Sid Gomez played by Eugene Clark, and scientist Beth Kittridge played by Torri Higginson. Lexa Doig makes a few appearances in the show where she portrays the “futuristic” hacker Cowgirl sporting a comical southern accent.

Michael York appears as Prince Richard, heir to British throne in the third movie Teklab, and even Sheena Easton had a cameo appearance in the first TV movie as the environmentalist freedom fighter Warbride.

As a whole I rather enjoyed the series. The portrayal of the future is rather dated considering where we are now technology wise but the show has a certain charm that I have come to enjoy. You have to keep in mind the show was released before every home in America had an internet connection and was produced with a fraction of what modern shows get nowadays. Everyone nailed their characters role with the one stand out of course being Shatner.

The One gripe I have is most of the costumes worn in the show are very cringey. I broke out in laughter when I saw the Tek dealer from the first movie. I won’t attempt to describe his appearance because it’s something you just have to see for yourself. As a whole the series is really good.

There are a few duds such as the third movie but all in all it was a solid series and I would recommend anyone in PGS community to see it at least once. Unfortunately this is one of the many shows that was cancelled way too soon. Having finished the series there definitely was room for improvement but so many potential stories to tell.

Tekwar did get a DVD release but from what I understand the Region 1 transfer was barely a step above VHS quality. The Region 2 release is much better quality so one I would suggest purchasing that version.

I have posted two links below: the first is a playlist where anyone can watch the entire series for free and the second is a Tekwar themed music video of Warren Zevon’s song.

PS. I also started watching the original Legend of the Galactic Heroes and man am I hooked.

Click here to watch the Tekwar series.

Click here to watch the Warren Zevon Tekwar Music Video

Sincerely,
Kevin Morthorst

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How do you celebrate Christmas if you’re not a Christian? It involves going to the movies, for this Imagination Connoisseur.

Hi Rob, moderators, and Post Geek Singularity,

Since I know you will not do a show on Christmas day, though I’m not sure if you will do a show on Thursday either, I have this to say to everyone.

If you celebrate Christmas, Happy Holidays to all of you and hope you have a good time, even though the pandemic continues on. I’m Muslim, so I’ve never really done anything for Christmas, other than wear Christmas colored clothes on that day, as well as watching Christmas movies and tv specials leading up to Christmas Day.

Even if I did Christmas, I probably wouldn’t go through doing anything, since I’m pretty lazy and would not want to take ages getting and decorating a Christmas tree, buying presents, cooking, and doing all the lights and decorations. But anyways, have a good time to all of you celebrating Christmas, or if you don’t and you’re just celebrating you’re off from work and/or school.

My next letter will be a review for Wonder Woman 1984, similar to a letter I wrote several months ago where I had a review for Tenet.

I plan to see it in theaters either on Friday or Saturday, so my letter will be sent on either Friday or Saturday night, for the Robservations episode the next day.

Thanks, live long and prosper.
Omar

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Movie reviews for films never to be confused as “Christmas Movies”

Hello Rob & Ace !

Here we are….at the cusp of the pinnicle of the holiday season…Thursday is my birthday I turn 45 ..oh and I guess it’s Christmas eve as well….There goes Jesus honing in on my birthday ….Just kidding .

I have been watching your show for a while . The 1st episode I watched was Sing Street . Now I have heard of this movie because a little theater in town would show it every now and then. So after watching the episode I went and purchased it on Vudu and it is now in my digital collection.

I enjoyed the episode on Rosemary’s Baby ..we all know what happened to that baby..it ended up in the white house hahaha …ok back to the letter.

My favorite thing about this episode was you Rob telling Ace that you wanted to join a Satan Cult and the looks on her face and her telling people not to send you offers and you begging people to had me in tears .

I love the banter between you and Ace and the fact you are teaching me about not only loving films but teaching me about the art of fine wine.

I also loved the episode on Possessor UNCUT ! The chat game of adding Peen to a movie title had me in so many tears from laughing .

Watching Robservations , WINEing , Let’s Get Physical Media & your latest show on action figures to me makes me feel welcome among friends who are like minded about film and such . I want to thank tyou and Ace for letting myself and the many other IC’s in to your Robservatory and becoming friends with you both.

I may have sent you a letter saying something simular but I can’t remember ….Look I’m 45 and old … shhhh…don’t tell anyone I feel young at heart.

I’d like to recommed a small film for WINEing called ” Local Hero” It is a Scottish film. It has Peter Rigert and Burt Landcaster in it and it is fantastic in my opinion. It’s right up there with Sing Street. Look for it and check it out.

Before I end this letter , I apologize for the length but I get passionate about film. Another thing I am passionate about which is something we park our ship in the same hanger is The Beatles, Rob I could talk for hours with you about them classic and timesless and A Hard Days Night still holds up .

So to sum it all up congrats on well over 100 episodes of WINEing. Die Hard is a Christmas film…sorry Ace…But in case you didn’t know you can rent out the Christmas Story house and stay the night in it. Cause it is now a musesum. …would make a good place to do WINEing from sometime.

Take care and enjoy your Christmas .

All the best,
Tom J.

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A run down of favorite films worth collecting

Greetings Rob, Dieter & my fellow PGS community back again with another letter. This time on a review of the remaining 4K releases I picked up this month.

I have already sent one before on LOTR trilogy, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America & Total Recall. I decided to hold off on The Hobbit Trilogy since I needed to catch up on other recent hauls in preparation for this letter. Keep in mind again I am no technical expert in 4K so these are my own personal views on the transfers.

The first one I’d like to talk about is Blade. Now why can’t they just release all 3 movies at once, drives me crazy, oh well. I’ve read & watched reviews that mentioned DNR which I tend to never notice anyway, so I’m fine with it as long as it’s not too distracting.

The opening scene in the underground club looks great & the blood really shines with the HDR. It’s a real strength to the look of the movie, it’s a dark film but the blue tint of it isn’t as distracting as past releases have been. Other reviews mentioned how the special f/x looked dated, well it was low budget given the times, so to me that’s not a fair criticism. Any fan of the film should pick this release up & we can only hope the last 2 on the series get future releases.

The next film is Collateral & a movie that fans (myself included) were worried about in 4K since it was one of the first movies filmed with HD cameras. I have always believed the look of the film was intentional by Michael Mann, who wanted the film to have a distinctive look & make the landscape of LA a character on its own. Especially since the entire film takes place at night. This is definitely the best the film has ever looked & the HDR helps with detail, being an excellent movie helps also, so I was left pleased with this transfer & any fan of the movie should pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed.

Next up is what I believe is Vinegar Syndrome’s first release in the 4K realm, The Beastmaster. I say that because there’s a disclaimer about how the look of the film was due to damage of the original negative & this is the best presentation given the circumstances.

Maybe this was a way to keep the reviewers from being too harsh, but to me it’s completely unnecessary. Sure the first 25 minutes are a bit rough with heavily grain & even scratches. Yet after that the film looks fine through the rest of the way.

The colors are great & even the darker scenes look fine & you can see them with no problems. It’s a solid transfer that should be in anyone’s collection.

This was also a blind buy for me so it’s the first I had seen it & the movie is much better than I expected, I thought it would be pure 80s cheese. To me it’s similar to Conan & Tarzan, complete with tatas, how did they get away with a PG rating? So again I didn’t see the need for the disclaimer.

This next film as I mentioned in a previous letter was my most anticipated 4K release of the month. My all time favorite horror comedy Tremors. Come on man this Arrow release gets my vote for best release of the year period.

The packaging is great & Arrow put a lot of love & care into this release. So many special features it brought me back to the DVD days. The movie transfer is no doubt the best it’s ever looked. I was afraid the 4K transfer would make the movie look dated given the reputation of past releases.

There is definitely some grain, but the movie still looks crisp & some gorgeous scenery thanks to the HDR. I can’t say enough great things about this release other than to just pick it up if you love this film as much as I do. I’ll probably watch it at least once a month now.

Great job on this release Arrow & you will get my money if you continue to do more 4K releases like Tremors & Flash Gordon.

The final film I will talk about will be quick since I know many people have not seen it. Hopefully Rob has seen the movie by the time this letter is read on air. I will only talk about the transfer & not the plot. The movie of course is Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.

I’m just gonna go right ahead & call this one the best looking 4K release of 2020 period, no ifs ands or buts. The transfer looks absolutely stunning & crisp. The sound mix is great & I had no issues at all understanding the dialogue, so those with high quality sound systems are in for a treat.

There’s really nothing else to say about the film other than the aspect ratio changes back & forth constantly but I honestly didn’t even notice it as I was so into the look of the film. So pick this one up & I do hope it’s covered on Wineing About Movies.

In conclusion those were my thoughts on the remaining haul on December 4K releases. All great looking transfers I’d definitely recommend for purchase. More letters to come & perhaps one on The Hobbit Trilogy & a surprise review I promised to Dieter.

Thanks again Rob & Dieter for reading my letter & I look forward to future episodes. Take care, be safe & Happy Holidays to my fellow PGS community.

Philip A.

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Aren’t we all being a little mean to George?

Greetings Rob and fellow PGS,

I’ve have written to you once in the past and I thought it was time to write again. I’ve been watching the show for a while now and I’ve been meaning to ask a question that you…yes you…could possiblly answer.

So as we know Coppola went back and “fixed” The Godfather 3 the way he wanted to after all these years and we got Snyder doing ” The Snyder Cut” for Justice League and “The Snyder Clean Up ” on Batman v Superman (my favorite courtroom thriller) and people want Ayer to do ” The Ayer Cut” to Suicide Squad.

My question is this … what makes this so different than Lucas going back and adding scenes and special effects to the Star Wars films? People were pissed about that but yet he has even said he was waiting for a time when he could put the right effects in the movie. Why are people ok with one thing and yet shit on another? I mean do the laws of physics not work on the stove in Hollywood’s kitchen?

Now I could go on with tons of topics like The Beatles (I dig your John Lennon Figure). We park our shuttles in the same bay with that topic. I am so excited for the Peter Jackson edit of The Beatles film Let It Be now called The Beatles: Get Back .

Well Rob, thanks for indulging me with your answer and also reading my letter. Thank you for allowing me to join the PGS .

Oh one more thing (cue: Columbo) I really like Discovery but that is me and I respect everything you disagree with about the show, you know why? Cause I respect you and i respect what you have to say. and I agree with some stuff and I disagree with other stuff. But you are vaild with your opinions. I bow down to you good sir.

May you , Ace and the girls all come out with negative tests and may you have a wonderful Christmas.

Thanks for all the great chats you give on the show.

Tom

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Have Star Wars’ imperial storm troopers become a joke?

Hi Rob.

Like many here, I have recently finished watching The Mandalorian (season 2). And all in all, I liked it. However I do have one major complaint about it. That is how it protrays storm troopers.

You see, I think that The Mandalorian gets storm troopers wrong. They no longer seem like a threat.

Now many may say they were never a threat. Look how they never hit any of the main characters. And whilst that is true – and we have plot amour to thank for that – storm troopers were a threat in the original trilogy, ROGUE ONE and even the sequel trilogy.

But in The Mandolorian, they aren’t treated like a genuine threat because they never seem to cause any damage to any character.

Take the last episode of season 2. It is played out as being the big high stakes rescue mission of Grogu. A final assault on Moff Gideon’s ship. Yet by the end, none of the team fell or even got badly injured.

Not to sound morbid but did Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks’s character) need to survive? Wouldn’t having her die at least made the storm troopers feel like a credible threat again?

Craig S.

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