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Survivors Guide to Prison

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Movie: Survivors Guide to Prison

Rated: Not Rated

Genre: Documentary

Release Date: February 23, 2018

Running Time: 1h 42m

Featuring: Susan Sarandon, Patricia Arquette, Danny Trejo, Jesse Williams, Ice-T, Quincy Jones, Tom Morello, Danny Glover, and more

Directed By: Matthew Cooke

Written By: Matthew Cooke

Reason We’re Watching It: Featuring commentary and insight from a who’s who of high profile activists and social commentators from the worlds of film and music, including Sarandon who not only executive produced the film but narrates alongside of Trejo, the brutally honest documentary is a pull-no-punches look at the American justice system and the overcrowded prisons that exist from sea to shining sea.

What It’s About: By delving into the stories of two men who were wrongfully convicted of murders that they didn’t commit, the film serves as an informational tour guide into the inner workings of our criminal checks and balances. As Trejo offers up at the start of the film, the United States may be the land of the free, but there are more people imprisoned here than anywhere else in the world. In fact, there are so many laws on the books that, according to a terrifying tidbit by the Wall Street Journal, the average American commits three felonies a day without ever realizing it. If you end up being wrongfully (or rightfully) sentenced for a crime that you didn’t (or did) commit, “Survivors Guide to Prison” breaks down the 411 you’ll need to get through life on the inside.

Whoah! Rewind That!: Some of the not-so-fun facts that are shared throughout the course of the film are, at times, hard to come to terms with and often require a rewind just to make sure you heard them correctly. For example, did you know that 13 million Americans are arrested every year? That’s more than the combined populations of Los Angeles and New York City. Most people would agree that’s far too many Miranda Rights in need of being read, but what solution can be reached? Is there one? And if so, how do we clean up the mess we’ve already made?

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Prior to beginning his acting career, Trejo spent a span of 11 years moving in and out of cells, including a stint in the infamous San Quentin State Prison in California. He knows firsthand how the system works, adding an extra layer of credibility to the core concept of the film and its unfiltered honesty.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

 

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7 Guardians of the Tomb

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Movie: 7 Guardians of the Tomb

Rated: NR

Genre: Action, Adventure

Release Date: February 23, 2018

Run Time: 1h 30m

StarringKelsey Grammer, Kellan Lutz, Stef Dawson, Chun Wu, Li Bingbing, Yasmin Kassim

Directed By: Kimble Rendall

Written By: Gary Hamilton (story), Jonathan Scanlon (story), Kimble Rendall, Paul Staheli

Reason We’re Watching It: You had us at Kelsey Grammer, but we certainly stayed for the action and adventure aspect of the movie. The truth is, it’s hard not to enjoy a story that involves chasing after a sought-after artifact in China while dodging danger and solving potentially deadly puzzles in an ancient tomb.

What It’s About: Luke (Wu) is on an archaeological dig for businessman Mason (Grammer) when a discovery gives way to a horrifying past that was best left buried in the tomb. Mason alerts Luke’s sister, Jia (Bingbing) about her brother’s sudden disappearance and Jia joins Mason and a crew of adventurers to find him… though Mason has ulterior motives that are soon revealed.

Whoah! Rewind That!: Spiders… why did it have to be SPIDERS!? There is a climactic scene that involves hundreds of spiders and one very massive boss-looking spider that literally rips another large spider in half. How can you not rewind that a few times and cringe in ooey-gooy awesomeness?

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Lutz came up with a game during the last week of filming for the cast and crew to play that involved throwing a toy spider into a hole in a box, Cornhole style. If the spider made it in, they won a prize like on TV or in video games. Google is suddenly not the most fun place to work anymore. Thanks Lutz!

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Black Panther

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Movie: Black Panther

Rated: PG-13

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Release Date: February 16, 2018

Run Time: 2h 14m

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett

Directed By: Ryan Coogler

Written By: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole (Based on Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)

Reason We’re Watching It: We were introduced to the Black Panther character in “Captain America: Civil War.” Seeing such an iconic comic book character finally brought to life on the big screen left everyone wanting more. “Black Panther” delivers that and so much more with a mighty roar of a back story and action-packed battle scenes with shining performances by the impressive cast.

What It’s About: “Black Panther” chronicles T’Challa’s (Boseman) rise to the throne of Wakanda, a technologically-advanced civilization hidden from the rest of the world. T’Challa struggles with wanting to help the world by offering their resources to those in need, but he faces opposition from those within Wakanda. An outsider, Erik Killmonger (Jordan), appears in Wakanda to not only reveal the dark past of T’Challa’s father, but challenge for the throne in an attempt to rule Wakanda and spread mayhem and violence across the globe.

Whoah! Rewind That!: There are SO many moments you will want to see again and again, but what really stole the show for us was the car chase scene. Black Panther rides atop a Lexus that is driven remotely by his sister, Shuri (Wright). You really get to see just how bad ass Black Panther can be and why his suit would even make Batman jealous. Okoye (Gurira), also shines in this fast-paced chase scene, riding on top of a car and stopping an SUV dead in its tracks with a throw from her vibranium-powered spear. You thought Gurira’s portrayal as Michonne on “The Walking Dead” was intense? Wait until you see her tackle the role of Okoye!

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Wakanda is mentioned on a S.H.I.E.L.D. monitor in “Iron Man 2.” The location, according to the monitor, is centered around Lake Turkana on the border of Kenya and Ethiopia. In reality this region is known for holding rare mineral deposits much like Wakanda in “Black Panther.”

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Black Hollow Cage

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Movie: Black Hollow Cage

Rated: NR

Genre: Horror, Drama, Sci-Fi

Release Date: February 9, 2018

Run Time: 105 minutes

Starring: Julian Nicholson, Lowena McDonell, Daniel M. Jacobs

Written & Directed by: Sadrac González-Perellón

Reason We’re Watching It: Winter is coming to an end soon, but this movie could chill you to the bone in the dead of summer. González-Perellón has crafted a reality-bending horror flick that challenges your mind and its ability to ingest some very provocative and horrifying circumstances.

What It’s About: Alice (McDonell) is the 13-year-old daughter of Adam (Nicholson). They live in a stunningly modern house, so secluded that it is surrounded by a plush forest that happens to also contain a black cube that acts as a time machine of sorts. Alice is trying to become accustomed to using her new prosthetic arm and her dog has a voice emulator that allows her to speak, and the pup is not just screaming, “Squirrel!” (Shout out to the Pixar fans!) When a pair of strangers show up, things begin to unravel quickly and a terrible set of events play out, BUT, there is the opportunity to change things thanks to the cube in the forest… or maybe a chance to make those things even worse.

Whoah! Rewind That!: Without giving too much away, we’ll just say there is an edge-of-your-seat moment where you just want to yell out, “TURN AROUND!” We tend to do that when someone is in full-on stalk mode with a very shiny knife.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: González-Perellón uses silence and an intentional lack of dialogue in areas of the film to evoke a sense of uneasiness and to create a more realistic feeling of suspense.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block

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Series: Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block

Where To Watch: SYFY

Rated: TV-14

Genre: Horror, Drama, Mystery

Release Date: February 7th, 2018

Episodes: Season 3/Six Episodes

Starring: Olivia Luccardi, Holland Roden, Krisha Fairchild, Rutger Hauer

Creator: Nick Antosca

Reason We’re Watching It: Nick Antosca has taken the source material provided by Creepypasta, a group of digital urban horror stories, and given visual life to these tales and legends that will haunt your thoughts and dreams. The last two seasons of “Channel Zero” kept us up at night, wondering what the next episode will hold. “Butcher’s Block” has proven to have the same hook and is indeed the most harrowing and chilling installment of “Channel Zero” thus far.

What It’s About: “Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block” is inspired by Kerry Hammond’s Creepypasta “Search and Rescue Woods” Reddit series. The story follows Alice (Olivia Luccardi) and her sister Zoe (Holland Roden) as they move to a new town in an attempt to escape the families’ dark history with mental illness. We find out their mother is in a mental facility and that Zoe is also suffering from the same mental health issues, as well as battling with addiction. Alice is working as a social worker, hoping to help children in need. Meanwhile, there have been multiple disappearances occurring in the small town, and there are more questions than answers as to the cause. As Alice ventures further down the rabbit hole that is “Butcher’s Block,” you find out the town is much darker and sinister than you could ever imagine.

Whoah! Rewind That!: In the first episode there are a lot of moments that will have you hitting the rewind button and getting a second look at what just transpired on your screen. For us, one moment that evoked a verbal reaction from the room of viewers was the…well, we’re not sure what it was yet, but we’ll call it the “thing” in the wall. Alice makes a social worker call to check in on a mother and child. You start to hear and see this “thing” in the wall. Then, when they show the child’s room, you see a hole in the wall that would perfectly fit its face, implying that it could easily peer in on the child. The thought of this “thing” looking through the face-sized hole at the sleeping child is just horrifying to contemplate.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Season 3 of “Channel Zero” was originally going to be called “Staircases.” You’ll see why when you watch it. The creators changed the name to “Butcher’s Block,” which we have to admit, immediately sets the tone for this story.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Still/Born

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Movie: Still/Born

Rated: R

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Release Date: February 9, 2018

Run Time: 1h 27m

Starring: Christie Burke, Jesse Moss, Rebecca Olson

Director: Brandon Christensen

Writer: Brandon Christensen, Colin Minihan

Reason We’re Watching It: We love horror films here at the TrunkSpace camp, but when the horror film covers a potential psychological nightmare… we REALLY love it! “Still/Born” is a movie that gets in your head, and you’re constantly second guessing your instincts and perhaps wondering if you were in the same situation, what would you do? Would you trust your instincts or think you’re going mad? It’s that type of scenario that had us on the edge of our seat, nervously shoveling popcorn into our mouths.

What It’s About: Mary (Burke), has both the happiest and saddest day of her life, all at once. She gives birth to twins, but only one of them is alive. While Mary cares for her only child, she begins to believe a supernatural entity is after her baby and will take him from her. Meanwhile, those around Mary are doubting her sanity and fitness as a mother.

Whoah! Rewind That!: We loved the suspense and veracity Mary brought to the scene where she is trying to bust down a door with an axe. Her performance and axe skills could easily stand up to Jack Torrance’s from “The Shining!”

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Burke, who plays Mary, has also been in some of our favorite TV shows including “Supernatural,” “Falling Skies” and “Van Helsing,” to name a few.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

 

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Winchester

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Movie: Winchester

Rated: PG-13

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Biography

Release Date: February 2nd, 2018

Run Time: 1h 39m

Starring: Helen Mirren, Sarah Snook, Jason Clarke

Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

Reason We’re Watching It: The mystery and lore that surround the Winchester mansion was enough to make us check out this flick. How can you not be interested in what’s been called “the most haunted mansion in America?” True, the movie is fabricated for the big screen, but it has some truth to the story. Aside from that, Helen Mirren always delivers a solid performance, as does Jason Clarke.

What It’s About: Sarah Winchester (Mirren) is a wealthy and eccentric firearms heiress who believes she is haunted by the souls of all those killed by the Winchester repeating rifle. She builds a room for every soul that has been killed by the firearms that brandish her name. Once the soul is in the room and at peace, she seals them off. Sarah holds 51 percent of the company, and the other share holders believe her behavior is setting a bad image for the company. They hire Eric Price (Clarke), a doctor addicted to his own medicine, to declare Sarah unfit to run the company. Once he enters the house, he finds that she may not be as crazy as everyone thinks.

Whoah! Rewind That!: It’s tough to describe this without spoilers, so we’ll just use a few words to set the scene that you’ll want to watch more than once. You’ll know it when you see it: a mass murder ghost, dozens of Winchester repeating rifles, Sarah Winchester, Eric Price (the doctor with an addiction) and shards of glass. That’s all you get because we can’t give anymore!

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Most of the filming took place on a sound stage. The actual Winchester mansion design is very cramped… but we think they maybe didn’t want all those “real” ghosts photo bombing the movie.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

 

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Maze Runner: The Death Cure

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Movie: Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Rated: PG-13

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Release Date: January 26, 2018

Run Time: 2h 22m

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Rosa Salazar, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Will Poulter, Jacob Lofland, Giancarlo Esposito

Director: Wes Ball

Reason We’re Watching It: Unlike most sequels that can often fall short of their predecessors, it seems that the “Maze Runner” series gets better and better with each installment. This third film follows that trend and ups the ante with non-stop action that doesn’t let up. In fact, this movie is so good that even after one of our staffers broke a tooth on a stray popcorn kernel, they just kept watching the movie and tearing up, not only from the pain but from the dramatic moments and farewells to some of our favorite characters of the series. (Editor’s Note: This tooth incident actually happened. Dental appointment scheduled. Careful with those kernels, folks!)

What It’s About: “Death Cure” picks up where “The Scorch Trials” left off. Thomas (O’Brien), along with the main cast, are trying to rescue all of the Immunes from WCKD’s clutches. In particular they are trying to rescue Minho (Hong Lee) who was captured in the last movie. Thomas is forced to confront Teresa (Scodelario) after her betrayal that led to Minho being captured in the first place. There is a group of rebels in the mix as well that are out to burn WCKD to the ground along with anyone or anything around it.

Whoah! Rewind That!: Without giving anything away we will just say there is a scene that involves a bus full of people, a skyscraper-sized crane and a rescue attempt… all while in the middle of a war zone! There were so many great action sequences in the film, but this one will have you squirming in your chair.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: O’Brien was seriously injured and hospitalized while filming “Death Cure” in May 2016, which pushed the film’s release date from February 2017 to January 2018.

One more tidbit, Rosa Salazar who plays Brenda in “Death Cure” and “Scorch Trials” will be starring in the highly anticipated “Alita: Battle Angel” as the computer-generated cyborg.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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The Greatest Showman

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Movie: The Greatest Showman

Rated: PG

Genre: Musical, Drama, Biography

Release Date: December 20, 2017

Run Time: 1h 45m

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson

Director: Michael Gracey

Reason We’re Watching It: Michael Gracey delivers some of the most stunning visuals to grace the silver screen with outlandish dance numbers that feature the full-on circus treatment, including elephants and tigers jumping through flaming hoops. The songs and score are catchy and stick in your brain like the trapeze artists stick to their hoops and silks. This is also a family friendly film for all ages, delivering solid entertainment that everyone can enjoy together.

What It’s About: “The Greatest Showman” is a biographical musical about P.T. Barnum (Jackman) and the beginning of show business. Barnum grows up a penniless child and becomes a self-made success thanks to the help of his family, business partner and the fantastical human oddities that fill his center stage each night. It’s a movie with heart, diversity, dreams and hardship.

Whoah! Rewind that!: There is a business meeting scene in a bar between Jackman and Efron that involves shots… lots and lots of shots! It’s as hilarious as it is mind blowing to watch these two drink, sing and dance at the same time. We’re hoping those shot glasses were digital, because if they weren’t… they must have broken thousands trying to slide them back and forth so perfectly.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Almost all of the performers in “The Greatest Showman” provided their own voices for each song… BUT perhaps even more impressive than singing, Zendaya did ALL of her own trapeze stunts in the film. Keep that in mind when you watch her flipping back and forth or twirling from the ceiling with nothing but a rope.

What? You want another cool factoid? Okay… Both Hugh Jackman and Zendaya have played characters in the Marvel universe!

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Somebody Feed Phil

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Series: Somebody Feed Phil

Where To Watch: Netflix

Episodes: Season 1/Six Episodes

Starring: Phil Rosenthal (And occasionally his parents and brother.)

How Do I Know That Guy?: If Rosenthal is both unfamiliar to you and yet strikingly recognizable at the same time, it’s probably because you were a fan of the long-running sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Rosenthal created the series and it’s clear to see that star Ray Romano was channeling the mind behind it, and in the process, doing a bang up job!

Reason We’re Watching It: Yes, the dishes looks delicious, but there are a million food-meets-travel shows out there. What makes “Somebody Feed Phil” different is the heart of the host being fed. Rosenthal doesn’t only just connect with the food he’s sampling but with the people behind each meal. In a show marketed to be about food, what it ultimately becomes is a show about being human, and for us, that’s a winning recipe.

Our Favorite Episode: Like Rosenthal points out in the episode, the country of Vietnam gets a bad wrap, but between the ear to ear smiles of its people and the delectable food coming out of Saigon, this episode was both eye opening and eye edible.

We’re Inspired!: Thanks in large part to our favorite episode about Vietnam, we hunkered down in the kitchen and attempted to make our own batch of Pho, a popular Vietnamese soup. It’s now even more popular with us. Somebody thank Phil!

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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