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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Earth Station One Ep 332If you must blink, do it now. Pay attention to everything you hear from Mike, Mike, Ashley Pauls, Keith Johnson, and Paul Combs no matter how unusual it may seem. And it you look away, even for an instant, Paul may perish in the Geek Seat. The ESO crew review the latest Laika release, along with the usual Rants, Raves, Khan Report and Shout Outs!

Table of Contents
0:00:00 Show Open w Rants & Raves
0:17:40 The Geek Seat w/ Paul Combs
0:30:29 Kubo & The Two Strings
1:27:47 The Khan Report
1:34:23 Show Close

Links
The ESO Amazon.com E-Store
ESO on iTunes
ESO on Stitcher Radio
Ashley Pauls Kubo and the Two Strings review
C & C Geekcast
Earth Station One Podcast Live at Dragon Con 2016 – The 30th Anniversary of Little Shop of Horrors
Earth Station Who Live at Dragon Con 2016 – What Makes A Good Companion

ESO Network Upcoming Appearances

Aug 28-29 – FumpFest (Chicago, IL)
FLOP (Kornflake “Dementia Water Aerobics”)

Sept 2-5 Dragon Con (Atlanta, GA)
ESO Network

Oct 7-9 Monsterama (Atlanta, GA)
ESO (MikeG, MikeF)

If you would like to leave feedback or a comment on the show please call the ESO feedback line at (404)963-9057 (remember long distance charges may apply) or feel free to email us @ esopodcast@gmail.com

kubo-and-monkeyBy Ashley Pauls
Box Office Buzz

Mid to late August is sometimes seen as a dumping ground for movies Hollywood doesn’t have a lot of confidence in. Either the quality is mediocre or the studio fears it will become a flop. These movies just can’t compete with the big-ticket summer blockbusters. However, every once in a while you’ll find a hidden, late-summer gem, and one of those movies is “Kubo and the Two Strings,” out in theaters this past weekend. Although “Kubo” debuted at the box office in fourth place with just $12.6 million, this imaginative, beautifully-animated film is worth seeking out.

Currently sitting at 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, “Kubo and the Two Strings” is a product of animation studio Laika Entertainment, which also created “Coraline” and “ParaNorman.” The studio is known for its stop motion computer animated visuals. Kubo follows a young boy with a magical Japanese instrument called a “shamisen” who lives with his mother in a cave on the outskirts of a small village. Every day Kubo travels to the village to earn money by telling stories, using his magical instrument to bring origami creations to life. His mother has warned Kubo not to venture outside after dark, because his evil aunts and grandfather, the Moon King, will come for him.

Although Kubo doesn’t mean to be intentionally disobedient, one night he stays out in the village just a little too late, and something terrible happens. He is then sent on a quest to find his father’s armor, which will protect him from evil. He meets some new friends along the way — a talking monkey and a warrior who has been transformed into a half-beetle, half-Samurai — and learns he has the strength to be a hero just like his parents, even though they are no longer with him.

I’ll admit the premise sounds a bit strange, as does the film’s title, “Kubo and the Two Strings.” But the story is actually very intriguing and heartfelt, and after watching the film, the title seems perfect (I don’t want to explain any more, though, because I don’t want to spoil the film’s ending, or reveal what the “two strings” are and why they’re important). The film blends elements of mysticism and Japanese culture with the timeless themes of family and love.

And of course, the animation is absolutely gorgeous. Kubo’s quest takes him to a snowy wasteland, the strange, underwater “Garden of Eyes,” a magical cave, and more, and all are beautifully animated with lots of attention to detail. Some of my favorite parts are when Kubo is using music and storytelling to bring his origami to life in bright bursts of color.

While the film is family-friendly, it isn’t just for kids, and adults will find plenty to keep them engaged. It’s a refreshingly simple and self-contained story (no pop culture in-jokes or frenetic animation with too many things going on at once). Also, be warned—the film’s ending is rather bittersweet, and you might see a few misty eyes in the theater.

In short, “Kubo” probably won’t make a big splash at the box office this summer, but if you have a chance to see it, it’s well worth a watch. It’s an enchanting little film about the power of love, family, and yes, origami.

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JC and Rita bring you their Dragon Con Preview extravaganza with a 2 hour podcasts filled with interviews from DragonCon Media, Track Directors and Guests!

Also, in our rapid fire segment we give you our thoughts on Stranger Things, Suicide Squad, Star Trek Beyond and more!

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Earth Station One Podcast Ep 331
The 2016 summer movie season is nearly over and Mike and Mike decide to take a minute to catch their breath and just before one of ESO’s favorite conventions of the year. Joining them on the back porch of the station for an informal chat is ESO-Pro’s Richard Ewell and the Geek Girl herself, Angela Pritchett. Sit back for some rambling along with the usual Rants, Raves, a Khan Report, and Shout Outs!

Table of Contents
0:00:00 Show Open
0:00:00 Summer Geek Talk
1:26:12 A Geek Girl’s Take
1:29:03 The Khan Report
1:38:23 Show Close

Links
The ESO Amazon.com E-Store
ESO on iTunes
ESO on Stitcher Radio
A Geek Girl’s Take
ESO ProWrestling Roundtable
White Rocket #104

ESO Network Upcoming Appearances
Aug 19 – Speakeasy Electro Swing @ Red Light Cafe (Atlanta, GA)
RETRO (Q)

Aug 28-29 – FumpFest (Chicago, IL)
FLOP (Kornflake “Dementia Water Aerobics”)

Sept 2-5 Dragon Con (Atlanta, GA)
ESO Network

Oct 7-9 Monsterama (Atlanta, GA)
ESO (MikeG, MikeF)

If you would like to leave feedback or a comment on the show please call the ESO feedback line at (404)963-9057 (remember long distance charges may apply) or feel free to email us @ esopodcast@gmail.com

captain_america__civil_war___international_banner_by_ratohnhaketon645-d9yyuugBy Ashley Pauls
Box Office Buzz

Well, that was…interesting. I was trying to come up with a sentence to summarize my thoughts on the 2016 summer blockbuster season, and that’s what I ended up with. As a whole, this summer seemed to have a larger number of misfires than normal, and quite a few major releases that either failed to perform at the box office or live up to audience expectations.

Of course, “Captain America: Civil War” did get things off to a strong start, with an impressive $179 million opening weekend and a 90 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. It’s currently tied for my favorite movie of the summer. However, from there things got rockier, and quite a few sequels, reboots, and remakes under-performed. “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “The Legend of Tarzan,” “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Now You See Me 2,” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” seemed to come and go without a lot of fanfare. The video game adaptation “Warcraft” also failed to do much at the U.S. box office, though it picked up some steam overseas.

So, what happened? Although it could have something do with audiences simply getting tired of “more of the same,” that isn’t all of it, since two sequels, “Captain America: Civil War” and “Finding Dory,” performed very well. Perhaps the other films simply didn’t bring enough new material to their franchises or fully play up the nostalgia factor, like “Jurassic World” did last summer. Maybe the window of opportunity for films like the “Independence Day” sequel had already passed.

We also saw that bad buzz — or even simply minimal buzz — can hurt a film. I’ve always wondered what kind of power Rotten Tomatoes scores have on the average movie viewer (all the under-performers listed above did have negative Rotten Tomatoes scores). Maybe audience members don’t necessarily pay attention to those scores, but if a film isn’t getting a lot of good buzz, people might just elect to stay home. Online streaming services like Netflix are giving consumers access to more and more content, including older movies and TV shows and fresh, original content. If there’s nothing amazing in the theater, they can just stay home and easily find something to watch online. Besides, the cost of a month’s subscription to Netflix and a bowl of popcorn at home is far less expensive than the cost of taking a family to the theater every weekend, with tickets + concessions.

I think poor buzz contributed to the under-performance of “Ghostbusters” and “X-Men: Apocalypse,” which is a shame because I quite liked both of these films. Granted, “Apocalypse” might have been a little too hard to follow for viewers who weren’t super-fans of the film series (the film has lots of references to what’s happened before). But the film has some fun scenes and great performances, once again, from James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as prequel-era Professor X and Magneto. “Ghostbusters” actually drew a lot of anger from some fans, and I believe it’s unlikely we’ll get a sequel. While of course it’s okay to be concerned about a reboot or to ultimately dislike it, the online chatter about this film turned rather nasty and sadly veered in a racist and sexist direction. 🙁

Speaking of negative online chatter, Warner Bros.’ hotly-anticipated super villain round-up “Suicide Squad” created quite a stir when it drew really, really bad reviews. Some fans even called for Rotten Tomatoes to be shut down and complained that Christopher Nolan’s Batman films were too good and should never have been made because they set an unrealistic standard for DC Comics movies (yes, I really saw someone arguing that). “Suicide Squad” isn’t a terrible film, but it is fair to say it wasn’t as good as it could have been. Although it boasted a $133 million opening weekend, I think its drop-off will be steep. At this point, Warner Bros. really needs the Wonder Woman movie to be a critical AND commercial hit, or their films post “Justice League” may be dead in the water.

Finally, a film that was close to my heart was “Star Trek: Beyond.” This movie really felt like a love letter to the Original Series and showed off the great chemistry among this reboot cast. Unfortunately, it under-performed at the box office too, and now I’m afraid Paramount won’t go ahead with that fourth movie they announced. This was a great movie, and I really hope we get to see more from this cast.

In conclusion, overall I was a little disappointed in this summer blockbuster season, and right now “Star Trek: Beyond” and “Captain America: Civil War” are the only movies with guaranteed slots on my “best of the year” list (in fact, they’re the only movies to make that list so far this year). However, the fall and winter season should chase some of these summer blahs away. “Doctor Strange,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” and “Rogue One” all look fantastic.

So, what did you think of the movies this summer? What films did you like or dislike?