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TWD The Telltale Series New Frontier Ep 4 - Game Review

ake Essoe reviews The Walking Dead: Telltale Series, New Frontier, Ep 4 "Thicker Than Water" for Confessions of a Basement Dweller on The HMC.

Upon discovering the true nature of the New Frontier's leadership, relationships within the Garcia family have come to a head. As Javier, you will decide the shape and nature of your chosen family. All the while, a herd of walkers moves ever closer to Richmond, putting pressure on allies and enemies alike. With distrust running rampant, you'll have to determine if blood is thicker than water...

Download Episode 4: 'Thicker Than Water' on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC/Steam, iOS, and Android-based devices. Rated M for Mature. The Walking Dead is set in the world of Robert Kirkman's award-winning comic book series and offers an emotionally-charged, tailored game experience where a player's actions and choices affect how their story plays out across the entire series.

Visit www.thehmcnetwork.com for more Game Reviews, Movie and TV reviews and more.




Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review 7.8/10


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Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2.

The Guardians, now heroes having saved the galaxy in the first film, the (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) are hired by The Sovereign, a superior (according to them) alien race to protect their powerful batteries from invaders. Everything is going according to plan, they stop a giant alien worm creature, collect their requested payment, Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora's (Zoe Saldana) evil sister, but then Rocket (Bradley Cooper) gets greedy. Shortly after leaving The Sovereign's planet it's discovered that Rocket stole some of their batteries. Now The Guardians must fend off an attack from their vengeful leader Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) who has placed a bounty on their head with Yondu (Michael Rooker) Fortunately for them, Starlord's (Chris Pratt) past comes back to haunt him when his long lost and unknown father Ego (Kurt Russell) mysteriously shows up to save them.

It would be near impossible to capture the magic of the original GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. VOLUME 2, although entertaining and not without its charms, it suffers from sequelitis. Like its Marvel brethren's sequels that have come before it, Volume 2 has a weaker, more predictable script. The music trick of the first film, Awesome Mix strategically disbursed throughout the film, has lost its cool because you see it coming from a mile away. Bottom line, what was awesome in the first film is no longer fresh. Kurt Russell is his signature cool self but the direction they go with his character is a bummer and it does nothing to tie this film into INFINITY WAR--where the Guardians will be crucial. They also went way over the top with the Baby Groot cute factor, think Puss in Boots' cute trick x10. Chris Pratt is entertaining and funny as always but the real standout in these Guardians is Drax (Dave Bautista) who masters his too literal straight man and delivers the funniest lines of the film. Also shoutout Michael Rooker who shows up big time and has one of the best action sequences in the film.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 is worth seeing in the theaters. Just keep your expectations a bit lower and let it the experience be a fun escape. 7.8/10

For more reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




Free Fire - Movie Review

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review the film, FREE FIRE from Directory Ben Wheatley (HIGH-RISE, KILL LIST).

Justine (Brie Larson) brokers a gun deal in a deserted warehouse in Boston circa late 70s between two Irishmen, Chris (Cillian Murphy)and Frank (Michael Smiley) and a couple of arms dealers, Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer). Things quickly grow tense when it's discovered that one of the Irishmen's hired sidekicks had been in a squabble with one of Vernon's men the previous night. A shot is fired and all hell breaks loose turning a friendly shopping transaction into a deadly gun battle. It's every man, or woman, for themselves as they try to survive the night.

We wanted to love this movie, it has all the ingredients to be a great gangster film; 70s backdrop, Boston, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy, Executive producer Martin Scorsese, Writer/Director Ben Wheatley, heart-stopping gun battle. Sadly, we did not love it. The script is not strong enough to outwit the humdrum of 2 hours in the same location and the same day. This concept, when done well can be brilliant (Reservoir Dogs, Hateful 8), but this story failed to develop its characters enough to keep you invested in their survival. What could have been an awesome backdrop, Boston in the late 70s, was futile as apart from the costume design and the captions, the setting was incidental. One can only presume that the Irishman are shopping for guns for the IRA, they make no mention of the details or the background of any of these characters. We know literally nothing about them other than they need guns and the other guys have them. A underwhelming betrayal subplot emerges out of nowhere adding nothing to the story except a predictable conclusion. If you're a fan of stylized gun fights, you'll be charmed by some of the performances particularly Sharlto Copley and Cillian Murphy--who, no matter how bad or good his character is, you'll root for him out of respect for his exceptional talent.

We give this film a 7/10. Sound high after that review? We'll explain... The Harold & Maudecast is all about bridging the gap between fans and critics and our Justice and Doom Movie Ratings Meter (www.thehmcnetwork.com/movie-reviews ) is designed with this in mind. We rate on a combo of critical analysis and fan likability. FREE FIRE is worth a watch. It's entertaining and will satisfy many fans of the gangster genre. Critically, it's a flawed film. We recommend waiting for VOD to rent it.

For more movie reviews, tv, game reviews and more visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




Uncharted 4 Review - Is it Really All That?

Jake Essoe host of Confessions of a Basement Dweller on The HMC takes a deep dive into Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, the best selling Playstation 4 game ever at 8.7 million copies sold. Is it that good? Fan boys say hell yes, Jake says, hell maybe not. Listen to his review. 7.9/10

Initial release date: May 10, 2016
Developer: Naughty Dog
Series: Uncharted
Awards: The Game Award for Best Performance, More
Platform: PlayStation 4




The Leftovers Season 3, Ep 3 "Crazy Whitefella Thinkin" Review

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review and recap The Leftovers, Season 3, Episode 3, "Crazy Whitefella Thinkin".

When last we saw Kevin Garvey Sr (Scott Glenn) he was high on "devils tongue" down under in Australia. Of course, this was as visioned by Kevin Jr while dead watching his father appear on a TV screen in his hotel room. Apparently that vision was correct cause look Australia, Kevin Sr is there to kick some ass and piss people off. Thanks to an old cassette recorder and tape of Kevin Sr and Kevin Jr circa 1981, we discover that Kevin Sr has the power to stop the rain. Nutty? It is The Leftovers. True or not Kevin Sr, convinced he can stop a flood that he believes will hit on the 7 year anniversary of The Departing, sets out across the outback in search of every Aboriginal song to sing before the anniversary.

Scott Glenn's performance in Episode 3 is one of the finest ever on television. Please award Gods, give him everything. If we didn't respect the show so much we would tell ya to watch this episode even if you're not caught up just to see Scott Glenn's acting chops. But, you gotta catch up. And it's worth it, and only 3 seasons.

Also noteworthy, Lindsay Duncan (Birdman, Under the Tuscan Sun), whose mysterious character Grace was introduced in Episode 2. gives a stunning also award worthy performance. In true Leftovers fashion loose ends explained and tied up to move us closer and closer to the finally. 9/10

For more reviews of The Leftovers, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and other TV, movie reviews, game reviews and more visit www.thehmcnetwork.com.

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The Leftovers Season 3, Ep 2 Review

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 2, "Don't Be Ridiculous" on this week's Episode of The Harold & Maudecast.

If you think you've heard that song before, you're right. The opening credits to HBO's drama, The Leftovers, Season 3, Episode 2 is new, and old. It's the theme song to the 80s sitcom "Perfect Strangers" starring Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker. Baker, the actor, has been a running gag throughout the series. In Season 1 we learn that all of the major cast members from Perfect Strangers departed. In Season 2 we find Mark Linn-Baker living in Chihuahua, Mexico. He faked his departure due to a severe case of survivors guilt. Now in Season 3, Baker is back with a crazy proposal for Nora. After getting a call from Baker telling her he can reunite her with her departed children, Nora travels to St Louis to meet with him in a hotel room. We don't quite no whether she's truly on behave of the Department of Sudden Departure, as she tells her boss, or if she really thinks this crazy quest is legit.

Episode 2 is heavily focused on Nora. We discover what happened to baby Lily when Nora pops in for an announced visit to her playground where mom Christine is shocked to see her. This episode also sets up the journey to Australia and in fact ends with a taste of what's to come there including a reunion with Kevin's father (Scott Glenn).

Look for; Erika's (Regina King) return, small but poignant performance by Brett Butler (Grace Under Fire) and the introduction of the mysterious Australian wrangler, Grace played by veteran Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan (BIRDMAN, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN). High marks for writing and performances, as always. 8.8/10

For more reviews, podcasts and our new Music and Travel series visit www.thehmcnetwork.com



Posted by: Sarah Mason on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:03:55 pm the leftovers, hbo, tv reviews

HMC Asks: Audience or Customer?

This month on The HMC we are examining content creation in the age of smart phones, Netflix and other distractions. In this preview of The Harold & Maudecast, Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe discuss the concept of Audience vs. Customer. Who are we in today's re-classified content viewing world. Are we audiences or are we customers, or both?

For more on our Age of Distraction series visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




Can Quality Content Survive The Age of Distraction

Sarah Mason of The HMC Network (www.thehmcnetwork.com) sits down with screenwriters Stephen Godchaux (Dead Like Me, Spin City, Roseanne) and Warren Lewis (Black Rain, The Thirteenth Warrior) to whether or not quality content can survive in the age of distracted viewing. They explore; what's in store for traditional broadcast television and theatrical film releases, audiences vs. customers, how Netflix and Amazon pulled off the greatest coup ever, why and how audiences are migrating more and more toward streaming content, binge vs. event night and what shows are revolutionizing the way we watch content.

​For more Interviews, movie and tv reviews, game reviews and our weekly podcast episodes visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




The Leftovers Season 3 Premiere "The Book of Kevin" - Review

The Leftovers, HBO's Peabody Award winning drama returns April 16 for its third and final season with "The Book of Kevin." Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review and recap the episode.

It's been three years since the events in Miracle (Jardin) Texas. We find Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) back in his old uniform as the town's Chief of Police. His son Tommy (Chris Zylka), now deputized, is by his side and pretty handy with a firearm. Nora (Carrie Coon) has a new gig for the Department of the Departed. The gang is mostly all here with the notable exception of Erika (Regina King) who is expected to return for season 3. Her husband John (Kevin Carroll) is shacked up with Kevin's ex Laurie (Amy Brenneman) and running a palm reading scam out of their house together. Matt (Christopher Eccleston) is preaching to an overflowing congregation with wife Mary (Janel Moloney), now out of her coma, and son Noah by his side. It seems like all things are sunny and right in Miracle but, not so fast, this is The Leftovers.

We dive into the details of this somewhat subdued yet none the less brilliant premiere episode.

For more weekly TV recaps, movie reviews, game reviews and our Travel and Lifestyle series visit www.thehmcnetwork.com



Posted by: Sarah Mason on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:12:46 am the leftovers, hbo, tv reviews

Walter Hill's The Assignment - Movie Review

Now Playing Movie Reviews podcast hosted by Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe from The HMC. Review by Sarah Mason.

Legendary filmmaker Walter Hill first heard the story for his latest revenge thriller THE ASSIGNMENT in 1978. But it would take almost 40 years and many projects in between (THE WARRIORS, ALIENS, Tales from the Crypt, Deadwood) to bring Denis Hamill's original story draft, Tomboy, to the big screen.

Hit man Frank Kitchens (Michelle Rodriguez), double crossed by his client mob boss Honest John (Anthony LaPaglia) undergoes gender reassignment surgery against his will at the hands of a sadistic surgeon (Sigourney Weaver) who seeks revenge for the death of her brother. Aided by his nurse girlfriend, Kitchens sets out for revenge.

THE ASSIGNMENT is not a great film but its consistent action and strong performances, keep you intrigued throughout it's relatively short run time (1h 35m). Editor Phil Norden uses comic book style stills to move the story along from act to act. It's a kitchy but effective technique giving the film a cult classic charm.

Rodriguez performance is strong particularly in the second act when she loses the obvious and distracting male disguise. Weaver's scenes with Tony Shaloub, who plays a psychiatrist tasked with the doctor's diagnosis, are some of the best moments of the film and certainly the highlight of the script.

One could argue that THE ASSIGNMENT is both timely, and suffering from horrific timing. Though I don't think Hill intended the film to serve as social statement or lacking empathy he perhaps, should have considered the consequences. What Hill does do, he does well, good ol' fashion action, THE GETAWAY, 48 HOURS, to name a few. And that is what this film is, a B action film with a A cast. HUMAN CENTIPEDE meets SIN CITY if you will. Loyal fans of action films and Hill will surely dig it. If you can overlook the bad PR, which you should, it's worth a watch. 6/10.

For more movie, tv, and game reviews visit www.thehmcnetwork.com




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The HMC Network is a podcast network featuring genre entertainment commentary, movie and TV reviews, video game reviews, lifestyle & travel, event & Con media coverage & more. Featured on the Creative COW is our flagship podcast, The Harold & Maudecast hosted by Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe. Combining critical analysis with passionate fandom, The Harold & Maudecast offers a fully-informed look at your favorite movies, TV and video games. Commentary and reviews include the latest Walking Dead and Game of Thrones episodes, film festival and Comic Con & fan fest event coverage, technology expos and more. Fandom Never Gets Old.


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