Episode 61: 2013 Year In Review

2013 Year In Review

Join TJ for this special year end wrap up as he briefly reviews his top twenty films that made 2013 a great year! Many critics might try to tell you how bad the year was for film, but TJ didn’t see it that way at all. There were a lot of great films this year! Top of the list are ‘Gravity’, ‘42’, and ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’, but there’s a lot more on the list. Listen and find out what TJ thought about the year.

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  • My Top 10… Top 15… No, Top 20 Films of 2013

    Top ten film lists are hard. I started this article with the intent of making a top ten list. I failed. Every single film on this list deserves to be in my top ten. But, there are twenty. What to do? Hey, maybe I just won’t be boxed into the mold of a top ten (or maybe I don’t have the discipline to trim my list, whatever). Maybe I’ll write a top twenty list instead. So that’s what I’m doing.

    One item of disclosure however. I have not seen all the films that there were to see this year.

  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — Review

    “I found something in the goblin tunnels.”

    “What did you find?”

    “My courage”

    “Good, you’ll need it.”

    The Hobbit trilogy is, I think, perhaps the ultimate fan fiction for the universe surrounding Middle Earth — that is to say, for The Lord of the Rings.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #73: The Misty DVD

    TJ and Chad are joined this week by special guests Mike Fissel and Clark Douglas to talk about ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’. But first, a Peter Pan origin story? Apparently so. No one on this podcast is quite sure they needed this, but whatever. And of course, your hosts must talk about A.V. Club’s 15 worse films of 2013. It seems everyone has something on this list to quibble with. But no one can agree on what that one film on this list is that shouldn’t be there. And of course be sure to find out all about the thoughts and opinions behind ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’. Is this just big-boy fan fiction or is there something more here? And what’s with Tauriel? Who’s she and why was a non-cannon character added to the cast? Is this film worth seeing, is it better than the first film? So many questions, and your intrepid hosts set out to find answers!

  • Ender’s Game — Review

    I was looking forward to this film quite a lot. So the question before us now is this: did it live up to the hype and/or my expectations? The answer to that question is somewhat complicated.

    I was one of the very few in the world who had not read the book. Not only had I not read the book, I hadn’t even heard of the book — nor for that matter had I heard of Orson Scott Card, the book’s author. Given that, I had to make the decision as to whether I wanted to the film’s experience preserved by my having not read the book or known anything about the story walking into the theater or whether I wanted to read the book and potentially risk spoiling the film experience.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #67: Grew Up with Hannah Montana

    Join TJ, Chad and Mike Fissel to discuss ‘Ender’s Game’ in all its facets. The film was both good and bad, glorious and disappointing. This produces much lively conversation on what was missed, the pacing, how it could have been better, and in general what it’s strengths and weaknesses are. Other topics of conversation include why there was no episode last week, some brief thoughts on ‘Escape Plan’, Movies all three are looking forward to, TJ’s new video podcast, ‘ByteSized’, and ‘Thor: The Dark World’! You won’t want to miss it!

  • World War Z — Review

    When a zombie pandemic begins sweeping the globe, retired U.N. special agent Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) finds himself in the unenviable position of trying to stop it.

    A lesser man would point out that facing down ravenous undead hordes was most emphatically not in the original job description. But Gerry’s better than that.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #50: As A Five Year Old

    TJ welcomes a new co-host and talks a bit about the future of the podcast. Then they discuss the latest in trailers and movie news including ‘Percy Jackson’, ‘The Lone Ranger’, ‘Pacific Rim’, ‘The Wolverine’, ‘Turbo’, and ‘The Mortal Instruments’. In movie news, Pixar promises more original stories, Peter Jackson talks about releasing an extended ‘The Hobbit’, Julianne Moore is cast to play President Coin, Liam Neeson will star in ‘Taken 3’ for a large sum, Christian Bale will not appear again as Batman, and Goldblum and Pullman are in for ‘Independence Day 2’. The main reviews for this episode are ‘World War Z’ and ‘White House Down’, Both enjoyable films, both rated well enough by your hosts. ‘White House Down’ was a bit more enjoyable to TJ, while ‘World War Z’ was slightly more enjoyable to Chad.

  • Gangster Squad — Review

    Gangster Squad is the best film I’ve seen this year. Of course, the year is young so that’s not saying a lot. Still, it’s a fine film in my book.

    There are those who would disagree with me. In fact, as of right now on Rotten Tomatoes, the Tomatometer is at a measly 33%. And only 66% from the audience. That’s not exactly killing it.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #28: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    FIGHT! In this episode TJ and Joseph disagree on whether ‘Broken City’ was a good film or not. Joseph did not enjoy it very much at all, TJ found it to be pretty good with only more minor grievances. It’s a lively discussion. They also review Gangster Squad, and there is much more agreement on the merits and lesser qualities of this film. Particularly the performances in this film are top notch, as is the visual style and heartfelt story. TJ and Joseph also talk about ‘Man of Steel’s’ Jimmy Olson… as a girl!, ‘Iron Man 3’ coming to IMAX, the Honest Trailer for ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’, the trailer for the upcoming film ‘Emperor’ staring Tommy Lee Jones and Mathew Fox, and a sneak peak at Joe’s review of ‘The Last Stand’ which is really just TJ going on about how bad Arnold Schwarzenegger is at acting. Be sure to tune into the fun!

  • The MovieByte Podcast #35: Monochromatic

    TJ and Joe discuss the track released from the soundtrack for the upcoming film ‘Oblivion’, and how it sounds like it has been influenced by ‘Tron: Legacy’ and how that is a good thing, Joe’s article ‘Star Studded Ratings by the Numbers’ and how MovieByte rates films, the U.K. getting ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ a week before we do here in the states, Joss Whedon and Clark Gregg on Agent Coulson in the upcoming TV Series ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’, and why the ‘Oz’ sequel will not feature Dorothy. And that leads TJ and Joe into their main topic today in discussing ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’. A fine film, worth seeing, with a few disappointments. But certainly, when compared with some of the utter rubbish in theaters at this time of the year, it’s the obvious choice when heading to the cinema. Be sure to tune in for the full discussion and review.

  • Prisoners — Review

    Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) finds himself living every parent’s worst nightmare when his six-year-old daughter goes missing. The only lead? A battered RV that was parked on the street only hours before. Heading the investigation is Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), who tracks down the RV’s driver (Paul Dano) and takes him into custody. But when lack of evidence compels the suspect’s release, and police fail to turn up any more leads, Dover decides to take things into his own hands.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #62: Daughter Of Darth Maul

    TJ is joined by Joe to talk about the latest trailers: ‘The Need for Speed’, ‘Toy Story of Terror’, ‘Escape Plan’, Everything you ever wanted to know about Ultron, ‘Big Ass Spider’ Trailer, an ‘Ender’s Game’ TV Spot, and the ‘Agents of SHIELD’ episode 2 trailer. Of course the ‘Toy Story of Terror’ trailer prompts quite a bit of discussion about Pixar. Also of interest is that Pixar will not have a film in 2014. TJ and Joe talk about why they aren’t bothered by this. And then they turn their attention to ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ rumors, casting and more for a bit before turning to their main topic. In review this week is ‘Prisoners’ which both found to be a satisfying film with some minor flaws. It’s a highly recommended thriller that you all should catch in theaters if you can. Don’t miss this conversation!

  • Movieology #7: The Walls Are Covered In These Mazes…

    Eric, Joe, and Michael tear down Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” (which stars Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Viola Davis) and before the guys wrap up, Eric and Michael review the end of AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” “Prisoners” seems to make a mess of a simple suspense yet most audiences like it. What’s going on here?! What’s with the tree bark, toy whistle, and the villain’s black juice?

  • The Wolverine — Review

    This is one seriously messed up franchise. I mean, man, how hard is this thing to follow? It starts out simply enough — the first film, entitled X-Men, was set in the very near future. X2 follows up right on the heals of that film. Both of these first two entries into the X-Men franchise were directed by Bryan Singer, and they were most excellent. In fact X2 may be my favorite X-Men film to date.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #54: The Quest for Adamantium

    Chad and TJ discuss the latest in trailers and film clips including the latest from Sandra Bullock’s upcoming film ‘Gravity’, a trailer for Keanu Reeves upcoming film’ 47 Ronin’, a clip from ‘In a World’, two clips from ‘Elysium’, a trailer for ‘Escape Plan’, and a viral video for Trask Industries of the ‘X-Men’ franchise. They also discuss their disgust for the upcoming 3D CGI ‘Peanuts’ film, the rumor about Ryan Gosling and Zac Efron staring in ‘Star Wars’, the idea of ‘G.I. Joe’ and ‘Transformers’ sharing a movie, John Williams officially announced to be returning to score the new ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, and more! And the main review this week is for ‘The Wolverine’. Of course Chad and TJ touch on all things concerning the ‘X-Men’ franchise and it’s a lot of fun!

  • RED 2 — Review

    RED, a 2010 film starring Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, and Helen Mirren, was great because it brought something new to the table: older actors, most not known for starring in action films, coming together to create an action film that works as both a good action film and as a good comedy too. However, I was slightly concerned for the sequel; could the filmmakers capture what was special about the first film without rehashing it in the second? Luckily, I think that they (mostly) pulled it off.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #53: No Grasshopper

    TJ and Chad take a look at the latest trailers, TJ goes on a rant about ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ and too-soon reboots in general, which was satisfying for him to get off his chest. And both are looking forward to ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ quite a lot. And there’s several other trailers worth checking out this week. Also of interest, Joss Whedon has revealed the name of his upcoming ‘Avengers’ sequel, ‘The Avengers: The Age of Ultron’. Plus lots of other Marvel news and goodies and other cool stuff coming out of SDCC. And some not so welcome news to TJ, more welcome to Chad, Zack Snyder will direct a Superman/Batman crossover film. And then they review 2 new films this week, ‘R.I.P.D.’ and ‘RED 2’. TJ found ‘R.I.P.D.’ fun and watchable, though nothing special. Chad didn’t really like it at all. Both liked ‘RED 2’ however, though TJ liked it a little more.

  • Pacific Rim — Review

    Whatever you can say about Pacific Rim you cannot say that it lacks vision, guts, story, or monsters (lots of monsters). It also doesn’t have a very complicated plot, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    I went into this film with slightly elevated expectations than I had originally set for myself when I saw the first couple of trailers, but they still weren’t extremely high expectations. The idea of a monster movie with big, crash ‘em, mash ‘em robots sounds like the ultimate summer blockbuster movie in the same legacy left to us by the horrible Transformers franchise. Thankfully, this film is far above and beyond anything that Michael Bay ever delivered to us in those pitiful films.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #52: Punching Michael Bay In The Head

    Here there be monsters folks! Michael and TJ review ‘Pacific Rim’ But first: This week in trailers! Wolverine interrupts a funeral, plus he gets an honest trailer from his first film, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson star in the upcoming film about bringing Mary Poppins to the screen, Christian Bale and Zoe Saldana make an appearance in an upcoming film titled ‘Out of the Furnace’, ‘Planes’ also gets a new trailer, and ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ has been properly teased! Plus in movie news, ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ gets a digital download and Blu-ray release date, Bruckheimer’s future at Disney looks grim, 3D is fairing poorly at the box office of late and good riddance! J.J. is still expecting to direct the next installment in the franchise, and a fifth season of ‘Arrested Development’ is in the negotiation stage. And of course the main topic this week is all about Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’, not a bad film in the estimation of your hosts, though not without its problems, which TJ and Michael discuss in depth.

  • Star Trek Into Darkness — Review

    So just what is it that makes a good Star Trek film? I’m sure I don’t fully and completely understand the magic that makes any film a really good film, but I will say that most of it is wrapped up in Star Trek Into Darkness. Not only is it a good Star Trek film, but it’s a good film. For me, this is a turn around from J.J. Abrams’ 2009 installment, simply titled Star Trek. I did not feel that film was a good film, nor did I feel that it was a good Star Trek film.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #45: My Name Is…

    In this episode, TJ and Joe are joined by Anthony Pascale to talk about ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. And that they do. The entire show is a big celebration of ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. And don’t let the nit-picks lead you in the wrong direction. Though they talk about a lot of nit-picky things, they all enjoyed the film immensely. And there’s plenty of fun stuff like a GIF of the Vengeance crashing into Alcatraz (tell us how you really feel about that show being canceled J.J.!), and the humor-full IO9 FAQ review of ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. So, nerds and general movie going audiences, unite! ‘Star Trek’ was fun for all!

  • Iron Man 3 - Where’s my Super Suit? — Review

    Does the suit make the man? This is the fundamental question Tony Stark is asking in Iron Man 3. Well that, and how on earth do you live in the world when you know there are aliens and you were almost killed by them?

    You see, Iron Man is a bit of a wreck since the events of New York (see The Avengers). He can’t sleep, he’s obessed with building better and better suits — and he doesn’t know who he is without the suit(s).

  • The MovieByte Podcast #43: She Was Totally Gangsta

    Join TJ and Joe to discuss a variety of topics, like the ‘White House Down’ Trailer, This film looks like a cross between Olympus has fallen, and possibly ‘G.I. Joe’, and really, anytime you can see the White House being blown up on film, why wouldn’t you? Then there’s the little art house theater that is being forced to go digital. It’s a crying shame in some regards, but TJ has mixed feelings about this. This leads into discussion about how stingy movie studios are bing, and in particular, Marvel, as well as some thoughts about the actors for ‘The Avengers’ wringing every last dollar out of the studio. In other news, ‘Men in Black 4’ is in development, the ‘Man of Steel’ trailer music has been released on Soundcloud, which prompts some good discussion, and the ‘Ender’s Game’ trailer has been released. Then, settling in for the main topic, Joe discusses his experience at the Cinebistro when he went to see ‘Iron Man 3’. And of course, all kinds of talk about ‘Iron Man 3’, including a spoiler discussion later on. TJ and Joe both enjoyed the film and recommend it.

  • Jack the Giant Slayer — Review

    Are you ready my brothers? Today we shall climb up the beanstalk to take a look at giants whose leader sounds suspiciously like Bill Nighy.

    I realize I am extremely late getting this review out, but I’ve had a lot of demands on my time lately. Still, I would like to put “pen to paper” and let my thoughts loose on the world, particularly because this film is seeing such poor reviews and no one is going to see it in theaters.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #34: Darth Vader Meets Barack Obama

    TJ and Joe talk about CGI Superman capes and other thoughts about the upcoming ‘Man of Steel’, the CGI animation of late actress Audrey Hepburn, thoughts about the state of the industry in general in regards to CGI and the idea of bringing an actress or actor back from the dead, the ‘Game of Thrones’ director shrugging off piracy and the general state of the industry and the stance of the content providers, ‘The Hobbit’ crossing the $1 Billion mark and how well it’s doing, and the dismal opening weekend of ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ and why might that be. And the main topic of discussion with that lead in, is ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ and why it’s a better film than many seem to think it is. TJ like it a lot, Joe just thought it was okay. But the discussion is a fun one and you won’t want to miss it!

  • Oblivion — Review

    Following up on the major box office success that is TRON: Legacy, director Joseph Kosinski has placed himself squarely back at the forefront of the sci-fi genre in a big way, with a fairly big star: Tom Cruise.

    Cruise may not be the most versatile actor, but when he works in a role, he works very well. My favorite role for Cruise to date may well be Minority Report. Tom Cruise is essentially playing the same part in all the films he’s good in. So the question is/was, is he cast right in this role?

  • The MovieByte Podcast #41: Everybody is Taller Than He Is

    TJ and Joe discuss ‘The Avengers’ assembling for ‘The Avengers 2’ in February of next year and a few thoughts on the Marvel Universe in general, trailer 2 for ‘The Internship’ and how TJ is not liking this in any way, the news of a ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot, the ‘Thor 2’ teaser and the state of teasers versus trailers in general, and then they get to the main topic. Up for review this week is ‘Oblivion’ which TJ and Joe both liked a lot but quite a lot of critics didn’t like the film so much. One critic in particular really did a disservice to the film, which TJ and Joe discuss. Beware of a few spoilers here and there! But be sure to tune in for a great conversation!

  • Thor: The Dark World — Review

    Am I truly desperate? Not really. Am I mad? Possbily. But I liked Thor: The Dark World quite a lot. The film is not without its share of flaws which I shall address, but this film certainly manages to strike a much better note than did it’s predecessor, simply titled Thor. However few critics seem to keep my company on this opinion — well, at least few share my opinion that Thor was not a great film. Indeed, the Tomatometer for Thor sits at 77% while the Tomatometer for Thor: The Dark World sits at only 65% as of this writing.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #68: Thor Score and Seven

    Prepare for the epic-ness in what is quite possibly the most awesomely title episode of MovieByte ever! This episode brings together four of the best podcasters the nine realms have ever seen. Join TJ, Chad, Joe and Fizz to discuss the current state of the Marvel Cinematic universe. Find out which films have been better and which don’t work so well in the differing opinions of these four. Spend a short amount of time with them in reviewing the first ‘Thor’ film. And finally, take an epic walk through the finer point, intricacies and details of ‘Thor: The Dark World’.

  • The Way Way Back — Review

    It is rare that I enjoy a comedy film that is intended as a comedy film. I typically find the humor pretty crass and distasteful, so it’s not a genre that I go see in theaters often. However, The Way Way Back presented itself to me in the form of a free screening a month early, and what critic wouldn’t jump on that opportunity? I did, and it has become probably my favorite film of the year so far - aside from maybe Oblivion.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #61: I Don’t Want To Die

    This episode brought to you especially by the hard work and preparation of Chad since TJ has had such a busy and week and was unable to do much show prep. This week in trailers is ‘The Railway Man’, five clips form ‘Agents of SHIELD’, two ‘The Fifth Estate’ clips, and ‘Last Days on Mars’. And in the news, lots to talk about, ‘World War Z’ may get a sequel, Hugh Jackman thinks we’ll like ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’, Ellen Page wants a Kitty Pryde film directed by Joss Whedon, Marvel schedules ‘Ant-Man’ for 2015 to coincide with the release of every other film in the world ever. ‘Pirates 5’ has been delayed, ‘Harry Potter’ is getting spinoff films written by J.K. Rowling! This is exciting! ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes’ has been delayed, it’s probably dead actually. ‘Star Wars’ spinoff films will be origin stories. Plus some talk of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’. Then TJ and Chad dive into their review of ‘The Way Way Back’, a surprising good film.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #65: Real Life Plot Holes

    A little bit of follow up on ‘Gravity’: a reporter asked Alfonso Cuaron if filming in space was difficult… yeah, really. Turns out it was something of a joke for the comedic news outlet. Still, pretty funny because apparently Cuaron answered as if it were a real question. In other news, Hans Zimmer is talking about *not* scoring ‘Man of Steel 2’ (or Superman Vs. Batman if you prefer). TJ and Chad have differing opinions on the merits of the first ‘Man of Steel’ film’s score so that leads to some interesting conversation. Madonna was banned from the Alamo Drafthouse for texting during a film and then screamed at the other patrons when asked to stop. Bravo, Drafthouse! TJ is thinking he needs one of those in Nashville! This week’s main topic and big review focus is ‘Captain Phillips’ — another outsanding entry into this year’s cinematic run down and TJ and Chad sure think it ought to be an Oscar contender, even with the news that it may not be as entirely accurate to the real life story as we might have hoped.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #71: Back When I Was A Child

    Join Chad and TJ to discuss the sad event of Paul Walker’s death. Neither Chad nor TJ are really ‘Fast and Furious’ fans, and TJ has only seen one of the films he was in so they don’t feel quite up to the task. But it’s a sad event and needs talking about. And in what they are sure is a very difficult decision, Universal has halted production on ‘Fast and Furious 7’. Prayers go out for family and friends. And with no good way to transition out of that sad news, Chad and TJ do find some way to move to the next topic: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ has been announced for May of 2016. It seems a little odd given that ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ is not even out in theaters yet. But TJ at least is excited because Bryan Singer is back at the helm and as far as he’s concerned, Singer can make as many ‘X-Men’ films as he wants to! Obviously all this leads to talk of the ‘X-Men’ universe in general. They also discuss the general state of films for 2015 and 2016. And the primary review this week is ‘The Book Thief’ which is in many ways delightful, but you’ll also want to have your tissues on hand when you go to see this one. There’s just not enough good things to say about this film, but TJ and Chad do try valiantly. Also, find out how this film is in a way like ‘Anne of Green Gables’ — no really!

  • The MovieByte Podcast #70: Might Flip Out

    Join TJ, Chad, and Mike Fissel to discuss a few of the latest TV shows their watching. Then dive into a review of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’. Of course there’s some analysis and general thoughts about the first film and how Garry Ross the director handled that film and what it’s strengths and weaknesses are. And of course, how this film blows that one away.

  • 42 — Review

    A team of amateur organized baseball players stop at a gas station for a fill-up. Jackie Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman), one of the African American ball players, is refused entry to the washroom. The team says they’ll find another gas station so the attendant allows Jackie to use it to keep their business.

    As Robinson comes out of the washroom, a baseball scout for the Dodgers approaches him and asks Robinson to join him for a trip to Brooklyn.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #40: Decking Wesley

    Join TJ and Joe as they chat with special guest Anthony Pascale of TrekMovie.com. They briefly discuss the new ‘Man of Steel’ trailer, all three are looking forward to the film, then they turn their attention to the final ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ trailer. They discuss first impressions, general thoughts, marketing ‘Star Trek’ to a broader international audience, the big old ship Cumberbatch is driving around in, is the villain Khan or not, captain Kirk’s disposition, destroying the Enterprise… again…, and the fact that most Trekkies are loving the trailer. Then after bidding farewell to Anthony, TJ and Joe discuss the film ‘42’ about the life of Jackie Robinson and his struggle as a black man in Major League Baseball during a time of incredible racism.

  • Gravity — Review

    Of this you can be certain: I have no plans to ever, EVER go to space. While I have always been very fascinated by space, I have also always feared it a lot. Well, I mean it didn’t keep me up too much at night because I’m down here on this nice comfortable planet that has a nice comfortable atmosphere for me to live in. That’s the way I like it thank you very much. But I have always thought in the back of my head that, no, I would not like to ever visit space thank you. All those contraptions and air and whatnot to keep you alive? That all looks so flimsy and fragile compared to the vastness of space.

  • The MovieByte Podcast #64: Air Pressurized Place

    For this week’s “grave” (see what we did there?) situation, TJ and Chad discuss how ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy has already cost $561 Million to date — over twice as much as ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy — and they’re not done spending money yet. It’s a good discussion on film and budget bloat and how Peter Jackson has sort of lost his way and is riding his previous successes too much. Next up is the upcoming film and trailer ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’. The trailer was fairly disappointing to both TJ and Chad. Chad is not that interested in the departure from the books, and TJ is both not interested in the departure, or the direction in general. The episode quickly turns to the main review: ‘Gravity’, which is an astonishing and breathtaking cinematic achievement. Neither Chad nor TJ find much wrong with this film and it is a highly recommended watch.