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Two Guys Talkin': Lyin' Ryan Lochte, misleading movie trailers and more

By staff Published: August 19, 2016

In this edition of Two Guys Talkin' Rich Heldenfels and Malcolm Abram take on the Ryan Lochte scandal, more tricky trailers and other local news going on.  

Watch the guys sound off below: 

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Two Guys Talkin': Reboots, sequels and franchises... oh my!

By staff Published: August 12, 2016

Rich Heldenfels and Malcolm Abram are talkin’ reboots and sequels in the latest Two Guys Talkin.’  What do you think will come first: Audiences will get sick of the same old thing in new packaging or Hollywood will focus on developing new ideas?

Rich and Malcolm hash out which movies worked, which ones didn't and which films they want to see moving forward. (Hint: They're going 'Rogue.') Take a look below.  

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"Indignation": Not enough

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 11, 2016


If one thing has been evident in my reading of Philip Roth, it has been the constancy of rage. His writing style may have cooled, but the characters are so often in a fever, boiling with anger against the wrongs being committed against them, some real, some imagined. (In “The Great American Novel,” some of both.)

This was certainly true of "Indignation," Roth's 2008 novel about Marcus Messner, a young Jewish man from Newark who flees his suffocating father by going to the fictional Winesburg College in Ohio. That premise made me think of "Goodbye, Columbus," where Brenda's brother Ron has gone west to Ohio State and, after returning home, still plays a record recapping his college years and graduation, the tales of glory capped by the declaration, “Goodbye, Columbus.” No such record awaits Marcus; no long-lasting joy will come from his time at Winesburg. Instead, he will unleash his own furies, and others' – with horrible consequences, and not only for him.

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"TV (The Book)": Inside two critics' thinking

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2016

Critics (and my friends) Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz have created "TV (The Book)" -- officially published on Sept. 6 and available for preorder now -- in which they present a ranked list of what they consider the 100 best TV comedies and dramas of all time.

As you would expect with any such book, there will be arguments about their ranking, and I have a few myself. Nor will those arguments be muted because the writers have been so transparent about their methodology.

Not only were there ground rules -- such as only American shows, and mostly series that have completed their run (with a separate section considering some ongoing programs). They also developed a mathematically based system in which each writer gave a show a score between 1 and 10 in six categories (innovation, influence, consistency, performance, storytelling and peak) in which each writer assigned a show 1 to 10 points. Points then determined rank. There's even a chart of their scoring in the back.

Debating about the ranking may be fun for some. And, like some of the shows discussed, "TV (The Book)" is non-linear; try though I have to read the essays in order, I end up jumping around, one essay leading me to skip ahead to see what they thought of a comparable show.

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Video: Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne - Rich and the movies

By Published: July 29, 2016

Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne in, well, Jason Bourne, which is out in movie theaters this week. Beacon Journal pop culture reporter Rich Heldenfels checks in with his thoughts on the movie and Damon's return as the titular character.


Read a full review of the movie from Jake Coyle of the Associated Press right here.

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RNC in Cleveland: Some media notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 17, 2016

While the Sunday-morning news shows were full of political discussions and other news, those of us who are here even between conventions had to wonder how Northeast Ohio was being presented to the worldwide audience.
There had been reason to cringe when decided this was just the right occasion for a post about “notorious Cleveland crimes.” Among the criminals: Ariel Castro, Anthony Sowell and Jeffrey Dahmer (who did most of his killing outside Ohio but was included because “he killed his first victim at his childhood home in Bath Township.”
And, especially for anyone who has plans in Cleveland, there were the unsettling discussions across news media about whether the city’s security plans were good enough. A CNN report later in the day, following the murders in Baton Rouge, ominously noted that Cleveland was a potential target not only because of the convention but because of the enormous law-enforcement presence.
One passer-by in Cleveland Sunday afternoon was heard referring to “so many cops.” Not long after, I passed a large group including state highway patrolmen and others — but I’d hardly expect them to be solo in light of current events.
Earlier Sunday, This Week host (and former Clevelander) George Stephanopoulos grilled Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson about security. Jackson was so low-key in his responses, you’d have thought he was trying to put the audience (including protesters) to sleep.
But Ohio was also showcased for more than just the potential for violence. On Fox New Sunday, Bret Baier pointed out that the Ohio delegation is “jammed in the corner” because “these states are organized by how they voted for Donald Trump, not by their importance as being swing states or even the home state.” And Trump lost the Ohio primary to Gov. John Kasich.
Added Chris Wallace: “, In my experience, which goes back a lot of conventions, the home state always ... is, if not at the front, very close to the front.”
While some people still think you can’t talk about Cleveland without “mistake” and “lake,” there were valentines for the region, especially on CBS Sunday Morning.
­Mo Rocca ­— whom you may remember for his 2015 visit with the LeBron James Grandmothers Fan Club on his Cooking Channel series — offered an admiring look at Cleveland’s history and innovations.
All right, so he also had mistake and lake. Overall he was really nice.
A second Sunday Morning piece, by Scott Simon, showcased Cleveland Play House.
And even a piece on the 75th anniversary of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak noted it ended “in CLEVELAND, as it happened.”

I spent part of Sunday wandering in downtown Cleveland, trying to navigate around blockades and closed roads; watching police patiently redirect drivers, some of whom seemed unfamiliar with officers’ hand signals, and eyeing a vendor’s display of freshly made Trump-Pence buttons ($5 for one or $10 for three, and with three you could mix buttons and bumper stickers).
I also checked out a couple of the major gathering places for news and information operations, the “media row” in a Quicken Loans Arena parking deck and the Huntington Bank Convention Center.
Media row was in fact a long, winding stretch of spots where radio in particular could set up for interviews — since they were conveniently near the Q, and inside the security zone — and broadcasts during the convention. With the big doings not starting until Monday, parts of it were still being assembled, or had no one working yet. Still, you could see everything from a single table with a couple of chairs for one radio station, to an elaborate setup for CNN, and large sections encompassing not only radio networks but a fistful of affiliates. And some commentary: a worker at one right-wing outlet wore a “Hillary for Prison” T-shirt.
The presence of newer media was also evident, whether it was a Buzzfeed News sign explaining how people could use the Facebook Messenger app to “tell us your convention story” to Facebook Live locations where news outlets could live-stream, elaborately near the Q and more casually in the convention center.
What a few months had been a huge, empty space in the convention center is now a massive media headquarters. You walk through aisles between high curtains, behind which news organizations’ staffs and equipment are gathered. Not that all are like that. In another area, you would find rows of individually numbered spots for reporters who had sought just a desk and a way to file. 

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Rich and the movies: Films to get you ready for the Republican National Convention

By Published: July 15, 2016

As you prepare for the upcoming Republican National Convention, Akron Beacon Journal pop culture reporter Rich Heldenfels has some movie choices to get you ready.

MORE: A woman president? Movies and TV got there first, though not always well

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Danger, Will Robinson 2.0! Netflix sets "Lost in Space" reboot for 2018

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 30, 2016

Or is that 2.5? I guess we should count the 1998 movie? Naw.

The official word: Netflix, the world’s leading Internet TV network, has ordered a 10-episode first season of the one-hour sci-fi drama, from Legendary TV, based on the beloved 1960’s sci-fi classic from Irwin Allen. Reimagined by feature writing team Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold, Last Witch Hunter), with Zack Estrin (Prison Break) showrunning, the series will premiere worldwide on Netflix in 2018.

Taking its cues from the original series, the show centers around the Robinson family, who is forced to come together in a time of crisis. Stranded light years from their intended destination, they find themselves battling a strange new alien environment and also their own personal demons. Equal parts family drama and sci-fi adventure, it is a survival story for the ages.

“The original series so deftly captured both drama and comedy, and that made it very appealing to a broad audience. The current creative team’s reimagining of the series for Netflix is sure to appeal to both fans who fondly remember the original and to create a new generation of enthusiasts around the world,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix Vice President of Original Content.

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A big bunch of "Star Trek" on TV

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 30, 2016

The Heroes & Icons channel will begin carrying all five live-action series (TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise), in order, in a programming block starting July 24. Here's the announcement:

Heroes & Icons TV Network (H&I) will boldly go where no network has gone before, as it proudly presents All Star Trek. This historic television programming first will feature all five of the original live action Star Trek TV franchises airing together, six days a week. Beginning Stardate Sunday, July 24, 2016, at 8:00pm ET, viewers will see Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. H&I will broadcast all five series, beginning with the first episode of each one, all on one network, for the first time in the history of the franchise.


Fifty years ago this fall, the original Star Trek series debuted on television, transporting viewers to a creative universe that grew to include five successful television shows, and many movies. Now the H&I Network is providing fans and viewers of all generations the unique opportunity to enjoy the complete package of All Star Trek series together on one broadcast network. Presented as a continuous 5 hour block on Sunday nights, and as 5 hours each weeknight Monday through Friday, H&I’s All Star Trek begins with the very first episode of each iconic series and will present them all in sequence. Viewers can watch the All Star Trek trailer and find out where to watch each night of All Star Trek programming on the H&I website.

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Movies and a TV show to watch before the conventions

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 29, 2016



I've been planning a column about fictional representations of conventions but, when you get down to it, the selection is pretty thin. Part of that may have to do with the way conventions by themselves are notoriously dull for anyone not interested in how North Dakota is going to split up its votes, or what superlatives Georgia will use to describe itself.

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