Now Playing Podcast enters its 14th year in 2021 and still hasn’t run out of movies to talk about.
The first month of the new year is very much like many months in 2020 – devoid of new theatrical releases, save for the latest effort from Resident Evil duo Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson. But the month will also see the kickoff of two all-new retrospectives; the highly requested The Omen series and the Uwe Boll adaptations of the Bloodrayne video game franchise.
January 2021 also includes an exclusive review for Podbean patrons, one chosen by a Now Playing listener. Without further ado, here’s everything coming to Now Playing Podcast in January 2021.
January 1 – Pumping Iron
Now Playing listener and Podbean patron Clark Fisher chose 1977’s acclaimed bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron as January’s exclusive Podbean review. The film famously follows the efforts of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, and others as they compete for the Mr. Olympia title. For many, Pumping Ironwas their first exposure to Schwarzenegger and Ferrigno, before their Hollywood breakthroughs in the late 1970s and 1980s. If anything, it will also provide some exercise and muscle-building tips for those looking to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions at the gym.
January 5 – Bloodrayne
In the early aughts, Hollywood was still giving director Uwe Boll a chance to turn video game franchises into hit movies. For 2005’s Bloodrayne, Boll cast up and comers — Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast & the Furious), Matthew Davis (Blue Crush), and Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) – alongside established actors Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) and Ben Kingsley (Ghandi) in a tale of a fearless vampire heroine battling the forces of evil. Bloodrayne was not a hit, but still managed to spawn two sequels, both directed by Boll. Arnie, Stuart, and Justin will attempt to suppress their gag reflexes while reviewing the trilogy in January.
January 8 – The Omen
Who is he? What does he want? Where does he come from? And can he be stopped? Before Superman, director Richard Donner had a smash with the horror hit The Omen, which tells the tale of Damien Thorn, the Antichrist, and his unsuspecting parents. Starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens, and David Warner, The Omen spawned a franchise that includes three sequels and a 2006 remake. It is available via Podbean and PayPal as part of Now Playing Podcast’s 2020 Fall/Winter Donation Drive.
January 12 – Bloodrayne: Deliverance
Two years after Bloodrayne bombed, Uwe Boll delivered a sequel set in the Old West. This time, vampire heroine Rayne is portrayed by Norwegian model/actress Natassia Malthe, with the backing of Boll regular Brendan Fletcher, A Christmas Story’s Zack Ward, and Eddie and the Cruisers star Michael Pare. Bloodrayne: Deliverance currently boasts a 0 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, but surely it has one fan out there? Maybe Boll?
January 15 – Damien: Omen II
Spoiler alert: Damien survives the first Omen and returns for the 1978 sequel, this time a little older and portrayed by Bugsy Malone’s Jonathan Scott-Taylor. William Holden and Lee Grant are also on board for the horror sequel, along with science fiction and horror vet Lance Henriksen and Mannequin star Meshach Taylor. If that’s not enough to get you fired up, just wait until you see the finale.
January 19 – Bloodrayne: The Third Reich
Uwe Boll brought back Natassia Malthe and company for the third Bloodrayne film, which takes place in 1943 and sees vampire Rayne taking on the Nazis. This time, Clint Howard is also on board, so that might entice a few people to give it a shot. Maybe?
January 22 – Omen III: The Final Conflict
Sam Neill took over the role of Damien for the third Omen film. This time, Damien is all grown up and looking to fulfill his destiny as the Antichrist. “He’s one step away from the most important position on Earth,” boasts the trailer, and Neill is especially devilish in one of his earliest on-screen roles.
January 26 – Monster Hunter
The month’s only theatrical release will likely have gone to premium streaming by the time our hosts get around to it on January 26. Monster Hunter is the latest video game adaptation from director Paul W.S. Anderson and star Milla Jovovich, and follows a squad of soldiers that are transported into a world full of giant monsters. That’s all we can tell from the trailer. Also, Tony Jaa and T.I. are also there.
January 29 – Omen IV: The Awakening
Though The Omen films had performed well at the box office, the series turned to television for its fourth entry. Omen IV: The Awakening focuses on Damien’s daughter, Delia, who terrorizes her adopted parents while learning of her heritage and destiny. Omen IV debuted on FOX in May 1991, during the coveted sweeps period, and then promptly disappeared from memory. Many listeners, however, may recall watching it during its debut screening. Perhaps the trailer will ring some bells.