The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #71: “Superman: The Movie” (1978)

In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1978 superhero film “Superman: The Movie” directed by Richard Donner – written by Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, and Robert Benton – based upon the DC Comics character of the same name. The film stars an ensemble cast of phenomenonal actors, including: Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, Terence Stamp, and many others. The story of the film depicts the origin of Superman, his infacy, his youth in the rural town of Smallville, and while disguised as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent his double life, his bejourning romance with Lois Lane, and his battle against the diabolical villain Lex Luther. A favourite film of Mark’s since he was a child, “Superman: The Movie” has inspired him in so many ways over the course of his life – and now, just as when he was a child – whenever he watches the film again he once again believes in the possibility that a man could fly – as the tagine of the film accurately boasts.

The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #70: “Stand by Me” (film)

In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: the 1986 coming-of-age film “Stand by Me” directed by Rob Reiner, based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella ‘The Body’. Starring Wil Wheaton as Gordie LaChance (aged 12), River Phoenix as Chris Chambers, Corey Feldman as Teddy Duchamp, Jerry O’connell as Vern Tessio, and Keifer Sutherland as John ‘Ace’ Merrill, the story of “Stand by Me” revolves around four boys in 1959 Castle Rock, Oregon, who go on a hike to find the dead body of a missing boy. Richard Dreyfuss also stars as the older Gordie LaChance – who also serves as the film’s narrator – who after hearing of the tragic death of a childhood friend reflects back upon the memories and the unforgettable experiences that he shared with his friends during the Labor Day holiday weekend in 1959.

The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #69: “The Avengers” (2012)

In this Marvel Cinematic Universe themed episode Mark talks about the 2012 American superhero film “The Avengers” (also known as “Avengers Assemble” in the UK) – written and directed by Joss Whedon. In this ensemble film, which was the first to feature many prominent Marvel characters from other Marvel films who also featured within the pages of Marvel Comics over the decades, “The Avengers” brings together “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” to face off against a powerful interstellar threat lead by Thor’s brother Loki. Starring an all-star cast – including Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, and Tom Hiddelston – “The Avengers” paved the way for all the other Marvel Cinematic Universe to follow, and also showed that with great characters, great writing, great directing, great special effects, a truly epic superhero film could be produced that would become the benchmark for all others to follow.

The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #68: “Black Mirror” (TV series)

In this episode Mark talks about the British dystopian science fiction anthology TV series “Black Mirror” created by Charlie Brooker. Made up of standalone episodes (which are alluded to all take part within the same fictional narrative universe) each of which examine humanities ever-evolving and over-dependant relationship with ever more advanced forms of technology, and dramatises questions such as: to what end society may become influenced in the actions that they choose to make in the future because of the overabundance of technology. Often told with a dark and satirical tone, and often dealing with controversial and contemporary subject matters, each episode of the series explores who humanity is and why some people are motivated to do what they do no matter the cost to themselves.

The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #67: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films of the last few years: the 2019 comedy-drama film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the film follows the fading career of character actor Rick Dalton (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (played by Brad Pitt) as they navigate the changing film industry. Set against the backdrop of real life events – such as the real life murder of film actress Sharon Tate (played in the film by Margot Robbie) – the film perfectly interweaves events fiction and fact as it tells an alternative tale of what might have been if Charles Manson and his followers had not been allowed to carry out their psychopathic and murderous acts. Featuring a star-studded cast and a memorable soundtrack, the film also serves as a tribute to cinema, television, and the golden age of Hollywood.

The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #65: “Captain America: The First Avenger”

In this Marvel themed episode Mark talks about the 2011 American Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) superhero film “Captain America: The First Avenger” directed by Joe Johnston and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, starring Chris Evans the title character Captain America/Steve Rogers. Set during World War II, the film is an origin story for the title character as well as the starting off point for several familiar characters whose importance within the overall story of the “Infinity War saga” of the MCU would grow as more films were produced and as the interconnectness of the story being told was more fleshed-out. The film also stars Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, Hugo Weaving as Johann Schimdt/Red Skull, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Tommy Lee Jones as Chester Philips, Stanley Tucci as Abraham Erskine, as well as many other great actors who give phenomenonal performances as memorable characters.

The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #64: “The Queen’s Gambit” (2020)

In this episode Mark talks about the 2020 American coming-of-age period drama “The Queen’s Gambit” created for Netflix by Scott Frank and Allan Scott, based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Trevis. Set in the late-1950s to the late-1960s, the miniseries of 7 episodes stars Anna Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon – an orphaned chess prodigy with exceptional visualisation skills who rises to the top of the chess world, but who also struggles with drug and alcohol dependency, as well as the on again/off again relationships and friendships that she develops with other gifted chess players in their own right whom she meets along the way.