(Welcome to Nostalgia Bomb, a series where we take a look back on beloved childhood favorites and discern whether or not they’re actually any good. In this edition: a look back at Swing Kids, the early ’90s drama about dancing in the face of Nazism starring a young Christian Bale).

For about three months in 1998, everyone got into swing music.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Royal Crown Revue. The big band sound was suddenly everywhere after creeping into the public eye through the early ’90s.

RCR featured prominently in The Mask in 1994 as the flashy backing band for Cameron Diaz’s character’s dance numbers. Then Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was in Swingers. Then Brian Setzer, 1980s savior of rockabilly, had a hit covering the Louis Prima song “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” in 1998 (it won a Grammy!) and the nation had a reached a fever pitch culminating in Old Navy cashing in on the trend.

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isle of dogs spoiler review

Isle of Dogs could have been set anywhere, but Wes Anderson chose Japan. A dystopian future version of Japan, that is, where the dog flu outbreak is so severe that all the doggos are banished to Trash Island.

His ninth feature, it’s also a thoroughly Wes Andersony Wes Anderson movie that borrows several design and musical trappings from Japanese culture, generating much controversy.

However, this film offers us a great opportunity to check out a cornucopia of Japanese movies that echo Anderson’s stop-motion style, canine subject matter and his favorite themes: family tension, daddy issues, and dry comedy.

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Movies to Watch With Ready Player One

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Ready Player One.)

Ready Player One feels like the beginning of the end of geeks dominating pop culture.

Even as Marvel plans its hundred-year reign and properties of all stripes from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s are born anew, Steven Spielberg’s latest is like seeing someone’s $5 bet and raising them a billion dollars. Ernest Cline’s novel was the geek equivalent of handing someone a tub of chocolate frosting after busting buttons at the all-you-can-eat buffet. “I heard you like geek culture. How about all of it at once?”

It wouldn’t surprise me if, after this, the entire film-going world needs an antacid.

The movie also spits in the face of this column’s central idea. Finding connections between movies? How about a movie made solely from connections to hundreds of movies, comic books, and video games?

An avalanche of references for Captain America not to get. A sea made of Easter egg yolks. A movie that’s a natural double feature. Hopefully, this list will offer some choice gems that both celebrate and question nostalgia.

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Movies to Watch With Tomb Raider

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Tomb Raider.)

The new Tomb Raider is a fascinating cultural artifact when you think too long about it.

For one, it’s an attempt at reviving a commercially successful franchise that was laughed out of theaters twice in the early 2000s, with Angelina Jolie (in the first chapter of her conversion from dramatic riot grrl to action star) declining to continue in the lead role. The hodge podge of production companies behind both movies decided not to move forward with out her but now, 15 years later, a different mix of production companies have recast the iconic adventurer with Alicia Vikander (in the first chapter of her conversion from creepy robot and period dramatist to action star) in hopes of fresh success emerging from the dormant cradle of life.

For two, the insanely popular video game series its based on is now old enough to buy alcohol. It’s also, theoretically, the simplest to convert from game to film because it utilizes so many cinematic concepts to begin with. It’s an adventure with a brash lead and exotic locations. Yet Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and its sequel were made during the same cartoonish era that delivered League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The early 2000s was when geek properties hit puberty. Their forms were changing, they were getting more attention, but they were still gawky and embarrassingly awkward and few people took them seriously. So, more than just a reboot, Tomb Raider has the opportunity to apply modern depth to films that were last made with extra cheese.

Here are six movies to watch alongside Tomb Raider.

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Movies to Watch With Red Sparrow

In the grand tradition of Spy vs Spy, Jennifer Lawrence plays a ballerina-turned-undercover-operative in Red Sparrow, a Russian agent who falls for CIA spook Nate Nash (“Nash, out!”), played by Joel Edgerton. It’s also a glowering action reunion for her and director Francis Lawrence, who helmed a triptych of Hunger Games movies, and, by most accounts, is a Soviet tank-full of style over substance.

There are thousands of spy movies to pair with it, and most of them involve Russia (really, the Soviet Union) ferreting into sticky situations to get information on Americans that will probably yell “Wolverines!” while thwarting them in the end. The tricky thing is considering how few female-led spy films there are compared to the grand list of one of the most popular modern genres. Red Sparrow is rare on that front, but there are plenty of other connections to make.

Here are some movies to watch alongside Lawrence’s descent into deep cover.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

All the Marvel Big Bads, Ranked By Badness

Black Panther Trailer

This past weekend saw the release of Marvel’s Black Panther and the debut of Michael B. Jordan’s striking new villain. So you know what that means: it’s time to update our Marvel villain ranking.

If you’re still reading, there are two things to keep in mind regarding this particularly ranking of Marvel’s bad guys. One, I’m judging them all based on Personality and Plan Points. How magnetic are they? How stupid is their plan for world domination (or whatever else they’re seeking)?

Two, Thanos isn’t on it because he doesn’t count. He’s not a villain; he’s a Postmates customer with the munchies. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to Infinity War, when he can legitimately join this list.

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Movie Mixtape: 6 Movies to Watch with ‘Black Panther’

Movies to Watch with Black Panther

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Black Panther.)

When Gone with the Wind premiered in 1939 in Atlanta, one of its stars wasn’t allowed to attend because Georgia law at the time prevented black people from entering whites-only movie theaters. Two months after being barred from seeing the launch of her own movie, Hattie McDaniel became the first black Oscar winner, accepting the award in a whites-only hotel in Los Angeles, allowed in the building only because David O. Selznick was powerful enough to ask a favor.

Gone with the Wind is the highest-grossing movie of all time adjusted for inflation. By every definition it is a blockbuster. Its depictions, its compromises of its own artists, and its legacy are all important background to consider now that, a little over 78 years later, Black Panther is about to roar onto screens.

No, Black Panther isn’t the first black superhero movie. No, it’s not the first blockbuster with a black director. But the sheer scope of its cast (including multiple Oscar winners who thankfully didn’t need favors to get into the room where they hoisted their statues) and the massive, mainstream cultural cache that comes with any Marvel movie make Black Panther an event on another level.

78 years between the two. Something to think about while we consider some other movies to double feature alongside T’Challa’s first solo adventure.

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Movie Mixtape: 6 Movies to Watch with ‘Winchester’

Movies to Watch with Winchester

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Winchester.)

When you live in the Bay Area, you’re bombarded by flashy signs (and bumper stickers, oh, the bumper stickers) advertising the Winchester Mystery House. It’s a super strange house in San Jose, California, with bizarre architecture that features stairs to nowhere and doors that open to two-story drops. Now, there’s a movie about it.

Or, really, there’s a movie that places it and former owner, Sarah Winchester, in the middle of a ghost story. Winchester, the real-life heiress to her husband’s rifle fortune, used her massive wealth to continue construction on the mansion every day for 38 years, with (unsubstantiated) rumors circulating that she was doing so at the behest of a Boston medium who told her she was being haunted by the souls of Winchester rifle victims.

It’s that rumor that writer/directors the Spierig Brothers and screenwriter Tom Vaughan have used as the basis for Winchester, a tale about a psychologist named Eric Price (Jason Clarke) meeting with Winchester (Helen Mirren) to determine her sanity when, you guessed it, the ghosts she’s trying to keep at bay get angry.

Let’s look at some movies to watch with Mirren’s ghost mob.

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Movie Mixtape: 6 Movies to Watch After You See ‘Coco’

Movies to Watch With Coco

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Coco.)

You probably noticed on store shelves this Autumn that Dia de los Muertos (or Dia de Muertos if you want to be exact) is having a cultural moment beyond Mexico, so it’s my sincere hope that Pixar’s Coco will help the uninitiated gain an appreciation of the holiday focused on dead family members and ancestors. The Day of the Dead is a vibrant celebration of remembrance and life.

The film, written by Adrian Molina & Matthew Aldrich and co-directed by Molina and Lee Unkrich, follows 12-year-old aspiring guitarist Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) on a quest through the afterlife.

/Film’s Josh Spiegel called it one of the most beautiful Pixar movies yet, so let’s see what other beautiful adventure films we can find to pair with it.

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Movies to Watch With Murder on the Orient Express

The 149th adaptation of Agatha Christie’s work hits theaters this Friday. Murder on the Orient Express is the fifth attempt to bring this particular novel to life on the screen (big or small), which means there’s a good chance you’re already well-acquainted with the classic tale from the unrivaled master of mystery.

For the uninitiated, the plot focuses on Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot (played this time by director Kenneth Branagh) who fatefully gets trapped on the Orient Express during an avalanche when a passenger ends up stabbed to death. With the train stacked full of interesting suspects, Poirot has to uncover an old family secret and solve the murder most foul before the snow melts.

Obviously there are hundreds of movies with connections to this one, so let’s whittle the list down to some of the best, most interesting, and most appropriate for Noir-vember.

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