Showing posts with label dames. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dames. Show all posts

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sci-Fi Watch: Starcrash (1978); or "the most amazing movie I've seen in 2016"



I don't know where to start or what, exactly, to say about Starcrash (1978).

I'd heard of the movie decades ago as it was always in with the sci-fi/ fantasy movies at video rental shops, but with Caroline Munro in a vinyl bikini on the box cover, I knew better than to bother to rent the movie.  When I was young enough to have to ask my parents to rent something for me, I didn't want to put up with the questions and then the reporting my parents would gleefully do given the first opportunity (my family looooooves a good embarrassing story, and a 10 year old Ryan standing there with a video with a buxom space-lady on the cover would have been fodder for them for weeks, if not years).

When I got older and was renting movies on my own, and, I know it seems counter-intuitive if you've been following this site for a while, but I already knew any movie relying on a bikini-clad off-brand actor on the cover wound up as a terrible decision.  Yes, it was also the kind of thing that became fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000 in it's later years when the cheaply produced post Star Wars/ post Mad Max knock-offs were showing up over and over at the video store, but without Joel or Mike to guide me through, it wasn't worth it.*  And, I don't mind that at one point in my life I was subconsciously trying to understand what was and was not a good movie.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Happy Birthday to Cassandra Peterson, AKA @TheRealElvira


Happy birthday to Cassandra Peterson, better known to the masses as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

May Ms. Peterson have a great year ahead of her!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy Birthday, Lauren Bacall


Today marks the 92nd birthday of actress and screen legend Lauren Bacall.  She passed in 2014, just a month shy of her 90th birthday.

I don't often post pics of Bacall because stills never seem to capture her quite right, in my opinion.  I can't really think of any other actress who strikes me exactly that way, but I've long since quit trying to find the "right" picture of someone who was lovely as a picture, sure, but who's voice and nuances of expression were what made her work so very well in movies.

Happy birthday, Ms. Bacall.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Happy B-Day, Claudette Colbert



Today is the 113th birthday of Ms. Claudette Colbert, a film star who was especially prominent in the 1930's and 1940's.

I have only seen a few Claudette Colbert movies, but she's pretty terrific.  And if you haven't seen It Happened One Night, fix that problem.

And if that doesn't work for you, I recommend her film Cleopatra from 1934.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Happy 114th Birthday to Norma Shearer


August 11th marks the 114th birthday of actress Norma Shearer, an actress of the Golden Age of Hollywood. I've seen a few of her movies, both silent and talkies, and she was a remarkably talented woman.

And she had one of the best profiles in movies.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Happy Belated Birthday to Ms. Lynda Carter


Yesterday Ms. Lynda Carter turned 65.  Happy Birthday to our ideal Wonder Woman.

Some folks may not know that Carter is a vocalist with several albums out there in the ether.  Carter is currently performing with a band where she sings both original songs and some covers.  She also appears as voice talent in several videogames, including Fallout 4, where she contributed a song or two as a lounge singer.

Earlier this year she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Gracies.

This fall, Carter is scheduled to appear as POTUS on CW's Supergirl TV series.

If you aren't following her on social media, we highly recommend doing so.  Her account is a lot of fun.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ann Miller Watch: On the Town (1949)



I watched On the Town (1949) just last year at The State Theater downtown, so there was no good reason to watch the movie again.  But, Ann Miller.  Sometimes these things happen.

Here's my write up from last time.

best not to think on it too much



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy Birthday, Ann Miller

Ann Miller and I share a birthday, but she has better legs.

Here she is in Easter Parade, performing "Shakin' the Blues Away".



indeed.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bette Davis' 108th Birthday


Today would be the 108th birthday of Bette Davis.

Bette Davis passed in 1989, leaving behind a legacy of terrific film roles in a wide array of genres.  I'm quite fond of Davis, and when watching her, sometimes wonder if there would be a place for her in Hollywood of 2016.  I don't think she'd find much to do in movies - maybe she'd be an indie darling.  I do think she'd reign supreme over a critically beloved, poorly rated cable TV series that would run for 7 years or so.

Curious about Davis - she seemed to know she wasn't a Rita Hayworth or Ava Gardner, and unlike he Hollywood rival, Joan Crawford, seemed fine with status as a different kind of female star, someone whose appeal stemmed from, yes, the famous eyes, but also the spirit with which she infused her characters.  She always worked harder and fought harder, usually dictating her own terms behind the scenes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Noir Watch: Gun Crazy (1950)



I've lost track of how many times I've seen Gun Crazy (1950).  And, in fact, over the past ten years its easily become one of my favorite movies.  Tuesday night JAL and I met up at the Alamo to catch a screening which was, it turned out, part of a series the Alamo was doing about social issues in movies.  And, of course, Gun Crazy is as good an example of how a good gun owner gets sucked into the issues of a bad gun owner as you're like to see.

The screening was either sold out or nearly so, which, even in a small theater at The Alamo on a Tuesday at 7:30 - for a movie that's now 66 years old - is a pretty good thing.  What was truly surprising was that the screening was of a 35mm print struck in the 1960's, as near as I could tell.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy Birthday to Ms. Sherilyn Fenn


Happy Birthday to actress Sherilyn Fenn.  She's been great in some great movies and good in some bad movies and I was as stunned as the next person to see her combatting Bigfoot in the accurately titled 2012 SyFy/ Asylum movie, Bigfoot.

You may know her as Audrey Horne from cult TV series, Twin Peaks, making sweaters and saddle shoes a very good idea to high-school-me.


I am thrilled to say it seems she's returning to the role when the show returns late this year or early next year.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gloria Grahame's Birthday


Today marks the 92nd birthday of actress Gloria Grahame.

We're big fans of the work of Ms. Grahame here at The Signal Watch, and seeing her listed in the credits for a movie will always get us to check it out.  We generally prefer her noir work, where she plays a wide range of roles, but always with a certain flair.  We particularly recommend her work in The Big Heat, Human Desire and In a Lonely Place.

But, she's also Ado Annie in Oklahoma! and she's Violet in It's a Wonderful Life.

Her personal life was like an unscripted noir that ignored the Hayes Code, but I'll let you look into that yourself.  What I will say is that she died too young, and I wish she'd had a second go with her career.  She's so darn good, it's hard to believe she wouldn't have ended up doing more on TV or in movies.

Here's to one of the good ones.  Do yourself a favor and take time out for a Gloria Grahame picture this month.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Bette Watch: Now, Voyager (1942)

I have tried to watch Now, Voyager (1942) for years, and something always happens.  Well, the opposite of "something always happens" happened, and I accidentally ordered a Bette Davis 4-disc set from Amazon, which I was considering buying and accidentally did so while buying something else.

So, since the movie showed up, I gave it a whirl.



There's no question the movie is dated by any number of factors, from the club-like effectiveness of psychiatry to the social customs present in the movie.  And it's certainly a movie of war-time America, not in content, but who appears in the film (there's a shortage of name actors playing men of fighting age).

The movie belongs to Bette Davis, there's absolutely no question.  And that was what I paid my $2.50 for.  I may not have been the target audience for a "woman's picture", but I knew what it was, to an extent, going in.  I'm trying to shore up some gaps in my movie knowledge, and I haven't seen that many Bette Davis movies, and this is one of the big ones.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Crawford Watch: Possessed (1947)


You know, I probably like Joan Crawford more than your average straight dude born in 1975.  Thanks to Faye Dunaway's performance in Mommy Dearest, the Joan Crawford of legend has superseded the Joan Crawford who shows up in her movies.  But watching those movies, you can see why folks decided maybe Joan was a little on the intense side.  And, her personal reputation as one tough lady did nothing to soften that edge (look up her rise within PepsiCo some day.  Absolutely bad-ass.).

To get real, Joan Crawford was a great beauty in the 20's and 30's when she hit Hollywood, and as she aged, maybe some of that slipped on her.  She remained attractive, but there's only so attractive someone can be when anger seems to their default setting, and you can see it set in somewhere in their resting face.  Here's where this boomerangs back - because Joan Crawford said "screw you, I'm still playing the sexy dame in middle-age", and did not just disappear into motherly, unsexed roles - and it kind of flips back on itself that the iron will in there somewhere is attractive all on its own.

Probably the first Joan Crawford movie I saw was Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, which is a crazy movie to start to get to know Crawford.  I love that movie, and she's great in it, but Mildred Pierce, which I saw next, is still my favorite Crawford movie.  She's so damn good in it, and it's such a weirdly excellent movie for a movie about a lady making pies.

It turns out Possessed (1947) is sort of Yin to the Yang that is Mildred Pierce.  And I have new second favorite Joan Crawford movie (move over, Johnny Guitar).  It's not a mother and daughter coming up together in a tough world with lay-abouts for men and fried chicken joints as cash cows.  It's a woman on her own, trying to find love, witha  complicated relationship with her step daughter.  Oh, and she has schizophrenia.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Debbie Harry


Happy 70th Birthday to Debbie Harry, the ever-cutting-edge lead singer for Blondie, solo artist, actor, model, fashion icon, artist, former Playboy Club Bunny, CBGB overlord, pop goddess of the punk and new wave scenes, etc... et al...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Siouxsie Sioux

Happy birthday to my high school rock'n'roll crush and one of my favorite performers from back in the day, Siouxsie Sioux.


At 57, she's still out there being Siouxsie.



Spellbound



Peek-a-Boo



Sunday, April 26, 2015

Noir Watch: Detour (1945)

At some point in your life, set aside 1 hour and 10 minutes to make it through Detour (1945), one of the grimiest, most uncomfortable, brilliantly economical movies you're likely to ever catch.  It's a short bit of distilled noir which kind of meanders for the first third, and then it starts to pick up.  And THEN Ann Savage shows up and holy @#$%.



I don't know what it says about me that I adore Ann Savage in this movie.  There's some matrix I need to devise of "what's wrong with me?" that I need to make with attributes of various Femme Fatales, including Savage in this movie, Peggy Cummins in Gun Crazy, Stanwyck in Double Indemnity and Babyface, Marie Windsor in everything...  But Ann Savage is a special kind of nuts in this movie, that veers almost into noir Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf-ish territory sometime in the back 1/3rd of the movie.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Yesterday was Joan Crawford's B-Day


March 23rd marks the birthday of Joan Crawford.  She would have been 110 yesterday.

Complicated person, that Joan Crawford.  I tend to really like her in movies, and I think I've shared here and elsewhere how much I like Mildred Pierce, in particular (but who doesn't)?  Johnny Guitar is also worth a view if you want to see something out there on the edge of genre and expectation.

Happy b-day to a daughter of The Alamo City and one of the greats.