Saturday, May 19, 2012

Signal Watch Cinema Series is GO!!!

If you live in Austin (and many of you do), then you may want to check out our "calendar" section all summer long.  Come June, Austin ramps up the offerings to us locals at The Paramount, The Alamo and elsewhere.

our own Paramount Theater

Just click on calendar in the horizontal tabs, and see what we're thinking of doing.    We'll try to keep the calendar updated all summer long as movies come out and life and whatnot gets in the way.  I'd guess we're going to be changing the line-up every two or three weeks, so keep your eyes on the schedule.
there you go, Jason.  Right there.

It's in Google Calendar, so you should be able to add our events to your own calendar with the push of a button.

If you want to join us for anything, make sure we can actually make it by contacting us first.  Email, texts, phonecalls, twitter, facebook and singing telegrams are all perfectly reasonable ways of reaching out to us.

We're also planning a trip down to San Antonio this summer to see a movie or two (most likely Gilda), so join us in The River City.

It's a hell of a line up this summer, and I am pretty excited.  Bond Week.  Sci-Fi Week.  Horror Week.  Noir.  Samurai.  It's going to be all right.

my second home away from home in the summer

Friday, May 18, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Being Elmo - A Puppeteer's Journey (2011)

On CarlaB's recommendation, Jamie and I watched Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011), an award-winning documentary about Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind ubiquitous kiddie icon, Elmo, the red muppet with the laugh of a madman.

I don't really know what to say about the doc.  Its already won a truckload of awards, and I would argue that its a pretty darn good movie and absolutely worth seeing.  A sort of "for the whole family" type of film, and one that I would show any kid with a creative bent.

Clash's journey from lower-class America to the most famous name in showbiz you've never heard of is absolutely remarkable, as a kid pursues his passion and turns it into something loved by kids around the world. In some ways, however, its a story of a guy who sets our to fulfill his dreams, and, indeed, he does, with a minimum of challenge.

No Post Friday - Clara Bow into the weekend

No post tonight. Ms. Clara Bow is here to see you through your Friday.  I'm going to do some reading.

and one more, because Diane Keaton does not own the ladies-in-neckties thing

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Crank (2006)

I don't listen to the podcast How Did This Get Made? all that often, but I had to give the recent Birdemic discussion a whirl, and that rolled me into the discussion of 2006's Crank, a movie I had absolutely no interest in at the time of its release.

HDTGM covers movies they cannot believe were put together (see: last year's The Smurfs), but it also covers movies that the crew (all working in the industry) cannot believe happened to get made in the studio system for their sheer audacity (read: awesomeness).  During the hour-long podcast covering Crank and its sequel, they kept referring back to elements of the films that I couldn't believe had made it into a movie in wide release (maybe in the mid-90's, but no so much today in this era of watered down, PG-13, aim-it-at-15-year-olds homogeneity).

I have to say, from a certain perspective, Crank does not disappoint.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What to Expect When I'm Off to the Movies

Admittedly, the upcoming film What to Expect When You're Expecting does not fit neatly into the realm of what we cover, or what I'd normally see in a year.

However: not only am I intrigued by the cast, but longtime pal Shauna Cross worked on the film.  In fact, she sort of wrote it.  I don't know how these things work, but I'm calling her The Screen Writing Person on the movie.

It also features folks I really dig, like Thomas Lennon, Chris Rock, Wendi McLendon-Covey and others.  Its a huge cast.  You can read the names yourself.

So, y'all go see this movie when it comes out on Friday.  Shauna's going to have two kids to feed, and its up to you, the movie-going public, to make sure those kids don't go hungry.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Curse of Bigfoot (1976)/ Teenagers Battle The Thing (1958) - with RiffTrax


There are a few breeds of "bad movies" out there.  This one falls into the "contemptibly incompetent/ nobody here knew how to make a movie.  No, that is not hyperbole, these people really had no idea what they were doing.  At all." category, the reigning champion of which still seems to be Monster-a-Go-Go (1965), but just by a sasquatch hair.

While Monster-a-Go-Go has its own stunning production history to consider, Curse of Bigfoot is a 1976 repackaged 1958 movie originally titled Teenagers Battle The Thing.

Apparently seeking to cash in on the mid-1970's Bigfoot craze (yes, our younger readers, there was a mid-1970's Bigfoot craze.  I don't know.  How do any of these things happen?  I blame The Six Million Dollar Man and In Search Of, but they seem to post-date this movie, so I have no clue, man.  Bigfoot and Wildboy?).

Signal Watch Watches: Twilight - Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (with RiffTrax)

Without RiffTrax, its impossible for me to wrap my head around the experience of viewing any of the Twilight films.  It's safe to say: I am not in the demographic to which the series is aimed.  But it's also become a hugely successful movie series, spinning off the classic vampire genre and tropes, and we quite like monster movies, so there you go.

In the spirit of full disclsure, before starting the movie, we armored up with a couple of cocktails and with the protective barrier of RiffTrax to shield us a bit from unfiltered Twilightness.  I, myself, wore the mithril coat of Manhattans made with generous portions of Bulleit.

Seriously, all of these people can shut up now.  Except the girl on the left.  She's cute enough, she gets a pass.

Let's get the preliminaries out of the way.
  • Kristen Stewart is both bad and insufferable in these movies, a fact which is mind-boggling considering how many directors have now had a crack at her.  I have to assume her stammering, energy-free performances in these films suggest a level of contempt for the material that one must share in order to properly decipher her true intention.  Or else she's just that bad.
  • Robert Pattinson's "Edward" may be handsome, I guess, but he's otherwise completely worthless as a character.  Since the first movie, in which he stalked Bella into submission, he's since mostly been dialog-free and at an arm's length from Bella, enough so that they seem like work acquaintances than the subjects of the most popular romance in pop fiction.
  • The core of the drama in the Twilight movies stems from the fact that the characters seem incapable of making decisions or taking action, and are very into waiting to see what happens.  I don't like the term "proactive", either, but I don't think its particularly useful to tell four books' worth of stories and never present anyone making a decision other than "I'm in love, I guess".
  • Oddly, discussing this movie aimed at a YA audience is going to spawn one of the more adults conversations we're going to have around here.  Mainly because I'm not sure any adults were associated with the making of this film.
  • Do not be confused by the length of this discussion.  This is a terrible movie.  Frankly, its one of the worst high-budget feature films I've seen in my entire life.  Its just astonishingly terrible on any level you'd care to discuss.  We're really going to rein it in here this evening so that we can try to retain some focus, but suffice it to to say, one could spill no small number of bits dissecting how this movie is a failure on every level.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!  Especially you mothers out there!  I hope you enjoy the day you planned for yourself and are hoping your incompetent families can execute upon.

You may be surprised to learn that I have a mother. Sort of two of them, in fact, if you count Judy, Jamie's mom.  And one must ALWAYS count on Judy.  She's sneaky.

neither of them, for good or ill, are exactly a Lucille Bluth

Both Real-Mom and Adjunct-Mom are to be celebrated for their continuing and much appreciated Mother-ness here in our 37th year.  I think its safe to say that Jamie and I are pretty darn close with both sets of folks, and we grow to appreciate them more every year not just for what they do now, but in understanding what what they did for us when we were entitled little brats growing up.

For example, my mother may have been right that I could not have ALL THE TOYS and I should clean my room once in a while.  Only in my 37th year am I figuring out WHY.  Also, she may have been right on a few (thousand) other things, but even here on Mother's Day, we're not giving up ground.

And, of course, we know that our mothers may not always be perfect, but we know that they love us and have always done their best for us.

sometimes you gotta do right by your kids

Heck, they've even been pretty great when we've been less than pleasant to be around (see: me, ages 9-27).

Both Moms have raised the bar for what it means to be a decent human being, through their acts of charity and volunteer efforts, and by generally living by The Golden Rule better than virtually any other folks I know.  Role models, people.

So today I publicly salute them, and think you should probably call your mom if you haven't yet done so.