Saturday, June 27, 2015

Superman 41 and giving up on The Man of Tomorrow

I just read issue #41 of the post Flashpoint/ New 52/ DC You Superman series, and...  I mean...  Okay.

There's some decent Superman-action, and I like the Jimmy and Clark pairing well enough.  I think the idea of "Superman's Pal" actually knowing his identity is worth exploring if Jimmy's his peer.  It substitutes the 90's and 00's problem of Superman not having anyone to talk to in his own titles which the Lois-marriage resolved.

But we know where this storyline is headed, right?  I mean, all of the other titles and solicitations tell us Lois will blow Superman's cover.  He gets a haircut.  He goes back to the t-shirt and jeans.  But we already have the broad strokes for how this will play out.  There's not a lot of places for this story to go, it seems.  Or, at least, if we know the effect, any surprises in how we got there seem a little moot at best.

After finishing the issues, I am sorry to say that I think I'm done reading any Superman comics for a while.  Which kind of kills me.  But I feel like I'm spending money on something that isn't what I signed up for or what the name of the comic is selling me.

This Moment In History: Supreme Court Rules for Equality for Same-Sex Marriage

Taking a break from pop-culture commentary and irrelevant minutia to reflect on the overall cultural thunderstrike that came across the internet this morning.  The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, has legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.  

No doubt the armies of lawyers and pundits are lining up to stoke the fires and make some money off good old fashioned rage.  It's to be expected.  But today I think we broke through another barrier.  We abandoned separate rules for a class of our citizenry for a common definition of the most important conscious relationship most people ever enter.

I am aware not all of my readership shares my belief that this ruling reflects part of America's steady progress in recognizing the rights of all its citizens.  Here I have to break with you, but I hope you know, it's with an olive branch extended.  Recognizing the equality of love between two people as they define that relationship, not hemmed in by concepts of gender or adherence to non-legal codes, whether the Supreme Court had stepped in or not, seems to me an act of human decency.  At the heart of that of all of this is the word "love", and it seems that a victory for love should only be amplified by an extension of some of the same with an open hand rather than a closed fist.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Shark Watch: Jaws (1975)

I kind of said everything I had to say about Jaws (1975) the other night, but hadn't had opportunity to watch the movie.  Apparently my post readied Jamie for a viewing, so I popped a disc in the ol' DVD player and gave it a whirl.

Not much else to add, so, enjoy your own screening.  Or don't.  I don't know why you wouldn't.  It's a pretty good movie.

Of course, you can't go wrong with the sequel.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sci-Fi Watch: Logan's Run (1976)

I watched Logan's Run one other time, circa 1999, but a bottle of something with an angry animal printed on the label was consumed then and stood between me and any firm memories of the movie.  Except for Carousel.  And, if I'm being honest, Jenny Agutter.

In the future, we'll all live in airports

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

James Horner Merges With The Infinite

I don't need to tell anyone who follows this site how important music is to a movie.  You guys know.  And I know I don't need to tell you how important James Horner was to movies of the last few decades.  The man's IMDB page reads like a list of movies we've all seen in the theater since we were kids.

Tragically, Horner seems to have died in a plane crash.  

Rather than talk about who James Horner was and what he worked on, I'm going to invite you to drop your favorite of his works in the comments.  If you want to add a why and wherefore, feel free to do so.

I will say the first score of his that I remember consciously really paying attention to and wondering "who did that?" was the score for the 1989 Civil War film, Glory.  Certainly the score wasn't the only thing Glory had going for it. but it set a new standard for the music in historical epics and I often feel like both documentaries and more recent movies have lifted from that score, or at least learned its lessons.

and, of course, I'm a fan of many more of his works.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Spielberg's "Jaws" at 40

I'm on the road for work (hello, Houston!), and am not going to be watching any movies or be doing much reading, so I thought I'd write something up on the 40th Anniversary of one of my favorite movies, the 1975 Spielberg directed shark opus, Jaws.

I didn't fall in love with Jaws until college.  Frankly, I can't say I'm sure if I saw it all the way through until then.  There was some sunny afternoon where I was drinking beer with my brother discussing the movie and realizing, "you know, that really is a hell of a movie when you think about it."  And I picked up the DVD at some point, but hell if I know where it is now.

Of course I love the fact that Jaws plays on cable each summer almost as much as the Vacation movies.  It's the perfect summer movie, especially for those of us who kind of need a push to get to water that isn't a public pool.  Jamie's a big fan, too, so she'll always take in a viewing if that's what we're doing.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Birthday to Jane Russell

Born this day in 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Sci-Fi Watch: The Thing From Another World (1951)

I'm a big fan of the 1982 John Carpenter sci-fi horror flick, The Thing, but I'd never seen Howard Hawks produced The Thing From Another World (1951) - the movie upon which the Carpenter film was based.

I recorded it off TCM at some point and finally got around to watching it, which was well timed as I'd been having a twitter-convo with some of y'all about whether remakes and sequels were really out of control.*

Screwball Watch: Bringing Up Baby (1938)

So, we started watching a different movie last night, gave up, and when I was about to start up Monkey Business (1952), Jamie mentioned she'd never seen Bringing Up Baby (1938).  Which...  we've been together for 20 years, so I'm not clear on how that happened.  I know I've seen it a couple of times, but I also remember watching it with my roommate back in film school, so that accounts for at least that screening.

So, we fired up the Roku and Amazon streaming services and watched the Katharine Hepburn/ Cary Grant, Howard Hawks-directed comedy.

if you ever want to see the world's worst Katharine Hepburn impersonation, I'm your man
Very much of the school of both Hollywood screwball comedies and the Broadway domestic comedies of the 30's and 40's, Bringing Up Baby is not, as you would expect, about a young couple fumbling with an actual baby.  It's about a daffy paleontologist who meets an even daffier socialite who immediately falls in love with him and isn't going to let the fact he's supposed to get married the next day slow her down.

As rings all too true from working at a university, Cary Grant's scientist is in pursuit on $1 million for his museum, plus he's receiving the final bone for his brontosaurus in the mail.  Golfing with the attorney of his potential patron, Grant meets Hepburn (or, David meets Susan), there's some confusion, destruction of a car, etc..  Susan, deciding she's in love with David, involves a tame leopard her brother has sent her from South America - a leopard who happens to be named "Baby" and who really likes the tune "I Can't Give You Anything But Love".

Anyway, just watch it.  As with many screwball comedies, describing it will make you feel like a lunatic.

I have some very favorite scenes from the movie, including the dinner sequence.  For whatever reason, this sort of comedy really works for me.  Sure, I love a good Mel Brooks movie with the cheap gags and all, but there's something pretty great about original formula for situation comedies that rely more heavily on absurdity and character-driven gags, and it's not necessarily the set up/ laugh/ set up/ laugh of the television sitcom.  It can be as complicated as keeping up with a Raymond Chandler story to keep the threads straight, even as characters are very clear about their motivations.

It's a pretty darn good movie, and there's a reason people keep coming back to it well after 1938, whereas, I'm not sure we'll still be revisiting the American Pie franchise in 20 years.  Then again, the kids keep surprising me when they're building the mythology of their own definition of classics.*

*@#$%ing Space Jam?  Really?