Sunday, March 17, 2019

Doc Watch: Apollo 11 (2019)


Watched:  03/17/2019
Format:  Alamo South Lamar
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 spaceflight, during which Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins reached the moon and during which Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to ever walk the surface of our satellite.

This evening, JuanD, Jamie and I hit the local cinema to take in the spectacle that is Apollo 11 (2019), and if you can tear yourself away from whatever new shows got dumped on Hulu and Netflix on Friday, I'm going to go ahead and recommend you give this movie a go.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Noir Watch: D.O.A. (1949)


Watched:  03/13/2019
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's

You know how sometimes you hear about the premise of a movie and you write the whole thing in your head in about 5 seconds?  I mean, I'm often wrong, and I find that really nice, but other times the movie wraps and you say "that is exactly what I thought it was going to be"  And even that isn't all bad.  But that's more or less why I never bothered seeing this film, and, here we are, and I am reporting out that D.O.A. (1949) was more or less exactly what I expected it was going to be.

A fun ride, yes, and... no - I didn't guess every twist and turn (who could?), but "sounds like a dude running around trying to figure stuff out as he tries to beat the clock" - done in one, mi amigos.  What I wasn't anticipating was the weird tone of the film which, alone, kind of makes it worth a peek.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

PODCAST! "Captain Marvel" (2019) - Jamie, The Dug, K and Ryan and a Not Quite Chronological Countdown



Watched:  03/09/2019
Format:  Alamo Slaughter Lane
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

Jamie's brother and sister-in-law were in town, and we all saw the screen debut of Marvel's cosmic-type Avenger. Join Jamie, The Dug, K and Ryan as we share our "first reaction" takes on what happens the 90's collide with aliens, space faring adventure, Annette Benning, and Marvel's first female lead (it's about time, y'all).




Music:
Captain Marvel Theme - Pinar Toprak, Captain Marvel OST


Patreon:
Become a Patron!


Avengers Chronological Countdown



Thursday, March 7, 2019

Monster Watch: Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)


Watched:  03/07/2019
Format:  Alamo S. Lamar
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1950's

This evening the Alamo S. Lamar and Birth.Movies.Death's Scott Wampler hosted a screening of Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) along with a Q&A and book-signing with Mallory O'Meara, a film maker who just released a non-fiction book about Milicent Patrick, the original designer of The Creature entitled The Lady From the Black Lagoon.

PODCAST: "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969) - Bond Watch 04, w/ SimonUK and Ryan


Watched:  03/03/2019
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  unknown
Decade:  1960's

SimonUK and Ryan take on that one Bond movie starring George Lazenby as 007. Bond falls in love and fights Telly Savalas on a toboggan run. SimonUK and Ryan puzzle out what sort of lady gets Bond to want to settle down, what led to an Australian men's wear model putting on the tux, and what it all means 50 years after the film's release.




Music: 
James Bond Theme - Monty Norman & John Barry
We Have All the Time In the World - performed by Louis Armstrong, written by John Barry with lyrics by Hal David

Bond Playlist:

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Luke Perry Merges With The Infinite



So, Luke Perry has passed and the internet is ablaze with remembrances.  And on the face of it, it seems odd so much ink is getting spilled over a guy who had his peak of popularity in about 1993, never really landed any major roles in zeitgeisty Hollywood movies and has been a workman actor in mid-tier TV shows for most of the past twenty years.

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the state of shock you're seeing has less to do with a tremendous and still-massive Luke Perry fanbase as it has with two things:

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Third Time Around Watch: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018)


Watched:  03/03/2019
Format:  Alamo Slaughter
Viewing:  Third
Decade:  2010's

This was the third time.  I'm still seeing all-new things in this movie, still totally swept up in the story and characters, still getting weepy multiple times...  I love this movie so much.

In case you didn't hear - it did win

Academy Award - Best Animated Feature
Golden Globe - Best Animated Feature
Critic's Choice - Best Animated Feature
New York Film Critics Circle - Best Animated Feature
BAFTA - Best Animated Feature
PGA - Producer of the Year Award in Animated Feature

I don't care too much about awards, but there are a lot of people out there who like this movie who kinda know movies.  And I would genuinely try not to steer you wrong.

MST3K Watch: The Day Time Ended (1979)


Watched:  03/02/2019
Format:  MST3K on Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970s

This movie is a bizarre mess with no story.  Now, sometimes MST3K cuts these movies for time, so its possible we lost some key moments or elements on the floor, but...  I don't think so. 

The MST3K episode DOES feature an astonishing musical number lifting music from The Music Man.  The current crew has really hit their stride.  And - there's a Kim Cattrall callback.

But, yeah, it's a bunch of unmotivated special FX and a cast that I can't not talk about. 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Espionage Comedy Watch: Spy (2015)


Watched:  03/01/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing: First
Decade:  2010's

This movie is exactly (exactly) what you think it's going to be.  That's not a knock, it's just a statement.

It's weird.  I feel like Paul Feig would do really well managing a network TV comedy.  It seems better suited to his sense of humor where he could have fun with characters than trying to cram in an actual story in 90-120 minutes. 

This was part of my "I have a cold, so let's just watch some inconsequential stuff" viewing from Friday night, and it fit the bill. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Disney Watch: Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)


Watched:  03/01/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

No write up.  I'm a bit under the weather, but I really enjoyed it.  And I can't believe Disney went off-script with their own IP to that degree.  A lot of good stuff.  And, of course, Vanellope's song - just brilliant.

Late Edit:  Our own NathanC wrote a great review over at the TPR site, so go check that out.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

80's Watch: Hollywood Shuffle (1987)


Watched:  02/26/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  No idea.  At least third.
Decade:  1980's

Back when Hollywood Shuffle (1987) first showed up on home video, it was a movie I recall renting and really liking.  I know for a fact I only sorta got what the movie was saying and doing and was more interested in the fact that some of the sketches and spoofs played well to even a 13 year old.  After all, the movie is about an actor's journey through casting and into his first day on set of a film, loaded with cut-away scenes where they lampoon Hollywood movies.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Noir Watch: Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)



Watched:  02/26/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing: First
Decade:  1990's

I'd intended to see Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) during it's theatrical run, and I don't really know how I didn't.  It was a wide release and ran for a bit.  In the intervening years I've watched more noir of the original era, not necessarily watching what came out as noir and neo-noir at the theater.*  The 90's and 00's saw a fair number of mid-century crime and costume dramas and glossy neo-noir films that I think a lot of folks today see in their mind's eye more than actual films of the original noir era.  Some of the films were pretty good (I love LA Confidential), others were less so (I really struggled with The Black Dahlia).

There's a lot to recommend Devil in a Blue Dress, even if it feels like writer/ director Carl Franklin was more intent on establishing a string of movies based on the protagonist's exploits than he was in actually getting into the why's and wherefore's of the story's central mystery.  It's one of the extremely rare Black-focused noir films, and does a phenomenal job of world building, leaning on familiar noir tropes and giving us new spin based on the Black experience of mid-Century LA.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Noir Watch: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)


Watched:  02/25/2019
Format:  BluRay from Kino Lorber
Viewing:  first
Decade:  1950's

I told myself that this year I was going to watch all of the films I could obtain which were directed by Ms. Ida Lupino.

I primarily know Ida Lupino as an actor who sort of radiates a certain razor sharp intellect in roles as hero or villain, whether she's vicious or kind.  She's up there in my list of actors whose films I'll give a go even if the movie isn't to my taste.*

But as she is not *in* the movies she directs (understandably), I've not gotten around to seeing what she did standing behind the lens (less understandably).  Of the films, the most famous is likely the 1953 noir thriller, The Hitch-Hiker, which I recently picked up as a BluRay edition released by Kino Lorber, made from a restoration print struck at the Library of Congress.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Jackie Watch: Police Story (1985) and Police Story 2 (1988)


Watched:  02/22/2019
Format:  Austin Film Society
Viewing:  second/ first
Decade:  1980's

Thanks to some good pals my first year of college, I started watching Jackie Chan movies.  Unfortunately, lo these many years later, because I watched many of them in the space of one academic year, I have no idea which is which, what I have seen and what I haven't.  The conversation usually went more like "There's a Jackie Chan movie playing at The Hogg Auditorium.  We're going after dinner."  "Okay." 

It turned out I had seen Police Story, but not Police Story 2 - but I have, in the past, seen Police Story 3: Supercop.  Which was not part of the double-bill at the Austin Film Society that SimonUK and I attended.

But, yeah, like all of you, when I first saw his movies, I loved everything about Jackie - his sense of humor, his incredible stunts, his loyalty to his stunt team, the fact he wrote, directed and starred in his movies, and that he even sang his own theme songs.  And, yeah, you can see the influence of the comedy greats in Jackie - if you love Buster Keaton or Chaplain, you should like Jackie's movies. 

If the movies have a weakness, imho, it's that they often can't quite settle on tone.  That said, by the end of Police Story, the shift from goofy antics and wacky set-pieces to wanting to see the bad guys get punched just real, real hard is more than earned. 

Chan's energy is just different from anyone else in cinema.  He's got the finesse of Bruce Lee, but - instead of Lee's eye of the storm focused energy, ready to unleash, he sort of is the storm. 

Maggie Cheung plays May in both films, Jackie's long-suffering girlfriend, and she has some terrific comedic bits and really takes some hits for the team doing her own stunts. 

The plot is some boiler-plate 1980's cop-movie stuff, and that's okay.  It's all a skeleton upon which to hang cool action scenes and showcase the work of Jackie and his crew.

I dunno.  I really like Police Story, maybe the second one a bit less, but they're both hugely watchable movies.  I just found Police Story 3: Supercop on Amazon, so I'm going to watch it ASAP.  It has Michelle Yeoh, so...  you know...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

20th Anniversary Watch: Office Space (1999)



Watched:  02/20/2019
Format:  a very, very old DVD
Viewing:  8th or 9th
Decade:  1990's

In February 2019 I was about 9 months post-graduation and working in a very strange job for - what I figured out - was literally poverty wages (the job required a 4 year bachelor's degree, so... don't major in radio-TV-film, kids).  This week marks not just the 20th anniversary of the release of  Office Space (2019), but late 2018- early 2019 marks the start of my 20th year in the workforce as an FTE, I suppose.

Office Space was a product of Austinite Mike Judge, who had risen to fame first with Beavis & Butthead on MTV circa 1993, and brought Arlen, Texas to the small screen via King of the Hill. Upon arrival, the movie mostly flopped.  Critics were relatively kind, but the film had no major stars except Jennifer Aniston in the era of Big Stars = Big Profits, and a workplace comedy about hating your job wasn't exactly groundbreaking.  But at the time I felt a certain loyalty to the Texas film scene and Mike Judge, so we went to see it around opening weekend and... yeah.

As Jamie said when we were talking about the movie after: this was the first movie I saw that I may not have related to 100%, but it was the first movie I saw about adults that I could relate to as an adult.

PODCAST! "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"! Avengers Chronological Countdown #09 - w/ Jamie and Ryan



Watched:  02/16/2019
Format:  Bluray
Viewing:  unknown
Decade:  2010's

We reach one of Jamie's all-time favorite movies, a tale of a handsome man who is neck-deep in issues he thought he fixed before he went down for a long nap. Cap returns in an espionage thriller, but - also - a story of friendship. And blowing things up real good. It's one of the big turning points for Marvel as they put their best foot forward with a solid story that takes things up a notch.



Music:

Avengers - Alan Silvestri, Avengers OST
Captain America - Henry Jackman, Captain America: The Winter Solider OST

Playlist

Monday, February 18, 2019

President's Day Profile: Millard Fillmore (#13)


Believe it or not, that is not a time-lost Alec Baldwin.  That is the 13th President of the United States of America, Millard Fillmore.

I know pretty much nothing about Fillmore other than that he existed, and I guessed he was a Whig, and, indeed, he was.  But that guess was based on my impression that he seemed old-timey.

So, what should we know about President Fillmore?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Post-War Watch: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)


Watched:  02/12/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing: second
Decade:  1940's


The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) rightfully won accolades and awards upon its release, telling the story of three returning GI's in terms that try not to gloss over the hardships and adjustments those who went to war in WWII must make as they come home and attempt to re-enter civilian life.  Perhaps as much or more importantly, the movie doesn't ignore the adjustments and expectations of those who were safe at home, including arcs for the folks who didn't go, for whom life was not on pause as their loved ones - or even former coworkers - disappeared for a few years. 

Valentine's Day Watch: Coffy (1973)


Watched:  02/14/2019
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's

Jamie and I went out for a lovely dinner for Valentine's Day, followed by catching up on Star Trek: Discovery, and then - somehow - I wound up watching this movie, and I think for the fashion choices alone, Jamie didn't object.  I thought I'd previously seen Coffy (1973) when I started it - because it's currently streaming free to Amazon Prime subscribers, and, I didn't intend to actually watch it.  But I hadn't seen it and the next thing I knew I was an hour in.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

PODCAST! It's High School Musicals with "Grease" (1978) and "High School Musical" (2006) - Maxwell, Mrshl and Ryan




GREASE (1978)
Watched:  01/28/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Easily my 15th or 16th, maybe more
Decade  1970's

High School Musical (2006)
Watched:  02/08/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2000's

Maxwell and Ryan welcome Marshall to the PodCast as they discuss "Grease" and "High School Musical", two movies that are about finding love and finding out who you are in the nightmare factory that is the American Public High School.  One of these films is definitely for kids, and the other... really, not for kids, no matter what America wants to think.




Music:

Summer Nights - Grease OST - cast
We Go Together - Grease OST - cast
Grease - performed by The Signaltones

High School Movies:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Relevant Watch: All the President's Men (1976)


Watched:  02/09/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  third
Decade:  1970's (obvs)


It's too hard to unpack both the film All the President's Men (1976) and the actual events of the Watergate scandal without writing a full treastise, so I won't.  But in 2019, the events of this movie have both an echo that sounds all too familiar, but one which it is difficult to believe would actually register with at least half the voting population.  If the movie is *about* anything, it's showing how goddamn hard it is to build a newspaper story that will stick, the near-impossible job of the press, and, of course, the responsibility of the press in a free and open democratic society, something this blogger firmly believes in.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Comedy Watch: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)


Watched:  02/09/2019
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing:  7th or so
Decade:  1980's

So, here's a curious one: could Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) be made today? 

I'm going to say "no". 

Is the movie still still as oddly brilliant and funny as it was in 1988?  More so, I think.  The older I get, the more I relish Caine's role and dialog in particular.  And Glenne Headley's breathy, wide-eyed Ohioan is, of course, absolutely terrific knowing what we know at the film's conclusion. 

But I suspect the twitter scold-squad would be up in arms about pretty much everything Steve Martin does in this movie if it arrived now. 

However, I am pretty sure in another 20 years, this movie will still be around and revered as a classic comedy by those in the know, part of Martin's filmography of rediscovered classics and Caine's occasional and often successful dive into comedy.  And, of course, Headley will be rightfully mourned. 

I mean, Ruprecht is timeless, and I look forward to future generations wondering where he got the trident.


Noir Watch: The Burglar (1957)


watched:  02/08/2019
format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
viewing:  first
decade:  1950's

I recently read the David Goodis novel, which Goodis himself adapted as a screenplay for The Burglar (1957).  Surprise: the book is better.  An existential noir thriller that *really* piles on Goodis' weirdness with women, the book is singularly bleak piece of fiction that, honestly, would probably not work terribly well as a film (the ending would be, also, logistically unfilmable in 1957*).

The movie hits a lot of the same beats and maintains the motivations of the book, but it's just not as well fleshed out, and they clearly were worried about the audience getting lost along the way so they're more concrete in trying to state the vague mess of issues plaguing Duryea's titular burglar. 

Jayne Mansfield is about as far from the Gladden on the novel as one could get in personality and build, but it does shake up the mix a bit and puts a point on the creeping sexual stress as the story shows up on the screen - it's simply different from the frail, skinny girl of the novel.

There's some terrific imagery and cinematography in the film, and pitch perfect noir-esque build of sweaty claustrophobia once the game is revealed, all of which is mind-boggling, as this was the director's first time out (Paul Wendkos, who went on to make Gidget movies!), and a DP who, really, doesn't show much on his filmography to show how he got to this point. 

Honestly, I think they cut too much from the book to give the other burglars any real personality or show why Duryea's character is so wound up, but it's still basically intact, and as a B picture, it's got some good stuff going for it. 


*it involves a lot of stuff of people swimming in the choppy Atlantic.  Sort of.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Catching-Up Watch: Eighth Grade (2018)



Watched:  02/07/209
Format:  Amazon Streaming (Prime)
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

A lot of ink got spilled and a lot of gushing occurred when Eighth Grade (2018) hit cinemas last year.  And, of course, you'll note the trend that this kneecaps movies for me when I do get around to seeing them, so I won't linger on that too much, but all of the praise certainly colored how I went into the film (cheerfully, willingly, curiously!), and my reaction by the film's conclusion.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Musical Watch: High Society (1956)


Watched:  02/05/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing: First
Decade:  1950's

So, this is a musical version of The Philadelphia Story - the classic flick starring Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant.  Apparently that play became the movie of The Philadelphia Story, which became the stage musical High Society, which became this movie.

This movie isn't... great.  It's not bad, and I laughed out loud at a number of things, but on the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.  And I say that as someone who is a fan of Bing Crosby movies and likes Cole Porter.

What this movie does do is let Louis Armstrong play himself, and give him time to appear quite a bit in the movie.  And he's not bad!

This is also the movie that dares to remind you that Grace Kelly was very, very good looking* - which, as she is not Kate Hepburn, seems to be the primary driver for why men are after her (ladies, believe it or not, personality and wit go really, really far.  Be a Kate Hepburn.).

I dunno.  I wish the music had more zip and it didn't feel like an echo of something else, but Bing looks like he's having a ball with Frank, and a gentleman in tophat and tails, suffering from a hangover, yells at a bird, and that was one of the funniest things I've seen in, like, a week.


*again, very attractive, that Grace Kelly

Now taking our TV and Film Recommendations via THE FORM



Boy howdy, is there a lot of media out there!  And, boy howdy, are people both cavalier about jumping in mid-discussion about a movie or TV show to insert a movie or TV show you really should be watching. 

In this era of way-too-much-content, where I'm already burning out on TV shows just because, man, I dunno, another episode? and a raft of new movies that trend for seemingly no reason (like, why DID you stop and watch Birdbox?  I'm not saying it's bad, it's just... it just showed up so you watched it) we've all gotten pretty bad about telling people what they *should* be watching. 

Back in the 90's when seeing a movie or TV show took some effort, you actually wanted a running list of things from trusted sources so when you went to the local video monger and they were out of VHS copies, oh, The English Patient, you would go and get Faces of Death III or whatever your friends had said might be worth a watch.  If someone said "I like Larry Sanders" and you found out about in season 3, that kinda sorta meant you were given a pass to not watch the show, because no one had the expectation you'd drop everything in your life and track down copies of episodes. 

NO MORE.  We may not be able to educate our children or work out public transportation, but we can all watch Gator at the same time if we feel like it.  If someone suggests catching up on the entirety of The Simpsons, you can do so.  Somehow, people are able to "binge" watching 10-22 hours of TV in a week or two, plow through entire shows in a matter of a few weeks or less. 

I'm not wired that way.  At all.  I don't even like watching more than one Avengers movie per every two weeks or so for the PodCast.    Seeing episodes backed up on the DVR is enough to just make me quit on a TV show.  And while I deeply believe in, like, and will defend a handful of TV shows, I don't necessarily get the urge to insist others watch the shows.  Likely an after-effect of really going to the mat for Star Trek and Max Headroom as a kid.

And, movies... ahhh... movies.  If there's one thing that's true, it's that all of us know, in our heart of hearts, that we have amazing taste in film, and everyone else's taste is suspect at best.  It's a nicety when people agree on a movie, but we also may find ourselves in deep disagreement about, say, Aquaman (sorry, Max.  We'll need to talk about that sometime.). 

But what I really, really believe is that we all need to slow our roll on movie and TV recommendations.  If we can learn caution when it comes to suggesting music to others (and if you aren't exercising caution there, I assure you, your co-workers are making fun of you), we can learn to do same with moving picture media. 

And it's not that I don't WANT recommendations, it's that I want thoughtful recommendations.  If you're going to suggest I spend a few hours doing something other than eating cotton candy and watching puppies play, I'd like a reason WHY.

THUS - The Form.

From now on, we're taking our recs from you and from people anywhere in my life via an easy to use Google Form.  If you can't take the five minutes to fill it out, how much do you really want for me to watch that movie, anyway?, is what I say.

The good news is, the few of you who will actually use The Form will be captured in a spreadsheet I can review and use.  Those of you too good for The Form?  Well. 

Anyway.

Without further ado: THE FORM

Noir Watch: The Stranger (1946)


Watched:  02/04/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR (Noir Alley from months ago)
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's

This is an oddball one to slot in with noir in some ways - but I think it fits.  It's just sort of a weird set-up to have your antagonist of the film a Nazi war criminal.

I really don't want to say too much or give too much away - I really didn't know much going into The Stranger (1946), and if you've not yet seen it - try not to learn too much and go give it a shot.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

PODCAST: Noir Watch: "The Long Goodbye" (1973) - w/ SimonUK and Ryan


Watched:  02/01/2019
Format:  Kino Lorber BluRay
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's

Simon and Ryan delve into Film Noir via Neo-Noir, Altman-directed entry "The Long Goodbye" (1973), an oddball of a film with a lot to offer. We explore the role of Philip Marlowe in the world of fiction, some of the mechanics of noir, and whether or not any of this actually works as a movie.




Music:

The Long Goodbye - Music by John Williams/ Lyrics by Johnny Mercer/ performed by Jack Sheldon

Links:

For more about The Signal Watch PodCast
The Signal Watch Patreon

Monday, February 4, 2019

Ida Lupino at 101


Today marks what would have been the 101st birthday of screen actor, director and producer Ida Lupino.  Ida Lupino passed in 1995.

I first came to note Lupino in High Sierra, I believe (I can't recall anymore), and have gone on to try and watch whatever I see going by on TCM.  Yes, she's a terrific actor and has a presence that stills like the one above don't always capture.  There's an intelligence to her work that - when I learned she had gone on to do work behind the camera and established her own production company, just sort of made sense.  She had the misfortune of being a woman born two or three decades too early, who still managed to carve out a place for herself in a field controlled by men.

In 2018, a few retrospectives took place honoring her work and legacy.  Did I watch any of her films from these retrospectives on my own time?  No.  Something I need to rectify.

But I am glad that Lupino's reputation is getting elevated and the strides she made during her career are being seen by today's film fans and makers.

Anyway, I hereby pledge that before Ms. Lupino's 102nd, and pending availability, I will watch the following projects which she directed:


  • Never Fear (1950)
  • Outrage (1950)
  • Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)
  • On Dangerous Ground (1951)
  • The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
  • The Bigamist (1953)
  • The Twilight Zone: The Masks (1964)

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Actor Julie Adams Merges with The Infinite


Actor Julie Adams (often listed as Julia Adams), most famed for her part as "Kay" in 1954's Creature From the Black Lagoon has passed.

Sci-Fi Watch: Annihilation (2018)


Watched:  02/02/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

I really, really wish I'd seen Annihilation (2018) without all the hype and teeth gnashing about "why aren't people seeing this?", etc...  Much like any movie with Oscar buzz, this sets the table for expectations 9 out of 10 movies given this treatment can't possibly match.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Pixar Watch: Incredibles 2 (2018)


Watched:  01/30/2018
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

It's been forever since The Incredibles came out, and I really wanted to see this one in the theater and just never found the time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Super Watch: Reign of the Supermen (2019)


Watched:  01/29/2019
Format:  DC Universe Streaming
Viewing: First
Decade:  2010's

This week is becoming Steel-tastic as we return to a version of the Steel origin source material.

In 1992, DC Comics famously killed and resurrected Superman in a triptych of narrative arcs, , first downing him with Doomsday, then keeping Superman dead for a few months before bringing him back to save the day/ Earth.

It's a very 90's-tastic comic series, and your mileage will vary as you read it now.

Reign of the Supermen (2019) kinda sorta retells the story of the second two arcs post-Death of Superman as four new beings arrive on the global scene, all claiming some bit of Superman's legacy.  From back in Ye Olden Comicks Days, this is where we got Steel, Superboy (Conner Kent), Cyborg Superman and The Eradicator.  Surprisingly, over the years, these characters have endured unlike near any others spinning out of a major event, which is a testament to the solid core concepts each character embodied and how they fit into the DCU like puzzle pieces.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Outbreak Watch: Panic in the Streets (1950)



Watched:  01/27/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

I'd certainly heard the title of Panic in the Streets (1950), but had never paid the movie much mind.  It played a while back on TCM, so I loaded it up on the DVR for a later playback and am thrilled I did.  The movie is often listed as noir, but... aside from some aesthetic choices, it doesn't match my definition of noir, so I'm not labeling it as such.

Directed by Elia Kazan, the movie reflects his ability to shoot on location and make it mean something.  Here he exits LA and lands in New Orleans, filming along the industrial docks and twisting roads of the city, jumping from suburbs to the edges of the French Quarter.  Unfortunately, as the movie was 1950, it makes the location shooting feel like that much more of a lie as you only see Black people here and there, which in no way reflects the make-up of the city.

Still, you do get an immediacy to the film with the organic locations and settings, including sounds captured along the river or on the streets.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Oscar Watch: Black Panther (2018)


Watched:  01/25/2019
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  third
Decade: 2010's

Just getting in another viewing of the movie.  Still stunned by the world building, well-written characters with top-flight talent to bring them to life, and how the challenge of the "villain" informs the protagonist to be a better man and king.  First class storytelling, and in a superhero movie no less.  What it were that more of these superhero movies understood the power of a great ensemble script and cast.

As much as Star Wars or Harry Potter drops you in a universe and you fall into it immediately, so, too, does Black Panther.  Anyhoo...  here's to their chances on Oscar night, and I look forward to whatever they do next for a follow-up.

Noir Watch: Murder, My Sweet (1944)


Watched:  01/25/2018
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  4th
Decade:  1940's

Murder, My Sweet (1944) is a favorite and one of two Dick Powell movies that made me a fan.  Based on the classic detective novel Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (not yet a classic, obvs, at the time), this movie has as many or more twists and turns than The Big Sleep and maybe doesn't have the popping-off-the-screen chemistry of Bogart and Bacall, but Powell feels more like the Philip Marlowe of the books in my book.

Anyway, I promised not to write up every movie this year, and I'm sure I've written this one up before, so aside from adding that Claire Trevor's evening-look with her up-do is something else, I'll just give the movie a solid rec and what I love about Chandler boiled down to work in a movie.  Oh, and Mike Mazurki is pretty great.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Super Watch: Steel (1997)


Watched:  01/23/2019
Format:  Warner Archive BluRay
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's (oh, so 1990's)

Steel (1997) is not a good movie, but it's not exactly as terrible as memory of watching it on VHS at some point in the distant past had led me to believe.  It's also a reminder of how *bad* many of the DC movies have been since this period, from Catwoman to Green Lantern, to Batman v Superman.  This movie was filmed on a low budget with no faith in it, no major stars, and based on a C-List character who, really, is a carbon copy of Iron Man.  And, still, beat for beat, this movie makes more sense and flows better than Aquaman.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Doc Watch: Fyre Fraud (2019) - the other "Fyre Festival Fiasco" post mortem doc



Watched:  01/22/2019
Format:  Hulu streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

This post will make no sense unless you go back and read my post from yesterday on Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019) , the other documentary about this same subject that was released on Netflix earlier this month.  So, please do go and read it, because I'd prefer not to rehash a lot of what was covered in that post.

After my initial post and exasperation with the Netflix doc and spending most of the post leveling suspicion at the motives of the doc makers, Paul dropped a note to me saying "hey, I think people who are involved with Fyre Fest were involved in producing that doc", which... indeed they were.  Which confirmed all my worst suspicions and made me hate everyone involved even more, but at least made me feel less paranoid and crazy.

Doc Watch: They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)


Watched:  01/21/2019
Format:  Fathom Events at Arbor Cinema
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010s

It's fascinating to see Peter Jackson turn his eye for detail and technical achievement to the discipline of documentary film-making.  In many ways, They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) could herald a new era of popular documentary as important as the narrative innovations of Ken Burns, which have become the de facto mode for serious historical documentary for those of us who watch PBS.  Frankly, from an historical/ accuracy perspective, I have a *lot* of quibbles with Jackson's approach - but we'll get to that after praising his achievements.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Doc Watch: Fyre - the Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)


Watched:  01/21/2019
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

(late edit: shortly after posting my initial, pretty visceral reaction to the doc, I got some new info that will show up later in the post.  It's always nice to feel less crazy.  And certainly learning what I did colors and informs literally everything about the doc.  Basically - it may be somewhat true, but it's also deeply skewed and can't be seen as having any journalistic integrity.

While I recommend reading this post first - and watching the Netflix doc first - the post on the Hulu Doc is here.)

I'm no commie, but few things leave me wanting to declare "let's just eat the rich" like the film I just finished.  And not just the subject matter they covered, but the way in which the filmmakers themselves covered it.

The lack of ability to reflect and look at the *source* of the issues around the notorious Fyre Festival is probably the weirdest part of watching Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019), the Netflix documentary that's been grabbing headlines.

At the end of the day, I'm just left thinking:

PODCAST: "Thor: The Dark World" (2013) - Avengers Chronological Countdown 8, w/ Jamie and Ryan


Watched:  01/04/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  3rd
Decade:  2010's

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Jamie and Ryan finally get to - and keep it short - as they slog through the second installment of the Thor trilogy of films "The Dark World", which we thought was "Into Darkness", which was not the only "Star Trekkian" business we saw in this mess of a film that no one remembers and fewer people care about.
 

Avengers Chronological Countdown Playlist

Sunday, January 20, 2019

MST3K Watch: Lords of the Deep (1989)


Watched:  01/18/2019
Format:  MST3K on Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's

A mash-up of The Abyss and every space station movie you've ever seen, with terrible acting, hilariously bad lighting and direction, set-design right out of a high school play and your two leads played by "that guy" from 1970's television and Felix's wife who gets killed early on in License to Kill.  And some adorably bad puppets.

The courage it took to make this on the heels of The Abyss is just... man...

Friday, January 18, 2019

Noir Watch: Lured (1947)


Watched:  01/17/2019
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940s

Anything with Lucille Ball pre-I Love Lucy is a weird watch.

I do not know what to do with Sexy Lucy.

Talking Heads Watch: True Stories (1986)

Watched:  01/15/2019
Format:  Criterion BluRay
Viewing:  6th or 7th
Decade:  1980's

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

PODCAST! "Valerie and Her Week of Wonders" (1970) - It's a "New to me" extravaganza with AmyC and Ryan



Watched:  01/06/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970
Country of Origin:  Czechoslovakia

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We welcome you to join Ryan as he bears witness to a "new to him" movie as Amy brings a 1970 film from former Eastern bloc nation, Czechoslovakia! A meditation and tone poem on the transition from girlhood to womanhood - forces internal and external, allegorical and real, secular and religious. Vampires, live human bonfires, magical earrings and a polecat.

This movie has everything.






Music:
The Magic Yard - Luboš Fišer, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders OST


AmyC Cinema Select Series