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

Become a Patron!
Become a Patron of the Signal Watch PodCast!

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

Monday, January 7, 2019

PODCAST! Marvel Watch! "Iron Man 3" w/ Jamie and Ryan



watched:  01/02/2019
Format:  Amazon streaming
Viewing:  5th?
Decade: 2010's


We hit the post "Avengers" doldrums with Iron Man 3, a box office smash that just sorta, kinda works. Jamie and Ryan take a look the final Iron Man stand-alone movie and talk about how it fits in, how it didn't do what they wanted it to do, and seasonal superheroics.





Avengers Chronological Countdown





Sunday, January 6, 2019

Krypto Awards: Worst and Best of 2018



It's been a few days since 2018 wrapped, so it's fair to call it a year and take a look over the list of movies we watched and name a few as outstanding and a few...  we'll still say "outstanding", just, you know, in a different way.  I'll mostly discuss "new to me" movies, of which I watched over 100 (my life is a shallow, meaningless parade of nothing-better-to-do).  This list might look different in a month, so, you know, this is what I think today.

You can see the complete list from 2018 here.  Check the tabs for filtering by categories.

As always, there were movies I had to go back and look up and say "what was that again?".  It happens.  But this is why I write them up.  There aren't that many "this is terrible" movies because I generally don't go to see movies unless I *think* they'll hit the mark for me, but fate is a funny thing and it happens.  Also, unless RiffTrax or MST3K is involved, I turn off movies I'm not enjoying, which disqualifies them from consideration.

With that - Let's consider this the "Krypto Awards" for 2018.

Did Not Like


Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)



Watched:  01/05/2019
Format:  cable on DVR
viewing: first
decade:  2010's

A lot of this movie worked for me for what it was.  I suspect the less than amazing box office (a total domestic take of $9.6 million - no international numbers reported) for the movie may be attributed to the oddball place it found itself in, demographically.  Had this movie arrived in the early 00's, I think it would have been a $60 million or more earner, but the approach hails from the 90's and 00's - where the structure is utterly predictable, it's far more about what the movie hangs on that skeleton via gags and jokes.  The stars of the film and pop scene isn't really the focus of Gen-X'ers, and, to be kind, the view of Millennials re: pop music seems to be a hearty embrace, free from irony and with a big thumbs up to being marketed to.

But, yeah, if you're into Andy Samberg's brand of humor, this is that. For 90 minutes.  And there are so, so many cameos, many of which are almost funnier just based on the timing of when and how the star appears (hats off to Mariah Carey, in particular).   And, Tim Meadows, as always, the most underutilized, funniest guy in anything. 

This is in no way essential viewing, but Jamie watched it once and said "yeah, it's better than you think", so we watched it.  And, yeah, it did the trick for a second movie on a Saturday evening (especially after Thor 2). 






Saturday, January 5, 2019

Noir Watch: Double Indemnity (1944)



Watched:  01/04/2018
Format:  Noir Alley TCM on DVR
Viewing:  Unknown.  4th?  5th?
Decade:  1940's

Whole books have been written about Double Indemnity (1944), so I'll keep it brief while the more scholarly pursue it's winding journey through the souls of a couple of grifters.  And Eddie Muller's intros and outro's were, as ever, insightful, knowledgeable and refreshing.

Happy Birthday, George Reeves


Today marks the 105th birthday of George Reeves, the second man to play Superman on the screen, and star of the six-season series The Adventures of Superman.  Frankly, I think George is pretty great in the show - a kid's show in need of a an amiable Superman, pal to children and child-like folks like everyone's pal, Jimmy Olsen.

Go back and watch him sometime.  He makes being Superman look like some Grade-A fun.

MST3K Watch: Atlantic Rim (2013)



Watched:  01/03/2019
Format:  MST3K on Netflix
Viewing: first
Decade:  2010's

It's not often you see a movie and you think "this isn't a patch on Robot Jox".   Made for... someone? by The Asylum - which raises the question about the market and outlets for movies like this in 2019.

Yes, this was a quick cash grab by The Asylum to make some coin off the dummies who think Pacific Rim and Atlantic Rim (2013) must be related, and probably honestly can't tell the different between the two, anyway.  I do wonder what has to happen to you along the way to decide this is going to be what you do for money, but I also don't blame them. 

In closing: I am pretty sure they made the movie up as they went along and the cast was drunk through 40-60% of the movie, and I'm not kidding.  Our lead seems pickled a huge amount of this movie.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Movies 2018 - Running the Numbers


So.  Here's a rundown of what we watched in 2018.

The categories and methodology here are my own, but I think they work and they're fairly understandable.

In 2018, I watched 179 movies.

The numbers are derived from my blog posts, and should be fairly accurate.  It is likely I missed a movie or three somehow.

You can view the spreadsheet here.

I do not include movies I watched only in part, especially on television.  Example: I did not include National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, as I only watched 45 minutes of the movie in the largest chunk, and other chunks I caught out of order on cable television.

I am also not including anything that is a television series or part of a serial of episodes.  I am including movies that were intended for an initial release on television, streaming services, etc...  The movie does not need to have had a theatrical release.

(edit:  NathanC released his watch list for 2018 within minutes of this post going up.  Here you go.)

So... how'd it go?

We've got a Patreon - support The Signal Watch PodCast!



Hi, y'all. 

I've set up a Patreon!  Yay!

No, really, it's to basically defray the cost of hosting the PodCast.  I don't need much, but I won't turn down a huge cash gift, either.

So, anyway, the only tier is $1.50 per month.  I figure that's less than a Medium Pike Place at the Starbucks, so... affordablish.  And I set it up as a recurring monthly because my bill for hosting is monthly, too.  So. 

If we go over what I need to pay for SoundCloud, I'll figure something out - you might hear better microphones used or some such.  If we're all good in the neighborhood, I'll see about reducing the cost monthly.

If I can't convince enough of you good people that a $1.50 a month is a good idea, well...  let's just say we know where The Signal Watch PodCast stands.  (cough)

So.  Anyway - we'd sure appreciate your support.

We'll have exclusive blogposts and whatnot on the Patreon page (there's one there now!), and I may develop some behind-the-scenes content for the Patreon as well.  I mean, you guys would love to actually SEE what we look like and view our amazing production facility, I assume...?

So, I mean, really, a $1.50 is not exactly highway robbery.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Coming Up in 2019 Here at The Signal Watch

by November 2019.  The movies promised us.


Hi.  Happy 2019.

2018 was something of a year here at The Signal Watch. 

After years of pointed suggestions to do so, AmyC got me fired up and we started the PodCast, and, honestly, I've been delighted at the results.  On the actual blog, I've covered movies and comics.  Comments have all but dried up, but I've talked to a lot of you on social media and elsewhere.  I hope it's been worth the occasional check-in to see what's what here at the site.

The past two years, The Signal Watch has more or less turned into my personal film-watching journal which I like to share with you good folks.  I've written a post of some sort on virtually every movie I've watched for over 700 days, and in short order we'll do the numbers and talk about what we saw in 2018.

In 2019, I am not going to write a post on every movie I watch, even if I make a marker post of sorts that I did watch a film  (that marker post is for me, not you).  I'm not sure what form posts will take, but the steady pace of blogging on film will diminish - not that anyone is asking for it. 

I expect we'll find ourselves writing up a movie or three, especially those all-important superhero movies, and maybe some noir. 

For those of you who have been around since 2003 (2018 marked my 15th year since launching League of Melbotis), a change in format this year is just one more change.  Thanks for sticking with us, by the way.

Some of that energy we'll apply to improving the Signal Watch PodCast.  Last year I recorded and edited about three dozen episodes, and - brother - is that more work than I like to talk about. 

It's good that we produced episodes in volume.  I learned a lot quickly, technically and whatnot, but I think both my co-contributors and myself learned something about improving quality of content over that time, and I'd like to keep on that path, even if it means fewer episodes per year.  I mean, no one will cry if there isn't a new Signal Watch episode each week, I expect.  And I'd like my evenings back.  And, mostly, I want to make it worth everyone's while to spend time hearing us out.

Curiously, a lot of folks who aren't the usual co-contributors want to do an episode with me.  I'm not made out of time, but I do want to have friends jump in when we can manage it. 

I've been considering a very low-entry Patreon, simply because it does cost me *some* money to have a Soundcloud account.  I'd also like to get some better recording equipment, etc... and, shockingly, I have not been approached by any networks or sponsors to defray the costs.  I love you guys, but the economics of this are not terrific. 

On the comics front, I'm hoping to get back to writing up the Super books a little.  We'll see how it goes.  As always, that's so I spend some additional time with each issue and savor what's there, and I hope it's a nice thing for you to check in on and comment if you're also seeing what Big Blue and the Maid of Might are up to in the funny pages.

Keep talking to me on social media and in the comments.  It always makes it way, way more fun and less like I'm howling into the void. 

Anyway, onward and upward.  I expect 2019 will be part of this amazing trend of "what the actual hell is happening?" outside of the realm of entertainment, but we'll attempt to be a port in the storm.  Certainly worrying about mid-century crime movies is a better alternative than the news a lot of days.

I hope your 2019 brings joy and prosperity and our better tomorrow.




Musical Watch: Call Me Madam (1953)



Watched:  12/30/2018
Format:  disc
viewing:  first
decade:  1950's

When we were kids Ethel Merman was still part of the popular consciousness, but I'm not sure what folks my parents' age thought of her (I can pretty much guarantee my dad found her annoying).  Merman was a Broadway performer with a brassy voice and who had a sort of streetwise persona paired with a self-deprecating wit.  I think. 

Call Me Madam (1953) was originally a Broadway show with music by Irving Berlin and starring Merman, apparently a Tony Award-winning show.  I only listened to about five minutes of the commentary, but the narrator was quick to leap on the notion "look, this was based on stuff everyone in 1953 would have just known from the news, but hasn't really remained in the zeitgeist".  Despite the fairytale-like story, apparently Call Me Madam is loosely based on a real person and events.