Sunday, July 5, 2020

Ann Miller Watch: On the Town (1949)



Watched:  07/05/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1940's
Director(s):  Stanley DonenGene Kelly


Look, I'm not *proud* of the whole Ann Miller thing, but there it is.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Screwball Watch: My Man Godfrey (1936)


Watched:  06/28/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930's
Director:  Gregory La Cava

This movie got a scad of Oscar nominations and was very big upon its release.  It's a comedy about class, wealth, those who have money and those who don't in a contemporary picture released in the thick of the Great Depression.

Kaiju Watch: Godzila and Mothra - The Battle for Earth (1992)



Watched:  07/01/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  First (somehow)
Decade:  1990's
Director: Takao Okawara

Do you like pointless Indiana Jones rip-offs?  Confusing plot twists that come out of nowhere?  Psychics?  and our friends, the Twins/ Fairies/ Cosmos?  Sad Japanese people talking about how we're all boned anyway, because we're destroying our own environment?  Disappearing mullets? Plot threads that begin, are very important, and left unresolved?  Most of all - do you like MOTHRA?

Well.

Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) is here to deliver the goods.

In case you missed this on twitter

We're doing that "30 Days of Movies" thing on twitter, and I got bored of looking for real movies, so this is what we did for 3 days' worth of posts.

I made the second one first.  I dunno.  I love doing terrible photoshop work.

Day 16:  A film that is personal to you



Day 17:  Favourite film sequel




Day 18:  a film that stars your favourite actor/ actress


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Comedy Watch: Eurovision Song Contest - The Story of Fire Saga (2020)




Watched:  06/27/2020
Format:  Netflix Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade: 2020's
Director: David Dobkin


I am not going to write this up and/ or oversell it.  But it was better than I thought it would be, and I got to see Pierce Brosnan play an Icelandic fisherman.  And now I know who Rachel McAdams is after Jamie explaining to me who she is once a year for twenty tears.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Noir Watch: The Lady From Shanghai (1947)



Watched:  06/29/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM
Viewing:  third
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Orson Welles

The backstory to the making of The Lady From Shanghai (1947) is famous, gossipy Hollywood lore.  Hayworth starred alongside soon-to-be-ex husband and director, Orson Welles, transformed from the red-coiffed icon of Gilda into a platinum blonde and a femme fatale.

A bit like The Big Sleep, a lot of people talk about how this movie is confusing, but I didn't find it particularly so.  While I cop to the fact that The Lady from Shanghai isn't a pat story and that the plot wanders - it all holds together within each character's motivation, and I don't really get the complaints.  From Muller's shownotes, I'll give the credit for cohesive storytelling not to Welles, but to his editor Viola Lawrence, who took Welles' loose footage and worked with him to get it into some sort of story, and got it cut to a standard-length picture when Welles left the movie.

PODCAST: "Jaws" (1978) - Fourth of July Cinema w/ SimonUK, Jamie and Ryan


Watched:  06/24/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: ha!
Decade:  1970's
Director: Steven Spielberg

For more ways to listen - Podcast options


Something's fishy as we discuss one of the first megablockbusters. It's a Signal Watch Summer Spectacular as we discuss a movie with teeth! Bite down on Spielberg's first smash hit, while we chum the waters with more than an hour of chatter that'll have you wishing you brought a bigger podcast player.




Music:
Jaws Main Title - John Williams, Jaws OST
Out to Sea - John Williams, Jaws OST


Simon Playlist



Monday, June 29, 2020

80's Watch: Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)





Watched:  06/29/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  John Hughes

There's no point in talking much about Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), one of the most discussed movies of two generations.  And, of course, Josh Gad's web series Reunited Apart recently brought a gaggle of cast members back to discuss the film.  On this note, Jamie suggested we give it a watch - which we hadn't done in a few years, at least not in pieces, edited, on cable. 

I have no idea what today's kids see when they look at the movie.  The idea of wealthy, white kids running around Chicago without consequence, with a suggestion of sex between the leads, would surely get a social media tsking, and a shocked look from kids who can't understand teens not getting a ride from mom or just spending the day online playing Fortnite.  I don't know. 

It holds up, in its way - at least for those of us who for whom it was a staple and cultural touchstone. 

In 1986 I saw the movie with my parents (I would have been 11), who gave me some surprising insight into what they thought of me at the time by repeatedly saying "Ryan, don't get any ideas".  It is fine - I did not.  They really underestimated my form of laziness where it was easier to just go to school than make up the work.  I don't think I cut class til college. 

It really is an amazingly well put together comedy with an outstanding cast.  I mean: Edie McClurg, people.  But naming names - you all know who is in here and what they do.  The funny thing is, the older I get, the funnier I find Jennifer Grey.  She was always funny - but that seething, misdirected rage is just... amazing, as is her turn at the end.

And how can you not like a movie where they watch The Cubs play?

Anyway - yeah.  You know the movie. 


Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad


Today marks the 52nd anniversary of my parents, The Admiral and KareBear. 

These two have made it through all sorts of nonsense over the years, not the least of which was weathering raising me, which was no picnic.  Anyway, they're still the dream team of parenting and now grandparenting, and their own partnership gave me a pretty good model for how to make one of these marriage things work. 

Of course Jamie and I can't be with them on their Anniversary, but as they live in town, we've been meeting up on weekend mornings in my backyard, socially distant and all that.  It's been really great, honestly.  (On opposite weekends we've been trying to drive to San Marcos as Jamie's dad has a *great* back porch that gets a breeze in the evening).   

The picture above is from last summer when Jamie and I visited my mom's original stomping grounds in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  She's the child of Finnish immigrants, and they still very much celebrate Finnish heritage in the U.P. *  She met my dad when he was stationed near her hometown working on B-52's during the Doctor Strangelove days. 

Anyway - congrats to these two.  52 years is nothing to sneeze at. 


*My dad is an American Mutt.  Name a Western European nation, and he's got a bit of it.  And probably a lot of things we don't know about.  We were all very disappointed to learn our last name is actually English and not a mangled European name spelled out phonetically at Ellis Island.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Doc Watch: Becoming (2020)


Watched:  06/26/2020
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Nadia Hallgren

I'm aware Michelle Obama is a polarizing figure, what with encouraging kids to eat healthy and being an interesting, intelligent counterpart to her husband.  But, hoo boy, in a period of American journalism which seems distant and we can hope is on the ash-heap, the press sure tried to find ways to make her a villain. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Tweetalong Watch: (Spawn of) Slithis (1978)


Watched:  06/26/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Stephen Traxler

Literally nothing happens for 97% of the movie.  I hated everyone in it but the woman named "Jeff".  Well, I also liked the monster. 

But it is a movie named not after a monster, but after radioactive mud.  Which.  Come on, guys.

Doc Watch: Thelonius Monk - Straight, No Chaser (1988)



Watched:  06/27/2020
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Charlotte Zwerin

I am not a jazz aficionado - that's NathanC's gig.  I honestly haven't put on a Thelonius Monk album in a while - maybe years.  I did go through my jazz phase twenty years ago, so, yeah, I still have those albums. 

TCM has been doing a series called "Jazz in the Movies", which I haven't watched much of, but decided to record a couple of films one night, and had heard that Thelonius Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988) was an exemplary doc.  This reputation was earned, and I am sure jazz fans all know it.

For folks like myself who are only vaguely aware of Monk, it's a fascinating crash course to get you past simply enjoying the music and understand the man who made it.  Shocker of all shockers - a pre-eminent jazz artist has a complicated life and personal issues.  Unlike Miles Davis, the wounds aren't as self-inflicted, but they do weigh on him. 

Culled from footage shot on a late career tour and post-death interviews with colleagues, the doc paints a portrait of a complicated man who was *loved* by the people who knew him and couldn't help but stand in awe of his genius.  And, yeah, I don't use the word genius a lot - but the names tied to Be-Bop sure seem like they deserve it.

It wasn't hurt at all by the intro and outro conversations on TCM by Eddie Muller (who knew he knew jazz?) and his majesty Wynton Marsalis (and, yes, I've see Marsalis play live once and it was worth every penny). 

The doc gives the music room to breathe, and reminded me how and why I went through that jazz era.  And what I'll be listening to after Jamie turns in tonight. 

Noir Watch: Underworld USA (1961)



Watched:  06/26/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Samuel Fuller

One of the things I enjoy about watching noir and older films is figuring out how great some directors really were.  I still haven't watched enough Samuel Fuller, but I have yet to see a Fuller movie that didn't hit me over the head like a 2x4, and Underworld U.S.A. (1961) is no exception.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

PODCAST: "Total Recall" (1990) - Arnie-Fest continues with SimonUK and Ryan!


Watched:  06/18/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Paul Verhoeven

More ways to listen - choose a podcast format


We get our respective asses to Mars and talk Arnie's big-budget sci-fi opus, "Total Recall". Is this the real life? Is it just fantasy? Simon and Ryan dig into this 1990 fan favorite full of rad ideas, great sets and design, a terrific cast and a pace that's hard to beat. From the director of "RoboCop" and Sharon Stone's star turn! Open your minds and join us!
 


Music: 
Total Recall Main Theme - Jerry Goldsmith



Playlists

Arnie-Fest



SimonUK Cinema Series

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Friday Tweet-a-Long: Slithis (1978)



Movie:  (Spawn of the) Slithis - 1978
Watch Movie at:  Amazon Streaming
Day: 06/26/2020
Time: 8:30 PM

hashtag: #slithis

Let's pause it right at the beginning and wait for the cue at the hashtag.  We usually get going right at 8:32 or so.



This looks super good.  Nuclear waste!  Swamp creature!  Southern California sun-dappled beach town and mayhem and murder!  And very, very good acting.  Plus, it looks like they're kinda riffin' on Jaws, too.

Friday night!  Prepare your own beverage of nuclear waste, fire up your twitter machine and join us as we ponder SLITHIS.  Or SPAWN of the SLITHIS.  Or whatever they called this thing.




Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Spidey Watch: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018)



Watched:  06/23/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  No idea
Decade:  2010's
Directors:  Peter RamseyBob PersichettiRodney Rothman

I feel like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) found its audience on home video that it didn't quite find at the theater, which makes me wonder how the coming sequel will do.  I will say - I am delighted that the movie is finding the bigger audience it deserves and I'm still disappointed in Sony for failing to push the movie harder when it was coming out.  Especially because - as much as I like the movie, it's just something to see on the big screen.  I feel like a lot of people I've talked to who watched it on their screens aren't quite getting it because they aren't able to "see" the movie the same way and see how every frame and every detail is next level work. 

Maybe when theaters re-open and there's nothing new to show, Sony can re-release S:ItSV.  If they do, go see it on the biggest screen you can find.

At some point in the past year I mentioned wanting to show this movie to my dad, and he was just sort of confused (it happens.  He was not expecting a Spidey rec.).  But, man, this movie does such a phenomenal job of catching what it is to be in those early years of high school where you're figuring things out, and your parents are looking in from the outside as you come into yourself and find your people.

One of these days. 

Anyway - in these days of challenge and change, I'm glad Jamie thought to put it on.  Anyone can wear the mask.


Tweet-a-Long Watch - "Basket Case" (1982)



Watched:  06/19/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Frank Henenlotter

We've been taking suggestions from the peanut gallery for Friday night Tweet-a-Long, and Lauren brought this one.

Horror isn't really my thing, but sometimes the movies hit me just right, and that was the case with Basket Case (1982).  A no-budget film that relies on a strong concept, some non-Henson-inspired puppetry and a go at stop-motion that would do Gumby proud, it's just simply way better than it seems like it should be. They go with less-is-more approach to our friend in the basket, and make sure a heaping helping of the horror is the descent our lead is on, acting out of love and Stockholm Syndrome.

Essentially the story follows a young man who hits NYC with *something* in a wicker basket - his conjoined twin from whom he was separated at a young age, with the intention the twin would die.  Both have lived, and now seek revenge on the doctors who performed the surgery.

Along the way, the more normal brother begins to get an idea of what it would be to fall in love - which is at odds with his brother for any number of reasons I'll leave it to you to find out.

Anyway - good pick, Lauren!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Doc Watch: Making the Apes - The Artists Who Changed Film (2020)



Watched:  06/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  William Conlin

There's not much to spoil here - it's a fact based documentary on the people behind the iconic make-up for the run of the original 5 Planet of the Apes films, the TV show and more.  It does a good job of contextualizing the state of the art in the mid-60's and how they got there, starting in the Lon Chaney era. 

Really, what I liked is that - as much as it's about the make-up and creation of - it gives personality and stories to the people who were there and made a vision a reality.  We sometimes forget there are minds and lives behind the people who aren't the writers, directors and actors - but those unseen wizards who rise at 2:30 AM to be at work by 4:30 AM to get the actor on the set by morning, looking like a gorilla?  Those are people who fell in love with monster make-up to such a degree, that's how they love and what they've chosen to do. 

And, of course, for the people involved, Planet of the Apes - which won an honorary Academy Award for make-up before it became a staple of the Oscars - was a major turning point in the lives of a lot of people in the Hollywood make-up industry.  It was sort of the digital T-Rex of its day. 

It's currently streaming on Amazon, and if you're any kind of POTA fan, I recommend giving Making the Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film a go. 

Jackie Watch: Supercop (1992)



Watched:  06/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stanley Tong

Back during my early years of college, one of the student associations would bring in Hong Kong cinema to Hogg Auditorium on the University of Texas campus.  JAL and a few others of us would wander down there,  and the place would be half-full with bats flying around during the show.  Sometimes we'd be less sober than other times, but we were getting great stuff that didn't play even the arthouse theaters, and seeing it on the big screen.

But the thing JAL first used to get me to show up was describing how Jackie Chan films worked, so - we went and watched Police Story 3: Supercop

Friday, June 19, 2020

Noir Watch: Backtrack (1990) and Murder by Contract (1958) w/ JAL & Ryan


Watched:  06/11/2020 (Backtrack) & 06/16/2020 (Contract)
Format:  Amazon Streaming and TCM Noir Alley
Viewing:  First / Second
Decade:  1990's/ 1950's
Director:  Dennis Hopper/ Irving Lerner

More ways to listen - choose an app


We're back with more noir - neo and otherwise! It's two movies about weirdo hitmen filmed 30 years apart. One is from the go-go 90's and has a lot of surprises, and the other is a cult classic of noir, about a man who just wants enough money to get that house he's had his eye on. Both have casts worth discussing and off-kilter approaches to their form. Join JAL and Ryan as we make our way through two features that don't get that many mentions.





Music:
The Executioner Theme - Perry Botkin, Murder By Contract score


Noir Playlist:

Kaiju Watch: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)



Watched:  06/17/2020
Format:  Criterion BluRay
Viewing:  4th? - for whatever reason, I've seen this a few times
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Ishiro Honda

This one I've seen a few times and very much remember watching it as a kid on some local UHF channel.  However, I think watching it with Japanese language subtitled to English may have changed a few details.  I swear I thought this whole movie took place on Mars. 

It does not. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Friday Tweet-a-Long: Basket Case!





Movie:  Basket Case (1982)
Watch at:  Amazon Streaming
Price:  $2.99 HD, $1.99 SD (it was shot in 16mm, so...)
Day:  Friday 06/19/2020
Time:  8:30 Central

hashtag:  #badhamper

at 8:20, I'll tweet out a screenshot of where we're pausing, so look for the hashtag


This Friday, the movie is no picnic!  It's Basket Case, a 1982 no-budget horror movie made in NYC and selected by our own Lauren (in NYC, natch). 

I've never seen it, but watched a clip that was bananas.  So - get ready for some old school, 16mm Rated-R nuttiness.  I assume, based on the rating, era, what I read of the movie's description, etc... if you're a sensitive sort, this may be one to skip.

But I hope you don't!  This movie is pretty famous and it's worth a gander.  Come and behold one angry puppet.




Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Wonder Watch: Wonder Woman - Bloodlines (2019)



Watched: 06/15/2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: First
Decade: 2010's
Director: Sam Liu, Justin Copeland

I don't watch DC Animated Films like I used to, but the Reign of Supermen film last year was okay, and I was curious how they were going to handle The Silver Swan, who was on the poster for this movie. Plus, I am not like to avoid a Wonder Woman movie.

For anyone who reads Wonder Woman comics, the story borrows from the Perez era, the Jimenez era and the Rucka era - plus whatever the continuity derives from the DC animated movies, post Flashpoint. I watched with Jamie who has read a good chunk of Wonder Woman comics, but not as much of the Perez era, so I was surprised how many gaps I was mentally filling in which, for her, were larger story gaps.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Wacky Watch: What's Up, Doc (1972)




Watched:  06/13/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing: First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Peter Bogdanovich

I'd had this cooling on the DVR for a long time, but Jamie wanted to watch a comedy and I'd had this vouched for by a few people, including our own NathanC.  What's Up, Doc? (1972) was a movie I'd seen name-dropped for decades, but didn't think much about it.  Lately, the past couple years or so, though, both some of y'all and a few comments I picked up by osmosis led me to become curious about the movie.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Tweetalong Watch: Frankenstein's Daughter (1958)



Watched:  06/12/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Richard E. Cunha

Oh.  Oh my.

Well.  So.  I dunno, you guys.

I mean, "Oliver" Frankenstein just doesn't sound right. And I don't know why he was turning the pretty young lady he was living with into a monster in the evening with a potion he kept passing off as fruit punch.  I was never clear what was going on with the girl's uncle and what he was science-ing upon.  But we do run over a kind of catty young lady and she gets turned into a shambling monster.

Anyway.  There's a backyard cookout with a band and a very long musical interlude.



Friday, June 12, 2020

Denny O'Neil Merges with The Infinite



I am terribly, terribly sorry to report that Dennis "Denny" O'Neil has passed.  I am often genuinely saddened when I see someone has gone on to their reward, but sometimes it hits harder.

It is difficult to measure the impact O'Neil had on comics, popular culture and culture writ-large.  And I doubt many people outside us comics nerds (and possibly only comics nerds of a certain age) know his name.  O'Neil was one of the giants, someone I "liked" as a kid when I'd read his stuff, but as an adult and went back through the history of DC and saw all he'd accomplished?

O'Neil is one of the creators largely responsible for the version of Batman you know and love.  He revitalized and solidified Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), making them relevant as sounding boards for the issues of the day.  He updated Superman and took on the challenge of turning Wonder Woman into a secret agent (with mixed results).  You may know the long runs on Batman that wound up informing Batman: The Animated Series, or the famous "Hard Travelling Heroes" period of Green Lantern/ Green Arrow.  His run on Superman is actually pretty well written, if unsustainable.  The run on Wonder Woman is flat out wild and strange, and - issues though it may have - it's a fascinating attempt to try to update (and maybe a good cautionary tale for every time the internet tells DC to update Wonder Woman).

I first learned his name, I believe, on the cover of The Question (along with Denys Cowan), and soon I looked for his name in association with a certain level of storytelling I thought surpassed most of what was on the rack.

O'Neil didn't just tell stories that took DC heroes on new journeys and challenged them in new ways, he invented a large number of characters for DC and more.   Those characters were a huge part of comics of my youth from O'Neil and others, and wound up in cartoons, movies and more.  Scroll down this page to see a list of his contributions.

It's odd to see the passing of someone who was part of the second generation to enter comics, the folks who were handing off the torch as I was showing up as a reader.  But O'Neil in particular is going to be missed.  But us comics folk aren't the type to forget a person's contribution or what they did to advance the narratives that inspire and entertain us.  And inspired others to create more on the foundations they built.

We'll miss you, Denny.



Kaiju Watch: Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster (1964)



Watched:  06/10/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  second or third
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Ishirō Honda


This movie is straight up nonsense and is, therefore, ideal.

January in Tokyo sees 82 degrees temperatures and an encephalitis epidemic.  People are all about UFO's.  A Princess is seeking asylum from her small country in Japan because (a) there is an assassination plot afoot before she can be coronated and (b) everyone is wearing Elizabethan collars and it is a fashion nightmare.  The Faeries are touring Japan and appearing on gameshows?

Anyway - we get way, way into the movie before there's even a hint of kaiju.  Instead, there's a plot about the princess jumping out of her plane before it explodes and then appearing in Tokyo possessed by a Venusian and predicting calamity (see: Ghidorah).  A reporter and her brother are stepping on each other's toes.  There's a hit squad of 4 very hep cats after the princess.

Noir Watch: The Woman in the Window (1944)



Watched:  06/10/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Fritz Lang

This film has a tremendous premise, a terrific cast, and is absolutely knee-capped by the Hayes Code in the final minutes.  I wouldn't say it's not worth watching, but if you're squinting at the movie and aware of the rules of the road for a movie made in 1944, and wondering "holy heck, how is *this* going to resolve?" - you may be on to something.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Friday Night Tweet-a-Long: "Frankenstein's Daughter" (1958)


Movie:  Frankenstein's Daughter
Watch:  Amazon Prime  
Day:  Friday - 06/12/2020
Time:  8:30 PM Central

hashtag:  #fraufranky

At 8:30 - pause the movie here.  We'll give you the signal to sync up!

"dis"astor pictures!


Apparently shot in 6 days and on $65,000 - what could go wrong?  Apparently no one told the make-up artist the monster was to be female so get ready for an accidentally progressive 1950's monster film where we respect the featured creature's pronouns.

I believe this film has 2 monsters, a band and some mad, mad science.

We're going old school!  Join us as we delve into some 1950's monsterriffic mayhem!








Tuesday, June 9, 2020

PODCAST: "Predator" (1987) Arnie-Fest Continues w/ SimonUK and Ryan



Watched:  06/04/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  John McTiernan

For more ways to listen, visit the link.

Arnie-Fest continues as Simon and Ryan get to da choppa and do not camouflage their adoration of this 1980's sci-fi actioner staple. We talk about the cross-genre bending of the film, the changes to action in this era, Bill Duke, exult the acting skills of Arnold, and generally have a grand old time talking about what is maybe one of the best remembered movies of the second half of the 80's - and with darn good reason.



Music:

Predator Main Theme - Alan Silvestri


Playlist:




Sunday, June 7, 2020

Noir Watch: Cornered (1945)



Watched:  06/04/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on BluRay
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Edward Dmytryk

There's a lot to like in Cornered (1945), categorized here as Film Noir, but it's early in the movement and won't fit some people's ideas of the category.  Still, a man driven half-mad by obsession ignores common sense in pursuit of his goals, his weaknesses clobber him repeatedly and near fatally, and there are possibly scheming women, even as he sets about solving a mystery.  He's not a professional detective, but former Canadian RAF pilot Gerard (a not Canadian-polite Dick Powell) is recovering at the end of the war and learns that the French girl he met and married while hiding out in a village after being downed, was rounded up and killed by a Nazi collaborator.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Kaiju Watch: Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000)



Watched:  06/01/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  00's
Directors:  Masaaki TezukaIshirô Honda

In general, I like dragon flies.  They remind me of lazy summer days and hanging out by the pool.  Sometimes they even land on you when you're on a float, and that's kind of fun.

I do not care, however, for the Megaguirus, the giant flying SOB that is the villain of the piece in Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000).  Some of the monsters in Godzilla's rogues gallery are jerks - I'm looking at you, Ghidorah - but I straight up want to punch Megaguirus in its toothy face.  I can find room in my heart for a space monster that is just doing its thing of domination via rampage, but Megaguirus brings nothing to the table, charm-wise, while also being a real pain.

All the worst things bugs do?  Megaguirus is all about those things.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Let's Do This Watch: The Dallas Connection (1994)




Watched:  05/30/2020
Format:  Full Moon on Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Christian Drew Sidaris

In the wake of Hard Ticket to Hawaii, and with a 7-day trial of "Full Moon" available, I clicked around to see what else might be available from the Malibu Bay film collection.  I stumbled upon The Dallas Connection (1994), another Bullets, Bombs and Babes movie from the studio.

PODCAST: "Commando" (1985) a SimonUK Cinema Series Installment!



Watched: 05/22/2020
Format: BluRay
Viewing: HA ha ha ha ha ha
Decade: 1980's
Director: Mark L. Lester

For more ways to listen, click here.

SimonUK and Ryan discuss one of the finest films ever produced, the 1985 action opus, "Commando". Starring our beloved Arnie, the movie is an ideal of the action genre and narrative economy, while also featuring a fantastic cast, a possibly unintentionally weirdo bad-guy, a multi-talented Rae Dawn Chong, and Bill Duke as Bill Duke. We explore the incredible amount of goofy violence, idyllic child-rearing, unlikely explosions and what it means to strip down for a ride in a rubber raft.



Music:
Main Theme - James Horner, Commando OST

That time in 2014 when Simon and I met Mark L. Lester.

Simon and Lester get photobombed by Not-Matrix 



yours truly with the man himself


Playlist:

Friday Tweet-a-Long: "Beastmaster"



Movie:  The Beastmaster - 1982
Watch:  Streaming on Amazon Prime
Day:  Friday 06/05/2020
Time:  8:30 PM

hashtag:  #tigerdye

Let's pause the movie here and wait on my signal:

the name that means "quality?"


Let's watch a movie about a grown man who walks around like it's okay to keep your ferrets in a duffel bag.*  He also has a large cat and a bird.  And Tanya Roberts!  And many, many muscles.

It's a pre-"V" Mark Singer in a fantasy movie I haven't seen since high school.  This is one that if you ask any dude between the ages of 52 and 40, they will swear this movie is good.  But very few of us have watched it since, say, 1991.  We don't really know.

In fact, aside from Mark Singer wearing a loin-cloth and constantly surrounding himself with animals (get a dog, Mark.  Sheesh.), I don't really remember what the movie is even about.  Probably an evil army that needs defeating.



Understandably, Conan: The Barbarian costs something to watch, so we're not doing it.  I am also furious that Amazon has the balls to actually charge for:

  • Krull
  • Sheena
  • Red Sonja
  • Conan: The Destroyer
  • Clash of the Titans

and many, many other films that I would immediately watch if they were not $4.  But Beastmaster is free to stream with Prime, so we're doing it.

Seriously, Red Sonja is the bomb.




*I mean, we all knew that guy in college, and he seemed colorful at first and then, eventually, you realized he just kind of sucked.  Ferrets are great, and I loved them when my brother kept a couple of them, but they are not meant to go places with you so you can use them in place of a personality.

In a Time of Virus: The Dams Break


It started with protests in several cities in the wake of the George Floyd murder.  George Floyd was a Black man apprehended by police under suspicion he'd floated a bogus $20 bill.  For this, he was pinned to the ground by his throat beneath the knee of a man with a gun, who was supported by three of his fellow officers, as the suspect begged for air.  This went on for almost 9 minutes.

The murder, and it was murder, occurred in broad daylight and on camera, carried out by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  A lot of people will try to call what occurred as a police officer pinned a man's neck to the ground with his knee for 9 minutes something else.  Maybe they'll say it was unintentional (the video suggests otherwise), or just breaking some eggs to make an omelet.  But in the era of cameras everywhere, the past fifteen years taught us how to pay attention to how people are policed and how police do their work.  And how police officers do not police each other.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Tweet Watch: Hard Ticket To Hawaii

Dr. Freud is doing cartwheels in his grave


Watched:  05/29/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming on "Full Moon"
Viewing:  Second, as it turns out
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Andy Sidaris

As was said during the viewing, "this movie was actually printed on toxic masculinity".  It's hard to remember how different things actually were in the 1980's, but different they were.  Or, at least, certain held viewpoints were much more in the forefront of popular culture.  And I'm not pretending like Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987) was a popular movie or one most people alive during the era had seen, but it is emblematic of a certain kind of filmmaking that one could now hand over to a film-studies undergrad to get them to *really, really* understand the concept of "the male gaze" in movies.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Friday Night Tweet-A-Long: (I hope you've got $4 for a) HARD TICKET TO HAWAII



Movie:  Hard Ticket to Hawaii
Available at:  (for $4) Amazon Streaming
Day:  Friday - 05/29/2020
Time:  8:30 PM Central/ 3:30 Hawaiian time

Hashtag:  #alohard

Get ready for action, adventure, tropical settings and - I'm assuming - nudity.  It's Hard Ticket to Hawaii!  It's a NSFW foray into a very particular blend of 1980's movie making, merging automatic weapons with vendetta-mad baddies and athletic-wear models in shorts.

I've never seen it - so you cannot hold me personally or legally responsible.  And, yes, it will cost you $4 unless you sign up for "Full Moon" for a free trial, which... hey, maybe Full Moon is amazing?  How am I to say?*

A foretaste of the feast to come:







*looking at their website, it LOOKS like it's amazing



Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Forgot to Mention It Watch: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)



Watched:  05/something/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Carl Reiner

I watched this weeks ago and a stray comment from Jenifer reminded me I for to post about it, but I did watch it. 

Now I'm too tired to write about it. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Endurance Watch: Screwballs (1983)



Watched:  05/24/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  I don't care

Back in the day, Hollywood settled upon a few formulaic items which generated endless, cheaply produced and ultimately very profitable movies.  Some took place in college, some in high school.  All were wildly horny, Rated-R and intended for a high school audience.  One such formula developed that deeply owed a debt to Animal House wherein a group of misfit dudes got up to increasingly randy, episodic shenanigans in pursuit of good times and bad sex.  The movies were an excuse to put boobs on screen, have young talent who couldn't act do Tex Avery character impersonations, lean into misogynistic and often racist stereotypes and somehow never quite be either as funny or sexy as you were figuring on.

PODCAST: "Superman II" (1981) - A Super Film Selection w/ Ryan and Stuart



Watched:  05/21/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown.  A lot.
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Richards Lester and Donner


For more ways to listen.


Everyone loves "Superman II", or at least that's how they remember it. Listen in as two guys who have seen this movie way, way too many times, read too much about it and - frankly - thought more about it than an adult person probably should set about discussing the follow-up to the super-tastic "Superman: The Movie". This one has the big bad-guy fight! But also, weird powers, a shiny disco bed, and will the real Gene Hackman please stand up?








Music: 

Can You Read My Mind? - Maureen McGovern



Playlist:


Noir Watch: The Crimson Kimono (1959)



Watched:  05/24/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Samuel Fuller

One of the deep dives I'm likely to do in the next couple of years is dive into the filmography of director Samuel Fuller.  I've never seen a Fuller film I didn't like *a lot*.  Pickup on South Street, Shock Corridor, The Naked Kiss...  all solid films.  A while back The Crimson Kimono (1959) played the Austin Noir City film festival, but I wasn't able to stay for the movie, and now I'm very mad at myself for not sticking around for the movie (I think Paul saw it). 

Comedy Watch: The Lovebirds (2020)



Watched:  05/24/2020
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Michael Showalter

I wasn't sure what to expect.  I don't love rom-coms, and there's a weird sub-genre of "couple gets caught up in a crime and run around downtown" sub-genre that I've never had an interest in exploring. 

This one, however, worked for me.  I generally like Kumail Nanjiani - and that continues on here - and I really liked Issa Rae.  She's pretty great. 

Anyhoo, not going to overthink this one, but it was the right movie for us this weekend.