Saturday, June 13, 2020
Tweetalong Watch: Frankenstein's Daughter (1958)
Format: Amazon Streaming
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)
Viewing: second or third
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)
Format: TCM on DVR
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
At 8:30 - pause the movie here. We'll give you the signal to sync up!
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
Format: Amazon Streaming
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.
Predator Main Theme - Alan Silvestri
Sunday, June 7, 2020
Noir Watch: Cornered (1945)
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on BluRay
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.
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