Saturday, September 4, 2021

Comics BioPic Watch: Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (2017)



Watched:  09/04/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's
Director/ Writer:  Angela Robinson

Why do biopics exist?  

No, really.  Because I don't think producers really know.  

Taking someone else's life and presenting it to the populace in order to tell a story that you want to tell, when you can't be bothered with reality or facts, is a tremendous disservice to the people you're speaking for.  It also means that whatever story you're telling - the point of it, whatever that might be - is now hopelessly compromised the moment someone googles the subject of your film.  Whatever homily you hoped to make of a life isn't going to survive first contact with anyone wondering why the hell you changed so many things.  The hubris, man.

Look, I am not a William Moulton Marston scholar.  I've read possibly three or four books about the history of Wonder Woman over the past 25 years, and I've done my fair share of reading of articles on and offline on same, and therefore touched upon the people at the center of Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017).  

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Screwball Magic Comedy Watch: I Married a Witch (1942)




Watched:  09/02/2021
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Rene Clair

Uh, look.  I know this movie is well regarded, but it wasn't my cup of tea.  It had some great ideas, some terrific effects for the era (and during WWII, no less).  And, let's be honest, I'd watch Veronica Lake do her taxes.

But it never hit me as funny, somehow.  Which seems like a good thing for a comedy to do.  It felt like it should have starred William Powell, and the pacing should have been different.  But the co-stars have no chemistry, and I think I turned it off 3 times before I finished it.

So.  A good one for other people, but.  Not so much me, which I was a bit sad about.  I know people love this.



Signal Watch in October: Friday Watch Parties Classic Horror Film Fest



This year, every Friday in October we'll watch a Halloween film and make it an Amazon Watch Party (pending unforeseen scheduling conflicts).  

But we're not going to go for the usual schlocky faire as we scour the bottom of the Amazon Prime "free to me" barrel.  We're going to watch a handful of films that you will have heard about and maybe seen once or twice, but make for excellent Halloween Classics.  

It will set you back the cost of the rental or purchase, but, hey, these will be movies you should probably see, anyway.

Your host will be that wiley creature of the night, Count Dracula Jr., whom Jamie LOVES.  Yes she does.

SCHEDULE

October 1 -   Dracula (1931)
October  8 -  Frankenstein (1932)
October 15 - Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
October 22 - The Wolfman (1941)
October 29 - Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)




Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Cameron Watch: The Abyss - Director's Cut (1989)




Watched:  08/28/2021
Format:  DVD I bought on ebay
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  James Cameron

I would have been about 14 when The Abyss (1989) hit, and it arrived as a sort of prestige sci-fi film.  I remember seeing it in a packed house on a Saturday within the first week or two it was out (with my pals), and it was a*very big deal*.  

It became a staple of our rotation, but one you had to make time for.  The thing was 2.5 hours long.  It felt smart and somewhat relevant.  A Cold War story and not so displaced from our own time and technology, an underwater oil platform made sense - especially as run by roughnecks and fairly blue-collar technical crew.  

Monday, August 30, 2021

PODCAST: "Shallow Grave" (1994) - a Signal Watch Canon Episode w. MBell, MRSHL and Ryan




Watched:  08/21/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  3rd or 4th
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Danny Boyle



What happens when three narcissistic jerks combine their powers and slowly turn against each other? You get a podcast! We welcome new contributor MBell to the podcast who brings us a suitcase full of surprises as we discuss the mid-90's Scottish indie film thriller that was a crucial bit of what was going on in the 90's cinema scene. Join us as we root around the attic of our minds and recall how this movie fit in for us as young adults and our appreciation of movies!




Music:
Shallow Grave Theme - Simon Boswell


Canon Episodes

Horror Catch-Up Watch: Candyman (1992)




Watched:  08/29/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Bernard Rose

Interesting.

So help me, from 1992 until about, oh, 2016, I thought Candyman (1992) was just another quick, cheaply produced horror entry along the lines of (forgive me) Leprechaun.  I really thought it was horny teens saying "Bloody Mary" in a mirror and getting murdered, and that seemed.... stupid.  I don't really care about a lot of horror, and that seemed like a good one to not care about.

In college (1993) I lived on the "arts" floor in Jester West, and our two study lounges had large murals painted on the walls from students past.  One room had kinda Nagel-esque pictures of pianos or something, and the other had a (not amazing) mural of Jimi Hendrix.  One day, a very nice girl from my floor came in there while I was studying and was upset she couldn't use the other room for one reason or another, and I said "well, you can study here.  I'm just reading." and she said "Nope.  That mural looks like Candyman."  And I was like "from the horror movie?"  She nodded and backed out and that was that.  

Strong reaction, that, I thought.  

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Regret Interaction Watch: "Burlesque" (2010)




Watched:  08/27/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Kind of first/ Kind of second
Decade:  2010's
Director:  Steve Antin


I had never seen the beginning or end of Burlesque (2010).  A few years back I had a barber/ stylist who had set up a salon in her house, and instead of the mirror in front of you, she had a television.  And one time I went in and watched a huge chunk of Burlesque, because she'd get distracted by the movie or TV show she was watching, and what should have been a 20 minute haircut (my hair is so boring, I call the style "The Continental"), turned into a nearly 90 minute journey every time.  

Anyway - she was into the movie, and I know lots of people are.  But I come bearing bad news.  Burlesque is a super terrible film that has so much money and star power thrown at it, it looks like it should be good and people kind of accept that maybe it is.  But it isn't.

Ed Asner Merges With The Infinite




Actor and icon Ed Asner has passed at the age of 91.

Asner was a fixture of television - I remember him on reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show when I was a kid, just like everyone else.  But he was massively prolific.  In no way do I identify Asner with a specific role or era.  He simply was a fact of entertainment.  

The most surprising role I saw him take was as the voice of Granny Goodness on Superman: The Animated Series.  I still remember watching the cartoon when Jamie was in the hospital and her mom was reading a magazine, and she looked up at the TV and said "is that a guy voicing that woman?" and I said "that's Ed Asner" and she put down her magazine and took in some Fourth World mayhem.

He had some kind of relationship with comics and sci-fi, because he also voiced Daggett on Batman: The Animated Series, as well as voices on Spider-Man, Freakazoid and certainly Disney's Gargoyles.  The last thing I saw him in was in Season 2 of Doom Patrol.  

But the man played everything, up to and including Santa Claus in holiday staple Elf.  Just one of those actors that when he showed up, we'd be pointing at the TV and saying "is that Ed Asner!?"  Always good, always spot on in whatever he did, and seemed like a delight of a man.

I'm very sorry to see him go.