Saturday, March 11, 2023

PodCast 236: "Elvis" (2022) - a rock n' roll episode w/ SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  03/06/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Baz Luhrmann

Your two hunks o' burnin' love take on the Luhrmann-ized retelling of the life of The King. We ponder the nature of biopics, fame, Dutch accents, appropriate management fees, pink suits and the power of shaking one's hips. It's another Oscar-contender episode!



That's All Right - Elvis Presley 
Unchained Meldoy - Elvis Presley 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Friday Watch Party: The Killers (1946)

This one is a straight up banger.  The Killers (1946) brought the world Ava Gardner (we're celebrating her centennial) and Burt Lancaster.  It's based loosely on a short story from Ernest Hemingway, directed by Robert Siodmak and is the noiriest noir that ever noired.  

Also features Edmond O'Brien, Albert Dekker, Charles McGraw, William Conrad, Sam Levene, and a dozen other "hey, THAT GUY" type actors.  

I say "this is one of my favorite movies" a lot, but this one IS one of my faves and genuinely solid.

Day:  03/10/2023
Time:  8:30 PM Central, 6:30 PM Pacific
Cost:  $4

(link live ten minutes before showtime)

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Cyd Charisse at 101

Happy late birthday celebration to actor, singer, and - above all - dancer, Cyd Charisse.  Cyd would have been 101 yesterday on March 8th.  She passed in 2008.

If you've only heard of Ginger Rogers as the ideal dance partner, that's a fact.  No shade on Ginger.  But I can only encourage you to look into Cyd's work.  There's no one else like her in movies.  

Charisse was a force of nature as much as Astaire and Kelly, and while she didn't play the lead as often, she was in demand to work alongside them and she carried a few of her own films.  Graced with a physique that allowed her to be athletic, graceful and sexy as hell.  And, man, was she talented.  Thus, she moved seamlessly through dance genres and eras, always a highlight of the film's in which she appeared, even if just for a sequence.

Speaking of - she's the femme fatale in Singin' in the Rain's "Broadway Melody" movie within a movie, one of film's most justifiably memorable sequences.  

From "Broadway Melody":

which pairs well with "The Girl Hunt Ballet" from The Band Wagon with Astaire.

which segues us to "Dancing in the Dark".

Cyd Charisse is not solely responsible for my interest in checking out musicals that predate my birth, but she certainly was a key feature as I looked for her work quite often in my early days of classic film exploration.  

I do recommend her movie Party Girl in which she plays a starring role, but she's also the lead as girl gone bad!

Happy belated b-day, Cyd.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

PodCast 235: "Top Gun: Maverick" (2022) - a high-flying SimonUK and Ryan PodCast

Watched:  02/19/2023
Format:  Amazon?
Viewing: First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Joseph Kosinski

Simon and Ryan feel the need for speed! These two misfits should be thrown out of podcasting, but they're just too damn good. Instead, they're being sent to watch another sequel 30 years in the making. Join us as as we talk this Oscar contender, why it hit, what it does right and how it gets a pass for what it does wrong. And, against all odds, they don't dwell on Connelly for too long.



Main Titles (You've Been Called Back to Top Gun) - Harold Faltermeyer
Top Gun Anthem - Harold Faltermeyer

SimonUK Cinema Series

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Watch Party Watch: Strangers on a Train (1951)

this tagline is wildly misleading

Watched:  03/03/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Hitchcock

Well, that was certainly a good way to get to watch a second Ruth Roman movie in a week.  

I'd been mentally abusing the watch party participants recently via my choice of movies, so it seemed like time to watch an actually good movie with the team.  And my memory of Strangers on a Train (1951) was that it was a strong film, but I couldn't remember anything after the initial train sequence but a sense of how utterly @#$%ed the guy was who was not Farley Granger (Robert Walker*).  

Hitch is the most discussed director in Western cinema, and this movie gets no small amount of ink, so I don't feel terribly compelled to weigh in.  But I will say:

  1. this movie and Shadow of a Doubt certainly share a lot in common, and I'd want to dig more into that, and how he gets from here to Psycho by 1960
  2. The cops are directly responsible for manslaughter as well as considerable chaos and danger to the public through ineptitude in the final scenes
  3. Farley Granger's character never really has a compelling reason to not tell the cops what is happening, all things considered
  4. Robert Walker is phenomenal
  5. No one much mentions the dead ex-wife other than as a plot point.  Granger doesn't head home to the funeral, he doesn't mourn her in any way.  That's maybe the most suspicious bit of all, really.  
  6. I appreciate that Ruth Roman's character is given reason to believe Granger but wasn't entirely unsure he didn't kill his wife.  
  7. Pat Hitchcock co-stars in the film, and she's actually really good.  If your career is going to be the product of nepotism, might as well shoot for the moon
Anyway, this is what thrillers are for.  If you've never seen it, recommended.

*Walker passed shortly after the making of the film, while working on a new film. His biography on imdb is grimly fascinating