Showing posts with label 1970's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1970's. Show all posts

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Fosse Watch: All That Jazz (1979)




Watched:  09/15/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First (all the way through)
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Bob Fosse

Not that long ago I watched the FX limited series Fosse/Verdon, an FX television production following the later careers of Broadway and Hollywood director Bob Fosse and his ex-wife - famed performer, Gwen Verdon.  If you've not seen it, I can't recommend it enough.  It stars two of the greats of this era, Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell, and features some amazingly nuanced performances by both, in a co-dependent relationship/ partnership that's bigger than a failed marriage.  

I'm not a musical theatre follower - and certainly no historian of the second half of the 20th Century when it comes to musical theater or movie musicals, but it's not hard to see the impact Bob Fosse left on the form, and why everyone is still scrambling to keep up.  His stage show of Chicago (2002) managed to win Academy Awards when turned into a hit movie decades after his passing (1987).  And during his lifetime he was a huge part of the movement that made musicals relevant, updated dance on Broadway, and turned sexiness from something blushing and suggested to something overt.  And - he made the films Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Lenny, Star80 and All That Jazz (1979).

I'd seen parts of All That Jazz years ago, but on a channel that cut it for TV and for commercials, and given the flow, I threw in the towel with an intention to watch it all in one shot - which I never did.  But i did see enough of it to gather some basic facts - I figured it was a confessional auto-biopic from when "directed by Bob Fosse" came up, and saw what the film was about.  So I didn't go into Fosse/Verdon totally unprepared.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Bear Watch: Grizzly (1976)


 

Watched:  09/07/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  William Girdler

So, I very much remember this VHS box fading on the shelf of pretty much every video rental place I went from the mid-80's to the late 90's.  I think it was usually in the horror section, which is an inaccurate place to put the movie, but it's not action, either.  But I never thought much about it - I just didn't rent it.  Looked like a movie about a large bear eating people, and I was pretty far into my 30's before I realized I liked movies about large animals giving humanity a bad time.

So, apparently there's a sequel that was never released, and it includes actors like Louise Fletcher, John Rhys Davies, George Clooney and.. most importantly.. Laura Dern.  Shot in 1983, it's just NOW about to get a release.  And I figured "well, I don't want to not know what happened in the first one...", and even though the original is 100% Laura Dern-free, Jamie and I fired it up.  

Friends: what if Jaws, but bear?  

That is the question posited by Grizzly, the highest earning independent movie ever when it was released in 1976.  And I'm not exaggerating - someone went to see Jaws and wrote down the events of that movie, and tried to map their own script onto the story of Jaws.  But instead of a 25 foot shark, we have a 15' grizzly bear.  Instead of a Sheriff, we have a Captain of the Park Rangers.  

They even include scenes like the Captain getting drunk when someone gets killed, and a spooky monologue about a herd of grizzlies eating people.  There are three main characters, but one of them (played by "that guy" actor Richard Jaeckel) is a mix of Hooper and Quint (he even wears Hooper's little hat).  

There's a Park Manager who doesn't want to shut the park down, invites in hunters... you're maybe familiar with the plot.

Anyway - it's also kind of plodding and gives you an idea what Spielberg and his editors did so well that this movie did not.  But, again, wildly successful!  

Anyhoo... I want to podcast this with Simon at some point.  So, more to come.


Friday, August 21, 2020

J-Swift Watch Party: Thank God It's Friday (1978)



Watched:  08/19/2020
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director: Robert Klane

This was Jenifer's choice of movie for a Watch Party on Wednesday, and it was a great choice.  Not a *bad* movie, but a fun one with lots of stuff to talk about.  It all takes place in one night at a disco in LA, following multiple storylines.  And! it features Donna Summer, Jeff Goldblum, Debra Winger, the actual Commodores, and a cast of dozens you will never see again. 

It's super goofy and has that belief in discos that you one saw in a handful of movies by people you suspect hadn't really spent all that much time in a disco, but it is full of 70's-flavored male chauvinism, 70's sexism, 70's-flavored ideas about dating and marriage, and the eternal power of Goldblum and the Commodores.

Donna Summer can't act, exactly, but she was *fun*, so there's that. 

You will spend a good amount of the movie runtime wondering if the movie is going to go for an endorsement of swinging, which feels odd, and in the end, I think it split the difference. 

Good pick, Jenifer!

Monday, August 17, 2020

PODCAST: "Le Samourai" (1967) and "The Conformist" (1970) - a European Neonoir Watch w/ JAL and RYan



Watched:  Le Samourai 07/28, The Conformist 07/31
Format:  HBOmax/ BluRay
Viewing:  third for both, I believe
Decade:  1960's/ 1970's
Director:  Jean-Pierre Melville  & Bernardo Bertolucci

For more ways to listen


Justin and Ryan head to Europe for some neo-noir! We swing through France for a hitman film and over to Italy for... well, he's not much of a hitman, really. One of these is absolutely noir and the other, we're kind of calling a noir - and we're pretty excited about both of them. Join us as for a double-bill, continental style!





Music:

Le Samourai Title Theme - Fran├žois De Roubaix
The Conformist Title Theme - Georges Delerue


Playlist - Noir Watch:




Monday, August 10, 2020

PodCast: 114 "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) - A Bond PodCast w/ SimonUK and Ryan


Watched: 07/30/2020
Format: BluRay
Viewing: Unknown
Decade: 1970's
Director: Lewis Gilbert

For more ways to listen


It's Roger Moore, and nobody does it better! One of the biggest-scale Bond movies, with some great villains, a terrific romance and cool-as-hell gadgets! What's not to like about this one? SimonUK and Ryan discuss a Bond movie that may be at sea, but is never adrift. Plus - Ryan gets to talk about Caroline Munro for a bit.




Music:

Nobody Does it Better - Carly Simon (like you didn't know)


Playlist:



Caroline Munro is here to remind you that just because you're trying to kill people doesn't mean you can't look your best



Saturday, July 25, 2020

Bruce Watch: Fist of Fury (1972)



Watched:  07/25/2020
Format:  Criterion BluRay
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Wei Lo

So, if the *last* Bruce Lee movie I watched I wondered "hey, why didn't they use more of the snow cone girl?" - friends, I have learned that is Nora Miao, and I was not the only one who thought she should get more screentime.  Here she plays the childhood sweetheart of Bruce Lee's Chen Zhen, and she appears in a few of Bruce Lee's big-name movies.

First, I loved Fist of Fury (1972).  Great story, interesting character arc, complex scenarios and amazing fight scenes.  Nothing to not like.  I don't know if the film had a much higher budget than The Big Boss, but it just *looks* better than the prior film, and the story is infinitely tighter.

The story will feel a bit familiar to those of us who've seen Fist of Legend (which you should 100% see), and I'm unclear if this movie is based on a true story of any kind.  I don't think so, but... the movie says it does?

When a Master of a martial arts school dies under mysterious circumstances, his star pupil, a passionate young Bruce Lee, returns to Shanghai to mourn - and, once he's clicked to the fact the death made no sense - seek out justice.  The story takes place in The Settlement, something I had to look up, an international portion of Shanghai that has a fascinating history.

The Japanese come to the funeral for the Master and basically bully multiple schools at once, knowing that the Chinese can't push back.  Except for Chen Zhen, who comes to the Japanese dojo and kicks the living crap out of *everyone* in a dynamic fight sequence.  However, this leads to retribution on several fronts and an impossible situation for Chen Zhen's school.

Bruce realizes this was the girl selling shave-ice in the last movie


At the heart of the film is Chen Zhen's romance with Nora Miao, and their interrupted dreams of settling down and running a martial-arts school, and the opportunity for Lee to do some dramatic acting alongside his angry-young-man work.

Anyway - shocker, this is a good Bruce Lee film.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Bruce Lee Watch: The Big Boss (1971)



Watched:  07/21/2020
Format:  Criterion BluRay
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Lo Wei

I've only ever seen two Bruce Lee movies, but - like everyone - I like the *idea* of Bruce Lee.  His byzantine relationship with America and Hong Kong, his cocksure manner that he could 200% back up, his ability to synthesize the old into the new, his drive and his ability to cut to the quick of reality in a few spare words that it comes off as spiritualism.

Be water, indeed.

The Big Boss (1971) is not Lee's first movie.  He'd been a child actor before getting sent to the US (where he was born and so had citizenship - his father touring in the US as a performer at the time of his birth) for street-fighting and headng down a bad path.  Lee had starred in 20 movies or so in Hong Kong, and appeared on US television as Kato and other roles, as well as appearing in the Chandler adapted film Marlowe (he's good, but his exit is not great).

He returned to Hong Kong to find out he was a bit of a star thanks to The Green Hornet, and was hired by Golden Harvest, who put him in The Big Boss.  By American standards of 1971, it's a low-budget production.  The story is fairly straightforward.  And Lee is used very strangely.

According to an interview attached to the disc, The producers weren't sure which of the two main characters at the start of the film would be the hero of the story, so Lee's character just sort of watches from the sidelines.  Apparently the producer, Raymond Chow, liked what he saw, because he canned the director and put Lee in the rest of the film - and the rest is history.

When he's finally allowed to cut loose, Lee is like a magnesium flare suddenly bursting into the film.  His martial arts are totally different, he's the fully formed, swagger-prone Lee you know.  The beginning of the movie is a decent set-up, if a bit stiff, but once Lee enters the fray (breaking a promise to his mother not fight), the rest of the movie takes off like a shot.  Including simple, dramatic scenes.

In a way, it's like seeing a character dropped in from another movie, and I am not bagging on 1970's martial arts films, but there's a reason The Big Boss kick-started Lee's superstardom.  He's really frikkin' good and clearly an innovator of character and fighting style. 

I won't oversell the actual film.  It's creaky and clunky, and marginally more adult than I had expected (some light nudity and sexuality paired with an axe to the head or two, and piles upon piles of dead people).  And there are plot holes.  But when it takes off, you don't really care all that much. 

Mostly I want to know what happened to the girl you see selling snow cones at the beginning.  I kept thinking she'd be relevant - but not so much. 

Here's to you, snow cone lady.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Watch Party Watch: The Stepford Wives (1975)


Watched:  07/17/2020
Format:  Amazon Prime Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Bryan Forbes

The Stepford Wives (1975) is a movie you will absolutely guess how it works and what it is, and how it will end, and you should absolutely still watch it.  

Starring Katharine Ross (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), it's a New York City woman with two young girls and a husband as they move into the suburban town of Stepford, CT.  Good schools, big houses and yards, it's a post WWII dream.  Immediately we learn that Joanna's (Ross) husband didn't actually consult with her about the move, which she found out was a done deal after she saw the house and agreed to it.  But she let that slide.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

PODCAST: 110 - "King Kong" 1933, 1976, 2005 & "KIng Kong Lives" (1985) and "Kong: Skull Island" (2017)



King Kong  (1976)
watched:  06/03/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing: No idea
Director:  John Guillermin

Kong Lives (1985)
watched 06/08/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  third?
Director: John Guillermin

Kong: Skull Island (2017)
watched: 06/12/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  second?
Director:  Jordan Vogt-Roberts

King Kong (2005)
watched:  06/13/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  third
Director:  Peter Jackson

King Kong (1933)
Watched:  06/23/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  no idea
Director:  Merian C. Cooper


For more ways to listen



It's King Kong-a-Palooza as we take on 5 movies about one big monkey. Stuart joins in as we talk about the modern mythology of King Kong, what the story tells us, and what it tells us about ourselves that we retell the story every few decades. We reflect on man, ape, mysterious islands, mystery in general, and fame as we ponder the various takes. Join us as we discuss 1933, 1976, 2005 "King Kong" installments, as well as "King Kong Lives" and the recent entry "Kong: Skull Island".





Music:
King Kong Main Theme (1933) - by Max Steiner
King Kong Opening Theme (1976) - by John Barry



Wednesday, July 1, 2020

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



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.

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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Kaiju Watch: Godzilla v. Gigan (1972)



Watched:  05/12/2020
Format:  Criterion BluRay
Viewing:  First all the way through
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Jun Fukuda

We're in that part of the Showa era of Godzilla where it's kinda for kids and every once in a while there's a bunch of samurai blood shooting out of a kaiju.  Godzilla v Gigan (1972) features about 30 minutes of WWE-style monster fighting at the end of the movie, so it's light on plot and eager to deliver what you paid to see.

Kaiju Watch: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)



Watched:  05/08/2020
Format:  Criterion BluRay
Viewing:  First as an adult
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Jun Fukuda


This movie is straight nonsense.

That's not exactly a criticism, but it is remarkable how, in a short couple of decades, Godzilla went from "manifestation of faults and failures of a nation coming back in the form of an unstoppable behemoth" to "giant friend to the children who likes a good bit of wrasslin' with other giant monsters".  As I said elsewhere, any time you see one of these movies and it stars a kid in shorts and a long-sleeve shirt, you know you're often getting a particular flavor of Godzilla that is knowingly goofy.

Monday, May 11, 2020

PODCAST: The Omega Man (1971) - Quarantine Watch w/ SimonUK and Ryan


Watched:  04/17/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  Third
Decade:  1970's
Director: Boris Sagal


More Ways To Listen

We're in quarantine, and there's one sci-fi movie that's been on our minds. Join us as we talk about being the last man on Earth! At least the last sane man on Earth. Except for those other people out there living in the 'burbs. Anyway, it'd be nice to just drive cars off the lot without having to haggle.




Music:
The Omega Man Theme - Ron Grainer


Playlist:




Thursday, April 23, 2020

PODCAST: "Superman: The Movie" (1978) a Super Movie Special with Stuart and Ryan


Watched:  04/12/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  oh, you kidders
Decade:  1970's
Director: Richard Donner

Ryan is joined by fellow Superman super-fan, StuartW, as they take on the 1978 superhero film that made the world believe a man can fly. It's a discussion of how lightning was caught in a bottle and set a template that the better superhero films still emulate. It's a geek-out fan-fest as Stuart and Ryan fly high into the movie that maybe both of them have seen way, way too many times.

More ways to listen





Music: - All Songs from Superman: The Movie, OST, composed by John Williams



Ryan's Random Playlist


Monday, April 20, 2020

Amazing Watch: Starcrash (1978)


Watched:  04/17/2020
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing:  6th?
Decade:  Italian 1970's
Director: Luigi Cozzi

Bunch of chuckleheads got together on Friday evening for a live-tweeting of Starcrash, the finest Italian-produced 1978 sci-fi film featuring a cowboy robot that I've ever heard of.

And I will defend Stella Star's fashion choices with my last, dying breath.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Kaiju Watch: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) AND Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)



Watched:  04/01/2020 and 04/03/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second?  First as an adult
Decade:  1970's

Frankly, on top of and due to Coronavirus happenings, work has been a bear, and - thus - in the evenings I've mostly just been looking for something *fun* when I peel myself out of my office chair and mosey down to the living room.   For some time, my Criterion Godzilla set has been calling to me from the bookshelf, so we finally broke into it a while back and started watching some Kaiju Kraziness.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Kaiju Watch: Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971)



Watched:  03/21/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's

I had never seen Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971), and I remember asking Stuart about it about a year or two ago, and he sort of said "it's the psychedelic one" and sort of gave an amused shrug, so... I didn't really know what to expect. 

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Huh Watch: Phantom of the Paradise (1974)


Watched:  02/23/2020
Format:  Cable TV
Viewing: First
Decade:  1970's, baby!

I have no idea why we aren't all constantly talking about Phantom of the Paradise (1974).

Written and directed by Brian DePalma, starring and with songs by Paul Williams, it's a 70's-splosion take on Phantom of the Opera and Faust, with impressionistic and stylized art design and cinematography mixed with oddball performances and larger-than-life glam rock fantasy - it's a hell of a thing to watch (and hear). 

For my music-aficionado pals and those of you who like something just amazingly, audaciously over the top - give it a shot.