Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Sunday, February 7, 2021
|they misspelled Lynda Carter's name. Well done, person in 1976.|
Saturday, January 23, 2021
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
The Signal Watch is sad we've lost a film icon in Sean Connery, so SimonUK and yours truly check out one of Connery's less discussed but curiously interesting films - where he plays a middle-aged Robin Hood returning to Sherwood Forest after 20 years away. A meditation on legends, aging, love, what drives us and what we hang onto.
Monday, November 16, 2020
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Monday, October 26, 2020
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
Director: Peter Sasdy
Friday, October 23, 2020
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Monday, October 12, 2020
Saturday, October 3, 2020
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Format: Amazon Watch Party
Director: Brian Clemens
I kinda like this goofy movie.
Hammer had the not-all-that-bad idea in a post-James Bond era to frame a new character as one of the disaffected antiheroes that had made their way into film. I am certain this was intended to be the first of several films starring Captain Kronos, but Hammer studios was on the verge of collapse and wsn't able to continue the adventures of the good Captain.
The movie is also - I learned - part of the Karnstein vampire saga which began with an adaptation of the 1872 novel Carmilla starring Ingrid Pitt and retitled The Vampire Lovers. As an alternative to the Dracula films, Hammer had found new angles on the Karnsteins across 3 films in 1970 - 71 before the incredibly iffy return of Drac in 1972.
This film sees a vampire that haunts the woods outside a remote village. The local doctor calls in a friend from "the war", an expert swordsman who pairs with a Van Helsing-like expert in vampire affairs to root out and eliminate the fiends (and in Hammer, especially, the vampires are not just misunderstood weirdos or X-Men with a blood addiction). Kronos is Hammer's version of a bad-motherf@#$er - chain smoking his way through the film, rescuing a grateful Caroline Munro from her small-minded fellow villagers and bringing her along for the inevitable sex scene and to fawn over him throughout the movie.
For their part, the vampire is draining young girls of their youth and essence. Meanwhile, clues start mounting up pointing at the wealthy rich family in town.
All in all, it's pretty straight-forward stuff. Hammer was looking to get a bit more action-adventure with their movies and maybe push their aging cast of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as the leads for young film fans to enjoy. It's actually a good enough formula that a smattering of non-Dracula vampire movies of the past thirty years have borrowed the idea of cool vampire hunters, from Vampire Hunter D to Vampire$ and a bunch I'm not thinking of. But - Blade the Vampire Hunter appeared in Marvel comics a year before this movie arrived in theaters. Pretty wild. Something was in the air.
The movie does include some swordplay, but it never quite reaches Errol Flynn-ness. And maybe suggested a cantina scene to a certain Mr. Lucas.
There's no, like, deeper themes to the movie. It's pretty straightforward, sets up Kronos and his pal and what their adventures look like, and then mic drops. If you're looking for something that does some good genre bending and is clearly having a good time doing it, sure!
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Format: Amazon Watch Party
Director: Lou Antonio
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Format: TCM on DVR
Viewing: First (all the way through)
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
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
Format: Amazon Prime Streaming Watch Party
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!
Le Samourai Title Theme - François De Roubaix
The Conformist Title Theme - Georges Delerue
Playlist - Noir Watch:
Monday, August 10, 2020
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.
Nobody Does it Better - Carly Simon (like you didn't know)
|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
Format: Criterion BluRay
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.