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

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.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

PODCAST: "Kingdom of the Spiders" (1977) - SimonUK & Ryan talk tarantulas and Shatner!



Watched:  01/20/2019
Format:  DVD (Simon owns this?)
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970s

It's a PodCast - Where else can I listen?

Oh my. Well, there's a lot of tarantulas, and that's a problem, see? But don't worry! Shatner is on the case! And while he's in a love triangle with his brother's widow and a sexy scientist, he's gotta help save the Harvest Festival because spiders are here. Drama! Thrills! Romance! Woody Strode! SimonUK! Ryan!





Music:
Things I Treasure - Dorsey Burnette
Peaceful Verde Valley - Dorsey Burnette
Green Side of the Mountain - Dorsey Burnette

The SimonUK Cinema Series:




Monday, November 25, 2019

Murphy Watch: Dolemite Is My Name (2019)


Watched:  11/24/2019
Format:  Netflix Original
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

Back in college my pal Shoemaker would wait til we were about four drinks in and then I'd turn around he'd have put Dolemite movies on, and so I vaguely remembered them from the heyday of the mid 1990's.  Between being four drinks in, not focusing on the movies and the passage of 2.5 decades, sadly, my memory of the movies was vague at best.

Bad kung-fu, stilted acting and gratuitous nudity were more or less what registered and stuck with me.  And, I never did listen to any Rudy Ray Moore records, just saw images of the covers.  I like blue humor as much as the next guy, I just never made the time.

When I heard Dolemite Is My Name (2019) was coming out, I decided to revisit the original film.  And, if you follow this blog closely, you'll note that there's no post for Dolemite from this year.  Because, honestly, it's a movie you should be watching with other people.  Watching it by yourself just feels kinda weird.  It is a *bad* movie, but it is a fun bad movie that asks to be talked over and discussed as it goes along.    And, yeah, my memories of bad kung-fu, stilted acting and gratuitous nudity were verified.  Way to go, 1990's brain cells!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

PODCAST: "WKRP in Cincinnati" A Thanksgiving Special, w/ Maxwell, Motolove and Ryan!


Watched:  11/1/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1970's

We welcome special guest, Eric S, as Maxwell and I discuss one of the greatest episodes of TV of all time, from one of the greatest sitcoms of all time! It's a 2019 Thanksgiving edition of The Signal Watch! We talk about the series in general, but all through the lens of one turkey of an episode. Oh, the humanity! (We recommend watching S1: Episode 7 of "WKRP in Cincinnati" before listening)





My entries for The Signal Watch Challenge!





Monday, November 11, 2019

Concert Doc Watch: Amazing Grace (2019)



Watched:  11/11/2019
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's/ 2010's

If asked to compile a list of the greatest popular American singers of the 20th Century, I'd assume Aretha Franklin would make the top few - if not the number one slot - for much of the US populace.

We lost Franklin in 2018, and it's unclear who can begin to fill her role in the zeitgeist, but maybe it's too soon, and maybe we don't need to.  Maybe she was a singular talent.

Shot in 1972 and unreleased until the last 12 months or so, Amazing Grace (2019) is an attempt by Sydney Pollack to record and capture the experience of Franklin recording a live Gospel album at a church in Los Angeles over the course of two nights.  Backed by a local choir and supported by the Reverend James Cleveland, Franklin takes to the pulpit and - as one would expect - nails every song before her.

Monday, October 21, 2019

HALLOWEEN PODCAST! "Amityville Horror" (1979) & "Poltergeist" (1982) with Marshall and Ryan!



For more info and places to listen to The Signal Watch PodCast

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Watched:  10/03/2019 and 10/05/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming (both)
Viewing:  Unknown (both)
Decade:  1980's/ 1970's

Marshall and Ryan throw a Halloween (Haunted) House Party with two favorites of the ghosts & real estate genre! We compare notes on a make-believe story that some think bled into reality, and a real story which feels kinda fakey, if we're being honest. But only one has Margot Kidder. Let's talk what makes for a captivating tale of houses with more than plumbing issues, and we ponder the handsomeness of James Brolin.



Music:
Amityville Horror Theme - Lalo Shifrin, Amityville Horror OST
Poltergeist Theme - Jerry Goldsmith, Poltergeist OST


Halloween 2019


Halloween 2018