Sunday, July 28, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: Unknown. 6th or so.
I watched this while I was having my worst day of my cold and running a fever. I mostly remember clicking through options on Amazon and finally saying "ha. Madeline Kahn." And then I was watching Clue (1985) again.
A while back I watched this movie and actually didn't like it that time, except for some particular bits here and there, but on this viewing, I enjoyed it immensely (again. I used to quite like this movie.),
Anyway. Ha! Madeline Kahn!
Friday, July 26, 2019
Watched : 03/03/2019
It was called @#$%ing Panchos and you losers let it go out of business the last time. Fun flags and all. Absolutely glorious. Don't @#$% it up again, Austin.
Main Title - Howard Shore, The Fly OST
Unknown Track - Howard Shore, The Fly - Opera
Help Me - Bryan Ferry, The Fly OST
"What is Love?" Playlist:
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.
This one hit us all hard and never let up.
Friday, July 19, 2019
In some ways I'm amazed I haven't totally turned on this show. It can be twee, it's a lot too precious in some scenes, and the "look, we're doing the 1980's!" while getting a lot of details wrong should have pushed me over the ledge.*
Sometimes I wish they'd just turn to David Harbour and Winona Ryder and ask "is this actually right? As someone who was a young person in 1985, is this accurate?" Because it works *better* for those of us who were around this age when the show is on. And it is on *a lot*. But when it's off, it takes you right out.
The horror was more or less abstracted to a general horror-movie sort of problem this season, giving the characters less specific rules-sorting to do, which I support. At times the visual and filmic references to other things was so heavy handed, though, the show almost folded in on itself.
Still, somehow, the show works. I still really enjoyed it, and I know why.
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Look, it's @#$%ing inevitable that I'll watch the movie version of Cats, so I might as well lean into it. I promise you can now look to The Signal Watch as Your News Site for the movie of Andrew Lloyd Webber's goofiest achievement (and he did Starlight Express), Cats. And I hereby swear I will watch this movie opening weekend.
Fact: I saw the musical of Cats touring once when I was sixteen and a theatre-kid in high school. I mostly remember dancers in very tight costumes bending and flexing a lot and the woman playing Grizabella knocking it out of the house.
Fact: I subsequently owned the two-tape soundtrack to Cats which I listened to twice before realizing "I do not think I actually like 85% of the music in Cats" but felt that as a theater-kid, I couldn't get rid of the tapes - but I did quietly migrate them to my mom's tape collection.
Fact: I saw Cats a second time in college when it came through Austin and a friend said "hey, I've never seen Cats", and I was like "well, you should see it sometime," and then me and Peabo got tickets. We looked at each other during the first number, realizing "oh god, we've made a horrible mistake" and that feeling never let up til the final curtain.
Friday, June 28, 2019
Watched: 06/17 and 06/20/2019
Viewing: Second and unknown
Format: DVD and BluRay
It's "Teens in Space"! We get far out with one kinda-grounded adventure featuring some kids on an unscheduled voyage and then find trouble in Rylos City as playing video games actually DOES turn out to be a life skill (if you want to murder anonymous aliens). Join MRSHL, Maxwell and Ryan as we keep our feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.
Last Starfighter Fanfare - Craig Safan, Last Starfighter OST
In Orbit - John Williams, Space Camp OST
High School Movies Playlist
Sunday, June 23, 2019
The kids are never going to know that there is, literally, in the public consciousness, a world before Tim Burton's Batman from back in '89, and a world that came into being after that movie.
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Batman, the Michael Keaton/ Kim Basinger/ Jack Nicholson-starring gothic caricature that changed the public's perception of superheroes in general. This isn't hyperbole - nothing was ever the same after this movie came out. You don't get an Iron Man or Avengers without Batman. You really don't get the idea out to the general public that comics have moved to a teens-and-up audience until you get breathless write-ups about the Batmania phenomenon. You also don't have piles of merchandise for adults with a superhero logo on it until Batman, or comics movie-related toys flying off the shelf.
But, mostly, you finally got people to stop thinking "Bam! Whap! Pow!" when they thought about superheroes.
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Format: Amazon Prime (also on YouTube)
Viewing: First but certainly not the last
So, a couple of weeks back JAL DM'd me and deeply recommended a small film from an overseas production company, and as a patron of independent and international cinema, I leaped at the opportunity to use a free Friday evening to finally watch RoboVampire (1988).
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Format: Amazon streaming
I was about thirteen when this movie hit, and it was one of those movies that arrived that everyone else saw when it came out, but at the time I wasn't that interested in baseball or Susan Sarandon, so I skipped it. Well, life changes things in some amazing ways.
I suppose if there's a marker to say "was this a good movie or not?" I can point to the fact that I put this on as I was about to do something else (edit a podcast) but was fiddling around before settling in, and just put it on to have something on for a few minutes to see what it was like, and the next thing I knew I was finishing the movie.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Viewing: Third/ First
Way back in '86, I rented the American version of this film for my birthday. And when I say "American version", it helps to know a bit about the original Godzilla: King of the Monsters from back in the 1950's.
Friday, May 10, 2019
PODCAST(s)! "Legend of Billie Jean" (1985) and "Pump Up the Volume" (1990) - Teens in Revolt! w/ Maxwell, Marshall and Ryan!
Format: LoBJ - Amazon Streaming, PUtV - DVD
Viewing: LoBJ - First!, PUtV - unknown
Decade: 1980's, 1990s
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*NSFW* Maxwell and Marshall come into the studio to talk TEENS IN REVOLT! It's "The Legend of Billie Jean" (1985) and "Pump the Volume" (1990), two movies where teens grab the airwaves and tap into the spirit of being a teen and find themselves on the wrong side of the law! We take a look at two classic teen movies for our generation and try to decide: what are these kids so dang grumpy about?
Invincible - Pat Benatar, Legend of Billie Jean OST
Rebel Yell - Billy Idol, Legend of Billie Jean OST
Everybody Know - Leonard Cohen, I'm Your Man
Titanium Exposé - Sonic Youth, Goo/ Pump Up the Volume OST
High School Movies
Monday, May 6, 2019
Watched: 05/ 03/2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
I was about five when 9-to-5 (1980) came out, and the theme song by co-star Dolly Parton was everywhere for about a year or two, remaining a staple of radio play to this day. Because the movie dealt with non-space-battle, gorilla or robot related issues, and I think was an R-Rating in the era of G, PG and R, I did not see the movie at the time. I was pretty sure then that it was not a sex romp based mostly on how many people went to see it (it was huge), and just never got around to seeing it as I grew up.
Which is weird - I'm not a giant Jane Fonda fan, but I find Lilly Tomlin brilliant whenever she's on a screen in front of me, and... I mean, Dolly Parton! If you don't love Dolly Parton, I don't want to know you. And Dabney Coleman was a thing back in this era - people loved him (he might have been a great take on J. Jonah Jameson in a 1980's-era Spidey movie if a studio had gotten its ac together. I'm just saying.)
From a purely sociological standpoint, it's fascinating to see a movie about the women of my parents generation who were going through the first phases of a lot of what we deal with today, but based upon the rules of the era where women were housewives, teachers, nurses and... secretaries. And we've all seen the role of secretaries on Mad Men (or should. Sucks to your GoT, give me ad executives drinking on the job).
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
SimonUK brings a charming, home spun sort of tale about (nude) space vampires, not-Michael Caine, a blank Texan astronaut, a London-based Zombie plague, forced kissing on Patrick Stewart and more story than a movie has a right to contain.
Lifeforce Theme - Henry Mancini, Lifeforce OST
Call of the Wild - Henry Mancini, Lifeforce OST
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
When I was a kid, for some reason my parents took me to see The Natural (1984). My memory is that I walked out, told them I didn't understand it, and somehow got in trouble for making that statement - which just led to further confusion. I dunno. Not everything makes sense when you're 8 or 9.
In the intervening 35 years, I hadn't rewatched the film. Not because I was traumatized, but I just never got around to it. And that's unfortunate - because The Natural is a fine movie and the sort no one is making anymore. Lyrical, with craftsmanship to spare, spanning decades, borrowing from other myths to create a new mythology, blending grounded reality with fantasy and the remarkable stories embedded in sport - it's an ambitious film, and I can't knock it.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Viewing: Unknown. Probably 3rd of 4th.
It's Spring Break, and SimonUK is looking for something breezy and light. Ryan hasn't seen this movie in 30 years. We talk 1980's sci-fi comedies, director Joe Dante's ideas, and what actually works pretty well in this not-much-discussed artifact of the 1980's.
SimonUK Cinema Series:
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: No idea. At least third.
Back when Hollywood Shuffle (1987) first showed up on home video, it was a movie I recall renting and really liking. I know for a fact I only sorta got what the movie was saying and doing and was more interested in the fact that some of the sketches and spoofs played well to even a 13 year old. After all, the movie is about an actor's journey through casting and into his first day on set of a film, loaded with cut-away scenes where they lampoon Hollywood movies.
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Format: Austin Film Society
Viewing: second/ first
Thanks to some good pals my first year of college, I started watching Jackie Chan movies. Unfortunately, lo these many years later, because I watched many of them in the space of one academic year, I have no idea which is which, what I have seen and what I haven't. The conversation usually went more like "There's a Jackie Chan movie playing at The Hogg Auditorium. We're going after dinner." "Okay."
It turned out I had seen Police Story, but not Police Story 2 - but I have, in the past, seen Police Story 3: Supercop. Which was not part of the double-bill at the Austin Film Society that SimonUK and I attended.
But, yeah, like all of you, when I first saw his movies, I loved everything about Jackie - his sense of humor, his incredible stunts, his loyalty to his stunt team, the fact he wrote, directed and starred in his movies, and that he even sang his own theme songs. And, yeah, you can see the influence of the comedy greats in Jackie - if you love Buster Keaton or Chaplain, you should like Jackie's movies.
If the movies have a weakness, imho, it's that they often can't quite settle on tone. That said, by the end of Police Story, the shift from goofy antics and wacky set-pieces to wanting to see the bad guys get punched just real, real hard is more than earned.
Chan's energy is just different from anyone else in cinema. He's got the finesse of Bruce Lee, but - instead of Lee's eye of the storm focused energy, ready to unleash, he sort of is the storm.
Maggie Cheung plays May in both films, Jackie's long-suffering girlfriend, and she has some terrific comedic bits and really takes some hits for the team doing her own stunts.
The plot is some boiler-plate 1980's cop-movie stuff, and that's okay. It's all a skeleton upon which to hang cool action scenes and showcase the work of Jackie and his crew.
I dunno. I really like Police Story, maybe the second one a bit less, but they're both hugely watchable movies. I just found Police Story 3: Supercop on Amazon, so I'm going to watch it ASAP. It has Michelle Yeoh, so... you know...
Saturday, February 9, 2019
Format: Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing: 7th or so
So, here's a curious one: could Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) be made today?
I'm going to say "no".
Is the movie still still as oddly brilliant and funny as it was in 1988? More so, I think. The older I get, the more I relish Caine's role and dialog in particular. And Glenne Headley's breathy, wide-eyed Ohioan is, of course, absolutely terrific knowing what we know at the film's conclusion.
But I suspect the twitter scold-squad would be up in arms about pretty much everything Steve Martin does in this movie if it arrived now.
However, I am pretty sure in another 20 years, this movie will still be around and revered as a classic comedy by those in the know, part of Martin's filmography of rediscovered classics and Caine's occasional and often successful dive into comedy. And, of course, Headley will be rightfully mourned.
I mean, Ruprecht is timeless, and I look forward to future generations wondering where he got the trident.
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Format: MST3K on Netflix
A mash-up of The Abyss and every space station movie you've ever seen, with terrible acting, hilariously bad lighting and direction, set-design right out of a high school play and your two leads played by "that guy" from 1970's television and Felix's wife who gets killed early on in License to Kill. And some adorably bad puppets.
The courage it took to make this on the heels of The Abyss is just... man...