Showing posts with label 1990's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1990's. Show all posts

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Action-Ween Watch: Blade (1998)




Watched:  10/07/2021
Format:  HBOmax, I think
Viewing:  Fourth?  5th?
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stephen Norrington

So.

I saw Blade (1998) the first time in a theater full of people who had apparently had a LOT of sugar.  It was one of the theaters in town at the time where there was a higher than likely chance people would talk at the screen, and that was fine by me for a movie about Wesley Snipes killing 90's sexy vampires.  

Mostly I remember at the end of the opening sequence, the place went crazy.  Like after a killer guitar solo at a concert.  I mean - Traci Lords at a rave as a vampire and then blood sprinklers at the drop, followed by Blade tearing the place up?  Yes sir.  

I was never really able to separate the fun I had watching the film from whether the film was actually "good", but sometimes a movie is "good" because you had a great time watching it.

Monday, September 20, 2021

PODCAST: "Miller's Crossing" (1990) - A Signal Watch Canon Episode w/ JimD and Ryan




Watched:  09/09/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown (well over 30x)
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Coen Bros.



JimD looks in his heart and joins Ryan to discuss a shared canon film. It's the third from the Coen Bros. and one that is seemingly being forgotten by the current generation of film fans. Join us as we twist and turn, up is down, black is white. We're talkin' about friendship. We're talkin' about character. We're talkin' about - hell. listeners, I ain't embarrassed to use the word - we're talkin' about ethics.




Music:
Miller's Crossing Opening Titles -  by Carter Burwell
Miller's Crossing End Titles - by Carter Burwell






Signal Watch Canon:




Saturday, September 18, 2021

90's Super Watch: Mystery Men (1999)




Watched:  09/17/2021
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  Unknown.  More than 2, less than 6.
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Kinka Usher (his only movie)

This movie was unnecessary, but it had a lot of fun bits.  It just came out totally without context, and would make way more sense in a world with 20 superhero shows on and 5 or so mega superhero movies per year. 

It's adapted from a comic, which would have made a ton of sense in a comic shop in the late 1980's - 1990's.  After all, people in a comic shoppe have enough of a feel for comics to understand satire over the camp of the 1960's.  And it's kind of not a surprise that in a decade that saw 3 Batman movies and not much else, the idea of Too Many Superheroes and Wannabe Superheroes didn't exactly land.  

I read something that said "the film is too self-aware" and that, I think, is a big problem with it.  Everyone feels sort of like they're both aware of superhero movies, and camp superheroes, and they're doing a very long sketch about superheroes where they're kind of looking at the audience going "see?  see what I did there?"

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sneaky Snake Watch: Anaconda (1998)

This is an infograph of how much you'll care about each character



Watched:  09/10/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second or third
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Some guy

I dunno.  It's a movie about people heading up the Amazon to find a lost tribe who come upon a snake that is huge and doesn't act like a snake at all.  It has JLo and Ice Cube.  So, how bad can it be?

I saw this one opening week in the theater, and what really stuck with me over the years was that Jon Voight is in it, and it made me realize very famous actors can make hilariously bad choices.  And every instinct Voight has in this movie is... so bad it's good.  Paraguayan accent?  Check.  Constant scowl?  Absolutely.  

I am sure there's some conversation that occurred that said "well, Voight's character is the REAL anaconda!  He's the one who sneaks up on you and surprises you with the kill!"  But that's kind of dumb and not right.

Monday, September 6, 2021

90's Watch: Without You I'm Nothing (1990)



Watched:  09/06/2021
Format:  TCM Underground
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  John Boskovich

This is a weird watch in 2021.  I couldn't remember where Sandra Bernhard was on the cultural radar in 1990.  I certainly knew who she was as I was exiting high school in Spring of 1993, and thereby hangs a tale for another day, but in 1990?  Was she yet TV famous?  

I will say this - I do remember kind of adoring Sandra Bernhard in high school.  She was, like, a lot.  But for a late-80's/ early-90's context, she was candid and caustic and smart as hell, and there wasn't much of that on TV (and less so in real life).  And, she had some talent!

Monday, August 30, 2021

PODCAST: "Shallow Grave" (1994) - a Signal Watch Canon Episode w. MBell, MRSHL and Ryan




Watched:  08/21/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  3rd or 4th
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Danny Boyle



What happens when three narcissistic jerks combine their powers and slowly turn against each other? You get a podcast! We welcome new contributor MBell to the podcast who brings us a suitcase full of surprises as we discuss the mid-90's Scottish indie film thriller that was a crucial bit of what was going on in the 90's cinema scene. Join us as we root around the attic of our minds and recall how this movie fit in for us as young adults and our appreciation of movies!




Music:
Shallow Grave Theme - Simon Boswell


Canon Episodes

Horror Catch-Up Watch: Candyman (1992)




Watched:  08/29/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Bernard Rose

Interesting.

So help me, from 1992 until about, oh, 2016, I thought Candyman (1992) was just another quick, cheaply produced horror entry along the lines of (forgive me) Leprechaun.  I really thought it was horny teens saying "Bloody Mary" in a mirror and getting murdered, and that seemed.... stupid.  I don't really care about a lot of horror, and that seemed like a good one to not care about.

In college (1993) I lived on the "arts" floor in Jester West, and our two study lounges had large murals painted on the walls from students past.  One room had kinda Nagel-esque pictures of pianos or something, and the other had a (not amazing) mural of Jimi Hendrix.  One day, a very nice girl from my floor came in there while I was studying and was upset she couldn't use the other room for one reason or another, and I said "well, you can study here.  I'm just reading." and she said "Nope.  That mural looks like Candyman."  And I was like "from the horror movie?"  She nodded and backed out and that was that.  

Strong reaction, that, I thought.  

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Return to Swashbuckle Watch: The Mask of Zorro (1998)




Watched:  08/27/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Martin Campbell

Having had just watched 1940's The Mark of Zorro, it seemed like a good idea to check out other iterations of the character.  I've been watching episodes of the low-budget 1990's TV show, but the last big splash Zorro made at cinemas were the two films starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The Mask of Zorro (1998) came out just as I graduated college, and was considered kind of a minor action triumph at the time of its release.  It doesn't speak to the future of superhero film, instead playing like the best of the best of the pulp-hero films of the 1990's, but this movie and it's sequel The Legend of Zorro, spoke to the weird world building and return to franchises that would become a staple of media by the 2010's.  

For some reason, this movie is about Don Diego de la Vega failing and the shenanigans coming to an end, with two decades spent in a jail cell.  It's frankly a lazy and unbelievable scenario that Don Rafael would not have seen Zorro killed, as bloodthirsty as this film portrays its villains, but it does prop up the rest of the story - which also doesn't make a ton of sense.  In the melee, Don Diego sees his wife accidentally shot, and Rafael yoinks the baby, taking her with him as he runs off to Spain as the Mexican Revolution of 1821 will unseat him and possibly see him killed by revolutionaries.  

Monday, August 23, 2021

PODCAST: Jurassic Park (1993) - a Signal Watch Canon Episode w/ Jamie and Ryan




Watched:  08/20/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Steven Spielberg



and 18 year old me also noticed the movie had lizards or something


We were so preoccupied with whether or not we could talk about the biggest movie of the 90's, we didn't stop to think if we should.

Jamie and Ryan take you on a (nsfw) podcast 28 years in the making! Join us as we splice together opinion, facts and memories to recall the gigantic beast of a movie that crashed down on an unsuspecting public and changed everything! We'll talk about how this movie was a moment of evolution for the film industry and entertainment, and how we (J & R) became fascinated with a movie about a day at the park not going super great. And, who makes khaki shorts work.




Music:
Jurassic Park Theme Revised - Jamie M. "Goldenpipes" Steans
Theme from Jurassic Park - John Williams
Jurassic Park End Credits - John Williams
Jurassic Park Theme Revised - I'm not really sure


Signal Watch Canon

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Anderson Watch: Bottle Rocket (1996)




Watched:  06/30/2021
Format:  DVD (I own this DVD and totally forgot)
Viewing:  third
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Wes Anderson

Long before Wes Anderson became someone 32 year olds had strong opinions about on twitter, he released a small-budget picture through Columbia Pictures, which is likely a story unto itself.  I note big names like Polly Platt and James L. Brooks showed up in producer credits - and.. y'all, this is Anderson's first feature credit and his second credit at all on IMDB.  It's... weird.  

But the good news is that this small film is still remarkably watchable, and free of many of the gimmicks and Anderson-isms that would make those 32 year olds have strong opinions on twitter, while clearly and obviously being part of the Anderson oeuvre.  

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Vegas in Space (1991)




Watched:  06/28/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Phillip R. Ford

This was a Jenifer pick for a watch party, and it was a gd delight.

Filmed circa 1983-85 in apartments and a few borrowed locations in San Francisco, this sci-fi epic follows a group of agents of the Empress of the Galaxy who are sent to Vegas in Space, a pre-fab pleasure planet with an all-female population, to find out what's going on with a crime wave.  To infiltrate the planet, the agents have to change genders and pose as a girl-group performing 20th Century showgirl routines. 

It's probably best to mention - the movie was made on no-budget by a group of drag queens and their friends, and the story of the making of the film sounds like it'd be a hell of a film or prestige HBO mini-series itself.

For something shot by people with minimal experience, it's a surprisingly coherent film, with ideas thrown at the screen every few seconds, tons of wild visuals only someone without proper training would even think of (apparently meth is also a bit of an engine behind the film), and characters with an ocean liner's worth of presence, if not acting chops.  I expected to have some good laughs at the attempt and the "let's put on a show" aspect of the movie, but instead...  the movie just worked.  It's insane, high-voltage camp, and tragically ahead of what I think America was ready for.  I mean, it's really funny, good stuff.

While watching the film, make sure you listen to the ADR'd background chatter.


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Sensible Watch: Sense and Sensibility (1995)




Watched:  06/05/2021
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Ang Lee

It's kinda wild how much the basic structure of a Jane Austen novel doesn't just work for modern audiences, it's still one of the gold standards for how you tell a story about complicated paths to romance.  Parents must be dead or checked out, usually our female protagonist is on the poor side (poor being wildly relative in an 18th Century story about people who weep and weep over moving from their mansion into what seems to be a 2 story, 5 bedroom house, with some amount of domestic help in service).  There's a sexy, fun guy who is a problem, and a seemingly aloof or disjointed fellow who is, of course, the non-threatening right choice.  

There's nothing wrong with it, and unlike Pride and Prejudice, this one doesn't rub it in your face that the lead winds up marrying, like, the literal richest and most eligible possible bachelor (I'm talking movie versions here).  Like, I get that it's all fantasy, but if you want to convince people "money is less important than other characteristics", Sense and Sensibility is probably the better choice.  How hard is it to love a handsome guy with abs who can and wants to provide for your every extravagant desire?*

The talent associated with the movie is insane.  Ang Lee as director, Emma Thompson wrote the script and stars, a career-making early role for Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Hugh Laurie and an army of "that lady" and "that guy" actors.  

Watching this movie for the first time in quite a while, I enjoyed it a lot more.  And I liked it the first time.  I'm mellowing in my middle-age, and generally being irritated with 18th century class-based social mores is now a framing for a movie for me rather than an overall annoyance that makes me kida side-eye everybody.  

But, look, I'm trying to watch stuff that's a bit out of my wheelhouse.  Not everything is superhero action-comedies and mid-20th Century kinda sexy crime dramas.  And if you're going to check out genres not-meant-for-you, you might as well take in some of the very best.  Plus, anyone who doesn't like Emma Thompson is probably a bad person.  


*I confess I sorta landed the male-fantasy equivalent of this with the wife who is gorgeous, and just wants to play with dogs, watch baseball and Marvel movies and TALK about all of these items

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Phenomenal Movie Watch: Gremlins 2 - The New Batch (1990)




Watched:  05/31/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Oh, god.  Who knows...
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Joe Dante

Surely I've talked about Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) before.  Or should podcast on it.  

But, yes, I know you all love Gremlins, but this is the better movie by a country mile.  I'm not sure I much more than generally like Gremlins,* but Gremlins 2 is an amazing film on every level.  Not the least of which is a Haviland Morris level (I'm not sure we're supposed to say that out loud, but here you, me and 15-year-old-me are).  

Anyway, Gremlins 2 does not give a @#$%, and you should rewatch it sometime.

*it's fine.  I like watching it every once in a while.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Inexplicable Watch: Tammy and the T-Rex (1994)




Watched:  05/30/2021
Format:  Shudder
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stewart Raffill

Until very recently, in whatever spot in my brain that houses barely-remembered covers of VHS tapes from my college years, I had filed Tammy and the T-Rex (1994) as a children's movie.  It is NOT.  And I wonder how many parents put this on for their kids without realizing what it is.

I've seen it, and I can't tell you what it is.

Apparently the copy going around that I saw on Shudder is the original cut of the movie, which may have been seen in Italy.  The American version was cut down to PG-13, but this version is definitely an R for gratuitous gore.  This version's titles also insist this is "Tanny and the T-Rex".  I don't know if the word "Tammy" in Italian means something else or just sounded strange.  Or was a type-o.  I'd believe anything, because no one in this movie is trying.  It's not the kind of movie where people did try.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Neo-Noir Watch: The Limey (1999)



Watched:  05/16/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Steven Soderbergh

This is a catch-up watch, one of about ten crime movies from this era I didn't see because life is not always what it should be. 

Anyway, I was so distracted, I didn't know who was in the cast or that this was a Soderbergh movie - and I like Soderbergh movies.  All I knew was "Terence Stamp tearing shit up for 90 minutes".  And, indeed, that is true.  But, The Limey (1999) also features Peter Fonda, the perpetually underutilized Lesley Ann Warren, Luis Guzman, and an uncredited but terrific Bill Duke.  

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Space Truckers (1996)


 

Watched:  05/11/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First (complete viewing)
Decade:  oh, so 1990's
Director:  Stuart Gordon

Way back around 2001 or 2002, one day I noticed a movie called Space Truckers (1996) was showing on HBO.  If you've been hanging around this blog since 2003, then you know:  I immediately tuned over and caught something like 30 minutes of it.

I was shocked to see name actors Stephen Dorff, Dennis Hopper and Debi Mazar in what appeared to be a mid-budget sci-fi comedy that I'd never heard of, galivanting around space in a long-haul space-truck.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Neo-Noir Watch: The Grifters (1990)




Watched:  05/08/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stephen Frears

Just in time for Mother's Day I finally (finally!) watched the 1990 film, The Grifters.

SPOILERS

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Trek/ Cattrall Watch: Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country (1991)




Watched:  05/02/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Nicholas Meyer

This is... my third favorite Trek movie?  Pretty remarkable for a movie that has very few ship-fetish shots and plays like a 3-part episode of the TV series.  But, man, it just works.  

I believe it was advertised as the final movie for the original crew from Star Trek before The Next Generation gang took over, but as an excitable 16 year old, I thought "nah, they just got their mojo back on this one.  They'll make more."*  

So, yeah, shocker, I am into a tight murder mystery set in space with the fate of the galaxy in the balance.  Throw in ship-to-ship combat, several rad supporting cast members beyond the usual crew, plus Sulu as Captain of his own ship (and, my god, had they just given Takei a spin-off series back then...), \more wildly over-the-top Klingons in the form of Plummer's Shakespeare spouting warrior, Chang (love everything about this character) -  and it's like Trek was just punching "Ryan will like this" buttons.  

And, of course, Kim Cattrall as Lt. Valeris.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Art House Watch: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)



Watched:  04/28/2021
Format:  Peacock (of all places)
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Peter Greenaway

Back in the merry old days of first arriving at college, living on campus at UT Austin was a perfect sort of thing to do if you were a movie nut - or turn you into one.  I could walk to Dobie Theater and catch international and art film, Hogg Auditorium was basically rented by a student society of some sort who brought in Hong Kong films.*   The Memorial Union Theater was open at the time and programmed by some serious film nerds, so that's where, my first night on campus, I wandered down to see Tie Me Up, Tie Me  Down with kids I had never met before but who lived a few doors down.  

Anyway, I was not unaware of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) in high school.  I was known to drive into town to go catch a movie at the River Oaks or wherever some interesting stuff was showing - and I may have seen the poster of Helen Mirren in lingerie and given the poster a longer than necessary look.  Or maybe a cover in the video store.  Anyhoo, early Freshman year at some point (I really think in the first weeks of school), we headed down to the Memorial Union and caught the film.  And my brain kind of melted.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Watch Party Watch: The Beautician and the Beast (1997)




Watched:  04/16/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Ken Kwapis

Wait wait wait...  Fran Drescher plays a sassy Jewish girl from working class New York who a well-meaning functionary mistakes as a great candidate for a child-rearing role for a powerful and wealthy handsome widower?  What an entirely novel concept!  

Look, you couldn't not be aware of Fran Drescher circa 1997.  I remember my grandmother praising The Nanny at the time, and my own hip 20-something skepticism.  But a couple of years ago I found myself watching re-runs of the show, and I was like "oh, I get it.  She wants to be Lucille Ball, but in mini-skirts and leaning into Jewish stereotypes that I, as a WASP from Texas, can neither confirm nor deny."  Frankly, for what it is, it works.  I won't say the show is "smart" exactly, but it does what it does well, and I get how it lasted 6 seasons.

But... even in 1997 I was confused by The Beautician and the Beast.  It's the same thing as what she was doing on TV.  Like, pretty much exactly.  The movie is even PG from an era where comedies were PG-13, but Drescher's comedy was always flirty, not going for overt sex comedy or working blue, and so felt sanitized for network censors of the time.  So there's not even "we could never do this on TV" to separate the two.  Drescher is quoted as saying she didn't want to challenge the audience too much as she moved to movies, but I'd argue - don't just ask them to pay for what they can see every week for free.*