Sunday, December 29, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
Decade: So, so 1990's
Prepping for New Year's Eve, AmyC and Ryan return to the indie film scene of the 1990's when Tarantino could do no wrong and Miramax was the hottest game in movies. But what if they decided to Voltron their talent into a single, unimpeachably delightful and quirky movie made up of four separate segments by four separate auteurs? It'd be great, right? ...right?
Vertigogo - Combustible Edison, Four Rooms OST
Monday, December 23, 2019
We've all seen this movie, and the weirdest part to me is still that they got Michael Caine to sing and (kinda?) dance.
I like it, too. It's probably as safe a bet as you've got for introducing your kids to the notion of A Christmas Carol, which they might as well get to know at some point. But it is genuinely a sweet movie, even if not my favorite adaptation of the book (the George C. Scott version is incredible, the Patrick Stewart version surprisingly moving, and I'm always in the bag for Scrooged).
But, hey, you get penguins ice skating, some great muppet-eering, and Paul Williams providing excellent musical numbers. The sets are absolutely mind-boggling, and the "let's put a ton of Muppets on the screen" approach totally pays off.
Anyhoo, I'm a fan.
Sunday, December 15, 2019
PODCAST: "Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996) w/ SimonUK, Jamie and Yours Truly! It's a Holiday Adjacent Special!
Format: Streaming - Amazon
The Signal Watch hearts Geena Davis. And here she is! In a movie that takes place at Christmas - because it's written by Shane Black. SimonUK, Jamie and Ryan talk this mid-90's actioner that predates Jason Bourne movies but post-dates the Bourne books about a secret assassin recovering her memory as the baddies movie in.
Long Kiss Goodnight Intro - Alan Silvestri, Long Kiss Goodnight OST
Signal Watch Holidays 2019:
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Decade: oh, so 1990's
(NSFW) Maxwell and Ryan review 1999's indie darling, "Go", a movie which absolutely occurs maybe at Christmas, borrows the "Pulp Fiction" narrative structure and shines a light on shenanigans occurring in the greater LA area for hip young people.
Gangster Trippin - Fatboy Slim, Go OST
To All The Lovely Ladies - Goldo, Go OST
Signal Watch Holidays 2019:
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Format: TV broadcast on ABC
This "show" was some rough going, and I hope it's not how anyone would introduce their child to The Little Mermaid, stage musicals or entertainment in general.
In honor of the 30th Anniversary of the animated The Little Mermaid, Disney, for reasons that remain totally unclear, decided to show the original The Little Mermaid, but when the movie reached the musical numbers, cut over to actors performing the numbers on a stage in front of their big movie screen.
Look, I've seen The Little Mermaid maybe twice and neither of those times occurred in the past 20 years. As with about 1 in 2 Disney movies, I just don't really click to the movie about a young, dumb mermaid in love with a guy she only met when he was wet and unconscious. I skipped TLM at the theater because I thought it was for very young children, and missed the memo that this movie the thing to tell people Disney was no longer making kinda bad movies. I finally saw it summer 1992, thought it was better than I expected, but was more into what Disney was doing when I did hit the theater for Beauty and the Beast in '91.
Friday, October 25, 2019
Viewing: no idea
I'm not sure Addams Family Values (1993) is actually better than the original, but one could make the argument. It certainly finds things that worked in the first film and builds on them, and finds new environs in which to put at least the kids. And the villain of the piece, such as she is, works incredibly well.*
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Format: Paramount Theater - Austin
Viewing: ha ha ha... oh, mercy
Last night Simon and I went to see Bruce Campbell host a screening of Army of Darkness (1992) at the Paramount Theater here in Austin, TX.
Like so many of us who have stumbled across Army of Darkness and Evil Dead over the years, the movie left a "kill the dinosaurs" type of impact on 17-year-old Ryan's psyche when he saw this movie in the theater. Maybe a post for another time, but there's a not insubstantial part of my young-adult years where this movie was part of the lingua franca of my people, and it's one I quoted so much, I've forgotten that some of my personal verbal ticks came from this movie.
The movie holds up incredibly well, and Bruce Campbell may actually have the best Q&A skills I've ever seen. He's heard every question 1000x before, and he doesn't actually play along as "the nice guy" celebrity. He kinda let people know "that's a dumb question". And, man, they really were about 80% dumb questions. But he got paid, so what does he care?
Anyway, Bruce is charming as all hell, and it was a fun night out at the picture shows.
Saturday, October 19, 2019
I am unsure how The Addams Family movies are considered by my own generation or succeeding generations. They tend to get play on basic cable and I think most people saw them at least once.
In 1991, a 16 year old me saw this movie and it checked off a whole lotta boxes. And, you know, over the years, that hasn't changed in the slightest - in fact, now I get a few more references, a few more gags, and as I don't watch it all that often - the movie hasn't ever gotten stale.
I almost used this movie and its sequel for my "What is Love?" podcast (which I guess I'm not going to do) - after all, who is more in love than Gomez and Morticia Addams? Years into a marriage that's produced two children and with their loving family all around them, that's some very public amore going on between our parental units.
And, of course, in 1991, I'm not sure what else was out there with quite as gleeful gallows humor for the whole family. I certainly found it a delight then, and I'd hope that folks are still sharing this movie with their kids.
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Watched: 09/13/2019, 09/0152019
Format: Amazon Streaming/ DVD
Viewing: Second/ First
Decade: 1970's/ 1990's
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SimonUK and I rise from the grave with two more takes on the Vampire Genre! In the first film, vampires make a killing running a circus while carrying a grudge and harassing a small European town. In the other, Italian mafia stereotypes collide with a French vampire in a 90's-tastic take on The City of Brotherly Love, and we can't figure out which sangria anyone is drinking. It's a Halloween vampire fest!
Vampire Circus Suite - David Whitaker, Vampire Circus OST
Night - Jackie Wilson, A Woman, a Lover, a Friend
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
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Just a couple of 40-something dudes, sitting around contemplating the nature of a woman's desire, the qualifications for feminist film, symbology and visual storytelling, and what's a woman to do when you find yourself in New Zealand in 1852 and married to a dud?
The Heart Asks Pleasure First - Michael Nyman, The Piano OST
Playlist - "What is Love?":
Sunday, June 9, 2019
I really didn't know what to expect when DC announced their second show in their DC Universe app exclusive line-up would be Doom Patrol. From the pictures shared, the comics would be roughly based on the late 1980's/ early-90's-era Grant Morrison-penned (with art by Richard Case, Doug Braithwaite, Scott Hanna, John Nyberg, Carlos Garzon) comics. But with a slightly different line-up, what with Rita Farr there front and center.
My initial exposure to Doom Patrol as a team was via issue #1 of this series - Morrison had come on in the mid-30's - written by Paul Kupperberg. Frankly, I'd been completely enamored with the first couple of issues (long since disappeared from my collection, even before The Purge). It was so weird and dark and uncomfortable - starting at a point where people were assembling, talking about a team that had preceded them had died. Badly. Somehow it felt more adult and frank than the way X-Men never seemed to quite exit high school.
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
Friday, April 19, 2019
For prior blog post on this screening, click here.
SimonUK and Ryan delve into the 1991 sci-fi actioner and talk about the impact of the film on culture, on action film, and maybe ourselves. We also discuss the awesomeness of Linda Hamilton, CGI in 1991, violence then and now and a whole lot more.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Theme - Brad Fiedel, T2 OST
You Could Be Mine - Guns N' Roses, T2 OST
SimonUK Cinema Series
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Format: Alamo Ritz
Viewing: oh, god... who knows?
Decade: the 1990's, buddy
I saw Terminator 2: Judgment Day opening weekend in the theater with my girlfriend at the time, who, upon seeing a Terminator endoskeleton crush a human skull turned to me and said "that's a REAL man" (she was kidding), thereby hitting the nail on the head, in her own way, for what this movie was going to be on so many levels. Despite its fame as a CGI pioneer and predictor of Marvel's weirdly death & bloodless ultraviolence, there's an actual story about mothers and sons and overcoming juvenile distrust of your parents once their flaws are exposed, and how a cyborg learns to laugh and love. Indeed, the Judgment Day may be the friends we made along the way.
Also, so many gasoline-fueled fires making just huge, puffy blossoms of red and orange with lots of loud ka-booms.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
PODCAST! "Captain Marvel" (2019) - Jamie, The Dug, K and Ryan and a Not Quite Chronological Countdown
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
Jamie's brother and sister-in-law were in town, and we all saw the screen debut of Marvel's cosmic-type Avenger. Join Jamie, The Dug, K and Ryan as we share our "first reaction" takes on what happens the 90's collide with aliens, space faring adventure, Annette Benning, and Marvel's first female lead (it's about time, y'all).
Captain Marvel Theme - Pinar Toprak, Captain Marvel OST
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Avengers Chronological Countdown
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
So, Luke Perry has passed and the internet is ablaze with remembrances. And on the face of it, it seems odd so much ink is getting spilled over a guy who had his peak of popularity in about 1993, never really landed any major roles in zeitgeisty Hollywood movies and has been a workman actor in mid-tier TV shows for most of the past twenty years.
I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the state of shock you're seeing has less to do with a tremendous and still-massive Luke Perry fanbase as it has with two things:
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
I'd intended to see Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) during it's theatrical run, and I don't really know how I didn't. It was a wide release and ran for a bit. In the intervening years I've watched more noir of the original era, not necessarily watching what came out as noir and neo-noir at the theater.* The 90's and 00's saw a fair number of mid-century crime and costume dramas and glossy neo-noir films that I think a lot of folks today see in their mind's eye more than actual films of the original noir era. Some of the films were pretty good (I love LA Confidential), others were less so (I really struggled with The Black Dahlia).
There's a lot to recommend Devil in a Blue Dress, even if it feels like writer/ director Carl Franklin was more intent on establishing a string of movies based on the protagonist's exploits than he was in actually getting into the why's and wherefore's of the story's central mystery. It's one of the extremely rare Black-focused noir films, and does a phenomenal job of world building, leaning on familiar noir tropes and giving us new spin based on the Black experience of mid-Century LA.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Format: a very, very old DVD
Viewing: 8th or 9th
In February 2019 I was about 9 months post-graduation and working in a very strange job for - what I figured out - was literally poverty wages (the job required a 4 year bachelor's degree, so... don't major in radio-TV-film, kids). This week marks not just the 20th anniversary of the release of Office Space (2019), but late 2018- early 2019 marks the start of my 20th year in the workforce as an FTE, I suppose.
Office Space was a product of Austinite Mike Judge, who had risen to fame first with Beavis & Butthead on MTV circa 1993, and brought Arlen, Texas to the small screen via King of the Hill. Upon arrival, the movie mostly flopped. Critics were relatively kind, but the film had no major stars except Jennifer Aniston in the era of Big Stars = Big Profits, and a workplace comedy about hating your job wasn't exactly groundbreaking. But at the time I felt a certain loyalty to the Texas film scene and Mike Judge, so we went to see it around opening weekend and... yeah.
As Jamie said when we were talking about the movie after: this was the first movie I saw that I may not have related to 100%, but it was the first movie I saw about adults that I could relate to as an adult.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Format: Warner Archive BluRay
Decade: 1990's (oh, so 1990's)
Steel (1997) is not a good movie, but it's not exactly as terrible as memory of watching it on VHS at some point in the distant past had led me to believe. It's also a reminder of how *bad* many of the DC movies have been since this period, from Catwoman to Green Lantern, to Batman v Superman. This movie was filmed on a low budget with no faith in it, no major stars, and based on a C-List character who, really, is a carbon copy of Iron Man. And, still, beat for beat, this movie makes more sense and flows better than Aquaman.