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

Thursday, January 20, 2022

90's Re-Watch: Living in Oblivion (1995)




Watched:  01/19/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Tom DiCillo

In August of 1995, I entered into Film I, joining the "production" track within my university's film school.  That Fall would see a lot of changes, and I mostly remember a lot of exhaustion, a lot of learning-on-the-fly and getting to handle actual film cameras for the first time.  As well as editing, cutting and screening work I did mostly in collaboration with others.  

Living in Oblivion (1995) was released during the middle of the 90's indie boom, and maybe was just a little too indie to break huge, but it does seem like a movie that a lot of people saw back then or since.  A film about filmmaking, but not in that way that Hollywood likes to reward with Oscars, Living in Oblivion hit all of us in that Film 1 class where we lived, realizing our dumb little misadventures behind the camera were just how this business was going to work.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

90's Re-Watch: Muriel's Wedding (1994)




Watched:  01/09/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  PJ Hogan

Back in the long, long ago Muriel's Wedding (1994) was a movie I watched over and over.  I'm not really sure why.  It's a good movie, it's funny, it's a bit moving here and there.  It seems like an odd thing for a 20 year old dude to decide he's going to watch over and over, but here we are.

But I also don't think I'd seen it again in two decades.  It's been a really long time and I don't recall owning it since VHS.  

An Australian made movie, it did bring Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths to the attention of American audiences when it arrived here (I think it was showing in Austin in Spring of 1995 and I watched it probably at The Dobie).  It was, in general, an interesting era for Australian and New Zealand film as it seemed like Campion was doing her thing, Peter Jackson was freaking everyone out, Pricilla, Queen of the Desert won hearts and minds, and Baz Luhrman's Strictly Ballroom was big for indie film fans.  

Friday, December 24, 2021

PodCast 176: "Santa With Muscles" (1996) - Daydrinking the Movies Christmas 2021 w/ Jamie, Dug, K and Ryan




Watched: 12/23/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  John Murlowski




Well. We rounded up Jamie's brother and sister-in-law, got into the booze cabinet and watched a truly, truly horrible movie. And with tape rolling, we thereby talked about The Meaning of Christmas, magic crystals, soft-racism in unrelated movies and a wide, wide host of topics.

Have a cocktail or three and catch-up. We're talking a garbage movie.




Music:
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Michael Buble 

hypnogram interprets "Santa With Muscles"



Christmas 2021 Playlist

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

PODCAST: "Die Hard" (1988) & "Die Hard 2" (1990) - Christmas 2021 w/ SimonUK and Ryan




Watched:  11/22 and 11/24
Format:  Amazon
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1980's and 1990's
Director:  Jon McTiernan and Renny Harlin




Yippee ki-yay, y'all! It ain't Christmas til Nakatomi tower is smoldering, paper and glass are everywhere, several Europeans and a coke head are dead, Al has eaten a Twinkie and one Bonnie Bedelia has recognized her husband's handiwork. Yup, it's the one I've personally been refusing to do for years, paired with the (sigh) sequel.




Music:
Ode to Joy - Michael Kamen, Die Hard OST 
Let it Snow - Vaughn Moore, Die Hard OST 


Christmas 2021

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

PODCAST 171: "Jingle All The Way" (1996) - Christmas 2021 w/ Stuart and Ryan


Watched:  11/03/2021
Format:  YouTube
Viewing: Second?  Third?
Decade:  1990's
Director:   Brian Levant




Stuart and Ryan are in a mad-cap race to find the perfect gift for you, our listeners - and that would be a terrific podcast, just like all the other kids want this year. Will we deliver as trip each other, threaten media outlets, terrorize children and generally fail to deliver as podcast hosts and law-abiding citizens? We take a look at a movie that was panned upon its release, but that younger generations have decided is GREAT (they are wrong). But you gotta love Arnie. And Sinbad, too.




Music:
Jingle Bells - Brian Stezer Orchestra 
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Johnny Mathis


Christmas 2021

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Doc Watch: The Celluloid Closet (1995)




Watched:  11/07/2021
Format:  TCM 
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Directors:  Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

This doc came out while I was in film school, and I remember it being suggested viewing, but I don't recall an actual theatrical release locally, and then I just never got to it.

As a cultural touchstone, this film feels like it needs a review by The Kids(tm).  It captures a moment in time, just before Gen-X would start driving the cultural conversation and the ending, cast as hope, now seems quaint in some ways and like a ship was missed in others.  But if nothing else, the film shows the realities of what things came before the mid-90's and - extrapolating to the modern era - how much has and hasn't changed in what is a relatively brief period.  

Sunday, November 7, 2021

90's Re-Watch: Cool World (1992)




Watched:  11/07/2021
Format:  HBOmax, I think.  
Viewing:  3rd?
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Ralph Bakshi

In 1992, I made my brother go with me to see Cool World.  It was my chance to jump on the Ralph Bakshi train, it combined animation and live action, and it had Gabriel Byrne and Kim Basinger.  Mostly I remember thinking "this movie is not great" partway through, and being aware that for being the horniest thing I'd seen in movies in a very horny era at the movies, it never seemed to be willing to take anything as far as it could have. Or should have,

Here, 30 years later, I don't think I've changed my mind, and I'm willing to be more honest about it.  I defended the movie a lot because it *tried* something new and different, and served it up to a mainstream audience.  My suspicion is that Paramount ended up defanging the film.  As there often is decades later, there are conflicting versions of events, but I tend to believe the Fritz the Cat guy was not shying away from a Hard-R and the studio flack decided to try and get teens into the movie.  

Friday, October 29, 2021

Zombie Watch: Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)




Watched:  10/29/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Brian Yuzna


I enjoyed this movie just fine, but I don't know how much and at what point the movie was kidding.  Maybe writ-large?  But it also seemed like it was being serious?  It sure wanted to do a doomed lovers plotline that, sure... why not?

But, yeah, it's a movie about the son of the military guy still mucking about with zombies and Trioxide which makes zombies - who is dating out of his league.  An accident occurs and his girlfriend is killed, so he exposes her to zombie-gas because he believes that the heart will go on, I guess.

Aside from zombie piercing fetish stuff, the movie is also an excuse for some Hollywood FX folks to flex, and, boy, do they ever.  Mostly that's bookending the movie, but when it shows up, it's really solid work.  

The name actor in this, as far as this blog is concerned, is Sara Douglas, who plays a very Sarah Douglas military officer.  But Melinda "Mindy" Clarke is... really good in this?  Like, she's asked to do A LOT under less than ideal conditions, and she does it all as the formerly alive girlfriend, Julie.  Anyway - she's still very much working and I guess I've seen her in things, but I did not watch The OC, so I missed out on that adventure.  

But, yeah... the movie feels like it's kidding, or at least not taking it as seriously as Romero takes his zombies, and it's probably a decent tone.  But it's also the 90's, so it's got a weird layer of anti-Hispanic racism which, you know, was incredibly common at the time.  So, maybe not "weird", but...  at least super clunky.

I don't get how zombies work in this, and I don't care.  It's fine.  

One thing I do know:  someone had a very specific kink and managed to work it into a feature film.  And for that, I applaud them.  

And I am all for a movie where the leads die in an incinerator in a loving embrace in the final shot.  Slow clap, movie.


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