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

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Neo-Noir Erotic Thriller Madonna Watch Party Watch: Body of Evidence (1993)




When I was 17 years old, and a curious kid, and back when movies had all sorts of content in them - I saw all sorts of stuff on the big screen.  In general, I think it was actually a good thing.  I learned about the adult world, how sex looked under professional lighting, and that my ex-girlfriend was right about that nice lady in the Crying Game the second she showed up in the film.

And since the video for Lucky Star, I'd also thought that nice lady rolling around on the floor seemed like a pretty good idea.  By early 1993, the videos for Vogue and Express Yourself had done nothing to dissuade me of this opinion, let alone when my pal, Phil, taped the HBO concert special of Blonde Ambition for me. 

In 1992, Rob, Scott and I had gone to see a sold-out showing of Basic Instinct on opening night (I thought it was "meh" - and I have 10,000 words on what this did to the notion of noir for a decade), and at the time we did not anticipate that Hollywood would see gold in them thar hills and spend the early 90's trying to recapture the magic in a series of erotic thrillers.  

Simultaneously, Madonna had found she quite enjoyed freaking out America's moms via the Like A Prayer controversy (which seems both inappropriate and stupid rewatching the video now), and decided she would now say the word "sex" a lot, very much upsetting Tipper Gore.  She liked it so much, she made a picture book about how much she liked the word, and in a field trip to the Houston Public Library downtown, we got one of the people who was already 18 to get it for us to all look at at the reference desk.  And, man, were the librarians cheesed.

Monday, February 22, 2021

90's Watch: Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)




Watched:  02/22/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  George Armitage

This movie held up better than I expected.  It's still the same mess of wanting to be too many things that it was when I saw it in the theater, but it's still charming and still works.  

Something about the movie feels like a studio editor, who didn't care, came at it super hard, or there were just too many competing things occurring in the script to make it really gel.*  But the two stars, John Cusack and Minnie Driver, are charming and, frankly, non-standard enough in their approaches that they do a lot of heavy lifting just by being the leads.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Watch Cattrall Party Watch: Split Second (1992)




Watched:  02/12/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Tony Maylam


I picked this movie as a Watch Party because it looked like exactly what it was - a 1990's sci-fi Rated-R actioner that wasn't taking itself very seriously, but mostly because it co-starred Kim Cattrall, and after last week's Mannequin 2 viewing, I was like "we should have watched the one with Cattrall", so here we are.

Split Second (1992) is not a good movie.  A quick check after the film finished confirmed what I suspected - the movie had multiple voices seemingly at battle with one another, including star Rutger Hauer having input as they went along.  So, because the story is all over the place - and the story is basically them trying to figure out who (and then what) is killing people, nothing makes sense and nothing matters.

The answer is:  it's a big, Giger-Alien knock off that is maybe invisible, or moves very fast, or something.  They never really say.  I do know they hide the monster till the very end of the movie, but it's featured on the poster?  

We have an odd-ball pairing of the bookworm cop who has credentials that make him seem like maybe the police is a weird place for him to wind up, and Rutget Hauer, who is a loose cannon cop with self-destructive tendencies who clearly needs to be on leave, but they keep him on the streets because... well, in 2021 it'd be because the police unions will be damned before they suggest maybe someone isn't fit for duty.  Here we get a police sergeant just yelling at Hauer and telling him he's dangerous and whatnot, and then handing him back his badge.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Watch Party Watch: V.I. Warshawksi (1991)




Watched:  02/08/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Jeff Kanew

When V.I. Warshaswki was advertised in 1991, I remember thinking "but... what is the hook?"  Like, I wasn't all that much into detective movies, and by 1991 already, the notion of a woman in an ostensibly male-oriented job wasn't... all that novel.  Especially when you had a big-ticket actor like Kathleen Turner showing up.  If she wanted to be a lady sous chef or neurosurgeon, okay.  

By hook I mean: I couldn't tell you much about the actual crimes or mysteries of the Lethal Weapon franchise, but I could talk about the cast and the character interactions.  I didn't pay money to see Mel Gibson solve a crime - I had detective and cop shows on every night of the week.  I paid money to see Mel Gibson and Danny Glover be pals and do their thing.  I hate to say it, but in 1991 and 2021, "but she's a lady!" is not much of a hook. Maybe in 1981?   

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Watch Party Regret Watch: Mannequin 2 - On the Move (1991)




Watched:  02/05/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing: First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stewart Raffill

This movie wasn't very good.  Jenifer agrees.

These days, if a movie does well, studios understand that if they're going to make a sequel to a popular-ish film, the *best* thing to do is to try to go bigger and better.  Give the audience a reason to get them to come back.  However, Mannequin 2: On the Move (1991) is very much of the era where the reason for a sequel to exist was so that as many pilot fish left over from the first film can gorge themselves on the good will of the first movie and not care at all if the sequel will be worth the film it's printed on.

Pretty much nobody is back from the first movie - and I don't just mean Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall.  The actual producers, up and down, aren't the same.  The director is new.  You have the same store as the location, and you have Meshach Taylor back as "Hollywood".  That's it.  So no one cares, no one is trying, and the end product may be less than ideal.

Anyway, there MUST have been a script, because there are costumes and whatnot, so someone knew what they'd need for shooting.  But it sure doesn't feel like there's a script - it feels like people dicking around in front of the camera.  Except for Kristi Swanson, who is actually at least trying here (despite a bizarre wig that seems inspired by a Rick James groupie's hair).  And, yeah, Meshach Taylor, but he was kind of dicking around in the first movie, too.

But there's only small bits in the 90 minute run time that actually reach the level of "funny bit" or "joke that might make one crack a smile".  The rest is weird mugging no one asked for and maybe one of the lest charismatic leads I can remember in anything that wasn't one of those movies with people fighting in a sci-fi wasteland.  And the weird thing is:  normally that guy is fine.  He's been in lots of stuff - stuff you've seen.  But here - he's working with nothing, and I guess that was a problem.

I don't regret making other people watch the movie.  At least we all suffered together.


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Trek Watch: Star Trek - Insurrection (1998)




Watched:  01/03/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Jonathan Frakes

I had mostly blocked out my prior viewing of Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), remembering it as "the one that felt like a very long episode of the show".  And, indeed, minus the movie suggesting Picard has found the love of his life (who is immediately never again discussed), the movie is more or less a stand-alone episode with some effects that are okay but never amazing.

Mostly, it feels like the cast of Trek screwing around for 45 minutes before the movie remembers it needs to get its act together and do a movie.  And even then, Gates McFadden looks like she's visibly smiling while going pew-pew-pew with a phaser rifle, like "ha ha!  They're letting me do stuff!"  

So, things I liked:

  • Frakes directing himself in a sequence with Troi in a bathtub, irritated that Starfleet is calling
  • Worf does not need to be there, but is, and goes through Klingon puberty for some reason
  •  The Enterprise E is a pretty sweet ride
  • The cast insisting on finding a way to fit in Gilbert & Sullivan during a space battle
  • Hiring F. Murray Abraham at the height of his fame and then making him unrecognizable under layers of make-up
  • Gates McFadden generally just looking pleased to be there even if she has *nothing* to do

But mostly the movie itself doesn't make much sense and goes to some extraordinary script-lengths to create their scenario that is wildly hand-wavy.  But Trek fans should check the set up that leads to the titular "insurrection" as a reminder of how horribly run Starfleet is during Next Generation episodes.  It was a weird staple of ST:TNG that Starfleet was consistently making horrible decisions that Picard would need to rebel against like a cool teen showing up the stuffy principal that of course it made it into a movie.*  I understand a Star Fleet is a tough thing to run, but maybe by the 10th tribunal where Picard is having to do his best Perry Mason, check the man's service record, remember he has no particular reason to be a Romulan agent, and stop threatening to disassemble Troi or whatever they're doing that week.  

Anyway - this is a very weird, very obviously inexpensively made era of Trek-movie, and while I am thrilled the cast is having fun, this whole movie needed a lot more workshopping at the script level than anything else.  

One day they will make a Trek-show where the Captain is not constantly the point man on every dangerous operation, but this movie is not that.  And Ryker flies the Enterpise by joystick AGAIN.

A final note - the movie casts Broadway darling Donna Murphy as Picard's love interest, a 300-year-old alien living on a planet that seemingly will keep her young and rejuvenated forever (she has an action figure and everything!).  Doesn't let her sing or anything.  She has a lot of TV credits, and was coming off doing a stint on the briefly popular Murder One.   But she is actually very solid on a show that I usually just take for granted "look, the lines are nonsense, so if we get 'wooden' as a performance, that's a win sometimes."   

But I strongly suspect I'll immediately forget this movie again, because it makes very little sense.


*So, yeah, next time you're complaining about Picard and saying "Picard would never quit the Federation!  I don't like New Trek", remember the approximately 52 episodes of the show where someone in a bathrobe showed up and Starfleet decided the Enterpise needed to be shutdown or whatever.   Sooner or later, you take your pension and go drink in France.


Saturday, January 2, 2021

2021 Watch: Johnny Mnemonic (1995)




Watched:  01/01/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Robert Longo


I saw this movie in 1995, and it was pretty terrible then.  It's really hard to put your finger on, but the closest comparison I can make is what happened/ happens with superhero movies when someone comes along and decides to use pieces of what's there, but doesn't really get it is about the thing that makes it work.  

Looking back at 1995, explaining what was going on in science-fiction, the rapid development of the internet, and how those two things intermingled - as well as who from the world of music, film and art and basically "got it" is mostly long since forgotten.  But, yeah, there was a time when we honestly thought people would basically use the internet like a great big VR simulation with avatars, "physical" items to look at using our headsets and manipulate haptic gloves.

And by "we" I mean * everyone* was excited about the internet and the cool toys until you actually tried to use the internet and it all fell apart upon first contact,  and you realized a mouse, keyboard and a decent monitor were terrific and cheap and got you where you needed to go.

Monday, December 14, 2020

PODCAST: "A Muppet Christmas Carol" (1992) - a Xmas Genre Xrossover w/ Stuart & Ryan




Watched:  11/29/2020
Format: Disney+
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director: Brian Henson


Stuart and Ryan talk the Dickens out of a movie featuring a bunch of felt animals and a CBE for the arts of England. It's got ghosts, a weirdo pretending to be a great author, great sets and a missing song. Maybe not a huge hit when it showed up, it's now a staple of holiday viewing and both very much a Muppet movie and very much a Christmas movie - so it fits the theme for this year.
Music - Muppet Christmas Carol OST
Scrooge - Paul Williams
When Love is Gone - Paul Williams

Playlist - Xmas Genre Xrossover 2020

Monday, November 23, 2020

90's Watch: Dogfight (1991)




Watched:  11/22/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  3rd or 4th
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Nancy Savoca

I rented this one in high school, but I have no idea why.  I'm pretty sure the first time I watched it, I watched it by myself.  But I know I watched it the next day before I had to return it, with someone.  Probably my brother or a friend.  And maybe I watched it once in college, but the movie doesn't get discussed much and I'm not sure what sort of footprint it had or has.

TCM has been on a tear promoting women in film - behind the lens, mostly.  I'm afraid I've done a very bad job of keeping up with their terrific efforts.  Dogfight (1991) was shown as part of an evening's programming some time ago, and I hadn't had a chance to watch it, but finally did.  I'm surprised how much of the movie I remembered (there are movies I'll watch, and look at the blog in the same year and have to piece together what it was as I have almost no memory of the film already), but also what an impact the movie had on me at the time as a young dude.  

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Fake Doc Watch: Waiting for Guffman (1996)




Watched:  11/14/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Christopher Guest

For a run of about five movies, Christopher Guest managed to borrow the "mockumentary" format pioneered with Spinal Tap (in which he famously costars), and managed to create some Gen-X favorites.  The run began with Waiting for Guffman (1996), a "doc" following the production of a pageant/ play intended to celebrate the sesquicentennial of a small, Missouri town, Blaine, the participants of which believe will be seen by an agent of a Broadway producer - elevating their joy at just participating in a local stage show to the chance for something beyond their wildest dreams.

Guest's ensemble would continue on with him through all five films, into his HBO show Family Tree, and into the attempt to recapture the magic with Mascots in 2016.  This film includes talent that was breaking at the time, established talent, and helped to establish some of the cast.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween Watch: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)




Watched:  10/31/2020
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  2nd?  3rd?  4th?  It's been decades
Decade: 1990's
Director:  Kenneth Branagh

We already watched the classic Universal Frankenstein and the Hammer Frankenstein for the podcast, but I always watch Frankenstein and Bride as my final movie or so of Halloween.  So, I swapped in this version, which I hadn't seen in forever.  And I know I hadn't seen it in forever, because Jamie had never seen it.  

My memory was "that sure felt like it thought it was much better than it was".  It was directed by already-respected Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh, borrowed indie cred by casting Helena Bonham Carter (who was the indie-fan's sex symbol of the time), borrowed established cred with Robert DeNiro as the Monster, Tom Hulce of Amadeus fame, Ian Holm, John Cleese and others.  The sets are lavish, the score: sweeping.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

PODCAST: "Fantasia" (1940) and "Fantasia 2000" (1999) - a Disney History PodCast w/ NathanC and Ryan

 


Watched:  Fantasia 09/08 and Fantasia 2000 09/10/20
Format:  Disney +
Viewing:  Unknown/ Fourth
Decade:  1940's and 1990's
Director:  multiple on each


More places to listen 

When does animation become become more than popular entertainment? What are the boundaries of art that separate Beethoven and cartoon alligators? What is high-brow entertainment and funny business for the whole family? Walt Disney had a vision to elevate the form of animation and create an entirely new experience. Today, we know the result as "Fantasia", which returned in 1999 with a sequel of sorts in "Fantasia 2000". NathanC and Ryan return to talk all about a pair of Disney classics! 

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor - J.S. Bach
Ave Maria - Franz Schubert

Nathan's Fantasia buddies:


Ryan's Fantasia (and assorted Disney) pals:




Disney History Playlist:



Monday, August 31, 2020

PODCAST: "Showdown in Little Tokyo" (1991) - A SimonUK Cinema Series Episode (w/ Ryan)


Watched:  08/22/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First, as it turns out
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Mark L. Lester

More ways to listen!


SimonUK and Ryan explore the 1991 film that brought Dolph Lundgren to the mean streets of LA's Little Tokyo as the ultimate Japanese man. It's action, mayhem, adventure and lots of nudity as Lundgren teams with the son of Bruce to take down the Yakuza before they something something protection racket/ sell pills in beer bottles. It's hard to say, but Tia Carrere is wrapped up in this mess, so you do have that going for you.





Music:

Showdown in Little Tokyo - David Michael Frank


SimonUK Cinema Series Playlist!


Sunday, August 23, 2020

PODCAST: "The Straight Story" (1999) - featuring an interview with screenwriter John Roach! Disney History w/ NathanC and Ryan!


Watched:  08/08/2020
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  David Lynch

For more ways to listen


NathanC returns for more Disney History - and this time he brings an interview with screenwriter John Roach! We're discussing the only G-Rated entry in the filmography of David Lynch, bringing his brilliance to a completely different kind of story. And - we have an interview with one of the key storytellers! Get some insight into this remarkable film courtesy a screenwriter who was there from start to finish! It's a very different (and special!) episode of The Signal Watch.





Music:  
Laurens Walking - Angelo Badalamenti, The Straight Story OST
Country Theme - Angelo Badalamenti, The Straight Story OST


Playlist - Disney History w/ NathanC:



Sunday, August 16, 2020

Cyborg Watch: Running Delilah (1993)



Watched:  08/16/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Richard Franklin

So, I was scanning the sale items on the Kino Lorber page and was like "Kim Cattrall in a spy movie?" so I read the description and was like "Kim Cattrall as a CYBORG in a spy movie?"  And promptly hit "buy".*

I think this was intended to be a pilot for a very 1990's TV show, probably in syndication.  What's weird about it is that all the pieces are there for what could have been a serviceable stand-alone movie.  In 1993, stars Kim Cattrall and Billy Zane weren't huge stars, but I knew who they were.  The director, Richard Franklin, had handled a couple of mid to low-cost films I'd similarly seen - FX/2 and Cloak and Dagger.   This came out in the wake of La Femme Nikita and multiple RoboCop films.  Instead, it's a reminder of what telefilm and a lot of television looked at during a certain window, and that sci-fi was not always well-served by this sort of production.

Cattrall plays Delilah, an undercover agent for a US law-enforcement agency (I never caught who), , collecting evidence against a Greek arms dealer (who seems to really want to see her eat Greek food for some reason).  Her handler, who is "running" her, is played by Billy Zane.  And the two spend about 7x more time talking about the fact they aren't going to bonetown than they do the case at hand.

Delilah is found out and the baddies take a flying attempt at killing her with lots of bullets.  Zane retrieves the almost-dead agent, and because he loves her (but phrases it as wanting to go to bonetown, because 90's), does as you do and brings her to a French cybernetics guy who happens to work in his building.  There's a bit where she, of course, believes she's a monster.  Remarkably, she gets over it really fast when she finds out she's now the Bionic Woman and can do all kinds of things within budget.  This is one chipper cyborg!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Kaiju Watch: Godzilla v King Ghidorah (1991)


Watched:  08/06/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  third
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Kazuki ┼îmori

I know I always say this, but this movie is straight nonsense.

In particular, the flavor of nonsense in this movie is an alarming disregard for logic tied to time travel.  Also, cuts and colors of suit.

Friday, July 24, 2020

PODCAST: 112 "True Lies" (1994) - an ArnieFest Installment w/ SimonUK and Ryan


Watched:  07/09/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  No idea
Decade:  1990's
Director:  James Cameron

More ways to listen


ArnieFest continues with a mid-90's film that dares to ask "what if James Bond were married? And Austrian? And American? And Tom Arnold was there?" It's the action comedy sensation that everyone in film school had to write a paper about and feel bad for enjoying. SimonUK and Ryan go on a less-than-secret mission to revisit this Arnie favorite.





Music:

Main Theme - Brad Fiedel, True Lies OST
Nuclear Kiss - Shirley Walker, True Lies OST


Playlist:


Friday, July 3, 2020

Kaiju Watch: Godzila and Mothra - The Battle for Earth (1992)



Watched:  07/01/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  First (somehow)
Decade:  1990's
Director: Takao Okawara

Do you like pointless Indiana Jones rip-offs?  Confusing plot twists that come out of nowhere?  Psychics?  and our friends, the Twins/ Fairies/ Cosmos?  Sad Japanese people talking about how we're all boned anyway, because we're destroying our own environment?  Disappearing mullets? Plot threads that begin, are very important, and left unresolved?  Most of all - do you like MOTHRA?

Well.

Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) is here to deliver the goods.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

PODCAST: "Total Recall" (1990) - Arnie-Fest continues with SimonUK and Ryan!


Watched:  06/18/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Paul Verhoeven

More ways to listen - choose a podcast format


We get our respective asses to Mars and talk Arnie's big-budget sci-fi opus, "Total Recall". Is this the real life? Is it just fantasy? Simon and Ryan dig into this 1990 fan favorite full of rad ideas, great sets and design, a terrific cast and a pace that's hard to beat. From the director of "RoboCop" and Sharon Stone's star turn! Open your minds and join us!
 


Music: 
Total Recall Main Theme - Jerry Goldsmith



Playlists

Arnie-Fest



SimonUK Cinema Series

Monday, June 22, 2020

Jackie Watch: Supercop (1992)



Watched:  06/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stanley Tong

Back during my early years of college, one of the student associations would bring in Hong Kong cinema to Hogg Auditorium on the University of Texas campus.  JAL and a few others of us would wander down there,  and the place would be half-full with bats flying around during the show.  Sometimes we'd be less sober than other times, but we were getting great stuff that didn't play even the arthouse theaters, and seeing it on the big screen.

But the thing JAL first used to get me to show up was describing how Jackie Chan films worked, so - we went and watched Police Story 3: Supercop