Friday, June 14, 2019
No matter how many parts of well-known movies you try to Frankenstein into one movie, you are not going to get that Voltron/ sum-is-greater-than-the-parts effect you're looking for. SimonUK and I look at this 2008 entry from Scottish filmmaker Neil Marshall as he runs our hero through a gauntlet of oddly familiar scenes and a hero who always has the same expression.
Become a Patron!
Two Tribes - Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Pleasuredome
Good Thing - Fine Young Cannibals, The Raw and the Cooked
SimonUK Cinema Series Playlist
Thursday, February 14, 2019
PODCAST! It's High School Musicals with "Grease" (1978) and "High School Musical" (2006) - Maxwell, Mrshl and Ryan
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: Easily my 15th or 16th, maybe more
High School Musical (2006)
Format: Amazon Streaming
Maxwell and Ryan welcome Marshall to the PodCast as they discuss "Grease" and "High School Musical", two movies that are about finding love and finding out who you are in the nightmare factory that is the American Public High School. One of these films is definitely for kids, and the other... really, not for kids, no matter what America wants to think.
Summer Nights - Grease OST - cast
We Go Together - Grease OST - cast
Grease - performed by The Signaltones
High School Movies:
Thursday, December 20, 2018
PODCAST: "Love Actually" (2003) - Episode 4 in the Signal Watch Holiday Cinema Series - w/ SimonUK and Ryan!
Simon brings a bit of British Christmas into the PodCast to class the place up a bit. We talk 2003's new-classic, "Love Actually", a multi-story, ensemble romantic comedy featuring an all-star cast. And Simon explains to Ryan the stuff he didn't get as a slow-witted American.
Christmas Time is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio from A Charlie Brown Christmas
Christmas is All Around - Bill Nighy as "Billy Mack" Love Actually OST
O Tannenbaum - Vince Guaraldi Trio from A Charlie Brown Christmas
Holiday Cinema Series Playlist
Sunday, October 14, 2018
A lonesome Irish farm. A lot of rain. A cow ready to drop a calf. Ruth Negga for some reason. SimonUK and Ryan watch a movie that isn't afraid to borrow, but manages to find a path unique to itself.
Bride of Frankenstein Theme - Franz Waxman
Milk Cow Blues - Bob Wills
Walking the Cow - Daniel Johnston
Swan Lake - Act 2: No. 10 Scene - Tchaikovsky
Featured: Signal Watch Halloween 2018
- Amy and Ryan Watch 50 Shades!
- Bond Watch! James Bond movie discussion
- Avengers Chronological Countdown w/ Jamie and Ryan
- Disney History w/ NathanC and Ryan
- High School Movies w/ Maxwell
Get your audio episodes at:
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Monday, September 24, 2018
Viewing: First (both)
Decade: 2000's and 2010's
SimonUK and Ryan go to the dogs with two monstrously good films set to make anyone howl. We talk the werewolf genre and the troubles which ail it, but also what goes right in two movies sure to transform you into the Halloween mood. It's two modern-era movies doing something a bit different with an age-old idea, and maybe coming out the top of the pack?
And, of course, there's a detour into discussing Sean Connery for absolutely no reason.
Bride of Frankenstein Theme by Franz Waxman
Hungry Like the Wolf, Duran Duran
Wolves (radio edit), Wu-Tang Clan
Swan Lake - Act 2: No. 10 Scene - Tchaikovsky
Get your audio episodes at:
Friday, August 24, 2018
Format: Amazon Streaming
You guys, I @#$%ing loved this movie. Get a look inside my wheelhouse and what works for me in a movie with Southland Tales (2006). And, man, we really missed so much of what there was to say - enough so that I'm ready to make covering this movie an annual event.
AmyC returns with this overlooked, underseen sci-fi satire of a post 9/11 America. We struggle to convey the plot and all of the amazing things packed into this film - from one of the most astounding casts ever assembled, to musical choices, to transdimensional travel, to porn stars with rock solid business plans. Truly an unusual film that was never given a real shot at finding an audience - Ryan watches the film for the first time and is absolutely ready to push it to his list of recommendations.
Follow The Signal Watch PodCast on a service of your choice:
Sunday, August 5, 2018
Viewing: unknown. 5th?
Podcast runtime: 58 minutes
Jamie and Ryan buckle in for movie #2 - "The Incredible Hulk". Marvel grapples with the film world of 2008-ish as they adapt comics, movies and TV shows into one cinematic creature that Ryan likes, but didn't exactly take off at the time. We take a look at what Mr. Angry-Pants is all about and how it all fits in.
Get your audio episodes at:
- Signal Watch on Stitcher
- Signal Watch on iTunes
- Signal Watch on Soundcloud
- Signal Watch on Google Play
- Signal Watch on PocketCast
Monday, July 23, 2018
Viewing: At least the fifth
Jamie and Ryan begin a re-watch of all the Marvel movies in order of release! (We call it Chronological Countdown, but we're not doing in some willy-nilly Marvel timeframe). Join us as we consider Iron Man (2008), what it meant then and now in the Marvel Cinematic U and how it looks in 2018 in general.
Monday, April 30, 2018
Laura M-S has been around the blog since time immemorial. But did you know she and I went to high school together? It's true. We also live in the same area here in modern times, and decided to get together for what will be the first in a series on High School Movies.
To kick it off, we decide high school movies are a poor reflection of the high school experience - so what movies do reflect those crucial years (for us)? We talk 2005's "Brick" (dir. Rian Johnson) and 2017's Oscar contender "Lady Bird" (dir. Greta Gerwig).
Monday, April 23, 2018
So, I guess I missed my own 15th Anniversary of blogging. We were over at League of Melbotis back then. Here's a link to the first batch of posts.
Back then, kids, we had no facebook, no twitter, barely had iTunes and it took me forever to figure out how to upload photos and have a comment section. I was a lad of about 27 and living as a Texas ex-pat in Arizona at the time. I was busily learning about Superman and comics, and I was oh, so, sweetly naive. Reading those early posts is sometimes a teeth-gnashing experience but also a journal of what was going on in my head in the blogging salad days.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
People, sometimes a movie is so not aimed at you, all you can do is accept that fact, sit back, and just try to figure it out from an anthropological context.
I'm not going to try to claim Love Actually (2003) is a bad movie, but I will say that it is a movie that I didn't understand. Credit where it's due - 14 years on, it's a bonafide modern holiday favorite with a fanbase large enough that for a decade after the film's release, studios kept trying to replicate what worked here for New Years, Valentine's Day, and maybe Mother's Day (I don't know. I wasn't paying attention.). And my good pal, SimonUK, talks about this movie quite a bit. He frikkin' loves this movie. He is, of course, English, and I think the cultural cues I was missing make much more sense to him. Apparently the race to see who has the #1 Christmas song in England every year is a real thing (which, I know... weird).
Even I knew that this was a movie about a lot of people falling in love, facing the challenges of love, and defining love as something other than romantic or sexual. What this means is that over the course of what I think was a 90-minute movie, about ten different stories played out as loosely tied vignettes. Some of them better than others. Some of them sweet and simple and some making me raise my hand and waiting to be called upon as I had so many questions.
Of the movie's run-time, I enjoyed the back 1/3rd of the movie, but found the first third grating and the middle third baffling and sometimes tedious. I will say, the movie really did stick the landing in a way that nothing prior had suggested was coming. I went from not-cracking-a-smile and checking my phone to actively engaged and actual laughing out loud. I'm not sure I've ever had this experience before with a movie, where nothing changed about how I felt about what I was seeing previously by what I was now seeing - but I felt the quality of the movie quadrupled in just a scene or two and roughly maintained that level through to the end.
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Like most kids of my generation, I grew up with Wonder Woman as the default "superhero for girls". Sure, DC had a wide array of female characters, but a lot of "team" concepts aimed at boys included 1 or maybe 2 girls on the team no matter how big the roster got (see: GI Joe). And on Super Friends, Wonder Woman was the all-purpose female character who was not Jayna of The Wonder Twins of Wendy of Super Marv and Wendy (ahhh, the 70's).
|but at least they gave WW two villains from her rogues gallery|
Saturday, April 1, 2017
A few folks had recommended to me Altered Carbon (2002) by Richard Morgan. Likely this was due to my interests in science-fiction and detective/ noir fiction. Not a bad call, that. The book is more or less a detective story with a decidedly noirish bent set in a far-flung future of high technology and interstellar travel.
While our characters live in a fantasyland of technological wonders and possibilities, the technology the book is most preoccupied with is the digitization of the human consciousness, allowing minds and personalities to flow freely between bodies or into virtual environments as specters, even crossing the cosmos for business meetings into rented "sleeves". While mankind lives at a point where genetic and chemical manipulation of the human form is common practice, the same ills that always plague humanity are no further off. War, hunger, institutionalized economic disparity, religious mania... all still present hundreds of years from today despite the colonization of many new worlds and the discovery of alien artifacts.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
On Monday around 3:07 Pacific Time (I was flying back from Berkeley, CA), I finished the final Parker novel by Richard Stark, Dirty Money (2008).
It's a hell of a thing to say I read all 24 Parker books, plus the four Grofield spin-off novels. That's certainly a first for me, when it comes to books. Back in the 1990's, I read about five or six books with a tight continuity by William Kennedy, and I've read a lot of Hammett's "Continental Op" short stories - but 28 books by one person feels like a lot, airplane reading though they were.
Dirty Money doesn't conclude the series except for the fact that Donald Westlake (Stark's real name) passed on December 31, 2008 without producing any additional Parker novels. Parker doesn't die, doesn't go to jail, doesn't give up on crime to have 3.5 kids and become a manager at Hardee's. Butcher's Moon, the 1974 near-conclusion of the Parker series, also didn't feel quite like a finale, although the bodycount in the novel certainly had the sort of thing you didn't imagine Stark wanting to top. But it did make for a satisfying conclusion of sorts.
Fortunately, so, too does Dirty Money make for a fantastic conclusion to the 90's-00's Parker rebirth. The story ties together the plots of the two prior books into one continuous novel of sorts, refusing to gloss over the complications that I had, as a reader, half forgiven Stark for, thinking he had maybe written the other too quickly, hadn't really paid the same attention to detail he once did in that 1960's-70's heyday that produced the first ten novels of the series.
Friday, March 24, 2017
Despite all the Twin Peaks love you've seen here lately, I'm not someone who actively sought out much in the way of the movies of David Lynch. It's always been a guilty spot for me, but I have so many hang-ups, who can keep track?
So I'm finally watching some of his movies and rewatching others, mostly because Dune is the only one I've watched over and over the past 15 years or so, and I still haven't seen about half of his feature film output. Maybe more.
I missed Mulholland Drive when it came it, and despite the year 2002 adorning the movie here and there, it was released in 2001. Early October 2001. And for you kids who don't recall that particular window in history - we were a little preoccupied with planes crashing into towers and what would come next. So I'm not entirely surprised I missed this one, given how I remember my schedule at the time.
And that's too bad. It's a hell of a movie.
Friday, January 20, 2017
A lot of us folks on the left are a bit apoplectic about the way things have shaken out over the past six months or so.
We can agree to disagree on a great many things, and, hey, I live in Texas, so I know something about not necessarily being a fan of decisions going on in your government and still living peaceably and getting along with folks who don't agree with you on every detail. But the new guy and his clowncar of billionaire oligarchs aren't really what a lot of us had in mind when we were sitting in civics class.
Feeling in a bit of a black mood about the whole state of affairs, and pondering a lot of the statements made by nigh-every Trump supporter we've seen interviewed, we decided to put on Idiocracy, the curiously prescient 2006 comedy by Mike Judge.
Friday, January 6, 2017
It's not often I watch a whole Godzilla movie. I probably watched 3/4ths of about 3 or 4 of them last year, but they never showed up on my movie-list as I don't watch them from beginning to end. Usually I stumble in 1/4 of the way in, have no idea what's happening, and just keep on watching.
And that's kinda too bad.
I never quite recovered from missing Shin Godzilla in the theater this year (twice I had tickets! TWICE!), but over Christmas, the El Rey network celebrated the holiday with "Kaiju Christmas", which was something like 36 hours of Godzilla movies. In fact, I wrapped up Christmas Day night watching the second half of Godzilla vs. Destroyah.
I'd never seen Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003), but heard it was a fun one, and, indeed it was.
Monday, December 12, 2016
I had no intention of watching either of these movies this weekend, but we have basic cable and they were on. I have no further real explanation for what happened. I guess after watching X-Men: Apocalypse, it was just x-destined to x-be.
At this point, watching these early X-films serves as an interesting view of the state of the art for superhero films circa 2000 and 2003.
One mission I have for this site is to be the old guy telling the kids how it was back in the day - and if you're not pushing 40, you're not old enough to remember what breakthrough movies the first two X-films were for superhero comic books moving to the big screen. It's hard to understand in a universe with an Ant-Man movie what it was like to see Marvel's cinematic efforts suddenly take off after decades of embarrassing and half-assed attempts. It still wasn't Iron Man, which would totally change the game, but it was significant.
X-Men (2000) arrived shortly after Blade (1998) made a little-known (even by comic fans) character into a pretty great cinematic action hero. It didn't hurt that Wesley Snipes was pretty awesome in the role and he killed so, so many draculas. I still remember how nuts the crowd went for Blade when I saw it opening weekend, cheering and yelling in all the right places.
I was cautiously optimistic about X-Men. I knew director Bryan Singer from his 90's-classic Usual Suspects, a crime thriller that had garnered good reviews and rode the hip-crime-movie wave started by Tarantino to pretty great box office. It seemed inconceivable a superhero movie would receive a director of that sort as "serious" directors did not take on superheroes, or - at least they made it clear it was a lark for a paycheck.
But clearly X-Men was different.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Despite endorsements from multiple trusted sources, somehow I'd never gotten around to watching Sam Raimi's post-Evil Dead horror film, Drag Me to Hell (2009). Which is too bad. I wish I'd gotten to it sooner.
If you're a fan of Raimi's other horror work, this is more or less in line (and possibly in continuity) with the world of Ash and the deadites. I was surprised how much it shared both aesthetically and in spirit with the Evil Dead franchise - mixing the horrific with the grotesque with slapstick.
I don't want to oversell the movie - it's not a life-changing experience, but it was perfect for a bit of Halloween spookiness and mayhem and everything it was trying to do worked for me. And, coincidentally or otherwise, the movie feels a bit like an old school Universal horror film in some ways, which is all right as the movie was at least released through the studio.