Showing posts with label 2020's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2020's. Show all posts

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Doc Watch: The Go-Go's (2020)




Watched:  02/27/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Alison Ellwood

As a kid, I liked The Go-Go's as well as anyone who was, like, eight years old.  I thought they had catchy tunes and whatnot.  It was much, much later - probably in my late 20's that I was like "huh, actually, these are really, really solid pop songs."  And I gave them some reconsideration.   

Even back when I was a kid, I remember hearing "punk band" tied to The Go-Go's, and looked at Belinda Carlisle wearing pastels and with her hair up in a pony tail, and was like "what?"  But later started kind of putting the pieces together, but not really.

The Go-Go's (2020) documentary hit right around COVID and got a lot of festival play, but it's a tough year for something like that.  So, I was thrilled when it finally came to Amazon, because I would probably have just as likely paid for a ticket to see it in the theater.  

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Not My Demographic Watch: To All the Boys - Always and Forever (2021)




Watched:  02/18/2021
Format:  Netflix?
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Michael Fimognari

Look, this movie was never aimed at me, is not now aimed at me, and is not for me.  I have many questions, concerns and complaints, mostly around the fantasy imaginary boyfriend who celebrates every choice the lead character makes. But - also - the movie feels remarkably... lazy and toothless.

Previously, I'd only ever seen the first half of the first of these movies, and the lead's obsession with 80's movies felt kinda goofy and broke the "do not show a better movie inside your movie" rule.  This one decides to reference The Big Lebowski, and I hope the director was just doing this for fun, because a 20-something year-old dope-heavy satire of Chandler mysteries spoofed here is... man, it's kinda wild. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

PODCAST: "Soul" (2020) - a Pixar Watch featuring Pixar Lighting Lead Ryan Michero! (and NathanC and me)

 


Watched:  01/30/2021
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  2020
Directors:  Pete DocterKemp Powers (co-director)


Ryan and Nathan are joined by Pixar Lighting Lead, Ryan Michero, to talk about "Soul", now available on Disney+. We take a deep dive into the technical wizardry and challenges of "how does one light a conceptual construct?" to discussing the process and storytelling that makes Pixar the best there is. Join us for a conversation with one of the folks who makes the magic happen!
 

Music:
Born to Play - John Batiste, Soul OST
The Great Before/ U Seminar - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Soul OST

Disney History Playlist

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

PODCAST: "Wonder Woman 1984" - a Kryptonian Thought Beast Episode w/ Stuart, Jamie and Ryan

spoiler: the movie was not released in October

Watched:  12/25/2020
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade: 2020's
Director:  Patty Jenkins


Our elite team of nerds comes together to discuss the hottest ticket on HBOmax and at the cinema. Is she a wonder? Has the world been waiting for her? We try to step inside the characters as we ponder what the film did and why, and, does it work? If you WISH someone could get to the bottom of this film - look no further! We're in our satin tights fighting for the right answers! 
Themyscira - Hans Zimmer, Wonder Woman 1984 Soundtrack

Pixar Watch: Soul (2020)




Watched:  12/26/2020
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Pete DocterKemp Powers

I believe we're going to try to do a podcast on this one, so everyone sit tight.  

But, yes, very good.  Recommended.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Disney+ Watch: Godmothered (2020)




Watched:  12/6/2020
Format: Disney+
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Sharon Maguire

Definitely a "fun for the whole family" all-ages offering from Disney+, Godmothered (2020) has a semi-complicated set-up that melts into a fairly standard magical comedy, but which I think more or less works, even if it's not exactly ground-breaking.

Apparently Fairy Godmothers come from The Motherland, a mystical realm where fairies train for seemingly centuries before being sent out on assignment.  But the trick is - no one has asked for help from a Fairy Godmother in centuries, and there's only really been one new fairy to sign up for the gig in the past few decades. And so - they're maybe going to shut it all down (the Motherland is run by Jane Curtain, who appears to be having fun).

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Christmas Watch: Christmas Chronicles 2




Watched:  12/5/2020
Format: Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade: 2020's
Director:  Christopher Columbus

Look, I polished off at least 3/4ths of a bottle of wine while watching this, but it seemed great at the time - both the wine and the movie.

Stuart had vouched for the first Christmas Chronicles back in 2018, and it was genuinely much better than I figured.  Kurt Russell as Santa is just a good idea.  The Christmas Chronicles 2  ups the budget, expands the concepts, and adds Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus.  And, again, it just works.  I'll refer you to the link above for what I think this series does that makes it a cut above 90% of the "Santa" genre of movies of the past 20 years or so.*  

This installment, of what I assume will be a once per two years thing for a while, sees Kate Pierce from the first movie in Cancun with her mom and brother from the first film.  Mom is now dating Tyrese Gibson, who flew everyone down - but Kate has understandable feelings about (a) not being home for Christmas and (b) fears of Mom forgetting Dad (who had passed before the first movie).  Now, the set-up on this one is... a bit wonky.  I don't see even the drunkest parents leaving their under-18 kids alone in Mexico for 24 hours, especially one as sensitive as Tyrese's son, Jack.  

But an elf-gone-bad has set the whole thing up, and he hi-jacks Kate and Jack to the North Pole so he can use them as a distraction to get into Santa's Village and EXACT ELF REVENGE.

The movie splits into Jack learning he can be courageous (he's a bit of a wiener at the film's outset), and works through Kate's far more complex situation with the power of Christmas multiplied by the power of time travel.

This film builds on the terrific design from the first film - giving us a wider view into Santa's village and the workshops contained therein.  I dig the scale and decision to roughly ground things - the elves (which look like Finnish Magwai) kind of scuttling around everywhere, but not living inside cupcakes or anything.  It looks weirdly practical, and I very much enjoyed the "let me check my biases" moment as the kids ask why the village isn't named after Mrs. Claus, credited with the design of the town.

Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus is, honestly, as much of a kick as Russell as Santa.  It does not hurt to have two people with decades of cohabitation together playing a couple of several hundred years, but Hawn's sunny disposition and capacity for indicating depths with a glance is well served here in telling the adult audience a lot that might be going over the kid audience's heads.  

The kid actors aren't threatening anyone to nab Oscar nomination slots, but Columbus is no slouch when handling kids, and between a good script and getting the most out of his kid actors, he manages to also let Kate have moments of growth and insight - non-verbally!  She, like, listens and processes and does not have to say out loud what she's learning at each step.  

But, yeah, this isn't a heavy drama or anything.  There's plenty of goofy good stuff.  You can't go wrong with Darlene Love showing up to join in the requisite Santa musical number (I think Jamie heard me gasp when she first appeared for what I assumed was a cameo).  

It's just weird how far we lower the bar for Christmas content that anything remotely competent (this *is* Chris Columbus, who brought us Harry Potter, Home Alone, etc...) and isn't just indicating what they would like to convey, but actually delivering those messages like a real movie comes off like Avengers: Endgame.  

PS:  I found the flying hyenas delightful




*I do like Fred Claus more than you'd figure

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Dolly Watch: Christmas on the Square (2020)



Watched:  11/26/2020
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Debbie Allen, y'all

I don't know if you guys know this, but the past few years Dolly Parton has been producing a variety of movies - including a few which appeared on Netflix last year.  My memory is that prior movies were basically using ideas from one of her more popular tunes (I actually watched a good chunk of Jolene, but think I forgot to write it up).  But I think Christmas on the Square (2020) is based on a new song from her recently released album (a solid Christmas record, if you're so inclined).  

This was very much a movie musical - relentlessly so - and intended to give everyone's mother something to watch this Christmas that they could casually mention that they had seen - and then recommend.  Directed and produced by the great Debbie Allen, it's not really a surprise the movie features singers and dancers trying their hearts out, and the film is packed with folks with plenty of talent madly dancing and singing around our leads.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween Cartoon Watch: Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo! (2020)




Watched:  10/31/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Maxwell Atoms

Uh.  So, I guess there's a rabid fanbase of adult fans of Scooby Doo, which, you know, I really like Superman, so, no stones shall I throw.  I was just never a big Scooby Doo fan, even as a kid.  I mean, it was what was *on* in the few hours I was allowed to watch TV as a kid, so I watched it, but I didn't take to it.  Nor did I get onboard with the live action movies from a couple of decades ago.  Basically -  I am out of the Scooby loop.

But...  this year Hanna Barbera/ WB Animation released Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo! (2020), an animated movie featuring the voice talent of Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson as herself/ Elvira.  I gathered from something I read that she didn't just wander in, do a joke, and disappear again, so I paid to rent the film.  




As I mentioned, there's a rabid adult fanbase of Scoob-o-philes, and I was kind of curious how they felt about this movie.  The Scooby Doo I remember had the bland Fred and Daphne, Velma trying to keep things together, and Shag and Scoob as two slackers who had no business in the monster-chasing business and made dangerously large sandwiches.  The new take looks like classic Scoob, but Fred is... dumb?  I couldn't figure it out.  Daphne is... insane?  and the other three felt like how I remember them.  And, honestly, Scooby Doo himself was deeply back burnered, which is not how I remember the show working.

Elvira was allowed to be more or less a PG version of herself, and they went weird with some bits I can see Peterson finding pretty funny.  Bill Nye also plays a sort of Q role for the team, air dropping them a new mystery machine.

Well, according to what I saw online, the adult fans hate this take.    Which - sure.  Key characters are out of character, even with the fan-base approved voice cast.  

The movie is kind of weird, structurally - from including a Batman villain, to an extended road chase that just keeps going.  

Anyway, I probably enjoyed it more as an Elvira movie than as a Scooby Doo movie - and actually understand if fans are weirded out by their favorite characters acting out of character.  See: my confusion about recent DC Comics movies.  I'm not sure I've ever really been much of one for the Scooby Doo formula, but it was interesting/ weird to see the characters looking the same but (especially Fred and Daphne) updated to be more like modern animated characters.  Not sure it worked - but it was something to ponder.  






Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Spooky Comedy Watch: Hubie Halloween (2020)




Watched:  10/25/2020
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Steve Brill

Look, Adam Sandler movies are not my thing, but we'd been drinking.

This is a perfectly good Halloween comedy, and is more or less exactly what you expect out of a an Adam Sandler comedy, if you like that sort of thing.  It is also feels weirdly more like it *understands* Halloween more than almost any film I've seen.  It gets what the holiday is, and doesn't need to make the lead *hate* Halloween and be won over by the holiday.  And doesn't oversell what happens on Halloween.  

While Sandler doesn't exactly light up the critical heavens with each release, he clearly has made his sets somewhere people want to be.  The cast on this thing is amazing, including faces I haven't seen since, like, Happy Gilmore.  And everyone gets a chance to be funny.  It's really generous, cooperative stuff.

Probably safe for 11 and up.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Super Watch: Superman - Man of Tomorrow (2020)




Watched:  09/07/2020
Format:  Blu-Ray
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Chris Palmer

The best thing about a movie shouldn't be the trailer for an upcoming Batman Kung-Fu movie that happens to be on the disc you're watching.  

Monday, July 20, 2020

Musical Watch: Hamilton (2020)



Watched:  July 3, 2020
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020/ 2010
Director:  Thomas Kail

Certainly the most discussed musical in decades - and with far better reason than most (whether you like it or not) - Hamilton had become a cultural event well before Disney+ released a recorded version of the show on the platform on July 3rd.  This was not a film adaptation like we've seen in the last few years - like Les Miserables or even Cats.  Movie stars who can carry a tune were not swapped out for the Broadway cast, and we're not decades away from shows debuting, making a splash, touring and becoming so ubiquitous, you might as well make a movie because why not?

Instead, Hamilton (2020) as released is the version shot on stage roughly four years ago, starring mostly the original cast, which - since 2016 - has since scattered to the four winds, seeking their Hamilton-derived fortunes (I actually like Leslie Odom Jr's new record, Mr., for whatever that is worth to you).  The film existing is a wonderful change for Broadway, who has told themselves lots of stories about the need for the immediacy of theater's live experience and has usually only dropped original cast recordings as documents of how a show was conceived and presented.  Directed by the show's actual director, Thomas Kail, the "film" of Hamilton is thoughtfully, and, indeed, artfully shot.  Heck, last week "One Perfect Shot", a twitter account with the best in cinematography, included a shot from Hamilton.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Random Watch: Palm Springs (2020)



Watched:  07/15/2020
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Max Barbakow

To get it out of the way: this movie featured a song I used to love but had not heard it in 30 years, and it kind of freaked me out.  So here's to The Brazilian, from Invisible Touch by Genesis.*  Middle School Me was delighted to hear it again.

Also - to get it out of the way:  SPOILERS

I highly recommend watching this movie with zero spoilers, including skipping the trailer.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Comedy Watch: Eurovision Song Contest - The Story of Fire Saga (2020)




Watched:  06/27/2020
Format:  Netflix Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade: 2020's
Director: David Dobkin


I am not going to write this up and/ or oversell it.  But it was better than I thought it would be, and I got to see Pierce Brosnan play an Icelandic fisherman.  And now I know who Rachel McAdams is after Jamie explaining to me who she is once a year for twenty tears.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Doc Watch: Becoming (2020)


Watched:  06/26/2020
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Nadia Hallgren

I'm aware Michelle Obama is a polarizing figure, what with encouraging kids to eat healthy and being an interesting, intelligent counterpart to her husband.  But, hoo boy, in a period of American journalism which seems distant and we can hope is on the ash-heap, the press sure tried to find ways to make her a villain. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Doc Watch: Making the Apes - The Artists Who Changed Film (2020)



Watched:  06/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  William Conlin

There's not much to spoil here - it's a fact based documentary on the people behind the iconic make-up for the run of the original 5 Planet of the Apes films, the TV show and more.  It does a good job of contextualizing the state of the art in the mid-60's and how they got there, starting in the Lon Chaney era. 

Really, what I liked is that - as much as it's about the make-up and creation of - it gives personality and stories to the people who were there and made a vision a reality.  We sometimes forget there are minds and lives behind the people who aren't the writers, directors and actors - but those unseen wizards who rise at 2:30 AM to be at work by 4:30 AM to get the actor on the set by morning, looking like a gorilla?  Those are people who fell in love with monster make-up to such a degree, that's how they love and what they've chosen to do. 

And, of course, for the people involved, Planet of the Apes - which won an honorary Academy Award for make-up before it became a staple of the Oscars - was a major turning point in the lives of a lot of people in the Hollywood make-up industry.  It was sort of the digital T-Rex of its day. 

It's currently streaming on Amazon, and if you're any kind of POTA fan, I recommend giving Making the Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film a go. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Comedy Watch: The Lovebirds (2020)



Watched:  05/24/2020
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Michael Showalter

I wasn't sure what to expect.  I don't love rom-coms, and there's a weird sub-genre of "couple gets caught up in a crime and run around downtown" sub-genre that I've never had an interest in exploring. 

This one, however, worked for me.  I generally like Kumail Nanjiani - and that continues on here - and I really liked Issa Rae.  She's pretty great. 

Anyhoo, not going to overthink this one, but it was the right movie for us this weekend.

Monday, April 27, 2020

In a Time of Virus: Sunlight and Bleach

No amount of parody or nihilistic social commentary could have prepared me for what it's actually like to see the virus that's taken over the United States.

On Thursday (04/23/20) the President of the United States, who has taken to a podium on a near daily basis for weeks - blathering at length/ incoherently, and showing genuine signs of mental decline (pick your poison as to why) - stood in front of a room of journalists and said scientists should look into shining UV lights or very bright lights on or into people to combat COVID-19.  He also said we should be looking at injecting people with disinfectants containing bleach, I believe.  That bleach clears the lungs right out.  Which, in a way, is true.  You'll certainly be beyond caring about your COVID-cough when you are dead because you've got 20 oz of Clorox filling your lungs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

In a Time of Virus: Within Our Four Walls

From October of 2017 to August of 2019, I worked from home for, technically, Northwestern University in Chicago.  Really I was working for a larger open source software coalition 50%, and for a sub-group of that coalition 50%.  It was a weird and cool job, and I will always look back on it fondly.

But it also meant I got used to the rhythms of working from home long before all this mess started.  Waking up, showering and having a ten second commute is not uncharted territory.  But, man, the days of just sitting in the same chair all day can get to be a bit much.  Especially as it's all-screens all day, tied to video conferencing with colleagues.

Since getting sent home, I have not been getting up early to walk the dog, as my preference is to do it to unwind after work if I've been sitting in my chair all day.  Scout is an easy walker, and doesn't pull toward other dogs.  She just wants to stay within 4 feet of me as we go about our business.  We talk to neighbors from about 15-20 feet away.  Sometimes I linger, sometimes I keep on going after waving hello.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

PODCAST: Quarantine Media 01 - "Love is Blind", "Tiger King", "McMillions" and more - w/ Jamie, Maxwell and Ryan


Watched:  I mean.. kind of since March 13 - April 5
Viewing:  Firstish
Format:  Netflix, HBO, etc...
Decade:  2020

Things have gotten really strange as we've sheltered in place in our homes. Life is upside down, and we're all worried for the state of the world. But in a time of existential crisis, it doesn't mean we aren't watching some TV. Maxwell joins us to talk "Tiger King", "Love is Blind", "McMillions" and whatever else we're watching as part of our self-care regimen. Or what our kids are putting on, at least.