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

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Doc Watch: The Last Blockbuster (2020)




Watched:  05/08/2021
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's


This one was kind of weird.  And this post is mostly about how much I hated Blockbuster and didn't care when it folded.

Look, by the time Blockbuster Video went out of business, I'd intentionally not gone of my own free will into a Blockbuster in 10 years and had pretty much broken with Blockbuster as far back as the mid 1990's.  

So, a feature length doc talking about the death of Blockbuster as some sort of tragedy that was just an accident but something we all loved?  I was pausing the movie and making Jamie listen to me as I debated the film's non-stop nostalgia and love of the corporate behemoth, which - starting in the summer of 1994, I saw as actually very bad for movies when I tried to rent Breakfast at Tiffany's and (a) the clerk had never heard of it, and (b) looked it up and explained to me they used to have it, but they got rid of it.  But they did have 45 copies of Pauly Shore in Son In Law.  

Like, you don't have to be a snob to find that a little sad.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Animation Watch: The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021)


Watched:  05/01/2021
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Michael RiandaJeff Rowe 

I'm not going to bother writing this up.  Another terrific Lord & Miller produced animation with a terrific voice cast.  Hysterical, moving, gorgeously animated...  very glad this is out there.  

But I figure everyone with a Netflix account will have seen it, so just go nuts on your own on this one.

I don't have kids, and I got this one.  I imagine a lot of you parents were choking back some feelings watching this one.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Super Watch: Thunder Force (2021)




Watched:  04/24/2021
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Ben Falcone

Look, this movie is exactly what it looks like and exactly what you expect.  It feels like it fell out of the 1990's in a lot of ways, but is totally fine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Comedy Watch: Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar (2021)



Watched:  04/11/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Josh Greenbaum

Delayed from summer 2020, Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar (2021) was released to streaming services in February for a premium fee, but is now available for a more standard fee, and if I knew how much I would like it, I would have paid the $20.  

It's *not* for everybody, but it was absolutely in my wheelhouse.  This thing - written by and starring Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig - is as bonkers a comedy as I've seen in a looong time.  I don't want to give you any spoilers or plot points.  Just let it unfold.



Tuesday, April 6, 2021

PODCAST: "Godzilla vs Kong" (2021) - Kaiju Throwdown! Stuart and Ryan talk Monsterverse!

 

Watched:  03/31/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Adam Wingard



Ape V Lizard! Who will win? You, the audience. Stuart and Ryan have a monster of a conversation about the latest installment in the Godzilla and Kong franchises! It's a podcast of epic proportions as we talk about how we got here, what's worked, what hasn't, and head right for the center of the matter. Stop monkeying around and join us as we go nuclear on the most important film you'll see about an axe wielding ape this year!





Music:  

Pensacola, Florida (Godzilla Theme) - Tom Holkenborg, Godzilla vs Kong OST
Godzilla Cartoon Theme, 1970's


Ryan's Random Cinema

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Doc Watch: Tina (2021)




Watched:  03/29/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's

I've never been a hardcore Tina Turner fan, but like everyone of my generation I am familiar with her work, and have some idea of her pre Private Dancer life through cultural osmosis.  The first one of her albums I ever purchased was greatest hits collection, Simply the Best because I *loved* "Simply the Best" as a song, and figured "can't hurt to own the greatest hits".  And I have no timeline of how I came to really understand Tina Turner's story.  I *do* remember watching the video for "What's Love Got To Do With It?" and my parents sort of watching in amazement that (a) Tina Turner was on MTV and (b) their kids, 9 and 11, were like "this Tina Turner seems cool".  And then my folks saying something about a creep of an ex-husband.

And, we lost our minds over how cool she was in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.  And she is.  Go back and watch it.    

I confess, I never had much affinity for biopics - 2 hours is not enough time to show a life, let alone how botched the movies tend to be vis-a-vis actual facts (which are always more interesting than the invention of the movie) - and I wasn't super interested in watching someone dressed up as Tina Turner get beat up for two hours.  But hearing about the movie is how I came to understand exactly how bad Ike Turner had been.  But I've still never seen What's Love Got to Do With It.

It seems I'm not alone in this opinion.  

Tina (2021) is a roughly two hour doc that uses intervies, original and archival, that charts Tina Turner's course from abandoned child in Nutbush, Tennessee to living in Zurch with her dedicated husband.  And it's a goddamn shattering ride.  And, as it turns out, possibly Turner's final word on her life to the public.  

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Doc Watch: Operation Varsity Blues - The College Admissions Scandal




Watched:  03/22/2021
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Chris Smith

Full disclosure:  My current role is in IT management at a major American university, and part of my portfolio includes Admissions.  I haven't worked for this office very long, just about a year and a half.  But I do interface continually with the folks who process, review and make admissions decisions.  

If you followed the story of actresses Lori Loughlin or Felicity Huffman as they were exposed and charged with participating in, essentially, a massively scaled bribery scandal in which coaches provided entrance to kids as walk-ons to their teams in exchange for cash, you know the broad strokes of what broke in the news back in 2019.  

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Comedy Watch: Coming 2 America (2021)




Watched:  03/06/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Craig Brewer

I saw Coming To America opening weekend in a packed theater.  For whatever reason, my mom thought that Eddie Murphy was a stitch, and we went as a family.  Over the years, I've probably watched Coming to America the most of any non-Christmas comedy, sometimes in whole, but certainly if you add up the chunks of time I've spent watching parts on cable.  In general, I feel like I know the movie pretty well. 

Jamie forewarned me that reviews for the sequel, realeased this weekend to Amazon, were lukewarm to unfavorable.  I haven't seen them.  We were going to at least try the movie.

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

NPR Fresh Air episode


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.