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

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

PODCAST: "Black Widow" (2021) - An Avengers Countdown Episode w. Jamie and Ryan




Watched:  07/09/2021
Format:  Disney+ Premier Access
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Cate Shortland



Hey! We watched the latest installment in the ever-expanding Marvel media monolith! And we had so much to say, we came back and added a few more minutes to the end. Join us as we rush in to talk about our favorite Avenger from behind the iron curtain! It's a family affair as we meet the folks Natasha grew up with, and go home again to meet the world's worst sorority.




Music:
Natasha's Lullaby - Lorne Balfe, Black Widow OST
American Pie - Don McLean


Marvel Movie Discussion




Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Disney Watch: Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)




Watched:  07/18/2021
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  
Don Hall
Carlos López Estrada
Paul Briggs
John Ripa

I had very much wanted to see Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) in the theater.  Disney and Pixar are creating big-screen-worthy films left and right, and I already have two Pixar films under my belt since December that I will see if they're re-released post-COVID.

For some time, Disney has been making Princess movies from all over the planet, from Frozen, to Moana, to Tangled and now Raya and the Last Dragon.  I admit to some confusion in this film because the film skips around a wide swatch of Southeast Asia and the various islands and archipelagos, but it's all Disney Fantasy Land, so I think marrying yourself to any particular culture here is as useless as figuring out which Scandinavian country where Frozen takes place.  But, nonetheless, you may find yourself saying "is this Vietnam, or Thailand, or...?"

Anyway, I was surprised in a very good way that RatLD turned out to be an action/adventure picture - really the first in the modern Disney era.  Expect no song and dance sequences - this is a straight adventure where the Maguffin is "friendship".  Because Disney.  But, yeah, Disney has definitely done non-musical movies in recent years with the Wreck-It-Ralph movies, Zootopia and Big Hero 6, but if you see "princess" and think "what is her 'I Want' song?", you will be disappointed.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

PODCAST: "Luca" (2021) - it's Pixar Talk with Ryan Michero, JAL and Ryan S



Ryan Michero is back to go shed some light on the latest Pixar film! We go deep on our transformative journey, talking about Ryan M's work on the film, as well as what makes this one a bit different, and, therefore, special. And, what's Pixar like during pandemic times? Sadly, I forgot to ask any questions about the cat. I loved that cat.




Music:

Portorosso - Dan Romer, Luca OST
Un Baccio a MezzanoteQuartetto Cetra


Pixar Talk:

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Neo-Noir Heist Gangster Watch: No Sudden Move (2021)




Watched:  07/08/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Soderbergh

I'm not going to bother with a plot summary for this one.  It's too twisty-turny, and anything I'd say would spoil the damn thing.  Plus, I want to watch it again almost immediately.

What is weird is that I've never not thoroughly enjoyed a movie by director Steven Soderbergh, but I also don't seek them out.  I've maybe seen 1/3rd or less of his output in film, and pretty much zero of his television (I did watch the first season of The Knick), but - I'll rewatch the movies when they're on and basically acknowledge I like his stuff.  

And this movie is no exception.  

Released directly to HBOmax in this year of 2021 as WB wades through the echoes of the HBOmax launch, COVID and whatever the AT&T execs thought were swell ideas before realizing "oh, damn, we don't know what we're doing and we keep setting the place on fire" with WB and dumping it... this one is easy to access if you've already got your HBOmax subscription - so go watch it.  No, seriously.

No Sudden Move (2021) stars a dozen people you know and like, and you'll grow to know and like a few more along the ways (this film was a reminder to go back and watch Uncut Gems to see Julia Fox in another project).  

Don Cheadle, Del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Brenda Fraser, Kieran Culkin, Ray Liotta and Signal Watch fave Bill Duke.  And dozens and dozens more.  Standouts in an amazing cast include Amy Seimetz as Harbour's wife and young Noah Jupe as his teen son.  

What starts as a gangland picture becomes a heist picture, and all with a twinge of noirishness to it, more for some characters than others.  There's no small amount of commentary baked into the movie, so be ready for that - including the conflicts between ethnicities and races in 1950's Detroit - echoing through clearly to 2021.  It moves at a hell of a clip for a 2 hour film, and it's hard to know at the outset what's important and what's not - but assume it's all important.  Like most Soderbergh movies, it's satisfying because it uses all the parts of the animal in the stew.  

In an era where actors bemoan somehow having two Marvel movies per year means they can't get work or there's nothing else happening - it is a welcome change to see Soderbergh show up with his stock players and put on another show, even if it's not on the big screen.  

There's some technical choices made I have questions about, and I'm curious about, and we can discuss at some future date, but it was enough to make me wonder if I screwed up the settings on my TV.  

Anyhoo.  No Sudden Move is excellent.  I have no notes for the cast and crew.

And I have a question for anyone who wants to take the discussion offline.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Pixar Watch: Luca (2021)




Watched:  06/26/2021
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Enrico Casarosa

Sometimes when I see a Pixar movie, I'm pretty sure I'll need to watch it one or two more times before I can do anything but say "wow, that was amazing".  Luca (2021) is one more Pixar movie to elicit this response from me, and, once again, it gets a "wow" on every level.  Story, design, music... you name it, this movie hits all the buttons.  

Not every Pixar film has done this for me, but certainly Soul and Luca were sorely needed movies for my brain here over the past year.  While Soul spoke to me, now, as an adult, and my concerns about "what the hell, exactly, am I doing with my life?", Luca was both a reminder of the value of pushing boundaries that we did as kids as we looked beyond our own yards for what else was out there, and as an adult - maybe that same need continues to exist?  Even when people just want to protect us?

By now you've likely seen the trailers - and while I was dazzled by the look and feel I saw, I wasn't sure what the story would be, or if there would be enough story.  One of my criticisms of other animation or kids' film efforts is that they become too fixated on gags and easy laughs and character and story just feels recycled and that, in turn, makes the jokes a little hacky.

Luca avoids the trap, and tells the story of two boys from under the sea who come to land, and a small port town in coastal Italy where they dream of obtaining a Vespa and riding off into the sunset to explore the world.  A world neither knows a dang thing about - one because he's a sheltered homebody, and the other a stray, abandoned and playing it safe on his island, thinking he's got it sorted out.  

Soon, a new friend starts opening doors for them, gets them involved in a triathlon, and a hunt for sea monsters ensues.  I ain't spoiling anymore.

I'm hoping to grab Ryan M again and do a podcast on Luca soon, so I can ask about making the movie in the pandemic, and then gush about the design of the film, from character (which is very non-Disney) to the town to the underwater sequences to the dream sequences... but first I need to get in touch with the guy.  So, maybe?  Soonish?  In the meantime, go watch Luca.  




Monday, June 21, 2021

Musical Watch: The Harvey Girls (1946)




Watched:  06/21/2021
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  George Sidney

So, I recorded this one as part of the Cyd Charisse "Star of the Month" retrospective on TCM, and while I have been waiting for the AC repair guy to call me back (it's 100 today in Austin), I put the movie on.

I'd always heard the name of the film The Harvey Girls (1946), but didn't know anything about the movie - just that it was a big, 1940's-style musical with Judy Garland as the lead.  I assumed it was about a group of sisters in the Harvey family.  Nope.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Shudder Watch: Psycho Goreman (2020)




Watched:  06/19/2021
Format:  Shudder
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Steven Kostanski

It's been a minute since I posted.  We had guests for the first time since COVID, and we've been watching a lot of baseball and Ted Lasso, so no movies of late.

It seems Psycho Goreman (2020) is a bit of a cult favorite at the moment among horror aficionados, and I was looking for something fun to watch on my Friday night.  But aside from "sorta like an 80's family movie", "sci-fi alien" and "hilarious", I didn't really know much about it, which is my preference going into most horror.

And, yeah?  It's horror-ish.  Horror adjacent.  Sci-fi.  Comedy.  Something.  

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Musical Watch: In the Heights (2021)



Watched:  06/10/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Jon M. Chu

A few years back, Jamie and I paid our money and saw a local stage production of In the Heights at the Zach Scott Theatre here in town.  It wasn't a touring show, but it was a professional show with a mix of local talent and hired talent from out of town.  The theater in question struggles, I think, because the audience is on the gray and silver side, and bringing in shows with a hip-hop tinge, or something like Hedwig (which we also saw there) seem to throw off the audiences that still pat themselves on the back for coming in for the Janis Joplin show they do there about three years.  

But the show was solid, not least because the actual source material is what it is.  In the Heights was the work that made Lin Manuel Miranda in the musical theatre world and enabled him to do something as ambitious as Hamilton.  And, I don't think I need to tell you a ton about where that carried him.  

The movie of In the Heights (2021) was supposed to be released summer of 2020, I believe, but was shelved until this summer, and is now enjoying both a theatrical release and a release on HBOmax.  

Thursday, June 10, 2021

X-Watch: The New Mutants (2020)




Watched:  06/09/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Josh Boone

So, way, way back when in the long ago of the mid-80's, I picked up either my first New Mutants comic, or one of my first New Mutants comics, during the "Mutant Massacre" storyline that wove between the X-Titles and a few other comics.  Seeing a bunch of high school kids who were sneaking out and getting involved in the cataclysmic events of the storyline - and absolutely shook by what they saw - absolutely registered with me.  

I was a bit of a New Mutants fan for a few years, but (a) always knew I'd missed the truly weird beginning of the comic series of the actual students at Xavier's Academy, and (b) I became irritated enough with where the comic went post-Claremont that, at some point I wrote my first letter I intended to send in.  However, rather than send in something that was just a list of grievances, I decided "maybe I can just stop reading the comic instead", and did.  I was long gone by that final, Liefeld-fueled phase.

But I genuinely liked those characters, so I didn't want to give up on them when I did.  The New Mutants in the 80's were written as high school kids going through a very weird path to adulthood, but still very much teens.  They didn't have things sorted out, they behaved often like teenagers with petty outbursts, and generally had their own soap opera going on from month to month as they sorted through psychic powers, the death of a friend, and living in the shadow of the X-Men.  But, yeah, they dated, had a rival school they clashed with, and had complicated relationships with their families.

I've since read a collection of the issues that comprised The Demon Bear Saga from which the movie borrows, and it's some pretty good stuff.  Recommended.  

I'm not sure what to make of the movie of The New Mutants (2020).  

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