Watched: July 3, 2020
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.
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 toThe 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.
Format: Netflix Streaming
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.
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.
Format: Amazon Streaming
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.
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.
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.
Watched: I mean.. kind of since March 13 - April 5
Format: Netflix, HBO, etc...
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.
Format: TCM on DVR
Kiss of Death (1947) was one of the first "noir" films I watched years back when I was trying to sort out "what... is noir?". It took a second viewing a couple of years later for me to get how it fit into the category, but I do feel it is a good example of a certain kind of noir. More importantly, it's got a great set-up that plays into a tight, engaging story, and has three fantastic performances. And Brian Donlevy.
I kid. Brian Donlevy is fine, but this film is famous for a ground-breaking psychotic performance by Richard Widmark as mad-dog criminal, Tommy Udo. Flat out, that's probably what the movie is best known for - and there's no question, it's the Joe Pesci-before-Joe Pesci performance of it's day. Maybe even the Heath Ledger-Joker performance of its day? He's a lit stick of sociopathic dynamite who thinks nothing of killing someone's kids just to make a point, and he'd have a good laugh about it.
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
Uh. Look. I wasn't really planning to see this movie. I wasn't a fan of Suicide Squad or even Margot Robbie's take on Harley Quinn in the movie, which many found winning. She's kind of a perky Mary Sue for fans of My Chemical Romance. I get it.
Friday, the movie was, at one point, tracking over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has settled in at a comfortable 80% as of this writing. Filmmakers I like vouched for it, and Jamie expressed some interest, and I have an Alamo Season Pass, so money is already sunk for tickets, so we went.