Saturday, January 11, 2020
Friday, January 10, 2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
This movie never states that it's based on real events - but once it's underway, it's very specific to the point where I finally had to check to see if the character portrayed by Eddie Redmayne in the film existed. Spoiler - He did!
But. Half of this movie is real and half is made up, and I am just, honestly, confused why they made this choice - except that I basically get the decision from an optics, casting and audience standpoint. The film swaps out one of the two people who made the real-life trip with a fictional female balloon pilot (Felicity Jones) who is overcoming serious and dramatic baggage tied to ballooning. All of which is made up. Even as she performs feats to save their lives that the real pilot was forced to do. But here, it's someone else.
But, again, the scientist in the film was real and really did go up in a balloon, but with a less-surprising male balloonist.
I honestly have no idea what I just watched, is what I guess I'm saying. I've read articles that are more reflective of my "yes, I understand why they did it, but..." perspective, and others that are really surprisingly blase about "facts" and "what occurred" and seem to think that's some old fashioned thinking and casually suggest if you are questioning the choice, you are both racist and sexist.
Look - I get that "based on a true story" movies change facts all the time, combine people into single characters, etc... - and, honestly, it's part of why I often avoid Hollywood's interpretation of history. But they generally don't swap out one of two main characters with a completely fictional person.
So - I have no idea what I just watched. It was okay. But I tend to think history is hard enough to get a grip on without making up fictional characters in their lives as seemingly major players. So, next time you ask me if I've seen a movie based on a true story and I kinda shrug and say "nope". You now know why.
I watched this just before Togo, which was also based on true events and changed quite a bit, but the basic facts were generally adhered to.
Friday, January 3, 2020
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Format: HBO Streaming
A while back our own PaulT - who does many things in the film and TV industry - worked on a documentary called Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops (2019). I believe he was a/ the sound mixer on the film, which - in documentary land - is no small feat. Especially when you're talking police situations, moving cars, and open classrooms. So, hats off to Paul.
The movie is currently streaming on HBO, and, if you get a chance, give it some time. The movie follows two police officers from the San Antonio Police Department's Mental Health Unit at work and in their lives.
Sunday, December 29, 2019
Format: Criterion Channel
Look, it's possible Bette Davis is one of 5 or so finest actors to have graced the screen, at least in Hollywood films. Yeah, she is "of the era" on some things, but - man, even in not-great films she's a power house, and then in something that plays to her range and strengths?
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
I've been aware of Victor/ Victoria (1982) since, probably, college. Just never got around to seeing it. The movie is famous for it's plot of "woman posing as a man presenting as a female impersonator (re: Drag Queen)", but you hear little else about it. It had no radio hits from the songs and hadn't really permeated the culture the way many-a-musical will.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Format: Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane
(Our most NSFW episode yet!) We hit the Alamo Drafthouse, settled in and ordered up some cocktails, for we were watching "CATS" - the adaptation of the 1980's musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber! Join us in a Day Drinking the Movies episode as we discuss 2019's favorite (and deserving!) movie punching bag - with special guests Doug and K!
Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats - Cast, Cats OST
Memory - Jennifer Hudson, Cats OST
Sunday, December 22, 2019
It's a Signal Watch Stocking Stuffer! SimonUK and Ryan watched the 2010 Finnish sorta-horror import "Rare Exports" (2010), all about Santa maybe not being the fun-loving fellow who drops down chimneys to drop off presents, and maybe more a bit of "hold my beer, Krampus".
Holiday 2019 Playlist
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
I'm not writing this up. I might podcast on it at some point, but I don't feel like a first viewing of this movie is quite enough to give it a thorough thinking-through.
Thanks to a very special secret pal who secured me tickets dead center of the theater! My seat was shaking during the last reel of the movie. It was awesome.
I will say this: I thought Anthony Daniels was fan-freakin'-tastic in this episode, as always, and I wished for way more C3PO over the course of the movie.
I'll get around to doing something at some point, but, for now - acknowledging that I'd seen it.
Also - here's me outside the theater.
|crazily, the two Jedi thought I didn't want them in the picture. They looked rad as hell!|
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Decade: oh, so 1990's
(NSFW) Maxwell and Ryan review 1999's indie darling, "Go", a movie which absolutely occurs maybe at Christmas, borrows the "Pulp Fiction" narrative structure and shines a light on shenanigans occurring in the greater LA area for hip young people.
Gangster Trippin - Fatboy Slim, Go OST
To All The Lovely Ladies - Goldo, Go OST
Signal Watch Holidays 2019:
Friday, December 6, 2019
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Look, if a movie has Sydney Greenstreet in it, I'm watching it. And I've never been disappointed.
Of course, this movie *also* features Peter Lorre, so, that's two great performers of the era. Add in Zachary Scott in his screen debut, and I was positively jazzed to watch The Mask of Dimitrios (1944), a movie I'd oft-head referenced, but never seen.
Thursday, December 5, 2019
(mildly NSFW) SimonUK, Jamie and Ryan hold a holiday roundtable to discuss "Jaws: The Revenge", which, for reasons unknown, takes place at Christmas. Join us as we puzzle through the chapter in the Jaws saga no one asked for, added psychic powers, Michael Caine, and a plot that doesn't even bother to make sense.
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
|The amazing Elizabeth Mitchell, partially blocked by some guy|
Format: Hallmark Channel, baby!
Mostly I don't write up the Hallmark Christmas movies that I watch, because I don't really watch them. I put them on and do other things, how I'll sometimes watch a 4 hour baseball game on a Saturday or Sunday. You do some work or check email or talk on chat to someone while the movie is on. And when you do look up, it's mostly a game of Hallmark movie bingo, teasing out what the new formula themes are this year (military, servicepeople - mostly men, and veterans have been big the past two years).
But The Christmas Club (2019) was one of the more expensive version of the formula, where they'd hired actors you may have seen somewhere before rather than the usual "who is that?" stars of other than Hallmark movies, assembled from spare parts found in a vat of pumpkin spice, Coach purses, bedazzled iPhones, Lululemons and Uggs.
Monday, December 2, 2019
Jamie came out of right field and asked if I wanted to live-blog a Netflix Christmas movie with she and her pal, Angel. Well, of course I did, it looked terrible. But I figured this whole deal was more Jamie's thing than your usual Signal Watch programming, so she should also write up the movie. So, without further ado...
- your host, Ryan
Last weekend, to kick off the holidays, Ryan and I (mostly Ryan) Christmassed up the house and then capped it off with a viewing of the Netflix Hallmark-style movie, The Knight Before Christmas (2019). Joined by my overseas friend Angel (hi, Angel!), we took to Twitter and made it a three person live-blogging extravaganza.
Woof. I don’t know that my expectations for this film were sky high, but I was honestly disappointed in Netflix. I’ve seen some decent original content there recently, and they’re not bad with romantic comedies. With the Hallmark channel turning into a holiday movie factory churning out cookie cutter romantic fluff, I felt that Netflix should be able to take a slightly higher concept plot, more money and talent, and produce something at least slightly entertaining. Silly me. It felt exactly like they took a discarded Hallmark movie and threw in some time travel to attract attention, then did nothing with it.
Friday, November 29, 2019
Format: Alamo S. Lamar
I have a feeling Rian Johnson is going to be, with this movie, one of those directors twitter decides they need to prove they think is overrated. He hasn't made that many movies, seems pretty lucky to have done what he's been able to do (if you ignore how he scraped to get Brick made), and hasn't ever delivered exactly what people are expecting when they show up at the theater - up to and including The Last Jedi.
Thursday, November 28, 2019
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Somehow I'd never seen Kansas City Confidential (1952), but if I'd known it starred John Payne, Coleen Gray, Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam, I would have tried a lot harder to see it sooner.
A windy, twisty heist caper - this one is told from the outside as John Payne plays an ex-con who is accidentally/ sorta framed for a bank heist when masked robbers pull a job worth $1.2 million (that's about $11.6 million now), using a duplicate of his flower delivery van.
Monday, November 25, 2019
Format: Netflix Original
Back in college my pal Shoemaker would wait til we were about four drinks in and then I'd turn around he'd have put Dolemite movies on, and so I vaguely remembered them from the heyday of the mid 1990's. Between being four drinks in, not focusing on the movies and the passage of 2.5 decades, sadly, my memory of the movies was vague at best.
Bad kung-fu, stilted acting and gratuitous nudity were more or less what registered and stuck with me. And, I never did listen to any Rudy Ray Moore records, just saw images of the covers. I like blue humor as much as the next guy, I just never made the time.
When I heard Dolemite Is My Name (2019) was coming out, I decided to revisit the original film. And, if you follow this blog closely, you'll note that there's no post for Dolemite from this year. Because, honestly, it's a movie you should be watching with other people. Watching it by yourself just feels kinda weird. It is a *bad* movie, but it is a fun bad movie that asks to be talked over and discussed as it goes along. And, yeah, my memories of bad kung-fu, stilted acting and gratuitous nudity were verified. Way to go, 1990's brain cells!
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Monday, November 11, 2019
Decade: 1970's/ 2010's
If asked to compile a list of the greatest popular American singers of the 20th Century, I'd assume Aretha Franklin would make the top few - if not the number one slot - for much of the US populace.
We lost Franklin in 2018, and it's unclear who can begin to fill her role in the zeitgeist, but maybe it's too soon, and maybe we don't need to. Maybe she was a singular talent.
Shot in 1972 and unreleased until the last 12 months or so, Amazing Grace (2019) is an attempt by Sydney Pollack to record and capture the experience of Franklin recording a live Gospel album at a church in Los Angeles over the course of two nights. Backed by a local choir and supported by the Reverend James Cleveland, Franklin takes to the pulpit and - as one would expect - nails every song before her.
Sunday, November 10, 2019
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
Look, I'm on the record going to the mat for the first two Terminator movies. And way, way less so for T3 and whatever the Christian Bale one was called. And I never saw Genisys. I did like the TV show, The Sarah Connor Chronicles.