Showing posts with label First viewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label First viewing. Show all posts

Friday, May 13, 2022

PodCast 199: "The Batman" (2022)- a Kryptonian Thought Beast Episode w/ JAL and Ryan




Watched:  05/01/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: First
Decade: 2020's
Director:  Matt Reeves




It's no riddle which flying rodent-enthusiast had a blockbuster in 2022. The Dynamic Duo of JAL and Ryan get back to the Batcave to talk all about the latest take on the Dark Knight Detective. It's time to get broody as we go batty talking how this one fits in with the big picture, and what makes it unique.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
The Batman - Michael Giacchino, The Batman OST 
Batman - Neal Helfi
Something In the Way - Nirvana, Nevermind 

DC Movies Playlist

Monday, May 9, 2022

Dog Watch: Clifford the Big Red Dog (2021)



Watched:  05/06/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Walt Becker

I dunno.  This is for very small kids, but it also felt like it wasted a lot of goodwill and a lot of potential.  Clifford is a character I don't think about much as I am 47 and I have no children.  But I think if all you can think to do is make a boilerplate kiddie movie that seems lifted from every kiddie movie since Uncle Wat turned his attention to live-action, I dunno.  He's a big fucking dog.  Workshop that shit.  

The movie is chock full of cameos and small roles for known talent and looks like they spent some money on it.  It's a beloved and well known character, and...  it kinda feels like they didn't really know what to do once they got the rights.  

It also takes place in the city, which...  look, maybe the first book is urban, but Clifford is a suburban character.  NYC is a lot of things, but it is not a place where a giant dog is going to fit terribly well long term (he wrote as his own giant dog put his massive noggin on his hand and keyboard).  Like - look, the 'burbs are more dull and less diverse than Harlem - but this is also a fictional movie, and/ or could have been in a small town?  I don't get the setting.  It's okay to country-fi that story.

Maybe the thing that was weirdest about the movie is that it desperately wants to be about *something*, and the thing Clifford had going for him in his origin story is the power of love (to turn a small sickly puppy into a giant dog).  But the movie decides to be about accepting something/ someone who is different.  But then it's about very White people in gentrifying Harlem who seem boringly ordinary, even the wacky uncle who needs to grow up borrowed from every movie, ever.  

I'm all about messages of "hey, don't fear something because it's different or you don't understand it", but the speech at the end is wildly nonsensical and unearned.  Being "new to school" is not weird or different, it's...  an uncomfortable period of adjustment (I moved 3 times during my school years.  You adjust.).  Our Emily Elizabeth is a pretty standard kid.  She doesn't have a third eye or something.  She's "poor", but NYC giant apartment poor.  Normal in her world is having a 27 million dollar loft.

Honestly - who wrote this thing?

Anyway.  I thought the cast looked like they were having fun, Clifford was cute and the last act was at least kind of fun/ funny.  I wouldn't not show this to a small child.  But I also am disappointed that this is the Clifford movie we got.  It's better than the Air Buddies movies by a country mile, but it's still... meh.  Gimme a trick or treating Clifford of GTFO.  

Paddington raised the bar for timeless children's characters into movies, studios.  Work harder.


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

PodCast 197: "The Medusa Touch" (1978) - A SimonUK Cinema Classic w/ Ryan




Watched:  04/25/2022
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing: First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Jack Gold




It wouldn't be the first time we used our minds around here and it led to disaster. SimonUK and Ryan get excited about Richard Burton and Lee Remick, respectively, and get on the case of the victim of an attempted murder, who maybe - just maybe - is the source of all sorts of trouble. Join us as we talk an entry in ESP horror paired with police procedural.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
The Medusa Touch - Michael J. Lewis 


Simon movies!

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

80's TV Movie Watch: The Spirit (1987)




Watched:  05/02/2022
Format:  DVD from Warner Archive
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Michael Schultz

Way back in the 1980's, I ordered a Bud Plant catalog so I could get an idea of what all was out there in the world of comics.  I remember two things that really stuck out - a Mike Kaluta image of The Shadow (the first time I'd heard of the character) - and an image for a collection of The Spirit strips with P'gell prominently featured.  You know the one.

I didn't know what the hell The Spirit was, but to my 11 year old brain, this seemed very sexy indeed, and I assumed The Spirit was some sort of soft-core comic.  

Flash forward probably only a matter of months, and I read in Comics Scene that someone was making a TV movie of The Spirit, learned more about it (not a softcore book!) and back in the days when we weren't having superhero media rained down upon us, I was very interested.  

Finally the movie was slated to air, and of course there was some scheduling conflict (we just missed TV in those days), but I could probably catch the last hour or so.  I don't remember where we were or what was up, but I do remember my mom ran into a friend and started talking.  And I just had to stand there while the clock spun and my 1980's chances with no DVR faded away of seeing any of the movie.  

I walked in the door, watched the last five minutes, and then went to do homework.

Western Noir Watch: Lust for Gold (1949)




Watched:  05/02/2022
Format:  Criterion Channel
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  S. Sylvan Simon and George Marshall


Well, Criterion Channel is currently highlighting a collection of films starring Ida Lupino, and that's good news for me, anyway.  Always on the hunt for more Lupino, I wanted to check out something I hadn't seen, and we mostly randomly landed on Lust for Gold (1949), what appeared to be a Western, but which really turned out to be Western Noir, which is absolutely a thing.

This is a supremely weird movie, and they needed to make one movie or the other movie in their movie, but instead they give you two partial movies, and I cannot begin to conceive of the "why".  A full 2/3rds of the film is flashback to events from the 1880's, and the rest takes place, which a much-less-talented team of actors, in the present day of 1949.  And I'm not sure the whole section in 1949 needs to exist at all, and I'm not sure that the events of 1880 shouldn't have been mentioned in about three sentences in a very different version of how the 1949 stuff spins out.

The end result is that you don't get any Ida Lupino until something like 35 minutes into a 90 minute movie, and... come on.  What are we even doing here?

Friday, April 29, 2022

PodCast 196: "Spider-Man: No Way Home" (2021) - A Marvel Madness PodCast w/ Jamie & Ryan



Watched:  04/15/2022
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Jon Watts




Jamie and Ryan finally catch up with the gigantic Spider-Man movie from 2021, ponder multiverses, wish fulfillment, and doing something that maybe shouldn't have worked, but did. It's a post-game chat after watching a deeply complicated movie that was either a celebration of Marvel's most beloved hero on film, or it was a very, very weird thing to do/ cash-grab.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Arachnoverture - Michael Giacchino


Marvel Madness Playlist

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Watch Party Watch: Catwoman (2004)




Watched:  04/15/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  first complete, end-to-end viewing
Decade:  2000's
Director:  some asshole who goes by "Pitof"

If I were teaching a class on superhero film, I would make Catwoman (2004) the half-way point of the class.  Chronologically, the movie arrives after Fox successfully put out two X-Men movies and Sony has delivered some Spider-Mans.  Warner Bros has shut down its Bat-franchise and will sometimes think about making a superhero movie, but everything you read in the press that WB is considering is still stuck in the idea that superheroes are campy and should be comedic, or is a reimagining where they'll use the name but everything else will be so changed, it will bear no resemblance to the comics.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

PODCAST 193: "Chances Are" (1989) - a Birthday Exchange Movie Discussion w/ Jamie and Ryan




Watched:  04/10/2022
Format:  Amazon
Viewing: First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Emilie Ardolino




NSFW! In retaliation for his selection, Jamie busts out a mostly-forgotten late-80's magical-realism romantic comedy that really draws some interesting lines in the sand for what it thinks are totally fine ideas to put into a movie. Thrill to Jamie and Ryan pondering how this was a mainstream movie that went without comment at the time.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
After All - Cher and Peter Cetera
Chances Are - Johnny Mathis


Jamie's Cinema Classics

Monday, April 11, 2022

Sci-Fi Watch: World Without End (1956)




Watched:  04/10/2022
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Edward Bernds

From YouTubeTV:  

An astronaut (Hugh Marlowe) and his buddies land on 26th-century Earth and find men meek and women friendly

I mean, yes.  

I have no idea how I recorded this movie, but I did.  I'm guessing by accident.  I put it on to see what it was, and - while not good or great - there's a bit of The Time Machine and what we'll all know from Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes to this movie.  

Some astronauts return to Earth only to find they didn't just pass through space, they passed through time - a few hundred years.  On the surface, they find giant spiders and brutish troglodytes, and as they meet a race of subterranean people who seem much more like the people they left, they find that there was a nuclear war at some point.  While safe in their underground city, the men have turned weak and fearful, and the women - hot and mini-skirted.   And disappointed in their men.  So of course they like Rod Taylor popping his shirt off and bringing the gun show.  

Anyway, it's mostly curious in that it seems like Hollywood did watch the movie and said "we could do this better".  And they were not wrong.  Just twelve years later, Planet of the Apes - with Rod Serling and the original novel behind it - doesn't just turn the opportunity into a sex fantasy/ reinforcement of our exceptionalism as mid-Century Americans.  


Sunday, April 10, 2022

Doc Watch: American Grindhouse (2010)




Watched:  04/08/2022
Format:  Amazon?
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010
Director:  Elijah Drenner

This doc felt weirdly slight, and I see now it was 80 minutes.  It traces the history of film from its origins to what sorts of theaters carried schlocky, sexy, or violent films not produced by the studios.  

But... it's weirdly focused on just New York and LA, forgetting these movies had audiences all over, and never curious about how they were (or were not) seen in the rest of the country.  I'm not sure I buy of the main theses of the film, that the studios started making "grindhouse" movies because of the end of the vertical integration of studios and theaters that dissolved post WWII.  But I would agree that eventually studios got involved with content formerly reserved for the grindhouse market.  I'd just point to studios trying to differentiate from what was on TV once the Hays Code fell apart and the rating system came to be.  

There are pretty good interviews, including Eddie Muller, and some creators of some classic schlock, much of which I haven't gotten around to seeing (pitching a 'Women in Cages' movie to Jamie is not as easy as one would believe).  And I've never come across availability of Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS.  But I was pleased with which ones I'd seen.  I think they gave Russ Meyers and his real legacy basically no consideration, and it's weird.  There's no mention of kung-fu or other genre.  Instead, they seem to want to follow a thread to porn that I'm not sure works if you remember actual porn theaters existing and that was an adjacent but not entirely related thing.  

In short - it's fine, but feels... debatable?  Like the narratives only work if you aren't thinking too hard.




Watch Party Watch: Night of the Lepus (1972)




Watched:  04/08/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director:  William F. Claxton

You'd think a movie about giant, mutant rabbits with a taste for human flesh would be more exciting.  But, alas, that is not the case with Night of the Lepus (1972), which seems like such a missed opportunity.  And I welcome some enterprising soul to remake and improve the idea.  NOW IS THE TIME.

The movie features Rory Calhoun, Dr. McCoy and Janet Leigh, among others.  Janet Leigh is kind of weirdly wasted in the film, but wears an interesting array of stripes.  And it also features a lot of bunnies shot in slow-mo on scale sets, and it is goddamn adorable.

The main character and his family are entirely responsible for the science and bad decisions that create the mayhem of the movie, and should be in jail.  Even the little girl.  It's a hell of a script.  

Anyway, my middle school floor hockey team was named The Slaughter Bunnies, and I really wish I could say we based it on this movie, but we did not.


Saturday, April 2, 2022

PODCAST 191: "Hired To Kill" (1990) - Movies of Doom w/ SimonUK and Ryan




Watched:  03/14/2022
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing: First    
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Nico Mastorakis




SimonUK and Ryan head into enemy territory with Movies of Doom, our first voyage into "wow, this looks terrible. Let's watch this immediately" cinema. This one has A Very 90's Actor, 7 actresses you'll never see again, and 3 legends of Hollywood cashing in for a vacation in Southern Europe. It's the Dirty Dozen meets every 80's action movie, meets astounding sexism!


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred



Movies of Doom!

Verhoeven Watch: Benedetta (2021)




Watched:  04/01/2021
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Paul Verhoeven

In the wake of Showgirls, I was curious about what Verhoeven is up to these days.  I knew he'd more or less self-exiled to Europe.  For a director I like, I really hadn't seen his post-90's stuff, so when Justin alerted me Verhoeven had put something out last year, I gave it a whirl.

This is, as we used to say, a Stefon movie.



It's a hell of a thing to watch right on the heels of Showgirls, as this is a movie about nuns, faith, politics and religion, plagues, religious fervor, power dynamics, relativism in truth and morality, and - because it's Paul Verhoeven - eroticism and sexy nuns.  It's also loosely based on real events, changed enough it's not historical fiction in most ways, but... yeah.  Some of this is documented.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Doc Watch: Summer of Soul (2021)




Watched:  03/30/2022
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Questlove

I started watching Summer of Soul (2021) last year on Hulu, but got in trouble with Jamie for starting it without her.  But somehow we never circled back and watched it.  

Well, I guess it won an Academy Award, so that's a feather in Questlove's cap.  And well deserved.  But it also means there's no real reason for me to further discuss or sell you on this movie.  Or even explain it.  

It's a really beautiful, amazing thing.  Watch it.


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Doc Watch: You Don't Nomi (2019)




Watched:  03/29/2022
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Director:  Jeffrey McHale

After watching and podcasting Showgirls, I believe Justin (and then Paul) suggested I watch the documentary You Don't Nomi (2019) a sort of retrospective investigating how we can view the 1995 film, seen as a catastrophe at the time of release but which has been reconsidered as a camp classic in the intervening years.  The doc features multiple reviewers, entertainers and others engaging with the film.  No small amount of the original film is seen as the movie leverages the idea of fair-use in investigating and transforming the source material - and so too does it liberally borrow from other films by Paul Verhoeven.  

In many ways, it's like a bit of film school packed into a tidy 1:38 or whatever it was.  Opinions are applied as fact, schools of thought as dogma.  But almost no one speaking is in total agreement.  We look at what else Verhoeven has done, we look for things he returns to, what his films say on certain topics (women!  violence!  seeeeeeeexxxx!) and try to draw conclusions.  And with Verhoeven, the answer is often that, no, he's not making a mistake or doing something goofy, he meant something specific and it wasn't there to make you feel better or confirm your biases.  All of which, were I to watch Showgirls sober, would definitely make me re-evaluate the film.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Pixar Watch: Turning Red (2022)




Watched:  03/15/2022
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Domee Shi

I'm going to try to secure Michero to come in and talk about Turning Red (2022), so no lengthy write-up.  

Uh...  so.  How to do this if there will be a podcast?  

I liked it!  You should watch it.  Definitely a great one for the kids hitting late elementary school and up.  It's gonna feel familiar.  For the younger ones, a foretaste of what's coming.

I have a few theories about why it took place in 2002, but will try to verify.  


Saturday, March 12, 2022

PodCast 188: "Fantastic Four" (2015) - FF Part 2 - a Kryptonian Thought Beast Episode w/ Danny Horn and Ryan



Watched:  03/01/2022
Format:  Disney+
Viewing: First
Director:  Josh Trank




Danny Horn and Ryan continue on their Marvelous adventure, picking up with Fox's fabulous alternative attempt at bringing the Fantastic Four to the silver screen. And what's more fun for the kids showing up for a superhero romp than turning Marvel's first family into a body horror spectacular? Why, you can also double-down with dead-eyed stars, a grim-as-hell plot and an ending that is dumb as hell. But you WILL reconsider the 2005 film and bump it up a few notches in your personal rankings.

SoundCloud

YouTube


Music:
Fantastic Four Prelude - Marco Beltram and...  Philip Glass?  WTF?

The mentioned article about how Miles Teller sucks

Marvel Madness Playlist!

Friday, March 11, 2022

Western Watch: My Darling Clementine (1946)




Watched:  03/09/2022
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Director:  John Ford

Yet another deeply factually inaccurate take on the events including Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the Clantons at the OK Corral, but a solid one that throws out all attempts to stay true to the story and instead does its own myth-making.  That's alright.  We have how many years of TV and movies that have used Earp and Holliday as fictional characters with fictional motivations to the point where my usual rules about biopics can't possibly apply.  

I was spurred to check this one out based on a single photo of Victor Mature in a cowboy hat, a still from this movie, and I'm a bit of a Victor Mature fan, and I had never seen him in a western.  When I checked to see what the story was with My Darling Clementine (1946), it was directed by Ford and co-starred Henry Fonda as Earp and Linda Darnell as "Chihuahua", a Mexican songstress.  And, look, I'm only human.  I'll watch a Linda Darnell movie for all the wrong reasons.  The titular Clementine is played by Cathy Downs, who would go on to sci-fi fame in some B pictures like The Amazing Colossal Man, but who also performed in some noir pictures around the 1940's and 50's.  

he's so cool


The movie fictionalizes a full background as a surgeon for "Doc" Holliday (he was a dentist), and makes up a love triangle between himself and Chihuahua, his local saloon lady, and Clementine - a nurse he once loved when he was still practicing.  While the Clantons are trying to remain outlaw lords of Tombstone, they make the mistake of killing Wyatt Earp's (Fonda's) brother, which leads to Earp becoming Marshall of Tombstone - already famed for his work in Dodge City and Deadwood.  Earp falls hard for the virtuous Clementine, and she has some conflicted feelings (and Doc seems kinda screwed up anyway, plus, you know, he's dating Linda Darnell).  

I can genuinely recommend the movie.  I think it's got a lot going for it, and Ford gets great stuff out of his four leads.  The real life story will continue to exist, but I like the arc for Mature's Holliday, and I think he nails it.   But you've also got Ford's Monument valley backdrops, beautifully shot, thoughtful execution of scene after scene, and a kind of humanity to the characters that grounds everything.


I mean...  Linda Darnell




Doc Watch: Lucy and Desi (2022)




Watched:  03/08/2022
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Director/ Producer:  Amy Poehler

I don't know that I would have looked at Amy Poehler standing on one leg on SNL a couple decades ago and thought "documentarian", but - apparently along with her skills as a comedian/ actor/ director/ writer/ improviser/ producer, we can now include documentarian.

I had no interest in the recently released biopic by Aaron Sorkin.  I'm not a Sorkin-head, and I generally find biopics of well-documented people are really about something going on with the creators, not the actual subjects.  Maybe it's the history major in me, but coming up with make-believe scenes to illustrate some fundamental message imposed on people's lives, you're going to wind up with something between an impression and a grotesquerie.  But, I dunno.  Sometimes it works.  

Documentary, done well, tends to surface actual themes and truths about the subjects as directors find their story in repeated beats in research and interviews.  And when it comes to real people who, once upon a time, were routinely covered in tabloids even after their deaths, who were in our living rooms for decades (I watched reruns of I Love Lucy as a kid), give me some talking heads, production stills and 8mm family movies every time.  

There's a lot here I didn't know, much I did through osmosis mover the years.  But it's well done and - with so many years since the passing of both Lucy and Desi, can afford to be fair-handed as possible while being sympathetic to certain quirks and challenges of both personalities.  That Poehler would see some of her self in Lucille Ball, as a comedian who has been at the top, continues to enjoy celebrity and side projects that are not the heights of what she's known for, but which are solid nonetheless...  I am not entirely shocked she picked Ball as a subject worth of research with whom she could spend time.

The one thing I found profoundly odd that the doc doesn't mention is that Lucy was about 40 when she started working on I Love Lucy.  She was giving birth to children in her 40's, starring in her show and building Desilu essentially in the back-half of a career.  I don't know if Poehler thought it was ageism or sexism or something that need not be discussed, but frankly I think it's vital information for how remarkable Lucille Ball was, because I've seen a few of her films from before the crafted I Love Lucy persona, and it's a different actor.  And second acts should always be celebrated.

Anyway, I'm thrilled Poehler made the doc, and it's as well done as I think you could hope for.  


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Musical Watch: West Side Story (2021)




Watched:  03/05/2021
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Steven Spielberg

We won't belabor you with the facts of the 1957 stage play or much about the original film.  There's an endless stream of media on the topic, and even last year we were treated to a lengthy special on the 1961 film reuniting Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn.

I know I was aware of West Side Story when my mom took me to see it as a play in a small, downtown theater in Austin's former warehouse district around 5th or 6th grade.  I don't remember much in the way of my impressions other than being shocked that our heroes didn't walk away into the sunset - unhappy endings were still a novelty at that point.

It's likely I saw at least part of the 1961 version when I was 14 and my English class covered Romeo and Juliet.  But I didn't see it in full til summer of 1992 when I was at a drama camp for 7 weeks.*  I very much remember crowding around the TV and the silence from a room full of 17-year-olds at the film's end.  And, of course, being told "no, the girl in purple is Rita Moreno."