Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Friday Watch Party: Who's That Girl? - it's Madonnarama on Friday!



Despite no small amount of Madonna-interest, I've never seen this movie.  Jamie informs me it is now on Amazon streaming, so we're gonna watch party this nonsense.  I don't even know what it's about.  Madonna.  Griffin Dunne.  A mountain lion?  

Day:  Friday - 01/21/2022
Time:  8:30 PM Central/ 6:30 PM Pacific
Service:  Amazon
Cost:  $2

CLICK HERE ON FRIDAY TO WATCH ALONG



Monday, January 17, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Brain From Planet Arous (1957)




Watched:  01/14/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Firstish
Director:  Nathan Hertz

I'll tell this story again here, so...

The year is about 1978 or 79.  For reasons I cannot remember, my mom has to keep me busy while she deals with something else in the house.  I am about 3 or 4.  My mom does something she never does:  she puts me in my folks' room and turns on the TV and says "look at that til I get back".  I am left alone with a black and white movie on the TV.

The movie is well underway, I don't understand what's happening and then this shit appears on screen:


I lose it.  Giant floating menacing brains with glowing eyes are not something I yet take for granted.  

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Noir Watch: 711 Ocean Drive (1950)




Watched:  01/16/2022
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Director:  Joseph M. Newman

Part of the "law and order"/ "crime doesn't pay" flavor of films that can get lumped in with noir, I'd seen 711 Ocean Drive (1950) listed for a while and figured I should get to it.  

It's.... fine.  A mix of "technology plus crime!" that is sometimes done well, but usually ends up with a bit of a hokey angle, plus the story of how easy it is to become an LA crime lord because you know how to patch through a phone call is... well, it's a set up.  

Starring the actor who always makes me think "well, shit, if that guy could become a lead in movies, why didn't I try?", Edmond O'Brien, the movie follows his phone-company technician who believes anyone who falls in love or who isn't trying to get ahead through whatever's at hand is an idiot (a real charmer, this character), O'Brien is presented by his bookie to a wire service/ gambling empresario.  He hooks them up with the magic of RADIO in a scheme I utterly never understood - as it seemed not illegal - but facilitated a lot of illegal bookmaking.  

I dunno.  There's a lot going on here and you'll either watch the picture or you won't.  But it is intensely plot heavy as O'Brien manages to take over ALL CRIME IN CALIFORNIA and then a syndicate moves in and he joins up.  Mostly because he wants to get with one of the Syndicate guy's wife, played by notable actor Joanne Dru (Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon).  

The film's big set piece is the access they had to Hoover Dam (then called Boulder Dam) and filmed Edmond O'Brien sweating his ass off running all over the damned thing trying to avoid police.  It's a reminder that I would very much like to one day tour the dam myself.  It seems keen.  But the movie makes the interesting choice to just cast the rangers at the Dam as themselves, so suddenly in minute 70 you're getting cops giving wildly wooden performances.  

The movie has some weirdly good cinematography, courtesy Franz Planer.  They made the most of the on-location work at the dam, but there's also plenty of interesting stuff in a gas works and just in how some sequences were thoughtfully framed or lit.  

I didn't hate the movie, but it's not threatening to knock any of my top 10 favorites out of place.  Joanne Dru is the best one in the movie, so much so that it can feel like she was imported from a different movie.  Edmond O'Brien is never bad, but he is always Edmond O'Brien.  I don't know what 711 Ocean Drive is, but I guess it's the house he lives in after becoming a crime boss.  

Any threat the movie received from actual organized crime about the secrets of criminal ways supposedly revealed in the film that would have required the production required police protection seems... well, it seems made up.  But I guess if you hire cops to hang around and then say "so hot, we needed people legally allowed to shoot people to protect it", that's a pretty good PR hook.  

Anyway, stay away from telephone switching equipment.  That way lies crime and personal doom.

Friday, January 14, 2022

PODCAST 179: "Soylent Green" (1973) - a 2022 SciFi Episode w/ JimD and Ryan



Watched:  01/05/2022
Format:  Tubi
Viewing:  First
Director: Richard Fleischer




JimD returns to talk what to expect in the new year and what to look for as you consider healthy eating in 2022. It's a Sci-Fi classic that isn't all that great! But it has a neat ending. And garbage trucks. And some name cast, which is just weird. Join us as we try not to crowd you with our opinions!




Music:
Soylent Green - Fred Myrow


Sci-Fi Nerdery

FRIDAY - Watch Party: The Brain From Planet Arous





When I was 3 years old, my mom was busy and left me in my folks' room with the TV on to keep me occupied.  What I remember is my first, genuine TV or movie induced terror was triggered when a giant, floating brain with glowing eyes appeared on screen to muck about with people.  

I lost my damn mind.  

The fact is, my mom didn't and doesn't watch movies or TV and saw something black and white on TV, and I suspect she thought "it's the middle of the day and whatever this is will be old and boring but fine".  Noooope.  I was not fine.

For about four decades, I had no idea what movie this was.  And then, thanks to the internet, I finally figured it out a few years ago, but the DVD was super expensive, so I didn't buy it.  

Well, this movie is now streaming on Amazon.  And we're going to watch it and see what freaked me the hell out when I was 3 years old.

Day:  10/14/2021
Time:  8:30 PM Central/ 6:30 Pacific
Service:  Amazon Watch Party
Cost:  $2



a foretaste of the feast to come




Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Courtroom Watch: Witness for the Prosecution (1957)




Watched:  01/10/2022
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Director:  Billy Wilder

Look, I refuse to talk about the contents of this film.  Go into it knowing nothing as Jamie and I did, and you won't be sorry.  

Here's something fun - I've had this movie on my DVR for years, one way or another.  I've been meaning to watch it, and somehow it just never made it to be the next thing I watched.  Which is crazy.  But every once in a while I'd be reminded of the talent in the movie, all of whom I like, and after a recent convo with Laura, thought "man, I just need to watch this at long last."  And then TCM played it around Christmas and I recorded it again!

Directed by Billy Wilder from an Agatha Christie play.  Starring Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Elsa Lanchester, Una O'Connor, and the always impossibly old Ian Wolfe.  

It's basically a murder mystery starting with a suspect (Power) being brought to Laughton, a barrister, so he can defend him when he gets arrested.  Marlene Dietrich plays Powers' wife.  

There's 10,000 words to write about Dietrich, but plenty of others have already done it.  So, go find them. She earned them.  

But, also, delight in Lanchester and O'Connor in a film together again, where, once again, they share no scenes.


90's Re-Watch: Muriel's Wedding (1994)




Watched:  01/09/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  PJ Hogan

Back in the long, long ago Muriel's Wedding (1994) was a movie I watched over and over.  I'm not really sure why.  It's a good movie, it's funny, it's a bit moving here and there.  It seems like an odd thing for a 20 year old dude to decide he's going to watch over and over, but here we are.

But I also don't think I'd seen it again in two decades.  It's been a really long time and I don't recall owning it since VHS.  

An Australian made movie, it did bring Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths to the attention of American audiences when it arrived here (I think it was showing in Austin in Spring of 1995 and I watched it probably at The Dobie).  It was, in general, an interesting era for Australian and New Zealand film as it seemed like Campion was doing her thing, Peter Jackson was freaking everyone out, Pricilla, Queen of the Desert won hearts and minds, and Baz Luhrman's Strictly Ballroom was big for indie film fans.  

Monday, January 10, 2022

Disney Watch: Encanto (2021)




Watched:  01/08/2022
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Directors:  Jared Bush/ Byron Howard/ Charise Castro Smith

Disney has really doubled down on the "here's a big ol' metaphor, but we're also going to explicitly spell it out" style of storytelling that Pixar's been doing for a while.  That's not a dig.  You're playing to an all-ages audience that needs some hand-holding, and in general, for who these movies are for, I think it works.

I'm not surprised I liked Encanto (2021).  I'm honestly far more surprised when I am not onboard with a Disney film or find it just "meh".  After deconstructing the idea of the Princess movie with Frozen and Tangled, and doing some fun character stuff with Wreck It Ralph, essentially doing a family dramedy is a good pivot.  And it's kind of remarkable we're in an era where we aren't depending on wicked stepmothers and cheesed-off sorceresses to tell a story.  Sometimes the conflict can be person vs. themselves.  But this one also has baked in protagonist vs. society and fate, I guess.  

There's a lot going on.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Re-Watch Watch: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)




Watched:  01/07/2021
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Josh Greenbaum

Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar (2021) is now on Hulu, and you owe it to yourself to watch this movie.

This may be my favorite comedy (movie) of the last 15 years.  Which maybe says something about me?  I don't know.

Friday, January 7, 2022

PODCAST 178: "Zulu" (1964) - A SimonUK Cinema Series Episode w/ Ryan



Watched:  01/04/2021
Format:  Tubi
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Cy Endfield




SimonUK and Ryan hold their ground against impossible odds in a trap of their own making! We talk the 93rd ever best British film, bringing our tiny squad up against the overwhelming force that is a film epic all about Britain's red-coats and the sun never setting on the empire and whatnot. It's a movie of it's time in some ways, and maybe more progressive a film than you're figuring for 1964.




Music:
Zulu Suite - John Barry



SimonUK Cinema Series

Sidney Poitier Merges With The Infinite



Screen legend Sidney Poitier has passed.  One of a handful of actors who truly helped change the world.


Peter Bogdanovich Merges With The Infinite



Peter Bogdanovich, director, historian and Hollywood icon has passed.  

Monday, January 3, 2022

Doc Watch: Beanie Mania (2021)




Watched:  01/01/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Director:  Yemisi Brookes

Hoo-boy.  I think I have more to say about the topics covered in Beanie Mania (2021) than I have to say about the film itself.  

But, so.  

Beanie Mania covers the 1990's Beanie Baby fad and tulip-like frenzy around the little doorstops that became an obsession with some people at the time.  There are interviews with people who were Beanie celebrities, former employees of Ty (the company that made the bean bags), with distributors and a last, passing glance at how YouTubers are maybe reviving Beanie Mania.  

It collects news stories and people who were there at the time are remarkably candid about what they did and why and what was happening.  And many of them are still in the Beanie Business, which is still a thing, I guess (look, eBay has taught us secondary markets are there for *everything*).  There's no gory murders of sex scandals, but it is fascinating to remember that this really was a nation-wide obsession for a minute there, and that it really tapped into so many parts of how we can project our hopes and dreams into something as ridiculous as a bean bag made to look like a frog.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Movies 2021 - By the Numbers




Well.  I watched, for me, *a lot* of movies in 2021.  A number of things contributed to this.

1.  My teams were incredibly bad.  The Chicago Cubs decided to implode in late-June/ early-July, then trade away many of their franchise players.  At some point, we just stopped watching the Cubs, which gave me back like 12 hours of screentime per week.  The UT Longhorns football team did, uh, did not meet expectations, which gave me back my Saturdays in the Fall.  

2.  We did a lot of Watch Parties.  It was fun!  But it locked me in to many, many Friday and Tuesday nights with a fresh movie.

3.  We did a bunch of podcasts.

4.  I didn't watch a lot of new TV shows.  Ted Lasso, sure.  But I wasn't actively seeking new stuff and was happy watching movies instead of committing to a TV series.  

5.  I mean, I didn't have a job for a few months.  Friends, that certainly frees you up.

6.  I don't have kids.  Turns out when you don't have kids, you can do whatever the @#$% you like.

If you like, review the spreadsheet on your own.  I could probably break the numbers down more - but, no.

So.

How Many Movies Did I Watch?

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Last Film of 2021: Another Thin Man (1939)




Watched:  12/31/2021
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1930's
Director:  WS Van Dyke

Technically, I finished this movie at 12:30 AM on 01/01/2022, but I'm calling it as my last movie of 2021.  I make up the rules here, so deal with it.  

TCM started a Thin Man marathon at 7:00 PM Central on New Year's Eve, and we watched the first two movies in parts between episodes of Queer Eye's Austin season which debuted on 12/31, and is worth it's own post.  But once Jamie went to bed, I was free to hang with my pals, Nick and Nora.  

Another Thin Man (1939) needs no write-up from me.  Or at least isn't getting one on New Years Day, but it's a very fun movie.  I definitely suggest watching the Thin Man films in order, just to follow the progress of the series, but any time with William Powell and Myrna Loy is a good time in my book.


Friday, December 31, 2021

Neo-Noir Watch: The Silent Partner (1978)




Watched:  12/30/2021
Format:  TCM on Demand
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Daryl Duke/ Curtis Hanson

I knew nothing about this movie other than it starred Elliot Gould before Jamie put it on.  She'd read about it somewhere and knew "this will be in Ryan's wheelhouse, so I don't need to sell him on it", and she was 100% correct.

The upshot is that I really dug this movie, and I think you might, too.  It's a very 1970's neo-noir in the vein of classic thriller-noir like Kiss of Death.  But don't use that as an exact comparison.

LIGHT SPOILERS

Thursday, December 30, 2021

PODCAST 177: "North Sea Hijack"/ "ffolkes" (1980) - w/ SimonUK Cinema Selection w/ Ryan




Watched:  12/28/2021
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980
Director:  Andrew V McLaglen




It's Roger Moore in a beard and playing with cats and fighting villains! What's not to like? SimonUK and Ryan get on board to bear witness as Anthony Perkins decides to make some quick cash by entering the petroleum industry! It's all hands on deck as James Mason and many other familiar faces mix it up in a high stakes chess match that no one in the US ever managed to watch!




Music:
Main Titles and Closing Titles - Michael J Lewis



SimonUK Cinema Series 

Doc Watch: Street Gang - How We Got to Sesame Street (2020)




Watched:  12/29/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Marilyn Agrelo


Of the near universal experiences of my generation (that being the generation known as "X") was the certainty that you were plopped down in front of a television as soon as you could sit upright and you were a fan of Sesame Street.  It was partially a product of the fact we usually had three networks and a PBS affiliate on our TV's and very little else, but also because it was recognized by our parents as both entertainment and a source of education.

As a kid, I remember the combination of Muppets, kind adults and kids, animation and music made it a variety show that I personally wanted to watch.  I am sure I had favorite bits and characters, but that's all been lost to time as all I can remember is a general warm spot for the show, the actors and the Muppets.  And, now, the nostalgia when seeing footage from that era hits me like a wave.  It's tapping into brain cells that haven't been accessed much in years, and related feelings both directly and indirectly tied to the show.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Muppety Watch: The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)



Watched:  12/27/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Frank Oz

For old-skool Austinites, I saw this movie in the theater in 1984 at Northcross Mall.  That summer my dad was living in Austin and the family in Spring, TX as we worked to move everyone to Austin for my father's new job.  My thinking is that on one of our many trips to Austin to see The Admiral and check out the town and where we'd live, my folks took the evening and took me (9) and my brother (11) to see this movie.

Mostly I remember thinking the bits with Kermit in disguise as Hollywood and Broadway types were hysterical.  I recognized a good number of the cameos at that point (Dabney Coleman, Brooke Shields, Linda Lavin, etc...) and it was good to see my old muppety pals again on screen.

That year I also picked up the official Marvel Comics adaptation, but it was released as a few issues, and I didn't get one of them.  Still, they used exact dialog from scenes, went very cartoony, and so I know some very specific dialog from this movie from re-reading those comics over and over (the Penguins yelling "well, excuuuuuse me!", for example).  

Monday, December 27, 2021

Christmas Day Night Watch: House/ Hausu (1977)


Watched:  12/25/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Nobuhiko Obayashi

K was visiting for Christmas and she's wanted to watch this movie forever, so we did.  Least Christmassy programming possible, but it's a fun movie.