Monday, May 20, 2019
First, I forgot to mention that on Day 2, the TCM Backlot Austin Chapter met up at Noir City and grabbed a picture, and you'll see me awkwardly standing in the back. Thanks to Jane, et al, for organizing.
Next: Upfront, I'll tell you, I only saw two of the four films on Day 3 of Noir City Austin. This is not due to film programming, venue or any of that. I just had stuff I needed to go do as the coming week of work/life is set to be busy one. So, I was able to see the first two films shown on Sunday.
Noir City Austin continued exploring the 1950's, and by the late 1950's, the differences in style of dress, attitude and film-making choices between the first film shown on Friday night from '49 and by the time we hit boom-time/ post-Korea America in '57, a lot has shifted. Hell, men aren't even wearing hats as a required feature.
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Format: Noir City Austin at Alamo Ritz
Long ago I had purchased tickets to see a baseball game in the evening, so I was only scheduled to see two films for Noir City Austin, Day 2.
The theme for 2019 was a follow up on 2018, which was Noir in the 1940's, year-by-year. This 10 film cycle was tracing noir as we left the 1940's and how and why the films changed as we hit the 1950's as cultural issues crept into the films and television competed with the big screen and informed the lives of characters on screen. And, by the mid-to-late 1950's, began influencing how movies were shot so they'd work on the television sets of the era as Hollywood looked to cash in on the secondary income stream.
Format: Noir City Austin at Alamo Ritz
Viewing: First for both
Decade: 1940's/ 1950's
Eddie Muller is back in Bat City for Noir City Austin, our annual showing of films I'd never find on my own, and always can't believe the gold Muller is able to surface. Muller isn't just host of TCM's Noir Alley weekly dose of crime, implied sex and moral gray areas - he's also head of the Film Noir Foundation. Proceeds from the festival and merch sales go back to the FNF, who, in turn use the money to rescue films from obscurity and eventual loss.
Friday, May 17, 2019
SimonUK finally gets around to talking about one of his favorite films, a heist film about a scrappy team pulling off the impossible with cheer and good spirits. Honestly, it's mostly just a love fest for a movie both Simon and Ryan enjoy immensely.
Get a Bloomin' Move On/Self Preservation Society - Don Black/Quincy Jones, The Italian Job OST
The mentioned poster for The Italian Job that seems to have nothing to do with the film:
SimonUK Cinema Series:
Thursday, May 16, 2019
I wish I'd disliked this movie enough so that I could have a spoofy title to the post like "Whine Country" to tag onto Wine Country (2019). I guarantee you, some bright-eyed reviewer has used it out there somewhere. After all the film is about a bunch of upper-middle class to upper class women coming together to go through the entirely predictable steps of a "girls weekend"/ reunion film and all of the weirdly specific predictable beats (despite the fact that reunion movies are not my jam) that fall out.
People be having lives that are more complicated than when you're 21 working for minimum wage, y'all.
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
I remember reading that film-reviewer Pauline Kael made it a rule to only ever watch a film once - maybe a practicality of her business, maybe a personal quirk (as in all things, it's only mostly true). I think about this a lot, because - as anyone who has followed the blog or PodCast knows - I find returning to movies fascinating, both to see what my now-brain thinks of a movie versus what I thought of it then, and because of how those differences reflect on your own experience, making films something all the more personal.
I saw Nightmare Alley (1947) about four years ago, and I remembered thinking it was good - but not really clicking to it in particular. But on this viewing, despite the fact I remembered the film fairly well, it just reached out and hit me over the head. This is a brilliant, wonderfully crafted movie, tackling deeply sensitive material and plowing right through, and getting away with it like the low-level conman who inserts himself with the right clothes and patter - the movie sure looks like a morality tale and crime movie, while questioning the nature of anyone selling you salvation, spiritual insight or deep insight into your own psyche.
Monday, May 6, 2019
Watched: 05/ 03/2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
I was about five when 9-to-5 (1980) came out, and the theme song by co-star Dolly Parton was everywhere for about a year or two, remaining a staple of radio play to this day. Because the movie dealt with non-space-battle, gorilla or robot related issues, and I think was an R-Rating in the era of G, PG and R, I did not see the movie at the time. I was pretty sure then that it was not a sex romp based mostly on how many people went to see it (it was huge), and just never got around to seeing it as I grew up.
Which is weird - I'm not a giant Jane Fonda fan, but I find Lilly Tomlin brilliant whenever she's on a screen in front of me, and... I mean, Dolly Parton! If you don't love Dolly Parton, I don't want to know you. And Dabney Coleman was a thing back in this era - people loved him (he might have been a great take on J. Jonah Jameson in a 1980's-era Spidey movie if a studio had gotten its ac together. I'm just saying.)
From a purely sociological standpoint, it's fascinating to see a movie about the women of my parents generation who were going through the first phases of a lot of what we deal with today, but based upon the rules of the era where women were housewives, teachers, nurses and... secretaries. And we've all seen the role of secretaries on Mad Men (or should. Sucks to your GoT, give me ad executives drinking on the job).
Thursday, May 2, 2019
Watched: 04/25 & 26/2019
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane/ South Lamar
Viewing: First/ Second
Jamie and Ryan went to see "Avengers: Endgame" twice in two days. We talk the epic conclusion to the first ten or so years of Marvel Studios, what worked for us, what challenged us, and how it fits in with the world of comics from which it sprang. Don't listen in if you're avoiding spoilers - because we've got plenty.
Portals - Alan Silvestri, "Avengers: Endgame" OST
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Aside from Justice League Action and Young Justice, I have a hard time getting excited for the DC animation films or shows. While a country mile better than Marvel's cartoons and their paceless plotting (but kudos as their animation has finally caught up), with the end of Brave and the Bold and the hard pivot with Flashpoint, DC decided the only thing to do was aim squarely at 22 year olds and everyone else could go @#$% themselves.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
SimonUK brings a charming, home spun sort of tale about (nude) space vampires, not-Michael Caine, a blank Texan astronaut, a London-based Zombie plague, forced kissing on Patrick Stewart and more story than a movie has a right to contain.
Lifeforce Theme - Henry Mancini, Lifeforce OST
Call of the Wild - Henry Mancini, Lifeforce OST
Saturday, April 20, 2019
We re-watched Avengers: Infinity War (2019) not to blog or podcast it, but more as a refresher before heading into Endgame next week.
There's an incredible amount of good stuff in this movie, and as much as others are dumbfounded by Avengers pulling together a superhero team on screen, this is the one that I watch, dumbfounded. Getting people on the same screen is a matter of money and scheduling Getting a storyline to work across 20 movies over a decade while being purchased by Disney is... well, you try it.
Unlike most actual comic book superhero cross-overs - Infinity War actually works. Characters remain in character, everyone's arcs line up and get them here, and even in the small bits we see them, we understand who they are, where they're at, and how they fit in. If Hickman's Infinity failed to deliver, it was because it felt like a jumbled mess of heroes in costumes in non-descript locales performing meaningless tasks while shouting under fire with no real relation to who was saying what. Somehow, that is not what we have here. Everything is specific, even new places and characters.
Part of comics reading that, to this date, we never really saw translated to the big screen, is that sometimes our heroes lose, man. Even when they win the big battles, there's often fallout, sacrifice and calamity to deal with. Infinity War apparently freaked out a whole lot of people who don't read comics, who expect that reset to the status quo to wrap up the story every movie. But that's not what cross-overs are for, when done right (which is why every ten years is probably the right frequency for comics cross-overs of epic scale, Big 2 publishers..., not every year.)
Looking forward to Endgame and whatever's to come for the Marvel U
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
I've written up 99 River Street (1953) once before, and watched it something like 1.5 times before, but I genuinely really like this movie. Starring John Payne as a former champion boxer, now a cab driver - he's trying to adjust to a world of broken dreams and settle in with the dishy blonde he married at the height of his fighting days when he finds her cheating on him.
In a twist of just insanely bad timing,* a pal - Evelyn Keyes - lures him to a theater to show the body of a man she accidentally killed when he tried to #MeToo her during an audition. Just to make matters worse, the guy Payne's wife is running around with is a jewel thief who just heisted $50K in diamonds.
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Format: Alamo Mueller
Stuart's flight was canceled, grounding him in Austin til tomorrow and I was planning to see Hellboy (2019) at 7:20 with SimonUK, so world's collided this evening as SimonUK and Stuart met, sat on either side of me and then both proudly announced their fealty for director Neil Marshall. Truly, these two dudes are two peas in a pod.
So - yeah, I'd heard Hellboy was supposed to be terrible, which is a good place to set your gauge when watching the movie. It both earns the bad reviews and maybe defies them a bit.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
Honestly, if you'd told me 20 years ago that in 2018 there would be so much superhero stuff on TV and at the movies I wouldn't blink to miss a Teen Titans tv show, let alone a movie (and, indeed, that Teen Titans would be a household word), I think you would have blown my 1998 mind.
So, I don't watch Teen Titans Go! 95% because I only have so many hours in a day. When the film of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) came out, I was busy and just didn't see it, but everyone was telling me it was great, so I picked it up "on-sale" via Amazon Streaming (thanks for the tip, Stuart).
Yeah! It's weird, super fun stuff. Kid safe, but wonderfully absurd for the adults - it's just amazing how the movie works on two different levels in virtually every scene and with every line. When the kids who saw it now return to it in a few years, I think they'll be genuinely surprised at what WB and DC signed off on here - it all feels like one long in-joke for comics fans, paired with the absurdities of comics AND the superhero movie boom, playing as a moral lesson the movie explicitly does not care about (giving us the best/ most honest ending I've seen in a kiddie cartoon in a while).
Anyway - I totally dug it. And cannot believe this gem exists.
Kudos to the Teen Titans Go! voice cast - that is some A+work. And to the celebrity voices who dropped in, like Nic Cage as Superman.
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
We've essentially not only just *not* made any progress on how we deal with our border with our Southern neighbor since the release of this film in 1949, but we're now actively and intentionally worse about how all of this works.
Border Incident (1949) follows law enforcement working together from both the Mexican and American governments, seeking not to punish the braceros crossing illegally so much as to stop the exploitation and criminal behavior of the coyotes, who use the undocumented status of their victims to exploit them for terribly low wages, awful living conditions and potentially violent treatment.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
When I was a kid, for some reason my parents took me to see The Natural (1984). My memory is that I walked out, told them I didn't understand it, and somehow got in trouble for making that statement - which just led to further confusion. I dunno. Not everything makes sense when you're 8 or 9.
In the intervening 35 years, I hadn't rewatched the film. Not because I was traumatized, but I just never got around to it. And that's unfortunate - because The Natural is a fine movie and the sort no one is making anymore. Lyrical, with craftsmanship to spare, spanning decades, borrowing from other myths to create a new mythology, blending grounded reality with fantasy and the remarkable stories embedded in sport - it's an ambitious film, and I can't knock it.
Viewing: Unknown. 8th?
We get to the surprise hit of the Marvel Cinematice Universe, a story of a ragtag group of space losers, including a talking raccoon and tree. Honestly, it's just a fun time at the movies - and it's one of Jamie's favorites, so we're gonna talk about it. A lot.
"Hooked on a Feelin'" - Blue Swede, Guardians of the Galaxy OST
"Moonage Daydream" - David Bowie, Guardians of the Galaxy OST
Avengers Chronological Countdown w/ Jamie & Ryan
Sunday, April 7, 2019
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
When I saw the first trailers for Shazam!(2019), I sort of died a little inside. The notion of a superhero who doesn't know how to superhero getting tips from a geek he doesn't really want to know on how to superhero as they go to the mall, pose for cameras, enjoy the fame but are still a selfish jerk despite the powers... it all seemed like something a 90's kids movie would do. Were it any character but Captain Marvel/ Shazam, it would have been the stuff of a TV movie of the week from the 1980's, upgraded to a $30 million film with JTT in 1996.
I'm not sure this movie isn't exactly that movie in 2019 terms, but if you're going to do it, this one is at least charming, and - for a superhero movie from DC - shockingly upbeat throughout. While the stakes are high, the scale of the movie remains contained, and I was surprised how much I missed a superhero movie that wasn't immediately going to end in genocide if the lead character failed in their duty.
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
(editor's note: I wrote most of this post and then forgot to post it, so consider this my thoughts from a week ago or so)
Normally I wouldn't do a write-up of a movie about which I've already done a podcast, but I also know a whole bunch of you read posts and don't listen to the Marvel podcasts. So... hey... here we go.
Look, I'm not going to come out and say Captain Marvel (2019) is or was the *best* Marvel movie. We are living immediately in the wake of when Black Panther just showed up at the Academy Awards for Best Picture nominee, and which may have skewed our expectations a tad. Pretty far cry from being delighted Marvel didn't poop the bed with Iron Man.
What I will say is - I've seen a whole lot of dudes, good dudes, shrugging off Captain Marvel as muddled, not that great. And, my dudes, you don't have to like Captain Marvel, but I am going to suggest that from comments some have made in my general direction - maybe you misread the movie.
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Format: Alamo Ritz
Viewing: oh, god... who knows?
Decade: the 1990's, buddy
I saw Terminator 2: Judgment Day opening weekend in the theater with my girlfriend at the time, who, upon seeing a Terminator endoskeleton crush a human skull turned to me and said "that's a REAL man" (she was kidding), thereby hitting the nail on the head, in her own way, for what this movie was going to be on so many levels. Despite its fame as a CGI pioneer and predictor of Marvel's weirdly death & bloodless ultraviolence, there's an actual story about mothers and sons and overcoming juvenile distrust of your parents once their flaws are exposed, and how a cyborg learns to laugh and love. Indeed, the Judgment Day may be the friends we made along the way.
Also, so many gasoline-fueled fires making just huge, puffy blossoms of red and orange with lots of loud ka-booms.