Showing posts with label movies 2020. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies 2020. Show all posts

Friday, July 3, 2020

Screwball Watch: My Man Godfrey (1936)


Watched:  06/28/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930's
Director:  Gregory La Cava

This movie got a scad of Oscar nominations and was very big upon its release.  It's a comedy about class, wealth, those who have money and those who don't in a contemporary picture released in the thick of the Great Depression.

Kaiju Watch: Godzila and Mothra - The Battle for Earth (1992)



Watched:  07/01/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  First (somehow)
Decade:  1990's
Director: Takao Okawara

Do you like pointless Indiana Jones rip-offs?  Confusing plot twists that come out of nowhere?  Psychics?  and our friends, the Twins/ Fairies/ Cosmos?  Sad Japanese people talking about how we're all boned anyway, because we're destroying our own environment?  Disappearing mullets? Plot threads that begin, are very important, and left unresolved?  Most of all - do you like MOTHRA?

Well.

Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) is here to deliver the goods.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Comedy Watch: Eurovision Song Contest - The Story of Fire Saga (2020)




Watched:  06/27/2020
Format:  Netflix Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade: 2020's
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.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Noir Watch: The Lady From Shanghai (1947)



Watched:  06/29/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM
Viewing:  third
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Orson Welles

The backstory to the making of The Lady From Shanghai (1947) is famous, gossipy Hollywood lore.  Hayworth starred alongside soon-to-be-ex husband and director, Orson Welles, transformed from the red-coiffed icon of Gilda into a platinum blonde and a femme fatale.

A bit like The Big Sleep, a lot of people talk about how this movie is confusing, but I didn't find it particularly so.  While I cop to the fact that The Lady from Shanghai isn't a pat story and that the plot wanders - it all holds together within each character's motivation, and I don't really get the complaints.  From Muller's shownotes, I'll give the credit for cohesive storytelling not to Welles, but to his editor Viola Lawrence, who took Welles' loose footage and worked with him to get it into some sort of story, and got it cut to a standard-length picture when Welles left the movie.

PODCAST: "Jaws" (1978) - Fourth of July Cinema w/ SimonUK, Jamie and Ryan


Watched:  06/24/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: ha!
Decade:  1970's
Director: Steven Spielberg

For more ways to listen - Podcast options


Something's fishy as we discuss one of the first megablockbusters. It's a Signal Watch Summer Spectacular as we discuss a movie with teeth! Bite down on Spielberg's first smash hit, while we chum the waters with more than an hour of chatter that'll have you wishing you brought a bigger podcast player.




Music:
Jaws Main Title - John Williams, Jaws OST
Out to Sea - John Williams, Jaws OST


Simon Playlist



Monday, June 29, 2020

80's Watch: Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)





Watched:  06/29/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  John Hughes

There's no point in talking much about Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), one of the most discussed movies of two generations.  And, of course, Josh Gad's web series Reunited Apart recently brought a gaggle of cast members back to discuss the film.  On this note, Jamie suggested we give it a watch - which we hadn't done in a few years, at least not in pieces, edited, on cable. 

I have no idea what today's kids see when they look at the movie.  The idea of wealthy, white kids running around Chicago without consequence, with a suggestion of sex between the leads, would surely get a social media tsking, and a shocked look from kids who can't understand teens not getting a ride from mom or just spending the day online playing Fortnite.  I don't know. 

It holds up, in its way - at least for those of us who for whom it was a staple and cultural touchstone. 

In 1986 I saw the movie with my parents (I would have been 11), who gave me some surprising insight into what they thought of me at the time by repeatedly saying "Ryan, don't get any ideas".  It is fine - I did not.  They really underestimated my form of laziness where it was easier to just go to school than make up the work.  I don't think I cut class til college. 

It really is an amazingly well put together comedy with an outstanding cast.  I mean: Edie McClurg, people.  But naming names - you all know who is in here and what they do.  The funny thing is, the older I get, the funnier I find Jennifer Grey.  She was always funny - but that seething, misdirected rage is just... amazing, as is her turn at the end.

And how can you not like a movie where they watch The Cubs play?

Anyway - yeah.  You know the movie. 


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Doc Watch: Becoming (2020)


Watched:  06/26/2020
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
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. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Tweetalong Watch: (Spawn of) Slithis (1978)


Watched:  06/26/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Stephen Traxler

Literally nothing happens for 97% of the movie.  I hated everyone in it but the woman named "Jeff".  Well, I also liked the monster. 

But it is a movie named not after a monster, but after radioactive mud.  Which.  Come on, guys.

Doc Watch: Thelonius Monk - Straight, No Chaser (1988)



Watched:  06/27/2020
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Charlotte Zwerin

I am not a jazz aficionado - that's NathanC's gig.  I honestly haven't put on a Thelonius Monk album in a while - maybe years.  I did go through my jazz phase twenty years ago, so, yeah, I still have those albums. 

TCM has been doing a series called "Jazz in the Movies", which I haven't watched much of, but decided to record a couple of films one night, and had heard that Thelonius Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988) was an exemplary doc.  This reputation was earned, and I am sure jazz fans all know it.

For folks like myself who are only vaguely aware of Monk, it's a fascinating crash course to get you past simply enjoying the music and understand the man who made it.  Shocker of all shockers - a pre-eminent jazz artist has a complicated life and personal issues.  Unlike Miles Davis, the wounds aren't as self-inflicted, but they do weigh on him. 

Culled from footage shot on a late career tour and post-death interviews with colleagues, the doc paints a portrait of a complicated man who was *loved* by the people who knew him and couldn't help but stand in awe of his genius.  And, yeah, I don't use the word genius a lot - but the names tied to Be-Bop sure seem like they deserve it.

It wasn't hurt at all by the intro and outro conversations on TCM by Eddie Muller (who knew he knew jazz?) and his majesty Wynton Marsalis (and, yes, I've see Marsalis play live once and it was worth every penny). 

The doc gives the music room to breathe, and reminded me how and why I went through that jazz era.  And what I'll be listening to after Jamie turns in tonight. 

Noir Watch: Underworld USA (1961)



Watched:  06/26/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Samuel Fuller

One of the things I enjoy about watching noir and older films is figuring out how great some directors really were.  I still haven't watched enough Samuel Fuller, but I have yet to see a Fuller movie that didn't hit me over the head like a 2x4, and Underworld U.S.A. (1961) is no exception.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

PODCAST: "Total Recall" (1990) - Arnie-Fest continues with SimonUK and Ryan!


Watched:  06/18/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Paul Verhoeven

More ways to listen - choose a podcast format


We get our respective asses to Mars and talk Arnie's big-budget sci-fi opus, "Total Recall". Is this the real life? Is it just fantasy? Simon and Ryan dig into this 1990 fan favorite full of rad ideas, great sets and design, a terrific cast and a pace that's hard to beat. From the director of "RoboCop" and Sharon Stone's star turn! Open your minds and join us!
 


Music: 
Total Recall Main Theme - Jerry Goldsmith



Playlists

Arnie-Fest



SimonUK Cinema Series

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Spidey Watch: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018)



Watched:  06/23/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  No idea
Decade:  2010's
Directors:  Peter RamseyBob PersichettiRodney Rothman

I feel like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) found its audience on home video that it didn't quite find at the theater, which makes me wonder how the coming sequel will do.  I will say - I am delighted that the movie is finding the bigger audience it deserves and I'm still disappointed in Sony for failing to push the movie harder when it was coming out.  Especially because - as much as I like the movie, it's just something to see on the big screen.  I feel like a lot of people I've talked to who watched it on their screens aren't quite getting it because they aren't able to "see" the movie the same way and see how every frame and every detail is next level work. 

Maybe when theaters re-open and there's nothing new to show, Sony can re-release S:ItSV.  If they do, go see it on the biggest screen you can find.

At some point in the past year I mentioned wanting to show this movie to my dad, and he was just sort of confused (it happens.  He was not expecting a Spidey rec.).  But, man, this movie does such a phenomenal job of catching what it is to be in those early years of high school where you're figuring things out, and your parents are looking in from the outside as you come into yourself and find your people.

One of these days. 

Anyway - in these days of challenge and change, I'm glad Jamie thought to put it on.  Anyone can wear the mask.


Tweet-a-Long Watch - "Basket Case" (1982)



Watched:  06/19/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Frank Henenlotter

We've been taking suggestions from the peanut gallery for Friday night Tweet-a-Long, and Lauren brought this one.

Horror isn't really my thing, but sometimes the movies hit me just right, and that was the case with Basket Case (1982).  A no-budget film that relies on a strong concept, some non-Henson-inspired puppetry and a go at stop-motion that would do Gumby proud, it's just simply way better than it seems like it should be. They go with less-is-more approach to our friend in the basket, and make sure a heaping helping of the horror is the descent our lead is on, acting out of love and Stockholm Syndrome.

Essentially the story follows a young man who hits NYC with *something* in a wicker basket - his conjoined twin from whom he was separated at a young age, with the intention the twin would die.  Both have lived, and now seek revenge on the doctors who performed the surgery.

Along the way, the more normal brother begins to get an idea of what it would be to fall in love - which is at odds with his brother for any number of reasons I'll leave it to you to find out.

Anyway - good pick, Lauren!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Doc Watch: Making the Apes - The Artists Who Changed Film (2020)



Watched:  06/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
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. 

Jackie Watch: Supercop (1992)



Watched:  06/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stanley Tong

Back during my early years of college, one of the student associations would bring in Hong Kong cinema to Hogg Auditorium on the University of Texas campus.  JAL and a few others of us would wander down there,  and the place would be half-full with bats flying around during the show.  Sometimes we'd be less sober than other times, but we were getting great stuff that didn't play even the arthouse theaters, and seeing it on the big screen.

But the thing JAL first used to get me to show up was describing how Jackie Chan films worked, so - we went and watched Police Story 3: Supercop

Friday, June 19, 2020

Noir Watch: Backtrack (1990) and Murder by Contract (1958) w/ JAL & Ryan


Watched:  06/11/2020 (Backtrack) & 06/16/2020 (Contract)
Format:  Amazon Streaming and TCM Noir Alley
Viewing:  First / Second
Decade:  1990's/ 1950's
Director:  Dennis Hopper/ Irving Lerner

More ways to listen - choose an app


We're back with more noir - neo and otherwise! It's two movies about weirdo hitmen filmed 30 years apart. One is from the go-go 90's and has a lot of surprises, and the other is a cult classic of noir, about a man who just wants enough money to get that house he's had his eye on. Both have casts worth discussing and off-kilter approaches to their form. Join JAL and Ryan as we make our way through two features that don't get that many mentions.





Music:
The Executioner Theme - Perry Botkin, Murder By Contract score


Noir Playlist:

Kaiju Watch: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)



Watched:  06/17/2020
Format:  Criterion BluRay
Viewing:  4th? - for whatever reason, I've seen this a few times
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Ishiro Honda

This one I've seen a few times and very much remember watching it as a kid on some local UHF channel.  However, I think watching it with Japanese language subtitled to English may have changed a few details.  I swear I thought this whole movie took place on Mars. 

It does not. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Wacky Watch: What's Up, Doc (1972)




Watched:  06/13/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing: First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Peter Bogdanovich

I'd had this cooling on the DVR for a long time, but Jamie wanted to watch a comedy and I'd had this vouched for by a few people, including our own NathanC.  What's Up, Doc? (1972) was a movie I'd seen name-dropped for decades, but didn't think much about it.  Lately, the past couple years or so, though, both some of y'all and a few comments I picked up by osmosis led me to become curious about the movie.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Tweetalong Watch: Frankenstein's Daughter (1958)



Watched:  06/12/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Richard E. Cunha

Oh.  Oh my.

Well.  So.  I dunno, you guys.

I mean, "Oliver" Frankenstein just doesn't sound right. And I don't know why he was turning the pretty young lady he was living with into a monster in the evening with a potion he kept passing off as fruit punch.  I was never clear what was going on with the girl's uncle and what he was science-ing upon.  But we do run over a kind of catty young lady and she gets turned into a shambling monster.

Anyway.  There's a backyard cookout with a band and a very long musical interlude.



Friday, June 12, 2020

Kaiju Watch: Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster (1964)



Watched:  06/10/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  second or third
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Ishirō Honda


This movie is straight up nonsense and is, therefore, ideal.

January in Tokyo sees 82 degrees temperatures and an encephalitis epidemic.  People are all about UFO's.  A Princess is seeking asylum from her small country in Japan because (a) there is an assassination plot afoot before she can be coronated and (b) everyone is wearing Elizabethan collars and it is a fashion nightmare.  The Faeries are touring Japan and appearing on gameshows?

Anyway - we get way, way into the movie before there's even a hint of kaiju.  Instead, there's a plot about the princess jumping out of her plane before it explodes and then appearing in Tokyo possessed by a Venusian and predicting calamity (see: Ghidorah).  A reporter and her brother are stepping on each other's toes.  There's a hit squad of 4 very hep cats after the princess.