Showing posts with label movies 2022. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies 2022. Show all posts

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Sorta Noir Watch: Over-Exposed (1956)





Watched:  01/24/2022
Format:  TCM Noir Alley
Viewing:  First
Director:  Lewis Seiler

Eddie sometimes plays fast and loose with what he'll bring to Noir Alley, and Over-Exposed (1956) is definitely on the outer limits of Noir Alley.  I mean, it basically follows a story that could appear in many-a-noir as a morality play, but driven by a woman instead of a man, and it doesn't end in a hail of bullets for our protagonist.  

This one starts with a clip joint getting knocked over, and Cleo Moore - desperate for work - meeting the aging photographer who took a picture of her as she headed to jail.  They hit it off and she decides to pick up the trade.  She makes her way to NYC where she struggles off camera for some amount of time before finding success, especially as one of the girls in a sparkly one-piece bathing suit who takes photos in nightclubs.  This leads to the fanciest club in town, while she ignores Richard Crenna, a newspaperman who seems like an honest joe.  But, man, does he want her to want to throw all of her dreams and security out the window so she can become his little woman.

Of course bad things happen and her meteoric rise as a person who points cameras at people falls apart.  Something something photo blackmail racket (don't blackmail people, kids).

This looks very good for what feels like a dopey B picture, mostly existing to show off Cleo Moore in bathing suits and clingy gowns.  But there's enough story there for it not to feel cheap.  And Cleo Moore is all right.  She's good in things I've seen her in, even if she's never exactly bowling me over.  

If you're like me and only know sun-beaten older Richard Crenna, the squeaky voiced kid on the screen is almost unrecognizable.  But he's all right!  

It's a cheesecake picture that's kinda short on cheesecake, but that's ok.  Cleo Moore is just fine doing her own acting thing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Action Watch: Nobody (2021)




Watched:  01/23/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Director:  Ilya Naishuller

Had COVID not been a factor, I would have probably seen Nobody (2021) in the theater.  It seemed like a simple movie - and it is.  It's an excuse for both a middle-aged-guy action fantasy, as well as videogame-style super action, just below the absurdities of John Wick (worth noting, this is written by the same guy, Derek Kolstad).  The kind of movie where our hero cannot be killed even if 20 guys with guns are coming at him and he does Krav Maga and Gun-Fu while they come at him, inexplicably, one on one and the baddies can't hit the hero when they all shoot at him for 30 feet away.

It doesn't mean it isn't fun.  It is!  

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

PODCAST 180: "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) - A Signal Watch Canon Episode w/ SGHarms and Ryan




Watched:  01/20/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Stanley Kubrick



Ryan welcomes old droog and new co-host SGHarms to viddy a bit of the old ultraviolence as we discuss a bit of popular cine. It's Kubrick's much-discussed 1970's masterpiece, and there's plenty to talk about. Join us for a sloosh, my brothers, as we sort through all that Master Kubrick has brought us. 

If you have not seen this film, be aware that discussion of the film will include covering the film's depiction of multiple forms of violence, including sexual violence. Proceed with caution.

SoundCloud

YouTube



Music:
Clockwork Orange Title Theme (based on Purcell's "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary" - Wendy Carlos
9th Symphony, 2nd Movement - Ludwig Van Beethoven, Berlin Philharmonic


Signal Watch Canon

Thriller Watch: Dressed to Kill (1980)




Watched:  01/22/2022
Format:  BluRay - Criterion
Viewing:  Unknown.  Probably third all the way through
Director:  Brian De Palma


It's very hard to say "I love Dressed to Kill (1980)" with a straight face, but I do think De Palma's pivot to a more explicit eroticism from the staid suggestion of such in the Hitchockian thriller is worth at least looking at.  At this point in his career, De Palma's movies read a lot like film school theory classes come to life, but I can't really remember our courses ever highlighting De Palma.  Maybe he's too on the nose with some of this stuff.  Maybe he wasn't "classic" enough.  

But, yeah, what Hitch only hinted at, De Palma is pleased to put up on screen.  Your mileage may vary was to whether this works for you, but in an era where cinema was where adults went for entertainment, and with De Palma dealing neither with the Hayes Code nor Hitch's pre-War sense of decorum, just be aware the film is frank about illicit sex and sexual kinks, and there's no shortage of female nudity (that's an Angie Dickinson body double in those key shots there at the opening, btw).  

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Watch Party Watch: Who's That Girl? (1987)




Watched:   01/21/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director:  James Foley

I don't know what the opposite is of "catching lightning in a bottle", but Who's That Girl? (1987) is here to make me wonder what that might be, or if we're in need of a new phrase.  

Look.  If you were a straight dude coming of age in the 1980's, you might not have talked about it, but chances are you spent a lot of time thinking about Madonna.  Not as part of the cultural discourse that somehow always placed Madonna in the middle of the po-discourse Venn Diagram and which was mostly nonsense, but for other reasons.  There's twenty seconds of video here which will help you understand.  

So, yes.  Madonna.  By 1987 she was a marketing and musical force who decided to dabble in acting.  Warner Bros., who was in the Madonna business and made both music and movies, said "sure, whatever".  Madonna somehow landed on a script about a girl getting out of prison who has to prove she's innocent, and decided this would be the movie she'd make.  

If catching lightning in a bottle is an unique combination of factors that come together and create a very special film, this is a mix of predictable hackery paired with an unprepared celebrity who doesn't know the difference between fame and talent needed to pull off a project.

Doc Watch: "The Rescue" (2021) - A National Geographic Documentary




Watched:  01/20/2022
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Directors:  Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi/ Jimmy Chin

Back in 2018, I recall a story breaking on the news about 12 Thai soccer players and their coach trapped in a cave that had been flooded by summer rains.  I'm going to be completely candid:  I heard the details and immediately tuned out the story afterwards.  Everything I heard told me that this story would end with 12 dead children and a dead coach.  And probably some rescue crew.  In what seemed a bleak year (ha ha... how little we knew then!), signing myself up for updates on what seemed a deathwatch just seemed morbid.

And then someone told me "no, they got out.  Yes, all of them."

I read some details of what had happened and it seemed like madness, but I wrote it off as "boy, I guess Navy SEALS really know their stuff."

Forget all of that.

The Rescue (2021), knows you know those broad strokes, but recreates the timeline of the story through interviews, actual footage from the participants, some occasional recreation footage (using the actual participants), news footage and some excellent graphics.  And the story is both one-hundred times more unbelievable than you're expecting and ultimately, that same level of magnitude a story of the best in humanity.  

I hesitate to talk too much about the logistics or even about the participants, but it is fascinating to find out that the main divers to assist in the search and rescue were private citizens, mostly from the UK, cave diving hobbyists who put everything on the line for this effort.  And you may ask yourself "what sort of person scuba dives in caves?"  And that would be a *great* question, because these are not extreme sports enthusiasts, but an assortment of misfits and the kind of people who will go into a body of water completely surrounded by rock on all sides.

It doesn't matter that you know that the kids made it out.  The movie broke me with footage of a young mother standing at the cave's mouth calling to her son to come home, and just kept whittling me down from there.  Yes, the divers are remarkable, but 13 boys also held together, monumental efforts took place to move rivers, to find alternatives and support the ongoing work.  

I very much remember the drama of Baby Jessica's rescue from a well in West Texas and how the people of West Texas pulled together to save one child.  Here, an international collective and thousands of locals pitched in.

Give it a shot.  You might momentarily have faith in us as a species.  You might also believe some cosmic convergence is possible.



Thursday, January 20, 2022

00's Watch: Best in Show (2000)




Watched:  01/18/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Christopher Guest


As much as I like all of Christopher Guest's work, this is my favorite.  Maybe.  That'll change next time I watch another of his films.  But Best in Show (2000) has... Jennifer Coolidge.  I mean, that's a big advantage on everything.  But I think this is also the first Jane Lynch role.  And, of course, the movie inadvertently changed the course of actual dog show broadcasts forever by inserting Fred Willard as one of the commentators of the fictional Mayflower dog show (The National Dog Show, upon which the movie is based, began including Seinfeld's John O'Hurley shortly after.  And he's great!).   

Look, you can IMDB the names in the movie, and they're all great.  But I do think that the third act is almost entirely the day of the show is a great idea and manages to play through what we've seen of the characters to this point and manages to remain hilarious (Posey's meltdown in the hotel and then the pet store is a highlight for me) while also wrapping up the narrative.  

The characters are so specific but instantly understandable.  And short Posey and Michael Hitchcock's characters, the movie isn't ever really dragging anyone - but even those characters are so... ridiculous, you want to watch them, anyway.  Everyone's kind of goofy and absurd and even if a bit prickly, you get it.  Everyone is adding something specific and really bringing their A-game (even Will Sasso with maybe 2 minutes of screentime, has a deeply memorable bit).  

I can't be objective about the movie.  I've seen it maybe 15 or 20 times, even if it's been a while.  Not everything has aged gracefully, but I think it holds up. 

90's Re-Watch: Living in Oblivion (1995)




Watched:  01/19/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Tom DiCillo

In August of 1995, I entered into Film I, joining the "production" track within my university's film school.  That Fall would see a lot of changes, and I mostly remember a lot of exhaustion, a lot of learning-on-the-fly and getting to handle actual film cameras for the first time.  As well as editing, cutting and screening work I did mostly in collaboration with others.  

Living in Oblivion (1995) was released during the middle of the 90's indie boom, and maybe was just a little too indie to break huge, but it does seem like a movie that a lot of people saw back then or since.  A film about filmmaking, but not in that way that Hollywood likes to reward with Oscars, Living in Oblivion hit all of us in that Film 1 class where we lived, realizing our dumb little misadventures behind the camera were just how this business was going to work.  

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

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

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.