Friday, February 8, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming (Prime)
A lot of ink got spilled and a lot of gushing occurred when Eighth Grade (2018) hit cinemas last year. And, of course, you'll note the trend that this kneecaps movies for me when I do get around to seeing them, so I won't linger on that too much, but all of the praise certainly colored how I went into the film (cheerfully, willingly, curiously!), and my reaction by the film's conclusion.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
So, this is a musical version of The Philadelphia Story - the classic flick starring Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant. Apparently that play became the movie of The Philadelphia Story, which became the stage musical High Society, which became this movie.
This movie isn't... great. It's not bad, and I laughed out loud at a number of things, but on the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia. And I say that as someone who is a fan of Bing Crosby movies and likes Cole Porter.
What this movie does do is let Louis Armstrong play himself, and give him time to appear quite a bit in the movie. And he's not bad!
This is also the movie that dares to remind you that Grace Kelly was very, very good looking* - which, as she is not Kate Hepburn, seems to be the primary driver for why men are after her (ladies, believe it or not, personality and wit go really, really far. Be a Kate Hepburn.).
I dunno. I wish the music had more zip and it didn't feel like an echo of something else, but Bing looks like he's having a ball with Frank, and a gentleman in tophat and tails, suffering from a hangover, yells at a bird, and that was one of the funniest things I've seen in, like, a week.
*again, very attractive, that Grace Kelly
Format: TCM on DVR (Noir Alley from months ago)
This is an oddball one to slot in with noir in some ways - but I think it fits. It's just sort of a weird set-up to have your antagonist of the film a Nazi war criminal.
I really don't want to say too much or give too much away - I really didn't know much going into The Stranger (1946), and if you've not yet seen it - try not to learn too much and go give it a shot.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Format: Kino Lorber BluRay
Simon and Ryan delve into Film Noir via Neo-Noir, Altman-directed entry "The Long Goodbye" (1973), an oddball of a film with a lot to offer. We explore the role of Philip Marlowe in the world of fiction, some of the mechanics of noir, and whether or not any of this actually works as a movie.
The Long Goodbye - Music by John Williams/ Lyrics by Johnny Mercer/ performed by Jack Sheldon
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Monday, February 4, 2019
Today marks what would have been the 101st birthday of screen actor, director and producer Ida Lupino. Ida Lupino passed in 1995.
I first came to note Lupino in High Sierra, I believe (I can't recall anymore), and have gone on to try and watch whatever I see going by on TCM. Yes, she's a terrific actor and has a presence that stills like the one above don't always capture. There's an intelligence to her work that - when I learned she had gone on to do work behind the camera and established her own production company, just sort of made sense. She had the misfortune of being a woman born two or three decades too early, who still managed to carve out a place for herself in a field controlled by men.
In 2018, a few retrospectives took place honoring her work and legacy. Did I watch any of her films from these retrospectives on my own time? No. Something I need to rectify.
But I am glad that Lupino's reputation is getting elevated and the strides she made during her career are being seen by today's film fans and makers.
Anyway, I hereby pledge that before Ms. Lupino's 102nd, and pending availability, I will watch the following projects which she directed:
- Never Fear (1950)
- Outrage (1950)
- Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)
- On Dangerous Ground (1951)
- The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
- The Bigamist (1953)
- The Twilight Zone: The Masks (1964)
Sunday, February 3, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
I really, really wish I'd seen Annihilation (2018) without all the hype and teeth gnashing about "why aren't people seeing this?", etc... Much like any movie with Oscar buzz, this sets the table for expectations 9 out of 10 movies given this treatment can't possibly match.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Format: DC Universe Streaming
This week is becoming Steel-tastic as we return to a version of the Steel origin source material.
In 1992, DC Comics famously killed and resurrected Superman in a triptych of narrative arcs, , first downing him with Doomsday, then keeping Superman dead for a few months before bringing him back to save the day/ Earth.
It's a very 90's-tastic comic series, and your mileage will vary as you read it now.
Reign of the Supermen (2019) kinda sorta retells the story of the second two arcs post-Death of Superman as four new beings arrive on the global scene, all claiming some bit of Superman's legacy. From back in Ye Olden Comicks Days, this is where we got Steel, Superboy (Conner Kent), Cyborg Superman and The Eradicator. Surprisingly, over the years, these characters have endured unlike near any others spinning out of a major event, which is a testament to the solid core concepts each character embodied and how they fit into the DCU like puzzle pieces.
Monday, January 28, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
I'd certainly heard the title of Panic in the Streets (1950), but had never paid the movie much mind. It played a while back on TCM, so I loaded it up on the DVR for a later playback and am thrilled I did. The movie is often listed as noir, but... aside from some aesthetic choices, it doesn't match my definition of noir, so I'm not labeling it as such.
Directed by Elia Kazan, the movie reflects his ability to shoot on location and make it mean something. Here he exits LA and lands in New Orleans, filming along the industrial docks and twisting roads of the city, jumping from suburbs to the edges of the French Quarter. Unfortunately, as the movie was 1950, it makes the location shooting feel like that much more of a lie as you only see Black people here and there, which in no way reflects the make-up of the city.
Still, you do get an immediacy to the film with the organic locations and settings, including sounds captured along the river or on the streets.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Just getting in another viewing of the movie. Still stunned by the world building, well-written characters with top-flight talent to bring them to life, and how the challenge of the "villain" informs the protagonist to be a better man and king. First class storytelling, and in a superhero movie no less. What it were that more of these superhero movies understood the power of a great ensemble script and cast.
As much as Star Wars or Harry Potter drops you in a universe and you fall into it immediately, so, too, does Black Panther. Anyhoo... here's to their chances on Oscar night, and I look forward to whatever they do next for a follow-up.
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Murder, My Sweet (1944) is a favorite and one of two Dick Powell movies that made me a fan. Based on the classic detective novel Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (not yet a classic, obvs, at the time), this movie has as many or more twists and turns than The Big Sleep and maybe doesn't have the popping-off-the-screen chemistry of Bogart and Bacall, but Powell feels more like the Philip Marlowe of the books in my book.
Anyway, I promised not to write up every movie this year, and I'm sure I've written this one up before, so aside from adding that Claire Trevor's evening-look with her up-do is something else, I'll just give the movie a solid rec and what I love about Chandler boiled down to work in a movie. Oh, and Mike Mazurki is pretty great.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Format: Warner Archive BluRay
Decade: 1990's (oh, so 1990's)
Steel (1997) is not a good movie, but it's not exactly as terrible as memory of watching it on VHS at some point in the distant past had led me to believe. It's also a reminder of how *bad* many of the DC movies have been since this period, from Catwoman to Green Lantern, to Batman v Superman. This movie was filmed on a low budget with no faith in it, no major stars, and based on a C-List character who, really, is a carbon copy of Iron Man. And, still, beat for beat, this movie makes more sense and flows better than Aquaman.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Format: Hulu streaming
This post will make no sense unless you go back and read my post from yesterday on Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019) , the other documentary about this same subject that was released on Netflix earlier this month. So, please do go and read it, because I'd prefer not to rehash a lot of what was covered in that post.
After my initial post and exasperation with the Netflix doc and spending most of the post leveling suspicion at the motives of the doc makers, Paul dropped a note to me saying "hey, I think people who are involved with Fyre Fest were involved in producing that doc", which... indeed they were. Which confirmed all my worst suspicions and made me hate everyone involved even more, but at least made me feel less paranoid and crazy.
Format: Fathom Events at Arbor Cinema
It's fascinating to see Peter Jackson turn his eye for detail and technical achievement to the discipline of documentary film-making. In many ways, They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) could herald a new era of popular documentary as important as the narrative innovations of Ken Burns, which have become the de facto mode for serious historical documentary for those of us who watch PBS. Frankly, from an historical/ accuracy perspective, I have a *lot* of quibbles with Jackson's approach - but we'll get to that after praising his achievements.
Monday, January 21, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
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Jamie and Ryan finally get to - and keep it short - as they slog through the second installment of the Thor trilogy of films "The Dark World", which we thought was "Into Darkness", which was not the only "Star Trekkian" business we saw in this mess of a film that no one remembers and fewer people care about.
Avengers Chronological Countdown Playlist
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Format: MST3K on Netflix
A mash-up of The Abyss and every space station movie you've ever seen, with terrible acting, hilariously bad lighting and direction, set-design right out of a high school play and your two leads played by "that guy" from 1970's television and Felix's wife who gets killed early on in License to Kill. And some adorably bad puppets.
The courage it took to make this on the heels of The Abyss is just... man...
Friday, January 18, 2019
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Anything with Lucille Ball pre-I Love Lucy is a weird watch.
I do not know what to do with Sexy Lucy.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
PODCAST! "Valerie and Her Week of Wonders" (1970) - It's a "New to me" extravaganza with AmyC and Ryan
Format: Amazon Streaming
Country of Origin: Czechoslovakia
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We welcome you to join Ryan as he bears witness to a "new to him" movie as Amy brings a 1970 film from former Eastern bloc nation, Czechoslovakia! A meditation and tone poem on the transition from girlhood to womanhood - forces internal and external, allegorical and real, secular and religious. Vampires, live human bonfires, magical earrings and a polecat.
This movie has everything.
The Magic Yard - Luboš Fišer, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders OST
AmyC Cinema Select Series