Showing posts with label recommendations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recommendations. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

WA Watch: Asteroid City (2023)




Watched:  07/11/2023
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  First
Director:  Wes Anderson


So, I was as surprised as anyone else when I looked at Amazon to ponder watching something and up popped the new Wes Anderson movie, Asteroid City (2023).  We don't get out to the theater like we used to, so I was a bit bummed that I wouldn't probably prioritize this with so much else coming out/ lack of time/ lack of money in this economy, etc...

Anyway, apparently I'd also been socking away "credits" on Amazon for purchase of digital services, like movies, so although the movie was pricey to rent or buy vs., say, free or $3.99 for something else, I basically paid nothing for it and now have a digital copy, so... go me, I guess.

It's a curious period to be watching a Wes Anderson movie.  Film Twitter has basically just decided that liking anything is bad, and Wes Anderson is nothing but a collection of well mannered tricks, both visual and in his direction of actors.  That's plainly reductionist and a take I can't take seriously.  

Asteroid City may be the most ambitious Anderson film to date, carrying with it all of the lessons of the prior entries I've seen (which is not all of them).  Framed as a documentary about a play from the very complicated 1950's which also shows the leads of that play recreating the play, the film is communicating on a multitude of levels - with the story of what an imaginary playwright (played by Edward Norton) told about a group of people who have come to a remote locale in the desert for a science camp for teen-sci-fi-geniuses.  I won't get into the issues of the far more normal adults, but they have them.  And then an alien shows up.

But the story Anderson is telling folds in on itself.  This is a dramatized telling of how that play came to be.  

It's a movie that challenges with everything it says and does - from consideration of the careers of the characters in the play, to the concept of the cosmos, to what it means to have a world-changing event happen right in front of you. Especially to a photographer (who is paid to observe and not participate) and an actress who knows how to play emotions more than experience them.  But it's also a movie that feels almost primordial in its location, and some of its allusions.  But, of course, there's a play that has to be acted and completed and understood, and you get the feeling the third layer is Anderson himself, commenting and commenting upon the creation of his work, upon the seeming meaninglessness of it to some, to what it means to make illusions and share them.

More so than even usual, the film is absolutely littered with recognizable name talent in innumerable roles, including walk on parts.  Sure, you have Jason Schwartzman - honestly the best I've ever seen him- and Scarlett Johansson as a mix of a number of Hollywood stars of the 1950's, but an original character altogether.  Tom Hanks plays a minor role as a sonuvabitch father-in-law.  But then there's Hope Davis in a scene with five lines.  And Jeff Goldblum in a faceless, voiceless role.   The IMDB on this is nuts, but we're also now getting the movies that were made during the pandemic when folks had @#$%-all else to go do.  

As always, Anderson gets how just a few things can be hysterical.  Kids, for example.  Or a line delivered just so.  The right visual gag like a dancing road runner.

But, god, this movie is gorgeous.  And, I think, shot on Kodak.  

I'll need to watch it again.  It practically begs for it, but in a way that doesn't feel like homework, like "oh, you need to rewatch it to get it".  Nah, it's easy enough to get.  But it seems like a rewatch would be deeply rewarding, and - of course - give you time and brain space to appreciate what's there all the more.  

But, yeah.  I know there's plenty out there who will focus on the very quotable lines or the visual gags, but, man... you have to appreciate how astoundingly well crafted this movie is on every level.       

Friday, May 26, 2023

TV Watch: Mrs. Davis (2023)



Let me start by throwing whatever weight I may have to sway your viewing habits (which I assume is zero) into checking out Mrs. Davis, the 8-part TV series currently available on Peacock.  

I can provide a cursory description of the show, but it will be just the barest of bones of what the show actually is, as I don't want to spoil anything (yet) and I don't want to mislead anyone.

What I can tell you is that it's somewhat about a nun living in a parallel timeline where 10 years ago an AI came online that can speak directly to people.  In the years since its arrival, it's started to end war, famine, poverty, etc... and helped people find personal fulfillment.  Maybe.

It also sends people on quests, which, if they succeed means they earn "wings".  

Our nun, sister Simone, joined a convent just as the AI was coming into being and hates the AI, which she believes was responsible for the death of her father - a stage magician.  As her world is rocked by a rapid series of events, Simone is reunited with a childhood friend, and takes on a mission to take the AI down no matter the cost.

It's an action comedy.

And I love it.

It's also remarkably prescient, given this was filmed some time ago, and released just on the heels of the ChatGPT explosion and very real reconsideration of what AI may do to our cultural landscape, let alone one that speaks directly to an all too willing public.  We've all seen sci-fi stuff that seems eerily near-future and predictive, and this is that (in some ways).

I only really know Betty Gilpin from Netflix's wrestling show GLOW where she was amazing and a stand-out even in a cast of stand-outs.  But she's quietly one of the funniest actors I can name, effortlessly conveying internal conflicts and spontaneous reactions that are wildly authentic for someone who has been on two fairly over-the-top shows.  She's the rock that makes you believe the insanity, all without being a exactly a straight-man to the antics.  But definitely our POV of sanity in an insane world.

Or maybe not.  In this case, she's just our anchor POV in a world that is clearly mad.  She's found her peace living among her sisters, bottling and selling jam.  She has a bit of a romantic relationship she keeps to herself.

But the AI needs her, and it doesn't want to be ignored.  And when doing things for the AI is the biggest clout-generator on the planet?  Man.  

Anyway, I am just scratching the surface, but the tone, zig-zagging narrative, willing embrace of total chaos in storytelling - while telling an air-tight, somewhat moving story...  man.  That's hard to do.  All while making me occasionally laugh like a loon (often just Gilpin's "what now...?" expressions get the biggest moments for me).  If you told me this is where the show was going from the first episode to the last, I would have been deeply confused, but yet it does it all, seamlessly.  And hilariously.

I'll do another spoileriffic post later, but as we enter the long weekend, I wanted to put an offering on the table.  


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

PodCast 243: "Gremlins 2" (1990) - a Ryan Canon Film PodCast w/ SimonUK



Watched:  05/05/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Joe Dante







Simon and Ryan once again break the three rules and now it's chaos in the big city! Join us as we discuss a sequel that maybe outshines the original and is always a joy to watch. It's a movie that was ahead of its time no matter what year it came out, and a throwback to an era that probably never existed. A satire, a spoof, a comedy and a monster movie. And, of course, it gave us Marla Bloodstone.

this is a pro-Marla website




SoundCloud 


YouTube






Music:
Gremlin Credits - Jerry Goldsmith
New York, New York - Tony Randall and the Moonlight Gremlins Orchestra

Additional Audio
Key & Peele - Gremlins 2 Brainstorm





Ryan's Random Cinema

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Al Watch: Weird - the Al Yankovic Story (2022)




Watched:  11/07/2022
Format:  Roku Channel
Viewing:  First
Director:  Eric Appel

Is this the greatest rock biopic ever made?  Or simply the greatest film ever made?

I literally have no idea how to discuss this movie.  To discuss it is to explain the joke, and explaining a joke is... a bad idea.

All I can tell you is:  watch this movie.  If you ever had any love in your heart for Al Yankovic, this feels like somehow you get the giddy chaos of Al's greatest work distilled, amplified and refracted back at you in the form of a 2 hour movie that stars Daniel Radcliffe as Al, Rainn Wilson as Dr. Demento and Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna.  I've seen Radcliffe do comedy, and he's really solid.   Seeing ERW turn her considerable talent to comedy was an absolute delight.

If there's no other reason to watch the movie - and there are literally hundreds - watch the movie for the pool party at Dr. Demento's house.  

The movie never loses steam, which is just kind of what I assume will happen as comedies eventually need to trade gags for plot to have a satisfying narrative conclusion.  It never takes its foot off the gas, gripping your hand like a Thelma to the audience's Louise and heads right for the cliff.  

It's a thing of beauty.  We're lucky to have it.

Anyway, I guess I'm saying: watch this movie

Saturday, April 9, 2022

90's Watch: Nobody's Fool (1994)




Watched:  04/05/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Third
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Robert Benton

It's been decades since I've seen Nobody's Fool (1994), but it's a movie I saw in the theater twice and a few times after.  I recalled feeling weirdly and profoundly moved by the film and was unsure how it would sit as I'm closer to the main character's age than the grandson's age at this point.

On first blush, the movie could be read as some smalltown schmaltz, but reviews of the time were overwhelmingly positive and reflect a lot of how I felt about the film at the time.  It takes place within the kind of small town romanticized by politicians in ads, of Main Streets and "working people", but it's also frank that small towns are kind of hard, that it's not always the pathway to the achievement of the American Dream and when you know everyone in your town, it can get weird.*  

To that end, it's a reminder of a kind of film you don't see as often these days as it's a quiet, thoughtful ensemble film where actors seem to be enjoying the work, a few name Hollywood types playing supporting roles just to be there, in the mix with up-and-comers and character veterans.  Of course, anchored by one of the best of the post 1950 American cinema, Paul Newman, still handsome and better than ever when it comes to what he does, which is say a thousand words with a glance or even in stillness.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

TV Watch: Ted Lasso (for the folks who haven't seen it, and maybe those who have)




The pandemic has caused some major shifts to my television viewing.  I was not a binge watcher, and basically didn't follow all that much television until I was locked in my house for the better part of two years.  

I've recently watched the 10 episodes of Ted Lasso's first season three times through.  Kind of... all in a row.  This is not a thing I do.  You're lucky if I don't bail on a show after three episodes.  Season 2 has debuted on Friday, July 23rd.  I'm making my recommendation, so take it or leave it.  Also, the show was just nominated for a boat-load of Emmy's, so.  Someone other than me thought this was done well.

I, myself, had heard about Ted Lasso coming to Apple TV+ here and there, and then saw people yelling "I love Ted Lasso!" on social media, but, let's be honest.  People go nuts for shows all the time that are... not good.  None of us are to be trusted when recommending shows, especially unsolicited.  Hell, in the geek-o-sphere, I think we double-down on terrible shows, but that's a post for another day.  

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Noir Watch: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)




Watched:  02/06/2021
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  unknown
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Tay Garnett

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) is among the top ten films I'd recommend in a "what you need to know about noir" seminar.  It's got an earned place among the noir canon, and even though I've read the book and seen it half-dozen times, I find myself thoroughly enjoying every time I return to it.  It simply works.  

It shares a certain headspace with Double Indemnity, which makes sense as both started as novels by James M. Cain.  There's not just a gritty realism in how characters are and behave, it's matched by the worlds Cain created that seem not far off from our own.  Roadside diners, insurance offices.  Heck, throw in Mildred Pierce and you're in the suburbs and building up comfortable eateries.  

All it really takes is infatuation to become an obsession, and everything can go off the rails.  

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Noir Watch: Mildred Pierce (1945)



Watched:  05/16/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1940's
Director: Michael Curtiz


It's pointless for a schlub blogger like me to get into writing much about Mildred Pierce (1945) - it's one of the best known and most written about movies out there, still a favorite among even the most casual of classic film fans.  Anyway, there's no shortage of critical analysis out there about the film. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Comics Rec: Snow, Glass, Apples (Gaiman/ Doran)


Every once in a while you read a comic that you know is just going to stick with you for a long, long time.

Novelist Neil Gaiman of course broke into the public consciousness through Sandman, the perennially popular comic series that, frankly, got me back into comics when I'd wandered off to spend my money elsewhere.  What we don't talk about nearly enough is that, in addition to Gaiman's scripts and plots, he was paired with some of the finest artists to grace the business (you can thank editor Karen Berger), among them Colleen Doran.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

PODCAST! Christmas with Kryptonian Thought-Beast!




Brandon Z and Ryan talk about how comics have embraced Christmas over the years, from the cute to the weird and everything in-between. We also make some practical recommendations for folks who want to gift some comics this holiday season.

To see a list of recommended comics and images of comics we talk about, visit:  Kryptonian Thought-Beast!






Saturday, September 14, 2019

Catch-Up Watch: Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)


Watched:  09/11/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

I wouldn't say this movie was mismarketed, exactly.  But how reviews I read described it made it sound exceedingly joyless, but interesting.  The premise held enough promise that I planned to get to it eventually, but wasn't in a mad dash to do so.  However, Jamie watched it somewhere along the line when I was off at a breakdance party or whatever I do, and informed me it was very much in my wheelhouse, and, indeed, she was correct.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) is the true story of Lee Israel, an NYC based writer of bios of celebs of bygone eras (she's working on a Fanny Brice book during the movie's circa 1991 timeframe), which don't really sell, so she tries to hold copy-editing positions, etc...  to pay the bills.  But as a caustic, misanthropic drunk, turns out holding a job can be tough. 

She becomes re-acquainted with a down-on-his luck bon vivant, played by the always-amazing Richard E. Grant (a charming drunk, here), just about the time she has some bills due (cat gets sick), and has to make some money, quick.  Through a series of small discoveries, she learns of the world of memorabilia and letter collectors, and begins forging letters supposedly penned by luminaries long since passed, including everyone from Noel Coward to Louise Brooks. 

Melissa McCarthy stars as Israel, and it's not exactly a revelation to see her this good - I think she's kinda brilliant as a comic actor, so seeing what she can do with a dramatic part was a "well, sure" revelation.  She's always been so specific, with undercurrents and layers of sympathy, pathos, and thoughtfulness, even in goofy stuff like The Heat (which I really enjoy, y'all), doing same but for a dramatic role makes sense.  And, it seems, the work done here by she and Grant earned them both Oscar nods.*

Because the arc of the film is fairly obvious, I'll refrain from spoilers.  Instead, I'll just tip my hat to the actual technical work, character work, and script.  Director Marielle Heller has a sparse directing and acting filmography, but seems to know how to get a performance, and I'm now doubly interested in the A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Mr. Rogers biopic coming, as she's the one wearing the puffy director's pants there, too. 

I also quite liked the DP work by Brandon Trost, and almost laughed out loud seeing this is the same DP as the Crank movies, which I'll just let all of us ponder if we think we ever have someone's style nailed down. 

Anyhoo... I'm just recommending this one.  Give it a go.


*which... honestly, we should be expecting movies with these levels of performance in movies all the time, but that's reserved for TV these days.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Noir Watch: While the City Sleeps (1956)



Watched:  07/30/2019
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1950's

I'm always going to support a movie that features Ida Lupino slinging back drinks, dropping snappy dialog and not exactly being coy about her interests.  She's, however, just one of many name talents in While the City Sleeps (1956), an ensemble drama about the women and men at work in a major metropolitan newspaper.  Directed by Fritz Lang, this one features:  Dana Andrews, Vincent Price, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Thomas Mitchell, John Drew Barrymore, Sally Forrest and more, all bringing their A-game and making for a fun, unsentimental look at how the sausage is made in the big news game.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Noir/ Heist Watch: The Asphalt Jungle (1950)



Watched:  06/03/2019
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  7th?  Unknown
Decade:  1950s

I know I throw a lot of soft recommendations around, saying "oh, you might like this" or "it's worth catching", but The Asphalt Jungle (1950) was one of those hit-me-like-lightning movies the first time I watched it, and, in a lot of ways, I've been chasing that same high ever since.  That viewing was way back in college from a rented tape on a 20" TV, and I've seen and owned various copies of the film ever since.  Frankly, when I just looked up the movie on this blog, I assumed I'd written it up 3 or 4 times, but, instead, I'm just finding mentions of it tucked into other posts.  So, it's been a while.

In some ways, in 2019 there's little new in The Asphalt Jungle - the film is one of those that reset the path for heist movies and created the template from which heist movies would flow from then til now.  But for a movie popping up just a few years after World War II, and because of the influence, it feels shockingly modern (especially for modern TV more than movies, which are largely toothless in comparison these days).  It's 3/5ths getting to and getting through the heist, and 2/5ths things going wrong and the fallout as our ensemble tries to sort out the mess they're in.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Doc Watch: Apollo 11 (2019)


Watched:  03/17/2019
Format:  Alamo South Lamar
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 spaceflight, during which Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins reached the moon and during which Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to ever walk the surface of our satellite.

This evening, JuanD, Jamie and I hit the local cinema to take in the spectacle that is Apollo 11 (2019), and if you can tear yourself away from whatever new shows got dumped on Hulu and Netflix on Friday, I'm going to go ahead and recommend you give this movie a go.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Not a drill! "DANGER: DIABOLIK" now available for streaming on Amazon


ALERT!  Danger: Diabolik is now available streaming in HD on Amazon Prime

Now - you can watch this movie ANY TIME, and 2018 has finally redeemed itself.

Well, that and Giant Cow.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Noir Watch: The Killing (1956)


Watched:  12/02/2018
Viewing:  Unknown.  6th?
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Decade:  1950's

First of all, "The Killing" that occurs in this movie is not an assassination.  It could refer to about five or ten different things, and I suppose that's intentional.  I'd start with "they're gonna make a killing on this heist", but, of course, this is a 1950's-era heist movie, so you know it's not ending in sunshine and flowers.

The Killing (1956) sits on a curious edge when it comes to crime dramas/ noir.  Marking maverick, young filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's first foray into studio-backed cinema, the movie feels part and parcel of the noir movement with a structure and an ending not atypical for a dime-store crime novel, retaining those rough edges that some noir eschewed.  As much as I like The Asphalt Jungle and Rafifi - likely The Killing had more impact and reflects more of where the heist genre would go - especially in American cinema (at least marginally).

Friday, July 13, 2018

Television Watch: GLOW - Season 2


With Emmy nominations now announced (GLOW received a few, including Best Comedy) and a few weeks passed since the second season arrived, it feels fair to talk a bit - but in no way comprehensively - about the show.

So...  Every once in a while when I'm watching GLOW, the fictionalized show about a real women's wrestling show that aired in the 1980's, I think about the Coen Bros. film, Barton Fink.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Super Reading: Supergirl - Being Super (trade, 2018)



Writer:  Mariko Tamaki
Artist:  JoĆ«lle Jones
Inks (Chapter One):  Sandu Florea
Colorist:  Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer:  Saida Temofonte
Editor:  Paul Kaminski

Thursday, August 10, 2017

New "Mister Miracle" #1 by King and Gerads


It has been a long, long time since I've talked much about Mister Miracle by Jack Kirby, but when I came across a black and white collection back in late 90's, one of that series one of New Gods, the comics hit my psyche like a runaway freight train.

I'll talk more about Kirby's Mister Miracle and New Gods soon (I'll be doing my own salute to King Kirby before his 100th), but today I want to suggest you guys get onboard with the new Mister Miracle series by Tom King and Mitch Gerads, which hit shelves on Wednesday.

I admit, I've not read the duo's other work to date, though I've been meaning to pick up their Vision series for at least a year.   But...

As comics keep relaunching with new #1's, I'd suggest that both publishers and creators take note:  this is how one starts a series.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Nolan Watch: Dunkirk (2017)


These days, I'm not writing up every movie I've seen.  And I'm not going to write up this one.  But I'm suggesting you catch this one while it's still in theaters.