Saturday, January 18, 2020
Format: Criterion BluRay
It was a miracle I even got out of this five hour movie alive.
Way, way back in the 1990's, I saw this movie the first time - I believe - between my junior and senior year of high school. My vague memory of the film was that it was known for two things - it was a movie directed by the same guy who did Wings of Desire (which I'd never seen), and for the soundtrack full of musicians both huge and indie (back when that meant something in particular). Ads appeared in Spin and/ or Rolling Stone for the OST, which read as a mixtape from a pal with particular but good taste (Now That's What I Call College Rock vol. 1!).
Sunday, January 5, 2020
SimonUK and Ryan were already standing around the kitchen talking about "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker", so they turned on a microphone and recorded themselves. What follows is a semi-incoherent conversation by two 40-something guys pondering the final installment of a decades-spanning storyline.
Fanfare and Prologue - John Williams, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker OST
Ewok Celebration - Meco, some 45 I had a as a kid
Thursday, December 26, 2019
Viewing: God. Too many.
For longtime readers of the League of Melbotis and Signal Watch blogs, you will know that the 1987 sci-fi opus, R.O.T.O.R., holds a special place in my heart. I first stumbled across the movie on late-night basic cable, and every few years I revisit the film, and, like any fine piece of art, find new things to appreciate and enjoy.
This Christmas Eve, Doug and I chose to punish ourselves by re-watching this movie, but this viewing was enhanced with the power of RiffTrax, some of the same fine fellows who you may know from their work on Mystery Science Theater 3000. And, I am, of course delighted to have the help as I'm watching the movie.
Look, I love a movie that leads to more questions than answers as the thing plugs along, and that's ROTOR in a nutshell. The movie is a phenomenal collection of odd-ball movie cliches, dialog tics, generic Texas racism, inevitable dashes of pretension, unexplored but tedious romance, and 1980's non-union talent. The plotting/ pacing is wild, and an amazingly inept filmmaking on a budget. That the movie was finished seems like an act of sheer will and a sort of bright-eyed Hollywood dream backed by nothing but wantin'-to-put-on-a-show that can make for some of the brightest spots in movie-dom.
RoboCop managed to spawn a *lot* of bad knock-offs. It's not actually clear this was one of them as both films came out in 1987. But who knows? There was just something magical in the air of Dallas, where both were shot!, that produced futuristic policing cyborg movies, I guess.
Sunday, December 22, 2019
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
I'm not writing this up. I might podcast on it at some point, but I don't feel like a first viewing of this movie is quite enough to give it a thorough thinking-through.
Thanks to a very special secret pal who secured me tickets dead center of the theater! My seat was shaking during the last reel of the movie. It was awesome.
I will say this: I thought Anthony Daniels was fan-freakin'-tastic in this episode, as always, and I wished for way more C3PO over the course of the movie.
I'll get around to doing something at some point, but, for now - acknowledging that I'd seen it.
Also - here's me outside the theater.
|crazily, the two Jedi thought I didn't want them in the picture. They looked rad as hell!|
Friday, December 20, 2019
I still like Force Awakens both in spite of and due to its many flaws. It's a good level of goofy, and has a few great bits that supersede a lot of the clunkiness and retreading of New Hope.
I genuinely liked the characters a lot in this film, and cared about what happened to them. The lightsaber flying into Rey's hand is the Star Wars stuff that gives me chills. As was Finn lighting it up to protect his friend.
It has it's fair share of issues, but overall - I liked it as an adult - and as a kid, I think this movie would have hit me where I lived. I'm still wow'ed by how close to the plotting of Episode IV it hews (unnecessarily!), but I do appreciate the differences.
Sunday, November 10, 2019
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
Look, I'm on the record going to the mat for the first two Terminator movies. And way, way less so for T3 and whatever the Christian Bale one was called. And I never saw Genisys. I did like the TV show, The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
There are a whole bunch of movies that are not the same movie that I thought were the same movie that came out between 1980 and 1987, that all have sort of meaningless names, and I thought were the same movie. Brainstorm (1983) is one of these movies.
The thing is, I'm not even sure what is what, but these movies all had pictures of people wearing headgear or having lasers pointed at their brains and often had to do with virtual realities, walking around in people's dreams, stuff like that. I guess. All I know is that, from this pile, I had never seen Brainstorm despite very much remembering the box collecting dust at Video Station and Video III when I was a kid.
Monday, September 9, 2019
Viewing: Oh, gosh...
We turned to our wife of more than 19 years and realized we were heading into tricky territory as we asked "What is Love?" Fortunately, she came back with "Star Wars". Join Jamie and me as we use The Force and talk what was maybe the first great movie romance a lot of us clicked to: Leia, Han, a broken down ship and some mynochs to keep it interesting.
Han Solo and The Princess (Love Theme) - John Williams, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back OST
Han & Leia Suite (Theme) - John Williams, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back OST
"What is Love?" Podcast Series
And, snowsuit Leia
Sunday, August 25, 2019
|there were legit reasons for this being what one wears in space, but I missed it|
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: at least fourth
Decade: Baby, this is the REAL 1970's
Yeah, I watched this movie the first time because Caroline Munro, but it has so, so much more to offer. Star Wars may be the preferred 1970's era sci-fantasy film, but StarCrash (1978) has Christopher Plummer gamely lending his gravitas to a movie with a space-ship shaped like a hand and a 10 story robot with nipples. And, man, that's just. the. start.
Thursday, August 1, 2019
We stir up memories of what makes a fine romance in film with a blast from the recent past. Fall in love all over again with this mid-00's classic starring an all-star cast you've probably forgotten appeared in the film. Walk back through the film with us, and see if you can recollect what made it work.
Theme - Jon Brion, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" OST
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.
This one hit us all hard and never let up.
Friday, July 19, 2019
In some ways I'm amazed I haven't totally turned on this show. It can be twee, it's a lot too precious in some scenes, and the "look, we're doing the 1980's!" while getting a lot of details wrong should have pushed me over the ledge.*
Sometimes I wish they'd just turn to David Harbour and Winona Ryder and ask "is this actually right? As someone who was a young person in 1985, is this accurate?" Because it works *better* for those of us who were around this age when the show is on. And it is on *a lot*. But when it's off, it takes you right out.
The horror was more or less abstracted to a general horror-movie sort of problem this season, giving the characters less specific rules-sorting to do, which I support. At times the visual and filmic references to other things was so heavy handed, though, the show almost folded in on itself.
Still, somehow, the show works. I still really enjoyed it, and I know why.
Friday, June 28, 2019
Watched: 06/17 and 06/20/2019
Viewing: Second and unknown
Format: DVD and BluRay
It's "Teens in Space"! We get far out with one kinda-grounded adventure featuring some kids on an unscheduled voyage and then find trouble in Rylos City as playing video games actually DOES turn out to be a life skill (if you want to murder anonymous aliens). Join MRSHL, Maxwell and Ryan as we keep our feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.
Last Starfighter Fanfare - Craig Safan, Last Starfighter OST
In Orbit - John Williams, Space Camp OST
High School Movies Playlist
Friday, June 14, 2019
No matter how many parts of well-known movies you try to Frankenstein into one movie, you are not going to get that Voltron/ sum-is-greater-than-the-parts effect you're looking for. SimonUK and I look at this 2008 entry from Scottish filmmaker Neil Marshall as he runs our hero through a gauntlet of oddly familiar scenes and a hero who always has the same expression.
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Two Tribes - Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Pleasuredome
Good Thing - Fine Young Cannibals, The Raw and the Cooked
SimonUK Cinema Series Playlist
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
Friday, April 19, 2019
For prior blog post on this screening, click here.
SimonUK and Ryan delve into the 1991 sci-fi actioner and talk about the impact of the film on culture, on action film, and maybe ourselves. We also discuss the awesomeness of Linda Hamilton, CGI in 1991, violence then and now and a whole lot more.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Theme - Brad Fiedel, T2 OST
You Could Be Mine - Guns N' Roses, T2 OST
SimonUK Cinema Series
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.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Viewing: Unknown. Probably 3rd of 4th.
It's Spring Break, and SimonUK is looking for something breezy and light. Ryan hasn't seen this movie in 30 years. We talk 1980's sci-fi comedies, director Joe Dante's ideas, and what actually works pretty well in this not-much-discussed artifact of the 1980's.
SimonUK Cinema Series:
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Format: MST3K on Netflix
This movie is a bizarre mess with no story. Now, sometimes MST3K cuts these movies for time, so its possible we lost some key moments or elements on the floor, but... I don't think so.
The MST3K episode DOES feature an astonishing musical number lifting music from The Music Man. The current crew has really hit their stride. And - there's a Kim Cattrall callback.
But, yeah, it's a bunch of unmotivated special FX and a cast that I can't not talk about.
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.