Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts

Friday, October 26, 2018

PODCAST! HALLOWEEN WATCH 2018 FINALE! "The Thing" (1982) w/ Jamie and Ryan



Watched:  09/30/2018
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown.  Eighth?
Decade:  1980's

After 20 years of avoiding watching The Thing (1982) Jamie decides it's time to watch the movie and then get in front of a microphone. We discuss a modern horror classic, and what it's like to finally see a movie you've heard so much about (and maybe built up a bit in your imagination).



Music:

Bride of Frankenstein Theme - Franz Waxman
The Thing Main Titles - Ennio Morricone
Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft - The Carpenters
Swan Lake - Act 2: No. 10 Scene - Tchaikovsky


Playlists:

Featured:  Signal Watch Halloween 2018




Get your audio episodes at:

Monday, September 3, 2018

Friday, August 24, 2018

PODCAST! RECOMMENDATION WATCH: Southland Tales (2006)


Watched:  08/19/2018
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2000's

You guys, I @#$%ing loved this movie.  Get a look inside my wheelhouse and what works for me in a movie with Southland Tales (2006).  And, man, we really missed so much of what there was to say - enough so that I'm ready to make covering this movie an annual event.

Official description:

AmyC returns with this overlooked, underseen sci-fi satire of a post 9/11 America. We struggle to convey the plot and all of the amazing things packed into this film - from one of the most astounding casts ever assembled, to musical choices, to transdimensional travel, to porn stars with rock solid business plans. Truly an unusual film that was never given a real shot at finding an audience - Ryan watches the film for the first time and is absolutely ready to push it to his list of recommendations.

 


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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

PODCAST: NathanC and Ryan talk Disney's curious 1980s - "The Black Hole", "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and "Never Cry Wolf"



Nathan Cone joins us to discuss what the heck was going on at Disney in the 1970's and 80's that led to The Black Hole, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Never Cry Wolf. It's a fun ride full of Disney history and rife with 80's-ness!




On Stitcher:

On Google Play: Listen on Google Play Music

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Inexplicable Watch: Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)



Watched:  04/03/2018
Format:  Amazon Streaming (included in Prime)
Watched:  First
Decade:  1980's

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......................

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sci-Fi Watch: The Black Hole (1979)


Watched:  03/24/2018
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  2 and 1/6th
Decade:  1970's

(saving this one for a podcast)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

PODCAST: Simon and I talk "Big Trouble in Little China", "Buckaroo Banzai" and "War Games"




Buckaroo Banzai
Already covered

War Games
Watched:  03/17/2018
Viewing:  Fifth or Sixth
Format:  Alamo Drafthouse/ Village
Decade:  1980's

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Watched:  03/18/2018
Viewing:  Seventh or Eighth
Format:  Shout Factory BluRay
Decade:  1980's

Join SimonUK and I as we ponder some cult favorites of the 1980's!  And, boy howdy, do we go all over the map on this one.  But, mostly, we stay on task.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

"Planet of the Apes" 50th Anniversary


So, Shoemaker sent me a text alerting me that today is the 50th Anniversary of the Premier of Planet of the Apes!  I've found three completely different release dates, and February 8th is absolutely one of them.  I wasn't born yet, so I don't know, but I expect this is the Premier date the rest were release windows across the US.  Movie distribution used to be a bit different.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Star Wars Watch: The Last Jedi



If I tend to do extra-sized posts for big, monumental movies that fit into the Venn Diagram of the kinds of movies which I'll cover these days - one of the things I liked quite a bit about Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that there's so much to talk about.  And, as happened with Blade Runner 2049 and a few other movies of late, I entered with zero expectations and found myself so fully immersed for the film's runtime, I know I didn't catch it all.  I am glad to say that this movie bears a second viewing, something I was ready to do at the very moment I finished my Tuesday night screening.

Like a lot of folks, I was pleased when the reviews came out and pulled a mid 90th percentile on RottenTomatoes. And, when the movie then pulled a 50-something percent in audience reviews on RT, I said to Max, "well, this probably means I'm going to love it."*  After all, you can kind of count on people with overly strong reactions to be the most vocal and actually take to the internets to voice their opinions (this is why Yelp! reviews are nearly useless).

And the movie is both a very, very conservative Star Wars movie and something that knows the series cannot just be retreads of the original trilogy in perpetuity.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Halloween Watch: War of the Worlds (1953)



It's kind of funny that in this post and the last, I'm referring to movies referenced in my own title banner, but there you have it.

I checked, and it has been a while since I last watched George Pal's 1953 movie of War of the Worlds.  A number of years now, in fact.

My interest was piqued by the idea of a Martian invasion in 6th or 7th grade when I learned about Orson Welles' and the Mercury Theater's 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast - which supposedly caused a panic (sort of, but not really).  Click on the link and listen.  It's a hell of a show.

Shortly after all this, around the age of 12, The Admiral found out I wanted to watch the original movie, and so he and I rented it and I think it was just the two of us who watched it.

Honestly, despite the fact it was not a gore fest or built on the tension-making trip wires of, say Ridley Scott's Alien, that movie scared the hell out of me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sci-Fi Watch: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)



Prior Blade Runner posts:
January 9, 2016 - film watch
September 16, 2016 - novel
January 6, 2008 - DITMTLOD



SOME SPOILERS BELOW:

Like a lot of people of my generation, Blade Runner is one of my favorite films.  To expect objectivity regarding the film at this point is a difficult request as I cannot separate the film's actual merits from the impact it had upon me when I first watched the film circa 1988 and deepening appreciation over time.

In a recent comment, Fantomenos asked what the last band was that I related to on a deeply personal level, where I felt they were speaking straight to me (I dodged the question), and I think movies operate much the same way.  I will simply never feel quite the same way about a movie now as I did in high school.  Whatever openness I had to experience during that period of development is a maze of decades of other movies, cynicism and life experience. 

At this point, I've watched Blade Runner dozens of times.  I know the beats, the characters, the dialog.  And so do you, most likely.  I can talk about things explicit and implicit to the film's story, talk about the production of the movie and tell you about seeing a Spinner and Rachael's dress in Seattle.  I'm aware it's likely part of how I became interested in cinema noir, film design, and remains the high water mark for movies about AI, in my opinion.

If Star Wars had created a totally immersive universe through design, sound, music, character and themes - a fairy tale universe in which I would have been happy to jump into, Blade Runner provided a similar experience with a dystopia in which everything seemed to fall out of the current culture, in which I could draw a line from our current lives to how we might reach this world of constant rain, stratified social classes, surreal landscapes of mega-structures and ubiquitous advertising (some of it beautiful). And, no, despite the Rachaels, I would not want to live in the world of Blade Runner.  The world of this movie is the world of the end of humanity.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Kaiju Watch: Shin Godzilla (2016)



I had two failed attempts to see Shin Godzilla (2016) when it was released in October 2016 and then had a quick return to the screen around New Years 2017.  The first time something at work came up and I had to cancel.  The second time I went to see the movie with PaulT and Jamie and something was wrong with the film.  It started and a 1K tone was laid over the soundtrack to the movie.  Which was both awful and hilarious.  Anyway, they stopped the movie about three minutes in, we had this weirdly informal conversation with the manager about what we should do, and I got a couple passes to come back, but couldn't attend the next screening as it was my first day back to work after the holiday break.

And the more stuff I saw about the movie, the more goggle-eyed I became.  I really wanted to see this flick.

In case you don't know what Shin Godzilla is, essentially Toho Studios rebooted the Godzilla franchise from square one (it was also marketed in the US as Godzilla: Resurgence).  And if you've never seen Gojira, the 1954 Godzilla that is the Japanese version and lacks Raymond Burr (a) shaaaaaaame on you, and (b) fix that immediately.  It's a terrific film.  And aside from Godzilla 1985, Gojira is one of the only movies that's just about Godzilla (aka: Gojira) attacking Tokyo by himself and for mysterious reasons and is not fighting, say, Anguirus*.  Here, in a re-booted universe that's never heard of Godzilla, our scaly pal returns again for the first time to wreak just horrible, unthinkable havoc upon an unsuspecting Tokyo.

And it is really, really good.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ape Watch: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)



I was skeptical when Matt Reeves and Co. relaunched the Planet of the Apes franchise a few years back.  We're big fans of the original five films here at The Signal Watch - but despite a certain affection for Tim Burton and an appreciation for anything with a simian in a featured role, I've only seen that remake once.  Because I kind of hated it and wound up having to apologize to several friends who agreed to go see the movie with me.

So, yet another go at the idea wasn't something I was looking forward to initially.

But, lo and behold, Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes were released, and, yea, I dug them. They managed to find an astonishing line where they could break from the original narrative but still give nods enough, show respect for those movies and still be entirely their own thing.  If Caesar wasn't the child of apes who'd traveled through time and space, we still found a way to make him the founder of the Ape Society that didn't need to bend time and space to get the job done.  And if I always stood by the complex heart of the original slate of films, the new movies refused to be any less challenging.

I'm pleased to report that War for the Planet of the Apes is a worthy conclusion to the trilogy, an astonishing technical achievement, and - as all the apes movies have been (save the Burton one-off) a thoughtful character study and examination of morals.  And, of course, a dystopian sci-fi franchise that actually earns its dim view of humanity.  It isn't just ignorance or folly that leads to man's downfall, it's mankind's inability to tame our demons that drives us straight over the cliff.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Signal Watch Reads: Altered Carbon (2002 - audiobook)


A few folks had recommended to me Altered Carbon (2002) by Richard Morgan.  Likely this was due to my interests in science-fiction and detective/ noir fiction.  Not a bad call, that.  The book is more or less a detective story with a decidedly noirish bent set in a far-flung future of high technology and interstellar travel.

While our characters live in a fantasyland of technological wonders and possibilities, the technology the book is most preoccupied with is the digitization of the human consciousness, allowing minds and personalities to flow freely between bodies or into virtual environments as specters, even crossing the cosmos for business meetings into rented "sleeves".  While mankind lives at a point where genetic and chemical manipulation of the human form is common practice, the same ills that always plague humanity are no further off.  War, hunger, institutionalized economic disparity, religious mania... all still present hundreds of years from today despite the colonization of many new worlds and the discovery of alien artifacts.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Inauguration Day Watch: Roger Corman's Death Race 2050 (2017)



By no stretch of the imagination is Roger Corman's Death Race 2050 a good movie, but it was released this week (streaming on Netflix at the moment), and I needed some campy satire to wrap up this particular moment in American political history.  You guys be you, I'll still enjoy some barely concealed hostility hidden beneath a thin veneer of comedy and allegory wrapped up in a decidedly trashy movie.

I still like a good B-movie.  Heck, a film-loving co-worker asked me what I recommended that I'd seen lately and my two answers were Tower (not a B-movie) and Starcrash.  While I always like the unintentionally hilarious bad movie, Roger Corman has made making lower-tier films an artform and routinely pushed what's possible in movies thanks to an interesting mix of inventiveness, a certainty no one is watching all that closely, and a certain fearless stunt filmmaking.  Sure, sometimes the product is bad (well, all the time).  The politics can be almost confusing as you grapple with stereotypes of race or class mixed with stereotype breaking and shattering.

But, hey, I couldn't sleep well growing up, and trashy movies were there for me.  I may be the only person you know who owns a copy of Reform School Girls.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Star Wars Watch: Rogue One - a Star Wars Story (2016)



When those of us who grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy thought of what might happen in the long-awaited prequels, I strongly suspect most of us expected something a bit more like Rogue One (2016).   We'd only received glimpses of the pre-Luke Skywalker past, embedded in the story we'd heard about the Clone Wars, an Anakin Skywalker who was supposed to be some sort of edgy fighter pilot who becomes a Jedi...  I was expecting three movies that took place against the backdrop of The Clone Wars, which always sounded pretty rough, at least in my head.

I'd also observe - Much as the superhero comics we read grew up with us, I think maybe I was expecting a Star Wars that acknowledged the conflict from which Episode IV sprang and maybe cut a little deeper - maybe had a bit of a rough and tumble edge that Ewok-laden finales may have foregone.

So, I think it's true that the content and execution of the three Prequel films surprised a lot of us.

Rogue One, the second of these films directed by the generation that grew up on them, expands upon what we know, creating far less continuity difficulty than Lucas introduced in the Prequels, brings back familiar sights and sounds, while filling in gaps and giving us all new adventures and characters.  In this, I think you can say it succeeds with a solid A-, B+ (I spotted an issue or two, and my pal Matt brought one up I thought actually a pretty salient point).

That's not to say Rogue One hits all the right notes or was exactly what I was expecting (it wasn't).   It's interesting to see Disney seeking to expand upon the seemingly vast universe Star Wars always promised, but which we could only visit in 150 minute increments.  Here, they risk tonal differences, deliver only bits of familiar characters and try something a little uncomfortable, and, for the most part, they succeed.