Saturday, January 14, 2017
It's literally impossible to imagine this movie getting made in the last ten years. A studio film that's a musical wherein the leads are actually lip-synching to mostly tin pan alley versions of 1930's era songs, and, by the way, it's more or less a depressing late-1970's story that maybe is deconstructing the conventions of the movie musical. Cheerfully titled Pennies From Heaven (1981) and starring the lovable duo from The Jerk, Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters.
We wanted to see it as The Alamo Drafthouse had included clips in the La La Land pre-show as a modern musical we might not have seen. And I was curious why I had heard of the movie, but it's not discussed much and I don't recall anyone ever telling me to check it out.
I think if I'd been clued into any of this before the movie, I might have enjoyed it more than I did. But I spent the first thirty minutes trying to figure out what I was even looking at, and then adjusting to what they were doing.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
|way more effort went into this graphic than I want to admit|
2016. It seems so far away now. Heck, Christmas was, like, two years ago at this point. But let us remember that all too vital part of all of our lives - TELEVISION.
Oh, you don't own a television? You haven't had cable in ten years? Well, la di dah, mister fancy pants. Some of us stay in touch with the people.
Between cable, internet streaming options and sports, it was certainly a year in which I watched a metric ton of TV. You couldn't not be told you had to watch this show or that show by your friends or co-workers. And some of them you didn't try, some of them you watched and didn't like and just prayed they'd never ask about whether you'd tried it or not, and some of it was maybe not the best thing but you still tuned in. And some of it you set your schedule around watching.
Here's a quick rundown of some of what we watched:
Sunday, January 8, 2017
I'd only become aware of the existence of Katherine Johnson and the "computers" at NASA in the early days of the US side of the space-race within the last four or five years. The internet is pretty terrific when it comes to sharing the sort of information that used to get buried in footnotes or left out of the common narratives shared of our history.
I was pleased to find out that our noon-time showing of the movie on a Sunday was sold-out, so at least the folks in my neck of the woods seem interested in hearing what the movie had to say. You never really know how a docu-drama is going to play, but it was interesting how many families had come out to see the movie. And, honestly, it's a good one for the kids to see.
The movie follows the stories of three women who were pioneers in a world that was breaking boundaries as mankind sought to escape the bonds of earth and reach space. And, while no doubt how the realities are framed will be debated, the overriding drama of the film is how these women pushed back against the racism and cultural norms of 1960's America that very much could have stood in their way.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
So, this was one of the Bond movies I was absolutely positive I hadn't seen before. I would have been 14 when it came out, and for the life of me, I have no idea how I missed a Bond movie coming and going over the summer when I was that age, except for family vacations and summer camp colliding to make it difficult. I even remember reading about how this wasn't a typical Bond movie, and that sounded kind of interesting.
But, you know, it didn't work out. Never saw it.
Well, we finally arrived at the second and final Timothy Dalton Bond, and while I will go to the mat supporting Dalton, it's hard to know exactly what was going wrong as they put these things together, but it's an oddball of a movie, certainly. And you can see what they had in mind for this movie, and how the 1980's influenced everything about this movie rather than Bond influencing other action movies as it had once upon a time.
But at least Q actor Desmond Llewelyn got a tropical holiday out of it all.
Friday, January 6, 2017
It's not often I watch a whole Godzilla movie. I probably watched 3/4ths of about 3 or 4 of them last year, but they never showed up on my movie-list as I don't watch them from beginning to end. Usually I stumble in 1/4 of the way in, have no idea what's happening, and just keep on watching.
And that's kinda too bad.
I never quite recovered from missing Shin Godzilla in the theater this year (twice I had tickets! TWICE!), but over Christmas, the El Rey network celebrated the holiday with "Kaiju Christmas", which was something like 36 hours of Godzilla movies. In fact, I wrapped up Christmas Day night watching the second half of Godzilla vs. Destroyah.
I'd never seen Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003), but heard it was a fun one, and, indeed it was.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
This movie doesn't have the best ratings, but there's a lot to like in The Living Daylights (1987). Maybe not everything is grand, and I feel like the back 40 minutes got away from them, but all in all, I enjoyed this the most of any Bond we've watched since For Your Eyes Only.
Look, I may like Roger Moore as much as the next person who grew up with him as Bond, but he made some very, very silly Bond movies (lest we forget Moonraker) and by View to a Kill, I was firmly believed this was a man who should not be running anywhere without a spotter, let alone that Tanya Roberts would be throwing herself at Grandpa Roger. That he did not openly wink at the camera seems somehow unbelievable.
I can't say I need my Bond more grounded. I love The Spy Who Loved Me, and that has a sneaky kidnapping boat and an undersea villain's layer. But I also want it to feel like maybe my Bond is not treating itself like a parody. And with The Living Daylights, we get back to what feels like good old fashioned international intrigue, a plot that holds together very well (if not entirely a mirror to our own world), and makes Bond feel like a secret agent rather than a gentleman who gets into ridiculous scrapes.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Welcome to the 2016 Krypto Awards. This isn't just for movies, but that's where we're gonna start - by looking back at the Good, Bad and Ugly of 2016 movie-watching here at The Signal Watch. If you haven't seen our post on what all we watched this year, numbers-wise, you can check it out here.
It's tough to say "Best Picture" means a whole lot, but we'll try to narrow it down some. We're only really talking about the movies we saw for the first time in 2016, which really narrows the field here from 160+ to 88 films.
Of course, we didn't just want to heap congrats on things we adored. We kind of hated some things this year, so we'd be negligent if we didn't discuss what didn't work for us and take some cheap shots on our way out the door.
So - Let's get to it.
Time to crunch the numbers.
In 2016 I tagged every movie I watched from beginning to end with "Movies 2016". I did not include movies I only watched in part. I also did not include any Hallmark Channel holiday movies as I intended to do a post on those movies, but once again did not get my act together.
It is likely this is off by a count here or there, as I am not too worried about this being 100% accurate, but a snapshot of what I watched this year.
To view my numbers and a complete list of movies, you can look at the spreadsheet by clicking on this link.
We'll talk about the actual movies themselves in a follow-up post.
Total times a movie was watched: 165
Movies "new to me": 88
My goal for this year was to watch more movies that would be new to me, and I actually managed to watch a majority of new movies instead of just watching old movies as comfort food. If I re-watched a movie that was new to me (example: Rogue One), it only counted once as a "new" movie. So I think I did okay.
Given how much baseball I wound up watching this year, the number of movies I watched in October while I know I was watching tons of ball - I kind of wonder how much I left the house that month. But I do think it helps account for why I watched roughly 20 fewer movies this year than last year.
My last movie of the year I knew about well ahead of time. Way back in September or so, SimonUK and I made a pledge to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) together, and by November realized that it wasn't going to be us hand-in-hand on opening night as SimonUK actually works at the Alamo Drafthouse, and would be taking orders and whatnot during the first week, more or less non-stop. So, we made a date for New Year's Eve Day.
I knew I'd see this movie again in the theater unless it dropped to Episode I depths (the only Star Wars I've only seen through once is Revenge of the Sith).
I've already written this movie up, so I'll keep my comments to what I noticed on the second screening.