Monday, January 1, 2018
Today marks the 200th Anniversary of the first publication of Frankenstein (or, The Modern Prometheus). It's a book many of us were assigned to read. As with any book, your mileage will vary. Absolutely, that seems to depend upon interpretations and baggage brought to the book.
It is true that I am a fan of the Frankenstein films from Universal that appeared in 1932 and onward, but I'd read Shelley's book twice before seeing the first movie circa 1997. My Freshman year of high school I *absolutely* grokked the "wretch's" perspective and Victor's craziness, and of course the romantic torment that befalls them all.
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Say what you will about cheesy hucksterism, but I grew up knowing who Stan Lee and Marvel were years before I read a comic book. Back in the 70's and 80's, Stan didn't just have his name on every Marvel comic ("Stan Lee Presents:"), and his name on every Marvel cartoon, he was also providing editor's note voice-over to episodes of The Incredible Hulk and other cartoons. I knew what it was to be a "True Believer" before I ever read a word-bubble of Spidey's inner monologue.
Speaking of: he also wrote the Spidey daily newspaper strip (in theory), which I read in collections as I got into comics.
Of course we can go back and forth all day about the Kirby/ Ditko/ Lee contributions that made up Marvel starting in '62. But none of them would have done it without the others. And, more than that, the longterm effect of Lee's boosterism of comics and comic-book characters is utterly incalculable in a landscape littered with superhero films, TV shows, cartoons, merchandise, toys, clothing, and where even Dr. Strange is now a household name.
I know Stan has made mistakes and not always made decisions that make sense to idealistic fans. That comes with the territory of being a walking icon and making mistakes as you go.
But I'm grateful he's had a chance to see the world embrace his creations, watched his comic empire flourish for going on six decades, and become a household name himself.
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Monday, December 25, 2017
Merry Christmas, every buddy.
I hope you're spending today as you like, whether it's in the company of friends, family or feet up and watching a Godzilla marathon while no one bothers you.
May the day be a peaceful one. May the close of the year be the best of days. Let's all strive to be better people in the coming year.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Friday, December 22, 2017
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.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Several years ago I was out visiting San Francisco and JeniferS showed me a noir she knew I'd never seen, starring Richard Basehart, Cyd Charise and an actor she adored but with whom I was unfamiliar, Audrey Totter. The movie was Tension, and it was all kinds of terrific. But, yes, Jenifer was right, Audrey Totter was absolutely phenomenal in that movie, stealing focus in every scene.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
People, sometimes a movie is so not aimed at you, all you can do is accept that fact, sit back, and just try to figure it out from an anthropological context.
I'm not going to try to claim Love Actually (2003) is a bad movie, but I will say that it is a movie that I didn't understand. Credit where it's due - 14 years on, it's a bonafide modern holiday favorite with a fanbase large enough that for a decade after the film's release, studios kept trying to replicate what worked here for New Years, Valentine's Day, and maybe Mother's Day (I don't know. I wasn't paying attention.). And my good pal, SimonUK, talks about this movie quite a bit. He frikkin' loves this movie. He is, of course, English, and I think the cultural cues I was missing make much more sense to him. Apparently the race to see who has the #1 Christmas song in England every year is a real thing (which, I know... weird).
Even I knew that this was a movie about a lot of people falling in love, facing the challenges of love, and defining love as something other than romantic or sexual. What this means is that over the course of what I think was a 90-minute movie, about ten different stories played out as loosely tied vignettes. Some of them better than others. Some of them sweet and simple and some making me raise my hand and waiting to be called upon as I had so many questions.
Of the movie's run-time, I enjoyed the back 1/3rd of the movie, but found the first third grating and the middle third baffling and sometimes tedious. I will say, the movie really did stick the landing in a way that nothing prior had suggested was coming. I went from not-cracking-a-smile and checking my phone to actively engaged and actual laughing out loud. I'm not sure I've ever had this experience before with a movie, where nothing changed about how I felt about what I was seeing previously by what I was now seeing - but I felt the quality of the movie quadrupled in just a scene or two and roughly maintained that level through to the end.