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.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
It's been forever since The Incredibles came out, and I really wanted to see this one in the theater and just never found the time.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Format: DC Universe Streaming
This week is becoming Steel-tastic as we return to a version of the Steel origin source material.
In 1992, DC Comics famously killed and resurrected Superman in a triptych of narrative arcs, , first downing him with Doomsday, then keeping Superman dead for a few months before bringing him back to save the day/ Earth.
It's a very 90's-tastic comic series, and your mileage will vary as you read it now.
Reign of the Supermen (2019) kinda sorta retells the story of the second two arcs post-Death of Superman as four new beings arrive on the global scene, all claiming some bit of Superman's legacy. From back in Ye Olden Comicks Days, this is where we got Steel, Superboy (Conner Kent), Cyborg Superman and The Eradicator. Surprisingly, over the years, these characters have endured unlike near any others spinning out of a major event, which is a testament to the solid core concepts each character embodied and how they fit into the DCU like puzzle pieces.
Monday, January 28, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
I'd certainly heard the title of Panic in the Streets (1950), but had never paid the movie much mind. It played a while back on TCM, so I loaded it up on the DVR for a later playback and am thrilled I did. The movie is often listed as noir, but... aside from some aesthetic choices, it doesn't match my definition of noir, so I'm not labeling it as such.
Directed by Elia Kazan, the movie reflects his ability to shoot on location and make it mean something. Here he exits LA and lands in New Orleans, filming along the industrial docks and twisting roads of the city, jumping from suburbs to the edges of the French Quarter. Unfortunately, as the movie was 1950, it makes the location shooting feel like that much more of a lie as you only see Black people here and there, which in no way reflects the make-up of the city.
Still, you do get an immediacy to the film with the organic locations and settings, including sounds captured along the river or on the streets.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Just getting in another viewing of the movie. Still stunned by the world building, well-written characters with top-flight talent to bring them to life, and how the challenge of the "villain" informs the protagonist to be a better man and king. First class storytelling, and in a superhero movie no less. What it were that more of these superhero movies understood the power of a great ensemble script and cast.
As much as Star Wars or Harry Potter drops you in a universe and you fall into it immediately, so, too, does Black Panther. Anyhoo... here's to their chances on Oscar night, and I look forward to whatever they do next for a follow-up.
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Murder, My Sweet (1944) is a favorite and one of two Dick Powell movies that made me a fan. Based on the classic detective novel Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (not yet a classic, obvs, at the time), this movie has as many or more twists and turns than The Big Sleep and maybe doesn't have the popping-off-the-screen chemistry of Bogart and Bacall, but Powell feels more like the Philip Marlowe of the books in my book.
Anyway, I promised not to write up every movie this year, and I'm sure I've written this one up before, so aside from adding that Claire Trevor's evening-look with her up-do is something else, I'll just give the movie a solid rec and what I love about Chandler boiled down to work in a movie. Oh, and Mike Mazurki is pretty great.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Format: Warner Archive BluRay
Decade: 1990's (oh, so 1990's)
Steel (1997) is not a good movie, but it's not exactly as terrible as memory of watching it on VHS at some point in the distant past had led me to believe. It's also a reminder of how *bad* many of the DC movies have been since this period, from Catwoman to Green Lantern, to Batman v Superman. This movie was filmed on a low budget with no faith in it, no major stars, and based on a C-List character who, really, is a carbon copy of Iron Man. And, still, beat for beat, this movie makes more sense and flows better than Aquaman.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Format: Hulu streaming
This post will make no sense unless you go back and read my post from yesterday on Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019) , the other documentary about this same subject that was released on Netflix earlier this month. So, please do go and read it, because I'd prefer not to rehash a lot of what was covered in that post.
After my initial post and exasperation with the Netflix doc and spending most of the post leveling suspicion at the motives of the doc makers, Paul dropped a note to me saying "hey, I think people who are involved with Fyre Fest were involved in producing that doc", which... indeed they were. Which confirmed all my worst suspicions and made me hate everyone involved even more, but at least made me feel less paranoid and crazy.
Format: Fathom Events at Arbor Cinema
It's fascinating to see Peter Jackson turn his eye for detail and technical achievement to the discipline of documentary film-making. In many ways, They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) could herald a new era of popular documentary as important as the narrative innovations of Ken Burns, which have become the de facto mode for serious historical documentary for those of us who watch PBS. Frankly, from an historical/ accuracy perspective, I have a *lot* of quibbles with Jackson's approach - but we'll get to that after praising his achievements.
Monday, January 21, 2019
(late edit: shortly after posting my initial, pretty visceral reaction to the doc, I got some new info that will show up later in the post. It's always nice to feel less crazy. And certainly learning what I did colors and informs literally everything about the doc. Basically - it may be somewhat true, but it's also deeply skewed and can't be seen as having any journalistic integrity.
While I recommend reading this post first - and watching the Netflix doc first - the post on the Hulu Doc is here.)
I'm no commie, but few things leave me wanting to declare "let's just eat the rich" like the film I just finished. And not just the subject matter they covered, but the way in which the filmmakers themselves covered it.
The lack of ability to reflect and look at the *source* of the issues around the notorious Fyre Festival is probably the weirdest part of watching Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019), the Netflix documentary that's been grabbing headlines.
At the end of the day, I'm just left thinking: