Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Format: BluRay from Kino Lorber
I told myself that this year I was going to watch all of the films I could obtain which were directed by Ms. Ida Lupino.
I primarily know Ida Lupino as an actor who sort of radiates a certain razor sharp intellect in roles as hero or villain, whether she's vicious or kind. She's up there in my list of actors whose films I'll give a go even if the movie isn't to my taste.*
But as she is not *in* the movies she directs (understandably), I've not gotten around to seeing what she did standing behind the lens (less understandably). Of the films, the most famous is likely the 1953 noir thriller, The Hitch-Hiker, which I recently picked up as a BluRay edition released by Kino Lorber, made from a restoration print struck at the Library of Congress.
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Format: Austin Film Society
Viewing: second/ first
Thanks to some good pals my first year of college, I started watching Jackie Chan movies. Unfortunately, lo these many years later, because I watched many of them in the space of one academic year, I have no idea which is which, what I have seen and what I haven't. The conversation usually went more like "There's a Jackie Chan movie playing at The Hogg Auditorium. We're going after dinner." "Okay."
It turned out I had seen Police Story, but not Police Story 2 - but I have, in the past, seen Police Story 3: Supercop. Which was not part of the double-bill at the Austin Film Society that SimonUK and I attended.
But, yeah, like all of you, when I first saw his movies, I loved everything about Jackie - his sense of humor, his incredible stunts, his loyalty to his stunt team, the fact he wrote, directed and starred in his movies, and that he even sang his own theme songs. And, yeah, you can see the influence of the comedy greats in Jackie - if you love Buster Keaton or Chaplain, you should like Jackie's movies.
If the movies have a weakness, imho, it's that they often can't quite settle on tone. That said, by the end of Police Story, the shift from goofy antics and wacky set-pieces to wanting to see the bad guys get punched just real, real hard is more than earned.
Chan's energy is just different from anyone else in cinema. He's got the finesse of Bruce Lee, but - instead of Lee's eye of the storm focused energy, ready to unleash, he sort of is the storm.
Maggie Cheung plays May in both films, Jackie's long-suffering girlfriend, and she has some terrific comedic bits and really takes some hits for the team doing her own stunts.
The plot is some boiler-plate 1980's cop-movie stuff, and that's okay. It's all a skeleton upon which to hang cool action scenes and showcase the work of Jackie and his crew.
I dunno. I really like Police Story, maybe the second one a bit less, but they're both hugely watchable movies. I just found Police Story 3: Supercop on Amazon, so I'm going to watch it ASAP. It has Michelle Yeoh, so... you know...
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Format: a very, very old DVD
Viewing: 8th or 9th
In February 2019 I was about 9 months post-graduation and working in a very strange job for - what I figured out - was literally poverty wages (the job required a 4 year bachelor's degree, so... don't major in radio-TV-film, kids). This week marks not just the 20th anniversary of the release of Office Space (2019), but late 2018- early 2019 marks the start of my 20th year in the workforce as an FTE, I suppose.
Office Space was a product of Austinite Mike Judge, who had risen to fame first with Beavis & Butthead on MTV circa 1993, and brought Arlen, Texas to the small screen via King of the Hill. Upon arrival, the movie mostly flopped. Critics were relatively kind, but the film had no major stars except Jennifer Aniston in the era of Big Stars = Big Profits, and a workplace comedy about hating your job wasn't exactly groundbreaking. But at the time I felt a certain loyalty to the Texas film scene and Mike Judge, so we went to see it around opening weekend and... yeah.
As Jamie said when we were talking about the movie after: this was the first movie I saw that I may not have related to 100%, but it was the first movie I saw about adults that I could relate to as an adult.
PODCAST! "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"! Avengers Chronological Countdown #09 - w/ Jamie and Ryan
We reach one of Jamie's all-time favorite movies, a tale of a handsome man who is neck-deep in issues he thought he fixed before he went down for a long nap. Cap returns in an espionage thriller, but - also - a story of friendship. And blowing things up real good. It's one of the big turning points for Marvel as they put their best foot forward with a solid story that takes things up a notch.
Avengers - Alan Silvestri, Avengers OST
Captain America - Henry Jackman, Captain America: The Winter Solider OST
Monday, February 18, 2019
Believe it or not, that is not a time-lost Alec Baldwin. That is the 13th President of the United States of America, Millard Fillmore.
I know pretty much nothing about Fillmore other than that he existed, and I guessed he was a Whig, and, indeed, he was. But that guess was based on my impression that he seemed old-timey.
So, what should we know about President Fillmore?
Friday, February 15, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) rightfully won accolades and awards upon its release, telling the story of three returning GI's in terms that try not to gloss over the hardships and adjustments those who went to war in WWII must make as they come home and attempt to re-enter civilian life. Perhaps as much or more importantly, the movie doesn't ignore the adjustments and expectations of those who were safe at home, including arcs for the folks who didn't go, for whom life was not on pause as their loved ones - or even former coworkers - disappeared for a few years.
Format: Amazon Prime Streaming
Jamie and I went out for a lovely dinner for Valentine's Day, followed by catching up on Star Trek: Discovery, and then - somehow - I wound up watching this movie, and I think for the fashion choices alone, Jamie didn't object. I thought I'd previously seen Coffy (1973) when I started it - because it's currently streaming free to Amazon Prime subscribers, and, I didn't intend to actually watch it. But I hadn't seen it and the next thing I knew I was an hour in.
Thursday, February 14, 2019
PODCAST! It's High School Musicals with "Grease" (1978) and "High School Musical" (2006) - Maxwell, Mrshl and Ryan
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: Easily my 15th or 16th, maybe more
High School Musical (2006)
Format: Amazon Streaming
Maxwell and Ryan welcome Marshall to the PodCast as they discuss "Grease" and "High School Musical", two movies that are about finding love and finding out who you are in the nightmare factory that is the American Public High School. One of these films is definitely for kids, and the other... really, not for kids, no matter what America wants to think.
Summer Nights - Grease OST - cast
We Go Together - Grease OST - cast
Grease - performed by The Signaltones
High School Movies:
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
Decade: 1970's (obvs)
It's too hard to unpack both the film All the President's Men (1976) and the actual events of the Watergate scandal without writing a full treastise, so I won't. But in 2019, the events of this movie have both an echo that sounds all too familiar, but one which it is difficult to believe would actually register with at least half the voting population. If the movie is *about* anything, it's showing how goddamn hard it is to build a newspaper story that will stick, the near-impossible job of the press, and, of course, the responsibility of the press in a free and open democratic society, something this blogger firmly believes in.