Saturday, March 2, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
This movie is exactly (exactly) what you think it's going to be. That's not a knock, it's just a statement.
It's weird. I feel like Paul Feig would do really well managing a network TV comedy. It seems better suited to his sense of humor where he could have fun with characters than trying to cram in an actual story in 90-120 minutes.
This was part of my "I have a cold, so let's just watch some inconsequential stuff" viewing from Friday night, and it fit the bill.
Friday, March 1, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
No write up. I'm a bit under the weather, but I really enjoyed it. And I can't believe Disney went off-script with their own IP to that degree. A lot of good stuff. And, of course, Vanellope's song - just brilliant.
Late Edit: Our own NathanC wrote a great review over at the TPR site, so go check that out.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: No idea. At least third.
Back when Hollywood Shuffle (1987) first showed up on home video, it was a movie I recall renting and really liking. I know for a fact I only sorta got what the movie was saying and doing and was more interested in the fact that some of the sketches and spoofs played well to even a 13 year old. After all, the movie is about an actor's journey through casting and into his first day on set of a film, loaded with cut-away scenes where they lampoon Hollywood movies.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
I'd intended to see Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) during it's theatrical run, and I don't really know how I didn't. It was a wide release and ran for a bit. In the intervening years I've watched more noir of the original era, not necessarily watching what came out as noir and neo-noir at the theater.* The 90's and 00's saw a fair number of mid-century crime and costume dramas and glossy neo-noir films that I think a lot of folks today see in their mind's eye more than actual films of the original noir era. Some of the films were pretty good (I love LA Confidential), others were less so (I really struggled with The Black Dahlia).
There's a lot to recommend Devil in a Blue Dress, even if it feels like writer/ director Carl Franklin was more intent on establishing a string of movies based on the protagonist's exploits than he was in actually getting into the why's and wherefore's of the story's central mystery. It's one of the extremely rare Black-focused noir films, and does a phenomenal job of world building, leaning on familiar noir tropes and giving us new spin based on the Black experience of mid-Century LA.
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?