Sunday, April 7, 2019
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
When I saw the first trailers for Shazam!(2019), I sort of died a little inside. The notion of a superhero who doesn't know how to superhero getting tips from a geek he doesn't really want to know on how to superhero as they go to the mall, pose for cameras, enjoy the fame but are still a selfish jerk despite the powers... it all seemed like something a 90's kids movie would do. Were it any character but Captain Marvel/ Shazam, it would have been the stuff of a TV movie of the week from the 1980's, upgraded to a $30 million film with JTT in 1996.
I'm not sure this movie isn't exactly that movie in 2019 terms, but if you're going to do it, this one is at least charming, and - for a superhero movie from DC - shockingly upbeat throughout. While the stakes are high, the scale of the movie remains contained, and I was surprised how much I missed a superhero movie that wasn't immediately going to end in genocide if the lead character failed in their duty.
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Most people suck at going to the movies. I don't know how or why this is, but you do.
Literally every movie you go to see, theaters ask you to please not talk, to turn off your phones, and to basically please not cause any distractions for the hundred or so other people in the room. Despite the fact this is done for very good reasons, somehow, a good 1/3rd of people can't seem to follow these basic guidelines. Chatting, looking at phones, not turning off ringers, or, my favorite, actually taking a call.
My point is - going to the theater is a nightmare of our own making. Most people treat the shared space of the theater, of the multimillion-dollar production in front of them, in a room designed specifically for an ideal experience, surrounded by people they don't know, the same as if they were watching a film on a laptop in their living room, and with all the same behavior that's totally fine if you're at home under a blanket and not surrounded by dozens of strangers.
Which is weird, right?
Whatever magic-of-the-cinema films like Cinema Paradiso or Hugo try to capture about the theatrical experience is not part of the common religion in an era when movies are something you let the kids put on over and over so they give you 30-90 minutes of peace, or you consider movies one way to zone out while you're crammed into an airplane seat.
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
(editor's note: I wrote most of this post and then forgot to post it, so consider this my thoughts from a week ago or so)
Normally I wouldn't do a write-up of a movie about which I've already done a podcast, but I also know a whole bunch of you read posts and don't listen to the Marvel podcasts. So... hey... here we go.
Look, I'm not going to come out and say Captain Marvel (2019) is or was the *best* Marvel movie. We are living immediately in the wake of when Black Panther just showed up at the Academy Awards for Best Picture nominee, and which may have skewed our expectations a tad. Pretty far cry from being delighted Marvel didn't poop the bed with Iron Man.
What I will say is - I've seen a whole lot of dudes, good dudes, shrugging off Captain Marvel as muddled, not that great. And, my dudes, you don't have to like Captain Marvel, but I am going to suggest that from comments some have made in my general direction - maybe you misread the movie.
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Format: Alamo Ritz
Viewing: oh, god... who knows?
Decade: the 1990's, buddy
I saw Terminator 2: Judgment Day opening weekend in the theater with my girlfriend at the time, who, upon seeing a Terminator endoskeleton crush a human skull turned to me and said "that's a REAL man" (she was kidding), thereby hitting the nail on the head, in her own way, for what this movie was going to be on so many levels. Despite its fame as a CGI pioneer and predictor of Marvel's weirdly death & bloodless ultraviolence, there's an actual story about mothers and sons and overcoming juvenile distrust of your parents once their flaws are exposed, and how a cyborg learns to laugh and love. Indeed, the Judgment Day may be the friends we made along the way.
Also, so many gasoline-fueled fires making just huge, puffy blossoms of red and orange with lots of loud ka-booms.
Monday, April 1, 2019
Watched: Did not
Format: BluRay/ 70mm
We get epic as Alfredo joins us for his first podcast and takes us on a journey with "Lawrence of Arabia", one of our favorite films! Settle in for a lengthy discussion as we ponder Lawrence the man and the character and how this movie blends myth and fact to create one of the most engaging films of all time.
I'll be honest - after watching the Netflix doc The Inventor, I'm still stuck on the saga of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes.
At Maxwell's recommendation, I turned to a multi-part podcast called The Dropout to see what wasn't in the Netflix doc, which seemed to just raise questions without ever really providing answers. Produced by ABC news, The Dropout covers much of the same territory and the same figures, gets more on-the-record interviews, details more of what occurred, giving specific stories, certainly revealing points that I'm surprised the Netflix doc left out, and generally does a good job of building a solid case for what - at least transactionally - happened at Theranos.
But... I'm still baffled by how this even got started in the first place.
Saturday, March 30, 2019
They tell me Batman is now 80 years old. Happy Anniversary/ Birthday, Bruce.
This week, DC Comics released Detective Comics #1000, a big event book as it well should be. I'll pick up my copy at my local comics shoppe (I asked for the Steve Rude cover - we'll see what I wind up with, because I genuinely don't care All the covers were terrific, imho). What happens in #1000 matters less than the stunning achievement of 80 years of Batman, a character dreamed up in the wake of Superman's overnight success, and whose most outstanding achievement is the ability to fit into any tone or version of the character you want and still remain, fundamentally, Batman.
Thursday, March 28, 2019
It's been decades since I last watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). I'm glad I took the break, because it was genuinely fun watching the movie again. Honestly, the movie was something both myself and every nerd around me had managed to kind of ruin at some point after high school.
The version on Netflix looks amazing - literally the best I'd ever seen it - and while I still knew every joke, it was fun to see them again and see Monty Python at the height of their powers.
And, yeah, it was weird to realize how many things I say by reflex these days that came from quoting the movie once upon a time, so often, it seems, I'd forgotten this was where it came from. (example: I'd forgotten the origins of "and there was much rejoicing", which I do drop from time to time.)
Anyhoo... you've all seen this numerous times. I assume you either love it or hate it at this point, and I hope nerds didn't ruin it for you in the long, long ago. But if they did, give it a go again - it's still remarkably great.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Viewing: Unknown. Probably 3rd of 4th.
It's Spring Break, and SimonUK is looking for something breezy and light. Ryan hasn't seen this movie in 30 years. We talk 1980's sci-fi comedies, director Joe Dante's ideas, and what actually works pretty well in this not-much-discussed artifact of the 1980's.
SimonUK Cinema Series:
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Format: HBO Go
A few years back I recall reading about Theranos, the "disruptive" tech company getting into the ultra-sexy field of phlebotomy. The articles were fawning, talking about a young genius inventor out in Silicon Valley who had dropped out of school to start a tech company that was going to change... something. The article was a little vague on how smaller blood draws were the biggest thing since sliced bread, but it insisted - no, really, this is it, and we all need to get excited about the company, Theranos, and - really - the head of the company, Elizabeth Holmes - a prodigy who apes the fashion sense of Steve Jobs and who dropped out of Stanford as an undergrad to pursue her vision.
I wanted to check my biases on age and gender, shrug a bit at someone cosplaying Steve Jobs, and admit I don't really know much about phlebotoy other than watching a whole lotta blood draws when Jamie has been in the hospital. Which is: a lot.
At the same time...