According to long-lived Superman site The Superman Homepage (it's old enough to still be called a Homepage!), it's the birthday of everyone's favorite comic-book intrepid reporter, Lois Lane!
Lois is having a pretty good year. She's been key to the entirety of the Rebirth efforts around Superman as the comics squared the Superman/ Lois romance/ marriage once again, and gave them a son in Jon Kent. Since Bendis came on the Super-books, he's put Lois back at the fore, first as someone Superman missed as she left for space, and then as a source of consternation as she's deposited herself in Chicago rather than Metropolis.
There's no question Lois's storyline is just getting bigger, and it sure doesn't hurt that she's starring in the super-books, deeply involved in Event Leviathan and currently has her own 12-issue maxi-series by Greg Rucka (a great fit for Lois) that I'm actually really enjoying.
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
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Just a couple of 40-something dudes, sitting around contemplating the nature of a woman's desire, the qualifications for feminist film, symbology and visual storytelling, and what's a woman to do when you find yourself in New Zealand in 1852 and married to a dud?
The Heart Asks Pleasure First - Michael Nyman, The Piano OST
Playlist - "What is Love?":
Format: Amazon Streaming
I just checked Box Office Mojo and if you want to weep for humanity, this movie made $190 million and Minions made over a billion dollars. I think I'm beginning to understand how we reached our current state as a people.
If you haven't seen Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019), it's now streaming, so now's a second chance.
With the device revealed at the finale of the first Lego Movie, and a reasonable assumption being that we understand that the adventures of the movie are in part a kid playing with Lego and in part a kid working things out - the movie is able to play a bit more with the premise.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
People take a lot of liberties when adapting Raymond Chandler novels to screen. It's not a huge surprise. After all, Chandler's books are winding, complicated, and don't exactly make it easy to translate Marlowe's inner-monologue or exposition in a way that's easy to cram into 90 - 120 minutes and keep the audience with you. To this day, people complain The Big Sleep is "too complicated".
It's been a while since I read The Little Sister, I think the fifth Marlowe novel and the work upon which the studio based Marlowe (1969). Between reading several Chandler novels in a row at that time and years inbetween, not every detail of the plot had stuck with me, but impressions of various characters remained, and as the movie unspooled, it did provide me with a roadmap and certain expectations for the film that gave me a leg up vis-a-vis following the plot and keeping up. A glance at some contemporary reviews suggest that even Ebert and Siskel found it a bit muddled.
Still, the story sticks surprisingly close to the novel, updating some factors for 1969 that would have looked very different in the original setting of 1949. And, I'll argue, while people feel like they've got a grip on Chandler by way of reputation, in practice his novels tend to feel like a morass of detail until the denouement. That's part of the fun (and Hammett did same in books like The Thin Man).
Format: Alamo S. Lamar
Say what you will about Austin, but I just got home from a Tuesday 9:30 PM showing of a 1933 horror movie almost no one has seen who is currently alive, and the place was hopping. I know this is true in other cities, but this one is mine.
For whatever reason I enjoy what the studios were up to with horror in the pre-Atomic Age films, a mix of the occult, mythical beasts, ghost stories and sometimes just creepy old houses with a Boris Karloff in them. Supernatural (1933) would have come out on the heels of Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931) in the era where not just Universal, but other studios, were getting in on the horror genre and the Hayes office wasn't yet really enforcing any codes.
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Format: Netflix MST3K - The Gauntlet
Sometimes movie stars just want to take a vacation and maybe shoot a movie while they're there. You see it all the time in these peculiar movies that don't look very good but star people who actually cost some money - and the movie is in, say, Hawaii. They're called "postcard movies", and the deal is usually that the star maybe asks for less because they're being put up in a really nice hotel in Maui for two months to make some romcom or whatever. Their family comes out and they go boogie-boarding on their days off.
I kind of suspect something similar was afoot in 1979 when Killer Fish went into production. The movie doesn't have the world's biggest stars, but in '79 Lee Majors was a pretty big deal and Karen Black was still bankable. I imagine selling the movie as "come down to Rio de Janeiro for a couple months" was a pretty good deal. I'd also mention, this movie was part of the short-lived Fawcett-Majors Productions, a go at producing from when Lee Majors and Farah Fawcett were Hollywood's foremost couple. And, no, you've never heard of this movie or the other films that they produced.
Monday, August 12, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR from a looooong time ago
Well. Between this and The Lost Weekend, I picked quite the double-bill for the weekend.
I mean, I knew. I'd rented this movie twice in college but when I'd think about what it was about, I'd never hit "play" on the ol' VCR. And I'd recorded it a half-dozen times on the DVR and never watched it. But this time I did.
The Ox-Bow Incident (1942) is about a small town in the old west who finds out that a local rancher has been killed, and so they pull together a posse to go track down the killers. It's a mish-mash of local color and yahoos, rationalizing why they don't need to follow the rules, exactly, and supported by the ineptitude and slack nature of some local authority.
Sunday, August 11, 2019
The Lost Weekend (1945) is one of those movies that you always know you should watch, but when you know what it's about, it's sort of hard to get fired up to put on. But with Billy Wilder behind the camera and with a "co-written by" credit, it did nudge me toward "okay...", and knowing it featured Ray Milland, whom I like well enough, and Howard Da Silva, whom I really like, it put it in the "yeah, I need to see that" direction.
But in the past month two things happened. (1) I read that Wilder wrote the movie after working with Raymond Chandler to write Double Indemnity. Chandler certainly suffered from alcohol addiction and, as it will, the addiction impacted his professional and personal life. I'm unclear on whether Chandler was dry during Double Indemnity, but I'm also sure working with Wilder would drive him to drink. While the two never got along, it's noteworthy that whatever he saw and respected in Chandler was mixed up with how he saw his alcoholism. (2) Our own JimD referenced the movie and asked me when the last time was that I'd seen it, which was "never". Mid-tweet response I decided to watch the movie this weekend.
Format: TCM on DVR
I guess it's considered punching down to make fun of high-school kids, especially girls (and right now, I can feel some of you out there tensing your fingers to respond why in the comments), but, I mean, c'mon. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) is a sorta-screwball comedy that hinges entirely on a particular flavor of high schooler who decides they're more sophisticated and mature than all of their classmates, and entangles a swinging post-war playboy-type.
Saturday, August 10, 2019
I haven't actually read Garth Ennis's The Boys series. I read the first trade and always intended to follow up to see where it went from the set-up, but never quite got there. I'll make up for it now, but it's gonna take some purchasing power, I guess.
Flat out, Garth Ennis is one the three or four best writers in comics, and, on some days, I think he's just "the best". Some of us stumbled upon him due to his bizarre ability to make gore and violence absolutely hilarious (in the right context) but stayed for the amazing characterization, astounding turns to genuine sympathy for unsympathetic characters, and his ability to grasp humanity and the tragedy and comedy of his characters enough that they feel can feel three-dimensional. All while existing in profane, graphically violent, sexually frank or ridiculous situations that seems like it would send many-a-comics-twitterer running for some pearls to clutch.