Saturday, May 9, 2020
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Director: Otto Preminger
This movie sort of felt like it was all over the place, or like parts of a few movies crammed together and held together by the twin powers of Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell. Which is a shame, because Alice Faye, with whom I am not familiar, is good in this movie as well, but her plotline feels like it's sliced and diced til it leaves what looks like an interesting role as a sort of bystander on the sideline of her own story.
Is it a Nightmare Alley look at carnival people and illusion? Is it a Postman Always Rings Twice story of a girl stuck in a rut of her own making and wanting out, making a sap of a guy to do so? It is a small town drama about spinsters and a travelling huckster? It's got all of these elements, and you can see the lines where the stories are fused, but it does stick together.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
God help us, we're going back for more.
- Movie: Manos Returns
- Day: Friday May 8th
- Time: 8:30 Central
- Place to watch: Streaming on Amazon Prime
- hashtag: #manosdos
Start at: 00:00:08 - you'll see a lady with blonde hair and her eyes closed. Just pause there. We'll say "GO" with the #manosdos hashtag when we're all set.
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) is widely considered one of the worst films of all time.
Accordingly, I have seen Manos at least six times - at least once as part of an Elvira episode, along with Mystery Science Theater 3000, live broadcast with RiffTrax and at least once just by itself.
It's the kind of bad that leaves you feeling queasy and weird at the end of the movie, like you just listened to a madman rant for 90 minutes or accidentally drank some laudanum and are just coming back around.
I'm not a Masters-Level viewer of bad cinema, but I get around. This movie, Monster a Go-Go, Birdemic and a handful of others were so bad, so inept in every facet of their production that they take on a quality of surreal outsider art. There's no accounting for what went so incredibly wrong, but you have to admire that someone finished the thing and then said "yeah, the world needs to see this."
If you haven't seen Manos: The Hands of Fate and you've never heard of it, you move in better circles than I do, I guess. If you haven't seen it and *have* heard of it - well, you're a goddamn coward.
I had planned to never rewatch Manos: The Hands of Fate in this lifetime or any other, and God willing, I will never sit down and re-watch the movie.
In the mid-2010's, some intrepid film fans decided Manos could and would not rest easy.
This Friday, we're watching the sequel. I know nothing about it. Here's to embracing the lovecraftian madness waiting on the other side.
I'd tell you that you need to watch the original, but (a) if you haven;t by now, you won't, (b) I doubt it's useful and (c) I can only punish you people so much.
Here's the original trailer, anyway
Monday, May 4, 2020
Director: Masaaki Tezuka
This movie kind of kicked ass.
Sure, it's from the Millennium Series which is kind of confusing as the movies don't work in any shared continuity, but since we learn "all you need to know is Gojira from 1954", it's pretty dang easy to play catch-up.
Here's your plot: 1999, a series of monsters have been arriving in/ attacking Japan since Godzilla's first arrival in 1954. A squad has been put together with advanced weaponry to take these monsters on, and has been pretty successful to date. No more rampages like those of '54 (Toho also uses footage from Showa-era films as "documentary" footage).
But, whoops. Here's a Godzilla again, with atomic breath and a terrible attitude about people.
Format: Noir Ally on TCM on DVR
Director: Fritz Lang
This one hadn't really been on my radar, but with Fritz Lang directing - his final American film, no less - and starring Dana Andrews, and both coming off the heels of a movie I thoroughly enjoy, While the City Sleeps, I saw no reason not to give it a spin. In some ways, and from an elevator pitch angle, the plotting is very similar to 1963's Samuel Fuller directed Shock Corridor, but Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) is a different type of movie, even if the two films definitely share significant DNA.
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
Director: Jack Bennett
I forgot to write this up a month ago when I watched it. A really fun doc on a great movie, and with terrific participation from darn near everyone who was in it or worked on it. And, as always, Sigourney Weaver is the coolest.
|this poster does absolutely nothing to convey what this movie is about|
Format: Criterion BluRay
Viewing: Unknown - fourth or fifth?
Director: Howard Hawks
First - I'm adding the director of a film to my list of stats at the top not because I particularly adhere to the auteur theory of cinema (we can talk more about that in depth sometime), but because it's a somewhat interesting stat, and easier to decipher than who produced a film. You can look up writers on your own. I'll retroactively figure it out for all the movies I watched in 2020, but this is at least my second Howard Hawks movie this year, and I thought it would be interesting to spot trends in January 2021 when I do my numbers round-up.
Saturday, May 2, 2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
Director: Jimmy T. Murakami, Roger Corman
I dunno, man. It's Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). It's a not-great sci-fi movie that hasn't aged particularly well.
Mostly I had fun watching it with a whole bunch of folks on the twitters! Thanks for showing up, every buddy!
One day we'll understand why that ship has a rack/ looks like a diagram of the female reproductive system.
Format: TCM on DVR
Viewing: 2nd or 3rd
Director: Jules Dassin
I've seen this movie before, and, if someone asked me what I think makes for a pure distillation of one of my definitions of "film noir", ie: a character who is deeply in over their head because of a character flaw - you have Double Indemnity and you have Night and the City (1950). And it's possible Night and the City is the even purer dose of the idea - because unlike Double Indemnity, there's no sex tangled up in the question - this is just a broken guy who, as Gene Tierney's character Mary says "You could have been anything. Anything. You had brains... ambition. You worked harder than any 10 men. But the wrong things. Always the wrong things..."
The only mistress in this movie, which absolutely does have the "good girl" in the form of Tierney waiting on our protagonist, is his own sense of destiny and overconfidence in his ability to play the grift.
But, man, fate is a bitch.
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Watched: 04/03/2020 (Killing)/ 04/06/2020 (Asphalt)
Directors: Stanley Kubrick/ John Huston
More ways to listen
JAL and Ryan watch two noir classics. Both heists. Both starring Sterling Hayden. One directed by a young Stanley Kubrick, the other by John Huston. We dive into what makes them work, some terrific performances and which director was in his prime and which was sorting things out. It's a journey into movies that set the stage for every heist movie to come after.
The Signal Watch PodCast · 101: "The Killing" (1956) & "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950) - Noir Watch 05 w/ JAL & Ryan
Noir Watch Theme - The Unsuspected Main Theme - Franz Waxman
The Killing, Main and End Theme - Gerald Fried
The Asphalt Jungle Theme - Miklos Rosza
Noir Watch Playlist: