Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Day: Friday 09/04
Time: 8:30 Central
Amazon Watch Party Link
So. I've never seen this. It stars a very young Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt and Shannon Doherty.
I don't know what it's about.
What I do know is that girls around my age apparently loved this movie in secret, because I'd never heard of it until I was dating Jamie and somehow it came up (I think I saw it for sale at Suncoast Video) and Jamie was all, like, "oh, wow! Yeah! That's fun and not something for you AT ALL."
So, easy enough. I did not watch it. But it's been probably 23 years or so since that conversation, and so... it is time.
Let's find out why the girls want to have fun, and who is causing the dramatic tension by preventing them from having said fun and what kind of fun they'll have!
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Format: Amazon Watch Party (Texas Public Radio)
Director: Norman Jewison
What a phenomenal film, and so shockingly, depressingly timely for something 53 years old.
The energy between Poitier and Steiger is famously some of the best on screen. The entire cast is on fire in this one, which uses the Buddy-Cop formula to highlight people from different worlds and show how they clash. Of course, this story is that of an African-American, Philadelphia-based homicide detective who happens to stumble into murder in a hick town in Mississippi, who partners with the local Sheriff who, while totally out of his depth, has the intelligence to be *aware* he's out of his depth.
Anyway - this is a terribly famous film, and - I'd argue - well worth a watch.
I happened to have the delight of watching the film with the Texas Public Radio film fan community via Amazon Watch Party. Hosted by our own NathanC, the chatter during the movie was lively, Nathan brought the trivia, and after the movie we met up in a GoToMeeting to chat about it. Good times! A+ Would do again.
Monday, August 31, 2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: First, as it turns out
Director: Mark L. Lester
More ways to listen!
SimonUK and Ryan explore the 1991 film that brought Dolph Lundgren to the mean streets of LA's Little Tokyo as the ultimate Japanese man. It's action, mayhem, adventure and lots of nudity as Lundgren teams with the son of Bruce to take down the Yakuza before they something something protection racket/ sell pills in beer bottles. It's hard to say, but Tia Carrere is wrapped up in this mess, so you do have that going for you.
The Signal Watch PodCast · 117: "Showdown In Little Tokyo" (1991) - a SimonUK Cinema Series Selection (w/ Ryan)
Showdown in Little Tokyo - David Michael Frank
SimonUK Cinema Series Playlist!
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Director: Tom Ford
A lot of the coverage of the release of this film was that it was directed by Tom Ford, a fashion designer - which is an interesting idea. One would assume a fashion designer has an eye for visuals, lifestyle cues, wardrobe and staging. And - arguably, Ford delivers on all of these things.
He's cast beautiful people and dressed them well. He's hired some beautiful people and dressed them down. And, of course, there's the opening sequence which casts some (let's be honest) not gorgeous people and dressed them not at all. For Ford - this is a hellish horror, absurd and tasteless, open to interpretation and meaningless, so awful its funny. And knowingly hard to look at. And... is, at best, a very small building block of what is arguably his point with the film, and set me to thinking about what and who a Tom Ford is and how that would set them for empathy and sympathy with characters in a story.
Friday, August 28, 2020
Chadwick Boseman, actor, has passed at the age of 43. I am absolutely heartbroken.
Boseman played T'Challa in Black Panther as well as in Civil War, Infinity War and Endgame. Since I was a kid, I've enjoyed the character of Black Panther, but Boseman brought T'Challa to life - and, by extension - the world and promise of Wakanda.
In interviews, Boseman struck me as a good man who we were lucky was the person selected for the role. Like a Christopher Reeve or Chris Evans, he seemed humbled by what the role meant, and understood his role within the role. A fine actor, certainly, but you could see something in Boseman that existed on its own and shone through the costume and CG.
I was ready to start following his career and was excited to see what he'd do next as an actor or wherever the world might take him.
And, of course, I don't think many of us knew he was sick.
I don't have much more to say. 43 was far too young and far too early for him to go.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Time: 8:30 Central
Amazon Watch Party Link HERE
Look, I get the skepticism - but this movie has a huge cult following, and that's not by mistake.
I was going to hold off for Halloween, but this leaves Prime at the end of the month.
Monster Squad is about a group of monster-movie fans who realize that Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and a Mummy have arrived in their small California town to... well, it's not friendly.
It's got a great version of all the Universal Monster staples, some good storylines, and answers one question you never thought to ask!
And under the make-up are some cult-favorite actors. Guys, it's @#$%ing Tom Noonan as Frankenstein's Monster. And Duncan Regehr is AMAZING as Dracula. And you'll be amazed at who plays Wolf Man.
Written by Shane Black, directed by Fred Dekker - I think you'll enjoy it.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Format: TCM on DVR
Director: Norman Foster
Show on TCM as part of "Summer Under the Stars", Journey Into Fear (1943) was pitched as a Dolores Del Rio movie, and as I'd never seen a Dolores Del Rio movie and just knew who she was via a general awareness of classic film and talent.
Well, first, Dolores Del Rio was a delight, and I look forward to watching her in more movies. But I was also deeply curious as the film had Agnes Moorehead, my fave Joseph Cotten, and Orson Welles. And if you're like "hey, that sounds like a Mercury Theatre production..." you are not wrong!
Honestly - this movie was terrific and I'd watch it again in a heartbeat. It's a bit before the noir movement, but it features an everyman getting in way over his head by circumstance (but not obsession, which leaves me on the fence for calling it 100% noir). There is a foxy dame (Del Rio) who is not his wholesome and unhelpful wife, shady characters abound, and the aesthetic kind of hollers noir.
Cotten plays a munitions engineer on loan from the US to Turkey. The Nazis figure if they bump him off, it sets the Turks back months or a year in Naval military advances. And all Cotten wants to do is stay in the hotel with his wife - when he's whisked away by a cloying company man. At a nightclub he's nearly missed as the target of an assassination attempt. Welles, playing a bombastic head of the Turkish security forces makes moves to get him out of the city to meet up with his wife later.
The boat which Cotten takes is full of folks who don't travel luxury class or in refined circles - and it's pretty great.
There are a lot of really clever bits and touches that give the film character and texture. Cotten himself wrote the screenplay, and he has a real knack for it. The ending isn't even all that tidy, and we see his character go through a chance and arc. But other characters are so well imagined (the businessman who became a Socialist to annoy his overbearing wife is brilliant), it's just a delight to watch.
I'd honestly love to watch it with an audience as there's plenty for classic film fans to chew on.
As a wartime movie, it's interesting none of these players served, and you get a bit of that "we're all on the same side here" stuff that makes wartime movies in non-American locales so interesting. Before 42 and after 45, its tough to say that characters like Welles' Turkish character would be ancillary heroes of the film. We'd return to making those characters untrustworthy and antagonistic.
Format: Watch Party
Director: Arthur Hilton
This is a very, very silly movie, but it stars Marie Windsor, so it can't be all wrong.
They aren't women who are cats, they are women in cat suits. Cat women. You know.
Monday, August 24, 2020
Format: Amazon Watch Party
Viewing: certainly not the first
Director: James Signorelli
I've both watched and discussed Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988) numerous times here on Ye Olde Internets.
I noticed it's currently streaming on Amazon Prime, and so - breaking with tradition where we watch a less-than-amazing movie and discuss in real time, knowing that most people dismiss the movie out of hand, I decided to foist it upon those who joined us.
Frankly, I enjoyed watching a not-bad movie! In fact, one people seemed to enjoy!
Anyway, I forgot to mention while we were doing the Watch Party I actually have an Elvira sticker on my current laptop, but I think - after Jenifer and I kept dropping Elvira trivia on them left and right - they got the idea that we happen to like Elvira.
|I will be able to identify my laptop in case of theft|
Director: Bob Fosse
I'd never been terribly curious about Sweet Charity (1969), but I watched - and was a huge fan of - Fosse/ Verdon last year (highest recommendations) and felt I owed the movie a look-see, especially after seeing Fosse in Kiss Me Kate. And, I'm enough of a fan of Cabaret that I own a copy.
I'm not sure 51 years on what the legacy or reputation is of Sweet Charity. In 2020 it wears its late-60's-ness like a cement block tied with a chain. There's just a level of misogyny that pervades the whole film - which is essentially about a dime-a-dance-girl/ stripper/ possible sex-worker (depending on your reading) seeking marriage and happiness but who - for reasons the movie finds inessential - has no tools for doing so. There's just no interest in ever really exploring who Charity is, herself. And the characters feel oddly two-dimensional throughout.
In the inevitable comparison to Cabaret, Sally Bowles may have exactly the same issues and hang-ups, but we know who she is and get a few lines about how she got there. Which I don't think we ever get about Charity.
The dance numbers are, of course, Fosse and in them the movie shines. Absolutely. Worth the price of admission. Sammy Davis Jr. guests in a terrific number, and Maclaine is better than I figured as a song and dance girl.
The movie has some interesting editing quirks that now feel deeply dated.
But the ending... doesn't. It's an unnecessary ellipses that doesn't leave the viewer feeling the ambiguity is the point - it feels like they failed to finish the script or didn't know how to wrap up the story and wanted it to have a sort of bittersweet ending that would feel heady, but it fails to earn it. Like, literally anything could have happened as the movie wrapped, good or bad, and it would have not just felt like air coming out of a tire.
Have a point, movie.
Anyway - if nothing else, watch the most famous scene from the film, which is - frankly, amazing stuff.*
*and should be assigned viewing for any person about to enter a gentleman's club for the first time