Friday, February 25, 2022

Friday Watch Party: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Well, we're gonna do a watch party.  And we're going to do a movie that holds a very special place in my heart.  If there's one fictional character I wish I could be, and not fly around in a red cape, it may be the titular character of this 1980's sci-fi adventure comedy whatzit.  The coolest character to ever take the screen.

Scientist/ Stunt driver/ rock and roll musician/ philosopher and so much more: Buckaroo Banzai

Day:  Friday 02/25/2022
Time:  8:30 PM Central/ 6:30 PM Pacific
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Cost:  $0 for Prime Members/ $4 for non-Prime Members

Thursday, February 24, 2022

PodCast 185: "Winter Olympics 2022 - Part 2" - Signal Watch Sports w/ Jamie and Ryan

Jamie and Ryan pick up after the 2022 Winter Olympics to talk about the back half, the mess that was women's figure skating, the trouble with the IOC, and Ryan picks a fight with at least two countries, the IOC and NBC. And Nielsen ratings. Join us as we plummet downhill, only to be launched gloriously through the podcasting heavens!

The Olympics Theme? - The Signal Watch Players 

Signal Watch Sports!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Keep (1983)

Watched:  02/18/2022
Format:  Amazon 
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Michael Mann

This is not a good movie, but it is a fascinating movie.  If you hate Nazis (and I do!) it's not unappealing to see a supernatural force take them apart.  

I found out during this viewing that I had been given some wildly inaccurate information about the origins of the film - that it was based on a Richard Matheson novel (it is not) and that in the original novel, it's Dracula in the Keep, thus the Carpathian mountains (completely and utterly wrong).  Frankly, having read the description of the novel, I like the idea of Dracula cooling in a Keep in the Carpathians a whole lot more than the description of the novel, which sounds like a very matter-of-fact fantasy novel that would not be my jam. 

The appeal of the film is in watching early Michael Mann with a budget and - if you're so inclined - a Tangerine Dream score that matches the action.  It's a dreamy, music video of a movie with minimal dialog and falls squarely in a rare 20-year period where that was maybe fine in film.  Before, people would not have known what you were doing, and after, movies started filling in every crevice of a film with wall-to-wall exposition.  

I was pleased the assembled watch-partiers were more or less fine with the movie, all things considered.  I guess when Sheena was our last touch-base, this is like Citizen Kane.  

Anyway, there's some interesting dynamics at play as it's clear the main evil supernatural force is a big ol liar and the promise that he may just murder his way to Berlin and melt Hitler is a bit of bullshit to convince Ian McKellan to help him out, but for a brief moment, you think "well, maybe we can let this extradimensional being tear shit up.  Enemy of my enemy, etc..."  Also, the movie makes a fine point about how citizens can get caught up in the bullshit of their nation's leaders and become subordinate to the true believers, who generally are not the kind of folks who really want to have to answer to.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Friday Watch Party: The Keep (yes, The Keep)

Absolutely No One:
Me:    So, we're gonna watch "The Keep"

Say what you will, but this movie is definitely The Keep.  Directed by Michael Mann, starring Ian McKellan, Gabriel Byrne and Scott Glenn, it's about a bunch of literal Nazis taking over a Romanian village and holing up in the castle/ keep in the middle of town.  Only... the keep isn't there to keep people out, it's built to keep something in.

I hope you like Tangerine Dream, because Michael Mann did.

Day:  Friday 02/18/2022
Time:  8:30 PM Central, 6:30 Pacific
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Cost:  $3

Noir Watch: Side Street (1950)

Watched:  02/13/2022
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade: 1950's
Director:  Anthony Mann

For people familiar with New York or New Yorkers, I'd think this movie would be a kick.  It's filmed partially/ mostly on-location in NYC circa 1950, and they don't skimp on showing the city, including some nifty aerial photography I hear was done from a blimp.

Side Street (1950) is a dead on example of film noir.  Our central figure (Farley Granger!) is in a kind-of-bad-way to begin with, makes a decision to try something he knows is maybe a bad idea (bad risk/ reward calculation), and - indeed - things get out of control.  And there's a good looking woman in a great dress who is nothing but trouble thrown in for requisite contrast to the safe harbor of the idealized domestic situation.

I'm a big fan of They Live By Night, a different movie about our stars Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell as young lovers in a jam.  I'd suggest both films, but I'd watch this one second.  There's nothing wrong with it at all, it just didn't hit me as hard as They Live By Night, which is like a bowling ball and I'm a pin hanging out by my lonesome on the alley.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

PODCAST 184: "Winter Olympics 2022" - Signal Watch Sports w/ Jamie and Ryan

Jamie and Ryan delve into the coverage of the 2022 Winter Games, what's getting a gold medal, what looks like the agony of defeat. We'll talk about the weird nature of the games, why it looks weird to us from below the Mason-Dixon line, and a host of other, rambly topics. Join us for the inaugural "Signal Watch Sports Talk"!

Laff-a-Lympics - Hanna Barbera 

Noir Watch: Nightmare Alley (2021)

Watched:  02/11/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Director:  Guillermo Del Toro

I've seen the original Nightmare Alley from 1947 a number of times.  I'm sure you can dig through the archives of this here site and find mentions, but what I would say is that on repeated viewings, for a movie that was so... grim and off-kilter, I felt compelled to rewatch the story of Stanton Carlisle and the worlds between which he moved.  And I found myself increasingly blown away with each viewing.  Today, the 1947 version is included in the pile of movies I would request to have when stranded on an island with a bluray player and television.

It was with some trepidation that I heard that director Guillermo Del Toro had taken on the movie for a remake, and that with writer Kim "Sunset Gun" Morgan, he'd be adhering more closely to the novel.  I have flat out not liked some of Del Toro's films (Pacific Rim) and not understood the hoopla around others (The Shape of Water).  But had enjoyed some of what I'd seen, which wasn't a lot.  

Monday, February 14, 2022

Ivan Reitman Merges With The Infinite

Maybe one of the most quietly influential directors and producers of the last fifty years, Ivan Reitman created an incredible number of movies adored across generations.  

I'm totally shocked, and I know everyone who hears about this will also be stunned and saddened.  

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Regret Double Bill Watch: "Sheena" and "Bolero" - both (1984)


Watched:  02/11/2022
Format:  Amazon Prime/ HBOmax
Viewing:  First/ First
Director:   John Guillerman / John Derek

So, usually we announce an Amazon Watch Party well in advance, but when I wrapped work on Friday at 5:00, Jamie said "are we doing a Watch Party?" which roughly translates to "I know you hadn't planned a Watch Party, but we're doing one" so, as I generally DNGAF, I was like "yeah, fine."

After some looking, we landed on Sheena (1984), because if I was getting roped into a movie party, Tanya Roberts.  I think maybe I'd seen Sheena in middle-school, because I vaguely remembered bits.  And I was, even then, vaguely aware of Sheena as an old-school pulp/ comics character.  In fact, she debuted in 1938 - which is 3 years before Wondy.  I also remembered what I considered to be "too many flamingoes".  And, boy howdy, was that memory right.  

Of course in the era of Blockbuster and other video shops, Tanya Roberts looked back at you from the cover of many-a-sun-bleached box covers.  

PODCAST 183: "The Last Boy Scout" (1991) - w/ MBell, MRSHL and Ryan

Watched: 02/05/2022
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Tony Scott

A trio of dudes who were the exact target audience for this movie in 1991 revisit a surprisingly divisive 90's action staple. Join us as we go long on on a movie with all the right elements, but which hits everyone a little different. No one's moving goal posts, but it's time to move the chains and execute as we talk for probably as long as this movie runs.

Last Boy Scout - Michael Kaman
Friday Night's a Great Night for Football - Bill Medley

Signal Watch Canon