Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

MST3K Reunion Concert Rebroadcast Tomorrow

Monday, July 11th, 2016

If you missed the live broadcast of the MST3K reunion concert, you can still catch the rebroadcast tomorrow, July 12.

Having attended the live simulcast, I highly recommend attending seeing it to any MST3K fans, where the combined Rifftrax/MST3K crews tackle such shorts as Shake Hands With Danger and At Your Fingertips: Grasses, a school arts-and-crafts film of such depressing sadness (“It’s Jim Henson’s Blair Witch Babies!”) that you realize how desperately kids of the 1960s and 70s needed the Internet and video games to be invented.

And new star/test subject Jonah Ray did a pretty good job holding his own in the riffing, only flubbing once.

if you’re a fan of MST3K or riffing, you should definitely check it out.

Shoegazer Sunday: The Fauns’ “Road Meets the Sky”

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

For your Sunday dose of Shoegaze, here’s The Fauns’ “Road Meets the Sky,” accompanied by the lightcycle race scene from Tron, a combination that, for some strange reason, works really well together…

MST3K Live Reunion Concert June 28

Monday, June 27th, 2016

There’s going to be a live MST3K Reunion concert simulcast across the country tomorrow (June 28). Here’s Mike Nelson and company to explain:

You might still be able to get tickets.

Interesting Essay on Acting in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Here’s an interesting piece on the acting in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

You could study Wrath of Khan as a portrait of different performing styles. Consider William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, and a central paradox of their chemistry. Spock is the alien – a being who strives to rid himself of all emotion – but past a certain point, you notice how Nimoy is a much more natural performer, communicating so much with droll phrasing lilts and micro-gestures. Whereas the human Kirk is played by Shatner, one of Hollywood’s great experts in hyperbole. (Khan is Shatner at his most wide-eyed.) As a young actor, Nimoy learned the Method and idolized Brando; Shatner came up performing energetic Shakespeare. That doesn’t make one better nor one worse – the dissonance is the key – but it adds layers to their pairing. You associate Spock with explicit stiffness – he’s a freaking Vulcan – but Nimoy’s acting is maybe more “cinematic,” eye-focused, while Shatner is more “theatrical,” full-bodied.

Plus a lot about how director Nicholas Meyer sets up shots for maximum effect.

It’s a very interesting essay on the best Star Trek movie. Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip: Derek Johnson.)

Shoegazer Sunday: Unreleased Slowdive Soundtrack Album I am the Elephant, U are the Mouse

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Next weekend is the Levitation festival in Austin, where Slowdive will be headlining Friday night. In celebration, here’s an entire unreleased Slowdive soundtrack album. Some of these are minor fill pieces, and others you’ve heard before (“Cranium (Film Mix)” is “Blue Skied an’ Clear”). And I already post “I Believe” a while back, but it’s worked its way into my Slowdive Top 10.

More information (and a download link) here.

Quick Review of Hail, Caesar!

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Dwight and I saw Hail, Ceaser!, the latest Coen brothers film. While I enjoyed it (like all the Coen Brothers films I’ve seen), I’ve got to rank it among their lesser films.

It’s the tale of a 1950s Hollywood studio troubleshooter (Josh Brolin, disappearing into the role as usual) trying to solve various studio problems. Aquatic star Scarlet Johansson is unmarried and preggers, a big no-no for the era. Missing a male star for a sophisticated urban romantic comedy, the studio promotes game-but-out-of-his-depths oater star Alden Ehrenreich. And in the main plotline, George Clooney, the star of the title, Ben Hur-like movie-within-a-movie, has been kidnapped (by, as it turns out (spoilers!) communists).

There’s tons of A-List talent in the film, but it’s Ehrenreich who steals the show. His apparently dim cowboy star Hobie Doyle has hidden depths, and it’s his powers of observation that actually unravel the final part of the film. (And if that’s him doing his own singing, he also has a great voice.)

Things I like about the film (more spoilers):

  • I like that Johansson’s character ends up marrying Jonah Hill’s character, as it strikes me as the sort of marriage that could work out really well. She get’s “the most reliable guy in the world” instead of another bum and he gets to marry far above his league. I could totally see their characters as a Hollywood power couple and Hill taking over Brolin’s troubleshooter job 20 years down the line (assuming the office survives the end of the studio player system).
  • I like Hobie’s character arc. I’ve seen more than one writer refer to “lovable but dim Hobie,” and the people writing that are either morons or the didn’t watch the movie, which goes a long way to prove that Hobie is anything but dim.
  • I like that the Hollywood communists are actually in league with the Soviet Union.
  • I like that the commies don’t end up with the money.
  • But there are problems. One is that we don’t actually think any of our ostensible protagonists have anything at risk, and thus we don’t fear for any of the sympathetic characters. But the main problem with Hail, Caesar! is that it’s a movie with lots of swell scenes that somehow add up to less than the sum of their parts. There’s an On the Town singing-and-dancing sailors number so well choreographed and executed Gene Kelly would be proud. (Turns out that Channing Tatum is an excellent dancer.) The Ester Williams water number (complete with mechanical whale) is a jaw-dropper as well; it must have cost them several million just to stage that one scene. Those scenes are so great that the lack of real payoff for watching Naive Commie 101 Bull Sessions is all the more disappointing.

    Honestly, I think I would enjoy the Coen Brothers throwing their full weight behind doing their version of any of the imaginary movies in here more than I enjoyed Hail, Caesar! (with the possible exception of Hobie’s B-Western Lazy Old Moon; that did indeed look pretty dire). I like “watching the movie sausage get made” movies, but I think it’s much more interesting watching the sausage get made on a single film.

    Random Thing That Amuses Me

    Thursday, February 4th, 2016

    The name of this top-ranked high school football recruit: Chauncey Gardner.

    I’m just going to assume all my readers know why I find that name amusing. And how often do I get to use the “football” and “Peter Sellers” tags for the same post?

    Interview With Spinal Tap Manager Ian Faith

    Sunday, January 17th, 2016

    Here’s a modestly amusing link for a cold Sunday morning, a video interview with Spinal Tap manager Ian Faith on faking his own death, why “Big Bottom” is better than “Stonehenge,” and who he could make a lot of money off of were they to die.

    Keep you expectations modest…

    Alan Rickman, RIP

    Thursday, January 14th, 2016

    British actor Alan Rickman has died at age 69.

    I’ve never seen the Harry Potter films, and while I enjoyed him as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and the Metatron in Dogma, my favorite of his roles was Galaxy Quest, as a British stage actor trapped into pretending he was an alien by the beliefs of other aliens.

    Alas, he shall not be avenged by Grabthar’s Hammer…

    “A Great Artistic Endeavor”

    Friday, December 18th, 2015

    What’s a great artistic endeavor? Why that would be The Star Wars Holiday Special! Or at least the artistic challenge of same, in the eyes of one of the writers, namely the difficulty on writing for wookies to seal-honk inscrutably to each other for 20 minutes.

    Also: Suspicions confirmed!

    All right, so at this point, I’m going to quote The Onion’s A.V. Club, who wrote about the show — this is a quote — “I’m not convinced the special wasn’t ultimately written and directed by a sentient bag of cocaine.”

    Is that what was going on with that scene?

    Bruce Vilanch: Well, there was a lot of that. Absolutely, yeah. I mean, it was 1977! I think after 40 years, probably the statute of limitations has run out, as well as the cocaine.

    Also this:

    “I know it’s one of the worst television shows of all time. And I’ve written… Listen, I wrote “Wayne Newton at Sea World.” So I know whereof I speak.”

    (More on The Star Wars Holiday Special.)