Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Jerry Lewis, RIP

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Comedian, actor and director Jerry Lewis has died at age 91.

It’s hard to evaluate the work of someone who absolutely dominated their field for an extended period of time and then almost immediately went out of fashion. Lewis was far and away the most successful comic actor of mid-century America, appearing in an extremely successful series of movies with Dean Martin, then having a successful solo career as both a actor and director.

But after The Nutty Professor, it was a long, long slide. Between 1963 and 1980, you had Rowen & Martins Laugh-In, Lenny Bruce, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Richard Pryor, Saturday Night Live and Robin Williams, yet in Hardly Working (intended as a “comeback” film), Lewis was doing the same tried physical shtick. (Roger Ebert called it “one of the worst movies ever to achieve commercial release in this country.”) In between he directed the amazingly ill-conceived and incomplete The Day the Clown Cried, about a clown (Lewis) entertaining children on the way to the gas chamber in Auschwitz. Surviving footage suggests it is every bit as awful and cringe-worthy as you’d imagine.

In the meantime, he taught an acclaimed directing class at USC attended by (among others) George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and was a familiar face for decades of television viewers for his Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon. And he turned in the occasional fine dramatic performance, such as in The King of Comedy.

For someone who smoked as much as he did, had as many health issues, and battled prescription drug abuse, 91 is a very rip old age indeed.

Here’s a very early footage of Lewis and Martin from what I think may be the very first MDA telethon:

Here he is making his appearance as nutty professor alter ego Buddy Love:

And here’s a long, interesting piece on Lewis I linked to once before.

Hail the Departing Godzilla

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Haruo Nakajima, the original actor inside the Godzilla suit for the first twelve Toho films, has died at age 88.

The suit was so hot and heavy that Nakajima evidently fainted several times during the making of the original Godzilla.

Here are some video tributes:

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming Trailer

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

It would be remiss of me not to share this…

Premiering on SyFy August 6.

Three Sentence Review of Tora! Tora! Tora!

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

1st part: Slow, static and talky.
2nd part: Slow, static and talky.
3rd part: HOLY FUCK!!!!!

Sharknado 5 Gets a Title

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Our long wait is now over: Sharknado 5 now has it’s official subtitle: Global Swarming.

Tagline: Make America Bait Again.

More:

Alongside the announcement of the movie’s official title, the network revealed Sharknado 5’s list of cameos, which include Tony Hawk, Olivia Newton-John, Chloe Lattanzi, Fabio, Clay Aiken, Bret Michaels, Charo, Gilbert Gottfried, Margaret Cho, Al Roker, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Greg Louganis, Tom Daley, Gus Kenworthy, Jeff Rossen, Porsha Williams, Tiffany “New York” Pollard, Chris Kattan, Cat Greenleaf, Ross Mullan and Dan Fogler.

Finally, something to bring our divided nation together!

(Hat tip: Bill Crider.)

Library Addition: True PBO 1st of Star Wars

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Picked this up at Half Price Books, and while not along my usual collecting vectors, I knew enough to pick it up.

Foster, Alan Dean (writing as George Lucas). Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker. Ballantine Books, 1976. First edition paperback original (as indicated both by the “First Printing 1976” statement on the copyright page, and by the original Ralph McQuarrie artwork on the cover, which was dropped from all subsequent reprints), a Very Good copy with cover creasing, bottom front corner crease, and general wear.

Star Wars PB

Although McQuarrie helped design many of the characters, the versions on the cover of this paperback varies wildly from their on-screen counterparts, and every other subsequent piece of official Star Wars art.

King Kong Burns

Friday, March 10th, 2017

In Vietnam, they had an elaborate premiere for the opening of Kong: Skull Island, with fire dancers and a large mock-up of King Kong.

Pro-tip: Try not to let your fire dancers get too close to your giant flammable King Kong facade.

They didn’t follow that guideline.

(Edited to add: There were originally two videos here, but the first video removed from YouTube, so I deleted that. Skip to about 3:45 into this one to see things start to go wrong.)

This Lawsuit Goes To Eleven

Friday, February 10th, 2017

There’s such a fine line between clever and a crooked movie studio:

The three members of Spinal Tap and the director of the 1984 movie about the fictional band are involved in a very real lawsuit against the media company Vivendi.

Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner have joined an earlier suit filed by Harry Shearer that claims Vivendi and StudioCanal have denied them profits from the 1984 rockumentary.

The amended lawsuit was filed in California federal court yesterday, according to The Hollywood Repoter. Shearer filed a fraud and contract-breach lawsuit last October. The original damages set at $125 million have been increased to $400 million.

The three actors, along with director Reiner, state they were given only $81 in merchandising income and $98 in music sales over the past few decades. They also claim to have not received accounting statements for the past three years in regards to This Is Spinal Tap.

$400 million? Well, that’s just nitpicking, isn’t it?

Live Action Ghost in the Shell Trailer Drops

Monday, November 14th, 2016

I was pleasantly surprised to get to the end of the trailer and not automatically think “Boy, this is going to suck.”

It might still suck, but it looks like they’re making a good-faith effort to capture the postcyberpunk vibe at the heart of the franchise. Never mind that I’m a much bigger fan of GitS:SAC than I am of the original movies, and that the movie leans much more heavily on the latter. (“No Tachikomas for you!”)

Mood: Cautious optimism.

Halloween Horror: Nicely Done GIF From a Hammer Film

Friday, October 28th, 2016

I’ve never seen it, but this is evidently from The Witches: