Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

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.)

    Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend

    Thursday, December 17th, 2015

    Via Dwight comes word of this year’s additions to the National Film Registry. In addition to a bunch of “Hey, that wasn’t in there already?” selections The Shawshank Redemption, Ghostbusters, etc.), there is the usual list of obscure early films, one of which is “Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend,” based on the Winsor McCay comic of the same name.

    Naturally it’s on YouTube:

    It features the sort of in-camera special effects Georges Méliès did better (and quicker). Welsh Rarebit, by the way, is a sort of cheese-on-toast dish (though given how quickly our fiend is quaffing potent potables, I don’t think the rarebit had that much to do with his dreams…).

    Also included in this year’s selections: “Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze” from 1894, the earliest copyrighted motion picture footage in America, and which I now present to you in its entirety:

    Bring Back MST3K Biggest Video Kickstarter Ever

    Saturday, December 12th, 2015

    The final fundraising tally was $5,764,229, plus $600,000 in “add-ons.”

    Bring Back MST3K “became the most successful crowdfunded video project of all time, surpassing the Veronica Mars movie, which previously held the title with $5.7 million.”

    Joel Hodgson and his team did a masterful job generating momentum over the course of the kickstarter (Felicia Day! Jerry Seinfeld!). Now they’re going to make 14 new episodes, which wasn’t even a stretch goal when the started out.

    Now all we have to do is wait until November 2016…

    MST3K Kickstarter Hits $5.5 Million/12 Episodes

    Friday, December 11th, 2015

    It looks like I need not have worried. The Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000 Kickstarter has shattered the $5.5 million/12 episode barrier with less than an hour to go. The numbers keep flipping, but it was $5,697,311 when I checked just now. Add on the $425,000 add on funds, and it looks like they’ll do 13 episodes this season.

    And they still have 45 minutes to go…

    MST3K Kickstarter Update: Seinfeld, Hader, Harris, Jack Black

    Thursday, December 10th, 2015

    The MST3K Kickstarter is going to have a cavalcade of guest comedians appearing on the show.

    Here are a few performers who are interested in appearing on MST3K next season:

    • JACK BLACK, the brilliant comic actor and musician, star of everything from the Kung Fu Panda films to the wonderful School of Rock… though to some people, of course, he’s better known as one-half of Tenacious D. So, I don’t wanna tell you anything about what I’m planning for his character… but I think it would be a lot of fun to have him perform a song.

    • JOEL MCHALE, who I first knew as the hilariously dry host of The Soup, and who has been expanding his acting career into television (as the star of Community) and film (the Ted movies). I met Joel at a friend’s wedding last year, and we became fast friends. He’s a really nice guy, so even though he’s in demand for big-time revivals like The X-Files, he says he’s up for joining us too!
    • BILL HADER, the incredible changeling/actor/impressionist who has appeared in everything from SNL to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to Trainwreck. I’ve always been amazed by Bill’s talents, and was finally introduced to him backstage at SNL by a mutual friend.
    • NEIL PATRICK HARRIS is a true renaissance man whose career spans film, TV, the broadway stage and the internet, where he appeared opposite our own Felicia Day in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Funny enough, though, I actually met Neil through mutual friends at the Los Angeles Magic History Conference, where we geeked out on magic together. Also, I’m honored to point out that Neil has always been a MSTie. In fact, he was included in first MST documentary – This is MST3K – all the way back in his Doogie Howser days!
    • JERRY SEINFELD, my long time friend, and of course, one of our most brilliant stand-up comedians. Jerry was also the co-creator of Seinfeld, and the creator and host of my favorite concept for a talk show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. You know, I’ve known this guy for over thirty years. I actually remember him from when he only had one car.

    Plus Mark Hamill. And (from yesterday’s email) the guys behind the designs for Pee-wee’s Playhouse and Adventure Time.

    A lot of those guys have extremely popular and active fanbases, so this could very well put them over the $5.5 million/12 episode mark.

    I declare that this is officially A Thing.