Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Library Addition: Neal Barrett, Jr.’s Judge Dread

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Another signed Neal Barrett, Jr. book for my collection.

Barrett, Neal, Jr. Judge Dread. First edition paperback original, a Fine- copy with slight touches of edgewear. Signed by Barrett. Based on the Sylvester Stallone movie. Bought for $5 at Armadillocon



Six Degrees of Marty Feldman

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Probably because I was searching for various clips following Gene Wilder’s death, this video about Marty Feldman’s life came up on YouTube. I thought I’d see a few minutes of it and actually ended up watching the whole thing.

Here in the U.S. Feldman is probably know mainly for appearing in Young Frankenstein, but in the UK he was revered as a radio and TV comic writing and performing genius who held his own working with many of the people who would later form Monty Python. Indeed, Feldman co-wrote the famous “Four Yorkshiremen” skit Python would later adopt as their own, and when Python first went on the air, Feldman was staring in his own Marty show on the BBC.

It’s worth a watch.

Gene Wilder RIP

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Gene Wilder has died at age 83 of Alzheimer’s.

He was one of his generation’s great comic actors, with a natural gift for underplaying a straight man and perfect deadpan delivery, and was in some of the greatest comedies of the 1970s.

Blazing Saddles, of course:

Young Frankenstein:

And who can forget the freaky boat ride from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:

And here’s an animated overview of his life in his own words:

Star Wars Rogue One Trailer Meets Beastie Boys “Sabotage”

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

Really, what action film trailer isn’t improved by “Sabotage”?

I’m pretty sure the use of it in the Star Trek: Beyond trailer probably added a good $5-10 million to that film’s gross. But I suspect Disney doesn’t have the audacity to follow Star Trek and pony up money to make this an official trailer…

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.