Good weekend to everyone. With the tax season in the United States ending with a rush- geez, people had three extra months this year to file- I have not had much time outside of work. I only managed to sneak in a couple of films. It was two films based on the same story. WHERE THE BOYS ARE (1960) – Around twenty years have passed since I last saw this fascinating time capsule. What I remembered from that viewing was how frankly the film discusses sex. I am still struck by it. The four young women who travel to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break wrestle with the conflict between their feelings and desires and the morality of the era. This was the time before the birth control pill was created, so there could be major consequences with any sexual encounter. Pregnancy was a matter of shame and, as is alluded to in the film, frequently pushed women into marriage. It is clear that attitudes toward sex were shifting at this time, but the time had not yet come for a wider societal opening. Marriage is still a major focus of the women, too. Besides the sociological aspects of the story, there are strong and well-rounded characters. Merritt, the lead character, is very intelligent and demonstrates a free will that can be lacking even in films made today. Melanie is very naïve but is eager to expand her life experiences. It is clear from the beginning that she is going to get into situations that are over her head. Her defensiveness when Merritt questions her actions is an all too human reaction. Paula Prentiss, a delightful comic actress, is very amusing in her role as a woman hellbent on getting married. Connie Francis tags along to sing some songs and contribute more than a little goofiness to the proceedings. The camaraderie between all the young women is what largely holds the story together. One more thing: the inclusion of random musical numbers did not begin with the beach party movies. Those scenes fit into this worse than those films because Where the Boys Are is more serious in tone. WHERE THE BOYS ARE (1984) – Boy, how times have changed since 1960. Instead of talking about sex, the young ladies in this version are not thinking twice about engaging in it. This 1980s version of the story of four female college students in Fort Lauderdale is very much of its time: slobs vs. snobs, partying, lots of pop songs, and colorful clothing. As different as it is from the original film, the 1984 version does retain enough plot elements to be in the spirit of it. The corny conclusion, though very ‘80s in style, would not be out of place in a sentimental 1960s film. Although a fun watch, I prefer the original. The characters may be more liberated in 1984, but they are not as well-written or engaging.
I was going to say that I remember watching Where the Boys Are (1960) for Junesploitation a few years back, and sure enough I looked it up and you even replied with a comment!
Ha, glad l'm also not the only one cramming taxe filings at the last minute. Good luck, ACL. 🤑😪
Watched PALM SPRINGS, on HULU. The Sundance winner with Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. A movie thats hilarious and is not afraid of sincerity and everything is earned. This one hits like you're a high schooler again seeing your first "meaningful" profound film. This movie is all the good. The screenplay is above and beyond being good. Its not just making the story work, but there's so many memorable lines. JB always talk about great films having memorable lines, and there's a scene with JK Simmons thats packed full of them and its the best thing I've seen all year. It just feels alive. And it also features one of the best meet-cutes you'll see.
I watched Palm Springs which was fun, and The Old Guard which felt like the "based on a comic book that's kinda ok" movie that it was. Also rewatched Prometheus and Alien: Covenant and still don't think those movies are very good.The best thing I watched was The Millionaires' Express, which is available in very good quality as Shanghai Express for free on Prime. It's directed by and starring Sammo Hung and is leans very heavily into comedy more than action for most of the movie although they still work some fun stunts in. Basically it's several different groups of criminals and other characters who end up converging in one small town, which is the hometown that Sammo Hung's character (also a bit of a criminal) has just returned to. Hung is at odds with Yuen Biao (as essentially the head of the police in the town) throughout much of the movie, while a bunch of other comedic side stories play out. Everything culminates in a 10+ minute final brawl with so many good bits to it. It's not just Hung vs. so main bad guy because there's just a ton of people involved (Cynthia Rothrock, Paul Chang Chung, Richard Norton, Yukari Ôshima, etc...). There's fun moments with Jimmy Wang Yu and Shih Kien (Han from Enter the Dragon) earlier in the movie. Great stuff and a great cast.
A few picks from (yet another) quarantine weekend:Rock & Rule (1983)Canada's first English-language animated feature produced by Nelvana (latch-key kids of the 90s will recognize the name). A musical fairy tale about rat-human people living in a post-human world. With songs performed by the likes of Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Cheap Trick. One would guess that it was inspired by Heavy Metal, but given that production started in 1978, this would seen to be a case of Cinema Twins.Nothing special about the story, this one is definitely for animated feature completionists. The animation style does remind you of a Ralph Bakshi take on Heavy Metal, but it isn't without moments of fascinating visual invention. Over 200 animators contributed to the production, and it shows; there's a heap of talent on screen here.The Old Guard (2020)I'm beginning to believe that there's a Netflix "house style" for action movies, and this one is a great example: High profile lead star, high concept, good fight choreography, forgettable story. I dig the concept of reimagining Highlander as a group of ancient mercenaries. Charlize Therone is, as always, just the most electric thing on screen. I thought the "couple" was tender and I'm happy that we can have that kind of expression in an action movie in 2020 (sans the gay panic).The writing was poor coming from the likes of Greg Rucka, a comic book writer I otherwise admire. I wished they had condensed the plot of this movie into 25 minutes and spent the remaining time on an elegiac drama about the loneliness of immortality. But, this movie needed to be a John Wickesque action-fest, and on that level it mostly succeeds. A modern audience rewatching Highlander might be bored by its pacing, and they're clearly setting up for a sequel, so does this upstage Chad Stehelski's upcoming Highlander reboot?First Cow (2019)Kelly Reichert's latest film pioneer life in the Oregon territory was a highlight of my week. As a native Oregonian I stand up and take notice. Honestly, I'm still rolling this one around in my head. I swoon over stories about platonic male friends, and there's an earnestness and simplicity to this that's hard to deny. A24 is on a fucking roll. With the exception of Slice and The Lovers, the only A24 pics of the last few years that just didn't make the grade.
There's been so many false starts for a Highlander reboot that I'll believe one is coming when I see it. That said, my overriding thought when watching The Old Guard is that I'd rather just be watching episodes of the Highlander TV series.Still need to watch First Cow (and Relic) but I'm looking forward to it.
Hey gang!So I saw Empire Strikes Back on the biggest screen in town this week. I'd never seen any of the original trilogy in theaters before and had a blast. Also saw Dark Waters, which was supposed to come out here just when the pandemic hit, so it came out only now as the theaters opened again. A really good corporate legal drama with Ruffalo on top form and a scene-stealing performance by Bill Pullman. Planning on seeing Weathering with You tonight.And at home, I saw Long Shot, which I really loved, Valley Girl, which was okay, and You've Got Mail, which made me angry. Tom Hanks' character in that is a monster.
THANK YOU! Never understood why "YGM" and Hanks got praised as is this was romantic dramedy heaven. The way Hanks' character treats Meg Ryan's bordered on psychological abuse... and we're supposed to be charmed by him letting her store get swallowed by his corporation and not letting her know he's her business rival. FUCK THAT! My opinion of Nora Ephron was permanently lowered by "YGM."You're dead right about "Valley Girl" (good but nothing special) abd "Long Shot" (O'Shea Jackson Jr. and Charlize Theron elevate the material way above Seth Rogen's sophomoric humor). " Dark Waters" came out in American theaters in late '19, so l got to see Ruffalo beg for Oscar attention on the big screen. And here in the States "Empire" was No.1 at the diminished USA box office for the first time since its original theatrical run. Strange times, indeed. 😶🤑
Valley Girl was my first choice for Nic Cage day during Junesploitation and I'm glad I picked Fire Birds instead.In Valley Girl I kept thinking about how the Randy character should have been played by John Cusack because that kind of charming rebel teen was pretty much perfected by him.Also strange because Valley Girl lacks a real "meet cute," and gives you no compelling reason why the two characters go against type and fall in love with one another.
Cage was too young and wet behind the ears for his then-outlandish "Valley Girl" performance to register today. For 80's teen flick standards Nic was a wild and crazy guy; now he's Steve Martin's old understudy. :-P
Agree about YGM.
Oops. I probably should've clarified that the Valley Girl I watched was the musical remake. Never seen the original.
Wouldn't have changed my opinion about "VG" or Cage's performance. 🤓🤮
I've been watching that movie When A Man Loves A Woman (1994) with Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia. She's a recovering alcoholic and he's her codependent husband. I'm pretty sure this movie is meant to go along with the book "Codependent No More" by Melodie Beattie. It's very specific. It has a terrible name, right? When A Man Loves A Woman? Yuck, I hate that song, too. I'm into rehab movies in recent years for sure. 28 Days (2000) with Sandra Bullock is my fav. I highly recommend it. It's light hearted. People say it makes light of addiction. But it's not about addiction, it's about recovery. In most recovery programs you have to learn to not take yourself so seriously. And the programs are simple. Which, in a way, is why they're hard. Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi. I really loved Honey Boy (2019), Shia Labeouf's movie, too. That was a beautiful movie.I watched Prisoners (2013), which I'd meant to do for a long time. Thought it was good, though I'm not sure why people find the ending so "ambiguous". I admit I had to skip through the Alex Jones parts. It was too hard to watch a special needs person be abused. I get that that's kind of the point, but when you have your own special needs family member yourself, you don't have to watch it happen in order to get it. I like Denis Villeneuve, his puzzle-y mind, and the deeper questions in his stories.
Denis Villeneuve is my favorite filmmaker working today. "Prisoners" was excellent, but "Prisoner" after? Then "Sicario," "Arrival," "Blade Runner 2049"? Of all the Hollywood movies affected by the ongoing Pandemic, Dennis' take on "Dune" is the one I fear most will get lost amidst the constantly-shifting release schedules. :-(
Yeah he's interesting. I'm looking forward to Dune. What do you mean "Prisoner" after Prisoners?
Wow he's gonna do Cleopatra! I'm here for that.
I finally saw JOHN WICK 3 tonight. I liked it, but wow is it out there. In a weird coincidence, I've also been rewatching the classic British series THE PRISONER lately, and I see a lot of similarities between the two. Both take place in these espionage worlds where the rules and imagery are somewhere outside the audience's grasp. The filmmakers must also be fans, because there's a PRISONER-style "Be seeing you" prominently featured in the movie. While I'm at it, Keanu would make a great Number 6 the next time THE PRISONER gets remade/rebooted.
You do realize if you skip 3 and go from Part 2 to the eventual Part 4, thematically and stakes-wise there was absolutely nothing that has raised, lowered or changed dramatically by "Chapter 3"? It has its charm, but it's the least entertaining and dramatically-pleasing of the "John Wick" movies by a considerable margin.
I'm spending a long weekend at my sister's air conditioned home in Upstate NY while she, hubby and my niece go stay at a friend's cabin near the Canadian border. Got the whole place to myself, which is about 10,000 times bigger than my closet-sized apartment in NYC. Working on my taxes and a couple of other things, but also watched a few movies to go along with my uninterrupted diet of worldwide soccer, classic gameshows and Sega Saturn/Nintendo 3DS gaming. Life is good! :-DTHE BANKER and GREYHOUND (2020, both on Apple TV+Sis' has the free year of Apple TV+ from a iPhone I gave her last year. Of the two prestige original movies there "The Banker" is not only the better movie, but the most timely given the current turmoil the country is living through BESIDES COVID-19. :'( Anthony Mackie and Sam Jackson (whose salty tongue is reduced to saying "effin" because Apple is chasing after the Disney+ family-friendly crowd) have great chemistry as a couple of real estate black businessmen using a white employee (Nicholas Hault) to front for them to get around Jim Crow racism and people's prejudices as they seek to own valuable L.A. property and, eventually, banks in rural Texas. Great supporting cast (Nia Long, Colm Meaney, etc.) and a genuine feel of tension whether the protagonists can pull off their well-meaning-but-illegal schemes makes this a great dramatic biopic. Worth seeing, but not subscribing to Apple TV+.Ditto for "Greyhound," who looks/feels like the thinking man's alternative to last year's feel-good Roland Emmerich ride "Midway." Tom Hanks (who wrote the screenplay adaptation of C.S. Forester's novel) is in "Saving Private Ryan" elder statement mode as the newly-assigned captain of a destroyer ship escorting commerce ships during sea convoys during World War II. Tactical submarine-vs.-ships porn with almost no personality to any of the characters' personal lives (Elisabeth Shue gets top-tier billing for a minutes-long scene at the start) results in an economical 90 minute flick. The CG-reliant sea battles range from cartoony-looking to impressive, and a few artistic touches (a lengthy shot that results in a God POV-like shot from above the clouds) help the average Joe to escape from the accurate-but-impenetrable sea battle lingo. A fine distraction, but not Hanks' (or anybody else's) finest hour.Attended Thursday's Jury Room Group viewing of Paul Verhoeven's STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997). Even though I love this flick I'm happy with my 20th Anniversary DVD release and are in no hurry to upgrade. Personally I think it has aged better than most Verhoeven movies since it depicts a whole society/world that feels closer to today's modern world ('Would You Like to Know More?' = Fox News) than the too-mean-for-reality futuristic world of "Total Recall." For 23-year-old special effects the mixture of CG and models works rather well, then and now. While none of the then-young actors can be accused of giving a convincing performance (except for Michael Ironside and N.P. Harris, who get cooler with every new scene they're in) they're perfectly chosen to be part of the skewed-reality world Verhoeven and screenwriter Ed Neumeier fashion out of Robert A. Heinlein's gonzo sci-fi novel. I live for this shit, especially back in '97 when me, my best friend Rich and a packed house were blown away like few OTT Hollywood spectacles have (before and since).