Friday I entertained my stepmother (nearing 70), my stepmother's mom (pushing 90) and my niece (11) as they came to visit me in New York City. So I became a tourist in my own hometown, including the sticker shock after putting my relatives on the train back to Upstate NY and realizing how much I spent! :-O. We went to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Show with the Rockets (which I last saw when I took my real mom to see back in 2002, may she R.I.P. :'( ), St. Patrick's Cathedral, Barnes & Noble (free bathroom), Bryant Park (free ice skating ring!), Times Square (including a 'Stranger Things' pop-up store filled with expensive-as-eff merch!) and, last and certainly least, Disney's ENCANTO (2021) at AMC Times Square after having chicken BBQ next-door.Three generations of Hispanic women, and majority consensus (plus me): this is one weird, disjointed and too-fantastical-for-its-own good stereotypical interpretation of Latino culture. Music isn't catchy or memorable (although I enjoyed Luisa's song lamenting everyone relying on her strength), the premise awkwardly shoe-horned with a too-dark origin story for matriarch Alma, and the tone swings wildly between "Emperor's New Groove" physical slapstick (anything involving John Leguizamo's Uncle Bruno) and pretend-heartfelt melodrama for powerless protagonist Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). My niece nailed it when she said "Encanto" was boring and predictable, something expected from Disney but which they regularly overcome with their better told stories/characters ("Frozen," "Zootopia," etc.). "Encanto" didn't put a damper on a great day with my family but it was quickly forgotten and will never be thought of again... except for my stepmom's elderly mom, who saw a movie projected in a darkened theater for the first time in her near-century of life. She loved it. :-( The night before saw Paul Thomas Anderson's LICORICE PIZZA (2021) in 70mm at AMC on Lincoln 68th Street. Packed house with crew members cheering their own names, fitting given the movie's early 70's showbiz periphery setting and personalities (drunk William Holden? :-P). The least you know going in the better, but after decades dehumanizing his characters to make grandiose artistic statements (peaking with "There Will Be Blood's" 'milkshake' moment in 2007) this is the most warm, likable, relatable and entertaining bunch of people to spring from Anderson's mind since "Boogie Nights," to which "Licorice Plaza" feels like a prequel of sorts. Unlike James Gandolfini's kid in "Many Saints of Newark," Cooper Hoffman (son of Philip Seymour) is a driving force that helps propel the story forward, even as Alana Haim (also making her feature debut) effortlessly steals the film from veteran stars. Gorgeous cinematography too, with a AAA early 70's rock soundtrack only an auteur of Anderson's stature could get TWO STUDIOS to pay for. Highly recommended.Got two Black Friday deals that came in the mail in time to watch this week. Robert Hiltzik's SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983, Shout! Factory Blu-ray) and Anthony Hickox's SUNDOWN: THE VAMPIRE IN RETREAT (1989, Vestron Collection Blu-ray) were under $10 each. "Sleepaway Camp" still holds up ('nuff said), and its generous bonus features helped me appreciate it even more. "Sundown" was a labor of love by a then-young British director paying homage to the westerns he and his dad watched on UK TV, something that Kenneth Branagh nailed a couple of times in his new "Belfast" movie. I swore off self-congratulatory commentaries by filmmakers ages ago, but these two features have great ones worth listening to (NOT the one where Hiltzik dances around the moderator's questions).
Also saw ANTIM: THE FINAL TRUTH (2021, theater) and RAILWAY HEROES (2021, theater). The former is the latest Salman Khan Bollywood action vehicle for the man to show his muscles and indulge in another social commentary action spectacle; only noteworthy for having a leading lady (Mahima Makwana) refusing to marry the charismatic criminal (Aayush Sharma) propelling the story forward. The latter is a stylish Chinese propaganda action/espionage World War II drama about Chinese commandos sabotaging evil Japanese soldiers' plans to use China's railway network to transport supplies and weapons. It looks/feels an awful lot like "Cliff Walkers," which came out earlier this year and appears to recycle digital assets (snow falling, empty streets, etc.). "Railway Heroes" is the better of the two, but these are seriously predictable and mostly underwhelming mainstream foreign films where the agenda tramples over potentially entertaining set pieces. :-(
For the FIRST TIME in her life? Wow! That's incredible! I'm so glad she loved it. I'm so looking forward to West Side Story. I was looking forward to a lot of films - like The Last Duel and House of Gucci, but I know - I'm sure- I'll at least get to WSS because I'll do it during kid-sitting. I know the original by heart and love it on some level but it's so stuffy and silly. Why are the Jets pants so tight. Why is Tony SO goofy, and Maria's singing so shrill. Here's a nice review of the original ;) https://tomandlorenzo.com/2007/04/musical-monday-west-side-story/I can't wait for a refresh. I have mixed feelings about Ansel Elgort but I really want him to be better than the first. Sexier, PLEASE. Sadly for me some of the dancing in the trailers (by Anita, no less) looks like...ballet! Ack! :( I heard the actress is REALLY good, better than Rita Moreno as Anita acting, but...you really can't beat Rita's FIRE when she danced. She never looked like she was doing anything related to ballet or steps. She just looked like a piece of fire burning up! My comment after watching the trailer today: Crap, why do they always have to make Tony SO tall?My sister: Because that's what teenagers think love is.Ding ding ding! :)
Thanks JM! I always look forward to, and appreciate, your reviews on "F This". Of the recent batch im very very much looking forward to seeing Licorice Pizza...cant wait for that one.
Sad to hear that you did't enjoy Encanto. I was really looking forward to it, as I've enjoyed every Pixar movie to date (nearly...looking at you Cars 2), and they're often among my most liked movies each year.That's pretty amazing that it was her first time to the "Moving Pictures". She's from a completely different era though, where movie going probably wasn't as accessible as it is today. Perhaps even less so in El Salvador? I don't mean this as a slight, but only that the country has gone through several periods of political upheaval/civil war/etc. where perhaps movie going wasn't a priority.
I really liked ENCANTO. Saw it at the movies with my little daughter. The story is messy and does not really make too much sense (Why exactly is "the magic at danger"), but I wanted to spend time with this family and enjoyed the songs a lot. People seem to love it or hate it. Same as Moana which I also enjoyed a lot.
Yep, stepmom's mom had never been to a movie theater (here or back in El Salvador where she's from) until yesterday. Came very close when "A Quiet Part ll" came out in the summer, but didn't work out. Shame it had to be "Encanto," but them's the breaks. 😉😝I've seen "West Side Story" a couple of times and l just plain don't like it. Dislike ALL the characters equally, even though l like Rita Moreno in everything else she's done but this. Great songs (R.I.P. Stephen Sondheim 🥺😭), but l can listen to them without subjecting myself to the movie's interminable time. Not looking forward to Spielberg's remake in the slightest, but will give it an honest try.😶
Many people here have probably heard of them, but for those that haven't, I wanted to recommend the Cult Movies Podcast, hosted by FTM contributor Anthony King. I've only listened to a handful of episodes, but am quite enjoying it. The movie pairing recommendations at the end of each episode are filling my already bloated watchlist.Also have been listening to Dorking Out which always leaves me with a big grin on my face the whole way through. Adam and Patrick have both been guests.Patrick, I've discovered several good podcast because you were a guest on them! You should do more self promotion on your own show about these guest appearances, for the listeners that don't use twitter (I think I knew about them because FTM retweeted it).
Thanks Paul! Movie podcasts are my fav and im not aware of this one. Ill queue up a bunch of eps for my commute next week. thanks!
PS: I totally agree about your comment for Patrick...definitely would love to see (or hear) references to podcasts he's on outside of F This.
I just remembered that Sonia and Margo (from Dorking Out Podcast) were both on Fthismovie before, for at least the Revenge of the Nerds episode.I hope you enjoy it Mashke! I listened to the Crocodile Dundee episode a few days ago, and giggled the whole way through it. Cult Movies Podcast is a little more serious (not in a bad way).Movie podcasts are my favourite too. I don't always have a lot of time to watch movies, but listening to an podcast episode allows me to "rewatch in my head" while commuting/etc.
The Video Music Jukebox documentary on Showtime is not only one of the best Hip Hop docs I've seen in quite a while (it actually goes deeper than most modern ones) but it's also a great time capsule showcase of NY during the birth and golden age of Hip Hop.
"Video Music Box"
Thanks Chaybee! I don't listen to Hip Hop nearly as much as I used to (am I getting old?), but grew up with it in the early nineties. I'll definitely check that out once it becomes available in Canada.
It's essential viewing, Paul.
With a weekend dominated by pet sitting, there was a little too much distraction to watch things. Fortunately I had some time earlier in the week to see some films.KAPO (1960, dir. Gillo Pontecorvo) – A Yugoslav and Italian co-production that must be one of the first cinematic depictions of German concentration camps during WWII. The story centers around an adolescent Jewish girl (American actress Susan Strassberg) who struggles to survive on her own after being deported to a camp with her family. The most impressive aspect of the film is Pontecorvo’s large-scale filmmaking- big sets and lots of extras- with neo-realist touches. In many ways KAPO feels like a warm-up to his famous film THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS. TENSION (1949) – A nice little noir about a man who plans a murder. Though the plot is pretty easy to figure out, there is a decent script and a capable cast to bring it to life. The touches of humor add to the enjoyment. Although the first half of Tension is much stronger than the second half, it would still be a good choice for anyone looking for film noir outside of the classic canon.I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE (1949, dir. Howard Hawks) – What begins as a screwball comedy becomes a farce as a couple try to navigate the bureaucracy of the of the United States military. Cary Grant plays a French soldier who marries a woman in the U.S. Army (the delightful Ann Sheridan) during the occupation of Germany. Fluff from Golden Age Hollywood, the film provided me some laughs but would probably not engage most modern-day audiences. The scenes shot in Germany offer some interesting glimpses of a country rebuilding from war. I AM DIVINE (2013, dir. Jeffrey Schwartz) - The unbelievable story of how nondescript Glenn Milstead from Baltimore became one of the most famous drag performers ever. Having watched most his other documentaries, I knew Schwartz would handle the subject well. As is to be expected, the film is anchored by interviews with John Waters, Divine's first partner in crime in the assault on good taste. Though there could have been more focus on the career outside of movies, the doc does do enough to show all aspects Divine's work.
"Kapo" holds up better than most contemporary Oscar-baity Holocaust pics. That B&W cinematography remains impressive and timeless. 😎😕
CRUELLA - Meh. I came for Emma Thompson, Villainessss, but feel like they underutilized her. Come on, you had EMMA THOMPSON! It doesn't get better. Emma Stone is fine, but I don't get the hype for her acting or charisma. Jasper is adorable and looks set up for a romantic storyline in the sequel. Sorry to say the fashion is dull.HALF NELSON - It's good but it doesn't hit me nearly as hard as it did years ago. It even feels a bit precious now because now things are exponentially worse than they were then. Everyone complains more and all people are far more cynical. (But that's not the writer or Ryan Gosling's character's fault.) The family-alcoholism scenes and that motel scene is still really moving, though. That motel scene - oof.
I liked "Cruella" more than you (both Emmas rocked, IMO), and seeing Edgar Wright's "Last Night in Soho" gave me flashbacks to the former's infatuation with late 60's swinging London.🤓🥳That said, Mark Strong easily steals "Cruella" by underplaying his already-invisible butler role like a champ.🙂🙃
I liked the vibe and general aesthetic, too, it was fun. And her CAR, woo!