Aloha F-heads! :-D Long time since I last wrote for the weekend open thread. But on the eve of yet another JUNESPLOITATION! gathering (my favorite FTM time of the year!) I've made some time to tune-up my rusty writing skills to prepare for the month-long review marathon starting next Thursday. So, in no particular order:Joe Dante's THE MOVIE ORGY packed the house at New York's Anthology Film Archives' free screening, and it was a heavenly shared experience amongst the film nerds present. Hard to believe that, even as a kid, Dante already had the editing skills and encyclopedic knowledge about obscure scenes/moments/editing/pacing that would characterize his feature work. As an "MST3K" fan it was a thrill to see classic films from that show ("Amazing Colossal Man," "Teenagers From Outer Space," etc.) get to be Dante-sized. Epic night!Recently came from visiting my stepmother in Upstate NY and my father in Phoenix, AZ. Tried to get them both to watch movies outside their comfort zones ("Demolition Man" and "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" for dad, "Die Hard" and "2001" for stepmom), but ironically the one shared movie they each enjoyed most (weeks apart) was Mel Gibson's HACKSAW RIDGE (Hulu). The combination of subject matter (real-life hero with a streak of courage and religious conviction), Andrew Garfield's compelling lead performance and ability to tolerate war violence as acceptable led to some very interesting hours-long conversations during and after the movie ended. Whatever it takes to get my folks and me to share more about our personal lives and beliefs while we still have a chance to bond. :-)Random thoughts on a few movies watched in recent weeks. Ben Affleck's AIR (theater) gets credit for making a film about subjects I don't care about (80's pop culture, NBA and MJ worship) tolerable, but it's NOT worth the obscene $135 million it cost to make! :-O That said, every time Viola Davis and Matt Damon shared scenes/dialogue the whole thing went up a notch to "Argo"-level goodness. Makoto Shinkai's SUZUME (IMAX) is one of the strongest, wildest, most imaginative and deeply-moving anime mainstream stories I've experienced in a long time. If 10 better movies come between now and December 31 to knock it off my personal best of the year list then it'll be a great year. :-) BLACKBERRY (theater) feels like a Canadian made-for-TV movie that lucked into American theatrical distribution. It's fine but it's no "Social Network" (or even "Silicon Valley"-level good). And the 28-year old HACKERS (Amazon Prime) remains Matthew Lillard's test-run of Stu before "Scream" came out, and a stylish reminder that Fisher Stevens and Lorraine Bracco were as awkward/weird a movie couple as Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller were a sexy one off-screen. ;-) 'Hack the planet?' Nah, just Fox News will do. :-D
[CONTINUED FROM ABOVE POST]Saw KANDAHAR (theater) last night, because when the Liam Neesom formula pic isn't ready to release yet there's no other cinematic comfort food I don't mind sampling than a Gerard Butler formula pic. While "Plane" was better, "Kandahar" is acceptable matinee brain-dead fun if you haven't gotten tired of the Scottsman's 'one man army' shtick. THE STARLING GIRL (theater) is yet another 'religion is hypocritical' indie pic slamming religious Southern folks crushing the artistic dreams of individuals (an alcoholic father and a sexually awakened teenage girl) trying desperately to both be morally righteous and achieve personal happiness. At least the no-name cast embody likable and/or flawed characters quite well and don't embarrass themselves. Last and certainly least, BORN TO FLY (theater) looks and talks like the Chinese "Top Gun: Maverick" jingoistic ripoff it clearly is. There is no 'Goose,' but there is an 'Iceman' (Yosh Yu) who doesn't really have a conflict with our 'Maverick' (Yibo Wang) until they cooperate to fly a test stealth jet to near-death extremes. 90% of the plot feels like the opening scenes in "Green Lantern" about Hal Jordan's father being a daring test pilot. And yes, I'd rather re-watch that decades-old Ryan Reynolds debacle than sit through "Born To Fly" ever again! :'(That's it for today. Just because I don't post doesn't mean I don't read everything you guys comment on these weekend open threads. See you Thursday when JUNESPLOITATION! kicks into the highest of FTM goodness gears! :-P
Woot! Great to hear from you J.M.! Love all the reviews. And im crazy jealous about the Movie Orgy viewing!! I hope to see that some day. Lets have a great Junesploitation!
I should give Hacksaw Ridge another chance, but I didn't like it much when I first saw it. I found Gibson's fetishization of mixing his two favourite things, religion and extreme violence, to be off-putting.
Speaking of Top Gun Maverick, i got the 4k disc for cheap at the used dvd store. It's not a movie i really like, because of the legacy-sequelitis of it all, but it's good looking and has some great action scenes. To bad the in-between is so uninteresting
I also got a cheap used 4K copy of "Maverick" (under $13). Good flick, especially after seeing its Chinese ripoff (see above). 😃👍
Yeah, i'm curious about that ripoff. But i still have to watch 50 millions 4k discs i bought since i got my tv. I don't think that's going to happen 😎
FAST X (2023). Did I see a different movie as everyone else? Because I thought this was some rollickin' action movie fun. All I wanted was lots of high-speed car-crash thrills, and it delivered. Is it because this franchise is in the "like-but-don't-love" category for me? Will I change my tune upon future viewings? Was I just happy to be at the movies? I don't know. All that's certain is I had a great time. HACKERS (1995). I'm more of a snacker. AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (1956). Classic old-school Hollywood. I guess I enjoyed this. Not a lot of plot, but lots of nice scenery. And now for F This Television: MUPPET MAYHEM (2023) was terrific. BARNEY MILLER (1975) feels timeless, solid comedy writing and acting. And I checked out THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY (2021) before Disney+ deleted it. It was quite good, and I might get the books now.
I'm really looking forward to checking out Muppet Mayhem, but probably won't get a chance until after Junesploitation. Glad to hear you thought it was terrific.
I watched a few war movies:The Desert Rats (1953, dir. Robert Wise) was a great rip roaring war movie about a joint operation of Aussies and Brits to hold a key position in N. Africa. Stars Richard Burton as a British commander and James Mason as his German counterpart. There's some great action here and it's all cleverly intercut with scenes of the military brass discussing what's happening over a map so you can keep up. The relationship between Burton and his old schoolteacher, who is now his interior in the ranks, is touching. Mason only has one big scene, but he hits it out of the park.The Kingdom (2007, Peter Berg) was about some CIA operatives who travel to Saudi Arabia to investigate a bombing. Super entertaining movie, despite the drab colourless filter that was over the whole movie. Propaganda for sure, but kept slightly in check with the leader of the Saudi police force playing a top billing role. It was most egregious when the bomb investigators also turns out to be the most badass fighting commandos god has ever set foot on earth. I gotta admit, I think I quite like Peter Berg, despite all his obvious tendencies.Fortress of War (2010, dir. Alexander Kott) was a Russian film which curiously was the least propagandic of all of these. It depicts the beginning of the invasion of Russia by the nazis and is very humanistic, and mostly showing how terrible and brutal the whole affair really was, especially since the fort housed many civilians as well. As much as it depicts bravery on the Russian side, it also shows how they were handicapped by the Stalinist political system of the time where any opinion outside of the official one would be considered treasonous.
I can't wait for Junesploitation! I've made a list and sourced movies for most days, and have a handful of DVD's coming in the mail. The only one I'm not sure about is Rip-offs, so if anyone has any suggestions?
That category created some confusion for me, as well. I had to dig a little more than usual for titles. Certain films "inspired" many rip-offs. Star Wars, Jaws, The Road Warrior, The Exorcist, and Alien come to mind. Lady Terminator is an amusingly bonkers Indonesian rip-off (shot-for-shot in certain scenes) of what you can guess from the title. Italian schlock director Bruno Mattei specialized in rip-offs (Rambo, Predator) in the 1980s. For a more exotic example, the Indian film Mahakaal is a unique blending of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Bollywood.
The discussed it on the Patreon episode, and that's exactly what Rip-Off! day is for. Movies like Lady Terminator and they mentioned another movie, Shocking Dark, that is a rip off of Aliens, but with a Terminator instead of an alien. There are a lot of Italian movies which would be a good fit for this day.
One of the first real sunny weekend of the year, so of course i stayed inside to sort comic books and watch movie. Including the weekly saturday movie night with my friend.Finally watched the 4k disc of Cinderella (1950) that JB gave me. It's good, it's pretty, and a few good extras. What else do you need?Shin Ultraman (2022): i had a ton of fun with it. Though they go through a few cool monsters in the first act, and then there's barely any of them for the rest of it. There's still a few Ultraman fights with other giants from his world, but none of them are kaijus. Written by the guy who did Evangelion and it shows. He also did Shin Godzilla a few years ago, which was arguably a better movie overall, Shin Ultraman is just a riot from start to finish. I don't know that much about the Ultraman world, but from the little i know, i think you'll like it of you like Ultraman. Batman (1989): It's been a minute since i saw it, but it's still awesomeMatilda The Musical (2022): this is cute, and fun. Everybody's giving it they're all, and the kids are awesome.
Haven't had much time for movies lately but this past week I watched The Killing and The Searchers for the first time; both were tremendous, obviously. I've also made it about halfway through Barry Lyndon so far this weekend and am similarly impressed. I'll be in Chicago in a couple of weeks and imagine my luck that the Music Box is having a Wes Anderson series while I am in town - the perfect way to introduce myself to the Happiest Place on Earth that I've spent 10 years hearing you folks talk about!
Finished Barry Lyndon, *al pacino voice* what a picture
My Letterboxd review of Desk Set 1957 starring Tracy/Hepburn What makes this movie endearing, outside of the Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn (not really) surprise they're In Love! plot development as evidenced by their undeniable on-screen chemistry, is what Desk Set says about technology.It harkens back to a time where people had to (outside of Jeopardy nowadays) memorize an encyclopedia of information and then still be at risk of being replaced by giant room filing computers (undoubtedly meant to reside in the Batcave). No matter how much you can develop computer software, it still lacks real human emotions and morality.This also says a lot about one of the storylines coming out of the current writer's strike and how removing the human element only cheapens the result when AI provides results you didn't expect by providing you what it thinks you wanted. Without that human experience, the product feels both unnatural and recycled almost at the same time.The morale of the story is that technology is here as a tool to help us, it shouldn't replace us.
With Junesploitation coming up, I made sure I got to some movies during the week. Jumping into a movie every day after watching nothing is difficult. Sometimes you need a little practice.VANNIN’ (2013) on Tubi – I stumbled upon this short documentary while searching for movies for Junesploitation. I never realized there was a community built around owning vans. Customizing is big part of the culture, but the interpersonal side is vital as well. Many of the people interviewed were going to truck-ins (the name of the gatherings) since the 1970s. MOONAGE DAYDREAM (2022, dir. Brett Morgan) on HBO MAX – The collage style of this documentary about David Bowie was initially very off-putting, but that works in favor of the director’s intent to explore Bowie’s creative impulse over his long career. Audio and visual clips from various periods of his life are used in conjunction with the imagery to try to give an impression of Bowie’s creativity. Since his motivations and musical style evolved so much, there are contradictions in what Bowie said over the decades. Moonage Daydream seems to revel in the unending puzzle of determining who a person is. At over two hours in length, it definitely helps to be a Bowie fan to appreciate the doc. ATAME! / TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! (1990, dir. Pedro Almodóvar) – Almodóvar was never afraid to take chances with his films. There is a blending of thriller and rom-com tropes with black comedy in this story of the kidnapping of an actress by a man determined to woo her into marriage. The flair for melodrama is very present in the characterizations. As disturbing as some of the scenes are, Almodóvar’s intention is to make you laugh. At least it seems that way to me.