Posts Tagged ‘movies’

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A Moment of Silence – a poem by Emmanuel Ortiz

Guntown (Rogue Kite video)

I’m a US military vet, and I feel afraid in my own country

Joe Arpaio: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Reverend Barber on White Supremacy

Tired are the peacemakers

Increasingly, foreign students are choosing Canada over the US

What Your Phone Knows. Is your phone watching you?

What Does an Innocent Man Have to Do to Go Free? Plead Guilty

Here’s why right-wing Christians think they are America’s most persecuted

Single Payer Joins the Debate

So, you hate unions because …

The Great Flood and What Comes After

Spotting a viral hoax: Debunking the fakes from Hurricane Irma

Congress’ most unapologetic feminist, Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior senator from my state of New York

How English Was Made – the introduction of the printing press had a profound and revolutionary effect on the language

Newly-coined portmanteaux:
“It took me a long time to get to sleep after the whole shebacle.” From shebang and debacle (per the wife of a friend)
“Vomment” is a comment, usually on social media, someone makes that’s so full of bile and bitterness than it’s the verbal equivalent of vomit (per AmeriNZ).

Why Science-Fiction Writers Couldn’t Imagine the Internet

Scientists Say That Being Forgetful Is Actually A Sign You Are Unusually Intelligent – gee, I HOPE this is true

RIP Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov – Thanks for Saving The World

When I heard Len Wein, the legendary comics writer-editor, passed away at the age of 69, I was surprisingly sad. I had never met him, but he started writing comics professionally almost simultaneously to when I started reading them. Mark Evanier, his long-time friend wrote “Len Wein died… and it feels so odd to type those words even though I’ve known for a long time I would have to.” I also know people IRL who knew him IRL, and I experience their sadness as well. Condolences to his wife Christine Valada

No, I don’t understand Len Wein’s teddy bear thing

How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire

Condolences to my old FantaCo boss Tom Skulan, and his brothers Dan and Joe, on the loss of their mother Ruth. I remember her fondly, though I haven’t seen her since the 1990s. Tom said that she really liked me too, and that she had asked about me as recently as a year ago. She was suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome, which I had been unfamiliar with.

Once the kings of Hollywood, directors are now increasingly interchangeable

22 Broadway Musicals That Closed on Opening Night

How are diamonds made?

Helpful Home Remedies for Sunburn

Now I Know: The Fake Illness Which Saved Lives and The Power of Being Bored and What Happens When a Monkey Takes an Awesome Selfie and The Million Pound Cough

MUSIC

Papa, Can you hear me – Nina Simone

Mozart. Symphony no. 29 in A major

Composer Alan Menken plays his greatest hits in ten minutes

Dee Dee Sharp – Mashed Potato Time and other tunes

Coverville 1185: Cover Stories for Fiona Apple and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics

I don’t want to work

They Dance to a Popular Song from 2016

Why Brian Wilson Is A Genius

Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot[/caption]My problem with of most rosters such as the “greatest movie comedies” is that there’s a good chance I’ve seen substantial portions of them. But they don’t count unless I’ve seen them in their entirety.

So I’ve seen chunks of:

87. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)
80. Office Space (Mike Judge, 1999)
65. Caddyshack (Harold Ramis, 1980)
54. Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)
33. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Adam McKay, 2004)

28. It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)
27. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
25. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
21. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)

17. Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)
16. The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin, 1940)
15. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975)
14. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
13. To Be or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)
12. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
11. The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998) This was playing at the local cinema recently, and I didn’t make it

10. The General (Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, 1926)
5. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)
2. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
1. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959) – I’ve probably watched every scene, but never from beginning to end

Odd thing about 100. (tie) The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1982) is that I have the soundtrack on LP but I never saw the film

I have seen, almost always in a cinema:

99. The Jerk (Carl Reiner, 1979) – on TV
95. Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984)
85. Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973) – probably at college
84. Waiting for Guffman (Christopher Guest, 1996)

78. The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987) – saw this, again, recently, in the cinema with the family
74. Trading Places (John Landis, 1983)
73. The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis, 1963) – as a kid, at the movies
72. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (David Zucker, 1988)
71. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001) – didn’t particularly like it

69. Love and Death (Woody Allen, 1975) – I’ve seen virtually all of Woody’s films in the 20th century
58. Zelig (Woody Allen, 1983)
57. Mean Girls (Mark Waters, 2004)
56. Broadcast News (James L Brooks, 1987)- when I saw it in the cinema, I loved it at the time
55. Best in Show (Christopher Guest, 2000)
53. The Blues Brothers (John Landis, 1980)

47. Animal House (John Landis, 1978) – I can always listen to the “Germans bomb Pearl Harbor” speech
46. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) – ah, this was a comedy. OK, I guess
44. Bridesmaids (Paul Feig, 2011)
43. M*A*S*H (Robert Altman, 1970) – when Albany got an independent TV station in the early 1980, now its FOX affiliate, it showed this movie at 8 a.m. on the first Sunday it was on the air

40. The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967) – my second favorite Brooks movie
38. The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940) – on TV
36. A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton and John Cleese, 1988)
35. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952) – saw it on DVD with the family
34. Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995)
32. Raising Arizona (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1987) – possibly THE best movie before the opening credits that I’ve ever seen. Six people the movie theater.
31. Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982)

29. When Harry Met Sally… (Rob Reiner, 1989) – made a star out of Carl Reiner’s wife Estelle
22. Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks, 1974) – literally fell out of my seat laughing, in the movie theater
20. Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks, 1974)

9. This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984)
7. Airplane! (Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, 1980) – I’ll Roger that
6. Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979) – I never really understood he controversy; Brian CLEARLY wasn’t Jesus. One of my favorite segments is about what the Romans have done for us
4. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993) – one of the first movies I bought on VHS
3. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977) – my touchstone movie, and also one of the first I got on VHS

Only 34 of the greatest movie comedies, meh. There are also links to interesting articles about the gender preferences in the selection.

Sometimes, there are movies that I really wanted to see at the time they came out but, for some reason, I don’t. This was certainly true of The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009). It was well reviewed and had name stars (George Clooney voicing the title character, Meryl Streep as his wife).

Finally, this summer, it showed up at the nearby Madison Theatre, and the Wife and I attended one weekend afternoon. The premise is interesting: “An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers’ retaliation.” The idea of fighting against one’s nature and take responsibility for his family versus the lure of one more series of thefts.

I liked the early part of the film well enough. When the farmers threaten the entire animal ecosystem, the film was more engaging. I enjoyed the stop-motion animation throughout, but the Daughter opted not to see the film because, just on the previews, the movie looked “creepy” to her.

Bill Murray has a very distinctive voice as Badger, even in animation (Jungle Book). Also solid: Jason Schwartzman as the mopey Ash Fox, Eric Chase Anderson as Ash’s cousin Kristofferson, Willem Dafoe as Rat (naturally) and Owen Wilson as Coach Skip.

Wes Anderson is a writer/director I either enjoy (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom) or not (The Royal Tenenbaums). I liked the film.

This was annoying, though: some rube sitting behind us, but on the other side of the aisle was periodically flashing a red pointer at the screen. I thought the guys sitting immediately in front of them were going to punch out the culprit.

And I Was more sad than angry because he was just encouraging people to stay home to watch on DVD or some streaming service rather than enjoying film in a more communal way. Given the fact the movie only cost us 35 cents apiece to watch – the first showing of the “family” film on Saturday is always a bargain, so you can spend more on the concessions – this joy sucker helps diminish the art form.

Here’s the trailer for The Fantastic Mr. Fox.


The irony of our family seeing An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is that we drove about 40 miles to see it on Labor Day weekend. The movie came and went in the local theaters too quickly, so we trekked to Williamstown, Massachusetts, where my wife and I had been just the week before, and we noticed it would start playing there.

Image Cinema is a nonprofit entity in the town where Williams College is located. My daughter, on a school field trip, had visited there in the last year.

Matt Souza of Salon wrote: “Would I still recommend ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’? Sure, although I doubt there is much one could glean from this movie that couldn’t be obtained by rewatching ‘An Inconvenient Truth.'” I think that was my problem is that it was Al Gore forming groups of people to take on the fight, or occasionally reminiscing, and that it wasn’t quite enough…

Until the footage of the 2015 devastation from Typhoon Koppu, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Lando, that struck Luzon in October 2015. Somehow, the sheer enormity of the storm made me sit up. And soon thereafter, the movie showed recent (2015) storms in east Texas and Louisiana. Obviously they were not the storms from 2017, and THAT was the point.

Maybe it’s because I’m a poli sci geek, but my favorite part of the film, near the end, involves getting India to agree to more solar power in some sausage-making horse trading for the Paris climate accord. And then, just before the end credits, the news that the US was pulling OUT of said accord, which I knew, of course, but it still ticked me off. (If I thought it would do any good, I would recommend a certain party watch at least the Paris section.)

It’s sometimes difficult to connect the dots, and we treat each rain event, massive fire, and drought as unconnected from each other. In the Weekly Sift piece Houston, New Orleans, and the Long Descent, the author noted that while “President Obama had at least managed to include climate change in the federal government’s own building plans,” his successor has – foolishly, to my mind – reversed that policy.

I found An Inconvenient Truth compelling movie making, and the sequel not so much, although I happen to like it when Al Gore gets angry occasionally. Still, the Daughter had not seen the original movie, so An Inconvenient Sequel was an instructive enough use of our time.

Three or four years ago, someone recommended to my wife that she read The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeanette Walls about her unconventional growing up with her two sister and a brother. So she was anxious to see the movie in which “a young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who’s an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty.”

The good news is that, in all the story jumping back and forth in time, I always knew when we were in the narrative, even with three sets of children. Movie magic at its best. For instance, Jeanette was played by Chandler Head as the youngest iteration, the one who suffers a defining accident in the movie. My wife says that in the book, the child was even younger, three or four.

Then the growing up Jeanette, who ends up in the deep end of the pool, was played by Ella Anderson, who, heaven help me, I recognize from the Daughter watching the annoying show Henry Danger. Both the younger iterations were quite good.

Jeanette as an adult was played by Brie Larson, who was so good in the movie Room that she won an Oscar. Here she plays one note for a long time, a fairly blank facial expression. I suppose she’s supposed to be showing how closed off she’s become by her upbringing. But it isn’t until an arm wrestling match between her fiance David (Max Greenfield) and her father (Woody Harrelson) that she shows much emotion at all.

Harrelson as Rex, who is forever promising to design and build the titular structure, is very good as an maddeningly intelligent dreamer, whose views on the economic system are not entirely wrong. (You see the REAL Rex at the end of the film.) Naomi Watts as the mom, Rose Mary, has less to do, but is fine.

I guess the problem is the disjointed storytelling made me feel that 127 minutes. Perhaps if with a different linear flow, and some judicious editing, it worked better for me and the critics.

But The Wife and The Daughter evidently enjoyed The Glass Castle more than I.

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