Category Archives: Movies

“Everything Everywhere All At Once”

We went to the movies today. What a concept!

I had heard a lot of word of mouth about this film. It premiered at Cannes to rave reviews, and now that it’s in at least limited release in the US I had seen social media posts from dozens of folks whose opinions I respect, all singing its praises. The thing that sort of buzz reminds me of is the early, early days of the release of “Star Wars.”

It’s playing locally, and we had free passes from the whole “Dune” debacle back in February where our showing got cancelled on the final night of its run and they gave us free passes (and a refund) as an apology of sorts. That left just the whole COVID thing to worry about. We took our chances. (The theater was about half full, we were fully masked and vaxxed, and maybe 2/3 of the other folks in the theater appeared to be masked.)

I’m not going to tell you a single thing about the plot or the premise or what happens, and I urge you to not go looking for spoilers or even reviews and details. It will be so much better if you simply go in without preconceptions or expectations, buckle up, and…

GO SEE “EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE” ASAP!!!

It is without a doubt the most bizarre movie I’ve ever seen. Even telling what other movies I might mention in comparison in terms of “bizarre-ness” might be telling too much, but “Being John Malkovich” and “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” just got bumped from the top of that list.

I will tell you that the acting is spectacular! Put Michelle Yeoh’s name on the Best Actress ballot right now, and Stephanie Hsu’s name on the Best Supporting Actress ballot. No “penciling in” anything – use a Sharpie, one of those big, fat ones.

The execution and production? Astonishing. There’s SO much going on all the time, I’m sure I missed a million tiny details and I can’t wait to see it again and get a copy so I can go through it slowly. This is a masterpiece.

One person I follow on social media said (paraphrased), “I just saw it and I can’t drive home, I’m just overwhelmed. I need to sit here and drink coffee for a couple hours to let it settle.” Yeah, I get it.

Try to see it while it’s in the theaters, it’s so worth it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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All That Jazz

What an amazing film.

It’s Oscars season, and various cable networks are showing award winning films from past years. In this case, Turner Classic Movies, and “All That Jazz,” one of my all-time favorite films.

As I do almost every time I see this film at home, especially when the theme is “The Oscar Winners,” I have to check and see why it didn’t win the Best Film award, or why Roy Scheider didn’t win for Best Actor.

Oh. Yeah. THAT year.

“Kramer vs. Kramer” swept a slew of the big awards. Best Picture, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Merryl Streep). Fair enough.

What else was up for Best Picture?

“Norma Rae,” with Sally Field winning Best Actress.

“Breaking Away”

“Apocalypse Now,” which begs the question of how did “Kramer Vs Kramer” beat THAT film??!!

I never saw “All That Jazz” in the theater. Still haven’t, would love to, will have to make a mental note to catch it some art house here in LA.

“Not my kind of film” would have been my first thought having seen just the trailers and previews. I still don’t remember why or how I watched it, I was probably bored and it was the best thing on. I just remember watching it on cable way, way, way back, when HBO was just a wee lad and something of a novelty.

It was okay. I liked it pretty well, but I was confused as hell. Who was the lady in white, played by Jessica Lange? I liked the energy, the weird story, the passion, the music, but I was a little bit lost. But I like weird.

And then…

At the very end, I GOT IT. (Maybe I’m a slow learner. It wouldn’t be the first time, nor the last.)

I had to watch it again from the beginning as soon as possible, knowing now what I hadn’t known the first time through. And I was blown away. And watched it again. And again.

Now it’s one of those films that I’ve seen so many times, but I still see something new every time.

If you’ve seen the film, I hope that you love it as much as I do. If you haven’t, it’s a great time to see it for the first time. It’s wonderful.

It’s Oscars time.

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Taco Bell And The Morlocks

Sometime in the mid 1960’s, when it was a big freakin’ deal to have a movie shown on TV! It meant either NBC or CBS was showing it in prime time, and I had to finagle permission to stay up past my bedtime. A big hit for me with lots of long-lasting memories was “The Time Machine.” Made by George Pal and starring Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux in 1960, the pre-teen Paul was very impressionable and large parts of the movie scared the crap out of me. (It seems I wasn’t alone.)

What really scared me was when the air raid sirens went off and the peaceful, dull, childlike Eloi all went slack jawed and started marching zombie-like into the caves of the Morlocks, where obviously the Morlocks were going to kill them and eat them. We were living in Kansas City at the time (remember, huge Chiefs fan here!) and tornadoes were not uncommon for about six months of each year. When they got close, the air raid sirens went off to warn folks to take cover. Needless to say, the summers after seeing “The Time Machine” had a whole new interpretation of that!


Skip forward fifty-six or fifty-seven years, to 2022. You’re watching television and a Taco Bell commercial comes on:

  • There’s a beach party, a young lady skips off into the darkness to snog that sexy young dude in the dark. A buoy tips over, causing a “bell” to ring (the signature and no doubt trademarked Taco Bell sound), and your hormonal teenager turns into a zombie, leaves Boy Wonder on the beach wondering what happened, and she marches off to Taco Bell to get something disgusting.
  • A subway platform, a geek dude cosplaying some sort of elf warrior with a shield spies a geek girl with the exact same costume and shield. Their eyes meet, they step toward each other, her shield hits a metal trash can, we hear that “bell” sound, she gets glassy eyed and wanders off to Taco Bell.
  • Two dudes are going for the all-time high score in the universe on Dance Dance Revolution at which point the machine music makes that “bell” sound, they stop mid-game, and head off for some brodude Taco Bell munchies.
  • The high schooler with the purple hair is at the back of the orchestra with a pair of cymbals, waiting for her one big moment, when someone tips over a music stand, it hits the tuba, makes that “bell” sound, and half the orchestra wanders off in search of greasy ground beef and runny fake cheese.

Aside from the fact that I’m not a fan of Taco Bell’s food, all of these examples remind me constantly of one thing – THE ELOI!!! The protagonists in every one of these ads act exactly like the Eloi in “The Time Machine!”

So, Taco Bell’s advertising agency and marketing gurus, look how you’ve made me think of your food!

I’m about to have the romantic, hormonal, passionate night that I’ve always fantasized about and which I’ll remember for the rest of my life – until I turn into an Eloi and march into the Morlocks’ cave to be killed. And YOU’RE the Morlocks!

I’m a lonely geek who’s suddenly found my soulmate, only to have her snatched away into zombieland just feet away from my embrace. And YOU’RE the zombies!

You get the drift.

Obviously, I’m not the target market for these ads, both because of my tastes in food and because of my age (and probably a half-dozen or more other traits), but jeez louise!! Did NO ONE look at these ads and think, “Wait…maybe…”

Or, worse, did they look at it and think, “Whatever! As long as they spend money at our place!”

Go find a taco truck, or a mom & pop style Mexican place with real food. And hoist a margarita and a burrito to Yvette Mimieux, who passed away at age 80 this afternoon.

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Dune

The tl;dr version – GO SEE IT!! Go see it in the theater if you can! Go see it in IMAX if you can conceivably find a way!!

I know you may think that it’s not in IMAX any more – check again, and do it quick. It was out of the IMAX theaters for a while when “Eternals” came out and bumped it out, but at least in the Los Angeles area it’s back for anywhere from three to five days only, depending on the theater. Check IMAX theaters in your area, but if you didn’t get a chance to see it in IMAX on its first run you might have a reprieve.


A funny thing happened when we tried to see “Dune” in IMAX when it was first out. Things are really super busy (big surprise…) and I kept putting it off until our son pointed out that it would only be out a few more days before it got bumped by “Eternals.” I pushed some deadline work around and got tickets for the final showing at our local IMAX. But when we got there we were told that the theater was having technical issues and the show was canceled.

We went back to the front desk (we had bought our tickets online) and got a refund, as well as four passes for any future shows. As much as I would have really liked to scream and yell and raise hell about it all (I was REALLY disappointed), screaming at a minimum-wage teenager working the night shift at a movie theater isn’t going to solve anything. They were doing their best, it was just a shitty situation for everyone involved, and we went home.

Then I heard about this “encore” engagement for just a few days. I went onto the “Dune” website, looked up IMAX showings, and was told that the nearest theater was in Toronto. The one in Canada. But in a few days, that would change. It’s just for a couple of days – my guess is that on Thursday there’s another big blockbuster opening up in IMAX, but in the meantime, they’re slipping “Dune” back in. (“West Side Story” perhaps? “Spiderman” next week? Whatever.)

Take a shot. Find a theater near you. Go see it.

If it’s not already the greatest film I’ve ever seen, it’s at least in the top ten.

So utterly fantastic.

I’m going to need some time to sort it all out. And probably a few more viewings.

Go.

See.

“Dune.”

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Never A Team Of Psychiatrists Around When You Need One

“You’re seeing a whole team of psychiatrists, aren’t you?”

Watching one of the all-time greatest movies while simultaneously watching psychotic folks with nuclear codes on mania inducing steroids Tweet nonsense, and that line comes up.

If only.

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Kubrick

I’m fried, don’t have two brain cells to rub together. I’m also out of new photos to share and I’m too tired to start hunting through thirty years of photos at this time of night to find something. And an actual conversation or thoughtful article? Please! NOT!

But I do notice that on cable (The Movie Channel) it’s apparently Kubrick Week – “Eyes Wide Shut” and “A Clockwork Orange” are on tonight, and I’ve seen “The Shining” on in the last couple of nights. Or maybe it’s just Psycho Week – I also see “Carrie,” “Dressed To Kill,” and “Basic Instinct.”

Anyway, let’s stick with Kubrick, one of the finest directors ever.

What’s your favorite Kubrick film, and why? Inquiring minds want to know. Answer in the comments.

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Spoilers Are Now Authorized

The past two months and more have been a pressure cooker, with one seemingly impossible deadline and fantastically ridiculous workload after another. (You might have noticed if you read this regularly.)

Now…

There’s a bit of calm. (Feeling like I’ve come through a huge storm, I’m hoping this calm period isn’t the eye of the hurricane with the need to very soon fight my way back out the other side.)

The major deadlines at both my paying/day job and my volunteer/weekend job are behind me. There’s time to see what I need to catch up, what’s been shoved off onto the back burner. Which includes a LOT of movies we didn’t get out to see. Like that latest “Star Wars” film. It’s still out there, right?

Well, yes and no. I was looking at the upcoming weekend and it seems that by then it will only be in about six or seven theaters in the entire Southern California area, and the nearest one is 40 miles away.  That sucks!

But it’s still at the theaters just around the corner a bit – tonight and tomorrow. And tomorrow we’ve got another commitment in downtown LA.

We went for it. Saw the film. Even stayed awake through the whole thing!

You may all now start discussing the spoilers. I grant you my permission!

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Kubrick

I do love me some movies, both as entertainment and as art. There are certain actors I would watch read a shopping list – Jimmy Stewart, Helen Mirren, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, many others. Similarly, there are directors for whom I will hand over my cash blindly to see anything they’ve done – Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, early Rob Reiner. But above all, there’s Stanley Kubrick.

Tonight I fell into watching the second half of “Full Metal Jacket” when I had had enough of the news. It was more relaxing.

Long, long tracking shots. Moving, bobbing, weaving through smoke and fire.

No. Special. Effects.

Real. Film.

Wow.

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From The Ridiculous…

I had some CAF documents to knock out tonight and there was a shortage of good background video to have on. The Angels were on YouTube instead of a good, God-fearing, American cable channel like real baseball should be — I have no idea what’s good on regular television any more — and I just couldn’t bring myself to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie on demand.

Flipping through the various premium channels, I found the last hour or so of “Armageddon.” Have I told you how terribly godawful horrible that movie is? It’s not even the ridiculously bad science, even for a special effects extravaganza summer blockbuster piece of fluff. The story sucks. The science sucks. The special effects are big and flashy but so stupid that even they suck.

Fortunately, after that I was able to find the Disney version of “Into The Woods,” which I have never seen. That would be the sublime follow-up to “Armageddon.”

As much as I love the original, and would absolutely kill to see it live on stage, the Disney version is more than just a bit sanitized, especially in the second act. The original play, in addition to the marvelous and beautiful music (some of which has been deleted from this version), the play is dark and people get what they deserve, which is often death. That’s all sort of whitewashed, as is the Prince’s infidelity.

I enjoyed it, but I’m going to have to go back and watch the real version again soon.

Following that, “The Princess Bride” came on.

I got my CAF stuff done and emailed out, but I might not get to bed on time tonight. (We’re just getting to where we need to find Miracle Max.)

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Yet Another Damn Near Perfect Movie

“Parenthood”

Ron Howard’s a genius. That ensemble cast is stellar. From scene to scene I can’t even decide who’s more perfect.

Jason Robards? The only movie I like more of his is “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

Mary Steenburgen? Perfection.

Dianne Wiest? There’s a reason she got an Oscar nomination for this film.

Keanu Reeves? The scene where he explains to Dianne Wiest why her son is upset and depressed is freaking brilliant.

Tom Hulse? Just wanna slap his stupid punk ass up one side and down the other. Only his role in “Amadeus” is better.

Not a single bad scene in the entire film.

Agree with me or resign yourself to being wrong.

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