Sunday, February 18, 2018

Auteur Watch - F. Gary Gray

Always Bet on Black

As expected, Black Panther is #1 at the box office... a lot!  Well, they did run a pretty big ad campaign for it.  And the IMDb helped out a little bit too.  I forget what product they were selling, but it was definitely top shelf, don't kid yourselves.  Anyway, this will hopefully finally settle any debates people might be having on social media (particular) and the internet (generally).  Black Panther is black enough.  I mean... T'Challa?  That's more black than Shabazz!  Spider-Man is white, but Peter Parker's not an especially white name.  Not as white as, say... Rutherford van Geraldictine.  And the film clocks in at over 2 hours, so it's probably long enough.  But the sequel better be about 3 hours, to keep apace with films like The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.  Another area of white privilege: why do the white superhero movies get to be 3 hours?
But let's take a second to acknowledge the director of Black Panther, whose name is... I hate to keep being a Name-ist, but 1) it is becoming my religion, and 2) the dude's name is Ryan Coogler.  Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.  Coogler directing Black Panther?  That's like an ice cream guy named Cone!  But Coogler's made the subtle transition from serious drama (Fruitvale Station) to semi-superhero movie (Creed) to Black Panther, an out-and-out superhero movie.  Now it's time to throw it all away with a movie based on an article.  Tentative title?  Wrong Answer.  But so far it's got the faint aroma of Oscar, so maybe it's time someone took a stand and delivered this movie to us.
Our second debut this week was the much-advertised-on-the-IMDb latest from claymeister Nick Park called Early Man.  Must be British cavemen judging from the teeth.  Alas, they picked the wrong venues to advertise or something.  What, no one wants to be swept away by the cinema anymore?  You know how long it takes to make something like that out of clay?  CLAY, for God's sake?  In this day and age?  What, people just like The Croods that much more?  You'll accept no alternate spin on the animated caveman genre?  Or are people just so lazy that they merely dial up THIS on YouTube for their caveman needs?  No one gets dressed up anymore; no one ventures outside the cave to risk going out to the local (movie) theatre to see stories, true or otherwise, about their ancient relatives.  But there's no reason why movie producers shouldn't try anyway!  The way tax laws are going, they'll be able to write it off as a business expense: "Line 35A: Unprofitable movie production activities deduction.  Attach Form 8666F."  Form 8666F will be mainly a series of check boxes: was your movie about a) cavemen, b) the '70s, c) features a scene with cars getting on or off a ferry.
The last debut this week is an oldie but a goodie.  It's a remake of Samson and Delilah... rather, I should say that old Biblical story about Samson and Delilah.  This one's called Samson.  Alas, it debuted at the wrong end of the Top 10.  You can fool those old Church-goers some of the time, but not when it comes to movies, oh no.  They know.  Passion of the Christ?  Good.  Last Temptation of Christ?  Bad.  Fireproof and Courageous?  Even Saving Christmas?  Good.  Noah, Exodus: Gods and Kings and this?  Bad.  They know when to get on the bus and when ... when to not.  Something like that.  Besides, it's nothing to do with Jesus, so who cares.  They even tried co-branding, but to no avail.  You know, brought to you by Samsung and what not.  Samsung.  KA-BOOOOMMMM!!!!
And what's the deal with all these Taylors already?  Taylor Lautner, Taylor Kitsch... and now Taylor James.  No, not the singer, that's James Taylor.  Whatever happened to Niki Taylor?  For more information about Niki Taylor, go to her official website here.  Or just straight to the photosMagazine covers, Cover Girl (ads), Fashion, Beauty... all the categories are there... I think I got sidetracked again.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Auteur Watch - Laurens Grant

I know, I know... someday I'll get to an auteur I actually do care about.  What then?  Meantime, I've got Laurens Grant.  Well, someone's got to expand my horizons, why not then?  We'll start with their latest and greatest title: "Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement."  Oh, I'm woke A.F. ...at least, that's what I keep telling my boss when they ask me if I'm going full speed or not.  But personally I think Saturday Night Live's Leslie Jones ruined the whole "Woke" movement for me when she did that show sponsored by Breitbart News.  But I'll get back to the right place eventually.

...okay, I'm back.  I'm thinking now that... not to be too glib and or dismissive, but Laurens' IMDb résumé is impressive.  Laurens is sticking to all the right subjects... but haven't they already been done before?  They've been done before, just not in HD with Surround Sound yet.

Today We Say Goodbye to a Legend

An unfortunate weekend this weekend for moviegoers in particular, and the general public in specific... something like that.  Not to mention the families of the recently departed.  But they live on forever on video, of course.  I'm talking about Reg E. Cathey, probably most recently best known for his appearances on that show we can't talk about anymore... but I'll mention the title anyway.  "Outcast"... there!  I said it.  Oops, I mean "House of Cards."  Well, he got himself out of the tangled web of that show just in time, anyway.  But as you can see, I'm including a still from What About Bob? because that's when he first came onto my own personal radar.  Ah, nostalgia.  How I cling to you when the house isn't a beehive of activity... oh, right, and John Mahoney as well.  I'm a little disappointed that he didn't get the chance to play Joseph Gordon-Levitt's father in something.  No, this episode of "3rd Rock From the Sun" is as close as we're gonna git now!
Anyway, back to the current box office.  It's close to Valentine's Day, and the release of the final installment of the Fifty Shades of Grey saga is at #1.  Remember when the first one came out?  And to counter the arguments that people made about Trump's infidelities, someone came up with the idea to cite Fifty Shades of Grey and its success as proof that... something.  I think it was to prove that Trump's infidelities are okay, because of Fifty Shades of Grey.  I guess because the data breach over at Ashley Madison was too long ago, or less legitimate somehow.  Well, depending on the ending of this final installment, arguments will have to be amended.  I understand, and my sources confirmed this, that the filmmakers were scrambling at the last minute to include a Stormy Daniels-inspired subplot at the last minute.  But, you know... they're no Ridley Scott, and this is no mere matter of Gumping out Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty, and replacing him with Christopher Plummer.  But director James Foley is/was/continues to be until the #MeToo movement gets him, a director of some esteem.  Not as hard-working as brother Jerry who had to deal with that huge pain-in-the-you know what David Letterman lo those many months, but hard working.  He knows where to place a camera, to be sure... usually behind a dark object, and having it come out from behind it to introduce the next scene... nothing for it on YouTube yet.  I gotta do everything myself.
At second this week, following the success of the Paddington sequel, now comes Peter Rabbit.  Now, I don't watch the James Corden show, but now that I took a look at the cast list, I'm thinking he put in a plug or two for it.  Every little bit helps.  But as with such things, I can't help but wonder what would round out the trilogy.  What old British faerie tale will be next to get the modern digital video CGI treatment?  Peter Cottontail?  Is there a third Alice in Wonderland book?  Will the Jabberwocky get an upgrade after one to two generations now?  ...that's the last one I got.
The last debut this week is Hollywood auteur Clint Eastwood's latest.  He's been directing a new film on an average of one per year for a while now, but now that he's going to be 88 in May, well... I guess it's time to slow down a bit.  The 15:17 to Paris took a bit longer because apparently the cast is filled with the actual victims... maybe a few of the actual perpetrators even!  Looks like Alek, Anthony and Spencer were actually on the train... they play characters with the same name.  They take longer to direct... once they get out of the speedy acting courses taught by people who've only heard of Stella Adler and... you know, Al Pacino's friend.  The guy who played ... that guy.  Meyer Lansky?  If only I had access to some sort of database... THOMAS LENNON?  Boy, how time flies.  I keep forgetting that "Reno 911"'s Lieutenant Jim Dangle is a serious actor now.  It'll take me a while, but I'll remember it eventually... then forget it again.  No room for his buddies in the film, I guess.  Ah, opportunity cost is a harsh mistress.  But kudos to Clint Eastwood from stealing this story out from under Luc Besson's nose.  Figures, don't it?  Besson's been trafficking in made-up stories about terrorists forever; now here comes the perfect true story for him to ruin, and he misses out.
Whelp, the things that float in front of my eyes are telling me it's way past time to quit... what are those things?  Little bacterium that float in front of your eyes.  You can see them better with a blue fluorescent light of some kind.  As my years are advancing, a little faster than I would have hoped, a couple of those floater thingies seem to be getting more aggressive.  One of them looks like a bunch of balloons tied together, only the ones I got aren't continuing up into the sky.  Maybe I should get some of that Lasik (TM) surgery they keep talking about.  The only downside is I won't get to say "Hey, you wouldn't hit a guy with Lasik (TM) surgery, would ya?  I mean... glasses, wouldja?"  See, doesn't have the same ring to it.  Same with contact lenses.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Auteur Watch - Corey Grant

Oh, I LOVE him!  North by Northwest, The Philadelphia Experiment... oh, wait.  No, it's someone else entirely.  Oh well.
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for the guy.  I mean, if you're going to get a Masters degree, it might as well be in film.  Not many have worked with Stacey Dash and lived to tell the tale.  Unfortunately, due to several nondisclosure agreements, Corey won't be able to tell that particular story until ... let's see, that was 2012, so I'm going to say 2037.
If you're a fan of director biographies on the IMDb, Corey's is a typical example of an up and comer that you should watch out for.  One point that sort of separates it from the pack is a personal quote: "Stand behind your work and not in front of it."  Which might seem like cowardice at first, but I suppose it's true when you're an artist giving birth to art.  However, this biography seems a bit like Corey's standing in front of his work to me, but what do I know?
Incidentally, here's the trailer for Scrapbooks on YouTube, if you're interested... and you should be.  Did you know the director put together this trailer, and did the titles in Final Cut Pro?  He didn't have to, of course, but as a big-time film director, some tasks best not be left to the help.  Did you know that?  ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!!!!

Junglegate

Let me just start with the following Brain Fart (TM)... if you're like me, scary thought I know, you've probably been on the IMDb a lot, double-checking that your links are good.  Seems like a lot of 'em aren't, or they're doubles / re-directs.  Typical database for you.  But I've been seeing a lot of ads for two things: 1) "The Alienist" with an older, wiser Dakota Fanning... she's finally catching up to Amy Poehler's occasional portrayal of her on old "SNL" episodes, as the kids abbreviate it these days.  A little disappointed they weren't on this week; I've come to rely on the latest comedy inoculation for the virus-laden reality we live in today.  And second, it's Josh Duhamel's latest project called "Web of Fries."  It's been getting a lot of IMDb ad space, so I started to notice it in the midst of the little game I'm running.  You know, in search of a good time, just running my game.  The tag line seemed clever enough: "They DON'T want you to have fries with that."  Oh, this goes all the way to the top.  No fries, no second scoop of ice cream... but wait a minute.  Long story short, it's a big Taco Bell(TM) ad!  Just one big ad!  So I guess the real question is, it's time to play "America's Next SECOND Big-Time Celebrity to Take On a Full-Fledged Ad Campaign for a Major Corporation."  Who could it be?  Clay AikenRobin Lord Taylor?  Maybe David Patrick Kelly will come out of retirement to play a sufficiently menacing role.  On the bright side, Duhamel's finally given up the ghost and learned to love playing a dad.  Sigh; no more dates with Tad Hamilton, I suppose.  Had to happen eventually.
As for this week's box office, there's only one debut, and it's about the Winchester house.  FINALLY, it's being given the horror CGI treatment it deserves.  I've actually been on the tour!  Just shows to go ya, you stick around long enough in Hollywood, and your ship will come in!  Of course, having a coupla A-Listers in the cast doesn't hurt.  We got Helen Mirren and... someone else.  I just realized that Winchester's official IMDb page isn't getting the full IMDb treatment.  They're annoying, but it's fun to find the 'X' to click on to disable the Flash animation, or HTML 5 or whatever it is now.  Sigh... no more Flash.  Okay, so according to the poster, Jason Clarke and Sarah Snook... tee hee hee... are the other A-Listers that round out the already bulging cast.  Funny story... here's how Helen Mirren ended up taking the role.  She asked "Who's directing?"  And the tinny voice on the other end of the line said "Michael and Peter Spierig."  And she replied "Steven Spielberg?  I'll do it!"  A little disappointed to find out who actually was directing, but... meh.  A paycheck's a paycheck.  Besides, hanging around the house with a sulking Taylor Hackford's no fun.  Look, they're going to be called casting "DIRECTORS" sooner or later, so get over yourself!

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Short Reviews - February 2018

A.W.O.L. - With Scott K. Leslie as Sheldon's Brother Frank

Absolute Killers - With Patrick G. Keenan as Frank

Across My Land - With Timothy V. Murphy as Frank

An Act of War - With Joseph R. Gannascoli as Frank

"Agent Carter" "A View in the Dark" - With Carl W. Crudup as Frank

Alive or Dead - With L. Flint Esquerra as Frank

"America's Deadliest Home Video" - With Michael S. Thompson as Frank

"American Horror Story" "Chapter 6" - With William R. Moses as Frank

Anacapa - With Robert D. Steffen as Frank

And They Call It Puppy Love - With Michael T. Ybarra as Frank

Angela - With Rodger L. Phillips as Frank

The Attic Expeditions - With Michael A. Gemme as Frank

"Avenging Disco Vampires" - With K. C. Jacobs as Frank

Bahay ni Lola - With Allan K. as Frank

The Beginning - With Bruce St. Martin as Frank

Big Miracle - With Thomas R. Daly as Frank

The Big Steal - With Frankie J. Holden as Frank

A Birthday Card - With Tim D. Walker as Frank

"The Blue Knight" "The Pink Dragon" - With William C. Coleman as Frank

"Boston Common" "A Night in Camelot" - With John A. Zoida as Frank

Boundaries of Attraction - With Michael W. Fontana as Frank

Boxed Out - With John J. Pistone as Frank

Break - With Martyn G. Krouse as Frank

Bridgebuilders - With Bill D. Russell as Frank

Bury the Dog - With Joseph E. Murray as Frank

By the Gun - With Brian A. White as Frank

Calamari Union (Remake) - With ... the cast entire as Frank.  That's a first!

Carnival of Souls - With Richard C. Hawkes as Frank

"Caroline in the City" "Caroline and the Booby Trap" - With S. Frog S. Marc Jordan as Frank

Certain Death - With R. Brian Falkner as Frank

Chasing the Sun - With Raul S. Julia as Frank

Chimeras - With Kevin J. O'Connor as Frank

The Church of Phil - With R. Shane Bingham as Frank

Code Name Abdul - With Rome K. Chopra as Frank

"Cold Case" "The Dealer" - With Edward C. Gillow as Frank

Cold Room - With T. Maxwell Smith as Frank

"Cold Sweat" - With Patrick St. Esprit as Frank

Collide - With Bradley J. Birnie as Frank

Conundrum! - With Kalen J. Hall as Frank

Cop-Out - With Lawrence L. Simeone as Frank

Dark Leaves - With Robert G. Slade as Frank

Dark Streets - With Howard S. Miller as Frank

"Dead Serious" - With C. Stephen Foster as Frank

Deadwood Park - With Joseph R. Engel as Frank

Dear Santa - With Robert J. Vogl as Frank

"Dorogoy Malchik" - With V. Vakhlin as Pete Georgie Dim Frank

"Dream Street" "Money for Nothing" - With James A. Baffico as Dire Straits Frank

The Dreamer - With David R. Jarrott as Frank

The Dying - With Michael W. Mahoney as Frank

"The Enid Blyton Adventure Series" "Circus of Adventures" - With Wayne E. Lutton as Frank

Every Moment - With Francisco C. Torres as Frank

The Ex - With Barry W. Levy as Frank

"Faking It" "Homecoming Out" - With Anthony M. Bertram as Frank

"Family Matters" "Scammed" - With Mark L. Taylor as Frank

Flight of the Living Dead - With Kevin J. O'Connor as Frank.  Also featuring Richard Tyson as Paul Rudd... Judd.  Ashley Judd.  Paul Judd.

Four O'Clock - With Michael Z. Keamey as Frank

Frank and Azalee Austin - With Kareem M. Lucas as Frank

Frank's Book - With John C. Reilly as Frank

Freak on a Moped - With John R. Sexton as Frank

"Für immer ein Mörder - Der Fall Ritter" - Mitt Lukas T. Berglund als Frank.  Auch mit Hinnerk Schönemann als Frank Vulf Wolf.

Game Seven - With Bradley E. Mittelman as Frank

"Gilmore Girls" "Say Something" - With Dale E. Turner as Frank

The Girl in the Green Dress - With Brian R. Norris as Frank

The Golden Donut - With Allen D. Edwards as Frank

A Good Catch - With Francis X. Bushman as Frank

Good Enough - With Manuel von E. Dixen as Frank

Good Taste - With William A. Carlson as Frank

Grace This Way - With Stephen F. Schmidt as Frank

Heart of the Dragon - With Stevie J. Hennessey as Frank

High Desert - With Edward B. Glinski as Frank

Hit List - With Peter D. Johnston as Frank

"Hogzilla" - With William A. Butland as Frank

Hollow Road - ...and the lightning strikes.  I mean, with W. Patrick Martin as Frank

"I Didn't Do It" "Doggie Daddy" - With Tom G. McMahon as Frank

"If Loving You Is Wrong" - With Donielle T. Hansley Jr. as Frank (10 episodes)

In the Name of My Father - With Anthony L. Gilardi as Frank

Inner Demons the Thrillogy - With Fritz J. Noble as Frank

Inner Rage - With Ronald J. Zambor as Frank

Investigation of a Dog - With Steven R. Barron as Frank

JDS - Jedem Das Seine - Mitt David O. Riedel als Frank

Journey to Paradise - With Ken T. Williams as Frank

"Jury" "Gerald" - With Nelson E. Ward as Frank

"Just Shoot Me!" - With Kevin P. Farley as Frank (5 episodes... okay, okay, 3 as Frank, one as Fireman Frank, one as Cowboy)

Kejar America - With David M. Wallace as Frank

"Kraft Theatre" "Welcome to a Stranger" - With David J. Stewart as Frank

Kuwait - With Hafid F. Benamar as Frank

The Lady in Red - With Joseph X. Flaherty as Frank

Landing Up - With James K. Fulater as Frank

"The Leftovers" "Two Boats and a Helicopter" - With Alan R. Rodriguez as Frank

Let There Be Light - With David Z. Roberts as Frank

"The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams" "The Redemption of Ben" - With Earl W. Smith as Frank

The Local - With David F. Nighbert as Frank

Lock 'n' Load - With Matthew J. Conger as Frank

"The Loop" "The Year of the Dog" - With D. Elliot Woods as Frank

Love Thy Neighbour to Death - With Robert J. Conant as Frank

Lucky U Ranch - With Michael A. Candela as Frank

"MacGyver" "The Challenge" - With Charles K(ristian). Pitts as Frank

The Matador - With Michael J. Fox Labbadia as Frank.  Also with Nick Thies as Frank, Young

Merchant of Evil - With George A. Bryant as Frank

"Midlife" - With Morris L. Walker as Frank

Miss B's Hair Salon - With J. Horton as Frank

The Moneymaker - With James C. Burns as Frank

The Next Three Days 3 Days to Kill The Next Two Nights - With James K. Fulater as Frank

Nibble - With Scott F. Evans as Frank

Nico's Sampaguita - With Rico E. Anderson as Frank

Night of the Living - With Hardee T. Lineham as Frank

Not the Profile - With Thomas F. Evans as Frank

Office Batman - With Tyler R. Riggs as Frank

One More Round - With Stephen C. Sepher as Frank

Paradise Lost - With Steven T. Robinson as Frank

Pawnshop - With Lee J. Campbell as Frank

A Perfect Pitch - With John A. Razzano as Frank.  Also with Alan Zino as Frank's Bodyguard.

"Pini" "Sunglasses" - With Robert H. Wainwright as Frank

Pink Eye - With Kevin L. Bright as Frank

Pledge of Innocence - With Thomas R. Martin as Frank

The Punished - With Fritz J. Noble as Frank

Quicksands - With J. Warren Kerrigan as Frank

Rabid Weight Loss - With John F. Beach as Frank

"Reba" "Best Li'l Haunted House in Texas" - With Andrew W. Walker as Frank

Repaid - With Jared M. Gordon as Frank

The Return of Tommy Tricker - With Charles V. Doucet as Frank

Rosy Takes the Stage - With J. Michael Ferniany as Frank

Run Chrissie Run! / Money Hunters - With Roger L. Howell as Frank

"$chitt's Creek" "Dead Guy in Room 4" - With David J. MacNeil as Frank

"The Scottish Play" - With David S. Hogan as Frank (6 Episodes)

Second Chance - With W. Keith Scott as Frank

The Secrets That I Found - With Benjamin J. Edwards as Frank

Serena and the Ratts - With Christopher J. Davis as Frank

Sever - With Joseph F. Meacham as Frank

Shelf Life - With Clay St. Thomas as Frank

Shuffles - With Archie D. Williams as Frank

Silence - With Richard S. Sargent as Frank

Simba - With Anthony M. Bertram as Frank

"The Six Million Dollar Man" - With Quinn K. Redeker as Frank (6 episodes)

So, What's in Jericho? - With E. Patrick Corbett as Frank

Speakeasy to Me - With Julian J. Fernandez as Frank

Static - With J. Ryan as Frank

Stitch in Time - With Michael X. Sommers as Frank

"Superstore" - With Rodney J. Hobbs as Frank (2 Episodes)

Table Manners: The Horror Comedy That Sings - With J. Colin Crawford as Frank

"Tales From the Crypt" "Curiosity Killed" - With Marshall R. Teague as Frank

Terminal Island - With Scott L. Schwartz as Frank

Terms and Conditions May Apply - With Justin C. Schilling as Frank

That Sun - With J. Emerson McGowan as Frank

That's E - With David R. Reid as Frank.  Also with Briahna Gilbert as Franks Daughter [sic].

They Die Lovely - With Edward M. Miller as Frank... also with Edward Miller as Frank.  Wonder if they're related.

"Thomas P." - Med Anders T. Andersen som Frank (5 episodes)

Til Death Do Us Apart - With Shailesh B. Trivedi as Frank

"Too Close For Comfort" "Shipmates" - With Gerald S. O'Loughlin as Frank

Too Many Holes - With Kevin J. Grotz as Frank

20 Something - With Robert J. D'Amato as Frank

"21 Jump Street" "Chapel of Love" - With Don (S.) Davis as Frank

"The Ugly Duckling and Me!" - With Morgan C. Jones as Ratso / Frank (4 episodes confirmed...)

"Valerie" - With Arnold F. Turner as Frank (4 episodes)

Whaling City - With Robert D. Murphy as Frank

What Are the Chances? - With Dan L. Porter as Frank

What Is - With Robert G. Silverman as Frank

White Lie - With Joel D. Wynkoop as Frank

Wild - With W. Earl Brown as Frank

The Wrath of Norm Polanski - With Dave T. Koenig as Frank

Yesterday's Forecast - With Brian J. Coffey as Frank

Chloe - With R. H. Thomson as Frank

"Compromising Situations" "First Time Caller" - With J. T. Maguire as Frank

Cromax's Curse - With J. R. Mangels as Frank

The Crooked Eye - With D. C. Douglas as Frank

Darker Suggestion - With C. R. Oberlin as Frank

"Deadbeat" "The Polaroid Flasher" - With J. D. Williams as Frank

Do You Like My Basement - With P. J. Williamson as Frank

"The Equalizer" "Shades of Darkness" - With J. J. Johnston as Frank

Fate - With C. W. Chandler as Frank

Footsteps - With J. R. Starr as Frank

Free Fall - With D. B. Sweeney as Frank

"General Hospital" - With R. J. Adams as Frank (2 episodes)

It's What Artists Do - With E. J. Subkoviak as Frank... and apparently, as the Artist, as he or she's the only one in the cast

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" "Undercover Mother" - With D. K. Bowser as Frank

Le Teen Nikita - With J. T. Richardson as Frank... Also with Luc Besson as Executive Producer.  Don't tell him tho!

Lindsey - With Morgan I. P. Fics as Frank

"Malcolm in the Middle" "Malcolm's Car" - With J. T. Kubala as Frank

Matched - With L. J. Grillo as Frank

"Men at Work" "The Good, The Bad & The Milo" - With J. P. Manoux as Frank

"Nina Needs to Go" - With J. J. Totah as Frank (15 episodes)... and after reading the plot description, I think I need to go, too.  I'm off to find A MORE WHIMSICAL PLOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Patriot - With L. Q. Jones as Frank

"Some Kinda Woman" - With S. A. Griffin as Frank and, as of this writing, this one's his main IMDb photo.  Why doesn't Terry Bradshaw follow this guy's sterling egg-zample?

Soulmates - With R. D. Mower as Frank

Street Language - With J. T. Richardson as Frank

Spring Breakers Student Loaners - With E. J. Tangonan as Frank

"That '80s Show" "Tuesday Comes Over" - With T. J. Thyne as Frank

Under the City - With D. J. Howard as Frank

Until Morning - With S. E. Perry as Frank

"Wizards of Waverly Place" "Halloween" - With Stephen A. F. Day as Frank

Monday, January 29, 2018

Auteur Watch - Darwood Grace

Oh good!  Another short one.  Not that I don't love auteurs, mind you.  But I think our next auteur, Darwood Grace, has some room to grow.  For what does make an auteur?  What separates the wheat from the chaff, the Nick Chapmans from the Jonathan Tristan-Bennets of the world?  How many critically acclaimed films does it take to make an auteur?  The answer, my friends, is It's a Lot... a film co-directed by Grace!  And that's another issue as well.  It's not "co"-auteurs yet.  An auteur is still a lone wolf... okay, supported by cast and crew, if they're lucky.  You gotta be careful not to, as Chris Rock says, a-hole your way out of the biz.  It's even more unpopular these days, what with all the powerful men getting kicked off their various pedestals left and right and what not.
But let's try to focus on the banner headline here.  From what little information I can find on It's a Lot, it seems to be a variation on the House Party movies.  Boy, those were the days.  Someone's made a mint off that series, and it's probably not Kid 'n Play.  But that seems to be the story of Darwood's professional life.  Each movie sounds like another movie.  Darwood is still struggling with the acting bug, and has three credits to his online résumé.  Anuvahood sounds a bit like Ali G IndahouseCab Hustle seems to be a variation on Taxi Driver.  And then we have Limelight... sorry, that's the 1952 Charlie Chaplin classic, recently played on Turner Classic Movies.  No, the one I mean is called The Limelight.  Totally different, completely opposite.  Darwood plays "Mugger" in that one... notice how the IMDb will number a person's link in the cast list.  Darwood is eighth in this particular list, but is second in Anuvahood!  He's third in Cab Hustle, so thank God he's always near the top in whatever project he's in.  No, The Limelight centers on the life of an aging comedian, whose name is Garry Shandling... I'm sorry, it's actually Gary Shand.  Totally opposite, completely different.  And like Chaplin's Limelight, Glen Maney and John Robson's The Limelight clocks in at two hours and 13 minutes... are you guys TRYING to bore people to death?  Well, ARE you?!!!

The Low Spark of Well-Heeled Boys

...miss me yet?  Well, I'll be the first to admit: I'm not the biggest Will Ferrell fan.  But maybe I was just in a good mood a few nights ago.  Did they say he crushed it on "SNL" as the kids abbreviate it these days?  Because I think he did.  Keepin' it ironic, of course, for the all-important Jaded Hipster demographic.  And like me, he's got a thing about all this reality TV, the massive flood of it, which has left all of TV-dom standing in three inches of standing water.  Especially the part where people do interviews about what's about to be shown.  My favourite of course is on "Pawn Stars" when the main guy always says "If this is what I think it is, then it is going to be worth a ton of money."  This was before a 'ton' was called a 's... ton'.  Hard to keep the internet clean, I tells you.
But what else is in the news?  Well, of course Steve Wynn is the latest loser in the "Who's a Sexual Predator Now" sweepstakes.  They only kicked him off the RNC, of course.  It's more of an honorary title, really.  I tells you darlings, if enough of these billionaires get publicly humiliated like this, on Trump's watch... maybe those all-secretive tax returns will finally see the light of day!  I know it's asking a lot.  Silly me, for some reason I thought the recent revelation that Mitch McConnell was able to force Obama into not revealing that Trump is actually a Russian agent would get more traction, but whatever.  I know his constituents don't care.  They like Russia now!  Sure it's cold, and sure, only Putin gets to enjoy the Russian equivalent of the Second Amendment over there, but what's not to like?  There's hardly any black people in Russia!  They like that!  I know that, because Chelsea Handler went over there to look into it.
Anyway, the #1 movie this week is the latest installment of The Maze Runner saga.  They can make a saga out of anything these days, as long as it's selling a lot in paperback.  Is the Divergent series over yet?  Do they have the Blu-Rays for it at Costco yet?  I know they're still limping along to get the C. S. Lewis series of six books turned into, as David Letterman might have quipped sometime in the past, "your genuine Hollywood blockbusters."  I'm still trying to decide which still pic to go with: something from Pan's Labyrinth or from Jim Henson's Labyrinth.  I swear I have the former someplace, if only on external hard drive.  I can still do something with it thanks to Windows 10, if I can find it.  I'm on vacation next week, so this will have to wait for a while.
...and I'm back!  Well, as you can see, I've skipped over the labyrinth debate rather completely, and maybe side-stepped it as well.  For you see, in my travels I stumbled quite across an old copy of 2003's Dreamcatcher.  Stephen King has had many successes in his career, as have Lawrence Kasdan and Castle Rock Entertainment... this is not one of them.  But really, what is the definition of success?  Dictionary.reference.com defines it as ... well, it has many definitions, really.  There's of course the usual American stuff: the attainment of wealth and honors... but really, it's all about the wealth.  More generally, it's the completing of goals, and having them turn out as you'd prefer them to.  Well, one of the achievements that moviemakers hope to achieve is when a person says to their friends, "You remember that one scene in that movie where..."  Or, more generally, to be remembered at all.  Like the movie The Spitfire Grill.  Whatever happened to that movie?  Did it vanish from the face of the earth or what?  Or what about Off Beat?  Thankfully, the movie Dreamcatcher hasn't totally vanished... okay, I'll tell you where I was.  And, incidentally, you can triangulate my location at the time from my credit card records.  I stumbled across it in the DVD section of my local Goodwill(TM) store.  Sure, it was a STANDARD copy, not widescreen, but hey!  American consumers about two or three steps above outright beggars can't be choosers, right?  The scene I remembered from Dreamcatcher was this one somewhere in the middle, where there's a flashback to the main characters' collective youth.  You can sense they were going for sort of a Stand By Me vibe... only different.  The difference in the case of Dreamcatcher is that the heroes stumble across a couple of jocks trying to get a wimpy kid to eat a dog turd.  As you can see, the jock is wearing a glove to protect his hand from the dog turd.  Make a note of that, as you just might find yourselves in a similar situation someday.  But like everyone else who strives to make an impression on the Internet these days, I had to try and do something different.  Brought to you by Dairy Queen.  D.Q. something different!  I had to go and be different and digitally change the dog turd in the jock's be-gloved hand.  I went ahead and turned it orange... I forget why.  Okay, I've said enough... but I could probably keep typing for hours!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Auteur Watch - Louis Gossett Jr.

That's right, time for Sgt. Foley himself, and he's not in a van down by the river either!  Welp, as usual, a man's IMDb Top 4 doesn't tell the whole story... or does it?  I do know for a fact that one of the projects that Gossett Jr. was particularly fond of didn't make it into his IMDb Top 4, and that one's called Aces: Iron Eagle III.  I haven't seen many interviews with him, but I believe he went on Dennis Miller's first TV show.  This was the first show after Dennis got the idea that, hey!  People know me from "Saturday Night Live," why not make the move to replace Johnny Carson?  How hard could that be?  Long story short: harder than he thought.  And of course the cast and crew involved with Aces: Iron Eagle III took a long, hard look at the changing late-night landscape of post-Carson times, and said "Hmm!  Dennis Miller!  That's the show we should go for!  Not the ruthless Kushnick-fueled new guy taking over for Carson.  That won't last.  That's going nowhere."  I didn't do my research, I guess is what I'm trying to say.  But if you have some free time, this might be a good place to start!  YouTube's got everything.  Having a working server farm doesn't hurt, either.
But when you've been in the business of show as long as a Louis Gossett Jr. has, you're bound to look about the desolate landscape around you and think to yourself, "There's GOT to be a better way."  And sometimes you've just got to be your own Bill McKay.  No bus driving for Gossett Jr.!  No sir.  No, the director's chair is the chair to sit in.  Took a while to build up to it; took a few night courses and correspondence courses... the nosey noses out there keep track of such things, you know.  Who's taking what class, who's trying to better themselves.  They keep an eye out, and they don't like it, because they want things to stay the way they are, those Nosey Noses.  But Gossett Jr... I'll just stick with Gossett for short... Gossett hung in there, and the right opportunity came along.  A little show called "The Powers of Matthew Star," and... no?  No one?  Well, it was just before Steven E. de Souza struck gold by doing movies instead of bad television.  And Gossett got used to these Bagger Vance-type roles a long time ago; he could do them in his sleep, with the occasional An Officer and a Gentleman to put a little sadistic twist on them, so he figured, hey!  A 22 episode commitment... SOMEONE'S gotta direct this garbage!  And he was off and running... sure, it would become the lowest-rated episode in the Internet age, but STILL!  He could now add "Director" to his pile of hats.
Well, that first foray into directing was so rewarding, such a learning experience, so much to learn about dealing with cast and crew in that way, as well as the producers, those... those many, many levels of producers above everyone's heads.  They're like the choir of angels, they are, with their many powers and wings, and their specialized names and specialities... it was all a little too much, actually.  Most people, present company included, when trying to learn certain subjects, whether it's math, underwater basket weaving, or directing for film and television, need time to step back and let the mind stew and do its thing... IN PEACE.  Most of us don't have photographic memories that can be organized like closet space.  Weird, weird, weird.  But eventually that second opportunity to direct came.  Time had passed, it was the late 90s and millennium fever was at an all time high.  He wasn't recognized on the street as much as he used to be, and "Love Songs" came across his desk.  Most people had passed on it, and all of Gossett's agents advised him to pass as well... but, let's think a minute!  Maybe working with Robert Townsend wouldn't be so bad.  Sure, the rumors were true that he'd always fall behind schedule, spending too much time reminiscing about how much fun Hollywood Shuffle was to make, how none of the Wayans family would return his calls anymore, the usual stuff.  But Gossett was feeling lucky, and he would take control of this project by co-directing it.  A little less pressure than full-on directing by one's self.  Eventually, it all came together, and Andre Braugher also came on as a director.  Now, I know what you're thinking... the nerd from that Civil War movie?  Really?  Seriously?  Well, first of all.. stop that, for one.  Stop saying "really" and "seriously" together like that.  It's not powerful anymore.  It's supposed to disarm your opponent in conversation.  Second, this kid's got chops.  Sure, his actor friends still give him sh... grief about his work in... what's it called?  Striking Distance, that's it.  You know, crap like "What did you say when they offered you that part?  Did you say 'Oh, YES, Massa!  I act real good!'"  But I've said too much already.

Cinema Strong

Not by much, but ONCE AGAIN the Jumanji reboot is Top of the Heap this weekend!  I haven't seen anything like it since... well, Home Alone, Titanic and the first Avatar went the distance.  Fourteen weeks seems to be about how long the American people can tolerate a blockbuster these days.  You'd probably have to go back to Jaws or the first Star Wars to see how many weeks it was at #1.  Sadly, I can't sing that Queen song anymore with any believability.  Anyway, maybe it's too early to call it... People's Choice Award?  Oscar for Special Effects?  Fresh contract negotiations for Tenacious D?  Budget information may be gone from the IMDb, but they still have an Awards section!  Apparently, however, no Golden Globe for Jumanji... maybe the sequel.  There has to be at this point.  The ship has sailed on Polar Express 2, I think.  Besides, that MoCap studio got shut down, right?  After Mars Needs Moms, everyone involved was just too humiliated to continue.  But you would think that reconstituting a MoCap studio wouldn't be too hard.  What do you got?  One giant green screen room, and you got a bunch of nerds and geeks together and... oh, right.  That could be a problem.  You get a bunch of computer programmers and a bunch of computer network specialists in a room together, look out.  No work will get done, of course.  The first day it's nothing but Dr. Who discussions, maybe some of that "Han Solo Shot First" crap.  These people think they're God's gifts, but don't have the stock options to prove it yet.
Anyway, back to the national stories that the video-jaded public deigned to step out of the house for this weekend.  First up, the latest post 9-11 sausage fest, fresh from the "Recently Declassified" bin called 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers.  Well, that's a bit of a mouthful... 12 Strong it is.  'Tis based on a book, but it's not boring like one!  Where's the visual delights?  Where's the New Mexico filling in for Afghanistan?  And is it really going to spill the beans on why George W. Bush suddenly lost interest in getting Bin Laden, and instead turned his attention towards Saddam's Iraq?  To be fair, Saddam did try to kill Dubya's daddy.  He told me so!  Okay, and the rest of the world, but just the one time... he doesn't like to talk about it.  Now Mother Nature's havin' a go at it.  Anyway, Michael Peña is just happy to be back in the Top 10 again, especially after a big stinky bomb like CHiPs.  He's happy to be back, but not in a supporting role, though.  What's a guy gotta do to get a lead role UP IN THIS BITCH?  Maybe it's too early to say it, but... a Spike Award for Peña?  Oh, the work's just that good this go-round.
Coming in at #3 is the latest Luc Besson-ish Now You See Me-type deal and it's called Den of Thieves.  And despite Bill Maher's occasional protestations, Gerard Butler is indeed the star of this star vehicle.  Yes, the Machine Gun Preacher is back and... too late for another Spike award?  But really, it would be a retroactive award for that one scene in 300, you know... well, I've said too much.  Try as I might, I just can't keep my weekly brain dump family-friendly.  Can't fight it... oh!  But I did notice the running time of this opus.  Two hours twenty minutes?  What, are they going for the Best Picture Oscar or something?  They're not trying to waste people's time, are they?  Bore-ring.  Well, as long as they got Closed Captioning in the theatre, and a separate chair I can put my tea on.  Man, I made the mistake of buying a plastic bottle of tea... TWO of them, yesterday!  So sugary.  I prefer to add my own sugar while I'm drinking, thank you very much... preferably a mouthful of Jelly Belly jelly beans.  That's my new go-to favourite, seeing as how I've got to lay off the chocolate for a while.  How long before new kidney stones start to form, anyway?
Damn, looks like a nice day outside.  But before I go to get some fresh air and exercise, Star Wars just limped over the 600 million barrier state-side, and The Greatest Showman limped over the 100 million barrier, so the Award-winning lyricists of La La Land can rest a little easier as their next project gets the green light.  Which reminds me!  Debbie Reynolds tended to stick to her career highlights, but on TCM I caught a little bit of Three Little Words where she was dressed like Jackie Kennedy and doing an impression of Betty Boop.  Only tangentially related as usual, I know, but hey!  Someday... what a story that would make.  Three Little Words is the story of famous lyricists Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby who, among other things, worked with the Marx Brothers on more than a few occasions.  Could a Three Little Words-type deal be in the legacy of the lyricists of La La Land?  Might be fun.  But let's get to that last debut this week.  Debuting at the wrong end of the Top 10 is a Nicholas Sparks-type pic called Forever My Girl.  All you need is the title and the thumbnail picture to see that.  I mean, two white people, the sunset behind them... God bless that bedrock of American Consumerism(TM) family tax breaks.  A young man and young woman believing in that crazy, stupid institution called love... but WAIT!  Nicholas Sparks' name is nowhere to be found!  Surely he was a producer or an assistant producer here?  Production assistant?  No?
No.  Nowhere to be found.  I mean, there's a Nicholas Fitzgerald of the Music Department, but no sparks flying anywhere.  Except on that screen, of course.  Gotta have that.  Gotta as a bare minimum.  No, the novelist behind this latest opus is named Heidi McLaughlin.  And it's not all wine and roses, mind you.  Check out the plot description on this film's main IMDb main page.  It says, "After being gone for a decade a country star returns home to the love he left behind."  No, that may be a little too nuanced for Nicholas Sparks, frankly.  But this theme does sound vaguely familiar.  Doesn't that sound a bit like Sweet Home Alabama for one?  The movie, not the Lynyrd Skynyrd song that's been heavily re-edited for radio.  Mind you, this Forever My Girl is just a PG affair.  Gone are the days of the gritty country star bio-pic.  Like... Tender Mercies!  And... Tender Mercies!  Okay, Coal Miner's Daughter.  I mean, can a PG movie answer this question for me?  How are you supposed to rekindle an adolescent love affair after a decade of being on the road with country music groupies?  And would you really want to?  Would the "she" involved really want to?  I mean, she's probably already married with kids.  That's a given.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Auteur Watch - Jason Gosbee

Now, I know what you're thinking, but I'm a forgive and forget Atheist, and why should the sins of the father be visited so harshly upon the son?  And... oh, Gosbee!  Phew.  Thank God.  Never mind.  Well, this will be fun, because stunt men want to be directors too.  I mean, take Richard Rush's 1980 masterpiece, The Stunt Man.  Am I right?  They get to hang out with certain stars because they're the same height and what not.  And they get to go to a few of the parties after the film opens, and if you're smart and not get hurt, you'll get to be in a documentary and say you've been someone's stunt double for 20, 30 years.  Well, this Gosbee's a newbie, so there's still time to change careers.  If there's such a thing as a hot stunt double, surely this guy is it.  I mean, look at these credits!  Okay, maybe not the new RoboCop, but still!  Suicide Squad made money, right?  And Man of Steel did pretty well too, yes?  Or at least recouped the important parts of the budget?