Thursday, September 28, 2017

Robbing Them Softly

SPOILER ALERTS
You know... every once in a while, a movie comes along that the critics just adore, and it even gets a little bit of attention on the talk shows.  Maybe one of the stars stops by to flog their wares, and the host mentions the critical praise to them.  And yet, it still sinks like a stone at the box office.  Why is that?  Whelp, in the case of something like Midnight Special, well... the light shone on the critics, but somehow the light didn't connect with the public at large, who weren't expecting a stealth Cyclops movie.  Same dynamics might be at play with an "indie" darling like Hell or High Water, which was praised rather strongly by critics, and it's got some pretty serious star power to boot!  I mean, it's got The Dude, for one, but arguably he's a bit more reactionary in this outing.  Downright politically incorrect at times, even!  But when it comes to predicting what the criminals will do next, he's kinda Dude-like in his thinking.  Then there's Ben Foster.  I mean, it's been a while since he was in an X-Files movie... I mean, X-Men.  But he and Jeff Bridges are arguably the best things in the movie.  Foster commits to his character, risking a tarnish to his public image.
Which brings me to the new Captain Kirk, Chris Pine, taking a smaller risk than Foster as a serious actor.  Pine and Foster play brothers who are robbing a bunch of banks.  Foster is more of the hardened criminal type, while Pine is just trying to help out.  The instant this new hobby stops being fun, or someone gets killed, is the day he stops.  Period.
Now, I hate to be so judgmental, and I know the critics liked this one a lot, but I gotta say... when I was reading the opening credits, and I saw Peter Berg's name in them, well... my heart sank a little bit.  I knew the film was going to be good, just not too good.  Somehow his work smacks of focus group testing in the bad sense.  There's a reason even Michael Mann slowly backed away from this guy.  Maybe they parted ways amicably, but Peter Berg wants to be The Man, so stay the hell out of his way.  Everybody.
But let's start at the beginning.  We start with a small town, probably somewhere between the (American) coasts, in a post-2008 economic landscape.  Why, the only work there is anymore is robbing banks!  And so, we start with a slight variation on the age-old ritual.  The two robbers overpower a nice middle-aged lady who is first to unlock the bank in the morning, and the three of them have to sit and wait for the bank manager to arrive.  The bank manager eventually arrives, wearing his ten gallon cowboy hat, and he doesn't notice that she's sitting there in the middle of the floor.  I mean, if memory serves, he has to come through two glass doors to get into the bank and all that.  Okay, so he's got a lot on his mind.  And never looks up.  But eventually he gets inside, sees her on the floor, and asks her what she's doing on the floor... and then we're back to business.  The two robbers commit their robbery, taking only the small, unmarked bills from the registers, never the safe.  Spoiler alert: this turns out later to be a smart move!
Next scene: exterior, and the bank robbers are driving away.  A cop car passes by them...  now, I had to stop the movie right there, if only in my mind.  Let's say you're a cop, and you're on your way to stop a bank robbery in progress.  There's only one car in town, and it's driving away from the bank, and there's two young guys in the car... WOULDN'T YOU FOLLOW SAID CAR?  Is that asking too much?  Probably.  Am I asking too much of my movies?  Am I being too much like the focus group in that one episode of The Simpsons?  Do I just want a realistic down-to-earth movie that's completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots?
Now, I will give credit where credit's due.  Whoever wrote the movie... one Taylor Sheridan... has crafted himself a fine plan for stealing a bank's money, and getting away with it afterwards.  I'm not that good of a writer, and I can't lavish praise on this plan without spoiling it, so... MORE SPOILER ALERTS.  Okay, first of all, there's the problem with the getaway car.  Well, those Duke boys... I mean, Howard boys... have a fine plan, if a bit land-intensive.  Much like in Used Cars, they've got a pre-dug, car-sized pit on ... what I'm assuming is their family ranch.  They drive the car into the pit, then bulldoze it over with their bulldozer.  They've got a slightly smaller bulldozer with a liftable shovel on the front.  So there's that.  And the second part: how to launder the money.  Well, they do it themselves by... SPOILER ALERT... going to the local casino and buying that amount in chips!  Genius.  They're probably going to pass laws now to make it tougher to be able to do that.  Thanks, pal.  Well, probably not in Trump's America.  Let freedom reign a bit more!
Meanwhile, Bridges and his partner are on the trail.  Someone explains that the robberies aren't big enough for... the local police?  State police?  Alas, I don't have the movie in front of me, but needles to say, it's good enough for the Texas Rangers, so Bridges and his partner come in to save the day.  They interview a few witnesses, and we're treated to the Texas Ranger way of doing things.  Bridges asks for descriptions of the robbers.  "Were they white?" he asks... I think that was one of the questions.  I was waiting for one of the witnesses to say "Well, one was scary and did all the talking... and the other one had these blue eyes.  These penetrating, soulful blue eyes... the kind of blue eyes you could just stare at all day.  It's like you're floating in the air over two lakes, as though you're in a dream... the sweetest dream you've ever had in your life, and you never want to wake up, but you do feel like you have to choose one of the lakes, so you start with the one on the left, and you just stare and stare and stare until you can see the mud at the bottom of the lake.  The water is just so clear, so beautiful... and if you look closely enough, you can see yourself, floating above the lake, at one with eternity... a state of infinite bliss..."  Didn't happen, though.  That small detail slipped through the cracks somehow.
But where did they irrevocably lose me?  And they did irrevocably lose me.  Well, in two places.  But again... SPOILER ALERT.  I'm just not that good, I'll be the first to admit.  But I'll start with the second one... damn, I forgot!  I don't take good notes during movies either, usually.  I usually just try to enjoy myself, and stave off that damn logical brain of mine.  Let's just say that there's a bit of a surprise, a Second Amendment surprise that one doesn't usually see in a dramatic movie.  Anyway, at some point, Chris Pine gets wounded.  Remember, he's the good brother who's just along for the ride.  For me, his would was pretty serious, but for the sake of the movie, it was just a matter of the right tourniquet.  It was like the bloodiest episode of "The Red Green Show" you've ever seen.  And you know what they would use for a tourniquet... that's right!  Duct tape.
But they had already lost me by then.  No, the big reveal where they lost me came after they robbed a couple of banks.  Sorry... SPOILER ALERT AGAIN.  I think this will be the last one... also, I thought that the complicit car dealership was a little head-scratchy.  Are they really stealing enough to be paying off another party?  I mean, enough so to get a fresh getaway car out of the deal?  I don't think so.  I thought they were only taking small amounts from each bank.  Anyway, after a couple of these flawless robberies, and after their car pits are positively bulging with cars, they have a conversation with someone... maybe on the phone.  They tell this someone that THEY STRUCK OIL ON THEIR LAND.  Unlike the Nixon family, who found oil after they sold their property, the Howards are going to become very, very rich.  Very rich petro-millionaires.  Hopefully, they won't go into business with Putin, as he tends to kill those who go against him.  Even rich dudes!  Or maybe especially the rich dudes, one or the other.  So that's where they lost me.  Rather than going to a bank and saying "Hey, I need a loan for a derrick for my oil-rich property" they decide to go the more adrenalin-fueled, against-the-law route of robbing banks... and steal enough to get their oil business going?  That's like Gale and Evelle's plan of robbing banks until they can retire... or they get caught.  But hey!  Can't argue with results.  Long story short, it ends well for Chris Pine and his future generations.  As it should for oil magnates, of course.  Life should be good for them... then, of course, there's all that pesky climate change stuff.

**1/2
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Monday, September 25, 2017

No Dark Sarcasm in the Studio...

SPOILER ALERTS GALORE
A man is woken up by his alarm clock.  After the audience gets a far, far too clear view of the man's armpit, the man gets up.  He shuffles around, groaning, stretching and scratching himself as a man who hasn't gotten the proper amount of sleep is wont to do.  The man goes over to a calendar, picks up a pen, and starts writing on the calendar.  Now, often times when this happens in a movie, you might eventually expect to see a close-up shot of said calendar... you know, to be able to see what the guy's writing!  Is he on the brink of finishing up a ten-year project or so?  Is he x number of days sober?  Is today the day when he stops by the prison to pick up his friend who gets out today?  It just raises questions, that's all I'm saying.  And nine times out of ten, sure!  You'd get a close-up of the calendar to see what is being written... but this is not that movie.

Anyway, I'm going to have to postpone my in-depth preview of Amazon's big Christmas release for the Oscars.  As you may know, Jeff Bezos does want to win that big prize, the Best Picture Oscar.  A lot.  Because somehow changing the prices at Whole Foods and attempting to put the Post Office out of business pretty much write themselves.  Where's the statue for that?  No statue.  The Oscar's the thing.  Oh, he's hotter to trot than even DreamWorks was in the late 90s... wonder whatever happened to them?  Of course, when American Beauty won the big prize, you didn't see Spielberg, Geffen OR Katzenberg waltz up there to accept the award.  Guess Bezos will have to find that out the hard way.
Anyway, Bezos has got an unusual candidate for Best Picture this year, to be sure.  Maybe it's a sign of the times as Harry Styles tells us, but who knows?  It could go all the way.  Stranger things have indeed happened, and not just on Netflix.  Anyway, Bezos' baby is a Will Ferrell co-production with Funny or Die, and it's called Will Ferrell Stands Uncomfortably Close to People.  And not just Amy Adams and John C. Reilly either!  Even though they're featured rather prominently in it.  It's about 2 and a half hours long, which every Best Picture nominee should be, of course.  And you'd think it'd be wall-to-wall laughs, but there's probably some poignant moments as well, like when he stands uncomfortably close to Obama AND Trump, or to some Eskimos who lost their homes because of global warming.  Keep fighting the good fight, guys... (sniff, wipe away tear)
But we'll save that for a later date, as I've clearly got more pressing business to discuss.  But for right now, a question... what is art?  More specifically, what is a movie?  We used to define it as a strip of celluloid passing through a projector at 24 frames a second, with the audio track lagging behind by about 30 odd frames or so... or maybe ahead.  See?  No one remembers!  Stupid internet.  But there's all this other stuff that's come along since, mind you.  Now there's up to 60 frames a second, making film more like videotape or real life.  But typically, the technical aspects are usually set aside in favor of the story a film is trying to tell.  There are also audio and visual conventions that have been grandfathered in for years and years.  Take the sound of Dirty Harry's gun, for example.  You tend not to hear that one much anymore.  However, when a gun is cocked... there's kind of a generic sound to that that, at least for me, has SO been done to death.  For a non-gun example, there's this one dog barking sound that gets used on "The Simpsons" to death a lot, one time with an opening shot of the nuclear power plant, as well as an opening door sound effect that's also been used very close to death, also on "The Simpsons."  We'll leave aside the discussion of the firing of Alf Clausen for now.
Why do I mention these conventions?  These unspoken rules of movie making?  These shorthand short cuts that many an average filmmaker relies heavily upon?  Well, because, the older one gets, one tends to notice them more and more when they're not used.  For me, anyway.  When you're a kid, you're usually just happy to be awake that late, and tend not to nitpick as much; eventually you just get bored and look around for something to eat or steal.  But as they say in art, there are no rules... but you break them at your peril.  Which brings me to my review of a film called The Face in the Wall.  I happened upon a DVD copy of it on Amazon... yes, that damn ubiquitous Amazon again.  Sorry.  So much for the little guys, I guess.  But it is a pristine copy of the movie, and I think it's even a brand new 4k 1080p transfer from the original flammable nitrate stock and what not.  Not terribly big on the extras, alas, unless there's some easter eggs I haven't found yet.  But maybe we'll get a documentary or two on the Blu-Ray version.  And if it becomes a big enough hit, cult or otherwise, there'll be the Super Deluxe Version with extras up the yin yang on a Disc Two, and a cover that makes it look like it's in a shipping crate, if the precedent set by Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Office Space are any indication.  Meanwhile, Short Time is only available on VHS?  What's up with that?  Dabney Coleman, for God's sake!
Oh, but I blather on and on.  Let's get right to the review, shall we?

CREDITS SEQUENCES

...did I forget to mention spoiler alerts?  Well, just in case I did... SPOILER ALERTS.  Okay, let's get back to it.  Now first of all... for those of you like me, scary thought I know, who've made a habit of converting your DVDs into small files suitable for a portable player... and ON YOUR OWN, no less, thereby screwing YouTube out of much needed baseline revenue... you'll notice right away that there's an FBI warning included at the beginning of the main feature.  This will happen if you're turning a VHS tape into, say, an .mp4 file.  Not so much with a pro DVD, and they don't have the FBI warnings on cable.  They keep those things separate, even though the stakes couldn't be higher these days.  Remember, kids!  Piracy is not a victimless crime.  Take Big Idea's The Pirates who Don't Do Anything, for example!  YAWWWWNNNN!  So much suffering... why, someone oughta be taken out and shot for that.  Hopefully that bastard Tom Tomato for starters.  Oh well.  But notice that the FBI warning here is a little bit different: at the bottom, it says something about a prohibition on "institutional public performance."  Dang!  So much for Scorsese's kids teaching this at NYU Film School, I guess.  Their loss.
Next, the vanity logo.  There's too many to keep track of these days, so just remember Bad Robot.  You might have seen it in the 2015 Star Wars movie.  That's the big one.  As for The Face in the Wall, well... I think it says 360 Sound and Vision Entertainment.  I couldn't tell because of this bright white light in the center.  The vanity logo fades, and then we get the web site address a few seconds later.  You tend not to see a web address for a vanity logo these days.  But don't worry, you can usually find their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds pretty easily.
Then we finally get to the title of the film.  The title sometimes doesn't appear at the beginning anymore for whatever reason (arty-farty reasons mostly), but here it's at the beginning.  It's also at the beginning of the END credits, AND at the END of the end credits.  Overkill much?  At least give me the CHANCE to forget!  And I thought Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai was bad!  Also, the title credits for The Face in the Wall look like they were whipped up in Final Cut Pro or something.  Alas, we all can't rely on the services of Balsmeyer & Everett, Dan Perri or Pablo Ferro, unfortunately.  And Saul Bass is downright dead!  But just as Cathy Danneberg has settled in on Century Gothic, Mr. Buckle has settled on... let's say Swiss921 BT for this cinematic journey and beyond.  A nice, fat, downright obese and ultra-manly sans serif font, as opposed to, and thereby flying in the face of, Hollywood's current obsession with thin, curvy, downright anorexic sans serif fonts.  I guess they're good for testing the pixel quality of your HDTVs or something.

ACT ONE

Either my memory's just downright failing me, or for me personally, probably the best sequence in the movie is when we go from the title sequence to the first shot: a Van Gogh-esque picture of a face.  After that, well... while it would be rather harsh to say it's all downhill from there, but in general that's the feeling I was left with, whatever else you divine from this review.  Maybe I'm just a jaded sophisticate, if only in my own mind.  But maybe it's more like San Francisco's famous Lombard Street: downhill, but a lot of twists and turns along the way?
Returning to the calendar for a bit, there's also a sound aspect to address.  I think the dude who writes on the calendar mumbles something about "Twelve down, five to go."  Now I'm not familiar with mumblecore, but you can usually HEAR the mumbling in mumblecore, right?  It's a little difficult here, but I guess it's ultimately not an important detail.
I did like the glimpse into showbiz we get at first.  See, everyone thinks showbiz is just one big party, that everyone knows everyone and all that... but for those who toil in the sulphur mines of the Hollywood beast, they know.  It's more like high school, where everyone normally stays in their own cliques.  The geeks tend not to socialize with the nerds, the nerds tend not to socialize with the football players or the cheerleaders, etc.  Only in the movies.  Actually, it's probably worse than high school.  At least in high school, there's still a chance to make eye contact with someone without getting sued or tazed.
And then the director throws you for a curve, saying "No pan, no zoom... just one take."  All that setting up of shots and laying of dolly track for two hours in the A.M. for nothing.  Nothing, I tells ya!!!  Wotta waste of coffee.
Now, I hate to be too critical of the movie within the movie, but what am I left to work with?  The actress in sunglasses gives us a line reading... I think it's something from Shakespeare, but it probably also foreshadows the plot to come.  Much like the play within the movie in Cassandra's Dream.  Something about the shattering of illusions.  Personally, I think the speech moves a little too fast.  I'm getting older, no question, and I need more time to absorb my mind-bending contradictions contained within a single speech.
Now the original draft of the script by one Semyon White was a little more equitable about the unfolding of the plot, but Mr. Bigshot Director slash Sound Man Dwayne Buckle had to redraft the script and make it all about the sound guy.  The tortured, soulful sound guy gets to notice first that there's trouble in Green Screen paradise.  Some interference is interfering with the sound recording.  Could it be a small New York radio station bleeding into the proceedings somehow?  Or maybe just some really loud New York downstairs neighbours?  Whatever the source, the take is clearly ruined, and the director tells everyone to take five, on top of everything else.  O, the forces in the world that conspire against the struggling filmmaker(s).
Eventually, a perfect take is gotten, and the work day's over.  But because there's such a small crew, the sound guy and the camera guy have to "strike the set."  Basically, get all their equipment the hell out of there, and roll up the green screen.  One nice thing about ubiquitous green screens!  Striking the set is so much easier now.
And so, we get to the conceit of the film.  It all starts innocently enough.  The sound guy shows the camera guy an exotic, expensive microphone he got overseas.  The camera guy shows the sound guy his "baby," his "pride and joy."  What could it be?  One of those new douchebaggy Red cameras?  A really kick-ass Canon EOS with a $14,000 zoom lens?  No, it seems to be a Panasonic camcorder.  I think I used to have one of those!  But whatever.  Maybe the camera guy's just ultra-nostalgic about it or something.  Still, I can't help but feel a little let down.
AND THEN... the camera guy... let's call him Calvin Jessup, as that is his character's name... anyway, Calvin looks through the camera at the wall where the green screen was, and BOOM!  He sees something.  Something unusual.  Something one doesn't usually see when looking through a camera at a given wall.  Maybe it's chubby rain.  But judging from Calvin's reaction, it's definitely unusual.  Speaking of reactions, I couldn't help but think of an obscure scene, as a movie fanatic is wont to do in such situations, perhaps in a vain attempt to ignore the proceedings right in front of them.  I'll try to explain: on the first season of Da Ali G Show on HBO, Ali(stair) G(raham) was trying to pitch a show idea to some TV executives.  Actually, I think he was pitching to one guy.  It was basically two scenes: an overly long sex scene, and another scene where he's trying to disarm a bomb.  The way Ali G. acted when he was trying to disarm the bomb is what I thought of.  Hey, maybe it's on YouTube!  I gotta do everything for you people... nope, can't find that scene. They've got the sex scene, of course!
Meanwhile, in the midst of this freakout, the big-shot director comes back and says "I thought I told you guys to strike this set!"  ...something like that.  Good way to add tension to an already tense scene.  Someone's probably going to steal that.  I was further reminded of Cheech's big freakout at the beginning of Up in Smoke.  For those of you with the DVD or Blu-Ray, it starts at 14:09 and technically goes on for about a minute, or until Chong snaps him out of it (sorry, SPOILER ALERT).  Oh, I should probably show a picture of the face in question that everyone... and by everyone, I mean the two guys and one chick (SPOILER ALERT)... freaks out about.

No, wait, that's from the very first Nightmare on Elm Street.


No, that's from Doctor Strange.


No, that's from Indiana Jones 4.


...no, sorry, that's from Matrix 3.


No, that's from Hannibal... and it's a face in a public square, not a wall.



No, that's from What Lies Beneath.

No, that's from Labyrinth.

No, that's from The Frighteners, and it's not a face!  Jeez Loueeze.

No, that's from a Three Stooges short, for God's sake.

Sorry, I'm having a little trouble finding it... but you know what?  Maybe it's ultimately for the best.  Now it's your turn to suffer!  Share the wealth of psychological torture, that's my motto.  But there are no small parts, and I think my favorite actor is Mark Fullardt as the gruff, no-nonsense film director.  He only has three scenes, but there's some nice touches.  First, after he says "That's a wrap" and the work day is over, he gets on a cell phone to someone and quietly says "Yeah, I'm walking off the set now."  The second one is when he's talking to Jimmy and he talks about movie locations.  "I've used my dad's boat TWICE!" he says.  Well, we can't all be like Burn After Reading and get to work with Jess Gonchor, I suppose.  But it sounds like someone's been hanging around Hollywood bigshots for far too long, needed to screenplay about it.


ACT TWO - FIVE YEARS LATER

..sorry, that was from Ghostbusters 2.  And so, time marches on, and priorities change.  The little train that was once saying "I think I can, I think I can" is now saying "Cash flow, cash flow, cash flow."  Sorry, that's from Tapeheads, but man!  Trains are nothing if not monotonous in their slogans, aren't they?  But time still marches on, trends come and go... I'll be glad when these $10 Fidget Spinners go away.  Some billionaire has a bunch of scrap metal he doesn't know what to do with, and Fidget Spinners are born.  They'll go away soon, but bacon and mustaches seem to be staying!  And pork pie hats.  I'm getting a little worried about those...  Anyway, we check in with Calvin, post-freakout, and we see that he's got a wife and kid now, and apparently an Oscar.  I'm just going to suspend my disbelief for a moment and assume that it's real.  And not for a Short Subject, neither!  No sir.  One of the big categories.  But Cal's pretty modest about it; I didn't hear him mention it to Jimmy even once!  Or anyone else, for that matter.
Anyway, Calvin is about to receive a phone call from an old friend: tortured sound man Jimmy.  Jimmy just can't stop thinking about that face, and or that wall, the bearer of said face.  And for those of you who have seen the movie, you will know and realize that, where Calvin was once the wall face's biggest supporter, he has now done an almost complete 180 on the subject.  "It wasn't real!" Calvin tries to tell Jimmy.  "I know what I saw," says Jimmy.  Did I mention lately that there be spoiler alerts here?  Maybe I better mention them again, just in case... SPOILER ALERTS!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Alas, I'm still a jaded sophisticate, and I've seen my share of bad sit-coms to know that, when one character says, as strongly as they can, in no uncertain terms, "No way" over and over again, well... yes way is what's actually in store.  And even though it's been five years, and Cal now has a wife, a kid, and more importantly, an Oscar... he's probably going to be looking through his baby Panasonic at that damn ghostly face in the wall behind the green screen in that upstairs studio room once again. 
Next scene: persistence pays off, even after a five-year hiatus.  For no sooner does Calvin think he's done persuading Jimmy the Sound Guy to let go of the face than... Jimmy is right there!  At Calvin's doorstep, no less!  Calvin's a little shook up, especially after Jimmy says "Hey!  Lucky you still live in the same place!"  But Calvin's old lady is pretty cool about it... hmm!  According to the IMDb, Calvin's old lady doesn't have a name.  Now, you might be thinking that her role is a token, thankless one...
...and judging from the framing of this shot alone you'd be right.  But even Bullitt's girlfriend gets to contribute to the plot... no, not the car chase part.  There's more to that movie than the big car chase, for God's sake!  Calvin's wife's big scene, though, that comes later.
SPOILER ALERT: even though this is an independent film, in the tradition of Jean-Luc Godard and Amos Poe, among others, there are some pretensions towards Hollywood greatness.  In his desperation, Jimmy, sensing opportunity, tries to steal Calvin's camera while Calvin is on the phone.  Jimmy makes it outside... but he didn't count on Cal being a hell of a fast runner!  Dang.  Cal is upset, but he still gingerly forces Jimmy to the ground.  They have to be gentle about it, because they're dealing with unsanitary New York City sidewalks.  No safety mats for a soft landing here.
I was reminded of a similar scene between George Clooney and the Tuchman Marsh man towards the end of Burn After Reading... did I mention that already?  Sorry to title-drop so much like that.  My mind wanders.  But despite the physical violence, we can see the art of persuasion at work.  Slick, persuasive Jimmy makes his case about going back to see the face again, while Cal talks about stealing, and threatens to call the cops on ol' PTSD-ish Jimmy.  (Spoiler alert: Cal SO does not call the cops.)
Most of the action in this film centers around the building that Cal lives in.  Dare I give out the address?  41-26 Crescent St Long Island City, NY 11101... oops!  But I DEFINITELY won't give out the code to get into the building, because it might be where one of the cast or crew ACTUALLY LIVES... okay, it's the address of "The Baroness" next door.  Hey, look at it this way: you gotta be prepared for these invasions of privacy, guys!  You're big-time celebrities now, as Letterman always says!  Plus, you probably owe him a million (damn) dollars.  Him and Trump... damn.  Can't seem to do a review without saying that thing's name these days.

...I'll confess, I'm actually a little fuzzy myself on the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.  Like the difference between morals and ethics... no one can explain it.  Okay, Tracy Flick can, but otherwise, not.  But this I do know: they give out an Oscar for each discipline now.  Started in 2004; you know, so The Return of the King could steal another trophy... bastards.  Anyway, hard to say which craft is the alpha; I'm thinking mixing, as there's probably editing involved in mixing.  Now with most movies, the untrained ear could and would probably swear that there's no difference between the two, that they both are part of one cohesive whole... but The Face in the Wall is not that movie.  For one thing, there are a lot of shots on some of the busiest New York streets that there are.  Lots of fast car traffic, even though Woody Allen never drives anywhere.  You can hear the traffic just fine... maybe too well, in fact, and the actor's lines don't always come through.  Um... traffic shouldn't be that loud, guys!  Sometimes you gotta swallow your pride and just redub all the actor's lines.  Countless New York movies before you have done it gladly, and as a matter of course.  Even Buster Keaton did it in The Cameraman... oops, my bad.  That wasn't a talkie.  Or, get the actors some of those tiny mikes they wear on talk shows!  Traffic shouldn't drown out the audience's thoughts, guys.  Or the actor's lines.

As for the editing of the non-sound stuff... you know, the pictures, well... the visual schema here is like Stranger Than Paradise, of all things!  For those of you who don't know, Stranger Than Paradise is a Jim Jarmusch movie from 1984, one of his first, and the big scenes are separated by, like, five or so seconds of pitch black.  Clearly, this visual schema is not copied enough.  But who knows?  Maybe Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will find reason to use it as well.

I will say that I did enjoy the film's music.  And judging from my brief browsing around 360 Sound and Vision's web site, they seem to prefer music production as well.  And music sales!  The music, of course, doesn't always correspond well to the scene, and the music seems to take precedence over the film's dialogue.  Normally in a film, the music will fade out before the actors' lines start, or the music will be quiet enough so that one can ACTUALLY HEAR the actors.  The Face in the Wall is not that movie. 
But there are at least four different themes to the music here.  The first we get is used later on to underscore horror, but we hear it first when we see Calvin waking up from his deep sleep.  O, the horror of going to a job you hate.  The second is for Calvin's taxi ride into the city, and it's kind of peppy, hopeful, a positive spin on things. 
The third is a slow jam for the high school slow dance, and it's a little bit overused, Frank Lee.  For example, just before the big seance (spoiler alert), it's time to go SHOPPING!!!!  We see Cal and Jim buying seance supplies, like extra chairs and what not.  Lol. 
Well, that music is hard to come up with, after all.  It doesn't just fall out of the trees, so show a little respect.  I showed my respect by making an audio CD of the movie.  Alas, it's a tad too long to completely fit onto an 80-minute CD.  But that's the state of car CD players.  Find other means.  For me, it would mean putting on headphones and listening to the film on my portable device... somehow that doesn't seem like a good idea.  Will the cops pull you over if they see you driving with a big pair of headphones on?  Also, I need to give my ears a rest.
So the music of The Face in the Wall is fine and dandy.  But I did have a little problem with the sound at about, let's say the 42:01 mark of the proceedings, spoiler alert.  We see Cal and Jim waiting in line at the ninja store... I'm assuming it's a ninja store, as we see an employee on the left with a t-shirt that says "Shh!  Ninjas are everywhere."  OH MY GOD!  STEVEN SEAGAL WAS RIGHT!  Anyway, they're waiting in line, we're listening to the slow jam with a slight Italian flavor to it, and then BOOM!  Cut to black, and cut all sound.  No music, no ambient background noise, nothing.  Anyone else find that a little jarring?  Or a lot?  Anyone at all?  I guess it's all part of that new editing I'm still not a fan of.  I think symbolically it's meant to represent how, during principal photography, the cast and crew were suddenly accosted by the store's security, who weren't informed that a major motion picture would be filming there.  Just spitballing, but I'm sticking by that theory.
More subliminal advertising: notice that Jimmy wakes up, and there's a poster for another Dwayne Buckle movie on his wall!  Small world.  I'm assuming it's not a poster for The Face in the Wall.  Judging from what little I could see of the other names, it seems to be Cybornetics 1.  To be fair, many a Seinfeld episode took place in the lobby of a movie theater, prominently featuring posters for other Castle Rock productions.  I think even My Giant was one of them!  Ick.

ACT THREE
And so, Calvin and Jimmy put their heads together, but they only make an ass of themselves.  They do some Ghostbusters-style research of the building in question, the building with the infamous face, and they find that, like most old New York buildings, that yes indeed, it has a colorful history.  It probably also has black mold growing inside of it that could tell you some interesting stories, but we'll defer that discussion to architectural blogs instead.  They don't go so far as to get architectural plans of the building, however.
So that's going nowhere.  Jimmy decides that it's time to bring in a third character to this mess.  Fortunately, his ex-girlfriend lived next door to a psychic, so that's who we're going to get.  Let's just say the film, at this critical, crucial juncture, veers towards the territory of Mindwalk.
Scene: the New York movie set where this whole thing started.
Jimmy introduces Calvin, and by extension, us, to Martina Navratilova... I mean, Polinova.  And, again, I hate to nitpick, but traditionally in movies, when introductions are made, you can usually SEE the people getting introduced to each other.  But again, The Face in the Wall is just not that movie.  I think we're dealing with some next-level-type sh... I mean, a new next-level-type visual paradigm here.
Martina shows off some of her psychic chops with insightful observations about Cal, and some other pleasantries ensue.  Then, the Panavision Panasonic camera comes out.  Martina starts shaking.  Even Jimmy seems a little freaked out!  "SHOW ME!!" screams Martina in her, um... accent.  I'll hold off judgment on her reaction to the face, and just say this.  The VERY NEXT SCENE, they're all out on the street drinking coffee, maybe brought to you by Dunkin' Donuts.  Martina is perfectly fine now, gives Jesse a hug, and she helpfully explains "I'm sorry, I don't usually have reactions like that."  Is it me?  Am I asking for too much realism?  A shred of plausibility?  Are these all foreign concepts now?  And by the way, where's Calvin's hug?  I guess the married guys are off limits or something.  To be fair, later on, Martina's not answering her phone.  The normal thing to do would be to not have her answering her phone in the next scene... but this is not that movie.
SPOILER ALERT: As a possible explanation of the face, we're treated to a brief discussion of the Multiverse, and a slightly bigger lesson in nine-dimensional space.  You know, some red meat for the critics.  However, even though it's based in New York, I'm guessing we're probably not talking about Kabbalistic cosmology.  Wonder if Neil deGrasse Tyson addressed this at all on the new Cosmos?  Surprisingly, Wikipedia's page on nine dimensional space is no help; it's more for the real hardcore mathematicians out there.  You know, guys who know from polytopes and Coxeter groups.  There was one site I stumbled across a while ago that talked about the nine dimensions.  So, dimensions 1 thru 3 are for people, of course, and the fourth is time.  But they said that dimensions 7 through 9 are ALSO reserved for 3-dimensional movement!  You know, for all those nine-dimensional beings that haunt your nightmares, like Klingons or the Koch brothers.  I personally was disappointed by this, and I lost a little bit of respect for our 9-D brothers from another mother.  Seems to me all you need is just ONE of the upper dimensions to move around in.  If you need three like mere people, well... why not just use the lower three then?  Of course, that FACE seems to be having trouble with the three dimensions!  You're an inter-dimensional being and you get stuck in a mere Earth wall?  Am I supposed to be impressed by that?
Speaking of red meat for the critics, I would be derelict in my duty at the very least, and downright criminally negligent at the most, if I failed to mention Calvin's big soliloquoy.  He has a brief moment alone with the face in the wall, and ... yup, he starts talking to it.  Now, sure, you could be negative and say, Oh, but The Movie Hooligan!  Isn't this just like a similar scene with Jeff Bridges and a nearly comatose Robin Williams in The Fisher King?  Or with George Clooney and a nearly comatose ... whoever in The Descendants?  I better look up her name.  Patricia Hastie, that's it!  Well, don't worry, because the scene in our instant case isn't going to get too emotional.  Actors do tend to go over the top sometimes.  What's that about?  And besides... the examples I just cited?  Yeah, that's what the fast forward button is for.  Bore-ring!  No one wants to re-see that.  Once is quite enough, TYVM. 
But Jimmy does happen to catch what Cal is doing, but at least he has the decency to knock on the door first.  "You were talking to the face, weren't you?"  "No, I wasn't talking to the face."  Awk-ward!

EPILOGUE
So what's the big lesson here?  Something about procrastination?  My life's already littered with such examples!  But when you procrastinate with another person, they might inconvenience you at some point later on, especially when the nightmares come.  NEVER procrastinate in groups, ever. 
What about finding supernatural phenomena at your workplace?  Maybe there's a new type of harassment law in the offing, for starters.  Or maybe work's just not exciting enough.  You hear people say that from time to time about their job slash passion.  They say "The day it stops being fun is the day I quit."  But you know me, and I always try to make lemonade; how about a tell-all book about that day it stopped being fun?

Now, the film's end credits are very short, which means there's no credit for special effects.  You know why?  BECAUSE THERE WERE NONE!  IT WAS ALL REAL!  All practically shot on digital videom thereby conforming to the rules of Lars von Trier's Dogme 95, or whatever the hell it is.  You know, all natural light, no special effects... probably no plot or script either.  So what's left, besides gross family secrets?  So, there's no special effects in The Face in the Wall... still, I can't help but sense the invisible hand of Adobe After Effects in the big semi-explosive finale.
As for Calvin's long suffering wife, well... she's on the phone with someone.  He's not credited, but judging from the voice, I'm thinking... Denzel?  She needs someone to talk to about all these strange goings-on ever since Jimmy came back into Calvin's life.  She's tired of being left out of the boring seances and what not, and she's going to get to the bottom of this whole wall face thing.  She starts at the bottom of the laundry basket in the tiny New York apartment kitchen.  She finds... a homemade DVD, of all things.  Ah, filmmakers.  Well, at least it was in a jewel case.  She puts the DVD in the DVD player, and gets her first eyeful of that ghostly white, puffy, gout-afflicted face on the wall, and... well, her reaction is decidedly different from Martina's... and from Cal and Jimmy.  Maybe she just wasn't in the proper frame of mind or something to properly appreciate it... but, The Movie Hooligan, what do you think it is?  I'm not talking about your fancy book learning, or something you read online, or some smart-ass comment you want to make in another vain attempt to be humorous.  I'm talking about you.  What do you think of the face?  Hmm?  Is it a 9D being?  Is it a ghost from 200 years ago?  Or maybe someone who got crushed by a Marshall stack when that place was a disco?  Well, I've thought a lot about it... and I think the face is supposed to be Mike Pence.  It's part of some Republican plan to support individuals' rights and states rights.  You know, by watching everyone all the time.  A chicken in every pot, and a face in every wall.  They're beta-testing what appears to be Mike Pence, but without the nose job.

The Face in the Wall appears to be a small project between big projects for writer-director Dwayne Buckle.  You know, like how Keanu Reeves did Sweet November and Hardball (the motion picture, not the Chris Matthews show on MSNBC) and a couple others in between the Matrix sequels of 2003.  The more director-centric example is of course Coppola's The Conversation in between Godfather 1 and 2.  Buckle's big projects, of course, are Cybornetics 1 and Cybornetics 2: The Return of McGregor.  No rest for the weary in that ol' Showbiz, folks!... hmm.  This is probably a dumb question, but I notice that there's 2012's Cybornetics, and there's 2013's Cybornetics: Urban Cyborg.  So shouldn't Cybornetics 2 actually be Cybornetics 3?  Or is Cybornetics: Urban Cyborg a prequel, or just Cybornetics 1.5?  Clearly I haven't done my homework on this one here.  But the door to a The Face in the Wall sequel is clearly open...

So I've settled on a rating of 2.5 stars for some reason, but still... WTF, FTW!

**1/2
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Auteur Watch - Eloyce Gist

Tis a sad story indeed.  You marry into the family business, or Hollywood in the case of husband James Gist, and you make a couple films.  Then the husband dies and, just as lions will try to ignore the offspring of a fellow lion that dies, Hollywood circles the wagons and says that James Gist was too much of a perfectionist, taking two years to make a short.  What's that?  Why is that?  Plus, he made a film with the word "Hell" in the title.  That must've been a big no-no for the 1930s.

Gold and Silver Shine

So few debuts this week, so much time... or is it the opposite?  Alas, a crop of upstarts have knocked It out of place.  But not to worry!  The sequel is just around the corner.  Thank God for the new digital age of Hollywood.  So much time wasted developing old-fashioned film stock back then.  Not to mention all the caustic chemicals involved!  Of course, if they were really good, and had more confidence in the product, they would've done like Peter Jackson and made both at the same time.  But if the sequel takes place 27 years later, why do they have the same young dude playing Pennywise the evil clown?  You're supposed to get the father to play the role instead!
But what do I know, I'm just a critic.  Speaking of sequels in the works, they're already working on a third Kingsmen movie!  For some reason, I thought Kick-Ass would get to a third installment, but the Kingsmen series is clearly much more audience friendly and shovel-ready... sequel-ready.  Well, it's more in the vein of James Bond.  The second one debuted at #1 this week, and it's called Kingsman: The Golden Circle.  That's funny, because I seem to remember the first one ending with a brown circle!
Um... moving on, debuting at #3 this week is The Lego(TM) Ninjago(TM) Movie.  Well, Olivia Munn did what she could to flog it on The Daily Show, but to no avail.  After all, she plays a mom in it!  Ewwww... And to add insult to injury, look at how far down the cast she is!  Seventeenth out of... God knows how many.  I don't want to be too critical, however, because she is a 2nd degree Black Belt in... one of those marital martial arts.  What is it about Hollywood that makes people need to learn one or another flavour of karate?  What, are all conference rooms going to have those floor mats now for practicing somersaults?  Anyway, some were surprised that a movie about Ninjago Lego's didn't debut at #1 with over 100 million dollars, American domestic.  Maybe it's doing better overseas.  Believe me, I've got a lot of Legos, but I have yet to bring myself to get interested in Ninjago's.  Maybe I'm just racist.  But I do like the plot: a teenager rebelling against his warlord dad.  Alas, Dad is not one of the good warlords.  He's an evil warlord.  Incidentally, how come Scott Evil never starred in his own movie?
At #7, it's a low-budget horror movie called Friend Request.  I'm just assuming it's horror; sounds like it's about (The) Facebook.  Incidentally, I've seen a couple alerts issued by my fellow Facebook friends.  One of them was actually for one "James Wood."  They said, "Do not accept a friend request from James Wood.  He is a hacker who will hack your account."  Oh, it's a constant arms race against the hackers, I tell you.  This isn't like the time someone guessed Kelly LeBrock's password, either.  Mere child's play, that was.  (hint: it was "IH8StevenSeagal")  So far, I've been lucky, as the hackers were only interested in my Zynga Poker chips.  Also, it's been a while since I've heard from Facebook Security, or one of its counterparts like £@¢Eß0øk $£¢µ(¡±¥.  I kinda miss those.
Our final debut this week is Stronger about Jeff Bauman, a victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing who lost both his legs.  It debuted at #9, so I'm thinking that no one wants to be depressed right now.  It's also sort of a love story, people!  Tatiana Maslany was just on Colbert promoting her part in the movie.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Auteur Watch - Carl Gilliard

Oops!  I got so excited that I forgot to do this!  Anyway, for those of you depressed about getting older... what?  NO, I'm not obliquely referring to myself (wipes away tear, sniff...)... for those of you depressed about getting older, take comfort or outrage from the example of Carl Gilliard.  I mean, look at this guy's IMDb Top 4.  LOOK UPON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What do you notice about it?  Notice anything?  Well, what I notice is that the earliest thing on there is from 2005, as of this writing.  I mean, this guy's been busting his ass since 1990 in the acting mines!  What are those 15 years, then?  Chopped liver supplements?
I mean... oh, screw this guy.  He was on "The Bold and the Beautiful."  Oh, I just hate people like that.  Seriously, though, I need to go back to Super Supplements and buy some of those beef liver tablets they had there.  I'm obsessed with them now.  Wonder if they come with onion tablets for balance?  Anyway, as Letterman would probably quip, so you got this big-time Hollywood actor who's been in millions of motion pictures.  And Paul Shaffer would interrupt, saying "Really?  Millions?  Ah HAH HAH!!!!"  So, surely, with all that acting under one's belt, having dealt with scores of egotistical directors of one stripe or another... surely the thought of promotion to a higher calling has crossed one's mind?  Perhaps the mind of Carl Gilliard?  If you guessed "yes," you'd be right!  Sorry, I ain't got no funding for a proper contest or anything.  No $500 gift certificates, no trips to Bermuda.  This is why I'm not getting anywhere in life.
And so we get Gilliard's solo directorial effort... for now... and it's called Section 8... oops, that link is to the production company.  No, the film is called Section 8... sorry, that link goes to the IMDb Quotes page for Full Metal Jacket.  Third time's the charm!... There we go!  Carl Gilliard's Section 8 from 2006.  And... I dunno.  Something tells me this wasn't a fun, fruitful directorial experience for Carl Gilliard.  My first clue?  Just read the plot description of Carl Gilliard's Section 8... READ UPON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
...didja catch it?  No shout-out to Carl Gilliard's directing.  Just a bunch of claptrap about the award-winning producers and about the play the film is based on.  And they refer to the playwright as Anthony Lovell Winters.  But look at the IMDb page of the film!  LOOK UPON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ..sorry, I've got a bit of a headache right now.  Anyway, the IMDb refers to this guy as Tony Clifton... I mean, Tony Winters.  I guess us common folk must address him as "Anthony."  Hmm!  Another veteran of TV and the occasional soap opera.  One a writer, one a director!  I guess these people have to stick together or something.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

No, Seriously... Broadway Danny Rose called, Wants its Plot Back

Ah, Netflix... where would Adam Sandler be without you?  Welp, it's not a wing of Amazon yet.  Maybe Sony, though.  While director Steven Brill does what he can... at least Little Nicky seemed to smack of effort... it's the same old thing.  All of Adam Sandler's friends stop by for cameos, while his really really good friends get bigger parts, like Nick Swardson of Bucky Larson fame... or infamy, rather.  Thanks to computers, he's better than Buster Keaton ever was.  The older I get, the less tolerance I have for pain, but maybe someday we'll skip right to the end of Haskell Wexler... I mean, "Sandy Wexler."  Characters that are fake pathetic can be fun, too.  And besides!  Broadway Danny Rose is in icky black and white!  Bore-ring.  Plus, Rose is not a 90s nostalgia piece.  Well, Sandler misses his adolescence a lot, and so do a lot of other people his age.  It happens.
Meanwhile, in non-Netflix news, one film in particular caught my eye.  Well, its poster, anyhow.  Charlie Sheen's latest bomb called 9/11.  You can tell from the poster that it's probably a drama.  He's trying as hard as he can to look serious, anyway.  But somehow it's fitting that Charlie Sheen would do a movie about 9/11 at some point.  I mean, he and 9/11 have a lot in common.  After all, one is the greatest disaster to ever happen on American soil... and the other is 9/11.  What?  What did I say?  I guess the point I was trying to make is the Oscar voting block should just skip right on ahead to the Irving Thalberg Award for Mr. Sheen.  Make it like for Saul Zaentz in 1996, an abundance of well-deserved riches.
But let's forget our troubles, get happy, and think about the immediate state of the big national storytelling marketplace.  First up at #2... It cleaned up again, as semi-expected... it's something called American Assassin.  I tell you, if Hollywood can't sell a unit like this, well... it's time to go into another business.  I mean, it's got everything.  It's got Americans, it's got assassins... probably guns, and a bikini girl in distress in the trailer.  Things readily available on the internet, either for purchase or just in picture form, and yet somehow they still put asses in seats.  God bless assassins... I mean, America.
Now, being a highly visual person, I noticed one detail of the poster right away.  Michael Keaton's face on the poster of American Assassin reminded me of a recent Kevin Costner outing... turns out it's called Criminal.  Simply Criminal.  Similar texture, but Costner's head is just a hell of a lot bigger... on the poster!  On the poster.  Let's try to leave ego out of this.  Let's just say they're both washed up!  Seriously, though... get started on that Beetlejuice sequel, dude.  I need to revamp my childhood memories some more, in HD and 1080p, 4k... all that crap.
Meanwhile, in all news Jennifer Lawrence, that movie with Spielberg about the photographer is off the table, alas.  But another X-Men movie is on it!  That's the trouble with Hunger Games, I suppose.  But we can wait 30 years to see how those crazy kids all grew up and became interesting silver screen adults.  Anyway, J. Law had a couple months off to let her hair down, so why not team up with auteur Darren Aronofsky?  He's sort of buddies with David O. Russell, for one.  His baffling new Mother! is confusing audiences and critics alike at #3.  Well, it worked for House at the End of the Street, so why not this one.  I gotta hand it to Aronofsky, because at least he's trying.  He created the new visual signature in The Wrestler, where we follow someone with a Steadi-Cam for a few minutes without seeing their face.  It's probably an old visual signature invented by Max Linder or Preston Sturges, of course, but he put a new dress on the old gal, so to speak.  Plus, it's been a while since we've seen a film where the characters have no names, or are basically named after their relation to the plot.  Two-Lane Blacktop has a little of that.  Maybe it's too early to call it, but... best Oscar for Lawrence?  Oh, right.  She's already got one.  Well, time to win a second one, and for LEAD performance, not supporting... oh, it was for lead?  Dayamn, grrl!  There's nowhere to go but down from here!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Auteur Watch - Roderick Giles

I'm a little confused.  There's Roderick Jaynes... I mean, Giles, the big time movie director.  But there's ALSO Roderick Giles, the big time YouTube star.  Could they be the same person?  I'm tending to think not.  Submitted for your approval... the YouTube Roderick Giles seems to be all about gospel music, singing in church, real clean-cut proper stuff and all that.  Now, take a look at this... this Gold Digger Killer here.  A modern day horror story at the very least... and that's just the pot belly on the poster!  Alas, there's only a trailer for it on YouTube.  Now, for those of you familiar with that one famous Kanye song... you're right!  They do indeed include a reference to it.  Not ashamed enough, apparently. 
Oh, and there's someone on YouTube that more or less reviews Gold Digger Killer.  Ah, to be on the fringes of showbiz.  The reviewer met the writer of the movie, so gee... I wonder if the review is going to be at all negative?  Hmmm... the suspense is killing me.
So, in the midst of all the shorts that Giles has directed, there's one or two highlights... feature-length highlights, that is.  The other one is called Deception... no, wait, that's the 2008 Hugh Jackman non-Wolverine-related vehicle.  No, it's called Deceived... no, wait, that's the 1991 dramatic Goldie Hawn vehicle.  And dramatic for John Heard as well... why do they always do that?  Another self-destructive star.  Here he was, having built up all this goodwill from Home Alone, and he throws it all away on a non-starter like this.
Ain't it always the way.  No, the movie I'm trying to talk about is Deceiver... no, wait, that's the 1997 thriller starring Tim Roth and Chris Penn.  And for those of you who are big fans of Reservoir Dogs, well... it's practically a sequel!  Nowadays, of course, Jonah Hill would have to fill in for Chris Penn for a remake.  No, Giles' film is called Deceptive.  Well, it's a different tense of the same word, you gotta give him that!  The potential to be deceiving, so fraught with dramatic possibilities.  But once again, we're dealing with a movie with no reviews, no clips on YouTube, and it doesn't even have five ratings from members of the large IMDb community.  So where do we go from here?  Well, to the Plot Summary page, of course!  After building a record empire... so glad we don't have to go inside the sausage factory on this one.  That's been done to death, Frank Lee.  Anyway, after building a record empire, Jay Z... I mean, Jay Walker believes he has it all: a house in the suburbs, a beautiful wife, 2.5 kids, a four-door sedan, fake wood paneling on the kids, what have you.  HOWEVER, and this is a big however, his life takes a left turn ... dramatic turn when he signs a new female artist to JavaScript Records.  Heat from this love triangle brings deception, lies, betrayal... and probably herpes.  I gotta go.

The Perfect Storms

And so, while Florida continues bracing itself from the lashings of Hurricane Irma and possibly others, Warner Bros. in association with Bob Shaye... I mean, New Line Cinema... once again proves that it's the most ass-kicking movie studio of all time.  I mean, 117 million domestic for Stephen King's It?  Of course, it cost about that much to promote the movie on the IMDb and all, but it's still nothing to sneeze at.  Why, it's already made more in one day than that Dark Tower movie made in three weeks!  Ouch.  I guess that was the problem right there.  They didn't listen to the focus groups.  But the focus groups told them over and over: where's the kids?  It's just these two grown-ups shooting at each other in the big city, maybe on 5th Avenue.  Where's the group of kids that gets picked on?  That's why The Dark Tower didn't do so well.
Now, according to the IMDb Plot Summary page for It, the movie takes place in 1989.  Don't know if that's when the actual book takes place, but it does fit in with that old rule of movie nostalgia (of mine): your average period piece should take place about thirty years ago.  It worked with The Sting and Summer of '42.  Also, kudos to the casting, as they seem to have found the reincarnation of Dainel Radcliffe.  And to a greater or lesser extent, the reincarnation of Steve Buscemi!  I guess casting agents and casting directors are the most nostalgic of all.  They miss the old studio days as well... of course, they forget that they wouldn't have a job back then!  Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg did all the casting back then.
Meanwhile, in second place... meh.  Only two debuts this week.  Once again, the one greedy movie soaks up all the cash, and second place can't even make it to ten million dollars.  But once again Reese Witherspoon takes to the airwaves to appeal directly to moviegoers.  Ah, Oscar(TM)(R) winners.  Now, is it just me, or does the poster for Reese's latest, Home Again, look a little bit like the poster for There's Something About Mary?  Of course, the real story of the film involves the film's writer and director, the daughter of Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer.  This is her big chance to do the family proud... well, Nancy anyway.  We haven't heard from Charles in years.  Anyway, if this chance doesn't work out, she's got at least two or three more chances to do the family proud.  I just wish she'd quit feuding with Rebecca Miller already.  I mean, Death of a Salesman was just one play!  Look at how many jewels the team of Meyers and Shyer have given us!  There's no comparison!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Auteur Watch - S. Lance Gibson

Oh good, a short one.  Anyway, it's an age old story: husband cheats on wife, and wife confronts the evil other woman... sorry, I mean 'evil other woman' for some reason.  Gotta have those single apostrophe quotes in there.  BUT, and this is a big but... what happens when the evil other woman is the wife?  Well, let's go to the historical record for this one.  The only other example of this that comes to mind comes from the second Austin Powers movie called Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.  Seemed like a small detail at the time, as it was one of those incidents that occurs during the credits.  Austin Powers walks in on himself in the bedroom... and he positively cries out "Felicity?  From TEN MINUTES AGO?!!"  ...see, there's the whole time traveling thing and... ah, skip it.  Ultimately, however, one of the Austins says "Technically it's not cheating!"  But who knows... maybe S. Lance Gibson's take on this subject will be different.  Alas, it's not on YouTube, so they're making it really really hard for me.  Now I'm tired.

How Terribly Strange to be 70

Looks like the Russians are once again inflating my numbers.  Not at Pee Pee Tape-type levels, mind you.  Also, I have no cursor.  Must be part of that whole New Firefox vibe or something... slower service, no cursor.  What's not to like?  I move too fast as it is anyway... ooh!  Just got my cursor back after posting the pic.  I spoke too soon, Firefox... but I'm still going to rag on you about these multi-second pauses anytime I try to select a button.  Anyway, on to the box office.  I'm going to try and skip mentioning a certain current Commander in Chief, and move right on to the debuts this week, and...
...NO DEBUTS!!!  PATHETIC!!!!  And on Labor Day weekend, of all days!  And Hollywood employs a lot of people, mind you.  Lots of union people living out there, lots of showbiz families just trying to scrape together enough money for the bills, your Deschanels, your Leonettis, your Gyllenhaals, what have you.  Oh sure, Magdalena and Jacob are doing just fine... and they better be, but what about Poppa?  Languishing away in obscurity, directing eposides episodes of "Bosch"?  "Bosch," for Gawd'z Zake!  That's Thomas Schlamme's job now!
Oh, but I carry on.  Seriously, though, if your film hasn't made 300 million dollars domestic already, looks like it ain't a'gonna.  Check this out, though: Annabelle: Creation at #2 has made more in four weeks than The Hitman's Bodyguard at #1 has done in three.  Not that it's going to slow down Deadpool much at all; he's busy right now doing not one, but two Deadpool movies.  Well, technically, one of them's not a Deadpool movie... ooh!  Just thought of something to say about our current Commander in Chief.  Well, North Korea's acting up again, and apparently they blew up a hydrogen bomb over the weekend.  Alas, our president had to interrupt his running golf game to say that this act of bomb testing was "very hostile and dangerous."  And yet, during the campaign, didn't he say a few times that he wouldn't rule out using nuclear weapons?  That they're just sitting there, not being used?  And what a kind of tragedy that is?  And that maybe other countries might need to develop a nuclear arsenal?  Well, this is what that looks like, Mr. President!  This is what freedom looks like, okay?  It's messy and it's ugly, but it's freedom!  Just think of it as a nuclear Second Amendment.  Besides, once you get the nukes, then you get the power.  And once you get the power, then you get... something else.  I forget what.  I gotta go.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Short Reviews - September 2017

Bridge to Terabithia - With Robert Patrick as Jack Aarons

Syndicate Smasher - With Joseph Valentinetti as Jack Abate... and with Jon Miguel as Jack Samson

"The Young and the Restless" - With Peter Bergman as Jack Abbott (2,337 episodes)

"Jeopardy!" "Episode #32.137" - With Peter Bergman as Jack Abbott

"Heartbeat" "The Championship" - With Stuart Laing as Jack Abbott

"The King of Queens" "Inner Tube" - With Peter Bergman as Jack Abbott

Stardust Memories - With John Rothman as Jack Abel

"Mammoth" - With Summer Glau as Jack Abernathy

The Shade Shepherd - With Jordon Hodges as Jack Ables

Casino Jack - With Kevin Spacey as Jack Abramoff

"The Art of Acting Out" - With Evan Duggan as Jack Ace (unknown episodes)

My Brother's Wedding - With Lucious Walker as Jack Ace

Return of the Don - With Steve McTigue as Jack Ackerman

"It's Always Jan" "Guilty Conscience" - With Dan Tobin as Jack Adams

"Zorro" "The Man Who Cried Wolf" - With Omri Katz as Jack Adams

"2 Gars 30 Jours" "Arno vs. Camille" - Avec Alain Gauthier son Jack Adams

Astro - With Gary Daniels as Jack Adams

"Berrenger's" "Power Play" - With Liam Sullivan as Jack Adams

"Darcy's Wild Life" - With Andrew Chalmers as Jack Adams (32 episodes)

A Donkey a Carrot and a Stick - With Rohan Mirchandaney as Jack Adams

Exit Zero - With Robert Foran as Jack Adams

A Fight for Honor - With William Fairbanks as Jack Adams

The Killing of Sister George - With Byron Webster as Jack Adams

"Laramie" "Three Rode West" - With Ross Elliott as Jack Adams

"Play for Today" "The Saturday Party" - With Don Henderson as Jack Adams

Silver City Kid - With Allan Lane as Jack Adams

"The Rifleman" "Miss Milly" - With Richard Devon as Jack Adams

Ziya - With J. R. Craig as Jack Adams

"The Paul Lynde Show" "An Affair to Forget" - With Roger Perry as... THE HORSE CHESTNUT!!! I mean, as Jack Adamson

Arrival II - With Patrick Muldoon as Jack Addison

"Nash Bridges" "Patriots" - With Lol Levy as Jack Adler

"Orlando" "A Ring of Dogs" and "Humpty Dumpty" - With Kevin Spacey Stoney as Jack Adler

"Jack" - Avec William Coryn son Jack adolescent (5 episodes)

"Jack" - Avec Dominique Maurin son Jack adulte (5 episodes)

"Hawaii Five-O" "A Matter of Mutual Concern" - With Seth Sakai as Jack Afuso

"Casanova" "Episode #1.2" - With James Holly as Jack aged 6

"Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story" - With Tomas Shepard as Jack aged 6 (2 episodes, 2001)

"Casanova" - With Brock Everitt-Elwick as Jack aged 11 (2 episodes)

"Casanova" "Episode #1.3" - With Tom Burke as Jack aged 20

"Lindenstraße" - With Cosima Viola as Jack Aichinger

Persephone - With Louis Mandylor as Jack Aidoneus

Only a Mill Girl - With Arthur Condy as Jack Ainsleigh

The Orange Bandit - With Harry Fisher as Donald Trump Jack Ainsley... the ORANGE BANDIT

False Evidence - With W. A. Howells as Jack Ainsley

"Casualty" "The Love You Take" - With Jamie Burch as Jack Aires

The Enemy Within - With Rex 'Snowy' Baker as Jack Airlie

Never a Dull Moment - With Dick Van Dyke as Jack Albany

Error in Judgment - With Paul Dooley as Jack Albert

"The Patricia Neal Story" - With John Dorrin as Jack Albertson

"Softly Softly: Task Force" "Trust a Woman" - With Jim O'Connor as Jack Albridge

Deadly Dancer - With Jeff Herbick as Jack Alden... and with J. Paul Deloy as Jack Alden (voice).  Hmmm!!  But my personal favourite... with Jack Damone as Guido the Bomb Dealer.  I GOTTA SEE THIS DAMN MOVIEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Silver Lining - With Henry King as Paul Lamar / Jack Alden

The Eagle's Talons - With Fred Thomson as Jack Alden

"The Risen" - With Tony Pallone as Jack Alder

"Playbox" "Episode #3.16" - With James Sharkey as Jack Aldersley

"Death Valley Days" "The Hangman Waits" - With Ken Christy as Jack Aldrich

A Moment of Madness - With Edward Earle as Jack Aldridge

"Oz" "Medium Rare" - With Roger Rees as Jack Aldridge

"The Bold Ones: The New Doctors" "Tightrope to Tomorrow" - With Whit Bissell as Jack Alexander

Hinterhalt - Mitt Will Gilmore als Jack Alexander UND Frederik Steiner!  Mein Gotten Himmel!!!!

"The Avengers" "Dragonsfield" - With Thomas Kyffin as Jack Alford

The Clean Gun - With Stanley J. Preston as Jack Algers

The Intruder - With Oceo (O. C.) Ritch as Jack Allardyce

"Casualty" "You are Your Only Limit" - With Danny McNamara as Jack Allcott

A Bullet for Joey - With William (Bill) Bryant as Jack Allen

"Hotel" "Heroes" - With Pat Harrington (Jr.) as Jack Allen

Ballad of Tennessee Rose - With Bill Oberst Jr. as Jack Allen

It's My Party - With Christopher Atkins as Jack Allen

One Is Guilty - With J. Carrol Naish as Jack Allen

"The Big Story" "Jack Allen, Reporter" - With James McCallion as Jack Allen

"The New WKRP in Cincinnati" - With Michael Des Barres as Jack Allen (24 episodes)

"Dixon of Dock Green" "Dead Jammy" - With Graham Skidmore as Jack Allenby... but also with Mary Jordan as Mrs. Jack!

"Dalziel and Pascoe" "On Beulah Height" - With Tom Georgeson as Jack Allgood

"The F. B. I." "False Witness" - With Paul Lukather as Jack Allis

"Heartbeat" "From Ancient Grudge" - With Richard Riddell as Jack Allsop

"Bridges to Cross" "Looks Like Up to Me" - With Gerald S. O'Loughlin as Jack Allward... and with only one other person in the cast, the episode is aptly titled!!!!!

"Somerset Maugham Hour" "A Casual Affair" - With Derek Waring as Jack Almond

"W. Somerset Maugham" "A Casual Affair" - With James Maxwell as Jack Almond

Dynamite - With Daniel Baldwin as Jack 'Alpha'

God's Law and Man's - With Augustus Phillips as Jack Alston

The Oath - With Mark Sivertsen as Jack Alton

"Death Valley Days" "Measure of a Man" - With Bing Russell as Jack Alvord

"Northern Exposure" "Rosebud" - With Ray Collins as Jack Amberson (archive footage, uncredited... should I keep this one anyway?)

Speed Wild - With Maurice 'Lefty' Flynn as Jack Ames

"Black Scorpion" "Power Play" - With Martin Kove as Jack Ames / Firearm (archive footage, uncredited)

"Black Scorpion" "Armed and Dangerous" - With Martin Kove as Jack Ames / Firearm

"Sting of the Black Scorpion" - With Martin Kove as Jack Ames / Firearm

Twilight - With Gene Hackman as Jack Ames

True Confessions - With Charles Durning as Jack Amsterdam

Cannibal Holocaust - With Perry Pirkanen as Jack Anders

"The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" "Palestine, October 1917" - With Cameron Daddo as Jack Anders

Den Russiske Sangerinde - With Ole Lemmeke as Jack Andersen

"Dark Realm" "Emma's Boy" - With Christopher Atkins as Jack Anderson

"A Minute with Stan Hooper" "Dead Family Robinson" - With David Doty as Turd Ferguson Jack Anderson

We'll Let You Know - With Gregory Lee Carson and Nick Sloan as Jack Anderson

"The F. B. I. Files" "Manhunt" - With Tim(othy L.) Smith as Jack Anderson

"A Country Practice" "Floating on Air: Part 1" - With Jake Diggins as Jack Anderson

"A Country Practice" "Floating on Air: Part 2" - With Jake Diggins as Jack Anderson

Birthday Surprise - With Christos Vasilopoulos as Jack Anderson

Cold - With Markus Milton as Jack Anderson

Con el Niño Atravesado - Con Agustín Bernal como Yack Anderson

Dinner is Served - With Eric Blossman as Jack Anderson

"Hawaii Five-O" "O kela me keia manawa" - With Karl Makinen as Jack Anderson

"Heartbeat" "Vacant Possession" - With Robin Bowerman as Jack Anderson

I Like it That Way - With Roger Pryor as Jack Anderson

Jack and Jill: A Postscript - With Anthony Ward as Jack Anderson

"Matlock Police" "The Great Equaliser" - With Allan Penney as Jack Anderson... and with Peter Gwynne as Det. Sgt. Jack Maloney

Dick Barton, Detective - With Jack Shaw as Jock Anderson

"Dick Barton: Special Agent" - With James Cosmo as Jock Anderson (30 episodes)

Gator Green - With Jim Van Bebber as Jack Andrew

"Blue Heelers" "Promises, Promises" - With Ho Thi Lu as Jack Andrews

"Love of Life" - With Donald Symington as Jack Andrews (unknown episodes)

"Cheyenne Warrior" - With Bo Hopkins as Jack Andrews

"The Christmas Shoes" - With Hugh Thompson as Jack Andrews

"Indictment: The McMartin Trial" - With Vic Polizos as Jack Andrews

The Little Mother - With Ernest G. Batley as Jack Andrews

Thaandavam - With Isaak Gracia as Jack Andrews

Two Weeks in Another Town - With Kirk Douglas as Jack Andrus

"A Doctor's Story" - With Raúl Dávila as Jack Angel

"L. A. Law" - With Gregory Itzin as Jack Angeletti (3 episodes)

"Toma" "Pound of Flesh" - With Joseph Hindy as Jack Angelus

Chicago Deadline - With Harold Vermilyea as Jack Anstruder

Green Visionary - With Jason King as Jack Anthony

Hop-a-Long Cassidy - With Kenneth Thomson as Jack Anthony

"Ghost Whisperer" "Melinda's First Ghost" - With Brett Cullen as Jack Applewhite

Julieta Buys a Son - Con Gilbert Roland como Jack Aranda

"La Clinica" "Episode #1.1" - With Ricardo Polanco as Jack Aranda

My Favorite Superhero - With Malcolm Matthews as Jack Arbors

The Riddle Rider - With William (H.) Gould as Jack Archer

The Money Trap - With William Campbell as Jack Archer (uncredited)

'Robotech: Battlecry' - With Cam Clarke as Jack Archer (voice)

"Finnegan Begin Again" - With David Huddleston as Jack Archer

"Foyle's War" "A War of Nerves" - With Samuel Oatley as Jack Archer

"Nash Bridges" "Inside Out" - With Badja Djola as Jack Archer

The Delicate Art of the Rifle - With Markham Carr as Jock Architect

East Side, West Side - With Peter M. Thompson as Jock Ardley (uncredited)

Apartment Zero - With Raúl Florido as Jack's Argentine Contact... oh, right, and with Hart Bochner as Art Jack Carney

"Ordeal by Innocence" "Episode #1.1" - With Anthony Boyle as Jack Argyll

3 Holes and a Smoking Gun - With Zuker Khan as Jack Ariamehr

The Fear Ship - With Edmund Willard as Jack Arkwright

The Second Mate - With David Dunbar as Jack Arkwright... apparently, these Arkwrights were a seafaring lot

The Man in Irons - With True Boardman as Jack Arling... a Newspaper Reporter

"Jack Armenta" - With Adonis Johnston as Jack Armenta (unknown episodes)

"Charlie's Angels" "Angels at Sea" - With Michael Irving as Jack Armetage

Captain Jack - With Bob Hoskins as Jack Armistead

"Bronco" "A Sure Thing" - With Russell Thorson as Jack Armitage

Clear the Decks - With Reginald Denny as Jack Armitage

"Kavanagh QC" "Nothing But the Truth" - With Terence Harvey as Jock Armstrong

"Eyes" "Wings" - With Eyal Podell as Jack Armstrong

"Night & Day" - With Eddie O'Connell as Jack Armstrong (occasional) (unknown episodes)

'Saints Row' - With David (H.) Lawrence (XVII) as Jack Armstrong... and a couple others

"Spy Smasher Returns" - With Kane Richmond as Alan Armstrong / Spy Smasher / JACK ARMSTRONG

"BBC Sunday-Night Theatre" "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" - With George Murcell as Jack Armstrong

The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln - With Pat Hartigan as Jack Armstrong

The Last Revolutionary - With John Marshall Jones as Jack Armstrong

The Major's Dilemma - With H. B. Waring as Jack Armstrong

Notes - With Gregory Balaban as Jack Armstrong

The Planter's Daughter - With Percy Moran as Jack Armstrong

"Rizzoli & Isles" - With Enver Gjokaj as Jack Armstrong (4 episodes)

"Running Out" - With Rex Robbins as Jack Armstrong

The Troublemaker - With Tom Aldredge as Jack Armstrong

"One Special Victory" - With Denis Arndt as Jack Arner

"The Texan" "Outpost" - With Christopher Dark as Jack Arno

"Dangerous Knowledge" "Death Wish Risk" - With Jeremy Wilkin as Jack Arnold

"Earth Versus Everything" - With Dane Nielsen as Jack Arnold

Rocky - With John Alvin as Jack Arnold

Secret Flight - With Richard Attenborough as Jack Arnold... RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH!!!!!

"Stairwell: Trapped in the World Trade Center" - With Jonathan M. Parisen as Jack Arnold

The Stray - With Cameron Carey as Jack Arnold

When Odds are Even - With William Russell as Jack Arnold... top billing, BTW

"The Wonder Years" - With Dan Lauria as Jack Arnold (107 episodes)

The Ruling Class - With Peter O'Toole as Jack Arnold Alexander Tancred Gurney - 14th Earl of Gurney

"Maybury" "Trouble at Home" - With Walter Sparrow as Jack Arnott

"Heartbeat" "Always a Copper" - With Fred Ridgeway as Jack Arundall

Black Oxfords - With Coy Watson as Jack as a Boy

"The Virginian" "The Price of Love" - With Lee de Broux as Jack Ash

"Mission: Impossible" "The Amnesiac" - With Victor Paul as Jack Ashbough

The Devil Lives in Clarksville County - With Jerry Chappell as Jack Ashmore

The Test of Chivalry - With Edward Peil Sr. as Jack Ashton

"Game Bangers" - With Sean Collins as Jack Asimov (8 episodes)

"A Roof Over My Head" - With Francis Matthews as Jack Askew (7 episodes, 1977)

"A Roof Over My Head" "A Roof Over My Head (...pilot?)" - With Peter Bowles as Jack Askew

"The Lifeforce Experiment" - With Michael (J.) Reynolds as Jack Aspect

The Godson - With Don Key as Jack Ass

Blood is Thicker - With Billy Gillespie as Jack Aster

Light Wines and Bearded Ladies - With Gene Cameron as Jack Astor

"The Alienist" "Episode #1.10" - With Ben Lamb as Jack Astor

Love Disease - With Sacha Mamontow as Jack Astorson

"A Brother's Tale" - With Ian Bleasdale as Jack Atherton (2 episodes)

"Crock of Gold" - With Warren Jenkins as Jack Atherton

"Washington: Behind Closed Doors" - With Linden Chiles as Jack Atherton (3 episodes)

The Man I Love - With Ben Welden as Jack Atlas (uncredited)

"Yûgiô: 5D's" - With Ted Lewis as Jack Atlas (136 episodes)

"Dollman vs. Demonic Toys" - With Paul Salamoff as Jack Attack (costumed)

"Grunge" - With Alexandra Hellquist as Jack Attack

Jack the Dog - With Anthony LaPaglia as Jack's Attorney

"Psych" "Santabarbaratown 2" - With Jerry Wasserman as Jack Atwater

"Courting Alex" "Girlfriend" - With Dabney Coleman as Jack Atwell

"The Legend of Valentino" - With Judd Hirsch as Jack Auerbach

"Atomic Train" - With Gerald Henderson as Jack Austin (uncredited, unknown episodes)

Candy Campus Crushes - With Ernie Alexander as Jack Austin

For You My Boy - With Schuyler White as Jack Austin

Lure of Gold - With Neal Hart as Jack Austin

Midshipman Jack - With Bruce Cabot as Jack Austin

The Perfect Stranger - With Carlton Caudle as Jack Austin

Sub Zero One - With Wyatt Page as Jack Austin

Winning of the West - With Richard Crane as Jack Autry AKA Jack Austin

"Triplecross" - With Robert Costanzo as Jack Avalon

"Strange Days at Blake Holsey High" - With John Ralston as Jack Avenir (4 episodes)

"The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse" "The Bold and the Brave" - With Oliver Berg as Jack Avery

"The Onedin Line" "The Honeymoon" - With Nick Brimble as Jack Avery

Bang Bang Baby - With Vanilla Ice Seán Cullen as Jack Avery

"Highway Patrol" "Prisoner Exchange Copter" - With Joe Haworth as Jack Avery

Man Outside - With Robert Logan as Jack Avery

"The Rockford Files" "Trouble in Chapter 17" - With Arthur Roberts as Jack Avery

"Mary Lou (Tamid oto chalom)" "Episode #1.1" - With Ze'ev Revach as Jack Avramson

Hard to Kill - With Charles Boswell as Jack Axel

"Fire and Rain" - With Dean Jones as Jack Ayers

Wonderkind - With Carl Bailey as Jack Ayers

"One Foot in the Grave" "Monday Morning Will Be Fine" - With Tony Millan as Jack Aylesbury

"Living With Models" - With Jordan James Smith as Jack B. (4 episodes)

"Annie's Point" - With Robert F. Lyons as Jack Backis

"Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science" "The Trouble With Susan" - With Danny Wengle as Jack Badowski

The Usual Suspects - With Giancarlo Esposito as Fring Jack Baer

"The PET Squad Files" - With Lance Krall as Jack Baggins (2 episodes)

"The Bagthorpe Saga" - With Richard Orme as Jack Bagthorpe (6 episodes)

"Dow Hour of Great Mysteries" "The Bat" - With Martin E. Brooks as Jack Bailey

"Detective Professor Chiklis, MD" "August 25, 1951" - With Knute Horwitz as Jack Bailey

"Doctors" "A Matter of Life and Death" - With John (Sandford) Kerr as Jack Bailey

"Days of Our Lives" - With Brett Richards as Jack Bailey (3 episodes)

"Division 4" "Fear Street" - With Stuart Finch as Jack Bailey

Forces of Nature - With Steve Hytner as Jack Bania Bailey

Good Neighbor Sam - With Charles Lane as Jack Bailey

"Indefensible: The Truth About Edward Brannigan" - With Donnelly Rhodes as Jack Bailey

"ITV Play of the Week" "The Buried Man" - With Ray Barrett as Jack Bailey

No Glory - With Anthony Maniscalco as Jack Bailey

The Phoenix Rises - With John DeLong as Jack Bailey

"The Bill" "Judas Kiss" - With Mark Straker as Jack Bailey

A Time to Die - With Rod Taylor as Jack Bailey

"Wicked Science" - With Nikolai Nikolaeff as Jack Bailey (26 episodes)

The Appraiser - With Gavin W. Douglas as Jack Baily

"The Great Air Race" - With Nick Waters as Jack Baines

Brotherly Love - Hey, MoonlightBrotherly Love called, wants its poster back... I mean, with Brian Blessed as Jack Baird

"Perry Mason" "The Case of the Bullied Bowler" - With Charles (H.) Gray as Jack Baker

"Robotech II: The Sentinels" - With Enrique Garduza and Kerrigan Mahan as Jack Baker (voice(s))

"The Savage Conspiracy" - With Marcin Nowicki as Jack Baker (voice)

The Copter Kids - With Marc Boyle as Jack Baker

The Crime of Helen Stanley - With Ward Bond as Jack Baker

"Daft as a Brush" - With David Daker as Jack Baker... dayamn!  I'm a poet, and I didn't even knowett!

"Ed" "Mixed Signals" - With Bill Scheft as Jack Baker... Shut yo mouth!  What?  Just talkin' 'bout Scheft!

"Eyes" "Trial" - With Sam Hennings as Jack Baker

The Fabulous Baker Boys - With The Dude Jeff Bridges as Jack Baker

"Intimate Betrayal" - With Brent Jennings as Jack Baker

The Mysterious Airman - With Walter Miller as Jack Baker

"No Hiding Place" "It Could Always Happen" - With William Marlowe as Jack Baker

"Ryan" "A Man With a Mission" - With Gerard Maguire as Jack Baker

"A Shining Season" - With Rip Torn as Jack Baker

Helen Keller Had a Pitbull - With Lawrence Bucher as Jack Balducci

"Civil Wars" "Til Debt Do Us Part" - With Felton Perry as Jack Baldwin

End Game - With Peter Greene as Jack Baldwin

"Head Over Heels" - With Peter Dobson as Jack Baldwin (7 episodes)

'The Journeyman Project Trilogy' - With Daniel Mann as Jack Baldwin (3 video games)

Murder Will Out - With Malcolm McGregor as Jack Baldwin

Temptation - With Bryant Washburn as Jack Baldwin

"Winners & Losers" "How to Hide a Scar" - With Adam Demos as Jack Bale

"The Chinese Detective" "Chorale" - With George Baker as Jack Balfe

"Bugs" - With Tim Post as Jack Ball

Discontented Husbands - With Vernon Steele as Jack Ballard

"Police Story" "War Games" - With Michael Parks as Jack Ballard

"Police Woman" "The Hit" - With Eddie Egan as Jack Ballard

"Cheyenne" "Winchester Quarantine" - With Robert Carson as Jack Ballister

Ringo's Big Night - With William Berger as Jack Balman / Ringo

Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round - With James Westerfield as Jack Balter

"Gunsmoke" "Fawn" - With Charles Fredericks as Jack Band

Rotten Riders - With Stephen Brodie as Jack Bandit

"The Virginian" "The Small Parade" - With Morgan Woodward as Jack Bandon

Family Audit - With Kevin Kennedy as Jack Bane

Reconocer - With Peter Quartaroli as Jack Banner

The Great Game - With Geoffrey Toone as Jack Bannerman

"ITV Play of the Week" "Shooting Star" - With Arthur Gross as Jack Bannerman

"Shooting Star" - With Colin Douglas as Jack Bannerman

"Homemade Movies" "Hook Fight Scene - With the Real Rufio!" - With Jake McLean as Jack Banning ... and of course with Dante Basco as himself

A Man of Quality - With George Walsh as Jack Quality Banning

Run Home Jack - With Chris Cude as Jack Banning

Hometown - With Jason Byrne as Jack Bannion

"Waterfront" - With Ernest Borgnine as Jack Bannion (2 episodes)

"Z Cars" "Missile Mile: Part 1" - With Robert Cawdron as Jock Bannion

"Pacific Blue" "The Enemy Within" - With Marshall (R.) Teague as Jack Bannister

"Sergeant Preston of the Yukon" "Cry Wolf" - With Thayer Roberts as Blackjack Bannister

The Ruling Voice - With Walter Huston as Jack Bannister... also with David Manners as Dick Cheney!  EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.....

"Screenplay" "Broke" - With Arthur Whybrow as Jack Bannister

"Tis' the Season to be Jolly" - With Bill Gavin as Jack Bannister

Virtuous Liars - With Ralph Kellard as Jack Banton

Veiled Threat - With Daniel Mandehr as Jack's Bar buddy (uncredited)... oh, and with Paul Le Mat as Jack Purcell

"L. A. Law" "Cold Cuts" - With Joseph Bologna as Jack Barbara

"Patalliro!" - With Kazuyuki Sogabe as Jack Barbarosa Bancoran (18 episodes) / The Master (1 episode)

"Silicon Valley" - With that guy Stephen Tobolowsky as Jack Barker (17 episodes)

"Malaika" - With Kenneth Herdigein as Jack Cameron (7 episodes)

It Happened to One Man - With Brian Worth as Jack Quair

"The Untouchables" - With W. Earl Brown as Jack Zuta (2 episodes)