AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve put a couple of these up on my tumblr already as we’ve stopped talking about older films on the podcast in a number of instances but I’d still like to talk about what I’ve been watching. I thought I’d also share them with AotD listeners/readers. You can find other installments as well as some of my other pursuits at http://kentholle.tumblr.com
7/26/13- I haven’t been updating this the way I’d hoped recently, but there’s a few reasons for this. Number one, I’ve had a weird schedule because I managed to pick up a temporary supervisor position at work. Secondly, I just had a crazy weekend that ended with me on a surgeon’s table. So that happened.
The result of this is that I finished a couple of books and spent a couple of days mainlining Mystery Science Theater 3000 (with a little Dick Van Dyke thrown in here and there.) When I’ve been laid up with this illness or that issue in the past, MST3K has always been my comfort food. I love that show so dearly and have seen nearly all of it’s 200 episodes. If you have not seen it before, I recommend pre-ordering the Vol. 28 set that Shout Factory will be doing soon as they will be including a bonus of one of the best episodes ever, Mitchell, starring Joe Don Baker as a doughy, alcoholic cop. The episode has been out of print since the early days of Rhino’s distribution of the show and I’m super excited not to have to pay out the nose for a used copy on bay. Not sure when it will go up, but keep your eyes peeled.
Anyway, I had overdone it a bit on Wednesday in regards to my recovery, so for Thursday I knew I had to take it easy. Fortunately, Thursdays this summer have been my day to get together with Yocum, my teacher friend who is as big a movie obsessive as I am. He’s shown me older films that I’ve managed to miss one way or another and I’m introducing him to some newer films since he doesn’t manage to get out as much. So while I’ve finally managed to see Forbidden Planet, Hey There It’s Yogi Bear and Cats Don’t Dance, I’ve shown him such varied fare as The Adventures of TinTin, Lilo and Stitch and Attack the Block. It’s something I’ve really begun to look forward to and I’ll be sad when it comes to an end in a few weeks. Maybe we’ll have to switch it to Sundays, but I know he’s got a lot to do with his wife (as it should be) so, like all good things, it’s most likely going to slowly grind to an end. (Insert “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina here.) Anyway, another thing I’ve enjoyed is that the last couple of weeks we’ve been joined by my friend Spencer from The Sticky Clutch, the cover band I sing for.
This week we managed to sneak in a double-feature despite Yocum having plenty of guests around the house. We started with Crack in the World, the feel-bad film of 1965. It’s the kind of disaster epic that Roland Emmerich had to have huffed deeply from as a child. Call it “The Day Before Tomorrow.” Essentially, a nuclear weapon is used to access the Earth’s molten core so it can be used as a source of limitless energy. But instead of peace, love and understanding, science once again unleashes death as the explosion results in a “crack in the world” that begins to go along a fault line and threatens to, against the protestations of such things as gravity and common sense, break the world in half. It’s a film that promises lots of fun images of destruction and mayhem and delivers mostly stock footage of volcanoes. And the ending… what the heck is going on with that ending? But it’s still got a cheesy sense of doom throughout that makes it worthwhile and the Olive FIlms’ transfer, especially considering just how much stock footage is involved, is phenomenal for a 60s effects film. It just plain looks gorgeous.
After that, I showed him one of my favorite films of last year, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. This one played better than I could have hoped. Even as I explained in my review at the time that Kingdom is the culmination of Anderson’s work to this point, incorporating so many of this common themes and fetishes, there are still a lot of things that make it unique among his filmography, or at least are comparable only with Fantastic Mr. Fox. The beautiful look of the film, despite all the usual Anderson touches that go along with the French New Wave look he adores, is (like Fox) so attuned to a golden/Autumnal color palate that it one of his best looking films, despite being made in super 16mm. And, aside from a reference to the kid getting a boner, I find it difficult to figure out why the movie got a PG-13. In many ways, it feels like it’s a fantastic children’s movie and honestly would have no problem showing this film to them, especially any over 10. It’s got an innocence that most of his other films do not. And there’s the change in soundtrack. Ironically it’s the only period movie he’s actually done, yet it’s the only one that does not feature 60s pop tunes, aside from the great Le Temps de l’Amour by Francoise Hardy. Everything else seems to be either classical or old Hank Williams tunes. (By the way, I love when they mirror the beginning Benjamin Britten piece in the end credits with Jared Gilman doing the same thing with all the instrumentation used by Alexandre Desplat.) Anyway, he ended up loving the film to the point that he went out and bought it today, which makes me giddy the way it always makes me giddy to introduce one of my favorite films to an appreciative audience. This is why Tarantino has his own movie theater. I’m also excited because in an ensuing discussion I found out that the only other Anderson film he’s seen is Bottle Rocket and the only Edgar Wright film he’s seen is Scott Pilgrim (which I also showed him) so practically the entire filmography of two of my favorite filmmakers is now wide open to show him. I don’t know if he’ll like the other films as well as he liked the two I’ve already shown him, but gads am I thrilled to find out. This is what being a movie geek is all about.
Now on the negative side, I’m getting a little sick of having to pay higher prices because I can’t just buy a blu ray by itself. Instead I have to buy it with “bonus discs” that are the exact same content in a poorer-quality format. I don’t need some DVD, OK? I will never, ever, ever watch it. And I don’t have sticky-fingered children digging in my collection, so that excuse isn’t going to fly with me. I shouldn’t be forced to bolster a sagging format. You might as well be saying, “In order to buy this movie you want on blu ray, you also must purchase it on VHS and laserdisc in case there are any other dead formats laying around.” I understand there’s a difference because the jump from blu to DVD is more subtle and you can use both in the same machine. But it’s not like when people were switching from records to CDs that you could buy the record by itself for less, but if you wanted to buy the CD you had to purchase both. I mean, I’m a vinyl lover and I probably wouldn’t even go for that. No wonder their numbers are going screwy.
And is anyone out there actually using Ultraviolet? Yeah, I didn’t think so. DIVX for the streaming age.