Movie Review – The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers (1980)
Written by Dan Akroyd & John Landis
Directed by John Landis

Saturday Night Live has spawned many film spin-offs and become the launchpad for many comedic actors. It began with The Blues Brothers, the first movie to take characters created on the show and put them in a feature presentation. The Blues Brothers were established in 1978, and over the years, Akyroyd and collaborator Ron Gwynne developed a backstory about the duo growing up in an orphanage and learning blues from the janitor. With the success of Animal House, director John Landis and star John Belushi were in a perfect position to get The Blues Brothers movie made.

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Media Moment (07/31/20)

As the pandemic continues to ravage the nation with no signs of slowing down, movie theaters’ future is one of many industries in peril. NBCUniversal apparently saw success with a digital first-run release of Trolls: World Tour earlier in the year and want to pursue that home streaming model. However, AMC, the largest theater chain in the country, stated they would not show Universal films in their theaters if the company went this route. Negotiations have developed a very different distribution model.

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July 2020 Digest

Features
My Favorite 1980s Summer Blockbusters
My Favorite 1990s Summer Blockbusters
My Favorite 2000s Summer Blockbusters
My Favorite 2010s Summer Blockbusters
A Brief History of the United States on Film
The Cinema of Misery
Short Film Showcase #5
My Favorite Film & Television Dystopias
My Favorite Unsettling Movies
Game Review – Villagers
Black Actor Spotlight: July
Supervillain Spotlight: Maxwell Lord
Supervillain Spotlight: The Cheetah

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My Favorite Film & Television Dystopias

A dystopia is generally defined as an imagined society where suffering is plentiful with people living in either a totalitarian or post-apocalyptic state. As you’ll see from my list, my preference leans on the tyrannical side of things. I tend to think societies won’t collapse in as dramatic a fashion as Mad Max, but rather people will reassemble a twisted skeleton of what is familiar & comfortable. To hold things together, people will accept the glue of authoritarian rule, whether through an individual despot or a faceless corporation. In most of these dark futures, there is not tangible governmental leadership; instead, it operates behind the scenes and is typically a merger of government & private corporations.

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TV Review – Flowers Season 2

Flowers Season 2 (Netflix)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe

Flowers is such a difficult show to explain if you haven’t seen it. While watching the second season, I thought it’s like The Addams Family but grounded and about mental health. The tone and characters are realistically macabre, a tormented family of creative types whose communication has broken down so badly they just simply can’t communicate with each other any longer. Creator Will Sharpe has given us a second beautiful season that goes even more in-depth with the Flowers’ history and works to heal the damage.

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Supervillain Spotlight – The Cheetah

Earlier, I looked at Max Lord, one of the villains in the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984. Today, I’ll breakdown the second villain, The Cheetah. Unlike Lord, The Cheetah has always exclusively been a Wonder Woman enemy, but there have been multiple people that worked under that name. In 1985, DC Comics launched Crisis on Infinite Earths, a company-wide event that rebooted the entire timeline and compressed many parallel Earths into one. Before this, there had been two Cheetahs, neither of whom had superpowers and were mainly knock-offs of Batman’s villain Catwoman. With Crisis, these versions were erased to make way for writer-artist George Perez’s overhaul of Wonder Woman and her continuity. This led to a new Cheetah, one who derived her powers from dark mythic gods.

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TV Review – The Best of The Twilight Zone Part 3

Person or Persons Unknown (Season Three, Episode Twenty-Seven)
Original airdate: March 23rd, 1962
Written by Charles Beaumont
Directed by John Brahm

The Twilight Zone could really delve deeply into some intimately existential fears. In this episode, we meet David Gurney, a man who wakes up after late-night drinking. His wife reacts with horror, claiming she doesn’t recognize him and has no idea who he is. David thinks she’s playing a prank on him and leaves for work. But once he arrives at the bank, he finds his coworkers are in the same boat as his wife. They have never seen or heard of him before. Eventually, David ends up in a mental hospital where his doctor tries to convince him he never had this life; he seems to remember so vividly.

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Movie Review – Southland Tales (The Cannes Cut)

Southland Tales – The Cannes Cut (2006)
Written & Directed by Richard Kelly

The promise of Richard Kelly was huge and seems to have dimmed in the last decade. In the wake of Donnie Darko, he was suddenly rocketed to the list of hot up-and-comers. I was definitely one of those people caught up in the Darko hype. I still hold that it’s his best work to date and that his subsequent work never felt quite as honed and clear. Southland Tales was the follow-up with a bigger budget and big names in the cast. It debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, and it was hailed as a disaster, bloated and too sprawling. Another cut was made for the theatrical release, and the reaction was much the same from audiences.

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Movie Review – Last Night

Last Night (1998)
Written & Directed by Don McKellar

What would you do if you knew it was the final day of the Earth’s existence? Much like the Last Man on Earth trope, this is another one that comes up often when you explore Apocalyptic fiction. Here we have Canadian filmmaker Don McKellar’s distinct take on the end of the world, which balances both the darker aspects of humanity that would crop up and the way other people would cling to the norms and routines of decorum and civilization even as the end approached. It’s very different from the other films in this series, which is precisely why I wanted to watch it.

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Movie Review – The Quiet Earth

The Quiet Earth (1985)
Written by Bill Baer, Bruno Lawrence, and Sam Pillsbury
Directed by Geoff Murphy

The Last Man on Earth trope is a prevalent one in popular science fiction, being the fodder of the Twilight Zone multiple adaptations of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and even a Fox television series. There’s the old scary story “The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.” This is the foundation on which The Quiet Earth is built, exploring what it would be like to exist as the last member of your species, knowing that with your end, so goes all memory of your civilizations.

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