Showing posts from December, 2019

The Irishman (2019)

Shortly before the release of The Irishman director Martin Scorsese made headlines with his comments showing disdain for the current state of cinema, largely aimed at Marvel and DC films.  While all of his points were valid (and many have been voiced by myself and others), the way it came across was as a rant from an angry old man.  It was one of the biggest "Okay, Boomer" moments of 2019. I think the reason some directors suddenly got their hackles up is, despite Grandpa Simpson way his concerns were presented, they contain more than an element of truth.  Movies, from the start, have always been a way to make money.  However, as with any visual medium, there are those who can do it better than others and turn out works of art that, coincidentally, end up making the investors happy as well.  Martin Scorsese has been one of those directors, and his influence on just about any director from the early 1970s forward is unquestionable.  Even if there is not necessarily an imi

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Besides bringing us the collective works of Coleman Francis, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is responsible for bringing a number of movies to public awareness that would have been forgotten or lost.  Often those that made or starred in them might have preferred that had happened, but some, like Manos: The Hands of Fate , have become underground classics. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was already pretty much known as a bad Christmas/science fiction mashup long before MST3K, largely due to the books published by Michael Medved going over the worst movies ever made.  Although in public domain, it took the interest of the Misties (much like another maligned Christmas movie, Santa Claus ) to bring it back to the awareness of the general public.  Among all the Christmas specials that used to play in December I can definitely say that this was not among them. It is a bit surprising, since by all accounts the movie didn't do that bad on initial release, especially considering that

Iron Man 3 (2013)

I have no idea if, when Iron Man initially came out, that Marvel was thinking in phases.  Whatever the situation, Iron Man 3  marked the start of phase two of the series, as well as the last movie made by Paramount.  Disney and producer Kevin Feige, in fact, were largely in control of the direction by this period, so the whole "phase" thing may have come about since, in a roundabout way, the preceding movies had finally led up to The Avengers .  It is fitting, then, that we begin once again where the entire series started.  There were no threats from space and no union of superheroes, just a man coming to terms with the error of his ways and fighting to maintain control of his family legacy.  It may not have been chock full of shiny effects, but it was solid story telling, as was the direct sequel .  It also didn't try to shoehorn any unnecessary characters just to have cameos (Colonel Rhodes, aka War Machine, was always part of the story).  Both movies had bad guys

Octopussy (1983)

By the mid 1980s it was not a question of if there would be a new James Bond, but when.  Roger Moore himself was ready to hang it up after Moonraker , but it turned out to be a good thing he didn't.  Where Guy Hamilton's directing, as well as Albert Broccoli's producing and procuring of scripts, had turned Bond into self-parody, new director John Glen brought him into the 1980s with the surprisingly back-to-basics For Your Eyes Only .   Not only did Moore seem reinvigorated, but the movie also acknowledged his age in not having as much bed hopping, but still emphasizing his physical presence with a number of great action scenes. John Glen came back for the next movie, Octopussy , as did Moore.  The latter wasn't a given, however.  American actor James Brolin had basically won the part, and screen tests were made in preparation for him to replace Bond.  Were were going to have our first American playing the British secret agent since the original television broadcas

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Looking back it is apparent how hard Game of Thrones (the television show; the books have more than one main influence) wanted to be The Lord of the Rings.  Both books series have epic battles set within an historic sweep in fantasy worlds that in different ways mirror our own.  The difference is, the showrunners behind Game of Thrones only seemed to notice the battles in The Two Towers and The Return of the King, somehow thinking that this was the reason audiences showed up. In a way, they were partially right.  When The Fellowship of the Rings came out I was unsure that anyone who was not already familiar with The Lord of the Rings would even come to see it.  I was relieved that Peter Jackson was filming the whole thing simultaneously, as I didn't want to see a quality film (which I had no doubt that he would deliver) just sitting there, for years, as one third of the story with no conclusion.  It has been frustrating having the majority of The Song of Ice and Fire written