Showing posts from February, 2020

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Illustrated (2020)

The concept album was not necessarily a musical form unique to the 1970s, but it certainly came to fruition at the time.  There had been a number of "theme" albums in the past, usually by more traditional pop and soul artists, but the Who's Tommy managed to tell a somewhat coherent story while still being financially successful.  A number of bands tried the same thing after that with varying degrees of success. The problem was that, when trying to do a "rock opera," it was easy to fall into something like Jesus Christ Superstar .  It also didn't help that an artist would have to write songs that supported the story, and this didn't always make for a good album.  While The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars generally has an outline of a story, David Bowie wisely decided to go with songs that played on the theme rather than trying to present the story in a more musical theater style.  Through live performances and interviews hi

Cleopatra Jones (1973)

These days and enjoyable game to play, especially by people born 20 to 30 years after the fact, is to look back on film that could not be made today.  Because cultural morals shift over time, sometimes to more liberal and sometimes to more conservative, what is permissible to do in real life, or to portray in art, changes drastically.  Much is made of movies that were made to be outright offensive, like Blazing Saddles , in order to get their point across.  What most people don't understand is that Mel Brooks was crossing some lines you didn't cross in 1974, and the fact that Richard Pryor was the cowriter is one of the few reasons the movie ever got made in the first place.  It also helped that, at the time, the United States was finally seeing the first mainstream acceptance of African-American culture since the early part of the 20th century saw advances up to the point that Woodrow Wilson kicked race relations back to the 1850s. There had been black renaissance movemen

Xanadu (1980)

Sometimes a sense of duty overrides a sense of preservation. Over the last few years I have been co-hosting  Face the Music: An Electric Light Orchestra Song-by-Song Podcast.  It is exactly what it sounds like.  Unfortunately, there was a place I had never dared to go, and that was to actually see the movie Xanadu .  I always liked ELO's contributions to the soundtrack, and "Magic" isn't a half-bad song even if, like me, you're not an Olivia Newton-John fan.  Still, I never had a desire to suffer through this movie.. Then again, there are bad movies out there that are extremely entertaining.  Numerous cult films, as I have undoubtedly stated before, have certain elements that overcome them being merely bad.  While they may not be what critics or mainstream movie-goers wish to see, they still have sparks of genius the show through and help carry the film. Xanadu is not one of those.  It has its own small cult following, and understandably has some fans in

Captain Marvel (2019)

Avengers: Infinity War had an ending that shocked many Marvel fans - well, at least those who don't read the comic books.  The fight against the Mad Titan Thanos doesn't turn out too well, and half of the sentient beings in the universe are wiped out, turning to dust and blowing away in the wind.  This includes Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who manages to use an old-fashioned beeper to get a message out to someone right before he succumbs. While for once it appears that Avengers: Endgame was already in production, with story and filming  in progress to finally tie up the entire Infinity Stone story arc, it was decided that we needed a detour.  That detour happened to be back to 1995, where Fury first meets an alien from the planet Hala, home of a warrior race called the Kree.  In reality, Marvel realized that Wonder Woman made a ton of money, and decided that they suddenly needed a female heroine - conveniently forgetting they already had a thoroughly strong woman in

The Living Daylights (1987)

Roger Moore's future as James Bond had been up in the air long before A View to a Kill , and after that movie did tepid business for a Bond film it was agreed, both by Moore and producer Albert Broccoli, that a change was past due.  What many didn't know was that there had been someone waiting in the wings to play the role for almost 20 years.  Problem is, he wasn't too hyped to play it when he was younger, and wasn't that excited to do it now that he was more around the age that Bond was supposed to be. There was also another contender - Pierce Brosnan, then the star of a failing NBC television show called Remington Steele .  Broccoli had started considering him even before the show got him noticed, and wanted him as Moore's replacement.  Unfortunately, NBC decided to play spoiler, and the deal was withdrawn at the last moment.  Instead, Timothy Dalton, who had been considered for both On Her Majesty's Secret Service  and For Your Eyes Only  agreed, after