Media Update 7/14/2016

Hail, Caesar!

I had been looking forward to this movie as I am slowly working my way through The Coen Brothers’ collection of films. I have yet to see a movie they made which was bad and pretty much all of them are beyond excellent. Some of my top favorite movies were written and directed by the Coen Brothers. This film takes us back to the almost mythic studio system in the 1950s. It was during this period that a lot of great movies were made, some of them now forgotten in the sheer volume that Hollywood puts out. You had a lot of post-war musicals like Singin in the Rain, huge period epics like Ben-Hur, quiet parlor films like Pride and Prejudice, cowboy films like Lone Star and all sorts of niche films you would not see today. It is definitely a very revered period of time but it was definitely not perfect. That is one of the points of this movie. The Coen Brothers were very young during the fifties and now they want to take the piss out of that period a little bit. We need that sometimes. I think that we need our legends to be reduced to everyday heroes so that they are a little more attainable and inspiring. Anyway, this movie follows a day in the life of a fixer for a Hollywood studio as he tries to keep the ship afloat and sailing for another day. It shows the very real tensions and issues that were present in the entertainment industry that we can read about today. However, as dark as the movie could have gotten, the Coen Brothers and their all-star cast manage to make the story funny and easy to swallow. Josh Brolin, in particular, did an amazing job as a Hollywood fixer trapped in his own personal film noir story. I definitely recommend this as it was excellent.

Ed Wood

Tim Burton is fueled at least partly by quirkiness and strangeness. He thrives on the juxtaposition of the normal with the weird and that could also describe filmmaker Ed Wood. Wood was not a great artist but he had some sort of vision that he awkwardly fumbled to the masses in now legendary movies. His films are full of continuity errors, production flaws, bad acting, cross-dressing, stock footage and strangely memorable moments. While I have no praise to offer for Ed Wood, I will say he was dedicated and worked hard. The action in this movie is disjointed and exaggerated. It is similar to the above film but it is even more alien, reflecting the strangeness of both the subject and Tim Burton’s style. The whole thing is in black and white to compliment both the fifties setting and most of Ed Wood’s movies. A lot of the comedy comes from the alien behavior of Johnny Depp as Ed Wood dealing with more down to Earth characters. The weird characters he surrounded himself in life are portrayed by people like Bill Murray, Martin Landau and Jeffery Jones. The weirdest is always Ed Wood and underneath the can-do moxie and confident tone it feels like there is also a desperation to be heard and accepted. The movie is funny, interesting and sometimes a little sad but it did not fail to entertain at any point. I recommend this especially for fans of horrible classic cinema.


Roman Holiday

Last this week, we have a movie actually filmed and released in the fifties. I had heard about this movie a while back but never really intended to watch it. I have a huge list of things to watch and that list shifts and moves as things catch my attention. Watching Hail Caesar made me want to watch a movie from that era that I had not seen before as I have seen quite a few. Lo and behold, Netflix provided as it always does and Roman Holiday popped up and I realized I had no information on it beyond the title. A title I had actually first seen while reading Batman: The Long Halloween. That made me even more interested. The movie is about a princess who is fed up with her seemingly interchangeable days of spouting policy and meeting dignitaries. She runs away and meets a tabloid reporter who smells a story and that is just where the fun begins. The movie does not have much in the way of plot. There are not many twists and turns but there is a lot of great character work and a lot of scenes of two or three characters just talking. The two main characters, played by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, are just oozing with charisma. I believed everything they said and I was not expecting to be as moved by the movie as I was. It is not very funny or very sad but it is a surprisingly pleasant ride. It looks at depression, finding your life direction, romance and journalism and it does it all without hitting you over the head with it. In addition, the backdrop is the beauty of Rome. If you are a fan of classic cinema, please check this one out.

Music of the Week:
Skarr-Akbar – Circle Of Success
Wild Belle – Giving Up On You
Oscar Benton – Woolly Boolly Boogie
Lea Delaria – Welcome to My Party
Mindless Self Indulgence – Shut me up


Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme “Movies set in the Fifties”
– I watched a ton more Person of Interest and I love it
– I finished Series 2 of The IT Crowd and it gets way better
– The Seven Deadly Sins continues to be great
– I watched a ton of JackSepticEye, Commander Holly and Game Grumps
– Ninja Sex Party is working on another cover album!
– I want to watch Preacher.  I need to watch it before it is spoiled
– The holiday is finally over so maybe I can watch more stuff

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