Friday, December 8, 2017

Rolling Stones: ON AIR Review - Live at the BBC & The Down Side of Physical Media (CD, Vinyl)

Rolling Stones: ON AIR is a new collection that contains live performances recorded by the band for the BBC's various radio programs between 1963 and 1965. How does this collection stack up in the overall Stones discography? Plus, a further discussion of physical media and a small rant against Amazon!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Baywatch (2017)

 Baywatch (2017) is one of the latest attempts by a major movie studio to rely on name recognition of a past property in hopes that audiences will support the movie out of familiarity. Recent other attempts at the same thing have included CHiPs, 21 Jump Street and its sequel, 22 Jump Street. Often times, these movies have only the thinnest of connections with the awesome thing that they're "based" upon, which begs the question "who are these movies for?" Anyone who watched the TV shows that provide inspiration for these movies will be unhappy because they are so tonally different, and younger audiences who didn't grow up with those old TV shows won't care because they have no emotional investment.

Baywatch bears almost no resemblance to the show that it takes its name from. Sure, there are very fit people in bikinis and tight trunks running on the beach, usually in slow motion. But that, along with a couple of character names, is the only connection to the show that was (and I think still is) the biggest success in the history of TV. I'm not even joking: TV's Baywatch aired in more markets and was watched by more people than any other show on television. Let's get something out of the way here. People say Baywatch was just about watching hot people wearing next to nothing. While there's no denying the jiggle factor, saying Baywatch was only about skin is like saying Walker: Texas Ranger was only about cowboy hats. While those things were always there, they weren't the focus of the show. Baywatch was a soap opera that would find the characters saving lives, stopping crime, and struggling with interpersonal relationships and personal issues on a weekly basis. The jiggle was just part of the scenery. Important scenery, sure, but never the focus.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Midnight Music: John Carpenter's Doctor Who

This is not my video, but I'm posting it here because I love it and I think it deserves to be appreciated by as many people as possible. Fact #1: John Carpenter is the best. Fact #2: Doctor Who is also the best. YouTube's GeorgeCMusic decided to combine the two together and created something that is so awesome that I can hardly stand it. The marriage of seventies-era John Carpenter synthesizer with seventies era Doctor Who (think Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor) hits me right where I live. It's spooky in exactly the way that it needs to be and sounds JUST LIKE what Ron Grainer's classic Doctor Who theme would have sounded like if John Carpenter worked for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop circa 1978.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Collecting Physical Media in a Digital World (DVD Disc VS Streaming)

Your eccentric uncle is back for an open conversation about collecting physical media in a world that has moved to streaming services as a primary source of entertainment. How has the marketplace changed in the last ten years? In the last FIVE? What impact has this shift had on the sales, availability, and general public opinion of those shiny discs that now serve as drink coasters? Is Netflix the devil, or a savior? These are questions that scholars like Socrates and Plato debated to a draw, but we're going to see if we can answer them once and for all! Gather 'round and huddle up beside the fire with a bowl of your favorite cereal, because we're gonna dig deep into the debate, Midnight-style.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)

I hate having to write this. Batman and Harley Quinn should have been great. This movie reunites some of the people behind the now-legendary 1990s TV show Batman: The Animated Series and clearly was intended to point directly to the iconic and groundbreaking cartoon adventures of the Caped Crusader. To my memory, we haven't had a Warner Brothers animated Batman-specific movie directly connected to the '90s series in years. Kevin Conroy returns here as the voice of Batman, but we're also treated to the return of Loren Lester as the voice of Dick Grayson, aka Robin/Nightwing. With many direct connections to the animated series, a spotlight on Harley Quinn, a character who is more popular than ever, and a story by Bruce Timm, the father of Batman: TAS, what could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Robbers' Roost (1955)

One of the things that continues to amaze me about westerns from the 1950s is that, despite the fact that hundreds (if not more) of them were made during the decade, each one feels unique and special with a different focus, tone, and style. Even westerns that star the same actors and film in the same locations manage to retain an individuality that never fails to impress me. Robbers' Roost is another solid entry that helps to make the case that the fifties were the pinnacle of westerns on film. Furthermore, this movie comes from 1955, a year that I maintain is a very special one for movie fans. In fact, I wrote a ten-part series about the movies of 1955 over at F This Movie, highlighting how the films from that year represent a change in complexity and a deeper focus on more realistic characters.

Consider George Montgomery in Robbers' Roost. The actor plays our lead here, and we're introduced to him at the beginning of the movie when he walks in on a gang in a saloon. Nothing about his discovery of this gang seems to be an accident. On the contrary, he's apparently been looking for these men. However, we're not sure if our lead is a good guy or a bad guy. He has every appearance of being an outlaw or a drifter, and we're not clued in on his motivations until the very end of the movie. That tone provides a new level of ambiguity to cinematic storytelling that had only been seen in the likes of noir films, and it paved the way for totally gray characters we'd get in movies like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It's no secret that the Italian spaghetti western directors of the 1960s drew their influence from the American westerns of the 1950s.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving/100th Post!

Happy Thanksgiving to all! This year brings special cause for me to celebrate and be thankful, because this is the 100TH POST on this site. That wouldn't mean a thing without YOU.