Tag Archives: movies

Must-See Concert Film

I was channel surfing tonight and came across a 2005 concert film by The Cure, one of my favorite bands.

It’s playing on channel 95 on DirecTV and, I believe, on another non-HD channel.

Robert Smith has always been an absolutely amazing songwriter and performer, and unlike some of my old favorites, The Cure looks and sounds as good in 2005 as they did back in the 80’s when records like Faith, Pornography (<– the Cure record, for the benefit of Google caches), The Head on the Door and Disintegration blew my mind for the first time.

I highly recommend this film for any fans of great music.

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Great Music Film – Festival Express


I watched one of, and perhaps the, best music films I have ever seen tonight.

Festival Express.  It’s available at Amazon, and via Netflix.

In the summer of 1970, a chartered train crossed Canada carrying some of the world’s greatest rock bands. The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Ian & Sylvia and others traveled, partied and played great music together for five days, stopping in major cities along the way to play live concerts.

It was all filmed.

The concert footage is great- the first number by The Band is worth the rental all by itself.  But the best parts are the impromptu jam sessions that occurred on the train between concerts.

I love this film, and recommend it highly to any fan of great music.

Movie Recommendation: Monstertorsdag

monstertorsdagI didn’t get this great Norwegian film from Netflix- my TIVO recorded it for me. It doesn’t seem to be available at Netflix, but you should be able to find it on the Sundance Channel or the IFC. It is listed under it’s translated name: Monsterthursday (spelled as one word).

I generally stay away from foreign films, because the requirement of reading the subtitles makes it hard to watch them while you’re doing something else. I watch most movies in my study, where the ability to multitask makes it seem less like I am sitting around wasting time.

I figured I’d watch a few minutes to see what a Norwegian film looked like. I got hooked and watched the entire thing in one sitting.

The vibe of this movie grabbed me from the first scene- a surreal wedding scene where the ex-wife of one best friend marries the other best friend. The ex-husband/best man is in great dismay over the wedding, but after an uncomfortable toast, he soldiers on- mostly. It gets better and darker after that, as the new groom leaves town on an extended business and/or surfing trip and the bride and her ex-husband explore their past, present and future.

Surfing becomes the measure of success and monster waves the demons to be faced. This is in no way an action movie, feeling much more like Lost in Translation than your middle of the road Hollywood drama. And I mean that as high praise.

Surfing, relationships, drinking, and the hatred of golf all play important roles in this film. Pretty much everything required for a good movie.

It’s a pretty somber film, but not totally dark.

Highly recommended.

Talladega Nights

It has been a long time since I have looked forward to a movie like I am this one. If this preview is any indication, it may be one of the funniest movies ever made.

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102 Films

Jason Kottke posts a list by film critic Jim Emerson of 102 movies someone ought to have seen to be considered movie literate. I suspect my list and that of just about everyone else would be different, since we all like and dislike different things, but here’s the list.

An asterisk means I have seen it.

* 2001: A Space Odyssey (overrated)
* The 400 Blows (pretty good)
8 1/2
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
* Alien (defines the modern alien genre)
* All About Eve (good)
* Annie Hall (other than Tiger Lilly, I find Woody Allen’s movies boring)
* Apocalypse Now (great movie)
* Bambi (I liked it and my kids do too)
The Battleship Potemkin
* The Best Years of Our Lives (great movie)
* The Big Red One (pretty good)
The Bicycle Thief
* The Big Sleep (OK, not great)
* Blade Runner (one of my all time faves)
Blowup (never seen it, but would like to)
* Blue Velvet (great movie)
* Bonnie and Clyde (OK, not great)
* Breathless (nah)
Bringing Up Baby
* Carrie (good scary movie)
* Casablanca (as good as its reputation_
Un Chien Andalou
Children of Paradise / Les Enfants du Paradis
* Chinatown (pretty good)
* Citizen Kane (great film)
* A Clockwork Orange (famous for being weird, but still pretty good)
* The Crying Game (great ending)
* The Day the Earth Stood Still (great sci-fi)
* Days of Heaven (fantastic movie; a must see)
* Dirty Harry (great Clint)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
* Do the Right Thing (good movie)
La Dolce Vita
* Double Indemnity (one of my favorite of the film noir genre)
* Dr. Strangelove (great film)
* Duck Soup (I actually get the Marx brothers)
* E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial (great at the time)
* Easy Rider (good, but Wild Angels was better)
* The Empire Strikes Back (masterpiece)
* The Exorcist (great horror film)
* Fargo (great, but Raising Arizona is better)
* Fight Club (OK, not great)
* Frankenstein (masterpiece, if he’s talking about the 1931 one)
The General
* The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II (should have added III too)
* Gone With the Wind (I liked it the first few times I saw it)
* GoodFellas (great film)
* The Graduate (great film)
* Halloween (maybe the best modern horror film)
* A Hard Day’s Night (good because it’s the Beatles)
It’s a Gift
* It’s a Wonderful Life (my favorite holiday film ever)
* Jaws (how in the world has Jason not seen this!)
* The Lady Eve (good, but not great)
* Lawrence of Arabia (great epic film)
* Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior (great post apocalypse films)
* The Maltese Falcon (great Bogart)
* The Manchurian Candidate (OK, not great)
* Metropolis (never understood the big deal about this one)
Modern Times
* Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the funniest movie ever)
* Nashville (good, not great)
* The Night of the Hunter (great Mitchum)
* Night of the Living Dead (one of my all time faves)
* North by Northwest (my favorite Hitchcock)
* On the Waterfront (Brando when he wasn’t a cartoon character)
Once Upon a Time in the West
* Out of the Past (Another of my favorite film noir movies)
* Pink Flamingos (great, but I like Hairspray better)
* Psycho (good)
* Pulp Fiction (one of my all-time faves)
* Rear Window (good)
* Rebel Without a Cause (OK, but not as good as its reputation)
* Red River (great movie- there should be more westerns on this list)
* Repulsion (weird, but with Catherine Deneuve)
The Rules of the Game
* Scarface (pretty good, but Casino’s better)
The Scarlet Empress
* Schindler’s List (masterpiece
* The Searchers (another great western)
The Seven Samurai
* Singin’ in the Rain (a rare musical I like)
* Some Like It Hot (OK, not great)
* A Star Is Born (the original is bearable; I hated the remake)
* A Streetcar Named Desire (great movie)
* Sunset Boulevard (another great film noir movie)
* Taxi Driver (great movie)
* The Third Man (great Orson Welles)
Tokyo Story
* Touch of Evil (definitely in my top 5 all time)
* The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (great movie)
Trouble in Paradise
* Vertigo (more great Hitchcock)
* West Side Story (didn’t like it)
* The Wild Bunch (great western)
* The Wizard of Oz (speaks for itself)

I’ve seen 78 out of 102.

All in all, a fairly good list. I would certainly add The Birds, Suddenly Last Summer, Summer of 42, The Last Picture Show, and A Place in the Sun. I would seriously consider adding Full Metal Jacket, the remake of The Thing, Belly of an Architect and the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


An Offbeat One for Your Netflix Queue


I just finished watching Werewolves on Wheels, a 1971 horror film that is part The Wolfman and part Easy Rider. It was a low budget, offbeat movie, as evidenced by the fact that a lot of the production crew have talking parts.

But there is something really compelling about it.

In sum, the movie begins, almost literally, like Easy Rider and then takes a left turn into a B movie-werewolf romp. If that sounds like your bag (it’s certainly mine), check this movie out.

The camera work by Isidore Mankofsky is really innovative and clever, even by today’s standards and the music, both background and semi-featured songs have aged very well.

The best part is the commentary, by both of the co-writers, one of whom was also the director. I almost never rewatch a film with the commentary. Rather, I just rewatch a few of the key scenes with the commentary turned on. I watched this entire movie again just to hear the interesting commentary.

A little trivia: the girl who initially turns into a werewolf is in On the Beach with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. And the guy who plays Pill was Bud on Father Knows Best.

Movies for the Rich and Impatient

I have this lurking concern that I’m falling for a belated April Fool’s Date gag, but it seems that the Hollywood cartel, recognizing that the cat has left the bag, is going to start selling movies online for download.

I’ve reported before about Movielink (owned by the Hollywood cartel), where you can rent movies online for a few dollars a piece. Once you download the movie, you have around a month to begin watching it and 24 hours after you start watching it to finish it. Although it takes forever to download a movie (and that assumes a broadband connection), this is a good way to put movies on your laptop or Tablet PC for airports and airplanes.

The four people who really want to watch movies over and over on their computers have complained that the download service is a drag because of the time limits on starting and stopping the movie.

So the Hollywood cartel is going to give them what they want.

Now instead of the few bucks you pay to rent newly released DVDs from Netflix, Movielink or your neighborhood video store, you can download them from the Hollywood cartel on the day the DVD is released. For a mere “$20 to $30.”

New release DVDs cost around $20 to $25 to buy. Plus, those DVDs can be played on stand-alone DVD players, watched on TVs and used to pacify kids during long car trips.

So the downloads cost around $5 more, even though they cost around $5 less to distribute via download.

But if you meet these requirements:

1) You have a lot of money and don’t mind wasting it;

2) You want to be the first on your block to watch a newly released DVD (waiting a few days is just not an option for you);

3) You want to watch the same movies over and over on your computer;

4) You are reasonably computer proficient; and

5) You have a broadband internet connection at home (no tying up company resources for this),

then the Hollywood cartel has a treat in store for you.

Warren N. Lieberfarb, the former president of Warner Home Video and now an entertainment technology consultant, hit the nail on the head:

They are giving the consumer less and charging more for it. To me this really stacks the deck against mass consumer adoption.

The Hollywood cartel and its cousin, the record label cartel, don’t give a hoot about the consumer. They are only concerned with extending the inevitable decline of their distribution monopolies by making the consumer overpay and/or pay multiple times.

This is just more smoke and mirrors designed to extract more revenue from the same product.

My prediction is that this is met with a collective yawn by the movie buying public.

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