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Home Video Hovel: Dreamscape, by David Bax

16 Jun

1984’s Dreamscape, directed by Joseph Ruben, deserves to be better known. Not because it’s great (it drags with the introduction of a lame political intrigue plot in the second half) but simply because it’s a weird, fun movie that happens to have a jaw-dropping cast. Dennis Quaid and Kate Capshaw are the leads but they’re joined by Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert and the great David Patrick Kelly, along with minor turns by Peter Jason, Chris Mulkey and George freaking Wendt, who shows up for a clandestine meeting in the park at night wearing a bright, red St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap. How could you pass this one up?

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BP Movie Journal 6/15/17

16 Jun

Tyler and David discuss the movies and TV shows they’ve been watching, including:

Movies
FOX AND HIS FRIENDS
HANNAH AND HER SISTERS
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
ALIEN: COVENANT
CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE
DRAGNET
THE MEANING OF LIFE
SEVEN
THE MUMMY
JURASSIC PARK
NIGHTMARE
JURASSIC WORLD
THE B-SIDE: ELSA DORFMAN’S PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
WONDER WOMAN
THE MEMPHIS BELLE: A STORY OF A FLYING FORTRESS
HOW TO OPERATE BEHIND ENEMY LINES
47 METERS DOWN

TV
SILICON VALLEY
MODERN FAMILY
IRON FIST
TWIN PEAKS
CUPLICATED
THE AMAZING RACE

LA Film Fest 2017: Maudie, by David Bax

15 Jun

Aisling Walsh’s Maudie, with its perfect storm of biopic, period piece and conspicuous accents (Nova Scotian, in this case), has all the trappings of an “actor’s showcase.” Usually, such movies are histrionic and programmatic. But Walsh and especially her two lead performers craft their true life tale into something of meaning, an exploration of how compassion, affection and love can change a person over the course of their life, like a river carving out a canyon.

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Home Video Hovel: Black Christmas, by David Bax

15 Jun

It’s pretty much impossible to pinpoint any singular origin of the slasher movie as a genre or subgenre. Its anatomy has been assembled from very nearly the beginning of cinema. It seems, though, that the formula as we now define it (or as Randy defined it more than twenty years ago in Scream) was crystallized by John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978. So there’s a delightful cognitive friction to watching Bob Clark’s Black Christmas now; so much of it seems to fit slasher expectations yet, without the firm blueprint, surprises still abound.

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Maudie: Covered Bridge, by David Bax

15 Jun

Aisling Walsh’s Maudie, with its perfect storm of biopic, period piece and conspicuous accents (Nova Scotian, in this case), has all the trappings of an “actor’s showcase.” Usually, such movies are histrionic and programmatic. But Walsh and especially her two lead performers craft their true life tale into something of meaning, an exploration of how compassion, affection and love can change a person over the course of their life, like a river carving out a canyon.

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New to Home Video 6/13/17

13 Jun

Review

 

Review

Episode 534: LA Film Fest 2017 Preview

11 Jun

In this episode, Tyler and David discuss what’s coming up at this year’s LA Film Fest as well as reactions to negative reviews of Wonder Woman.

Dances with Films 2017: The Meaning of Life, by David Bax

11 Jun

First things first. Who the hell names their movie The Meaning of Life in earnest? Even more than 30 years ago, the Monty Python crew knew that such a grandiose title could only be accompanied by absurdity. This time around, director Cat Hostick has opted instead for aggressive mediocrity.

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Abacus: Small Enough to Jail: The Richest Man in Town, by David Bax

9 Jun

Two years ago, Adam McKay gave us The Big Short, a furious, funny account of the causes of 2008’s financial crisis. After that sprawling account of how massively things went wrong due to institutionalized shortcuts and routine lies, we now get Steve James’ measured and unassuming documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, a look at the only bank to face criminal charges in the aftermath. While nowhere near the high water marks James set with films like Hoop Dreams, Stevie and The Interrupters, Abacus is still a modest success on the level of James’ Head Games, another issue-driven documentary that never lets you forget the individual people at the story’s core.

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The Mummy: Tone-Deaf and Dumb, by David Bax

8 Jun

Back in 2008, when Marvel debuted their cinematic universe with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, they waited until after the credits to introduce Nick Fury and the “Avengers Initiative.” Universal, on the other hand, wastes no time setting the stage in Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy, the analogous first entry meant to launch their own line of interconnected properties. After the familiar studio logo, a second one appears, touting that this film belongs to the “Dark Universe,” leaving no doubt as to how the priorities have been organized. Though Kurtzman (along with the other five credited writers) occasionally locate some moments of adrenalized gothic-contemporary fun, The Mummy is more a component than a story or, God forbid, a work of art.

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