The county fair is tonight in my fair land. I personally find it rather obnoxious what with its filthy smells, loud noises, annoying crowds, overpriced fatty foods (seriously how many things can you deep fry?), and expensive rides. But the daughter loves it and I love her so in a few minutes we are off. So I’ll make this quick. Here are five things that I enjoyed this week.
The Sound of Music
TCM and Fathom Events put on a showing of this Rogers and Hammerstein classic staring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer this week. As it is my mother's all-time favorite movie, I took her for the Sunday showing. She sang along to every tune. It is decidedly not my favorite film, or favorite musical even, but the music is lovely and the kids are cute (and Julie Andrews is lovely and cute). The scenery of Salzburg and the surrounding mountains is gorgeous. This is definitely a movie that was made to be seen on the big screen and finally getting to see it there was a real delight.
I love this movie. It is practically perfect in every way. So much so that I’ve previously mentioned it as a cool thing, but I have no qualms about mentioning it again. I was listening to a podcast the other day and they were discussing this film. They posed a question about whether or not this film showed any trademark Steven Spielberg qualities. My answer is in its meticulous craftsmanship. Spielberg knows how to put a film together. From the script to the lighting, acting and camera movement, he is a magnificent craftsman. Even his bad films are always put together really well. Watching Jaws for probably the 20th time this week, I paid attention to how well it is made. You can tell that every scene, every shot, every little thing has been thought over and designed. This is even more incredible when you realize how many problems occurred on set, how many changes they had to make due to production delays, and that darn shark prop screwing up.
This Humphrey Bogart vehicle from 1947 riffs on a lot of his great movies, especially The Big Sleep, but it never quite rises to the level of classic. He plays a paratrooper just home from the war who gets entangled with a femme fatale (Lizabeth Scott doing her best Lauren Bacall impression), some bad-guy gangsters, and in trouble with the cops. The story is all over the place and the voiceover narration is plain bad (but does present some really funny moments where Bogart just has to sit there for long moments while his narration goes on forever). But there are some good action sequences and its thrilling enough to keep you awake. Mostly though, I’m just a sucker for anything with Bogart.
Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut
Zach Snyder’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s masterwork comic was visually interesting and mostly fun to watch, but ultimately kind of shallow. His director’s cut added 24 minutes of additional footage and fleshes out some confusing plot lines. The Ultimate Cut includes those extra scenes plus it seamlessly splices in an animated short film that covers the Black Freighter sections of the comic. All of this definitely helps dig into Moore’s multi-layered story but it still feels like Snyder doesn’t really understand the themes of the comic and just wanted to make a cool super hero film. He did succeed in that and the look of the film is pretty amazing.
Archive.org is an incredible website that hosts an enormous database of books, music, videos and a history of the internet. My favorite part is the Live Music Archive who has over 100,000 fully streamable concert recordings from a large collection of artists. Trouble is there is so much music on there it can be difficult to sort through. Which is where the Archivist App comes in handy. It automatically looks through the music on your phone and matches up any artists available in the archive. Each artist is sorted by year then date so its easy to find any show you are looking for. You can also browse through their entire list of artists or search for something more specific.
I’ve loved the the Live Music Archive for ages, but rarely would I plug something into my phone because it was just too complicated to do so. But now its super easy and I have an amazing selection of concerts to listen to at anytime I want.
I can’t believe I’m excited about another Halloween movie. The original is fantastic, but there have been so many terrible sequels and reboots and rehashes that another one just seems like overkill. However this one brings back Jamie Lee Curtis (and yes, I know she’s been brought back before with not great results) and the trailer looks both really scary and lots of fun. If they maintain that tone for the entire movie, I’m totally in.