Buster Scruggly

 

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs on Netflix leaves me with mixed feelings. Or I should say half of it does, because I didn’t feel like finishing the collection of Wild West short stories after watching four of them. The acting and cinematography are well done. Each story transports you there and wears its nature as […]

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Glass (2019) and If Beale Street Could Talk

 

I’ll be seeing Glass and If Beale Street Could Talk tonight! Would love to hear some *SPOILERS* discussion on this post. Don’t worry, I won’t check until I get back from seeing them. More

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A Star Is Born – Second Version (With This Title)

 

A Star Is Born – Second Version (With This Title) I want to begin this review by thanking James Lileks for informing us about a prior movie, from which all subsequent versions of A Star Is Born is based. It is called What Price Hollywood?, which review will come one of these days. So, while […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see Republican leaders denounce the latest controversial comments from Iowa Rep. Steve King and argue that while it’s worth defending the greatness of Western Civilization, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. While being perfectly fine with a wall at various points along our southern border, they offer multiple reasons why an emergency declaration to move it forward would be a bad idea now and an even worse precedent for when a Democrat eventually becomes president. And they get a kick out of CNN’s Jim Acosta intending to make an argument against the need for a border wall but accidentally demonstrating why a wall works. And Jim explains how Acosta has become the Hollywood caricature of an arrogant reporter.

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Your Intergenerational Jazz Video of the Day

 

So, I was just looking for material by Stanley Clarke on Youtube and what do I find but this video from 2017. Check out the drummer: This cat is 22 and he’s already got terrific phrasing. His name’s Mike Mitchell and I think we can expect a long a great career from him: More

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Small Screen Reviews: ‘Titans’ from DC Universe

 
Pictured: Not the beloved Titans

I went and subscribed to DC Universe, the DC multi-media service which includes comics and streaming. So far, a few months out the former is nowhere near as extensive as Marvel’s Marvel Unlimited service, but it seems DC is going in a different direction with their app. As for Streaming, there’s a small helping of shows. Most of them are older films and classic television programming such as the original Wonder Woman show and black and white Superman or even Superfriends episodes which demonstrate the truth that the Jason Mamoa film tries to hide: Aquaman has always been lame.

DC Universe is creating original content as well; their first is Titans. So far, my feeling is that it’s not too bad, but not great. It’s a solid three on a scale of 1 to 5. Mostly it suffers from being a superhero program in a glut of superhero programs. By now we’ve had about ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on big and small screen, and several Batman, Superman films as well, and plenty of DC television programs that are separate from the DC cinema. Titans is a latecomer and has to stick out in a market that’s glutted so bad, even I don’t feel pains missing a superhero film or tv show. However, it’s several leagues better than my least favorite series and favorite punching bag, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (last season was also terrible, btw).

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Democrats: This Isn’t How You Social

 

On Instagram this morning Beto O’Rourke posted a picture of himself getting a dental cleaning. I’m doing Ricochet members and readers the courtesy of linking the picture here instead of embedding it into the post. You are all quite welcome.

Ever since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won support and notoriety by Instagramming some cooking scenes, other Democratic politicians have tried, largely without success, to replicate her relatable social media posts.

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In this latest episode, the Sub-Beacon dives into the filmmaking and politics ofVice. Sonny has the real answer about the The Sopranos ending. JVL makes Eagles playoff predictions (and a real cheesy popcorn!). Vic is unapologetic about his liver and onions.

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No Host Is Pure Enough to Host The Oscars

 

“My name is Oscarmandias, King of Entertainment;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

After months of searching for a host then chasing off the only person willing to try, the Academy has thrown in the gold lamé towelette. For the first time in the past three decades of The Oscars, the event will go hostless. From Variety:

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The Real Story Behind ‘On the Basis of Sex’

 

The new highly publicized movie “On the Basis of Sex” offers a somewhat fictionalized account of the early professional life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Intermingled with her life story, the film presents an idealized narrative of her early legal crusade against gender discrimination, fought in part with her late (and most devoted) husband, the eminent tax lawyer Martin Ginsburg.

Ginsburg argued or participated in several of the early influential cases on sex discrimination and went on to found the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. When she started teaching, she was one of only about 20 female law professors in the United States. She was very much a pioneer in the women’s rights movement, motivated by her own life experiences. She had on numerous occasions been rejected from positions solely on grounds of her sex, notwithstanding her great academic distinction, and was well aware that similar obstacles fell in the path of other women who sought to make a career in the law. The film goes into these issues in depth, but I shall not dwell on them here. I am a lawyer, not a film critic, so I will comment only on Justice Ginsburg’s substantive arguments against gender discrimination

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Your YES! Video of the Evening

 

…which comes to you via Youtube and courtesy of Swiss Public television’s recording the Lugano Jazz Festival back in 2004: More

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Movies and Cultural Literacy

 

Young people don’t need another excuse to watch movies, but I do think we need to acknowledge the role of films in a well-rounded education. What movies do kids have to see in order to fully participate in the national discourse, without which they would misinterpret phrases that are meaningful shorthand for those of us who have not been deprived of classic flicks? Here are a few of my ideas:

1.) Wizard of Oz: This movie has been mined for colorful analogies maybe more than any other. Recently I was nonplussed to find out from my daughters that many, perhaps most, earphones come with a microphone. For weeks I’d been wanting to alleviate the crick in my neck from doing hands-free the old way. My girls knew what I meant when I said, “You mean I had the ruby slippers all along??” And just last week a counselor I’ve been seeing brought up ruby slippers, yellow brick road, and strange characters on a journey. Opinion pieces bring us We’re not in Kansas anymore, The witch is dead, Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, and so on. Wizard of Oz the movie should be required watching as soon as children outgrow the tendency to have nightmares over bizarre winged monkeys, malevolent forests, cackling witches, and a tornado carrying one far away from home and family.

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Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

 

I will spare you my full review (with Film Culture and Did You Know) but if you’re interesting you can click this link: http://tomconinereviews.blogspot.com/2019/01/teen-titans-go-to-movies-direction-by.html Here’s a mini-summary: I watched the movie on a lark because a few friends of mine are compiling lists of Best Of for 2018. My job, being that I’m the resident geek (which is weird […]

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It’s 2019: What Did Blade Runner Get Right and Wrong?

 

Three well-known science fiction films all take place in this new year of 2019: “Blade Runner” (1983), “The Running Man” (1987), and “Akira” (1988). “Blade Runner,” although released longest ago, may be freshest of mind thanks to the excellent 2017 sequel, “Blade Runner 2049.” And when that follow-up hit the big screen, there were plenty of news stories comparing the technological predictions of the two films to the tech gear we actually have today. For instance: The two movies show or suggest far more advanced AI, robotics, biotechnology, and space travel (lots of theorizing that the “Blade Runner” and “Alien” franchises kinda-sorta exist in the same universe), as well as the famous physics-defying flying cars or “spinners.”

On the other hand, the real 2019 has far better communication tech thanks to the internet and smartphones. And since the original “Blade Runner” missed that information revolution, it also of course missed the accompanying business disruption. It featured companies such as Atari, Bell Telephone, and RCA as important tech sector players. It’s a theme that “Blade Runner 2049” continued as creators chose to show a world where Atari is a tech colossus rather than Apple or Microsoft, which both existed when “Blade Runner” was released. The films depict a reality where there’s not a lot of obvious Schumpeterian creative destruction. Yet one would think there would need to be plenty of entrepreneurial and technological churn to arrive at a place where advances such as off-world colonies and replicants exist.

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The Old-World Craftsmanship of Amazon’s Patriot

 

“Hello, Is Charlie There?”, episode 7 of Amazon Prime’s not so new series Patriot, begins with a puppet show that artfully encapsulates one of the main undercurrents of the entire series: the unbearable demands parents can make on their children. This elegantly designed and beautifully realized 3 minute segment is, therefore, actually a microcosm of […]

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Aquaman

 

Direction by James Wan More

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Pandora.com

 

I just need to write this short essay, which pays homage to the joys of Pandora. I always liked music. But, now that I don’t have to go to work, and have more time to indulge my avocations, I find Pandora a real God-send. More

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The Big Valley

 

A comment on my previous essay, which can be read here, prompted me to write this one on one of my favorite westerns. The reason it is one of my favorites is almost solely due to Barbara Stanwyck’s portrayal in the Matriarchal role of Victoria Barkley, whose late husband helped settle the big valley. I […]

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Mary Poppins Returns

 

Mary Poppins Returns Direction by Rob Marshall More

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Movie Review: Executive Suite

 

This movie and I share an anniversary: Next year, we will both be 65. Executive Suite, though, is not quite as old as me. It was released in May of 1954. I was “released” in February. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I just bought it on Amazon Prime. I rarely buy movies, if […]

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