Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ed Ansin's Plan over at the Newly Independent Channel Seven

is apparently to hype today's Patriot's Game...all day long and then run a game show when everyone switches over to watch the actual game at 8pm on CBS.... Sheer genius. If I was Ed I'd figure out some way to get some original programming going, maybe some political roundtable chat shows....or revive a variant "Sneak Previews". Hell start a Saturday Night monster movie type thing....its working Gangbusters on ME-TV with "Svengoolie". Or else stop making stupid decisions like letting a major network feed slip thru your fingers....

Sunday, January 01, 2017

My Top Movies for 2016....

plus some occasional notes... "Hail Caesar", Its an industry dominated by comic book options,schlocky uplift and video games, and mocking that trend sometimes requires that we dress up George Clooney as a Roman Centurion in a 1953 religious epic.... "10 Cloverfield Lane", You get the impression that John Goodman's phone doesn't ring much anymore with anything particularly challenging. So it was kewl to see him dominate the storyline in what could have easily been a M. Night Shyamalan knock off. "Weiner", Timely portrait of Anthony Weiner, horndawg & pathological narcissist and the numbing effect that has on his very necessary network of enablers. "Tickled" David D'Amato, notorious alleged on line vellication fetishist and stalker, gets his 15 minutes of malign fame. Since we are in the early stages of uploading our very minds into the internet, it seems appropriate to start making documentaries about our entirely curated "self presence" on line...and the weaponization of the same. "Bad Moms" I Laughed My Ass Off...I make no apologies. Mila Kunis & Kristen Bell need to be a new all estrogen comedy team, a'la Laurel & Hardy. I don't care if they are "Bad Lawyers", "Bad Manicurists" or "Bad US Representatives"....its all good to me, those dame got TIMING. And timing is in short supply these days. "Don't Think Twice" Best comedy I saw all summer hands down, caught the improv experience perfectly and the even more subtle process of "Plateau-ing" in your chosen field as well. "Florence Foster Jenkins" Best Movie About a Tone Deaf Opera Diva I've seen since Dorothy Commingore did "Citizen Kane". "Hell of High Water", If the scripts for The Star Trek Franchise Keep Tanking (and I think they will given that Regression to the Mean Rules Hollywood Like Tamerlane Ruled Central Asia) Chris Pine is gonna NEED to keep this movie on his Highlight Reel to Remind All and Sundry He Can Really Act. "The Lovers and the Despot". Dictators can be defied...Love Can Win Out Against The Whole World....and yes this was really a documentary. "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week" This was nothing revelatory, indeed at this point what would constitute a revelation about John Paul George and Ringo anyway? No I put this on my list simply because the famous Shea Stadium Concert (all forty minutes of it) was digitally remastered and included "as is". And THAT proved a revelation, none of those guys could hear their own music or themselves singing to say nothing of Ringo's Beat above that almighty adulatory din and STILL they didn't miss a note!! Practice Counts is my big takeaway.... "Arrival" Simply put the only other science fiction movie I saw this year that spoke to me, it got a little garbled and sentimental towards the end but kept its focus relentlessly on the "big picture" how do we communicate, indeed why do we do it....? Besides Amy Adams is often in bad movies but she is seldom bad herself in any bad movies.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I've Often Wondered....

At what point during the "table reads" for the original Star Wars Trilogy did the Late Carrie Fisher (herself a writer of no small acuity) start guffawing helplessly at the stilted dialogue? I'm thinking she was on her best behavior during "A New Hope" but after that the throttles were wide open. A lot is being made of Carrie Fisher's indomitable Princess Leia (who is the object of pursuit in two films but is accorded a solid chance to snuff a bad guy in the third albeit infamously clad in a brass bikini), her main breakthrough as a character is a refusal to be sidelined or entirely overshadowed by Obi Wan or Yoda or Han vs Luke vs Darth Vader. Well what of it, it was 1977 and as always a very sexist primitive time, any pushing of the gender envelope was welcome. I've always maintained that one of her funniest turns was what was otherwise a featured cameo in "The Blues Brothers" as John Belushi's incensed ex fiancee whose attempts to kill Joliet Jake take on a definite Wile E. Coyote like dimension. Fisher was smart (when she wasn't getting drunk high or indulging mayhem), she knew she'd run up against a wall of Princess Leia typecasting at the tender age of 25....so she got straight and switched over to writing and became a noted script doctor & author, she "Zenned the Typecasting" so to speak. I always liked that about her....anyone else would have been "MegaFested" and drowsed away the days selling her signature for $20.00 a pop. Not Carrie she staked out her ground and defended it to the last... And now she is gone and her mother Debbie Reynolds as well not a full day later. 2016 is an evil year with evil consequences and it is never a good thing when Our Heroes take Flight to Valhalla En Masse....its a Dark Portent Indeed.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

BTW Isn't it funny how Christmas Time is

The ONLY time of year you hear Burl Ives on the Radio??? To say nothing of Gene Autry and or Alvin & the Chipmunks....

Van Williams AKA "The Green Hornet" is Dead

(Thats him on the Left BTW....:) Always an impossibly handsome man (The "Rob Lowe of the 1960's"), Williams stumbled into the whole Batman-driven superhero craze of 1966 playing a completely paradoxically straight and unhumorous crimefighter. Sadly "The Green Hornet" only lasted one year and is chiefly remembered for launching Bruce Lee's career, but let take a moment to recall that today's stern uncompromising Masked Avengers all owe something to Van Williams. It should also be remembered that Williams was likely the first TV superhero of the modern age to get shot in the line of duty. Check out the Green Hornet Episode "Bad Bet on a 459 Silent" for the details, suffice to say getting a wanted masked vigilante to the hospital when he stops a bullet is a serious damn chore. Lets also note that very scenario was pirated virtually word for word by the Seth Rogen Green Hornet adaptation about which I will pass over in sacerdotal silence. In life Williams was courtly charming, a pleasant presence on the comicon circuit and always willing to remember his castmate and friend Bruce Lee with fondness & warmth. If Williams felt overshadowed he never said anything about it, indeed on that mark he was a Gentleman thru and thru. He will be missed One Season Wonder or Not.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Channel Zero Returns Tomorrow Night!!

In these dark & perilous times, Channel Zero wishes to Manfully Step Up and Say: "HAPPY 126th BIRTHDAY GROUCHO MARX!!" And to mark the occasion we will be fairly wallowing in Groucho's robust television legacy ncluding his 1965 guest host stint on "The Hollywood Palace" featuring a Reunion with his favorite comic foil Margaret Dumont, South African Diva Miriam Makeba & a rock-n-roll duet with his daughter Melinda Marx. Also on the bill, Groucho's infamous appearance on "Whats My Line" in which the famed comedian reduces a staid 1950's game show to mirthful ruins. Plus a Surprise or Two….   The Somerville Theatre (Micro Cinema) Friday October 21st 8pm (sharp!) 55 Davis Square Somerville Ma. 617 625 5700 Admission: $7.50 (cheap!) I don't know if Groucho and his brother's invented improv but they certainly made heavy use of it thru their careers. Groucho in particular had no fears of spontaneity whatsoever,years of touring in vaudeville had sharpened the act's collective and individual response times to an absurd degree. Allegedly when The Marx Brothers were starring in "Animal Crackers" it was a truism on Broadway that you could see the show twice a week and never was it played the same way. Groucho, Chico, Harpo and yes even Zeppo would improvise extensively night after night. That comes from a place of fearless built on experience... These days we have clowns who aspire to The Imperial Purple, lets take a moment to remember a real comedian who aspired only to a crown of "wow gags".

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Zimmerman in Stockholm....

Congrats to Bob Dylan for grabbing off the Nobel Prize for Literature....well deserved indeed. So does this mean that the Late Phil Ochs is in line for a Posthumous Pulitzer? And doesn't John Lennon deserve some consideration from one of these tentpole awards?? On a serious note I am sure that Dylan's address in Stockholm might make for interesting prose give a lifetime dedicated in service to the muse of poetry....but that creaky little voice of his....I'd sooner they hired almost anyone else to read it...The Late Gary Owens might've been a better choice in that regard. :) KIDDING I KID Congrats Bob!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Suicide Squad (2016)

wasn't bad, I rather enjoyed it thanks to the sturdy shield of low expectations. That having been said the end of the film is utterly incoherent (but thats par for the course in this film genre at this point, can anyone out there summarize Lex Luthor's plan in "Batman versus Superman"? Did HE even understand it??) and relies almost completely on Will Smith's still vital charisma and Margot Robbie's willingness to bounce off the walls to carry the day. But what th' hell, at least this one worked....like I said low expectations and I did manage to see it at the Drive In (and on a rainy night too I "parted the storm" in drive in parlance) that undoubtedly helped. Hell the best movie I've seen so far in this benighted summer has been "Don't Think Twice" which is still playing around town in various venues, its the story of the decline and fall of a NYC Improv Comedy Group but whole scenes were very evocative of our experience running the Channel Zero Repertory Film Series.... That and "Bad Moms" are probably the two best movies I've seen since May....its been a bad summer otherwise for movies but I begin to repeat myself.