Aug 18 2014

This Week’s Underappreciated Movies

Every Monday, each of us will suggest a film that we feel too few people have seen.

eileen

Windy’s Pick of the Week: My Sister Eileen

A series of autobiographical short stories by Ruth McKinney was turned into a play, a movie-non-musical, a Broadway musical (Wonderful Town), and the 1955 movie starring Betty Garrett and Janet Leigh. But who cares about the girls – the reason to watch this movie is the dancing! Specifically the challenge dance done by Tommy Rall and Bob Fosse! The story is about two midwestern girls moving to the big city – what more do you need to know? BOB FOSSE!

dambusters

Melissa’s Pick of the Week: The Dam Busters

You know how TV shows like Law & Order are called crime procedurals? Well, The Dam Busters is kind of a war procedural. The film tells the true story about how the British managed to attack German dams during WWII, from “hey, I have an impossible task,” to “hey, I’m a scientist and I have an idea” to “HEY, LET’S GO BOMB NAZIS.” Keen viewers will catch that Star Wars borrowed a lot of the starfighter action scenes from this movie, right down to flying low down a trench in order to thread a proverbial needle with a bomb. The film is smart and exciting and definitely worth tracking down. Bonus points for containing Michael Redgrave.

(A note of caution: this film contains a dog with an offensive name. In the film’s defense, the dog was a real dog owned by the real pilots, and that was his real name. The dog even has a Wikipedia page.)

Aug 14 2014

Episode 27: Sexism, Screenwriting, and Scotch: Part 1

Photo by J. Garth Wilcox

Photo by J. Garth Wilcox

This week, we have a very special thing for our fine listeners: our first two-part episode! In Part 1, you will hear us with screenwriter, author, and film critic C. Robert Cargill, in a discussion we recorded in front of a real live studio audience at CONvergence 2014. In this episode, we tackle the issues surrounding writing good feminist media and tackle a very nice bottle of Yamazaki 12 year single-malt scotch.

We only had an hour to talk about a very big subject, which is why the three of us got together a couple days later to record for another hour. You’ll hear that part next week!

We apologize for the sound quality of this week’s episode, which contains a lot of ambient noise from the room.

Show notes behind the cut!

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Aug 11 2014

This Week’s Underappreciated Movies

Every Monday, each of us will suggest a film that we feel too few people have seen.

sorcerer

Melissa’s Pick of the Week: Sorcerer

Whenever someone starts complaining about remakes being no good, I bring up Sorcerer. Sorcerer is a 1970′s remake of the French suspense classic The Wages of Fear, one of my favorite films of all time. Sorcerer is different enough from the original to be its own thing, and thus it is amazing in its own right as well as being a worthy heir to the Wages of Fear mantle.

Sorcerer is a film about a team of down-and-out foreigners in South America, whose luck turns when an oil well catches fire. The only way to extinguish the oil fire is an explosion that will smother the flames, and the only way to generate that explosion is to haul a couple trucks full of dynamite over the mountains. The problem is that the dynamite is leaking nitroglycerine, which will explode upon experiencing any physical shock. Thus, the team of men who drive these trucks very carefully over the dangerous mountain road must be both money-hungry and expendable, and so that’s where our protagonists come in.

The film is a master class in tension, and it would probably be a classic of the 1970s if it weren’t for the fact that it opened in theaters against a little movie called Star Wars. Did I mention it was directed by The French Connection‘s William Friedkin? And it has Roy Scheider. And a bizarro soundtrack by Tangerine Dream. And a brand-new, gorgeous Blu-Ray release. Yeah, you should see this one.

mainhoonna

Windy’s Pick of the Week: Main Hoon Na

Continuing with my Bollywood recommendations, this is an accessible film for a first time Bollywood viewer. Starring the incomparable Shah Rukh Khan, this is a spy/action/fish-out-of-water/prodigal son movie. It’s Bollywood, so it is ALL THE GENRES! Shah Rukh stars as the super spy sent undercover as a college student to protect a government muckety-muck’s daughter. The action scenes are beautifully over-the-top, some wonderful visual comedy (especially the violins!), plus Shah Rukh Khan cries more beautifully than any man ever.

Aug 07 2014

Episode 26: Zen Master Tai Chi Roadhousey-Fu

tarkan

In this week’s episode, special guest Kelvin Hatle, comedian and erudite thought-leader, returns to the Pleasure Dome to profess his love of so-bad-it’s-good filmmaking. Did Vikings wear bath mats? Does furniture crave fried chicken? Where can you find Patrick Swayze doing a sexy belt dance on roller skates? Find out in this episode!

If you would like to drink along with us, we highly recommend The Gaucho Club’s Oak Cask Malbec. It sustained us in our times of laughter and tears.

Show notes, photos, and oh-so-many links behind the cut!

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Aug 04 2014

This Week’s Underappreciated Movies

Every Monday, each of us will suggest a film that we feel too few people have seen.

kalhonaho

Windy’s Pick of the Week: Kal Ho Na Ho

It’s time to start recommending Bollywood to you. Kal Ho Naa Ho is an excellent starting point for Bollywood – it’s got high production values, and a star-studded cast (if you know your Bollywood stars). Shah Rukh Khan is arguably the biggest movie star in the world, if you go by number of people who know his name. Preity Zinta is his love interest. There are complications, and dance numbers, and a lot of drama. It’s Bollywood, and Bollywood means a little bit of everything – comedy, drama, hijinks, slapstick.

I recommend watching with subtitles since I do believe a lot of the emotional nuance gets lost with dubbing – and the Hindi language is just so beautiful.

hausu

Melissa’s Pick of the Week: Hausu (aka House)

You get a two-fer of foreign films this week! Hausu is one of the strangest films I’ve ever seen in my life, and as you know, I’ve seen some pretty strange stuff. This Japanese haunted house movie from the late 1970′s involves seven young girls who visit a rural house for a vacation. Of course, the house is possessed. Director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi wanted to make a movie that tapped into primal fears, so he asked his own young daughter about what frightened her, and then put that on the screen. The result is both weirdly stylish and downright surreal. If you can, track down the Criterion Collection release of this film — the restoration is beautiful.

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