Friday, April 30, 2004

Frankie and Johnny (1966) were sweethearts, blah blah blabbity blah ... We're nearing the end of our 1966 film festival (part one, at least) and subjected ourselves to this Elvis movie last night. It was filmed entirely on a soundstage, so the sets were actually lamer than those on, say, I Dream of Jeannie or The Brady Bunch, which made the Civil War-era riverboat setting less than convincing. I kept expecting to see some huge computer or green station wagon in the background. Happily, the filmmakers were not that careless.

The acting was decent, but no one did such a great job as to upstage Elvis. Elvis plays Johnny, a riverboat singer and gambling addict. He has a lady, Frankie, who is a very forgettable blonde type. Much more memorable are the funny drunk ladies Abigail and Mitzi (a redhead and a brunette, in case you're keeping score). Trouble gets stirred up when a gypsy tells Elvis he needs a lucky redhead to win at roulette, and immediately the lovely redhead Nellie Bly shows up. (I always forget who the real Nellie Bly was, but it sure seems like she was fictionalized a lot.) Well, Frankie gets jealous when Johnny is hanging around with Nellie and ... well, you know the song. It goes down like that, but with a nifty twist.

This movie was okay, but if it had been longer than 87 minutes I might have lost my mind. None of the songs does justice to Elvis, and he spends much of his singing time walking in place, rather than dancing, which is really dorky-looking. It almost feels like Elvis is in a community theater production of The Music Man or something. Also, Elvis' pants are disconcertingly high-waisted.

My favorite part of this movie is when Harry Morgan (later of M*A*S*H) sings. He plays Elvis' musician pal, and when he sings, it's like some frog is hiding in the corner of the room singing and Harry is just mouthing along.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Our Netflix queue has 280 movies in it. We are definitely adding movies faster than we are watching them. On some slower computers/internet connections, the queue page takes forever to load. Sometimes I think that we should remove some of the movies, but then I think what if we run out someday? Quite a conundrum.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I was just thinking, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are lucky that they ended up so cute, because actually when they were little kids on Full House they were pretty damn ugly. My secret is that I want to see their new movie, New York Minute. I can't help it.

(Maybe I'll claim it's because Eugene Levy is in it, to redeem myself in the eyes of those who scoffed me when I didn't know who he was in my Best in Show movie review. I'm not sure that will really work, though.)

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Alfie (1966) is the story of a wacky not-as-young-as-he-thinks-he-is Englishman (played by Michael Caine) who fools around with a lot of women, breaks a lot of hearts, gets an x-ray for no apparent reason, finds out that he has some sort of lung disease and gets to lay around for 6 months (and get it on with the nurses), gets it on with his friend's wife, has a baby, enslaves a hitchhiker, gets his friend's wife pregnant, gets her an abortion, becomes a right-to-lifer and male prositute to an overweight and old American woman, then finally learns absolutely nothing except that maybe he should get a dog.

The Sand Pebbles (1966) takes place in China in the 1920s and tells the touching story of a young American soldier's personal journey from not caring about anyone or anything (except maybe engines), to his realization that the "slopeheads" aren't all that bad and that war is hell. Along the way, he meets many strange characters and has exciting adventures.

This movie was 3 hours long, but it seemed much much shorter than Modesty Blaise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

British Home Improvement and Canadian News

We've got some new channels on our TV, and now I can combine 2 of my favorite things -- armchair travel and home redesign shows -- by watching fabulous British home improvement shows. Garden Rivals, Changing Rooms, and House Invaders are all similar to their American counterparts, but somewhat less flashy. Their hosts and designers a bit less over-the-top than Paige Davis and the designers on Trading Spaces, and the designers actually listen to the guests' ideas about how to redesign their friends' house.

On the other side of the spectrum, I now also have access to international news channels. If you haven't seen these, you really should. I find 2 things amazing: (a) how much more appropriate the tone of these news channels is, with real newspeople instead of newsmodels like we have, and (b) how much our newsmodels are not telling us about what's going on in the world, particularly Iraq. My favorite is News World International, which is produced by CBC (Canadian Broadcating Co.).

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Modesty Blaise (1966) is based on the comic strip of the same name. I don't know much more about what this film was about than that. Modesty's hair and clothes change all the time and I didn't understand why. The plot of the movie had something to do with thwarting a diamond heist. There was an Australian guy named Willie that Modesty had the hots for, and a guy named Gabriel who was bad...and crazy. He had a pyscho wife or girlfriend too, by the way.

More importantly, this movie was chock full of stupidly arty camera angles and tricks that were supposed to make you say "Ahhhh". The one positive thing I got out of this movie is that people making movies in 1966 generally required more thinking and background knowledge out of the audience than they do now. Imagine if the X-Men movie had actually assumed that you were familiar with the most basic of basics of the X-Men comics...probably would have been a better movie...but, that sort of thing can't be done today. In 1966, it was ok. Unfortunatly, I don't know anything about Modesty Blaise, except that my mom reads it and says "oh, that Modesty!" when she's reading the comics.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

This is our new favorite restaurant: INK at N & 29th in Sacramento.

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