What's on your Daily Viewing List?

Adam Lenhardt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2001
Messages
23,323
Location
Albany, NY
Apollo 13
Originally Released: 06/30/1995
Watched: 08/02/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on Apple TV app via Roku Ultra

Apoll13_1995_iTunesCover.jpg


In recognition of America's first successful water landing since 1975, returning astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken safely to Earth at the conclusion of the first crewed orbital spaceflight launched from the United States since the end of the space shuttle program, I was moved to revisit arguably the best feature film yet made about America's space program.

Apollo 13 won the Oscar for Best Film Editing, and deserved to. At two hours, twenty minutes it feels exactly the right length. It is a marvel of editing, juggling a number of different narratives simultaneously and visiting each one exactly when we need to in order to place it in the context of the larger whole. Every shot is exactly the right length, every piece of information conveyed clearly and at exactly the same time.

Both this film and The Martian are great movies about triumph through problem solving. But where this movie rises above, setting aside the added difficulty of telling a true story, is in its depiction of problem solving as teamwork. Matt Damon spends a lot of The Martian on his own, a celebration of individual resolve and ingenuity. But when Apollo 13 suffers a catastrophic failure three days into its mission, this film understands that it took the work of hundreds, if not thousands, to bring those three men home safely.

Narrative storytelling relies on well-defined characters, so stories built around a large number of people making small contributions run counter to screenwriters' natural instincts.

What the screenplay by William Broyles Jr. and Al Reinert does so well is give us less than a dozen characters we're really invested in as people and then trusts that the audience will care about all of the other characters shown in the context of what they contribute to the larger goal. The audience isn't necessarily invested in Loren Dean as the movie's facsimile of EECOM John Aaron, for instance, but the audience is definitely invested in whether EECOM and Ken Mattingly can figure out a way to get Apollo 13 enough power to carry them to splashdown.

The movie identifies one problem after another, and then concisely and efficiently portrays how NASA solved each problem. There is no real artificial drama in the movie, because the filmmakers know and trust that there is enough drama baked into the premise.

By the time Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert make it to the USS Iwo Jima, the audience feels like it's been through this ordeal with them.
 

TJPC

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2016
Messages
3,897
Location
Hamilton Ontario
Real Name
Terry Carroll
From Acorn we binged “Ms Fisher’s Modern Mystery” series which is about the original Miss Fisher’s niece in the 1960s. It isn’t as good as the original, but really does a great job of recreating the period.
 

Walter Kittel

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 28, 1998
Messages
7,339
Still on the Chicago P.D. binge, but managing to watch a few other programs.

Of note was a viewing of The Go-Go's, the Showtime documentary of the band. It was an interesting look at the arc of the band's existence from its formation to its eventual dissolution. While, like most music fans of that generation, I was aware of the group's public image during the (seemingly) halcyon days of their fame, I wasn't that familiar with their origins from the Los Angeles' punk rock movement.

It was kind of sad to see how many of the things that doom bands affected this group. You could just check all the boxes; creative control, money, drugs, management changes, ego, and so on. About the only element that wasn't present in the group's demise was romantic rivalry. It was a nice trip down memory lane in some ways and unfortunate to see / recall how the band broke up.

- Walter.
 
Last edited:

bujaki

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2012
Messages
4,794
Location
Richardson, TX
Real Name
Jose Ortiz-Marrero
3 film noirs from Kino (BDs):
The Lady Gambles 1949. Stanwyck's performance lifts this melodrama aided by Russell Metty's great job as DP. His shadowy lighting is very much like Alton's, subtracting light from the scene. There's the noir element unless you think of McNally as an homme fatal... Anthony Curtis has two lines as a Bellboy. Excellent transfer.
The Sleeping City 1950. Richard Conte and Coleen Gray star in this police procedural that actually turns noir with a femme fatale in tow and with an ending reminiscent of The Maltese Falcon. Those nice looking dames do turn the charm on trying to squeeze out of a tight spot. Sharp looking transfer.
Calcutta 1946. Ladd and Bendix star in this whodunit as Ladd tries to find who murdered their pal. Ably supported by two lovelies: June Duprez and Gail Russell. Show stealer: Edith King in her film debut, playing a female Sidney Greenstreet. And there is a femme fatale who also turns on the charm much like Mary Astor did...A very disappointing transfer after the first two films viewed: not sharp at all.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Robin9

Adam Lenhardt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2001
Messages
23,323
Location
Albany, NY
The Martian (Extended Edition)
Originally Released: 10/02/2015 (theatrical cut)
Watched: 08/03/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on Vudu via Roku Ultra

TheMartian_2015_Extended-Edition.jpg


When summarizing my thoughts on Apollo 13 last night, I compared that movie to this movie. And in so doing, got myself jonesing to watch this movie.

I have the theatrical cut on Blu-ray; this was my first time watching the extended cut. The new material neither horribly bogs down the film nor greatly enhances it. Certain scenes play a little longer, and a handful of additional scenes flesh things out a bit more at times. But nothing especially revelatory. While the extended cut definitely still really works, I think I prefer the theatrical cut.

One of the odd things about the extended cut is that it makes a much bigger deal about the trajectory Rich Purnell plots to get the Hermes pointed back toward Mars. It's shown as taking days and days of work for this mathematical genius to accomplish and the use of a supercomputer to confirm. But what's essentially being described is a free return trajectory, using Earth's gravity to slingshot the ship back toward Mars. Just last night, I watched the NASA of 1970 calculate a similar free return trajectory, using the Moon's gravity to slingshot the Apollo 13 LEM/Command Module back toward Earth -- calculated on the fly with pen and paper using a slide rule. Now, granted, the situation presented in this film is more complicated because it involved a resupply mission that had to be carefully timed as the Hermes passed Earth. But even so, it would seem that if this were a real situation this would have been one of the first strategies considered and not an eccentric genius's flash of inspiration.

The main difference is that the extended cut very much feels like what Watney described at the end of the film: "You do the math. You solve one problem... and you solve the next one... and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home." There's less tension because the driving force is the process and not the problems. The theatrical cut feels a bit more anarchic, a bit more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. Because of that, the life and death stakes feel a bit more front and center than in this cut.

Robinson Crusoe on Mars came out in 1964, five years before the United States of America would land on the moon. It purported itself to be a science fiction retelling of Daniel Defoe's classic novel, but really it's a space fantasy. The difference between that film and this film is that we now know enough about Mars to have an idea of what a Robinson Crusoe story on Mars would really be like. The situation that strands Mark Watney on Mars is a bit fantastical, but everything after he's stranded there feels grounded in real science. As with Apollo 13, there is no villain introduced to artificially create drama. Instead, the antagonist is the environment and the circumstances, and the unforgiving nature of space.

The worldbuilding is also really effective, with the story set far enough in the future for the country to be on its third Mars mission but near enough to now that scenes on Earth don't feel significantly different from our contemporary world. One thing that is clear: Sometime between now and then, the United States reinvests in NASA in a serious way, because all of their facilities are top of the line.

The movie was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, and it's definitely a movie where the writing is noticeable and extremely important. The copious amounts of humor are really need to offset the bleakness of the protagonist's situation.

It's also my favorite Ridley Scott movie.
 

Walter Kittel

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 28, 1998
Messages
7,339
The Martian (Extended Edition)
Originally Released: 10/02/2015 (theatrical cut)
Watched: 08/03/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on Vudu via Roku Ultra

View attachment 76418


The main difference is that the extended cut very much feels like what Watney described at the end of the film: "You do the math. You solve one problem... and you solve the next one... and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home." There's less tension because the driving force is the process and not the problems. The theatrical cut feels a bit more anarchic, a bit more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. Because of that, the life and death stakes feel a bit more front and center than in this cut.

The worldbuilding is also really effective, with the story set far enough in the future for the country to be on its third Mars mission but near enough to now that scenes on Earth don't feel significantly different from our contemporary world. One thing that is clear: Sometime between now and then, the United States reinvests in NASA in a serious way, because all of their facilities are top of the line.

The movie was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, and it's definitely a movie where the writing is noticeable and extremely important. The copious amounts of humor are really need to offset the bleakness of the protagonist's situation.

It's also my favorite Ridley Scott movie.
So Adam, have you read the novel The Martian by Andy Weir? I ask because while the film is pretty faithful to the novel in most respects, there are elements of the processes employed by Watney on Mars that were streamlined in the theatrical cut of the film. In particular the work of excavating and transporting Pathfinder back to the habitat. Also the rendezvous sequence with the Hermes is altered. I am okay with the changes, as I felt like they were in the interest of making the film more 'cinematic' and maintaining the narrative 'pace' of the film.

As an aside - It is a fine film, but personally I'd have to go with Alien as my favorite Scott film.

- Walter.
 

bujaki

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2012
Messages
4,794
Location
Richardson, TX
Real Name
Jose Ortiz-Marrero
So Sweet...So Perverse (Synapse BD) 1969. The second of the Lenzi/Carroll Baker gialli. This one, like Psycho, has a twist midway through the film. It has some of the stylistic trappings of the giallo (primary colors) and many, many twists; perhaps too many. Baker and many other good-looking women show a lot of skin.
Straight Shooting (Kino BD) 1917. Jack Ford's first extant film and it's a good one showcasing Harry Carey. I first saw this at MoMA in '76 and I don't think I'd seen it since. It really holds up, and this transfer is quite good. Carey exhibits his hand to elbow gesture that became his trademark and was copied as an homage by Wayne in The Searchers. Hoot Gibson co-stars. Highly recommended.
An Act of Murder (Kino BD) 1948. What a pleasure to see the March/Eldridge couple working together on a film. They just feel so naturally married. A film about love and euthanasia. Legal guilt vs. moral guilt. Conundrums. Justice tempered by mercy. More conundrums. I don't think this is a noir film per se since there's only rain and darkness during the fateful ride back, and there's no femme fatale. How would Eddie explain this one? The PQ is average. Recommended.
Six Bridges to Cross (Kino BD) 1955. Widescreen at last! Good film with a standout performance from Sal Mineo as the young Tony Curtis, who is delivering one of his best early in his career. I saw this film on the screen as a young one because I'd seen Curtis in The Black Shield of Falworth (many times and I wanted to become a knight), and was a fan of Julia Adams. I'd also seen Robot Monster, so a fan of George Nader...This is quite a good film and it held my interest throughout. The PQ was variable (apart from the opticals); sometimes it was very sharp, and within the same scene the quality would go soft. Recommended.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Robin9

BobO'Link

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
6,958
Location
Mid-South
Real Name
Howie
1596575452982.png

Once you get past the annoying and cliche' Saturday morning music on the first half dozen or so episodes and some cheesy writing on others it's not a bad show. The musical scores improved by the 8th or 9th episode with significantly less repetitive Filmation catalog junk. While not stellar, it's one of the better series from Filmation. I normally can't stand their work and it really took me some time to warm up to this series because of their animation style (as a kid I didn't like it and didn't watch any of the superhero stuff they did because of it - at least this is better than that work).
 

TJPC

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2016
Messages
3,897
Location
Hamilton Ontario
Real Name
Terry Carroll
For some strange reason, I originally watched the DVD version of these shows and basically hated them, but really liked them on Blu-ray. (?)
 

BobO'Link

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
6,958
Location
Mid-South
Real Name
Howie
For some strange reason, I originally watched the DVD version of these shows and basically hated them, but really liked them on Blu-ray. (?)
If you're referencing ST:TAS - it's pretty much the same with me. I purchased the DVD set years ago simply because I found it at a "good price" one day at WM. My thinking was along the lines of "Well... I like ST, and DS9, and Voyager, so I guess I should try this one again and that's a good enough price" (IIRC it was ~$15). I watched it and, like during its original airings, was quite unimpressed. I didn't watch it again until I purchased the UK BR (region free BTW) a couple of years ago - for less than I'd paid for that DVD set. It looks excellent on BR and I found I liked it better, still not really all that much but better - enough so to consider semi-regular viewings. This week is one of those.

I completed the series and found the repetitive score of the earlier episodes returned, especially a 4-8 bar musical phrase they use constantly on loop to register suspense. It's not as loud as in early episodes but is still one of the little things that scream CHEAP to me and part of Filmation's look and sound. They have such an obvious look and sound that I can identify a Filmation production within 30 seconds (often just by seeing the open). As a kid I didn't like their product because of how cheaply it was done (see their late 60s superhero work for examples) and rarely watched it. Other studios cut corners but no one cut them like Filmation.

As the series progressed they added more odd looking aliens for no apparent reason than to have odd looking aliens with many looking like any of a dozen other aliens on other "SF" cartoons of the late 60s/early 70s. And the "monster of the week" format seemingly took hold with every other episode having some generic type monster attack. I also didn't care for revisiting previous live action episodes with animated ones in the same setting (the Time Portal [Yesteryear], Tribbles, the Amusement Park Planet [McCoy's Alice in Wonderland], Harry Mudd with another "beauty enhancement" scam that felt like a retread, crew put in an alien zoo [the original pilot]).

The Enterprise looks very good in its larger drawn horizontal fly by. However, they cheap out with smaller drawings by having a 3/4 angle shot (one that should come from a side and get larger as it passes to the right) simply flying by with no change in size. It makes it look wrong and off. A simple zoom as it moves across the screen would have fixed that (and it's not that hard to do). The main characters are also generally well drawn. With the voice acting, there are more than a few episodes where Shatner sounds like he's "phoning in" his performance. Generally the voice acting is well done in spite of he and Nimoy rarely being in the same room with anyone else. That's part of why I feel Shatner sounds like he does - there's no one to play off of or give direction so he comes off with a rather flat performance. Nimoy doesn't have that same "reading the script to a mic" sound.

Overall, I truly enjoy about 1/4 of the episodes and find another 1/4 reasonably well done. At least half are completely disposable and very generic feeling with a few rivaling the worst of ST S3 for the worst Trek ever. I'm one of those few who feel David Gerrold's return to Tribbles falls completely flat and is one of those worst episodes. Still, it's one of Filmation's better attempts and many of their cost cutting measures are not present, although there are still more than there should be for a Trek series.
 
Last edited:

bujaki

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2012
Messages
4,794
Location
Richardson, TX
Real Name
Jose Ortiz-Marrero
The Virginian 1929. The yardstick. Still. The best acted, the best directed, the best scripted, etc. Cooper,Brian and Arlen made a graceful transition into talkies with good voices and acting techniques. Cooper is especially good in the hanging scene, expressing anguish, sorrow and regret at having to hang his best friend. The film uses sound in creative ways and is well edited and photographed. It is a real gem. I last saw this at MoMA in the early '70s in a stunning 35mm nitrate print. This film cries out for a BD release.
Three Smart Girls Grow Up (Kino BD) 1939. Follow up to Three Smart Girls. Charmingly directed by Henry Koster, who also helmed the first one. This one follows Deanna as matchmaker to her older sisters. I shudder to think what will happen to those young women when they wake up the morning after and find themselves next to almost total strangers. But that's after the Hollywood happy ending. I love Durbin and have seen all her films thanks to Bill Everson. Excellen PQ.
The Virginian (Kino BD) 1946. Except for the addition of Technicolor and a prologue showing Miss Molly leaving her home in Vermont, this version is markedly inferior to the 1929 film. McCrea is affable but he's not the actor that Cooper was. Tufts was not much of anything; and Donleavy, as menacing as he could be, is no match for Huston. Even Mary Brian is superior to Britton. A good release in terms of PQ, but disappointing as a film.
Victor and Victoria (Kino BD) 1933. I'd forgotten what a delightful film this German film is! Remade in England as First a Girl (charming film starring Jessie Matthews) and later by Blake Edwards as Victor/Victoria with an added gay subplot. The original is constructed as a light operetta with sung numbers and recitatives in rhyming couplets (not in its totality), but you'll notice it if you're a German speaker or if you have a keen ear. The female lead ended her days in a Gestapo interrogation room where she "accidentally" fell from a window to her death. The romantic lead is none other that Anton Walbrook using his real German name. The film has been restored and is shown in its OAR of 1.20. Highly recommended.
 

dana martin

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2003
Messages
4,270
Location
Norfolk, VA
Real Name
Dana Martin
This Morning's Matinee

1596824656655.png

The Vargas Poster is iconic, and had read different things but had never seen this before, so it was a total blind purchase. It touches some of the same ground as Temple Blake, but in a very different fashion, and there are a lot of opticals in this layered, the picture was not waxy, the work done at UCLA shines in this, in comparison to something similar say from the same time frame Stan and Ollie.

Prior to the release, some were speculating that this was supposedly a BDR, Film Detectives web site for the limited edition BD, 1500 total copies, goes to Moviezyng, and it is definitely a pressed disc.

Has anyone else picked this up?
 

bujaki

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2012
Messages
4,794
Location
Richardson, TX
Real Name
Jose Ortiz-Marrero
This Morning's Matinee

View attachment 76616

The Vargas Poster is iconic, and had read different things but had never seen this before, so it was a total blind purchase. It touches some of the same ground as Temple Blake, but in a very different fashion, and there are a lot of opticals in this layered, the picture was not waxy, the work done at UCLA shines in this, in comparison to something similar say from the same time frame Stan and Ollie.

Prior to the release, some were speculating that this was supposedly a BDR, Film Detectives web site for the limited edition BD, 1500 total copies, goes to Moviezyng, and it is definitely a pressed disc.

Has anyone else picked this up?
I did. Not a blind buy since I'd seen the film at least twice and had liked its offbeat structure and pre-Code story. Just arrived in the mail and will not play it for a while.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dana martin

bujaki

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2012
Messages
4,794
Location
Richardson, TX
Real Name
Jose Ortiz-Marrero
August 5. late enough so that it would have been 6 Aug. in Japan:
Hiroshima (iTunes) 1953. Blending real footage and staged depiction of the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima, this film is a plea for disarmament. In the aftermath of the destruction, the film concentrates on the plight of the children, orphaned or about to be. The adults are reduced to an almost zombie state as you watch them die a slow death. Even the young survivors are later ostracized and ignored for being exactly that, survivors. The film ends in an almost quote from Gance's J'accuse, in which the dead rise in order to accuse the living. An interesting footnote is that Alain Resnais used footage as well as the one of the lead actors (Eiji Okada) here for his ground-breaking work, Hiroshima, Mon Amour.
The Guns of Navarone 1961. Saw this when it came out. Holds up beautifully. Vudu stream in UHD (HD only in iTunes) looked excellent even though it lacked HDR. A bargain for $4.99. It really is a great thriller.
The Tall T (Indicator BD) 1957. Boetticher/Randolph Scott. 'Nuff said. National Film Registry inductee. Taut, lean western that begins very jovially and turns dark in a cat-and-mouse tale of survival and just revenge. Not a wasted moment. Satisfying conclusion. Why did they keep calling Maureen O'Sullivan a very plain-looking woman? OK, she was not the young woman of 1932's Tarzan, but she was still a handsome mature woman, wasn't she? Ageism, I suppose...
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,829
Messages
4,721,581
Members
141,344
Latest member
PhishHead00