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What's on your Daily Viewing List? (4 Viewers)

Walter Kittel

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Started bingeing season one of Britannia. For whatever reason it really did not grab me when I viewed the first episode some time back. Let it pile up on the DVR and decided to take another look. Really enjoying the early episodes upon a revisit. Go figure. :)

Probably going to knock out one episode per day.

After bingeing Chicago P.D. I am starting Chicago Fire. Feels pretty similar in most respects in terms of the production and the use of a large ensemble cast. It isn't quite as engaging so far as P.D. but I think I'll stick with it.

- Walter.
 

Mike Frezon

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Peg and I dusted off our old DVD (which replaced our VHS tape) of Guys and Dolls: Off the Record



This is a fantastic record of the cast recording of the 1992 Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls (think of DA Penebaker's documentary of the cast recording of Sondheim's Company--but without any of the drama). It features a great cast, superb musicians and outstanding orchestrations of the Frank Loesser score/songs.

Two things that's amazing to me about this is:

1.) that it took place in 1992--nearly THIRTY YEARS AGO! (Though the songs sound as fresh as can be!) And,

2.) I had completely forgotten that J.K. Simmons played Benny Southstreet in this production! (And Ernie Sabella and Nathan Lane appeared in it together, too--two years before the release of The Lion King and their turns as Timon & Pumbaa.)
 

bujaki

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Jose Ortiz-Marrero
Peg and I dusted off our old DVD (which replaced our VHS tape) of Guys and Dolls: Off the Record



This is a fantastic record of the cast recording of the 1992 Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls (think of DA Penebaker's documentary of the cast recording of Sondheim's Company--but without any of the drama). It features a great cast, superb musicians and outstanding orchestrations of the Frank Loesser score/songs.

Two things that's amazing to me about this is:

1.) that it took place in 1992--nearly THIRTY YEARS AGO! (Though the songs sound as fresh as can be!) And,

2.) I had completely forgotten that J.K. Simmons played Benny Southstreet in this production! (And Ernie Sabella and Nathan Lane appeared in it together, too--two years before the release of The Lion King and their turns as Timon & Pumbaa.)
And Josie is another product of my beautiful island, Puerto Rico. I caught up with her recently in Houston and she is still quite gorgeous with a youthful figure to boot. Saw her in two plays: one a comedy, the other a tragedy. She excelled in both. Very talented...
 

Matt Hough

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Having been in a local production of Guys & Dolls, I was thrilled to see that Broadway revival. No wonder it was such a big hit. It was beautifully cast, the production was stupendous, and it had the freshness and excitement surrounding it of a brand new show, not a revival. (They had, of course, made some changes to the original including new music for "Runyonland" at the beginning.) The score for the ensemble of this show is THE most difficult with harmonies I have ever experienced, and that includes doing a lot of Sondheim. Wow, we went over the harmonies of those choral numbers every night before the show to make sure everyone knew their notes. The cast of the revival breezed through the numbers like they were nothing. Believe me, it was HARD!
 

TJPC

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My wife and I have gone over to the dark side since coved lockdowns as I said before. We are streaming our heads off with Netflicks, Amazon and now Crave.

We have watched “The Crown”, “Letterkenny”, “Episodes”, etc. etc. I usually order seasons of TV shows on services we don’t get from the Library, but you often have to wait months, and everything is not always available. I burn temporary copies of the DVDs which is a pain and we watch them later.

We still have a “cable” service called “Rogers Ignite” which sends all the usual channels through Wifi, and is outstanding. Anything offered on it, and our 3 streaming channels can be searched and found instantly. I was forced kicking and screaming into getting this, when our cable company was bought out. I feel a bit foolish now, because it is so superior to what we had. We have 3 TVs, and all can access the same shows recorded on the “PVR”, which seems to have unlimited memory and which can record as many shows as you want at the same time. The cable box has gone from a huge VCRlike box to something the size of a large Hershey bar. Oh yes, it works with voice activation.

I still am a firm believer still of physical media however. It satisfies my urge to collect and own.
 

Jake Lipson

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Continuing with the Toy Story series I've been watching this week. Tonight:

Toy Story 3.jpg

Since I've been posting the cover art of the editions thet I actually have, I feel like I should note that this one is the first that actually has attractive box art. The discs for the first two look and sound wonderful, and I was glad to get those in Blu-ray only editions because I don't need another DVD copy, but the big head artwork on them is just not attractive. It's also funny that the box art on3 designates the film as the #1 Animated Film of the Year, because it is the #1 film of anything released in 2010 period.

Of course, the movie is wonderful and holds up beautifully, but everybody already knows that, so I don't really think there's much to add on that subject. If I had been in charge of the Oscars, this would have easily taken Best Picture over The King's Speech.
 
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bujaki

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Jose Ortiz-Marrero
Monday:
Fear (TCM app) 1946. Terrible print but one could still admire some very nice Expressionist touches in lighting, framing and compositions. It was also good to see what Morris Townsend looked like on Broadway (and he did marry The Heiress for life, proving he was not after her fortune!). So, for a cheapie, it was far better than it should have been. However, out of my dreams...
Le Doulos 1962. NOIR: INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Jean-Pierre Melville's great noir starring Serge Reggiani and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Doulos means hat, like "chapeau." It's also slang for informant. So for most of the film Belmondo is suspected of being one by both the police and the underworld. And it keeps us guessing until the very ironic twist when the hat rolls onto the floor. A most despairing end as befits a noir. Kino sells an excellent BD which I viewed earlier this year.
 
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bujaki

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Jose Ortiz-Marrero
Tuesday:
Women Make Films: Part 13 of 14. (TCM) Very educational. And it's almost over!
Ossessione aka Obsession 1943 NOIR: INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Eddie Muller saved one of his favorites for last: the first (unofficial) adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice, shot during the war in Fascist Italy, roundly condemned and banned by both the government and the Catholic church. This was Visconti's debut feature and he kept a print in his closet; otherwise, there would be no record of this great film. A far cry from the glossy MGM version and much closer to the Rafelson remake. this version has a true hunk (Massimo Girotti) in the title role, a veritable stud, as Eddie pointedly states, but who also has a muted homoerotic relationship with an itinerant performer. Clara Calamai plays the desperate woman who needs love, passion, an out from her stifling life, but who also stifles the hunk. Theirs is truly a love and a passion that kills. A magnificent noir.
Lightnin' 1930. A minor Henry King film, of note because it stars Will Rogers. This is a remake of a silent John Ford film I saw in 1976 and promptly forgot. Rogers is Rogers. Louise Dresser is excellent and Joel McCrea is very good. I just wanted to fill a gap in my Henry King filmography.
Water Lilies (Criterion Channel) 2007. Directed by Celine Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) and starring the gorgeous subject of the Portrait, this movie plots the story of 3 teenagers negotiating friendship and sexual awakenings. So far I've seen three features directed by Sciamma and liked all of them. Next up is Girlhood.
 

Mike Frezon

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Peg and I watched The Trouble with Tribbles from Season 2 of Star Trek: The Original Series. We were both a little surprised at how well we could remember the scenes as well as much of the dialogue--even though neither one of us had seen the episode in decades.

Even though I had purchased the TOS set on Blu quite a while ago, this was my first time taking out a disc and watching an episode of Star Trek in HD with the updated fx. I was stunned by the high quality of both the PQ as well as the attempt to widen the soundfield in the 5.1 mix. Pretty good stuff.

One of the things that was the most fun was realizing again just how badass Shatner's portrayal of Kirk was...even in one of the more light-hearted episodes. He may get slagged as not being a great actor, but he was the right guy for that role and brought just the right amount of cockiness and brashness to it.

 

John Sparks

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This B locked version starts off as non-anamorphic then slides in regular anamorphic. I thought I was watching an old DVD. Still fun to watch, even though I remember almost nothing of it.

1606362928909.png
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Homefront
Originally Released: 11/27/2013
Watched: 11/24/2020
HDX (1080P) digital streaming on Apple TV app, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra

Homefront (2013) Poster


Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay for this one, and Jason Statham's protagonist Phil Broker is very much the sort of character that Stallone would have played himself in the eighties or nineties. An Interpol agent who went undercover for the DEA, he left law enforcement when his wife passed away. He has just moved to rural Louisiana to raise his younger daughter in the community where his wife grew up.

One of the local children attempts to bully Broker's daughter Maddy, and she humiliates him in front of all of the other kids. This schoolyard squabble quickly escalates when the would-be bully's redneck parents and drug dealing uncle get involved. Before long, enemies from Broker's old life are gunning for him -- at times, quite literally.

The cast is mostly solid; Statham brings a taciturn steadiness to Broker that makes him feel both dangerous as a coiled snake and like someone who genuinely wants to leave his old life behind. Izabela Vidovic, in her first major motion picture, is a real scene partner for Statham as Maddy. Omar Benson Miller brings a brings a sardonic, knowing quality to Teedo, the handyman Broker has hired to help him restore his new house and who initiates him into the nuances of life on the bayou. Kate Bosworth gives a very different performance as the drug-addicted redneck mother of the boy from the playground. James Franco is plausible as the redneck meth cooker Gator who has had a very good thing going as a big fish in a small pond but quickly finds himself in over his head when he dives into deeper waters. Frank Grillo is appropriately menacing as the henchman for the major drug kingpin who wants Broker dead. Clancy Brown adds an intriguing presence as the local sheriff who is discontented by the disruption that Broker brings to his quiet community. Rachelle Lefevre is desirable as Broker's love interest from Maddy's school.

About the only performance that doesn't work is Winona Ryder, whose usual neurotic quirks feel very out of place as Gator's girlfriend.

The movie feels like it has a bit of an identity crisis; on one hand, it is too slow and deliberately paced to be satisfying as a mindless action movie. On the other hand, its characters are too shallow and thinly drawn to succeed as a more substantial drama. Most of the running time is devoted to the build up to the big fight, and I'm not convinced that the action when it finally came merited the time it took to get there. It either needed more action or more substance; it might have worked better as a TV series, with the time spent to get to know Broker, explore him rebuilding his relationship with his daughter, and more fully flesh out the cast of characters in this town.

* * *​

Jumanji: The Next Level
Originally Released: 12/13/2019
Watched: 11/25/2020
4K UHD digital streaming on Apple TV app via Roku Ultra

Jumanji_TheNextLevel_2019_Poster.jpg


These movies shouldn't work, but they do. The formula is solid: character-driven comedies with the spectacle of blockbuster action movies. Nobody in front of or behind the camera takes themselves too seriously, and the result is a lot of fun.

Since the main four actors are video game avatars rather than actual people, a new game of Jumanji means they get to play new characters. Kevin Hart impersonating Danny Glover, in particular, was hilarious to me every single time he spoke.

The action sequences were exciting and inventive, and some of the visuals were truly mesmerizing in 4K.

Was it necessary to make another one of these? No. Would I watch a third one if they made it? Absolutely.
 

Jake Lipson

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Tonight:

Toy Story 4.jpg

Like most, I wasn't sure if I wanted this when Pixar announced it. But I shouldn't have doubted them because Toy Story 4 turned out to be exactly what I wanted: a deeply affecting, exciting and challenging film that honors the others in every respect and moves the characters forward in a new way. I think it is every bit as good as those which came before, which considering how highly I regard the others is really saying something.

Back in 1995, when I saw the first film, it was so crowded that we had to wait an hour and a half for the movie to be over before the next screening started. Now that everything is digital, they spread everyone out over so many screenings that even on opening night there were only like ten other people there for this one. Of course, there were five or six other screenings happening around the same time. But I loved the movie just as much as I did the one I saw with a crowd.

If you ask me, this absolutely should have been in Best Picture consideration earlier this year. I love Parasite too and was delighted for its victory, but this is just as good. And I'm likelier to revisit this a lot more frequently than that.

On another note, I don't have a 4K setup, so I'm just using the included 1080p disc. But even so, this is the most beautiful-looking disc I have ever had the privilege of watching. Wow.
 
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