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sycasey 2.0

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Everything posted by sycasey 2.0

  1. I think there was one 80s song during the gala scene where Diana meets the guy possessed by Steve Trevor (and boy do I have a lot of questions about THAT situation). But otherwise, nothing. It really doesn't make sense, because as I understand it, licensing a bunch of second-tier 80s hits for use in a movie shouldn't be all that expensive, as long as you're not trying to get Michael Jackson or Prince or something. I enjoyed the early tone of the movie, but as it went along I just had too many questions about the plot and couldn't get into it. I still don't understand how the "granting wishes" power is supposed to work. In retrospect I also had a lot of questions about what the heck Diana was supposed to have been doing in the 60+ years that elapsed between the first film and this one. The movie basically only shows you that she built a shrine to Steve. Maybe a little detail about the hero stuff she was up to in that time? She didn't just sit around moping for multiple decades, did she?
  2. Obviously there will be no Corrections & Omissions for a 10 year old episode, but since I just watched Burlesque for this week I feel compelled to chime in: I don't think it's correct that the dance numbers stop being "burlesque" style after Christina Aguilera starts singing at the club, as Jason claims in the episode. Her first two dance numbers are definitely in the burlesque style (I speak from experience because my wife used to do burlesque dancing as a hobby, so I attended many a show while we were dating . . . though obviously not for $50 a head), first the one with the teasing lyrics here: And then this one with the frilly fan dance (this has an actual striptease where she removes her top but quickly covers herself with the fan, ending on a cheeky joke with the bongos): After that it's just modernized Pussycat Dolls style "burlesque," but I have to give the movie some credit for having Christina do some actual old-timey numbers too. The plot is nonsense and the male love interest is useless, but I did enjoy some of the musical numbers here.
  3. sycasey 2.0

    Upcoming Episodes

    To be clear for everyone: they are taking this week off, and returning next week with the Listeners' Choice.
  4. sycasey 2.0

    Home Alone

    This movie held up better than expected upon rewatch. I remembered a lot more of it being about the thieves invading the house and the slapstick gags they run into, but that's actually a pretty small part of the film. I think the long and careful setup is why the final act is so memorable. This film is pretty well-scripted! I wouldn't call it a great film, though, just a fun movie. I don't think it's had a lot of lasting impact on the art form beyond nostalgic memories for some folks. So it's a no for the rocket ship.
  5. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 255. A Very Nutty Christmas

    It was also kind of weird that Melissa Joan Hart never seemed to realize there was some magic going on with this guy, even though she's literally seen him CRACK WALNUTS WITH HIS BARE HANDS. Like it was a big surprise for her near the end of the movie to learn that he wasn't the AirBNB guest she expected, even though (1) he never rang the doorbell and was just lying on her floor on the first day, (2) all of his stories seem to suggest he comes from a much earlier time period, and (3) HE CAN CRACK WALNUTS WITH HIS BARE HANDS. None of that was a clue?
  6. sycasey 2.0

    Bonus: The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone

    I haven't watched the new cut, but I remember thinking the same about Part III. A lot of folks said it was terrible, but I thought it was just that: decent. Sofia isn't good in it, George Hamilton is a poor replacement for Robert Duvall, and some of the plot is hard to follow. On the other hand, Andy Garcia is pretty great, the direction of Talia Shire's character is interesting, and the end of Michael's story works well. So yeah, a mixed bag but I never thought it was a bad movie. It's just nowhere near as good as the originals.
  7. sycasey 2.0

    The Farewell

    Amy & Paul say hello to 2019’s Chinese-American family reunion The Farewell! They praise director Lulu Wang’s use of motion, discover how Awkwafina won the dramatic lead role despite being best known as a rapper and comedian, and learn about the real fake mourners common at Chinese funerals. Plus: What’s that familiar song covered in the end credits? This is the sixth episode in our Kinspooled series on “effed up families”; next week’s film is Home Alone! Learn more about the show at unspooledpod.com, follow us on Twitter @unspooled and Instagram @unspooledpod, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify. You can also listen to our Stitcher Premium game show Screen Test right now at https://www.stitcher.com/show/unspooled-screen-test, and apply to be a contestant at unspooledpod@gmail.com! Photo credit: Kim Troxall
  8. sycasey 2.0

    The Farewell

    I like this movie, but it's a little early to be judging a movie from 2019 for a place on the all-time list. I have no idea how this is going to age, where Lulu Wang's career is going to go, what it might influence, etc. My personal feeling (after two viewings) is that it's good but not great. I'm not sure if Wang is quite a great director yet. The visuals are handsomely and tastefully rendered, but I sense her defaulting to "middle-distance shots of people are artistic" a little too often, more so than is actually necessary for the dramatic or thematic content of the scene. I'm also not sure that shooting the film in 2.35:1 scope was the right call; I think this story would have benefitted from a more intimate 16:9 frame. The wider frame makes it feel a little distant to me, in a way I'm not sure was intended. Is that all a bit nitpicky? Yes, it is. I think the writing and performances are very good. But if we're talking about shooting this into space as an all-time great then I've got to be a bit nitpicky. It's certainly far from the first culture-clash East-West family drama out there.
  9. sycasey 2.0

    Ep 254 - Love’s Labour’s Lost

    For me it was always that a good staging and performance helps make that second half clear. You don't need to understand every word to grasp the meaning if it's performed well.
  10. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 254.5 - Minisode 254.5

    The only thing I've used Discord for is to set up meets for Pokemon Go raids and other events. I don't find it too useful for critical discussion. The Unspooled group on Facebook is very well-maintained, but having seen behind the hood a bit I know it takes a LOT of moderation to keep it civil. It still seems to be the main community outlet for that podcast, as the other ones just haven't taken off much. I would love for the forums to still be the main place, but participation has just been dwindling over there.
  11. sycasey 2.0

    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

    Paul & Amy invite themselves over to 1967’s Sidney Poitier “meet the parents” dramedy Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner! They praise the movie’s light touch with then-controversial social issues like interracial marriage, compare the film to early mainstream gay comedies like The Birdcage, and listen to a posthumous letter star Katharine Hepburn wrote to Spencer Tracy. Plus: Every sitcom with an episode title inspired by this film. This is the fifth episode in our Kinspooled series on “effed up families”; next week’s film is The Farewell! Learn more about the show at unspooledpod.com, follow us on Twitter @unspooled and Instagram @unspooledpod, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify. You can also listen to our Stitcher Premium game show Screen Test right now at https://www.stitcher.com/show/unspooled-screen-test, and apply to be a contestant at unspooledpod@gmail.com! Photo credit: Kim Troxall
  12. sycasey 2.0

    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

    Good intentions up the wazoo, and I do appreciate the performances of Tracy, Hepburn, Poitier, etc., but this just isn't a great film. It's didactic as all hell: characters literally just speak the themes and messages out loud on screen. There's no work for the audience to do, which I think is what generates the negative criticism of it being patronizing. I woudn't call it "bad," exactly, but it doesn't need to go on the rocket ship, especially since In the Heat of the Night is from the same year and deals with the racism of the era in a more interesting/entertaining way (I'm not even a huge fan of that film either, but I'd easily vote for it over Guess Who's Coming to Dinner). And this isn't about light touch or happy endings being devalued. You can have a light touch but still let the audience do some work and come to their own conclusions about the material. The Birdcage was discussed in the episode, and I'd say while that film (and its French predecessor) also has a light touch, it does lead the audience to a conclusion of acceptance/tolerance through character and situation, not by preaching at them. Guess Who's Coming preaches.
  13. sycasey 2.0

    Ep 254 - Love’s Labour’s Lost

    Ahh, studio meddling, the culprit of many a confusing development in a movie!
  14. sycasey 2.0

    Ep 254 - Love’s Labour’s Lost

    So why are the dance numbers the whole movie so clearly inspired by classic 1940s/50s musicals, and then suddenly during the masquerade scene it's this very obviously 1970s Bob Fosse inspired number? That was super jarring.
  15. sycasey 2.0

    Ep 254 - Love’s Labour’s Lost

    I watched this movie around the time it came out, I think later on DVD (not in a theater, because it didn't last long there), and remember thinking it was okay but some things didn't work. On this rewatch I thought the same, but it did seem worse than I remembered. I don't hate it, because I like the kind of big swing Branagh takes here, but in practice it's more like you're going along and getting into the Shakespearean dialogue and then the whole thing stops so they can do a song. The songs don't emerge from the story, they stop it. That's probably not what you want out of a musical, unless it's Gene Kelly and the dance numbers are so good that you want to watch them on their own (spoiler: they aren't). I would say that it would have been better if they'd just done a straight Shakespeare adaptation without the musical numbers, but the problem is that as a play Love's Labour's Lost is extremely similar to Much Ado About Nothing, which Branagh already did and is a much better movie. So I dunno, it's just a weird movie that does some weird stuff and doesn't quite hold together. Also, yes, Gilderoy Lockart was pitch-perfect casting for Branagh.
  16. sycasey 2.0

    The Royal Tenenbaums

    Amy & Paul move back in with 2001’s Wes Anderson family reunion piece The Royal Tenenbaums! They ask if Anderson is sneakily a great director of actors, posit that Ben Stiller is the true heart of the movie, and discuss whether the female Tenenbaums are well served by their storylines. Plus: Which other legendary actor was considered to play Royal Tenenbaum? This is the fourth episode in our Kinspooled series on “effed up families”; next week’s film is Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner! Learn more about the show at unspooledpod.com follow us on Twitter @unspooled and Instagram @unspooledpod, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify. You can also listen to our Stitcher Premium game show Screen Test right now, and apply to be a contestant at unspooledpod@gmail.com! Photo credit: Kim Troxall
  17. sycasey 2.0

    The Royal Tenenbaums

    Rushmore was the first Wes Anderson movie I saw and the first one I fell in love with, so if we were going with my PERSONAL preference for a rocket-ship Wes movie that would be the one for me. The Royal Tenenbaums is one I originally appreciated from more of a distance: like, I could see that it was well-made and that the performances (especially Gene Hackman) were great, but I found the dollhouse aesthetic a little stifling compared to the Anderson's previous movie. Returning to it now, after all the other Wes Anderson stuff that has come out since, I'm better able to feel its greatness. A lot of the scenes caught me up emotionally more than before, maybe because I've now had a bit of distance and see where the careers of the Wilson brothers, Paltrow, Stiller, etc., have gone, and also now knowing this was Hackman's last great role. Given this movie's incredible lifespan in the cultural consciousness and the way it basically set the Wes Anderson Style as a template for a new generation, I'm comfortable with voting yes on this one, even if Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, and Fantastic Mr. Fox might be higher on my personal list (I need to revisit Grand Budapest, which is another one I appreciate but other people went more ga-ga over than I did). It's interesting that Paul brought up near the end of the episode how the characters/performances seemed a bit "amberized," but I don't think they discussed the movie that is the most obvious inspiration for this one: Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons. A lot of the same stuff going on in both of them: a well-off family that falls into disrepair, the movie retroactively seeming like a big commentary on the filmmaker himself, etc.
  18. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 253.5 - Minisode 253.5

    Oh wait, that was one using the original language that annoyed me. Branagh starred in it, but Oliver Parker directed and I found his decision to film it in a parade of extreme close-up shots very irritating. Also not really "HDTGM" bad though.
  19. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 253.5 - Minisode 253.5

    I'm with those who don't remember this version of Love's Labour's Lost being a particularly bad movie. I guess it's a weird concept and not really a great movie, but I wouldn't have considered it HDTGM material. Honestly, I didn't really consider any of these Shakespeare adaptations mentioned here especially bad, including the Mel Gibson or Ethan Hawke Hamlets. They all have their interesting elements. I guess I've never really hated any Shakespeare movie that used the original language.
  20. sycasey 2.0

    Eve's Bayou

    This one just didn't work for me. I'm actually a bit baffled by everyone praising the visual style, because to me it often felt like a Lifetime movie: flat, overlit interiors with little sense of mood or place. Most scenes are "talking heads," cutting from close-up to close-up, with the occasional showy device (a memory reflected in a mirror). Some aspects of the story are interesting (I like that the ending emphasizes ambiguity and unreliable memory), but I just can't see this as great filmmaking in any sense. I feel like I'm living on another planet from the people who praised this to high heaven, though I feel a bit vindicated by the fact that Lemmons' subsequent career hasn't been much to write home about. I'll also admit that I watched much of this while tired and distracted by a sick baby daughter, so I may not have been in the best mood.
  21. sycasey 2.0

    Eve's Bayou

    Paul & Amy use their second sight on 1997’s Creole family tragedy Eve’s Bayou! They learn why director Kasi Lemmons cut a mute observer character from the film, compare the story to To Kill A Mockingbird, and praise the film’s slippery relationship with truth and memory. Plus: A look at On Our Own, the Smollett family sitcom. This is the third episode in our Kinspooled series on “effed up families”; next week’s film is The Royal Tenenbaums! Learn more about the show at unspooledpod.com follow us on Twitter @unspooled and Instagram @unspooledpod, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify. You can also listen to our Stitcher Premium game show Screen Test right now, and apply to be a contestant at unspooledpod@gmail.com! Photo credit: Kim Troxall
  22. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 253. Cats

    Not sure, but I think this means he's a Pokemon.
  23. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 253. Cats

    Oh yeah, that was driving me nuts. She doesn't even really look much like Cynthia Erivo.
  24. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 253. Cats

  25. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 253. Cats

    For those who missed the stream, they played this during the live episode: Release the butthole cut!
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