Saturday, July 16, 2016

Twitter Thoughts—June 2016

Featuring the films and shows:
The Flash, season 2 (2015-2016) ***½
Independence Day (1996) *½
All These Women (1964) ***
Party Over Here, season 1 (2016) *½
The Alphabet (1968) ***½
Always For Pleasure (1978) ****
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016) ***
Arrow, season 4 (2015-2016) ***½
Grimm, season 5 (2015-2016) ***
The Do Over (2016) **
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) ***
Our Brand Is Crisis (2015) **½
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, season 1 (2015-2016) **½
Angie Tribeca, season 1 (2016) ****
New Girl, season 5 (2015-2016) ***
Piper (2016) ****
Finding Dory (2016) ***
Central Intelligence (2016) **½
The Boy Next Door (2015) *
Sleepy Hollow, season 3 (2015-2016) ***
Amarcord (1973) ****
The American Soldier (1970) ***
The Amputee, version 1 (1974) ***
Simply Irresistible (1999) ½*
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) **
The Amputee, version 2 (1974) ***
Downton Abbey, season 5 (2015) ****
… And God Created Woman (1956) ***

Hopefully this will be my final full month summary of the year and for all time. Again, a great many movies and television finales to cover, so let’s get to it.

On the television front. I was running behind a bit on several series, so I finished up several series during the month of June. Most of them were comic book shows. “The Flash” continues to be the most fun comic book show on television, although “Supergirl” gave it a run this year. It was fitting that the second half of the season featured a crossover episode on Supergirl. Plus, it was like a bonus “Flash” episode. Didn’t the producers of “Arrow” say that this season wouldn’t be as dark as last seaon? I guess what they meant is that it would be darker. Heck, the team narrowly avoided nuclear Armageddon for its finale. That was after the crippling of Felicity, the failure of the Olicity relationship and the death of a main character. While Arrow teammates do have a tendency to come back from the dead, I think this one’s for real this time. I also finished the surpernatural fantasy shows “Grimm” and “Sleepy Hollow” this month. Both sustained their MOs, although “Sleepy Hollow” felt a little rockier, probably due to its new show runners. It’s renewal was a surprise, but I’ll stay on for another season. FOX’s stalwart sitcom New Girl also held steady for its 5th season.

The new 3 woman sketch comedy show from The Lonely Island and Paul Sheer “Party Over Here” never felt like it got out of the gate. I don’t think SNL needs to worry. The CW’s third comic book show “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” also never felt fully congealed, but I do like many of the characters, so I’ll probably give it another chance to find itself.

I also quickly blew through season five of “Downton Abbey”. My wife and I binged the first four seasons last summer. It was as solid as ever and we’ll be reporting on the final season sometime in the next couple of weeks. But the best new television of the year so far comes from an unexpected place. Movies have been trying to recapture the spoof magic of the original “Airplane” ever since “Airplane 2: The Sequel.” Who’d have thought that it would be a cop show spoof starring Rashida Jones from “Parks & Recreation” on TBS that would crack the code? “Angie Tribeca” is the funniest spoof I’ve seen in ages, and not only did season 1 premiere in January, but season 2 just premiered in June. Nice!

I saw four movies in the theater this month including another production by The Lonely Island. “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” is much more successful than their television sketch show, spoofing pop signer documentaries like recent ones by Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. The best aspect of the film is the soundtrack where The Lonely Island demonstrate some of their typical award-nominated hip hop mockery. “Central Intelligence” introduced a good buddy cop comedy duo with Kevin Hart in his best team up yet against Dwayne Johnson. The plot of the film is weak and some of the players, like Aaron Paul and Amy Ryan, are poorly used, but Hart and Johnson milk as much comedy from their scenes together as they can. “Independence Day: Resurgence” proved that you can’t make a good sequel from such a bad movie as the original ID4, even if everyone seemed to like it 20
years ago. It’s better than the original, but there’s a distinct lack of urgency in the film despite the highest stakes the world has ever faced. Even though everything the humans try to stop the aliens fails, I never once felt there wasn’t any way the humans would end up on top in the end. Of course, the best film I saw in theaters this month was “Finding Dory” which returned audiences to the under sea world we loved so much in “Finding Nemo” over a decade and a half ago. These characters inhabited their world with just as much charm and humanity as they did before. It was a pleasure to revisit the old faces and discover some new ones. However, the best part of “Finding Dory” wasn’t the movie at all, but the short film “Piper” that played before the feature. Once again Pixar proves they can tell an even greater story in just a few minutes without any words than most filmmakers can tell over a feature length running time.

The clunkers this month included the new Adam Sandler Netflix original with David Spade, “The Do Over,” which follows a plot far more serious than the film’s intentions, which are mostly silly. It’s difficult to make a silly comedy out of such serious matters as murder and fraud. The typical Sandler approach doesn’t work. It might’ve fared better with a little more studio over sight, which is something I never thought I’d say about a movie. However, Netflix notoriously allows their filmmakers pretty much whatever they want within their budgets. The result seems to be comedies that lack an urgency toward the material, which plays as flat in the final projects. The laughs don’t have any punch.

The How Did This Get Made team made me suffer through the JLo thriller “The Boy Next Door” and the Sarah Michelle Gellar magical cooking romcom “Simply Irresistible”. Truthfully, I’m not sure which was worse. I originally rated “The Boy Next Door” a full half star higher than “Simply Irresistible”, but after the HDTGM team picked them apart it seemed that JLo’s fumble lacked the charm of SMG’s completely loony romance. That really isn’t saying much about either of them, though. This is a-list filmmaking at its worst.

As usual Criterion saves the month with such solid films as Bergman’s Felini-esque comedy “All These Women” and Roger Vadim’s equally female-obsessed “And God Created Woman”. They gave me two uniquely weird David Lynch shorts from early in his career—the creepy “The Alphabet” and the silly “The Amputee” in two different versions. “The American Soldier” is Fassbinder’s low budget attempt at an American crime picture which works surprisingly well until the final shot, which goes on so long that it becomes a mockery of itself. I cannot deny the mastery of Felini’s “Amarcord” with its whimsical and sometimes critical look at life in an Italian costal town in the 1930s. But my favorite of the month was Les Blank’s 1978 documentary examination of the spirit of New Orleans, a truly vibrant and special place in America.

Before we get to the tweets I must note that during my DLMChallenge of watching 366 movies over the course of the 366 days of this year, I lost count at one point. I have corrected the numbering for this post, so the numbers don’t match my Twitter feed.

‪@CW_TheFlash‪ The season 2 finale brought closure with brilliance and upturned our expectations with a totally surprising cliffhanger.‬

I hated ‪#ID4 when it came out, and 20 years later it turns out I agree with myself. Hoping that Resurgence is better. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 136

Bergman's All These Women (1964) seems a Fellini-esque premise executed as broadly stylized comedy. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 137

I think we've seen the end of the short-lived ‪@FoxTelevision sketch comedy show ‪@PartyOverHere but it's hard to tell. They're not all gems.

‪@DAVID_LYNCH‪ succeeds in making The Alphabet as disturbing as anything else out of his mind in his 1968 short #DLMChallenge No. 138‬

If you've ever wanted to march in a New Orleans parade, Les Blank's 1978 documentary Always For Pleasure is a must see. ‪#DLMChallenge No 139

‪@PopstarMovie‪ didn't stop even when the stopping started stopping. #NeverStopNeverStopping #DLMChallenge No. 140‬

‪@CW_Arrow‪ season 4 finale might've tried too hard for the highest stakes, but I like the prospect of beginning season 5 with just two.‬

If there's one gift the writers of ‪@NBCGrimm have it's the ability to complicate the relationships of their characters.

Netflix feature films continue to disappoint with their latest lackluster comedy ‪#TheDoOver. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 141

I dislike Alfred's story line more every time I watch ‪#TheDarkKnightRises but I still see new things each time too. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 142

Politics. Is there anybody who actually likes politics? ‪#OurBrandisCrisis ‪#DLMChallenge No. 143

‪@DCLegendsTV‪ isn't as good as @TheCW other comic book series, but it ended strong. I'll be back for s2.‬

‪@AngieTribecaTBS‪ is everything you've missed in spoofs since the original Airplane. So glad I waited to watch s1. I can go right into s2.‬


The short before ‪@findingdory is the best part of the movie. ‪#Piper. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 144

However ‪@findingdory itself is just as delightful as expected. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 145

‪@CentralIntel‪ makes for an enjoyable summer action comedy. @TheRock and @KevinHart4real make a good comedy team. #DLMChallenge No. 146‬

Does a director like Rob Cohen just forget the basics of his trade when he makes trash like ‪#TheBoyNextDoor ? ‪@HDTGM ‪#DLMChallenge No. 147

‪@SleepyHollowFOX‪ ended s3 as if they expected to be cancelled and filmed an extra "holy crap we're still on the air" scene just in case.‬

Felini's Amarcord (1973) is a vibrant celebration of the circus of life. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 148

Fassbinder's The American Soldier '70 is a strange, low budget version of a Le Samurai story. The end is a little much. ‪#DLMChallenge No 149

The oddness started early. The Amputee v1 (1974) short film by David Lynch. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 150

I wish I had resisted the Sarah Michelle Gellar fantasy romance Simply Irresistible. Thanks ‪@HDTGM ‪#DLMChallenge No. 151

‪@IndependenceDay‪ Resurgence, more like Independence Day: Redonculous. What it lacks most is weight. #DLMChallenge No. 152

It doesn't seem like the effects work is as good in David Lynch's early short The Amputee, v2 as they are in v1. ‪#DLMChallenge No. 153

Finally caught up with ‪@DowntonAbbey s5, another wonderful season. Will start the final season tomorrow.

I suppose when it's Bridgette Bardot it's easy to see how a woman can drive men crazy. ...and God Created Woman (1956) ‪#DLMChallenge No. 154

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