Featuring the films and shows:
Special Correspondents (2016) **
Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping (2016) ***
A Trip To the Moon (1902) ****
Alice in the Cities (1974) ***½
Captain America: Civil War (2016) ***
Hell Comes To Frogtown (1988) no stars
Ali Wong: Baby Cobra (2016) ***
Mommie Dearest (1981) **
The 33 (2016) ***
Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956) ****
The Apartment (1960) ****
Mr. Turner (2014) ***½
The Keeping Room (2015) ***
Jurassic World (2015) ***
On the Town (1949) ***
Main Street Today (1944) ***
Elementary, season 4 (24 43-min. eps. 2015-2016) ***
The Last Man On Earth, season 2 (18 23-min. eps. 2015-2016) ****
Castle (8 seasons, 173 eps. 2009-2016) ***
A Room With a View (1985) ****
Saturday Night Live, season 41 (21 105-min. eps. 2015-2016) ***
Supergirl, season 1 (20 43-min. eps. 2015-2016) ****
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) ****
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 4 (22 45-min. eps. 2015-2016) ****
Blindspot, season 1 (23 42-min. eps. 2015-2016) ***
Gotham, season 2 (22 42-min. eps. 2015-2016) ***½
The Avengers (1998) ½*
The Asphalt Jungle (1940) ***½
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) ***
All My Good Contrymen (1969) ****
All the Boys Are Named Patrick (1959) ***½
The Muppets (1 season, 17 eps. 2015-2016) **
I’m so far behind that I’m forced to include the entire month of May in one post. I’ll have to do the same for June. With the end of the television season occurring in May, there are a great many individual shows and films I would like comment on in addition to my tweets, so let’s get to it.
OK. I checked out Ricky Gervais’s Netflix movie “Special Correspondents” and I have to say for all the freedom Netflix gives to their filmmakers, they seem to have a problem with their original film division. While that approach seems to work very well for their longer format series, it seems to result in feature films with a lack of energy. They need to be tightened up. Gervais is quite funny and he has a good premise here, but its approached with no urgency and suffers from it. We’ll return to this next month with Adam Sandler’s latest, “The Do Over”.
I also watched two of Netflix’s comedy specials this month. Patton Oswalt and Ali Wong prove their mettle as seasoned stand ups here with very personal material and solid laughs. Comedy institution Saturday Night Live turned 40 this season and was rather hit and miss with its episodes all season. There were some that were almost all terrible and some that were the best episodes I can remember of the current cast. The Weekend Update team came into their own this year and was the one consistently great element of the show week in and week out. The season finale was one of their best and the primetime 40th Anniversary special was a hoot.
In other television viewing there was the bittersweet ending of “Castle” which I never called a great show but did enjoy every week. “The Muppets” was appropriately axed after only one season despite a rather interesting premise. Will Forte’s offbeat sitcom “The Last Man On Earth” proved it had the legs for a full season and multiple seasons with its brilliant originality. “Blindspot” surprised me by pulling me into its first season, but my favorite part about it is to make fun of the male lead’s over intensive nature. “Gotham” got weirder and ran further off the rails than any other series I watched this year, and somehow became more watchable for it. “Supergirl” smashed onto the scene with its strong feminist message and turned me into a fan. But it was “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” that provided the best twists and turns throughout its season, ending with my favorite season finale of the year so far.
The only theatrically released movies I saw this month were the two big comic book entries, “Captain America: Civil War” and “X-Men: Apocalypse”. I enjoyed the former better than the latter, which suffered by taking on more than it could chew. Although I essentially enjoyed them both, it still seems as if existing within the Marvel Cinematic Universe is better than not for superheroes. Sony made a smart move by allowing Disney to place Spider-Man within it. And I would like to express just how much I like that Paul Rudd was cast as Ant-Man. It’s a wonderful take on a non-traditional superhero.
As far as the month’s stinkers, I did give “Mommie Dearest” a look for the first time since I was a kid for Mother’s Day. I don’t believe it’s as bad a movie as people like to make it out, but that don’t mean it’s good. The “How Did This Get Made” podcast offered up two entries, “Hell Comes to Frogtown” and the 1998 movie reboot of the British spy television series “The Avengers”, and they were two of the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been following the podcast. I was managing a movie theater when “The Avengers” came out and had only ever seen it in bits and pieces. I could tell then that it wasn’t good, but I had no idea just how bad it was until I watched it from beginning to end.
As for the rest, I won’t try to cover every movie, but I would like to point out the Criterion Collection films I’ve been watching through Hulu and my own collection. “Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island” is the wonderful conclusion to the trilogy about Musashi Miyamoto pulled from my own growing collection of Criterion titles. “Alice in the Cities” is an early look into the out of the ordinary stories told by German filmmaker Wim Wenders. “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” is Fassbinder’s amazing examination of institutionalized racism that resonates just as strongly today as it did when he made it. “All the Boys Are Named Patrick” is a cute short about dating by French New Wave masters Eric Rohmer and Jean Luc Goddard. But the find of the month was the wonderful Czech movie “All My Good Countrymen”, which exposes the corruption that took place through the selling of socialism in a small farming community after WWII. While the subject matter sounds heavy, the film itself is an epic look at small farm community life in Czechoslovakia at that time. It is funny and moving, even sometimes silly and profound. What a wonderful film.
Here are the Tweets.
#SpecialCorrespondents continues @netflix current run of dull original movies. #DLMChallenge No. 113
Feeling sad for @pattonoswalt since his tragic loss so I checked out his new special #TalkingforClapping and smiled. #DLMChallenge No. 114
The original color version of Georges Méliès's 1902 film #ATriptotheMoon puts me in awe of creative genius. #DLMChallenge No. 115
Imagine leaving your child with a complete stranger on an international flight. Alice in the Cities (1974). #DLMChallenge No. 116
Dark and thought provoking days in the Marvel cinematic universe. #CaptainAmericaCivilWar #DLMChallenge No. 117
#The33 gives a satisfying account of the Chilean miners rescue despite some pretty big story gaps. #DLMChallenge No. 121
Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island ends the Musashi trilogy with more depth and beauty than the two previous entries. #DLMChallenge No. 122
Finally saw Billy Wilder's #TheApartment. Anyone directing a rom com should be required by law to watch this. #DLMChallenge No. 123
#MrTurner is the portrait of an artist as that artist himself might've painted it. #DLMChallenge No. 124
#TheKeepingRoom is a harsh feminist Civil War western that is layered with depth and unpredictability. #DLMChallenge No. 125
#JurassicWorld working a little better the second time through as its thematic elements become clearer. #DLMChallenge No. 126
Love the choreography of Miss Ivy kicking all the men's assess in her introductory number in On the Town (1949). #DLMChallenge No. 127
Main Street Today (1944) is an interesting piece of war propaganda dealing with the worker shortage caused by WWII. #DLMChallenge No. 128
The 4th season of #Elementary ends fairly quietly as if they didn't expect the 5th season renewal, but I don't mind. It's a solid show.
The first full season of #TheLastManOnEarth proves that they really can keep a comedy this original going.
I don't think #Castle was great television, but for 8 seasons it was more fun than most police procedurals. Will miss Castle and Beckett.
#ARoomWithaView is astonishingly watchable. I liked how the title cards structured its emotionally fragmented story. #DLMChallenge No. 129
Say what you will about the quality of the 40th season of @nbcsnl, but they put together a hell of a season finale.
Season one of @supergirlcbs was the surprise of the year with its deep feminist roots putting it close to the same level as @JessicaJones.
Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is filed with the power of its silences. #DLMChallenge No. 130
Damn @AgentsofSHIELD ! Now that's how you do a season finale! Season 3 just got better and better with each episode.
I was surprised by how engrossed I became with the first season of @NBCBlindspot . Will be back for s2. #intenseeyes
The Avengers (1998)--the Hollywoodized remake of the British tv show--is astoundingly bad. @HDTGM #DLMChallenge No. 131
The Asphalt Jungle (1950) gives you the complete heist emotional experience for every member of the team. #DLMChallenge No. 132
All My Good Countrymen (1969) is a funny, amazing epic about communist corruption in a small Czech village post WII. #DLMChallenge No. 134
A cute short by some French nobodies named Rohmer and Goddard is titled All the Boys are Named Patrick (1959). #DLMChallenge No. 135
5/31R.I.P to @TheMuppetsABC which I wanted to enjoy and often did when I watched it, but I found it hard to return each week. #idontknowwhy