285 Foodies

Other Non-culinary interests and conversation => Atrium => Topic started by: The_Scientist on November 08, 2009, 05:03:09 PM

Title: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on November 08, 2009, 05:03:09 PM
FG and I saw Anvil! The Story of Anvil a while back.  It's a bit like a real-life Spinal Tap. 

Anvil was a heavy metal band which had a moment in the sun in the early 80's, and attracted a cult following that included members of Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica.  But while those bands went on to fame and fortune, Anvil never did.  Bad management, bad marketing, fickle fans, capricious music business, take your pick of reasons, but they went into a painfully long and slow decline. 

Most bands in this situation would cut their losses and find something else to do, but the two guys who started Anvil made a pact in high school to rock out together forever, and they stayed true to their word, even though they're now in their 50's and playing little clubs to a dwindling fan base.  They keep getting just enough success to keep them going, but no more.

Over the course of the movie, they tour Europe with comically bad results, record a new album they can't release (no record label will take a chance on them), and play a festival in Japan where they go on at 11 am.  You find yourself rooting for them even though you sense the futility of their efforts.  They aren't saints by any means, and they probably wouldn't know what to do with fame if it ever did come, but the pure single-minded pursuit has become an end in itself.  Weirdly they are heroes, just not with guitars.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on November 22, 2009, 04:31:49 PM
Now that the weather is turning, home video is a more attractive way to pass an evening.  We rented Shopgirl, a film that FG had seen when it came out about four years ago, but I missed.  I can't understand why, since I have been a Steve Martin fan from way back, and I absolutely love his writing style. 

This is Steve in serious mode, which some still can't accept (for them there are the Pink Panther remakes, ugh).  It plays as much as therapy for Steve as it does a drama about a lonely twenty-something woman working the glove department desk at Saks in LA.  She decides to break out of her solitude with a self-absorbed artist about her age with weirdly comic results.  Just when she's wondering if this is really what she wants, a much older, wealthier man (Steve himself) starts showing interest in her.  He is generous with his money but not his emotions.  He deliberately keeps her at arm's length, but gives her just enough attention and affection to keep her coming back, all the while rationalizing his behavior.

FG has some experience with this type of relationship, and she says this portayal is completely accurate.  Since I have never been rich or involved with someone half my age, I'll take her word for it.  As for the movie, I'm glad I saw it, but I understand why it failed at the box office.  Like some of his more serious work (Pennies From Heaven, Leap of Faith) it's downbeat and melancholy.  People still want him to be the Wild and Crazy Guy.  If you think that's frustrating for him, read his memoir about his standup days.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on December 26, 2009, 11:01:04 AM
As a Christmas night activity FG started a duck confit followed by combined duck/chicken stock and corresponding cracklings.  While that brewed away, we watched Up.  I was a huge fan of WALL-E, and was eager to see Pixar's follow-up.  It was cute and highly entertaining, though not the equal of WALL-E.

The first ten minutes had us both grinning and teary as it related the back story of Carl and Ellie's meeting and lifelong love affair.  As newlyweds we are already wondering how we will cope if and when one of us goes before the other, and this story hit home.

Otherwise it's a pretty straightforward adventure story with a kid sidekick, exotic locale and talking animals.  It was nice to see that the dogs who could talk thanks to technological mumbo-jumbo still thought and acted like dogs (SQUIRREL!)  FG actually prefers her animated features with anthropomorphized animals rather than anthropomorphized robots.  Somehow that's more believable to her.  ???  If you haven't seen it yet, see WALL-E first and decide for yourself who's right (hint: it's me).
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on May 02, 2010, 10:05:14 AM
Yesterday FG and I were debating which food-related movies were out there, which we had seen, and which were worth seeing.  Considering everyone eats, it's remarkable how few there are.

One I hadn't seen was Babette's Feast, so we rented it.  Amazingly our local Blockbuster had it.  It's the kind of movie they don't make much anymore: slow pacing, lots of exposition, characters who might actually exist in the real world.  It's about a Danish village in the 1800's where everyone is a Puritan practicing self-denial and prayerfulness.  The one outsider is a French maid who fled the country in the wake of civil upheaval.  One night at a special gathering she prepares a meal unlike anything they have seen, and it sparks first recoiling, and then delight, and then a kind of euphoria.

What I liked is that these people are not portrayed as villains, like religious devotees usually are.  They are products of their times, perhaps a bit misguided in some of their notions, but struggling like everyone else to find a place in the world.  They are still fundamentally the same at the end, just happier.

Any foodie should see this if only for the climactic dinner scene.  Really, really French.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on May 02, 2010, 01:17:07 PM
I should also mention Tampopo, which we saw a few weeks ago.  It was all new to us even though it's about 25 years old, and FG rented it on the recommendation of an old friend who now lives in Japan.  It's very Japanese in its approach to food, obsessive about every little detail, throwing all sorts of influences from other cultures into the mix, and adding some strange eroticism as well.  Food geeks, this is the movie for you.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: Jmolinari on May 02, 2010, 02:03:07 PM
tampopo is great...and very weird
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: Melomom on May 02, 2010, 02:22:59 PM
Eat Drink Man Woman and Big Night, of course.  And Julie & Julia, if you didn't see it in the theater last fall.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on May 02, 2010, 04:36:06 PM
Eat Drink Man Woman and Big Night, of course.  And Julie & Julia, if you didn't see it in the theater last fall.

Do you honestly think I could get away without seeing Julie and Julia?  Oh, and we have seen the other two as well, but we'll probably see them again just for completeness sake.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: LizR on May 02, 2010, 04:39:56 PM
If they cried at Up, think they will cry at Eat Drink Man Woman?
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: KoPP on May 02, 2010, 05:21:49 PM
Hey, might as well watch The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. I don't think I'd follow it for the recipies, though... ;)
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on June 12, 2010, 11:05:38 AM
Swung by Videodrome last night while we were getting King of Pops (chocolate banana and lime), and picked up Nothing.  It's directed by the Vingenzo Natali, the same guy who did Cube and Splice, which is now in theaters.  I may have to see those now.  He has a distinct style that makes low budget shlock interesting.

Nothing is about a couple of loser friends in Toronto whose lives, such as they are, are collapsing around them.  Just as they are about to lose everything they beg pathetically for everyone to leave them alone, and get their wish.  Suddenly everything around their house vanishes.  In every direction, as far as the eye can see, there is a vast expanse of white emptiness.  They respond just like a couple of dimwits would, with disbelief and a dangerous disregard for consequences.  Like Groundhog Day, there is no explanation for their predicament, but they have to see it through.  Unlike that movie, Natali doesn't feel obliged to deliver uplift or a happy ending.  That in itself is refreshing.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on June 15, 2010, 08:45:49 PM
To round out the food-themed movie notion, I should mention we rewatched Big Night.  The final scene, where Stanley Tucci makes breakfast for himself and his brother is still one of the best endings I have ever seen, practically no dialogue but it says so such.  And the feast is still eye-popping.

I'd forgotten that Campbell Scott co-wrote the script and has a small role as a Cadillac salesman.  I also didn't remember that Allison Janney plays Tony Shaloub's love interest, or that Christian the waiter is played by Marc Anthony, aka Mr. Jennifer Lopez.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on June 15, 2010, 08:53:33 PM
Since I liked Nothing so much, we picked up Cube next.  It was Vingenzo Natali's first feature, and showed how much he can do with no money and no stars. 

This one is a variation on the haunted house meme, with mismatched prisoners trapped in a maze and needing to escape before dehydration or booby traps get them.  Like Nothing, it's able to distract you from the mechanisms of the plot by throwing in enough philosophical musing, but not too much.  Its outlook is pretty nihilistic, and the ending reflects that, certainly not the ending a studio release would have.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on August 15, 2010, 09:38:29 AM
After much cajoling FG finally rented Tapeheads so we could both watch it.  It has been years since she saw it, and I had somehow missed it as well.  Sorry to report she liked it more in retrospect, and I liked it less than that.

Yet another story about a couple of loser friends who go for their dream and find it's not what they expected, it mostly depends on John Cusack and Tim Robbins to charm and riff wittily.  Sometimes that's enough, but the plot is an incoherent mess, and the tone goes from arch to surreal too many times.  It's much better when it concentrates on the absurdities of LA showbiz than the political subplot, which is tiresome and not very funny.  Seeing Junior Walker and Sam Moore deliver old school R&B is fun, and the commercial for Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles is strangely wormy in the brain.  The cameos are far too numerous to mention here, but they include Weird Al Yankovic, Bobcat Goldthwait, Ted Nugent, Martha Quinn, Mike Nesmith, Courtney Love and Jello Biafra, plus Don Cornelius, Lyle Alzado, Connie Stevens and Doug McClure in supporting roles.  

It all combines to make pretty much the definition of a cult movie.  Count me out of that one, though.

Modified for typo
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on August 29, 2010, 09:24:32 AM
If you're at home on a Saturday night and can't find anything interesting on TV despite hundreds of choices, look at the On Demand listings.  Sometimes the listings themselves are more entertaining than the movies they offer, especially the free ones.  Sex comedies from the 80's (there's one right now starring Rich Little and Tawny Kitaen, talk about a pairing that's funnier than anything on screen), thrill-free thrillers and older hits are the rule.  We watched 9 to 5 last night, one of those moments in time films that shows the fashion and technology of the late 70's perfectly.

The ones you pay for can be mystifying.  Lots of direct to video, indie and what-whats like Human Centipede.  How they decide what to charge isn't clear either.  Why are some $2.99 and others $6.99 (Human Centipede)?  Why would anyone pay any amount to watch Human Centipede?  Why would they watch it even if it were free and no one but your cable company was the wiser?  What were they thinking when they made Human Centipede?  Who would put up money for Human Centipede?  Why am I so upset that Human Centipede exists?  Why are they making sequels to Human Centipede?  >:(
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: Jmolinari on August 29, 2010, 10:03:27 AM
my brother sent me a wikipedia for Human Centipede as a joke, and literally i lost my appetite just reading it. I felt ill and really really disturbed.

regarding funding, if you read the wiki page it says that the director basically "tricked" the people into funding, not telling them the truth about the project.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: AndyBoy on August 30, 2010, 09:09:30 AM
I have a photographer friend whose 16 year old daughter has spent the summer as an actor in Mama's House 3. I think she was in the other 2 also but not sure. They were doing some of the filming around the Agnes Scott campus and also up in North Carolina. Not a movie I am likely to see though.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on October 11, 2010, 12:35:14 PM
We rented Temple Grandin over the weekend, and it's a good biopic about an extraordinary subject.  If you don't know, the title character is a renowned authority on animal behavior who revolutionized the cattle industry by designing a more humane and more efficient method for handling and slaughtering.  She is also autistic and a source of inspiration for every family dealing with that condition. 

Her life could have been so much sadder.  When she was diagnosed with autism in 1952, the usual recommendation was to commit her to an institution for life, but her mother refused to allow it and worked constantly to get her to talk.  The fact that her family was wealthy gave her quite an advantage, but she also turned out to be brilliant in observing details everyone else missed and to have a photographic memory.  A few encouraging figures nurtured her and gave her the fortitude she needed in the face of cruel prejudices.  It's uplifting without being phony, and it's about science!
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: Otto on October 11, 2010, 07:51:22 PM
The video is in my Netflix for this week!  Her books are amazing. Animals in Translation and Animals Make us Human are great reads.  I look forward to watching the movie.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on October 24, 2010, 05:20:29 PM
On Demand had Body Double in its free movie bin, and since I hadn't seen it and FG had it highly recommended, we watched it.  All I could say afterward was "This is the movie Brian DePalma made after Scarface?" 

It has >80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the only explanation is that everyone was prepared to love anything he made.  This was terrible beginning to end with awful acting, ridiculous script and direction that should embarrass a film student, let alone someone considered an auteur.  DePalma managed to make a few good movies and a lot of junk in his career, but fans only seem to remember the good ones.  Why is it that Terry Gilliam keeps having Baron Munchausen thrown in his face, and DePalma gets a pass for steaming piles like this?
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: KoPP on October 25, 2010, 06:35:15 AM
Speaking of Gilliam, I watched The Imaginarium of Dr Parassus this weekend - strange movie. I enjoyed it, but I can see why a number of critics get on him. Personally, I thought Brazil was crappy in the first released version, but a LOT better when the director's cut made it out.

On Black Friday, it's being predicted that flat screens are going to hit ridiculous levels. A 35" 600Mhz 1080i for $199? A 55" for less that $500? Oy.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on October 25, 2010, 06:48:04 PM
Speaking of Gilliam, I watched The Imaginarium of Dr Parassus this weekend - strange movie. I enjoyed it, but I can see why a number of critics get on him. Personally, I thought Brazil was crappy in the first released version, but a LOT better when the director's cut made it out.

On Black Friday, it's being predicted that flat screens are going to hit ridiculous levels. A 35" 600Mhz 1080i for $199? A 55" for less that $500? Oy.

Gilliam also did 12 Monkeys, The Fisher King, Time Bandits and Brothers Grimm (not a lot of people liked that one, but I did), plus the Python stuff. 

I weep when I think of how much I paid for my HDTV, and what it would run now.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: terry on October 25, 2010, 07:17:56 PM
Lots of direct to video, indie and what-whats like Human Centipede.  How they decide what to charge isn't clear either.  Why are some $2.99 and others $6.99 (Human Centipede)?  Why would anyone pay any amount to watch Human Centipede?  Why would they watch it even if it were free and no one but your cable company was the wiser?  What were they thinking when they made Human Centipede?  Who would put up money for Human Centipede?  Why am I so upset that Human Centipede exists?  Why are they making sequels to Human Centipede?  >:(

I regret to say that I saw this movie (on Netflix). After I saw it I gave it a rating of 1. I wish I could un-see that movie. There was nothing graphic about it, but it sure implied a lot.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on December 30, 2010, 11:30:13 AM
After much prompting we finally saw Inception via On Demand.  Even though it had an undeserved happy ending, I appreciated the pretzel logic of the plot and the way it didn't dumb down the psychology talk too much.  CGI was stunning.  No standout performances except Marion Cotillard as Leonardo DiCaprio's insistent wife.  She won an Oscar a few years ago, but most people don't know her in this country.  If she weren't French Hollywood would make her an A-lister.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: KoPP on December 30, 2010, 11:34:24 AM
After much prompting we finally saw Inception via On Demand.  Even though it had an undeserved happy ending, I appreciated the pretzel logic of the plot and the way it didn't dumb down the psychology talk too much.  CGI was stunning.  No standout performances except Marion Cotillard as Leonardo DiCaprio's insistent wife.  She won an Oscar a few years ago, but most people don't know her in this country.  If she weren't French Hollywood would make her an A-lister.
This is the one film everyone really wanted to see in 3-D.

I'm not so sure about the ending being happy - it's left vague on purpose.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: Jmolinari on December 30, 2010, 12:49:25 PM
the ending is neither happy not sad. It can be interpreted either way.

I thought it was by far the best film ive seen in a long time.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on December 31, 2010, 03:41:56 PM
I will concede that there is some question about the concreteness of the ending.  A couple of events in the waking world are rather dreamlike, so it could be that the whole plot is dream.  I still felt a little let down by the end, but as FG will tell you, that's a complaint I have about lots of movies, and I definitely recommend this one.

Modified for typo
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on March 13, 2011, 09:27:42 AM
Another Saturday night at home, but at least we found Lenny as a free On Demand movie. I'd seen it, but it was so long ago that I didn't remember a lot of details. This is one of the best biopics ever made. Even Valerie Perrine is good in it. The non-linear narrative is strikingly modern, so much so that it wouldn't seem out of place as a new release, something few movies can say.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on May 30, 2011, 10:39:41 AM
A lazy Sunday with On Demand queued up. FG wanted me to see Dogville. It's a large investment of time at almost three hours, but I have been reflecting on it ever since it ended, which I guess means it succeeded.

Lars von Trier directed, which immediately gets people yelling about his anti-American leanings (he notoriously won't even travel to the US) and gets this movie labeled agitprop. The movie uses familiar Hollywood tropes: the runaway rich girl, the local boy trying to win her heart, provincial but basically good small town folk, brutal gangsters. It then turns those tropes around to show how they can turn ugly and destructive. The only explicitly political statement comes with the closing credits, which are ham-fisted and unconvincing compared to the movie itself.

It's basically a filmed play with a minimal set, mostly imagined props and an omniscient narrator. The characters are easily seen as metaphors, with Nicole Kidman as the liberal do-gooder, Paul Bettany as the well-meaning but ineffectual spiritual adviser, the townsfolk as outwardly pious but inwardly vicious peasants, and the gangsters as capitalists who mow down anyone unfortunate enough to get in their way.

Hey, this movie got me thinking on that level. Let's see a comic book movie do that.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on August 20, 2011, 11:27:56 AM
It's been a long time since I've seen Eraserhead, and now Comcast has it in its free On Demand bin. Even today after David Lynch and all of his imitators have made dozens of films filled with weird imagery and gore, this is still as baffling and open to interpretation as ever. Lynch notoriously won't talk about what it all means, because he wants the audience to figure out their own meaning. He's even coy about how he did the "baby" effect, although it was apparently an enbalmed fetal calf.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: bettylouski on August 22, 2011, 07:41:41 AM
It's been a long time since I've seen Eraserhead, and now Comcast has it in its free On Demand bin. Even today after David Lynch and all of his imitators have made dozens of films filled with weird imagery and gore, this is still as baffling and open to interpretation as ever. Lynch notoriously won't talk about what it all means, because he wants the audience to figure out their own meaning. He's even coy about how he did the "baby" effect, although it was apparently an enbalmed fetal calf.

Oh, my, this is quite possibly one of my fave and most watched weird movies ever.  Friend recorded on VHS some 25 years ago, will be queueing it up real soon to see in better quality.  Although, the Dekalb Co Library system seems to have about a dozen copies that are always checked out.   :o
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on September 11, 2011, 10:31:08 AM
Searching for cheap entertainment last night, encountered Nympho Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell. It's from the good folks at Troma, auteurs of Toxic Avenger and Swamp Thing, both trashy fun movies. This one would not make the world any poorer if it hadn't been made. And the title definitely qualifies as false advertising. A couple of threatened, never completed, rape scenes and a flash of breasts are all for the sex, and the "dinosaurs" are weird mutant monsters made with puppets and stop-motion. I'll give them credit for showing fight scenes that actually look like fights instead of choreographed ballet moves.

We also saw a couple of episodes of Rhett and Link: Commercial Kings. If you haven't seen their Interwebs videos, seek them out, and I recommend their show as well. They find unusual small businesses in need of publicity and make a TV commercial with them, usually with very funny results.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: LizR on September 11, 2011, 11:40:25 PM
The way you wrote that sounds lke you would have rather that they had completed the rape scenes, which, knowing you, I don't think you would have preferred.

Will check out your recommendations.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: Foodgeek on September 12, 2011, 11:51:11 AM
The chicken and waffles song is probably their best work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qawlht-alU

That Nymphoid Barbarian movie was pretty awful.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on September 12, 2011, 08:04:35 PM
The way you wrote that sounds lke you would have rather that they had completed the rape scenes, which, knowing you, I don't think you would have preferred.

Will check out your recommendations.

Obviously rape is not entertaining. I'm just saying that with a title like that, you expect a little more of the old in-out.

Rhett and Link made quite a few videos with food themes, for restaurants or just food styles. They're really good singers, too.
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: Hrothgar on September 13, 2011, 01:25:39 AM
Searching for cheap entertainment last night, encountered Nympho Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell.

Is this your pet name for FG? Brave man...  ;)
Title: Re: Home Video
Post by: The_Scientist on September 13, 2011, 06:29:14 AM
Searching for cheap entertainment last night, encountered Nympho Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell.

Is this your pet name for FG? Brave man...  ;)

No, NBIDH is too hard to coo.  ::)