Sunday, August 30, 2015

More Movies That Rock

Today's episode of Sounds of Cinema featured music from movies that rock. Some titles were rock and roll movie musicals and others were pictures in which rock or similar music plays a role in the movie. Here are some titles that weren't mentioned on today's show:

8 Mile
This film was loosely based on Eminem’s biography. “Lose Yourself” became the first rap song to win the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Across the Universe
A musical set in the 1960s and featuring covers of Beatles songs. The plot works through all of the familiar beats of stories set at that time (Vietnam protests, LSD trips, etc.) but director Julie Taymor creates some extraordinary set pieces.

American Graffiti
George Lucas’ second directorial feature is set on a summer night in 1962 and follows various characters as they cruise around town. The soundtrack is a very important part of the movie and features a sampling of most major rock and roll acts from that time.

The Blues Brothers
This movie was not a hit at the time of its release but The Blues Brothers has since become a classic and it features performances by James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Booker T. & the M.G.s.

The Doors
This biopic of Jim Morrison is one of the purest examples of the Hollywood rags-to-riches-to-drugs-to-dead formula. It also plays on the blurred line between rock star reality and popular mythology.

The Monkees ended their tenure with a strange psychedelic feature film. The plotless and random nature of the movie is indicative of what was going on behind the scenes. 

Hustle & Flow
A pimp attempts to get his rap career off the ground by turning a room in his house into a recording studio. The film takes what ought to be an unlikeable character and makes him very empathetic.

Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus Christ Superstar began as an album, was later turned into a stage production, and finally became of motion picture released in 1973 (the same year as Godspell). The film is a rock and roll retelling of the story of Jesus from the point of view of Judas.

Pirate Radio
Although highly fictionalized, this tale about the origins of rock and roll radio in the U.K. is a lot of fun. It was released internationally with the title The Boat that Rocked.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Another film that wasn’t very successful when it was first released, The Rocky Horror Picture Show became one of the great midnight movies and it has a dedicated cult following.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Music is an important part of Edgar Wright’s movies and Scott Pilgrim vs the World brought the songs to the forefront in the tale of a guitarist who must fight the seven evil exes of the woman he loves.

Sid and Nancy
A biographical story of Sid Vicious, bassist with British punk group the Sex Pistols, and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

That Thing You Do!
A fictional story of a manufactured pop band in the mid-1960s. The title song was issued as a single and became a hit.

The Wall
Based on Pink Floyd’s album, this film tells the story of a boy who grows up to become a rock star and is crushed by the pressures of show business and his own psychological eccentricities. There hasn’t been a Hollywood film like The Wall made since, which is a loss to all of us.

Yellow Submarine
The Beatles participated in a series of movies with United Artists. Years later the surviving members of the band spoke favorably of this title.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Movies That Rock on Sounds of Cinema

The August 30th episode of Sounds of Cinema will feature music from movies that rock. The show will take a broad approach and include music from a wide variety of films including Help! and Tommy and Walk the Line. The show will also feature reviews of Ricki and the Flash and Straight Outta Compton.

Be sure to tune in and turn your radios up to eleven.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Movies for National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day so here are some movies to watch with your favorite canine.

101 Dalmatians (1961)
Disney's animated classic about a litter of dalmatian puppies who are captured by Cruella De Vil and intended to be turned into fur coats. A live action version was released in 1996.

Benji  (1974)
The first in a series of movies about a heroic stray dog. In this first installment Benji rescues a pair of kidnapped children.

Best in Show (2000)
Christopher Guest's mockumentary about the peculiar participants in a dog show. It was cited by Premiere magazine as one of the greatest comedies of all time.

Hatchi: A Dog's Tale (2009)
This particular title flew under the radar but earned very good notices. Richard Gere plays a college professor who takes a stray dog into his home.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
The early 1990s had a trend of movies in which live animal performers were given voice over narration. This movie is kind of dumb but the kids will love it.

Lady & the Tramp (1955)
Another Disney animated feature film centered on dogs. The spaghetti eating scene is one of the most iconic moments in the entire Disney canon.

Man's Best Friend (1993)
This movie is generally categorized as horror but it's more than that. This is a sci-fi thriller about a genetically modified guard dog that escapes its laboratory and becomes attached to a television reporter.

Old Yeller (1957)
The quintessential dog movie. Most everybody knows how this movie ends and it's heartbreaking but the film is a good example of how a family movie can deal with heavy issues.

Turner and Hooch (1989)
 A buddy cop movie in which the straight man is played by Tom Hanks and the sloppy partner is played by a dog.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Film Reviews: August 9, 2015

Here us a recap of the films reviewed on today's show:

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is a competent action picture and it makes for a fun two hours. It isn’t as good as the best installments of the series and an awful lot from the earlier movies is repeated here. For the next adventure, Tom Cruise and company should challenge themselves to come up with a newer and fresher Mission: Impossible concept.

The dramatic content of Southpaw is much more impressive than the boxing. The actors are very good, especially Jake Gyllenhaal, but the movie suffers from a lot of basic storytelling mistakes.

The Vacation remake is not very funny and it pales in comparison to the original film. The cast is quite good and they could have been marshalled into a better movie but the film wastes them on a bland and uninspired script.

Within the filmography of Adam Sandler Pixels is a competent movie and it recalls some of his earlier family-friendly successes like Click. But the movie has been made in such a way that it short circuits its appeal and Pixels suffers from some of the predictable flaws of virtually every Happy Madison production.

Atari: Game Over is a fun look at the history of a groundbreaking company and an examination of the allure of nostalgia. It is a lightweight movie but it’s very satisfying.

You can find full text of every review in the Sounds of Cinema Review Archive.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Film Reviews: July 26th and August 2, 2015

Here is a recap of the reviews from the last two weeks:

The Human Centipede is more interesting as a trilogy and as a concept than it is for the actual content of its installments. Human Centipede 3 is deliberately unpleasant and it succeeds at that but the movie falls well short of its aspiration to be a violent satire in the vein of Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, American Psycho, or even South Park.

Paper Towns has interesting themes that it presents earnestly but the storytelling is erratic and unbelievable. The movie delivers a coming of age tale that its intended audience of teenagers will eat up but Paper Towns has too many implausibilities to be taken seriously.

Stand By Me remains one of the best films of director Rob Reiner and one of the best features adapted from the works of Stephen King. This film has some extraordinary performances and an understated profundity that maintains its resonance nearly thirty years after the movie’s original release.

Trainwreck is a fine comedy. It does not reinvent the romantic comedy but Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow do it very well and Trainwreck injects the genre with a contemporary sensibility while delivering laughs at a steady clip. 

Ant-Man is a fun superhero movie. Although it works through a lot of the familiar storytelling beats of comic book origin stories it does so with a lot of humor and it is a very entertaining addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a fun movie and an effective example of a family adventure film that is entertaining for both kids and parents. 

You can find full text of every review in the Sounds of Cinema Review Archive.