Saturday Double Feature – Midway (2019) and…

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

mw1News Flash! The Japanese have launched a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor!

Flashier! The US Navy has launched a valiant attack on Japanese forces seeking to take the island of Midway, in a battle that is hoped will turn the tide of the war in the Pacific!

More Flash! Roland Emmerich has spent $100 million dollars on a two- hour plus movie telling this tale!

Still Flashing! There’s little hope that this film will be any better than the original film about this battle which was just as star-studded, just as long, and apparently just as middle of the road.

Yes, it’s true. For this week’s double feature, I’m going with a pretty obvious pick, but after last week’s nobody-coulda-guessed-it selection, I thought I’d go a little easier on you this week.

So, yeah, back in 1976, director Jack Smight (here’s where I would usually give you some of his other credits that you might recognize, but… yeah…) assembled Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, Ed Nelson, Hal Holbrook, Toshiro Mifune, Robert Mitchum, Cliff Robertson, Robert Wagner, James Shigeta, Pat Morita, John Fujioka, and Robert Ito in an attempt to bust the block with the story of this largely forgotten battle.

Let’s look at the trailer, shall we?

Saturday Double Feature: Sherlock Gnomes (2018) and…

Another Saturday means another Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

Let’s face it, this is not exactly a great week for new releases. When the biggest release of the week is another God Is Not Dead sequel, I think it’s safe to say that the major studios are taking the week off.

So that leaves us with something of a dearth of movies to look at for our double feature this week. At fist I considered looking at home video releases to see if maybe there was something there that might be fun to pair up with an older movie, but I finally decided to go back to last week and look at another release from then.

Unfortunately, other than Pacific Rim, here weren’t a whole lot of great movies released last week, either. Ok, well, nobody ever said we had to go with a great movie… or even a good one. Hey, wait, what’s that peeking up with those beady little eyes from the bottom of the barrel? Oy. I think it’s some atrocious flick called Sherlock Gnomes. Ok, what the heck, let’s go with that.

I have no idea how Gnomeo and Juliet managed to make enough money to rate a sequel, except perhaps that the production costs on these things are so low that they can’t help but make money. After all, when the highest level of creativity in your film is the pun in your title, how much can it really cost? Anyway, here we are.

Here, have a trailer

Fortunately, there have, over the years, been much better Sherlock Holmes parodies.

One of the best of these came out in 1975 in the form of The Adventure Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother. While he was finishing production on Mel Brook’s Young Fraankenstein, Gene Wilder was approached with thee idea of creating a Sherlock Holmes parody. Instead of taking on a direct pastiche, however, Wilder decided to frame the movie around Holmes’s insanely jealous brother. No, not Mycroft, whom even Holmes’s creator Arthiur Conan-Doyle acknowledged as Sherlock’s mental superior, but his lesser-known other brother Sigerson.

Bringing along with him from Frankenstein his costars Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman, Smarter Brother became Wilder’s directorial debut. Let’s see how it turned out, shall we?

 

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with Sherlock Gnomes? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

Saturday Double Feature: Hurricane Heist (2018) and…

Another Saturday means another Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

We’ve talked before about January and February being dumping grounds for movies the studios at one point perhaps thought were good ideas (at least good enough to sink millions of dollars and hundreds of hours into) and now are having second thoughts about but can’t really afford to shelve completely.

So, let’s just imagine that at some point in the last few years, someone came to a bunch of studio executives and said, “Hey, here’s an idea: since heist flicks are huge right now, how about we make one, but instead of having to run from the cops, the bad guys have to carry out and escape in the middle of a huge hurricane!” This was of course immediately followed by the executives replying “Yes! How much money do you want?”

And so, opening this weekend we have Hurricane Heist, one of the most imaginatively titled movies since Snakes On A Plane. Oh, well, at least the producers can’t be accused of false advertising.

After all, I think we proved long ago that you can’t sue a studio for claiming their movie is worth seeing.

Here, have a trailer”

So where shall we go for a double feature with Hurricane Heist? Well, how about to the year 1974? Apparently the early 70s were a time rife with disasters both natural and man-made. The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Airport, Avalanche, Meteor, and oh, so many more.

Why so many disasters? Well, there are many possible reasons, among them a distrust of government’s ability to control or handle pretty much any kind of happening, a heightened belief in the kind of conspiracies that would lead to these disasters, and a feeling of a general lack of control which led to a sense that anything could happen at any time and that that “anything was likely to be horrible.

Also, these movies were a great way to get a huge number of stars together, get a few days’ work out of each of them, and promote on the poster and in trailers a gigantic all-star cast.

Plus, it was a great way, especially in those pre-CGI days for special effects houses to wow audiences with the mayhem they could create.

The 70s were also, of course, the time of Charlton Heston. And if your disaster flick could boast Heston at the head of that all-star cast, well then you might as well get out of the way of the box-office stampede.

All of which bring us to today’s pick for a second feature to show alongside Hurricane Heist: 1974’s Earthquake.

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with Hurricane Heist? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

Saturday Double Feature: Proud Mary (2018) and…

Another Saturday means another Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

Let’s talk 70s blaxploitation movies for a minute, shall we?

Yes, I know, in today’s world the concept might seem more than a bit odd, but back in the day it was definitely a thing, One f the things that you have to keep in mind is that during this time period many movies were not given the huge national release that seemingly every film has today, nor were they expected to bring in huge audiences from all across the spectrum. Nor were all theaters the vast multiplexes with 824 screens that litter the landscape today. (And no, I’m not going to diatribe about how those 824 screens all seem to be showing the same seven movies – at least not today, anyway. We’ll save that for some other time.)

Instead, most theaters were small, one-screen affairs locate in various neighborhoods throughout the city, and ofttimes those theaters (many independently owned and programmed) would show movies that they thought would appeal to the local clientele. Quite often, for those theaters located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, this meant movies which featured black actors in the lead role. Films such as Shaft, Uptown Saturday Night, and, yes, Blacula, are all examples of what became known as the blaxploitation genre.

By the way, I feel I should point out that for lovers of the films of the period, blaxploitation is not meant as a derogatory term. Instead, it’s more of a play on the broader exploitation cinema genre which was huge back then.

Anyway, even before I saw the first trailer for the new movie Proud Mary, upon just seeing the poster, I was immediately taken back to those days and that genre.

You see, there was even a further sub-genre within the blaxploitation realm which featured the bad-ass black woman who not only had to fight against racial prejudice, but also against male supremacy. Often these movies would feature the lead taking revenge against gangs or other people who had wronged her or someone close to her.

The undisputed queen of this sub-genre was Pan Grier, who starred in many movies including Foxy Brown, and is perhaps best known today as the lead in Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 Jackie Brown. She’s also the lead in the flick I picked for today’s double feature, Coffy.

In Coffy, Grier stars as a nurse who sets out to seek revenge for her sister’s drug addiction and to fight the drug relate violence that is infecting her town, This leas to her taking on both gang lords and the mob, an eventually sees her going undercover as a prostitute and eventually taking out a number of drug dealers in increasingly violent ways.

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with Proud Mary? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

Sometimes You Wish You Really Were The Last – The Omega Man (1971)

omp01The first time I watched the 1971 Charlton Heston-starring The Omega Man I actually didn’t.

Okay, in order for me to explain that statement, I’m going to have to take you back in time a bit, to when I was much younger, when we only had a few television channels, no VCRs or DVRs or even DVDs, and yes, dinosaurs did roam the Earth.

We’re talking the early 70s here kids. Ancient history.

At that point, when a movie came on TV, you basically had two options: either watch it as it was being broadcast, or miss it completely and hope that it would be shown again at some unknown future date. There was no “Well, if I don’t watch it now I can always get it on Amazon or download it or stream it on Netflix.”

That’s also why in my house, as well as in most American homes, the TV Guide was the most-read magazine. As a matter of fact, at that point it was the best-selling magazine in America. And in my house, especially for a sci-fi/horror movie loving kid like myself, it was a true treasure to be pored over each week when it came in, to see what genre movies were coming on and which ones I was going to try to see.

Oh, and let me just add: woe forbid if two or more of those movies overlapped, or if they overlapped with a favorite regular TV show, because than a real choice had to be made.

om05And it was even worse if something you wanted to watch conflicted with something your parents wanted to see, because it was obvious who was going to win that little fight. Actually, there wasn’t really going to be a fight. (Oh, yeah, one other thing I forgot to mention earlier about this time: there was also no such thing as watching something you wanted to on a computer or iPad or phone or whatever. Remember, we’re talking about a time before home computers or the internet. Yeah, I know, it’s a wonder we were able to survive.)

Anyway, it was under such circumstances that I first came into contact with The Omega Man.

The Omega Man is actually the second of three major adaptations of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend. The first was 1964’s The Last Man on Earth which starred Vincent Price. The third was 2007’s I Am Legend which had Will Smith in the lead role.

Though each of them varies to a larger or smaller degree from Matheson’s novel, they all share the same basic set-up. In The Omega Man the concept is simple. Robert Neville, who was both a Colonel in the U.S. Army and a doctor who studied rare diseases is seemingly the lone human survivor after a biological war between Russia and China sets off a plague which kills off most of the world’s population and turns most of the “survivors” into plague ridden zombies.

That’s right kids, we’re talking Zombie Apocalypse 1971 style.

Anyway, back to the story I was telling:

ds1At the same time as I was a young sci-fi/horror movie fan, I was also a fan of the early pulp characters such as The Shadow and Doc Savage. I had become a fan of these characters through a series of paperbacks that were being released at the time which reprinted those early pulp stories, and which the local library would sporadically get in.

Again, finding a new one of these paperbacks on the library shelves was like a gold miner finding an unexpectedly large nugget.

You can, therefore, imagine my pleasure when, on a certain Saturday afternoon I just happened to run across a new oc Savage reprint at the library. I couldn’t wait to get home and dive right into it.

Of course, as luck would have it, that was the same Saturday that NBC was going to be premiering The Omega Man. What a terrible choice to have to make. A known good in the Doc Savage book, or the possibility of something new and interesting in The Omega Man?

Yeah, my hero won.

So, while I was holed up in my room reading the latest (well, to me at least – hey, if you’ve never read it it might as well be a new book, right?) adventures of doc and his companions, my dad was in the living room checking out the Chuck Heston flick.

Still every once in awhile, the sounds coming from the other room were just intriguing enough to draw me in to take a peek at what was going on. Of course I really had no idea what was happening, but I did see was enough to make me curious. Especially when I happened to pop in on the rather iconic final shot. But hey, if you aren’t familiar with that shot, I’ll just have to tell you what my dad told me when I asked him what was going on: if you want to know, you’ll just have to watch the movie sometime.

Fortunately, I eventually did.

I have to admit that I’ve always found Heston to be, if nothing else, an interesting actor, especially during this period of his career when he was making some very interesting choices as far as the movies he was in. The Agony and the Ecstasy, Planet of the Apes, Anthony and Cleopatra, Soylent Green, and the list goes on. For those who think of him today mostly as an NRA-loving reactionist, at the time, Heston was not just a highly respected and sought-after actor, but a man who made some interesting choices in the roles he sought out.

And this remains true when it comes to his choice to portray, and his interpretation of, Neville in this movie.

As the movie opens, Neville is a man alone. As far as he knows, he is the last human survivor of the plague, and he is also a man determined to stay that way – a survivor, that is. He spends his days hunting down zombies, collecting supplies, or watching the movie Woodstock in the local theater. (Apparently, that’s what was showing when the apocalypse hit and – since this is before the advent of the multiplex – it’s the only movie showing close to his home).

And of course, that’s also key – Neville must stay close to home, because he must be there by nightfall, barricaded into his abode when the zombies emerge. Led by Johnathan Matthias – once Neville’s friend – “The Family” –  as the local cult is known – are eager to get to Neville an make him just like them.

By the way, one interesting choice the producers made as far as the “Family” goes is that they are distinguishable from humans because they are all now albino, and extremely sun-sensitive. This explains their nocturnal vampire-like tendencies, while still allowing them to be killed by regular bullets, rather than having to be staked, giving Heston a chance to be a bit more of an action-hero than Price could be when her portrayed the role. Of course, the distinction also suits their different personalities and acting styles.

The Omega Man is definitely a triumph of atmosphere, as it does a good job of portraying the day-to-day activities of Neville as he lives his solitary life, though it also has its completely over the top moments, such as Neville playing a solitary game of chess against a bust of General MacArthur.

Anyway, I don’t think it’s giving away too much to state that eventually Neville finds out that he may not actually be the only human left alive, Of course this only brings in more complications partly because he has lost any real ability to relate to other actual people and because it raises the question of whether there might be some way to actually save the human race.

I’m giving The Omega Man a very high recommendation here, especially for those of you who are fans of 70s sci-fi adventure movies. No, it’s not perfect, and it’s not really that representative of Matheson’s novella, but nonetheless, it’s well worth a watch.

Now if we could just get a decent Doc Savage movie.

 

Saturday Double Feature: The Greatest Showman (2017) and…

Hey, it’s Saturday, and that means the return of the Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

The Greatest Showman may just as well have been called The Greatest Bullsh!tter, because not only was P.T. Barnum a master of the art, but the movie is also completely full of it when it comes to Barnum’s life and business practices. Nonetheless, it does go a long way to showing once again why Hugh Jackman is one of our most muli-faceted and greatest living showmen today.

Of course, The Greatest Showman is not the first movie to be set at a circus, nor is it even the first to feature Barnum’s circus. In 1952 famed director Cecil B. DeMille brought the actual Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus to the big screen for the movie The Greatest Show on Earth. Starring Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, James Stewart, Dorothy Lamour, and Gloria Grahame, the film also incorporated the real circus’ 1951 troupe with its complement of 1400 people, hundreds of animals, and 60 carloads of equipment and tents. The movie went on to win two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Story, and was nominated for Best Costume Design, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. It also won Golden Globe Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Drama.

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with The Greatest Showman? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

Classic Television Thursday #020 – Playhouse 90: Forbidden Area (1956)

p90What do I need to say here? Charlton Heston, Vincent Price, Tab Hunter, Diana Lynn, and Victor Jory, all starring in a screenplay adapted by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer.

What could possibly bring all of this talent together? It’s “Forbidden Area”, the premiere episode of Playhouse 90, the acclaimed 1950s television anthology series.

Oh, and did I mention that it was broadcast live? And hosted by Jack Palance?

Yeah, I’m just going to get out of the way of this one, and let you enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

Let’s Play The Saturday Double Feature Guessing Game!

double-featureFor awhile now, I’ve been playing this game with some of my co-workers, but I finally figured there’s no reason not to open it up to you, my readers, too. so here’s how it goes: of course, you all know that every Saturday I write a post called the Saturday Double Feature. The idea there is to take a movie that’s currently in theaters (for instance, this past Saturday it was the Liam Neeson flick Non-Stop) and pair it with a movie from the 80s or before to create an imaginary double feature. Sometimes the movies that I pick for the pairings are obvious, sometimes they’re not at all. The reasons for the pairings could be something in the title, one of the stars, the plot line, or simply something that came to my mind while i was thinking about the current movie. To follow through on the above example, the movie that I paired with Non-Stop was 1972’s Skyjacked, which starred Charlton Heston. (Like I said, the movies I choose are not always that obscure, but it just kind of worked that way this week.)

marqueeAnyway, from now on, each Monday I’m going to post the current movie which will form the basis of the double feature on the Durnmoose Movie Musings Facebook page. Then I’m going to invite you guys to try to guess in the comments of that post which movie I’m going to choose to pair it up with the following Saturday. I don’t plan to comment on the guesses in between times, so you’ll have to check back here on Saturday to see if you were right.

And what do you win if you get it right? Well, mostly bragging rights, and the knowledge that your mind is as twisted as mine when it comes to thinking about movies. At the same time, I am thinking that somewhere along the way, maybe once every couple of months or so, I’ll take the names of everyone that got one right, toss ’em in a hat, and pull one out to win a yet-to-be-determined Actual Prize.

So let’s get started, shall we? Next stop Facebook, where I’ll post the name of the movie for this Saturday. Oh, and while you’re there, why not go ahead and give it a “like”? That way, you’ll not only always be up to date on all things Moosish, but I do also sometimes post links to other things that I run across on the web that I may not particularly want to feature here, but think will be of interest if you already like the blog.

Ok, so head on over, and good luck guessing!

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