Saturday, November 29, 2014

Still can’t get the parts…check back next week

Earlier this month, I received an e-mail from the folks at AT&T U-Verse that over the (Thanksgiving) holiday weekend, they were going to give all subscribers a free preview of their “U-450” package—which is the company’s top of the line subscription deal (the ‘rents and I have the “U-200”).  What this entailed for us was four days of premium channel largess: HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Starz—you get the idea.  What this entailed for me was that because the On Demand access is also included (I think the only channels exempt from this were the ESPN stuff and Disney), it gives me carte blanche to add a few movies to the dusty Thrilling Days of Yesteryear archives.

They have some sort of block on the HBO/Cinemax stuff, so I wasn’t able to record anything off of those channels.  (Drat.)  This didn’t keep me from helping myself to a look at a few newer movies that I had not seen; my BBFF Stacia mentioned in an e-mail that she and Mr. Stacia were amused by The Lego Movie (2014), and I sat down with that Friday night.  I wasn’t particularly fond of the fact that the movie shifts gears toward the end (it gets a bit sappy) because a good portion of it is some fairly smart satire in a kind of Rocky and Bullwinkle mode (the kids will enjoy the Legos while the adults chuckle at the jokes) but overall it was most entertaining.

The best HBO offering I watched was Dallas Buyers Club (2013), which I thought Mom would like because she’s a big Matthew McConaughey fan (though not so big that she’s been able to figure out why I keep saying “All right, all right, all right” every time his Lincoln commercial comes on) and I didn’t think I would because the subject matter sounded depressing.  Yet I thought the movie was sensational (both McConaughey and Jared Leto won well-deserved Oscars) and she hated it (thought the profanity was a bit much—“It’s Texas, ma…whaddya gonna do?”).  A genuine first-rate film, one of the best I have seen in a long while.

Starz offered up the 2011 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature—Inside Job (2010), which I also thought was a winner.  (I put this on for Dad…and he shrugged at it in a most uninterested way.)  Curiosity also bid me welcome to Saving Mr. Banks (2013), which, sadly, was simply not my cup of Harmless Harvest.  I liked Emma Thompson’s performance as P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins…but the movie seemed to suggest that she was a bitch because she had daddy issues and it was up to ol’ Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) to come to her rescue.

I guess what I’m trying to say is because I have been distracted by all this movie goodness—not only have I been able to watch some more recent films but I’ve been indulging with past favorites like Blow Out (1981), Big Trouble in Little China (1986) and The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)—that’s the reason why there’s no Serial Saturdays in this space…and why there’ll be no Doris Day(s) on Monday.  (Now…now…let’s not all be disappointed at the same time.)  But I will have material at the ready this week, including an interesting entry in Tuesday’s “Overlooked Films” feature and a review on a Grapevine Video purchase as well.  In the meantime, my look at The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (1932) is available for your perusal at ClassicFlix.  Now—back to the screening room!

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