On Instant Watch Pawn Stars - 4 stars - This is a really fun show from the History Channel. It's a reality show from a pawn shop in Las Vegas. Each episode highlights a few items brought in to sell or pawn. The shop owners like military memorabilia, historical weapons and classic cars so those items get a lot of attention. They usually call in experts to talk about the items and price them. When the shop buys a gun they shoot it to be sure it works. My favorite so far was a beautiful 1750 double barrel Coach Gun with a spring loaded bayonet. Fun stuff for shooters! Plus lots of collectibles need restoring and they show the finished product. This is great - try it.
Yep, been hooked on Pawn Stars for a while now. Visited that pawn shop when was in Vegas recently. Of course, didn't see the owners. Heard they get $250,000 per episode.
Another good one along the same lines is American Pickers. They travel the back roads of America looking through old barns and outbuildings for antiques, memorabilia, and the like. Love it when they find old motorcycles or bicycles from the early 1900s.
Some recent views. Gonna try to update on a more regular basis, cause I'm definitely forgetting some stuff.
Finnis Terrae - This was my last viewing for silent French cinema, though unfortunately I wasn't fully into it. Beautiful film, but I wasn't able to get into it. This needs re-visiting in the future along with some other french silent cinema I skipped over, especially in the experimental area. But for now I'm moving on to German silent cinema.
The Expendables - This was pretty awful, but in a way that was extremely entertaining. Most of the dialog sections of this movie don't make a bit of sense and are filled with awkward jokes that keep on running without ever reaching a punch line. The action scenes are pretty decent compared to other action fare here in America. Some cool stuff, and CGI is hidden decently, but not completely. I had lots of fun watching this, but once again me and my friend were the only ones laughing our asses off in the whole theater.
Mini Polanski marathon, we meant to get to Rose Mary's Baby to complete the apartment trilogy but ran out of time. Thankfully that's the only one I've seen.
Repulsion - Was a bit out of it while watching, so not a full experiences, but what I saw was great. I look forward to re-visiting this.
The Tenant - Absolutely insane and creepy as hell. New Favorite Polanski? I think so.
Then my 3rd roommate finally moved in and he filled me in on some early Coen Brothers I had been skipping.
Blood Simple - Pretty damn great, hated the theme song though. Coen brothers seem to have rocked from the start.
Raising Arizona - More greatness, also funny as fuck. Doesn't feel like Nicholas Cage really.
Miller's Crossing - Still fucking great, Coen Brothers don't disappoint.
The Boss of It All - Lars Von Trier is kind of a dick for making this. It's funny as hell, but he makes fun of it the whole way through and chose his shot composition via a computer program that randomizes everything. He sort of does a straight up comedy genre film really well, while not taking it seriously at all the whole time. Bizarre DVD cover has people who aren't even in the movie.
The Searchers - Finally worked my way around to this classic, and what can I say, but I loved the hell out of it. Great shit, need to dive deeper into John Ford sometime.
Days of Heaven - Beautiful film, but wasn't really blown away by the plot. Still solid stuff though.
The Atomic Submarine - More criterion Sci-Fi, this one was great and funny as hell. The miniatures in this are really poorly done, but the creature effects are super kick ass.
Then off to early German silent cinema...
Spiders - Fritz Lang does an adventure serial. Decently solid work, but far from the greatness he would achieve later in his career.
I Wouldn't Want to be a Man - Ernst Lubitsch comedy, pretty solid work, but not as brilliant as what he'd do soon after. Apparently this got some play at a lot of gay/lesbian film festivals for it's odd gender politics.
The Doll - This is a much stronger comedy from Lubitsch. Uses very stylized sets to look like a toy box. Really well thought out with lots of laughs.
Oyster Princess - This is I think the best of these 3 comedies. Lots of tight choreography makes this feel sort of like musical even though it's silent. Pretty hilarious too.
Madame Dubarry - Earlier I had dismissed Lubitsch's period epics as being rather boring compared to his comedic work, though notably for portraying the sexual appetites of historical figures for the first time. Madame Dubarry is really great though, with great characters and drama that immerse you for the whole run time. Another silent Lubitsch masterpiece.
Nerves - A year before Caligari this had expressionist style acting without the painted sets. Way ahead of it's time with striking compositions involving a lot of deep focus photography involving close ups within extreme long shots. The like of which Citizen Kane would later become famous for. This movie is rad as fuck and definitely one of the greats of German silent cinema.
Immortal Beloved - Beethoven is often called the greatest instrumental composer in history. He excelled in many musical forms. But despite some glorious passages in Fidelio, opera wasn't one of them. Writer-director Bernard Rose tries to rectify the balance by transforming Beethoven's entire life into soap opera. He takes several known facts about his subject, discounts the scholarly view, and concocts a grotesque fantasy whose real antecedents are not in film biography, but rather in those teddibly romantic "women's pictures" of the 1940s, where society matrons and supercharged ritzy bitches slaver over musicians in the too-too sensitive world of classical music. Plotwise this movie resembles the if-only-I-had-known narrative resolutions of old stage melodrama. Gary Oldman scowls up a storm, Jeroen Krabbe etches a portrait of canine devotion, and the girls are fuckably watchable. I don't know any Beethoven enthusiast who doesn't agree that this movie is a piece of shit. But we all continue to see it. Why? Maybe because it's saturated with the Master's pieces, dished up by the likes of Georg Solti and Gidon Kremer. Murray Perahia plays the living shit outa everything from Fur Elise to the Emperor Concerto.
While I'm at it I might as well spit a little venom at Amadeus. It's much better than Immortal Beloved. But it's just as reckless with the facts. The notion that Salieri either relished or was somehow responsible for Mozart's death is not original with this movie or the play that gives rise to it. A nineteenth century opera tells a similar story. As usual, the truth is cast aside. Salieri may have sometimes used his influence to harm Mozart, but he often helped him. We know whom Mozart composed the Requiem for, and it wasn't Salieri. And this movie's reduction of Don Giovanni is an insult to da Ponte's libretto. Another point worth considering: if Salieri had been driven to madness by his envy of Mozart, how could he live so easily in Vienna with Beethoven, Haydn, and Schubert as his neighbors? Notwithstanding these obvious falsifications, my classical music buddies and I don't give a shit. We lap up these lies like those 1940s housewives who dragged their husbands to see Davis and Crawford fawning unto death over any guy with a bow in his hands. I may watch this shit. I may even enjoy it. But I just want you people to know I'm not being fooled by it. So there.
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