Month: April 2016

The Magic Lantern: Episode 019 – Blue Collar

Blue Collar (1978) was Paul Schrader’s first foray into film direction after the notable success of his screenplay for Taxi Driver (1976), and it almost ended his directorial career before it even began. It was a tumultuous enterprise, with Richard Pryor providing fireworks ranging from thrown chairs to pulled pistols, resulting in Schrader having a mental breakdown on the set. You can’t argue with the results, though. It remains a powerful indictment of the ruthlessness of labor unions and the pettiness in men’s hearts that allows the unions to exploit them and their work, thereby keeping them both divided and conquered. Pryor, Yaphet Kotto and Harvey Keitel turned in three outstanding performances, in between trying to kill each other, and Schrader managed to hold the production together just long enough to channel this ungovernable energy into a searing, honest and insightful film that will be just as important fifty years from now. It’s a powerhouse. Don’t miss it.

What you’ll find in this episode: talking with the taxman about paternity, layaway, beans and cornbread, how temperamental actors can dictate the technical aspects of filmmaking, and the plight of the working class.

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Blue Collar on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Take Shelter.
A brief history of The Ford Hunger March, one of Michigan’s most deadly labor clashes.
The New York Times review of Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him, the essential biography of Pryor by David and Joe Henry.

Criterion Close-Up 36 – Plain Archive, 1988 Films, Cannes 2016

Mark and Aaron discuss Plain Archive, the South Korean Blu-Ray label, with input from Hyunhu Jang. He is a Producer and the Communications Manager for the label. In addition to talking about the label’s titles and their terrific packaging, we also delve into the global Blu-Ray economy and the challenges with streaming media. We discuss the 2016 Cannes lineup and share our favorite 1988 films.

GTGM Episode 25: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

To celebrate Earth Day, Doug and Jamie travel across the country to visit world famous humpback whales, George and Gracie. Upon arrival in San Francisco, they’re bummed to learn that the whales were released under the cover of darkness and were more than likely killed by poachers as their tracking signal was lost. After being unable to tour the USS Enterprise because of a Soviet security breach, they decide to see their favorite punk band who just happens to be performing that night. Upon finding out that the lead singer has been neck-pinched into a coma, the two call it a day and drive home. Because there’s nothing else to do in San Francisco…right?

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CCU35: Lady Snowblood, Don Hertzfeldt, 4K TVs

Mark and Aaron change things up by talking about a variety of topics. We delve into Don Hertzfeldt, Lady Snowblood, our recent purchases, films we’ve seen lately, Criterion news, and a strange story about a trolling incident.

GTGM Episode 24: Girls Just Want To Have Fun (1985)

Director of Programming, Jamie Lorello notices that Dance TV’s numbers have been steadily declining and hires Douglas McCambridge to fix things. Doug decides to hold an open competition to find new dancers to appear as regulars on the show. When (inexplicably) the two worst dancers win the competition, Doug is immediately fired and Dance TV is cancelled two weeks later.

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The Magic Lantern: Episode 018 – Groundhog Day

I’ve written and deleted a lot of opening statements for this post. First, I set out to simply state that Groundhog Day (1993) is universally beloved. I began to list its accolades, but it doesn’t feel quite fitting to take a comedy and explain its praise. That should be easy; because it’s just funny. This film defies that easy praise, for me at least. I chose it for this episode, and yet I insist that it’s not an all-time favorite. If you listen to this episode, you’ll find that Cole and I had no difficulty in talking about the film and explaining what we love (the general point of this podcast) and what we don’t. I think Cole said it best, and I’ll paraphrase him: you get out of this film what you’re willing to give. If you’re like me and you find it easy to access your well of sadness, then you’ll find meaning in different sections and moments, and a rewarding, re-watchable, even weighty, gem. If you’re like Cole, you love the concept but the content is sometimes lacking. Or if you just want for pure laughs, you’ll find them. Is that what brings audiences back to this film year after year? What makes you re-watch it? Keep in touch, and keep listening!

What you’ll find in this episode: the joys of watching this movie with the sound off, Cole’s Delbert McClinton rant, and an Andie MacDowell semi-apologia.

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Groundhog Day on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Purple Noon.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Triangle.
Bill Murray on Charlie Rose talking of profound things.
8 Creative Interpretations of ‘Groundhog Day’.