Month: November 2016

The Magic Lantern: Episode 035 – Smile Jenny, You’re Dead

We have a special episode for you guys this time! We are joined by our special guest Lars Nilsen, lead programmer at the Austin Film Society, to discuss his selection for the show, Smile Jenny, You’re Dead (1974). Directed by Jerry Thorpe, the choice is a bit of a departure for us in that it is actually a made for TV movie. It is the second attempt at a pilot for the show that eventually became Harry O, starring David Janssen, and it turned out to be quite fertile ground for discussion. Aside from the fact that we knew he would choose an interesting title, we also asked Lars to join us so we could talk about the Austin Film Society’s current plans for expansion and the crowdfunding campaign that is currently taking place in support of those efforts. If you are a regular listener to the show, you know how fond we are of AFS and we wanted to take this opportunity to spread the word about the campaign. We are big believers in supporting culture in our community and hope you guys feel the same. Support your local film society!

What you’ll find in this episode: noir touchstones and an exploration of acting styles as applied to the ’70s detective show, who is on my family’s Okie wall of fame, what your local film society can do for you, and the unexpected power of images that might have been considered disposable, considering their commercial television roots, to resonate with a viewer.

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Smile Jenny, You’re Dead on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Brick.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Prescription: Murder.
Lars’ further viewing pick of Fer-de-Lance.
The home page of the Austin Film Society.
Most importantly, the crowdfunding campaign to help AFS build The Best LIttle Art House in Texas. Donate today!

Criterion Close-Up 56: Blood Simple

Mark and Aaron are joined by Keith Silva to look at the Coen Brothers’ debut to cap of #Noirvember. The film cannot be viewed without the exploring the context of the Coen library and their successful career to follow, but it stands alone as a debut film that sets the stage for their style. We focus quite a bit on the noir aspect, how they were going for a specific aesthetic that shows their film heritage. We evaluate why this film works, how these neophytes meticulously crafted a slow burning art film at the height of the 1980s mainstream blockbusters.

About the film:

Joel and Ethan Coen’s career-long darkly comic road trip through misfit America began with this razor-sharp, hard-boiled neonoir set somewhere in Texas, where a sleazy bar owner releases a torrent of violence with one murderous thought. Actor M. Emmet Walsh looms over the proceedings as a slippery private eye with a yellow suit, a cowboy hat, and no moral compass, and Frances McDormand’s cunning debut performance set her on the road to stardom. The tight scripting and inventive style that have marked the Coens’ work for decades are all here in their first film, in which cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld abandons black-and-white chiaroscuro for neon signs and jukebox colors that combine with Carter Burwell’s haunting score to lurid and thrilling effect. Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, Blood Simple reinvented the film noir for a new generation, marking the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble that would transform the American independent cinema scene. Episode Links & Notes

Special Guest: Keith Silva from Interested in Sophisticated Fun, Comics Bulletin, and Psycho Drive-In. You can find him on Twitter.

1:50 – Welcome Keith Silva

4:50 – Blood Simple

Episode Credits

Next time on the podcast: French 1930s, Part Two

GTGM Episode 40: Less Than Zero (1987)

The ad agency of Lorello & McCambridge has one chance to land their biggest client to date. The only problem is, they have no ideas. After doing some bumps in the hallway, Jamie launches into her concept of the client’s bar of soap balanced on a model’s bare neck. Just as Doug is about to apologize for his partner’s insanity, the clients shout their enthusiasm and the search for the perfect neck model begins! Follow Good Times Great Movies Twitter: @GTGMcast Facebook: Subscribe to Good Times Great Movies iTunes:!/id997035817?mt=2 Go Play: Stitcher:

Criterion Close-Up 55: Cronos

Mark and Aaron tackle Guillermo Del Toro’s debut film, recently re-released as part of the Trilogía boxset. Cronos is technically in the vampire genre, but even for his first film, has a distinctive Del Toro feel. We get into the character of Jesus Gris, and how Del Toro uses him as a tragic figure that touches on themes of mortality and religion. We also explore Del Toro’s passion and his “Bleak House,” showing that his passion for the medium informs his work.

Episode Links & Notes

4:20 – Mark’s VTIFF experience

8:00 – Short Takes (The Interrogation, Santa Sangre, Evolution, Your Vice is a Locked Room and I Have the Key, Under the Shadow, Midnight Cowboy)

33:30 – Cronos

Episode Credits

Next time on the podcast: Blood Simple

The Magic Lantern: Episode 034 – Once

“A little movie called Once gave me enough inspiration to last the rest of the year” – Steven Spielberg (USA Today)

Me too, Steven!

Once (Carney, 2007) came along just when I needed it most (to paraphrase Zelda Fitzgerald). Sometimes it is the quietest, most modest and unassuming work that creates the most profound effect. The music overwhelmed me–the raw emotion, the hope and the despair. The performances charmed me, full of the pleasures found in the smallest moments. There is nothing showy about Once, from the look of it to the direction to the script. I loved, and still love, how a new voice, a new coupling, can alter everything you thought you knew and make you reevaluate your whole perspective. It is alchemy, and it doesn’t happen every day. I hope you fall in love with Once as fully as I did.

What you’ll find in this episode: Cole busts some music making myths and confirms others, Ericca (barely) suppresses her instinct to sing through the whole movie and podcast, how the time of day that you watch a film affects your perception of it, various interpretations of the title, the power and profundity of the bonds formed through music, and a discussion of whether the Guy should have kept the flame alive for the previous Girl (spoiler alert: Cole strongly suggests he should have gotten over it).

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Once on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of His Girl Friday.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Two-Lane Blacktop.
Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan and John Smith covering one of my all time favorite songs.
An old article, and one I read at the time, discussing the emotional maturity of the character and music, among other things.
The music of some say Leland, who provide all the music for The Magic Lantern.

GTGM Episode 39: Escape From New York (1981)

Biologists, Jamie and Doug are commissioned by the government to develop a pill casing that is able to become lodged in an artery (without instantly killing the subject) and slowly dissolve over the course of 24 hours. They know better than to ask questions and use a very small percentage of the $10,000,000.00 budget the US government grants them. So they spend the rest of the money on…ummmm, like futuristic robo prostitutes or something like that.

Follow Good Times Great Movies Twitter: @GTGMcast Facebook: Subscribe to Good Times Great Movies iTunes:!/id997035817?mt=2 Go Play: Stitcher: