26 July 2013

Episode 5 of The George Sanders Show Now Available!

Well, we planned on talking about San Francisco on film during this week's episode of The George Sanders Show but Sean foolishly trusted the Internet to give him appropriate movie choices. The Internet! While Phil Alden Robinson's snazzy heist film Sneakers is indubitably set in the Bay Area, Otto Preminger's psychological noir melodrama Whirlpool decidedly is not. That's okay, we just fill the space reminiscing about the nineties and listening to Pavement. We also talk about upcoming film festivals, Robert Redford, and our Cinemassential picks for best hacker films.

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"Irish folktales scare the shit out of me..."

19 July 2013

Episode Four of The George Sanders Show Now Available!

On this week's episode of The George Sanders Show, Sean and I ostensibly discuss Chang Cheh's kung fu boxing film Duel of Fists and Wisit Sasanatieng's pink pop Western melodrama Tears of the Black Tiger. But basically Sean just complains about stuff. We also list our Cinemassential kung fu films, rattle off the best movies of last year that people are just talking about now, and I formally apologize to Sean's beautiful wife for calling her progeny hideous, deformed monsters. What fun!

Feedback on the show can be directed to thegeorgesandersshow[at]gmail[dot]com.

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11 July 2013

Episode 3 of The George Sanders Show Now Available!

On this week's episode of The George Sanders ShowSean and I tackle Stanley Donen's breezy thriller Charade from 1963 as well as Jonathan Demme's flashy 2002 remake The Truth About Charlie. We also pick our cinemassential remakes, talk about a sale at Barnes and Noble for some reason, and delve deeper into the filmography of director Donen.

Yes Audrey, that is Marky Mark wearing a beret.

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Feedback on the show can be directed to thegeorgesandersshow[at]gmail[dot]com or you can find us on Twitter at GeoSandersShow.

08 July 2013

Mickey Mouse Mondays: Week 10: Mickey's Follies

Mickey's Follies is comprised of a vaudeville-type revue being held in a ramshackle barnyard. Mickey cedes the screen to his opening acts for the short's first half. These performers include a quacking quintet of dancing ducks and an operatic, offkey pig, who is booed off the stage by the raucous crowd. The strangest and therefore most interesting section comes from a hen and rooster who throttle one another in a slapstick routine. After smacking and choking one another to the delight of the spectators, the hen pauses the shenanigans and mumbles something to the rooster before scuttling offstage. It looks as though the hen has excused herself to relieve herself and in a way she has. We see her climb atop a wooden box where she stresses and strains to expel an egg. As the egg tumbles down a series of pipes before landing in a pan for the audience to see and cheer, the rooster appears, puffing out his chest, another proud father. Despite their strange shenanigans, none of these performers have the panache of the follies' titular star.

Unfortunately for the film's sake, once Mickey does take over it is in the worst way possible, performing a hackneyed musical number in a completely uncharacteristic voice that is introduced boldly as Mickey's Theme Song. The song, officially entitled "Minnie Yoo Hoo", is the first original song written for a Disney production. "When You Wish Upon a Star" it is not. The song does fit its ramshackle performance but it does not leave much of an impression. It is a generic pop song of the day with Mickey Mouse talking of his "sweetie in the hen house". Before we start to think that perhaps the proud rooster may not in fact have paternal rights to the recently revealed egg, the camera cuts to Minnie in the audience, waving to her grinning, gesticulating beau.

Mickey hams his way through the tune and we get one more crowd shot which concludes with two cats falling through the roof an outhouse upon an unsuspecting pig. This would not be the last time that Mickey, the ostensible star of his shorts, stepped aside for the performances of other cartoon creations. These cameos would allow the studio to work with other designs and test out new ideas for future films. While some characters stuck around, none would come close to claiming the spotlight of the studio's flagship creation. That is, not until 1934 when another dancing duck, this one cursed with one heck of a temper, demanded to be seen.

Viewing Verdict: Avoidable

05 July 2013

The George Sanders Show Episode II: Dead by Dawn Now Available!

On the latest episode of The George Sanders Show, Sean and I discuss two sparse Westerns, Budd Boetticher's Ride Lonesome and Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man. We also touch upon the recent brouhaha over the protrayal of American Indians in film and offer up our picks for cinema's quintessential lonely picture. Feedback on the show can be directed to thegeorgesandersshow[at]gmail[dot]com. Giddy up.

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01 July 2013

Mickey Mouse Mondays: Week 9: Mickey's Choo-Choo

The best moment of Mickey's Choo-Choo comes at the very beginning. We see a train chugging along down the track, happily making its own percussive soundtrack as it goes. Like the monkey drummer in The Karnival Kid, the music the locomotive generates is surprisingly contemporary. It calls to mind the rhythm bed that makes up German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk's landmark "Trans-Europe Express". The rest of the short is comprised of Mickey and Minnie making music once again with whatever objects they find before they are trapped on a calamitous runaway train car.

A lot of the gags here are recycled from previous shorts. Mickey plays the belly of a howling dog in the same gleeful, slightly sadistic fashion that he did the menagerie of Steamboat Willie. Later he checks his watch which is fastened underneath his skin, requiring him to "roll up his sleeve" in a fashion similar to the many casual mutilations of The Karnival Kid. A fantastic piece of animation in Mickey's Choo-Choo comes when the anthropomorphised locomotive slowly starts moving down the track. The animation clearly recalls the movements of a figure skater on the rink, pushing one foot back while leaning forward.

Running cow - Plane Crazy

Running cow - Mickey's Choo-Choo

Mickey's Choo-Choo is the first short to blatantly recycle animation from a previous film. This is not entirely unexpected considering the insane work schedule the small studio was undertaking. In 1929 alone Walt Disney released a dozen films. Keeping up with that work load must have been daunting. In Mickey's Choo-Choo we see a return of the beleagured bovine that previously attempted escape from Mickey and Minnie's wayward airplane in Plane Crazy. Here the cowering cow is besieged by the runaway train. The vehicle may be different but the motion and facial expressions are the same.

Viewing Verdict: Avoidable