Monday, April 19, 2021

Meanwhile, In The Media Room...

Media Review: 


The pandemic and the rearranging of my media room has brought forth a large segment of my media out of the dusty shadows and into the viewing room. Here is a summary of my viewing habits (outside of Hulu and Netflix) over the winters pandemic. 


Hell Freezes Over (The Eagle Live) [Laserdisc] This is a great documentary that includes extensive interviews with the band members and many of their well-known songs. Professional musicians and the music is very good. Done before a captive live audience, it was pretty satisfying if this was the soundtrack to your youth in the 1970s.

Richard Thompson (Across a Crowded Room) [Laserdisc] I had never heard of this artist until I popped the Laserdisc in the player. This is one of the Pioneer music discs that were created to promote the format. He is very good. What I came away with was a small live performance that straddles the line between ‘Little Feat’ and ‘Stevie Ray Vaughn’. It was much better than I thought it would be. 

Rickie Lee Jones Live at the Wiltern Theatre [Laserdisc] If you don’t know Ricki, she was popular back in the 70s and 80s. She comes off as more of a younger ingénue Joni Mitchell. She is cute and talented, with a blues-y type of laid back style that suits the intimate venue in which it was filmed.

Thelma and Louise [Laserdisc] Watched this because Sue and had never seen it. It had been a long time since I last saw it and this viewing was pretty sweet, since the Laserdisc has AC3 surround sound and the music was much better than I recalled. A classic film with a very young Brad Pitt. 


The Crusades [VHS] This is a thrift store find that is a series of four videotapes. A documentary about the Christian Crusades as told by Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame). It is tongue and cheek with interesting special effects and story lines. Overall though, it shows the lunacy of governments and movements that are based on religion. If you use a deity as authority, then you can’t be held accountable for your atrocities. 

Band of Brothers [VHS] I have several copies of this, one on DVD and this one on VHS. If you haven’t seen it before, this is possibly the best dramatic reconstruction of the Great War in Europe ever put on film. There are many fine points that are easily missed during the first viewing, so it is worth a second look, its that good. The series touches on many important life lessons, not just from combat, but also from the interactions of various people with various personalities under stressful situations. 


The Magnificent Ambersons [Turner Classic Movies] If you study film, you understand how important Orson Wells “Citizen Kane’ was to the world of cinema. This is Wells' second film after Citizen Kane which I had never seen it. The film was done with most of the same cast as Citizen Kane.  However, I found the film disappointing. It has the same tone and camera work as Kane, but the story line is muddled and makes little sense. The acting also appears a bit stiff. It has Wells handwriting all over it, but I was more confused at the end than in the beginning. 

Chaplin Serials [VHS] Everything in media sprang from Silent Cinema. You want to see the earliest Tik-Tok? Just watch Charlie Chaplin. This is really dated material, produced by Mack Sennett, with the first appearance of the Keystone Cops. It is simplistic and while supposedly comedies, there are also a lot of social issues thrown in that were prominent at the time. 


Carnival of Souls [Turner Classic Movies] A low budget horror film that is more fun to watch because of the scenery and cinematography. Shot in and around Salt Lake City and the Seattle area, it is filmed in black & white and is haunting because of the odd camera work and the creepy organ music soundtrack.   Low budget film making at its best. 


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