A Trip to the Moon

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A Trip to the Moon, otherwise known as “Le voyage dans la lune”, was at one point in time the most famous movie in the world.1 It has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, but does not crack IMDb’s Top 250. I now have a perfect example for the utility and flaws of the tomatometer. Still, if you divorce this movie from its historical context it is only okay. The version I watched (on Netflix) was in color and had a soundtrack from Air.2 At first I found it blasphemous to have a color version, but apparently the director himself, the great Georges Méliès, colored it himself. While I was familiar with his name, his historical significance was so great that the movie Hugo deals with his rise, fall, and his lasting impact on others.

I highly recommend reading the review down in footnote 2 and then watching the

1 I do not know what supplanted it. Birth of a Nation? Nosferatu? Battleship Potemkin? The Jazz Singer? Even with The Wizard of Oz, there might have been moments when Gone with the Wind was more famous than it.
2 I learned this from an excellent review by Meghan O’Keefe. Most of the tidbits I offer are ones I gleaned from her article.


30 for 30: This Magic Moment

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With the first pick, of the 1993 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic select Chris Webber.

Do you like 30 for 30s about basketball teams? Well this one certainly is made for you. It looks like Shaquille O’Neal watched some and wanted one to stoke his ego and let him feel less guilty about leaving the Orlando Magic for the L.A. Lakers. There is nothing wrong with this film except that it is formulaic to the point of being worth watching only for the vintage game footage. Highlight was remembering about Little Penny, the small puppet voiced by Chris Rock to sell Reeboks.

2016 Fall TV Preview: Monday

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As a public service I am going to provide this preview of the upcoming slate of mostly terrible upcoming tv shows. May it help you avoid watching some bad tv.

Man With a Plan (CBS) — Fans of Matt LeBlanc might be excited to see him returning to the live studio audience with multiple cameras format that “Friends” had. I see these as signs of doom. Comedy has evolved over the past 20 years, as it always does. Nostalgia works better when you do not go back. Not that I blame LeBlanc for taking a well-paying job.
Verdict: I will not give this show a chance, and neither will America. It goes a full year, because LeBlanc’s name has value to it.

Kevin Can Wait (CBS) — Kevin James is back on TV playing public fictional Kevin James again. I mean, if it works for Tim Allen, why not?
Verdict: Because it will be terribly unfunny. Canned laughter will float this by and it sticks around for at least two years.

Lucifer (Fox) — This is apparently not a new show. That is quite a sweet spot to be successful enough to get renewed, but not successful enough for me to remember hearing of you.
Verdict: No clue. Why ruin the surprise after so long?

Timeless (NBC) — [Overheard at NBC] Okay, so “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is pretty successful. And Peggy Carter was moderately successful, but did not get enough viewers. Hmm. Maybe the problem was just having a darling, badass female main character? Let’s give her a rakish white guy and a less cool than you would expect black guy. But what to have them do? Eh, “Quantum Leap” was on for years, let’s do that again.
Verdict: This show looks very expensive, so it will need real high ratings to be financially viable. NBC does not get really high ratings. One season only.

Mary + Jane (MTV) — *Tries to remember the last time MTV had a good show* … ahh! Jackass!
Verdict: Awful. But MTV airs stuff for years, so expect 3 seasons.


Conviction (ABC) — Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) plays a former-president’s daughter, well, I mean, the president is a former president, she is still his daughter… In any event, this has a very cheesy premise—she is blackmailed into joining a special government legal unit. But it has promise. Wrongful convictions might be a hot news topic now, but they are genuinely an important issue in our country. Plus, Atwell is a wonderful actress.
Verdict: This sounds promising and has a cheesy hook, so I say it lasts for years and years. Just kidding, Atwell is not a big enough star for this to work, canceled by February. But I can hope!


The Beauty of Film: Liza the Fox-Fairy

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Liza the Fox-Fairy (2015) — Péter Szatmári (cinematographer) & Károly Ujj Mészáros (director).