Captain Marvel (6/10)

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I have largely ignored superhero movies since the first Avengers movie. I never really dislike the ones I’ve seen, but the action sequences are always so bad and low-stakes for the heroes. Captain Marvel is no exception. Fun character building for the first half, then boredom until the credits roll as you watch video game style CGI move around the screen. Still, I think I may attempt to work my way through all these dumb movies.

From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming (7/10)

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Bond travels to Istanbul to meet with a rogue Russian agent who claims to be in love with him. The first quarter of the book is devoted to the Russians coming up with the plan to kill Bond with a huge build up to the main villain. He kills during the full moon like an animalistic madman! None of that really pays off and the climax is rather quiet compared to the hype. Nevertheless it’s a Bond novel and I knew what I was getting.

Stop Making Sense (9/10)

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I’ll admit it, I really don’t like the Talking Heads. Their 3 or 4 radio hits are okay, but for the most part I find them boring. This film, however, transcends the music to become a thing on to itself. It’s a joy to watch. Every song is a new visual and sonic delight. I didn’t come out of it a Talking Heads fan, but I do appreciate them slightly more.

In a Lonely Place (8/10)

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Bogart is screen writer with a short fuse who is wrongly accused of murder. His alibi is his new neighbor, with whom he quickly develops a love affair. I wanted more focus on the noir-y murder stuff, but it mostly is about on his temper and how that eventually destroys his relationship. Most notably this film includes a recipe for a drink called A Horse’s Neck: ginger ale and a twist of lemon.

Annette (9/10)

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I went into this knowing what to expect on the music side of things. It’s a further exploration of the more modernist and abstract side of Sparks that was established in The Seduction of Igmar Bergman. Not exactly the style I would want in a musical from the band that gave us such showtunes-esque hits as “Talent Is an Asset” and “Hospitality on Parade.” But, take their weird sonic style and combine it with equally inspired visuals and you get something very special.

It’s the story of an unlikely love affair between a hard-edged comedian and a beautiful opera singer. Unfortunately, the film stumbles at establishing this romance in any meaningful way. They just are in love and we’re supposed to accept that. See they included a cringey singing love scene. That has to mean love, right? This poor set up is my biggest complaint about the film. Once we get to the birth of Annette things start to gel together into a wild combination of fantasy and style that all leads to an emotional and well-earned ending.

The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail - Wood Engraving

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This is the third print I have created depicting imagery from a classic giallo film. So, with three prints, this is officially a print series. Here we have a collection of elements from Sergio Martino’s The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail. The film’s action is divided between London and Athens. Here I have the masked killer attacking his victim as the moon rises behind The Parthenon.

The Movie Trailer

Because I apparently have a ton of free time, I made the world’s first ever movie trailer for a wood engraving:

Behind the Scenes

Click on the images below to see some behind-the-scenes art-making process details:

The Zombie Walks (8/10)

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What a wonderfully goofy and fun movie. This is the first German Krimi film I have ever watched and I was quite surprised by its swingin’ style and colorful art direction. It’s ostensibly a murder mystery with elements of horror but mostly played for laughs. There’s nothing scary about a police investigator who practices ballet in his office or a man whose green skin is played off as, “oh, he’s Creole.” On top of everything, the movie is backed by a superb soundtrack by The Peter Thomas Orchestra. Highly recommended.

Dark Waters (3/10)

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A Russian horror movie about a island convent that houses some sort of demon that is released when a stone amulet is pieced together. Everything is tinted with an orange candlelight glow and I think that’s about the extent of the “horror” here. It’s mostly overly long shots of wrinkly actors’ faces and nuns walking around with burning crosses. Everything feels cheap and all there is no sense of place. Just close shots of cave-like rooms.

The Sparks Brothers (8/10)

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Since the late 80s, Sparks has been one of my favorite bands. Despite their long career there isn’t much out there about their lives and history. Edgar Wright’s documentary attempts to fill in some of that info but, other than the details of their early life and first years as a band, I left the film not knowing much more than I already did about the band. I was hoping to see more about their lives off the stage. As is briefly mentioned, Ronald is known for his quirky collections of snow globes and Air Jordans and I would have like to delve deeper into his mind and interests. As it stands, the bulk of the long running time is devoted to giving an overview of their entire music output, one album at a time.