Lisa’s Week In Review: 11/19/18 — 11/25/18

Well, one holiday down and one more month to go until we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019!  Thanksgiving was last week and now it’s time to celebrate whatever it is you choose to observe in December!

November has been a month of birthdays here at the Shattered Lens!  My birthday was on the 9th.  My sister Erin (a.k.a., our wonderful Arts Editor, the Dazzling Erin) celebrated her birthday on Saturday!  Arleigh has a birthday coming up on the 27th!  And finally, the site itself will be turning 9 years old in December!

Here’s what I did this week:

Movies I Watched:

  1. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  2. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
  3. Behind Green Lights (1946)
  4. Black Noon (1971)
  5. Christopher Robin (2018)
  6. Creed II (2018)
  7. Every Other Holiday (2018)
  8. Fourteen Hours (1951)
  9. Have  A Nice Day (2018)
  10. For You I Die (1947)
  11. Framed (1947)
  12. Gangster Story (1959)
  13. He Walked By Night (1948)
  14. Hotel Transylvania 3 (2018)
  15. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
  16. Johnny O’Clock (1947)
  17. Killer Vacation (2018)
  18. My Teacher, My Obsession (2018)
  19. Never Trust A Gambler (1951)
  20. Once Upon A Holiday (2015)
  21. Parole, Inc. (1948)
  22. Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)
  23. Robin Hood (2018)
  24. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
  25. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
  26. The Stranger (1946)
  27. The Ten Commandments (2006)
  28. Time Table (1956)
  29. Woman On The Run (1950)

Television Show I Watched:

  1. 9-1-1
  2. Bar Rescue
  3. California Dreams
  4. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  5. Couples Court with the Cutlers
  6. Dancing With The Stars
  7. Degrassi Junior High
  8. Degrassi High
  9. Degrassi: New Class
  10. Degrassi: The Next Generation
  11. Doctor Phil
  12. Face The Truth
  13. Friends
  14. Jamestown
  15. King of the Hill
  16. Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court
  17. The Little Drummer Girl
  18. Monty Python’s Flying Circus
  19. My Brilliant Friend
  20. Pablo Escobar: El Patron del mal
  21. The Romanoffs
  22. Saved By The Bell
  23. Seinfeld
  24. Shipping Wars
  25. Survivor 37
  26. Tengo telento, mucho talento
  27. The Walking Dead
  28. Waterfront House Hunting
  29. Who Wants To Date A Comedian?

Books I Read:

  1. For Special Services (1982) by John Gardner
  2. Icebreaker (1983) by John Gardner
  3. Role of Honour (1984) by John Gardner
  4. Nobody Lives Forever (1986) by John Gardner

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Armin van Buuren
  2. Avicii
  3. Big Data
  4. The Chemical Brothers
  5. David Guetta
  6. Elle King
  7. Jakalope
  8. Jake Bugg
  9. Matthew Dear
  10. Sabrina Carpenter
  11. Saves the Day
  12. St. Vincent
  13. Steve Aoki

Links from Last Week:

  1. For Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed the latest episode of Survivor!
  2. On my music site, I shared music from Armin van Buuren, Avicii, Jake Bugg, St. Vincent, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, and David Guetta again!
  3. On her photography site, Erin shared: Standing In The Middle of the Tracks, Tracks, Huffines Park, November Trees, Background Squirrel, On Dry Land, and Enjoy the Shade!

Links From The Site:

  1. Case reviewed The Christmas Chronicles!
  2. Erin profiled James McConnell and shared the following artwork: Kill Him Twice, Special Detective, The Thursday Turkey Murders, Judge, She-Devil, Point of View, and Demon Caravan!
  3. Doc wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
  4. Gary reviewed Stranger on the Third Floor and Tommy, along with highlighting a one-hit wonder and offering up a bit of retro Thanksgiving joy!
  5. Jeff shared music videos from Iron Maiden, The Smiths, Talking Heads, John Lennon, Boston, Steve Winwod, and the Rolling Stones!  He also paid tribute to Nicolas Roeg!
  6. I reviewed Never Trust A Gambler, He Walked By Night, For You I Die, Woman On The Run, Framed, Killer Vacation, Fourteen Hours, and Gangster Story!
  7. Ryan reviewed Journal of Smack, Go-Bots, and Three Magical Recipes From The Book Of Secrets Of Albertus Magnus!  He also shared his weekly reading round-up!

Check out last week by clicking here!

Have a great week!

30 Days of Noir #25: Gangster Story (dir by Walter Matthau)

The 1959 film, Gangster Story, holds the distinction of being the only film ever directed by the Oscar-winning actor, Walter Matthau.

That’s right, this low-budget film about a bank robber and the people who want to kill him was directed by TCM’s favorite curmudgeon.  The man who would later be nominated for multiple Oscars and who would star in numerous Neil Simon adaptations only directed one film and that movie was a low-budget, 68-minute, black-and-white movie about cops and robbers.

(And no, Jack Lemmon is nowhere to be found.)

Walter Matthau not only directed this film but he starred in it as well.  He plays Jack Martin, a career criminal who pulls off a daring bank robbery.  How does he do it?  Well, first, he rents an office in the same building as the bank.  He gets to know everyone at the bank.  He wins their trust.  No one can resist the charms of Jack Martin, which I guess is the advantage of getting to direct yourself.

On the day of the robbery, Jack approaches the cops who are hanging around outside the bank.  He tells them that he’s from Hollywood and he’s going to be shooting a scene in which he pretends to rob the bank.  He assures them that it will look realistic.  They might even see a rather flustered bank manager leading him into the vault.  But it’s just a movie and therefore, it’s very important that the cops not rush into the bank with their guns drawn or anything silly like that.

Of course, the cops fall for it.  While Jack is busy robbing the bank, the cops are just hanging around and shooting the breeze outside.  When Jack walks out of the bank, he thanks the cops for not ruining the scene and then promptly leaves.  Needless to say, the cops are humiliated when they realize how they’ve been tricked.  For them, tracking down Jack isn’t just about upholding the law.  It’s about vengeance.

Meanwhile, the local mob boss is upset because not only did Jack rob the bank without permission but he also failed to shared any of the stolen money.  Not only does Jack have the cops after him but he also has all the local gangsters!

What a mess!

However, Jack isn’t worried.  He’s happy because he’s met and fallen in with a local librarian, Carol (played by Carol Grace).  Will Jack find love or will his criminal past find him?

It’s always a bit strange to watch a film that’s been directed by an actor with a firmly entrenched persona.  Matthau was famous for playing urban misanthropes and, when watching Gangster Story, your natural instinct is to look for signs of that curmudgeonly worldview.  There are hints of it in the scene where Jack tricks the cops outside the bank but, for the most part, there’s really not much personality to be found in any of the film’s scenes.  Matthau’s direction is workmanlike but never particularly memorable.  For reasons that will soon become clear, as a director, Matthau seems far more interested in the unlikely love story between Jack and Carol than in the film’s criminal-on-the-run storyline.  After making this film together, Walter Matthau and Carol Grace married.  It was her third marriage and Matthau’s second and it lasted for 41 years, ending only with Walter Matthau’s death in 2000.

Not surprisingly, the scenes between Jack and Carol are the best in the film.  As for the rest of it, it’s pretty much a standard crime film.  As a director, Matthau struggles to keep the story moving at a steady pace and the film’s low-budget certainly doesn’t help.  Watching the film, you can tell why Walter Matthau devoted the rest of his career to acting as opposed to directing.  It’s hard not to feel that he made the right choice.

Weekly Reading Round-Up : 11/18/2018 – 11/24/2018, Brandon Lehmann

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

What’s wrong with having a good laugh every now and then, I ask you?

Seattle’s Brandon Lehmann may not be the most thematically ambitious cartoonist working these days (then again, maybe he is and just manages to conceal it well), but there’s not question he’s among the funniest, and in some ways it’s kind of sad that we’ve moved beyond the point where that was enough.

Which isn’t me saying that it’s too bad comics aren’t solely concerned with the comedic these days and that they never should have embraced the full spectrum of human experience, mind you — only that it’s a bit of a bummer that in our purportedly “refined” modern age, the idea of a cartoonist who pursues, and excels at, humor somehow isn’t considered, well — serious enough. Or, in a pinch, even worth taking seriously. Comedy is serious business, I tell ya…

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Music Video Of The Day: Neighbours (1981, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg)

Imagine Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart and his broken leg replaced by Mick Jagger and the other members of the Rolling Stones and you have the concept behind the video for today’s music video of the day.

Neighbours first appeared on Tattoo You and was inspired by Keith Richards’s problems with his own neighbours in New York City.  According to Richards, his neighbours got him evicted from his New York apartment building because they felt that he played his music too loudly.  The actual lyrics were written by Mick Jagger, who, again according to Richards, never had any trouble with his own neighbours.

The video was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who directed several videos for The Rolling Stones but who is perhaps best known for directing the documentary about the final days of the Beatles, Let It Be.