Lisa’s Week In Review: 3/9/20 — 3/15/20


Well, it’s been quite a week, hasn’t it?

Due to the whole coronavirus thing, I am going to be working from home for a month!  Believe it or not, I actually have jury duty in about three weeks.  I’m expected to ride the train and then take a bus down to the filthiest courthouse in the city so that I can sit in a small space with a bunch of strangers just so I can be told to go home after eight hours.  I don’t think so.  I’m guessing that, with everything closing, my jury duty will probably be canceled on its own.  Let’s hope so!

(Update: It was.  An hour after I wrote this, it was announced that all civil and criminal trials have been canceled in Dallas County until May 8th.)

Anyway, at least I’ll have a lot of time to watch a lot of movies and review them.  I’ve heard some people are worried about what’s going to happen if Netflix and all the other streaming services crashes.  I’m happy to say that, down here in the Texas offices of the TSL, we have 5,000 DVDS, blu-rays, and VHS tapes.  Seriously, you should never stop buying physical media because you never know when you might need it.

Rest assured, everyone, that we here at the Shattered Lens are staying safe and taking precautions!  We hope you are too.

Here’s what I watched, read, and listened to last week:

Films I Watched:

  1. 7 Deadly Sins (2019)
  2. Age of Summer (2018)
  3. Black Widow Killer (2018)
  4. Flash Gordon (1980)
  5. Friday the 13th (1980)
  6. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
  7. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
  8. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
  9. Friday the 13th — Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
  10. The Humanity Bureau (2017)
  11. Into the Arms of Danger (2020)
  12. Jurassic Shark (2012)
  13. Lost Girls (2020)
  14. Love & Mercy (2014)
  15. No Good Dead Goes Unpunished (2020)
  16. Road House (1989)
  17. Where Have All The People Gone? (1974)
  18. Witch’s Curse (1963)

Television Show I Watched:

  1. 9-1-1: Lone Star
  2. 60 Days In
  3. The Bachelor
  4. Bewitched
  5. Concentration
  6. Degrassi
  7. Dennis the Menace
  8. Diff’rent Strokes
  9. Dr. Phil
  10. The Facts of Life
  11. Hazel
  12. I Dream of Jeannie
  13. King of the Hill
  14. Love Is Blind
  15. Match Game 75
  16. Monty Python’s Flying Circus
  17. The Office
  18. Password
  19. Saved By The Bell
  20. The Simpsons
  21. Sunday Mass
  22. Survivor 40
  23. Tattletales
  24. That Girl
  25. Westworld

Books I Read:

  1. And All The Saints (2003) by Michael Walsh

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Above & Beyond
  2. Active Child
  3. Afrojack
  4. Alvin Risk
  5. Aoki
  6. Apocalyptica
  7. Big Data
  8. Blanck Mass
  9. Bloc Party
  10. Britney Spears
  11. The Chemical Brothers
  12. Chromatics
  13. Dillon Francis
  14. DJ Snake
  15. Fiona Apple
  16. Hardwell
  17. MOX
  18. PVRIS
  19. Saint Motel
  20. Taylor Swift
  21. Tiesto

News From Last Week:

  1. All of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of the Bible are Forgeries 
  2. Cannes Film Festival Reportedly Turned Down Insurance To Cover Festival In Case Of Cancellation
  3. James Franco Says Misconduct Claims Are A Result Of Accusers Jumping On The #MeToo “Bandwagon”
  4. Italy’s Film and TV Industry Forges Onwards Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
  5. Paramount Pictures Launches “Paramount Presents” Label
  6. Weinstein Said Jennifer Aniston Should Be Killed
  7. Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers say he’ll die behind bars if sentenced to more than five years
  8. Inside Corey Feldman’s wild screening of his sexual abuse film as it went off the rails
  9. Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison
  10. Cannes Festival President: “We’ll Cancel” if Coronavirus Situation Doesn’t Improve
  11. Global Entertainment Industry Surpasses $100 Billion for the First Time Ever
  12. E3 2020 Canceled After ‘Overwhelming Concerns’ About Coronavirus
  13. Weinstein Defense Lawyer Blasts ‘Obscene’ 23-Year Prison Sentence
  14. The Bachelor Finale: Toxic Barb becomes most hated woman in America
  15. Harvey Weinstein Back in Hospital for Chest Pains, Immediately Following 23-Year Prison Sentence
  16. Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson Test Positive for Coronavirus
  17. A Quiet Place 2’ Release Delayed Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
  18. CinemaCon 2020 Canceled Over Coronavirus Concerns
  19. TCM Classic Film Festival Canceled Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
  20. Michael Avenatti is stuck in a Manhattan jail with rats and no showers.
  21. Juno Awards, Canada’s Grammys, Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Concerns
  22. All Disney Theme Parks, U.S. Universal Studios Closing Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
  23. Broadway Goes Dark Amid Coronavirus Concerns
  24. Bill Maher In Real Time Reveals ‘Real Time’ Off Indefinitely Due To Coronavirus Fears; John Oliver Going Dark After Sunday

Links from Last Week:

  1. Actually, Libertarians are the reason why you’ll probably survive this pandemic.
  2. A Century of Film: RKO
  3. These Are the People Making Porn Out of Your Favorite Childhood Memories
  4. A Tale Of Two Pandemics: Media Downplayed Swine Flu Outbreak Under Obama
  5. White Gold: Brian DePalma’s Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  6. Show Stopper: Coronavirus Sends Hollywood Into Unprecedented Crisis
  7. Two Movies That Define Today’s Democrats
  8. ‘You ruined my premiere!’: Beckinsale recalls Weinstein’s obscenity-filled rant
  9. Rocker Nick Cave Defends Old Songs From ‘Perpetually Pissed Off Coterie of Pearl-Clutchers’
  10. All the Shows and Movies Shut Down or Delayed Because of Coronavirus

Links From The Site:

  1. Ryan reviewed The Man Without Talent and Becoming Horses, along with sharing his weekly reading round-up!
  2. Patrick previewed Wives of the Skies!
  3. I shared music videos from Sergey Lazarev, The Maccabeats, MOX, Chromatics, Bee Gees, and Active Child.  I reviewed 7 Deadly Sins, Jurassic Shark, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, The Flight that Disappeared, Black Widow Killer, Age of Summer, and The Humanity Bureau!  I paid tribute to David Cronenberg!
  4. Jeff paid tribute to Max Von Sydow, Chuck Norris, and Michael Caine!  He reviewed Murder Me, Murder You, A Force Of One, The Hitman, Deep Cover, Hard Vice, The King of Love, and Where Have All The People Gone?  He shared a music video from Twisted Sister!
  5. Doc wished y’all a happy Friday the 13th!
  6. Erin shared The Covers of Leading Western, along with So Wicked My Love, So Many Steps To Death, Sweet and Deadly, Double Indemnity, The Iron Virgin, The Sins of Joy Munson, and Inland Passage!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon!  Please consider subscribing!
  2. At Days Without Incident, Leonard shared a song from Prince!
  3. Speaking of songs, I shared songs from the following at my music site: Active Child, PVRIS, Fiona Apple, Apocalyptica, Harry Manfredini, Bloc Party, and Tiesto and Hardwell!
  4. For the Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed the latest episode of Survivor!
  5. On her photography site, Erin shared: Swing, Sun and Branches, Vantage Spot, Perched, The Stare, After the Rain, and Above!
  6. On Pop Politics, Jeff shared Thoughts on the Latest Democratic Debate, Life During The Wuhan Virus and Rediscovering the Simpsons!

Want to see what was accomplished last week?  Click here!

Where Have All The People Gone? (1974, directed by John Llewellyn Moxey)


Steve Anders (Peter Graves) and his teenage children, David (George O’Hanlon, Jr.) and Deborah (Kathleen Quinlan), are exploring a cave in the mountains of California when they experience a sudden earthquake.  After managing to escape from the cave and meeting a man who tells them about how there was a bright flash of light in the sky before the earthquake, the three of them come down from the mountain and discover that there does not appear to be anyone around.  Instead, where people once stood, there are now only piles of clothes and white dust.  Where have all the people gone?

As the Anders try to make their way back home to Malibu, they discover that the entire world has changed.  Towns are completely deserted and once friendly animals are now viscous and hostile.  While Steve tries to keep his children from giving up hope, he also tries to find the answer to the question, where have all the people gone?

This film, which is only a little over an hour long, was made for NBC.  Though the film’s short running time can sometimes make it feel rushed, Where Have All The People Gone? is still a effectively creepy movie from made-for-television specialist John Llewellyn Moxey.  Though it’s always difficult to accept an actor like Peter Graves as being anyone other than Peter Graves, he actually did a pretty good job playing the confused father and there are some good scenes where both of his children deal with thing in their own way.  (David refuses to get emotional.  Deborah does the opposite.  Only Steve understands the importance of mixing emotion with reason.)  When they do finally find another survivor, she’s played by Verna Bloom and the scene where they come across her sitting in her car, apparently catatonic, is really well-handled.

Though the film does eventually explain where all the people have gone, it still has an unsatisfying, open-ended ending.  It wouldn’t surprise me if this film was meant to be pilot for a potential televisions series because it ends with the promise of future adventures.  A weekly tv series would have allowed the Anders family to find more survivors and more angry animals but instead, the story ends with everyone still unsure as to what type of world they’re about to inherit.

If you’re one of those who is stuck inside right now, Were Have All The People Gone? is reasonably diverting and is available on YouTube and Prime.

18 Days of Paranoia #2: The Humanity Bureau (dir by Rob W. King)


Welcome to the future!  It sucks!

The 2017 film, The Humanity Bureau, takes place in a dystopian future where the government is not to be trusted and bureaucracy ruins everyone’s lives.  It’s kind of like the present except that it’s taking place in the future and Nicolas Cage works for the government.  (Of course, for all I know, Nicolas Cage might work for the government in the real world, as well.  I mean, it just kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?)

Anyway, the idea here is that, in the near future, America is out of resources.  Some of its due to climate change and some of its due to a war and apparently, there was a plague as well.  Because things got so bad, people gave up their personal freedom and basically decided to surrender control of their lives to the government.  The government responded by creating The Humanity Bureau.  The Humanity Bureau decides whether or not you’re a worthwhile part of society or if you’re just a drain on what little resources the nation has left.  If you’re not found to be an “efficient” human being, you’re deported to a city called New Eden where everyone assumes that you learn how to become more efficient or, at the very least, how to not be a burden on society.  The truth, of course, is far different.

Noah Kross (Nicolas Cage) is an agent of The Humanity Bureau.  His bosses worry that Noah might have too much real humanity to be an efficient agent.  After all, he drives an old car and he often talks about his childhood memories of going out to the lake and fishing.  Of course, when we first meet Noah, he’s busy gunning down an old alcoholic who refuses to go to New Eden so he seems pretty efficient to us.

When Noah is assigned to investigate a single mother named Rachel (Sarah Lind) and her son, Lukas (Jakob Davies), it becomes obvious that their case is personal to Noah.  Even though he’s supposed to immediately deport them, he allows them to have an extra day of freedom so that Lukas can sing Amazing Grace at a school recital.  (The kids perform in front of a gigantic American flag, just in case you’re missing the symbolism.)  When another agent (Hugh Dillon) shows up and demands to know what the hold up is, Noah, Rachel, and Lukas go on the run.  It turns out that both Noah and Rachel have a secret agenda of their own….

When you hear that a film takes place in a dystopia and that it stars Nicolas Cage, that probably creates a certain set of expectations in your head.  Unfortunately, Cage is oddly subdued for the majority of the film so those looking for a full scale Nic Cage freak-out are probably going to be disappointed.  While the film’s story has the potential to be interesting, the film never really take full advantage of just how weird things could potentially get.  This is one of those films where you know it’s the future because everyone’s in the desert.

That said, the idea of a major crisis leading to people voluntarily giving up their freedom to the state is not a particularly far-fetched one.  As I sit here writing this, a lot of people are using the panic over the coronavirus pandemic to promote their own totalitarian political vision and what’s sad is that a lot of frightened citizens are just scared enough to probably more receptive to all of that authoritarian BS than they would be under normal circumstances.  The Humanity Bureau takes place in a world where enough people have voluntarily surrendered their free will that the government can basically get away with punishing anyone who dares to think differently.  The Humanity Bureau is often an amateurish film but, when it comes to portraying how an authoritarian state could come to power and would that would mean for those who refuse to conform, it gets things exactly right.

Previous entries in the 18 Days Of Paranoia:

  1. The Flight That Disappeared

 

Spring Breakdown: Age of Summer (dir by Bill Kiely)


Earlier this week, Spring Break get derailed in both the real world and here on the Shattered Lens.  I had like four reviews left to go in my Spring Breakdown series before the whole Coronavirus panic broke out and I missed a few days of posting.

Well, fear not.  I’m never one to give up easily and hey, I’m working at home for the next month!  So, I should have time to watch a lot of movies, including at least four more movies to close out Spring Breakdown!  For instance, this morning, I decided to clean out my DVR by watching the 2018 film, Age of Summer!

Now, I guess I should start things out by admitting that Age of Summer is not really a Spring Break film.  In fact, it takes place during the summer.  However, the entire movie pretty much takes place on the beach and really, that’s just as good as being about Spring Break.  I mean, there’s a scene where a bunch of lifeguards spray beer on each other in slow motion and there’s some oddly gratuitous nudity and there’s whole big subplot about stealing a big marijuana plant.  So, it’s a Spring Break movie in spirit, if not in plot.

Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly good movie.  This is one of those movies that left me wanting to throw stuff at the TV and I probably would have if Jeff hadn’t pointed out that, if I broke the screen, it might be a while until I could get a new one.  The film is about a kid called Minnesota (Percy Hynes White), because that’s where he’s from.  (Fortunately, he wasn’t from Walla Walla.)  Minnesota has moved to California and he wants to become a life guard.  He also wants to get a girlfriend and retrieve his bike, which is stolen from him at the start of the film.  A grown-up Minnesota provides us with voice-over narration, assuring us that we’re watching the most important summer of his life and that, as a result of what happened during that summer, he would always love the ocean.  The problem with the narration is that, far too often, it tells us what we should be seeing.  Instead of visually making us fall in love with the ocean, the most just tells us that we should love the ocean.

Oddly, the main theme of this film seems to be that everyone in California is a jerk.  I’m sure that wasn’t what was originally intended but everyone that Minnesota meets is so obnoxious that you’re just kind of like, “Get that kid to Walla Walla!”  Eventually, Minnesota is sent on a quest to get wisdom from the mysterious Rock God (Peter Stomare) who lives on the beach and who some people say is just a local legend.  I’m not really sure what Minnesota got from his visit to the Rock God but at least Peter Stomare’s in the film.

Anyway, Minnesota does eventually become a lifeguard.  All of the lifeguards spray beer on each other in slow motion.  How are they going to save my life if they’re all drunk?  Where the Hell’s David Hasselhoff?  Someone needs to whip these boys into shape!

So, no, Age of Summer didn’t really work for me.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #207: The Black Widow Killer (dir by Adrian Langley)


Last night, I turned over to Lifetime and I watched the latest “premiere,” The Black Widow Killer!

Why Was I Watching It?

I was hoping it would be about Natasha Romanoff and her life before she joined the Avengers.  It turned out I was wrong though I’m sure that the possibility of confusion was one reason why Lifetime scheduled this film for last night.  You may have noticed that I earlier said that this movie was a “premiere” as opposed to just a premiere.  That’s because The Black Widow Killer originally aired in Canada in 2018.  It subsequently played on both French and Spanish TV before Lifetime decided to air it here in the States.  I’m sure that Lifetime’s decision was influenced by the title and the possibility that people would tune in to see Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh battling the latest addition to the MCU’s gallery of rogues.

That said, the main reason that I watched it was because it was on Lifetime!  Seriously, I love that network.  Have you noticed?

What’s It About?

Secrets, lies, death, and murder.  There’s a killer in town and all of the victims knew each other in high school and were involved in a gruesome car accident back in the day.  Is the killer seeking revenge or is there another motive?  By the end of the movie, who will still be alive and what will be left of them?

What Worked?

I liked the cinematography.  The film took place in one of those small towns where it’s constantly snowing and the film manages to make white ground and frozen breath look really ominous.  I was not surprised to discover that the director is also a very experienced cinematographer because the film looked great.

I liked some of the performances.  (Some is the word to remember.)  Morgan Kohan and Bradley Hamilton did good work as the children of two potential victims.  Luigi Saracino was also well-cast as the most obvious suspect.  (Of course, you know what they say about obvious suspects….)

What Did Not Work?

So, if you’re going to make a movie about a bunch of people being targeted by a serial killer, it might help if at least some of the potential victims were likable.  In this case, though, absolutely none of them were.  Even the film’s main character, Judy Dwyer (played by Erin Karpluk), refused to really take any responsibility for her part in covering up the auto accident.  When we first meet Judy, she’s whining about her husband not serving her divorce papers in person.  Then, about halfway through the film, she starts whining about being targeted by someone whose life she helped ruin.  You start to wonder if the other victims are really being murdered or if Judy’s just talking them to death.

This isn’t really the filmmaker’s fault but the description for the film in the guide basically gave away the identity of the murderer.  As a result, it’s hard for me to say how suspenseful the film is because I already knew who the murderer was going to be.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I have red hair and so did Judy’s daughter!  Sorry, that’s about all I can come up with as far as this movie’s concerned.

Lessons Learned

Take responsibility for your mistakes or you might get in trouble 25 years later.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special David Cronenberg Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, we wish a happy birthday to one of the greatest Canadian filmmakers of all time, David Cronenberg!  Cronenberg is not only one of the best directors to come out of Canada but he’s also a favorite of those of us here at the Shattered Lens as well.  Just check out Arleigh’s review of Eastern Promises, for example.

In honor of a great artists’s birthday, here are….

4 Shots From 4 David Cronenberg Films

The Brood (1979, dir by David Cronenberg)

Scanners (1981, dir by David Cronenberg)

Videodrome (1983, dir by David Cronenberg)

existenz (1999, dir by David Cronenberg)

Wives Of The Skies: Preview and Trailer


Wives of the Sky

From Press Release:

Winner of 24 awards, including Best Film at the New York Cinematography Awards and Best Original Screenplay at the Indie X Film Festival, Wives of The Skies is a romantic dramedy, set in 1965, starring two stewardesses, Fran and Marcy from Fine Air, a well-appointed airline. One evening after work, at their stewardess’ hotel, they befriend Derrick, a British photojournalist who wants to interview them as “subjects” for his “documentary film”. 

 As Fran and Marcy are interviewed, they are revealed as very different than Derrick hoped for or could possibly have expected…  As they get to know each other, Wives Of The Skies makes a contemporary socio-cultural statement regarding the meme of “the good girl, drawn bad”.  Wives of The Skies clarifies the impact of the overarching “men’s gaze” which objectifies women as carnal sex objects men seek, while they look for love…  along the way, addressing the primitive issue of Trust vs. Mistrust, Wives of The Skies displays the Japanese art of Kinbaku.
Currently a soaring success on the festival circuit, the short film is directed by Honey Lauren and features a superlative cast including Rachel Alig, Maddison Bullock, Sebastian Fernandez,  Drew Brandon Jones and Embry Rose.

Director Honey Lauren : When someone I know sent me a link to vintage 1960’s Stewardess outfits for sale on EBAY, I was blown away at not only the popularity and high prices, but that these outfits are sold, collected and bid on, by what looked like mostly men. I recognized that these uniforms have become a fetish… for me, at the very least unexpected. Curious, I researched the history of stewardesses during this particular era.
The stewardesses were sporting uniforms by top fashion designers like Pucci, Mary Wells and Yves Saint Laurent. The fabrics, which “hugged” as they stretched, were considered revolutionary for their ability to display the stewardesses. During the flights, the layers of clothing came off at different altitudes. Dramatic designs were all the rage, with geometric patterns and stripes; bold pinks and lavenders topped off with tangerine go-go boots!

As I read the famous COFFEE, TEA OR ME, the tell all book by two “randy Stewardesses”, something about these “sexy Stewardesses”, seemed pushed and insincere. It seemed a marketing ploy by the airlines to sell tickets. Ok. We’ve seen this before. Sex sells. These ladies, and only ladies, were dressed, weighed, packaged and displayed. One airline even advertised the suggestive “Does your wife know you’re flying with us?” Another display of the pattern of woman being sexualized and sold. Only after I wrote WIVES OF THE SKIES, did I find out that COFFEE, TEA OR ME was indeed a hoax, written by a man hired by the airline industry.

I have long recognized that where there is a pattern, there is a story. WIVES OF THE SKIES, is a story. And a question… ‘Sex sells, but at what cost?’

My Review:

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This is a beautiful short film (about 25 minutes) but it covers some hard hitting topics that need to be dealt with in our society. Humorous at points, graphic at others. I loved how Honey Lauren took a modern problem and placed a throw-back theme on it. Everything about this film had me connected from the start. The cinematography is just spectacular, the music is amazing. I could watch this movie for hours on end.

Would I Recommend this movie?

Yes, absolutely and definitely! (And you might need a tissue while watching)

Where can you see it?

Unfortunately, with all the cancellations lately, It might not be in theaters for a while, but, here is hoping everyone gets to see this gem of a film! (I’ll give updates on release dates if/when they become available)

Here is the trailer:

Wives of the Skies Official Trailer from Panik Piktures on Vimeo.

Credits:

Panik Piktures: Destroy All Media: CinemaScope