Lisa’s Week In Review: 12/28/20 –1/3/21


The first three days of 2021 have come to close.

Yes, it’s a new year.  This site has now existed for 11 years, which is a thought that just kind of amazes me.  When this site started, everyone was talking about whether or not Avatar was going to be a game changer as far as movies were concerned.  Way back in 2009 when Arleigh started this site, the MCU was still a new thing and horror and fantasy fans were eagerly awaiting the premieres of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.  If I remember correctly, I don’t think anyone was even talking about Star Wars ever being rebooted.  Even Netflix was still kind of a luxury (as opposed to a necessity).  Today, of course, people are wondering whether or not theaters will survive the decade.  Time’s change and, if we’re going to be honest, they change a lot more quickly than we might realize.  In the grand scheme of things, 11 years is not the huge of an amount of time.

So far, my 2021 is going quite well.  You may say that it’s silly to brag about a good three days but, in those three days, I’ve read two books, watched several movies, hosted or co-hosted three very successful live tweets, and I’ve watched a handful of movies.  The year started with rain and freezing temperatures.  The weekend is ending with clear skies and the temperature in the high 50s.  Things continue and life moves forward, regardless of what the latest drama may be.  Ever since the new year, I’ve been listening to a lot of 70s disco.  (I also watched two disco films — Saturday Night Fever and Thank God It’s Friday.  If only Roller Boogie was on Prime, it would have been three.)  I love to dance and I still think the 2020s are going to have more in common with the 1970s America than with 14th Century Europe.

On a final note: last year, I watched a total of 820 films.  My goal for 2021 is a thousand!  I’ve got quite a few films from last year that I need to watch over the upcoming two days so I’m looking forward to getting started on them.

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

Films I Watched:

2020:

  1. After The Thin Man (1936)
  2. Another Thin Man (1939)
  3. Bill & Ted Face The Music (2020)
  4. The Birds (1963)
  5. Cape Fear (1962)
  6. Hugo (2011)
  7. Of Mice and Men (1992)
  8. Onward (2020)
  9. Psycho (1960)
  10. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  11. Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
  12. Song of the Thin Man (1947)
  13. Tesla (2020)
  14. The Thin Man (1934)
  15. The Thin Man Goes Homes (1944)

2021:

  1. Deep Impact (1998)
  2. Fatal Fiancé (2021)
  3. The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964)
  4. Kidnapped in Paradise (2021)
  5. Odd Thomas (2013)
  6. Shattered Glass (2003)
  7. Thank God It’s Friday (1978)
  8. The Wrong Real Estate Agent (2021)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. A Teacher
  2. California Dreams
  3. City Guys
  4. Community
  5. Coronation Street
  6. Court Cam
  7. Degrassi
  8. The District
  9. Ghost Whisperer
  10. Hang Time
  11. Hill Street Blues
  12. King of the Hill
  13. The Love Boat
  14. The Masked Dancer
  15. The Office
  16. Parking Wars
  17. Saved By The Bell
  18. The Simpsons
  19. Temptation Island
  20. The Twilight Zone
  21. Twin Peaks: The Return

Books I Read:

  1. The Burning of the White House (2013) by Jane Hampton Cook
  2. Encyclopedia Mysteriosa (1994) by William L. DeAndrea

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Above & Beyond
  2. Adi Ulmansky
  3. Aimee Mann
  4. Alvin Risk
  5. Amy Winehouse
  6. The Andrea True Connection
  7. Arcade Fire
  8. Arlo Guthrie
  9. Armin Van Buuren
  10. Avicii
  11. Backstreet Boys
  12. Bee Gees
  13. Big Data
  14. The Black Keys
  15. Blur
  16. Bob Dylan
  17. Britney Spears
  18. Cage the Elephant
  19. Charli XCX
  20. The Chemical Brothers
  21. The Commodores
  22. Crud
  23. The Crystal Method
  24. Dillion Francis
  25. DJ Judaa
  26. DJ Snake
  27. Edgar Allan Poets
  28. Elle King
  29. Empire of the Sun
  30. Fatboy Slim
  31. Fiona Apple
  32. Flight of the Conchords
  33. Gwen Stefani
  34. The Hues Corporation
  35. I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME
  36. Icona Pop
  37. Jakalope
  38. Jake Bugg
  39. Jane’s Addiction
  40. Joywave
  41. Katy Perry
  42. KC and the Sunshine Band
  43. Kedr Livanskiy
  44. Kelly Clarkson
  45. Lara Snow
  46. Love & Kisses
  47. Maxine Nightengale
  48. Michael Fredo
  49. Moby
  50. Muse
  51. Nine Inch Nails
  52. Odyssey
  53. Phantogram
  54. Public Service Broadcasting
  55. Purity RIng
  56. Rich White
  57. Rolling Stones
  58. Saint Motel
  59. Siouxsie and the Banshees
  60. Skrillex
  61. Sleigh Bells
  62. Spice Girls
  63. Swedish House Mafia
  64. t.A.T.u
  65. Talking Heads
  66. Taylor Swift
  67. Thelma Houston
  68. Underground
  69. UPSHAL
  70. Walter Murphy
  71. War
  72. The White Stripes
  73. Yvonne Elliman

Trailers:

  1. WandaVision

Awards Season Links:

  1. Chicago Indie Critics Nominations
  2. North Carolina Film Critics Nominations
  3. Alliance of Women Film Journalists Nominations
  4. Greater Western New York Film Critics Winners
  5. Chicago Indie Critics Winners
  6. Columbus Film Critics Association Nominations 

Best of 2020 Links:

  1. Top 10 Ongoing Series (Ryan C.)
  2. Top 10 Special Mentions (Ryan C.)

Live Tweets:

  1. The First Day of 2021

Links From The Site:

  1. Erin shared Amazing Stories, The Ice Schooner, The Hot Kiss of Youth, Time Is Ticking Away, No Swimming, Wild and Wicked, and Only the Bed!
  2. Doc welcomed everyone to 2021!
  3. Jeff shared music videos from Eliot Sumner, King Missile, Danzig, Raydio, Crispin Glover, Kim Wilde, and Black Sabbath!  He also reviewed Cannonball Run II!
  4. I paid tribute to F.W. Murnau and Sergio Leone!  I also shared 4 Shots from 4 of my top 2020 films!  I reviewed The Wrong Real Estate Agent and Kidnapped in Paradise!  I also wrote about what’s in store for 2021!

More From Us:

  1. This twitter thread lists the 820 movies that I watched last year!
  2. At Days Without Incident, Leonard shared a song from Soul!
  3. At her photography site, Erin shared: Water Tower, Trees, Speed Limit 10, Flag, Road, Alley, Step on Through, Vintage, Vintage 2, Vintage 3, Vintage 4, Vintage 5, Vintage 6, Vintage 7, Vintage 8, Vintage 9, Vintage 10, The Backyard, Backyard 2, Security, Waiting To Be Picked Up, Shovel, Grill, Blue Sky, Renewal, Ticking, The Last Sky, Distant Light, Start of 21, The Road, and Fall/Winter!
  4. At SyFy Designs, I shared: A Resolution for 2021, Tradition Sneaks Up On You, I Love Hugo, Happy New Year’s Eve, and Happy New Year!
  5. On my dream journal, I shared: Last Night’s Extremely Weird Family Reunion Dream, Last Night’s Dancing Dream, Last Night’s Movie Dream, and No Dreams Last Night!
  6. At my music site, I shared songs from Skrillex, Empire of the Sun, MGMT, Blur, Love & Kisses, Maxine Nightingale, and Thelma Houston!
  7. Ryan has a patreon!  You should start of 2021 by subscribing!

Want to see what I did last week?  Click here!

Have a good week, everyone!  Thank you for reading and I wish the best for all of you in this upcoming year!

Here Are The Nominees of the 2020 Columbus Film Critics Association!


The Columbus Film Critics Association has announced their nominees for the best of the year and it’s pretty much all of the usual suspects.  The winners will be announced on January 7th, 2021.  I do like the fact that the CFCA gives out an award for the Overlooked Film of the Year.  Some of my top films of the year — Possessor, The Vast of Night, The Assistant — are nominated in that category.

Here are the nominees!

Best Film
First Cow
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Minari
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Soul
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
David Fincher – Mank
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Gary Oldman – Mank
Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Actress
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Julia Garner – The Assistant
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Elisabeth Moss – Shirley
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Bill Murray – On the Rocks
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Movie Film
Olivia Colman – The Father
Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari

Best Ensemble
Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari
Promising Young Woman
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Movie Film & The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods & Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Elisabeth Moss (The Invisible Man & Shirley)

Breakthrough Film Artist
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and acting)
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (for producing, directing, and screenwriting)
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for acting)
Kitty Green – The Assistant (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and film editing)
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for directing and screenwriting)
Alan S. Kim – Minari (for acting)
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal (for directing and screenwriting)

Best Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt – First Cow
Erik Messerschmidt – Mank
Lachlan Milne – Minari
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet

Best Film Editing
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Kirk Baxter – Mank
Robert Frazen – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow

Best Adapted Screenplay
Sarah Gubbins – Shirley
Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami
Jonathan Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

Best Original Screenplay
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Darius Marder & Abraham Marder – Sound of Metal
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky
Ludovico Einaudi – Nomadland
Emile Mosseri – Minari
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Mank
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Soul

Best Documentary
Boys State
Collective
Crip Camp
Dick Johnson is Dead
The Painter and the Thief
Time

Best Foreign Language Film
Bacurau
Beanpole
Martin Eden
Minari
The Whistlers

Best Animated Film
The Croods: A New Age
Onward
Over the Moon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Best Overlooked Film
The Assistant
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Palm Springs
Possessor
The Vast of Night

4 Shots From 4 Films In Honor Of Sergio Leone’s Birthday


Sergio Leone (1929 — 1989)

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.

91 years ago today, Sergio Leone was born in Rome.  He went to school with future composer and collaborator, Ennio Morricone.  He saw, first hand, the horrors of living under an authoritarian regime and, though it wasn’t always appreciated at the time, all of his film had an anti-fascist political subtext that was informed by growing up under Mussolini.  He went to college to be a lawyer but quickly dropped out and instead, at the age of 18, started a long apprenticeship in the Italian film industry.  He started his career by working as an assistant to Vittorio De Sica on Bicycle Thieves, which is a pretty good way to start things.  Eventually, he went on to become one of the most influential directors of all time.

Taking into mind just how influential his work would be, it’s can be easy to forget that Leone is only credited with having directed 7 films and the majority of those films were not immediately embraced.  (Though it’s generally agreed that Leone was, for all intents and purposes, the co-director of My Name Is Nobody, he was only officially credited with coming up with the film’s story.)  In the 60s, highbrow critics turned their noses up at his spaghetti westerns, even while audiences ate them up and made Clint Eastwood into a film star.  (Eastwood would later dedicate his Oscar-winning Unforgiven to Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.)  The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and Once Upon A Time In The West are now recognized as two of the greatest westerns ever made but, at the time they were released, they were criticized for being too long and (oddly enough) thematically shallow.  Leone even had to suffer that indignity of having his final (and, in my opinion, best) film, Once Upon A Time In America, edited down by a studio that cared little about the intricate structure that Leone had crafted for his tale of greed, crime, and redemption in America.

Leone died when he was only 60, felled by a heart attack.  However, his legacy remains alive, as his films continue to inspire directors and writers and other film lovers to this day.  His two greatest films — Once Upon A Time In The West and Once Upon A Time In America — have been rediscovered and rescued from the studio hacs who previously served him so badly.  Just last year, Quentin Tarantino paid tribute to Leone with the title of his best film-to-date, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

On this day, we honor the legacy of a cinematic great.

4 Shots From 4 Sergio Leone Films

A Fistful of Dollar (1964, dir by Sergio Leone, DP: Massimo Dallamano)

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966, dir by Sergio Leone, DP; Tonino Delli Colli)

Once Upon A Time In The West (1968, dir by Sergio Leone, DP: Tonino Delli Colli)

Once Upon A Time In America (1984, dir by Serigo Leone, DP: Tonino Delli Colli)

Lifetime Film Review: Kidnapped in Paradise (dir by Vic Sarin)


It seemed like it should have been the perfect vacation.

Savannah (Claire van der Boom), her husband Brad (Todd Lasance), and their daughter Aria (Molly Wright) travel to an island resort off the coast of Australia.  It’s the resort that Savannah used to vacation at when she was a child and this is a chance for her to not only get in touch with her past but to also show her family a good time.

And, at first, everything seems perfect.  The island is beautiful.  The people working at the resort are friendly.  There’s a nice and attractive couple staying in the cabin next door.  Even more importantly, there’s Kidz Club, where Savannah and Brad can drop off Aria so that they can have some alone time.  Seriously, that may be the best thing about the resort because there are just times when the adults need some time to themselves.  Aria and her stuffed bunny, Mr. Pickles, are dropped off.  Unfortunately, when Savannah returns to Kidz Club to pick up her daughter, Aria is nowhere to be found.

Has Aria wandered off?  Has she gotten lost on the beach?  Has something worse happened?  Soon, everyone on the island is searching for Aria.  Mr. Pickles is found but where’s Aria?  When someone sends Savannah a picture of Aria looking happy and drawing, Savannah realizes that her daughter didn’t just wander off.  She’s been kidnapped!  Kidnapped in paradise!

For all of their trademark melodrama, the best Lifetime films deal with very real fears.  Discovering that your lover is cheating on you or that your in-laws so disapproves of you that they’re willing to go to any length to either prevent or destroy your marriage, these are very real fears for a lot of people.  For a parent, there’s no greater fear than losing a child and/or not knowing where your child is.  I mean, I may not be a parent but I am an aunt and I once lost track of my niece at the Dallas Arboretum and it was like the most terrifying 8 hours of my life.  (Actually, it was only 15 minutes but it felt like 8 hours.  Not only was I scared that I’d never see my niece again but I was also terrified of what her mother would do when she found out.  Fortunately, it turned out that my niece had just run ahead of me to another exhibit but still, I was on the verge of having a heart attack by the time I saw her running up to me.)

Kidnapped in Paradise captures that fear of losing a child and the feeling of powerlessness that goes along with it.  From the minute that Aria disappears, Savannah is searching for her and demanding that others search for her as well.  Claire van der Broom did a good job of portraying Savannah’s desperation and her anger that the resort didn’t do a better job of keeping track of her daughter.  What I liked is that whenever anyone else started tries to make excuses or started to talk about their own problems, Savannah was like, “Shut up and find my daughter.”

At the same time, as bad as I felt for Savannah, I was happy that her child was kidnapped in paradise as opposed to being kidnapped on a less photogenic island.  Seriously, the resort looked really nice and I totally want to stay there, despite the area’s history of abductions.  I mean, once you take the whole kidnapping thing out of the equation, it really was an nice place to work on your tan and take romantic walks on the beach.

My point is that the film delivered exactly what the title promised, which is perhaps the highest praise that you can give to most films.  There was a kidnapping and there was paradise.  The plot held my attention while the resort held my imagination.  It was a good combination.

The combination of The Wrong Real Estate Agent and Kidnapped in Paradise gets Lifetime off to a good start for 2021.

Artwork of the Day: Only The Bed (Artist Unknown)


Artist Unknown

This book was published in 1959.  Don Holliday was a name that was used by several writers who were represented by literary agent Scott Meredith.  Pseudonyms like Don Holliday were used to protect both the reputations of Meredith and the writers who churned out a book-a-month for publishers like Midwood.  Among the writers who were wrote under the name Don Holliday: Hal Dresner, Robert Silverberg, Donald Westlake, and Lawrence Block.  While I was doing some research on Midwood and Don Holliday, I came across a post at Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks that attempted to determine which of the Don Hollidays actually wrote Only The Bed.

The cover artist is unknown.  I like the way that the bars of the resemble the beds of the prison, suggesting that the couple on the cover as prisoners of their own lust.

Music Video Of The Day: TV Crimes by Black Sabbath (1992, directed by Nigel Dick)


Today, this video seems dated.  That’s to be expected from any video that was released nearly 20 years ago.  Today, it’s hard to imagine anyone going through that much trouble to steal a TV as small as the one that is at the center of this video.  In 1992, the idea of a wireless TV that didn’t need an antenna seemed like science fiction.  Today, though, it’s pretty much a part of everyday life.

TV Crimes was the first single to be released off of Black Sabbath’s 1992 album, DehumanizerDehumanizer would be the last Black Sabbath album to feature Ronnie James Dio until 2006, when Dio returned for a greatest hits album, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years.  Dio subsequently appeared on a 2008 studio album, The Devil You Know (a.k.a. Heaven & Hell).  The Devil You Know would prove to be Dio’s final studio appearance before his death in 2010.

This video was directed by Nigel Dick, who is one of the strongest and most prolific music video directors around.  He started in 1983 and has directed videos for basically everyone.  If you were a successful rock band in the 80s or 90s, Nigel Dick directed at least one video for you.  He continued directing into the 21st century and he’s still going at it.  Duran Duran, Oasis, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Brooke Hogan (?), Def Leppard, Madness, they’ve all had videos directed by Nigel Dick.  Dick also directed some videos for Nickelback but we won’t hold that against him.

Enjoy!