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Monday Movies Is Going To Save Your Church Choir With Sassy Soul

Joyful Noise – ah, who am I kidding? Monday Movies has been burning the upper-middlebrow TV candle at way too many ends, and hasn’t seen any movies. We did submit our outline for our own superhero romantic comedy feature to the writer’s group dropbox; wish us luck.

Several years ago we ran a movieblog for an even more select audience than we few we proud Weblog. For your amusement, links to a few choice entries follow.

The Queen

Laying seas of cellophane-wrapped flowers and Mylar balloons at Buckingham Palace, mediated through grainy video, the public is a storm, a force of nature (post-nature?) that structures the conflict of the film. Diana, famously a ‘candle in the wind’, gives over to it, amplifies it, and succumbs to it (an early statement from the royals lays the blame squarely at the feet of the media; Blair’s oily-genius communications director clucks, “that’s not who you want to blame”). The Queen suspects it will blow over, that she has no more to fear from it than do the cliffs at Balmoral. Only Blair understands it perfectly: he knows that this wind, ill or true, can be neither turned nor controlled, but it can be sailed.

The Candidate

Paranoia and suspicion are the defining characteristics of the great 1970’s political movies: Three Days of the CondorAll the President’s Men, and The Parallax View all reflect a deep suspicion of the government and politics, while the anti-heroes ofButch Cassidy and the Sundance KidMcCabe and Mrs Miller andBonnie and Clyde all suggest that if this is society, then anti-social behavior is no crime (or perhaps that crime is the least anti-social behavior).

Although it shares a lot with the above list—more the power-and-politics set than the mythological one—The Candidate has a strikingly different tone. It replaces the deep suspicion with deep ambivalence.

Team America: World Police

Team America: World Police slips from this balance, that I think South Park actually maintained, into a downright conservative movie. Ostensibly, it takes aim at targets on the left and the right. In actuality, it attacks, on the one hand, outspoken left-wing actors, and, on the other…action movies.

But enough out of my attic. How is the midwinter film dump treating you? Anyone see The Devil Inside? Somebody did.


January 16, 2012 - Posted by | Monday Movies | , ,


  1. 1/09/12 – Sakura Tai Chiru – Shindo 1988 8/10
    documentary (with grisley re-enactments) about members of a theatre troop that were killed by the Hiroshima bomb;best for those interested in pre-WWII politics and theatre
    1/10/12 – Detective Doberman – Fukasaku 1977 5/10
    Sonny Chiba shoot-em-up;I think I have forgotten it already
    1/11/12 – Blue Valentine – Cianfrance 2010 7/10
    not enough contempt, I say; and I felt the actors floundering in improvisation, which left both looking too confused
    1/12/12 – Ginza Cosmetics – Naruse 1951 6/10
    medium Naruse, just before he hit his second stride, nice to compare to Woman Ascending, Tanaka Kikuyo is terrific;her chain-smoking with cigs dangling from mouth is disconcerting
    1/13/12 – Ansatsu – Shinoda 1965 9/10
    icy nihilistic pre-Restoration political drama;probably for people who know lots of history, and care about it;Keiji Sada played Sakamoto very well, but I found out that he died in a car crash at 38 immediately after filming, very sad
    1/14/12 – Onmyoji – Takita 2006 7/10
    battling sorcerers in Heian-kyo ca 950;nothing but fun and pretty for me; nice production
    1/15/12 – Tora-san #1 – Yamada 1969 7/10
    lots of stuff happen around Torajiro, like multiple romances, family dramas not his, of course scenery and environment, yet Tora is still the center and focus but not cause;Tora-san represents some kind of cultural “lack” for the Japanese;interesting really

    I read a ton of movie blogs and blogs that write about movies; this one is Marxian

    Comment by bob mcmanus | January 16, 2012

  2. I’ll give two more thoughts on Tora-San, just to show the kinda of intricacies Yamada works with

    1) Sakura, Torajiro’s sister, is an important character in the sister, played by the lovely and nurturing Chieko Baisho. Sakura, we are told early is a highly appreciated and admired computer operator/programmer for a huge Japanese conglomerate. Yet at one point, she walks into her boss’s office, and he barks “Tea!”

    2) It’s a romance. Sakura at the beginning is reluctantly meeting a family in a “marriage meeting” for an arranged marriage. Prospective groom is UMC, son of an executive. Tora and Sakura are both working class. Tora-san, humorously screws it all up. Later Sakura gets a love-match with an aspirational working-class engineer.

    Contrasting is another successful arranged marriage between a very UMC refined couple. There are comparisons between these two women, kindness versus warmth and sincerity maybe.

    Note:Everybody comes off pretty nice, Yamada does not deal with bad guys or villains.

    But is Yamada saying stick to your own kind? I don’t know, Yamada is working class bourgeois to the core and rarely aspirational. Reproduction of capitalist structures?

    PS:There is a fair amount of slapping and hitting during arguments here, Sakura and Tora slap each other. Torajiro has had an awful hard unloved life, with a brutally abusive father.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | January 16, 2012

  3. Yesterday we watched Godfather Part 2. As The Girlfriend said, “Michael is really Grudgy McGrudgerton in this one.”

    We also went to see The Descendants. I had previously read The Last Psychiatrist’s review before seeing the movie, and with that framing, it was better than I expected. I looked up Josh’s previous review, and I think it’s spot-on that this is the only movie where George Clooney really “acts” — the scene where he runs to the neighbor’s house to ask about the affair was brilliant.

    Every time I go to the Landmark Century, Chicago’s biggest “arthouse” theater, I see an absolutely ridiculous preview. This time it was Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. I lost it when the voice-over said “sometimes you have to swim upstream.” Previous howlers include the one where Glenn Close dresses like a man and The King’s Speech, which I refuse to see because I declared halfway through the preview, “This is the stupidest premise ever.” But it wasn’t! Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is!

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 17, 2012

  4. We made the mistake of going to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy on an afternoon when three of the four people in our party were a little sleepy. Twenty minutes into the movie I realized I had been daydreaming about some angles for a story I want to write, my Strat-O-Matic roster and the prospect of running a “doggy day care”. I looked up at the screen, realized I had no idea what was going on, and thought, “Uh oh”. The movie at this point had no interest in offering a “here’s what happened in the first 20 minutes” so I figured it was a lost cause. Coincidentally, my wife leaned over to me at this time to say, “I have no idea what’s going on.”

    I did my best to stay awake, but lost the fight for minutes at a time. The best time was when I woke up to the very end of a shot of somebody having been disemboweled in a bathtub. It was funny because I snapped to attention and thought, “Shit, who was that? I bet that was important!”

    Only one person in our party successfully stayed awake and followed the twists and turns. Because he clearly grasped what had happened in the movie, his wife asked if John Hurt’s character had died or been killed. Before he could answer I quipped, “He died of boredom.” In fact, our joking about not knowing what the hell was going on after the movie was the most fun we had on that lazy Sunday afternoon.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | January 17, 2012

  5. Over the weekend we watched the second and third “Girl With…” movies on our new TV. Both were improbable as they were incomprehensible (I don’t refer exclusively to the subtitles, which were, overall, terribly done). But Sweden, on the whole, looks nicer than North American, on the whole. A feature we never thought we’d use on our new TV–watching content from a USB drive–was tried out on Sunday afternoon. It worked well. Indeed, given that we don’t subscribe to high definition cable, a 400mb video file has infinitely better quality than what is broadcast on regular cable. I suspect come the spring we’ll be watching “Game of Thrones” live and then downloading the high definition version to watch again a day or two later. Likely the same with “True Blood.”

    Comment by Craig McFarlane | January 17, 2012

  6. I love the died-of-boredom story. It’s fun how misfiring culture can outlive successes. I still remember Michael Gross as the Out-of-Shape Madman from a random fem jep my college improv group watched together. Followed by Trickster! the over-made-up and over-acted villain from a cheapo horror movie we found the same afternoon.

    Comment by k-sky | January 17, 2012

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