Monday, September 28, 2020

'The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh' can't even save itself




I’ve never been a sports fan. Never. Not baseball, not football, not basketball. The closest I’ve ever come was a period in my late adolescence through my early twenties when I was a fan of professional wrestling, which really doesn’t count. That said, I’ve always enjoyed sports movies. Go figure.


And while I didn’t watch basketball games during the seventies, I nonetheless knew who Julius Erving aka Dr. J. was. Like Lebron James, Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson, he was the sort of athlete who transcended basketball to become a pop cultural icon. If you were alive in the late seventies, you just knew who he was.


Even more than Dr. J., though, I was familiar with Meadowlark Lemon, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters. For those who don’t know, much like the professional wrestling matches I would enjoy in later years, Globetrotters games were staged, with the predetermined outcome that the Globetrotters would always win. Also like professional wrestling, the fact that the games were staged in no way meant that the athletes were not highly skilled. But beyond their playing ability, the Globetrotters were first and foremost entertainers. And thanks to their appearances on Saturday morning TV (on Scooby Doo, and later their own show in which they were superheroes of some sort) I was a fan despite having never seen an actual Globetrotter game.

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Capitol Theatre brings 12 Hours of Terror into your home for 2020

[Press release from Cleveland Cinemas]



12 Hours of Terror Goes Virtual

(Cleveland, OH) Like most other events that require a large group of people to gather in one place, the Capitol Theatre’s annual 12 Hours of Terror is adapting to an online platform for 2020. The Capitol Theatre has partnered with Kino Marquee to present its first ever VIRTUAL HORROR MARATHON.

This year, patrons will be able to buy a ticket in the Cleveland Cinemas Virtual Screening Room to an all-night horror marathon that includes the following films: Jess Franco’s A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD (1973), Jean Rollin’s THE NUDE VAMPIRE (1970), Mario Bava’s THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM (1976) & Pete Walker’s THE HOUSE OF WHIPCORD.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Explore the secret lives of stewardesses in short film 'Wives of the Skies'

[WIVES OF THE SKIES premieres on Amazon Prime on Tuesday September 29th.]


I didn’t really expect a film dealing with 1960s stewardesses and Japanese bondage to be simultaneously charming, sexy, and feminist. But that’s exactly the case with the Honey Lauren’s short WIVES OF THE SKIES. Showing an attention to 1960s period detail and filmmaking technique similar to Anna Biller (VIVA, THE LOVE WITCH), Lauren explores the private lives of two young women whose job it is to cater to the needs of airline passengers and look fabulous while doing it. While objectified by many, the reality of who they are is very different than the typical male fantasy.


Our window into this world in the film comes via documentary filmmaker Derrick (Drew Brandon Jones). When he decides to interview stewardesses Fran (Rachel Alig) and Marcy (Madisson Bullock) for a documentary on their profession, he does so with a number of preconceptions and expectations. It isn’t long before his expectations are dashed.


WIVES OF THE SKIES is a very skillfully conceived and put together film with a winning cast. I’m just not sure there’s enough here to lift it above the level of a good looking, pleasant diversion, even with the feminist subtext and the respectful depiction of Japanese rope bondage (kinbaku). It feels like the first act of a feature film that then tacks on a majorly abbreviated conclusion more than a self-contained vignette. Regardless, the well-crafted visuals, humor, and subtext make this one worth a look. Besides, it’s a safe bet you’ve got 20 minutes to spare. You probably aren’t going to be catching a flight anytime soon.