Category Archives: Movies

Hello Again Again

A film adaptation of Hello Again, Michael John LaChiusa’s 1994 musical, has begun showing up at festivals and limited screenings.

Here’s where things get delightfully complicated.

Hello Again was itself inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s German-language play, Reigen. In ten scenes, ten pairs of characters are shown before and after having sex. The first scene is about a prostitute and a soldier, the second shows the soldier and a parlor maid, the third features the parlor maid and a young gentleman, and so on, as Schnitzler’s characters move up and down the social scale, ending with a scene between a Count and the prostitute from Scene One. Schnitzler wrote the play in 1897, but it was so controversial that it wasn’t performed publicly until more than 20 years later.

If the plot sounds familiar but you don’t recognize the name of the play, that’s because in 1950, Max Ophüls filmed a French-language version of Reigen under the title La Ronde, and that title is the one that stuck with English-speaking audiences. (And presumably with French-speaking audiences as well.)

Since then, there have been at least four feature films (with four different titles) based on Reigen, and dozens of TV show have stolen the plot and structure paid reverent homage to the play.

Hello Again adds a new twist, by setting each of the scenes in a different decade, with period-appropriate music for each scene.

Should be interesting. Great cast, and the trailer certainly seems intriguing.

What Movie Is This From?

Montage created by Roman Holiday, who also collects things like Cinematic Table Flips…

…and scenes shot from Within The Fridge…

…and a host of other things, viewable at the top link.

Roman Holiday seems to have a lot of time on their* hands, and certainly puts it to good use.


*Yeah, I’m surrendering to the singular “their”. Language evolves, and sometimes mutates in ways we’d rather it didn’t, but there comes a time when resistance is futile.

Murder on the Orient Express — First Trailer

The trailer for the new film version of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express was released yesterday, and it looks awesome!

Kenneth Branagh, who directed, also stars as Hercule Poirot. His revisionist interpretation of the famous Poirot mustache must be seen to be disbelieved.

Others in the (of course) all-star cast include  Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Tom Bateman, and Olivia Colman.

I loved the big budget, all-star Christie movies of the 1970s, and was a bit shocked to realize that the Albert Finney version of Murder on the Orient Express was released 43 years ago. There have been at least two television adaptations since then. The David Suchet version, which ITV ran on Christmas Day, 2010, is currently available on  US Netflix, The less said about the 2001 version starring Alfred Molina, the better.

A large part of the probable target audience for Murder on the Orient Express will go into the theatre already knowing whodonit. We see Christie movies for the same reasons we watch new versions of A Christmas Carol or the Sherlock Holmes stories:  Not to see how they end, but to see a new interpretation of an old favourite.

The film will be released on 10 November 2017. If it’s reasonably successful, can Death on the Nile be far behind?


The 1974 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express starred Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean Pierre Cassel, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Richard Widmark, Michael York, and my god, can you believe the talent in that cast?

Here’s the original 1974 trailer:

The first few times I saw this movie, I was uncomfortable with the scene in which Poirot gathers all the suspects together and reveals his solution to the mystery. It felt airless and claustrophobic, and seemed to go on forever.

It was only later that I realized how successful the director had been. He’d made me feel as if I were one of the suspects, itching to get out of there, and hoping it would all end soon.

Better Than a Hoverboard!

Remember those hoverboards that Back to the Future promised we’d have by 21 October 2015?

Were you as exasperated as I was when 21 October 2015 came and went, without the slightest need for public service announcements warning kids to always wear a helmet when hovering? Once again, we’d been deceived by the powerful and secretive Media/Flying-Transportation Complex, just as earlier generations had been deceived when they were promised jet packs and flying cars, and taken in by those fake “1969 Moon Landing” movies that were filmed in a North Carolina studio.

We won’t get fooled again.

Because this time, it’s for real. Our wait is over.

Here’s how the game ball was delivered at Portugal’s Cup Final on Sunday:

When Amazon offers a pre-order option, I’ll be the first to sign up.

Blade Runner 2049 — Official Trailer

It was posted today, and the fanboys went crazy.

We’ve seen teasers for the movie, but this is the first full trailer. If you’re a fanatical—Bladie? Blader? Runnerite? Whatever those people call themselves—you can already find a clutch of videos featuring second-by-second analyses of this trailer on the Web, and enough resultant theories and speculations to keep you busy until the film opens.

Which, btw, won’t be until 6 October 2017.


Here’s a sample of the online user critiques I mentioned. This degree of involvement is what makes a fanboy a fanboy, and proud of it.

Star Wars Meet(s) the Beatles

The iconic 60s rock album meets the iconic 70s movie, in the mash-up you never knew you needed.

The album, titled Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans, comes from Palette-Swap Ninja, which is a collaboration between keyboard player and digital drummer Jude Kelley and singer/guitarist Dan Amrich. They describe it as a “geek-culture parody project”.

They’re releasing it just in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars, on 25 May 2017, and the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, on 1 June 2017.

Download the full album, free at Palette-Swap Ninja.

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent — Now in Theatres

Until a couple of days ago, I didn’t know this film existed, but it’s become my Must See movie of the month.  Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, produced by Anthony Bourdain, is an overdue look at the fascinating Jeremiah Tower.

Here’s the film’s official synopsis:

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent explores the remarkable life of Jeremiah Tower, one of the most controversial and influential figures in the history of American gastronomy. Tower began his career at the renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1972, becoming a pioneering figure in the emerging California cuisine movement. After leaving Chez Panisse, due in part to a famously contentious relationship with founder Alice Waters, Tower went on to launch his own legendary Stars Restaurant in San Francisco. Stars was an overnight sensation and soon became one of America’s top-grossing U.S. restaurants. After several years, Tower mysteriously walked away from Stars and then disappeared from the scene for nearly two decades, only to resurface in the most unlikely of places: New York City’s fabled but troubled Tavern on the Green. There, he launched a journey of self-discovery familiar to anyone who has ever imagined themselves to be an artist. Featuring interviews by Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl and Martha Stewart, this delicious documentary tells the story of the rise and fall of America’s first celebrity chef, whose brash personality and culinary genius has made him a living legend.”

And here’s a recent interview with Jeremiah Tower and Anthony Bourdain, discussing the documentary on CBS This Morning:

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, fresh from the Tribeca Film Festival, is now playing at a single theatre in Los Angeles and a single theatre in New York, but will expand to another 11 cities on Friday, 28 April 2017, with many more venues to follow.


For a great look at the early days of Chez Panisse, you can’t do better than this excerpt from David Kamp’s book, The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation which Vanity Fair published under the title “Cooking up a Storm”. Kamp combines a thoroughly researched look at the origins of Chez Panisse with gossipy stories about the drug-drenched environment and the complex sexual entanglements of the key players.

Feud: Bette and Joan, the first of Ryan Murphy’s accounts of famous “complicated” relationships, has just ended its season. He’s tackling the story of Prince Charles and Lady Diana next. If he’s at a loss for a third season, he should consider the story behind the decades-long debate about whether Tower or Alice Waters was most responsible for the rise of Chez Panisse to the first ranks of American restaurants.