Channel Zero: The Blog

Cultural notes from "Boston's most notorious entertainment franchise".

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Channel Zero Returns Friday February 20th at 8pm Sharp!!

Join Us when we screen: "The Pueblo Incident" (1973) Starring Hal Holbrook, Richard Mulligan & James Hong This is an Ultra-Rare TV historic dramatization of the 1968 seizure of the intelligence ship, USS Pueblo, by North Korean Armed Forces & the brutal treatment of the crew during their year of captivity as depicted via flashbacks during the 1969 Senate investigation. The Somerville Theatre (micro-cinema) Friday February 20th 2015 8pm (sharp!) 55 Davis Square Somerville Ma 617) 625-5700 Admission: 7.50 (cheap!) Trust us North Korea really doesn’t want you to see This True Story! Channel Zero, Now in Our Twentieth Year and the Adventure is Just Begun!

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Saturday, January 03, 2015

My Top Movies for 2014...

"Her", Spike Jonze needs to make MORE science fiction films and if they revolve around people in heavy romantic entanglements with their smartphones, so much the better. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" Wes Anderson believes in Irony the way The Pope believes in Transubstantiation...and Anderson will dish it out any way he can, subtle heavy handed, silly...and if along the way he makes a great comedian out of Ralph Fiennes then it is all for the good. "Jodorowski's Dune" This might be THE BEST science fiction movie I saw all year which was nothing more than an exhaustive documentary about Alejandro Jodorowski's attempt to make a movie out of Frank Herbert's SF novel "Dune" back in 1975. The film would have been an eccentric catastrophe but Good Lord What a Production Notebook! Fading Gigolo The only thing cooler than casting Woody Allen as a Pimp is casting John Turturro as a Brooklyn Gigolo. Snowpiercer Loved it, I'll never dismiss Chris Evans ever again, even if he decides to wreck the Doc Savage franchise I will always forgive him because he starred in Snowpiercer. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I dunno, somehow 2014 despite a plethora of shitty tentpole franchise super hero flicks and fantasy extravaganzas still managed to squeeze out a really really good SF movie like every three months or so...this one is doubly memorable for being a sequel but a robust one in every way...what can I say sometimes remakes work. "Lucy" While we are at it, Luc Besson should make nothing but science fiction movies with Scarlett Johansson...I'd watch them both tear into a revisionist Flash Gordon all done from Dale Arden's perspective. "Art and Craft" I love fakes and phonies, and this documentary on Art Forger Mark Landis is amazing because the poor sod gets away with his forgeries because he has never made a dime off them! He DONATES carefully executed simulacrums to museums out of a spectrumy need for approval. Fascinating story. "St. Vincent" I don't care if Bill Murray has done better work elsewhere, JUST GIVE HIM THE DAMN OSCAR!! "Birdman or the Unexpected Virtues of Ignorance" If you love this movie, chances are you are a man over the age of fifty, and its about time someone did something for me and my homies. "The Homesman" Tommy Lee Jones can just play grizzled drunken cowboys for the rest of his life and sooner or later the rest us (much as was the case with the late John Wayne) will finally catch up to him creatively speaking. "Nova Express" This is a shout out to director Andre Perkowsky who apparently is allowing a ninety minute version of his projected three hour long adaptation of the novel by William S. Burroughs to circulate....STOP RIGHT HERE DUDE!! You got it right the first time, the select readings from the novel, the surreal stock footage this movie is perfect as is!! Don't push your luck! "Foxcatcher" I have a dreamy dream that the Best Actor Oscar is a dogfight between three avowed comedians, Steve Carell, Bill Murray and Michael Keaton...can't say who I'd root for....after all, when are those three ever gonna be in that room ever again? "Wild" I love survival stories...and if Reese Witherspoon wants to make a movie about swimming the English Channel in January...I Am There. My only complaint about this flick is that clearly thousands of dollars were spent trying to make Ms Witherspoon look worn, filthy, fetid & dirty....all of it wasted. "Big Eyes" No one is ever gonna accuse Tim Burton of being subtle...but then again this could have been a sort of comical "Female Ed Wood" film but for a subtle performance from Amy Adams who turns everything into a plea for artistic integrity even for hacks (who need it most of all).

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Unfinished Business for 2014, "Gotham" briefly reviewed...

I wanna like "Gotham" I really do...but sans the Caped Crusader (who is here depicted in his boyhood by some unmemorable little twerp)all we have to carry the series is the young Detective James Gordon who is fated to become Batman's most Ardent Enabler, Police Commissioner Gordon. Here is my point it is counterintuitive, so brace yourselves....Who The Hell Gives a Rat's Ass about James Gordon OR his Goddamned Back Story? I know I don't. It is akin to entire big budget television series devoted to the Amazing Adventures of Inspector Lestrade or the Action Packed Saga of Miss Moneypenny. Otherwise....Gotham seems to be a well cast show whose creative high point will be a sort of scherzo on "The Sopranos" with nascent big name super villains instead of New Jersey Mafioso. The concept does nothing for me but we have "Smallville" to thank for the notion that super hero shows WITH NO SUPERHEROES IN THEM are inherently popular and profitable.

Friday, December 19, 2014

George Clooney has a point

when he says that we have just allowed a Foreign Despot (Komrade Kim Jong Un of the North Korean People' Democratic Republic) to terrorize Sony to the point where they have pulled Seth Rogen's latest comedy "The Interview" from distribution. He makes the entirely sensible observation that is an ominous example of the abrogation of the First Amendment at the whim of the same Komrade Kim, Dictator of North Korea. Lets get something clear here, we've been letting The First Amendment get awfully shopworn and tattered lately, between the Patriot Act, NSA eavesdropping and certain practices favored by Hollywood Studios to curry favor in authoritarian markets (exp. the remake of "Red Dawn" where the bad guys went from Chinese to North Korean in the blink of a pixel thus ensuring the ongoing tolerance of the Middle Kingdom for said film's producers). It simply fell to Kim's Despicable Regime To Take the Next Step and really administer a beatdown to Sony...and you know what? WE LET IT HAPPEN! Listen...all of the first amendment intersects with pure commerce, a certain amount of free speech is therefore created in order to make someone somewhere a pile of money, nevertheless THAT SPEECH MUST NEEDS BE PROTECTED AS MUCH AS THE POSTINGS OF THIS OBSCURE BLOG!!! And we didn't do that. We let Sony chicken out along with the theater chains...on nothing more than a threat. I don't know what is going to happen on the Korean Peninsula, my only policy thereon is simple "Make Sure Our Word is Good and Our Powder is Dry", more than that may not be possible at this juncture. I do know however that we cannot allow a foreign despot any veto over our First Amendment Rights no matter how commercially driven they may be, any more than we should allow the NSA to snoop in our emails or permit predator drones to kill US Nationals on Foreign Soil. ALL these things degrade the law and our protections under the Bill of Rights....we've built up quite an arsenal it's the wonder of the world, I do not give Komrade Kim long odds on the battlefield if he wants to test that notion...but lets start protecting the First Amendment here at home with the exact same ferocity.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Forcibly Commended...

Last week at the Annual Meeting of the Boston Society of Film Critics, Channel Zero was voted a Commendation for our nigh twenty year long commitment to repertory film screenings and offbeat movies in general. That is All Well and Good, Channel Zero is duly grateful, after twenty years of Genteel Obscurity (and too many venues to count) we could use a little positive press attention. Thanks to everyone who spoke up on our behalf and who voted for us.... However if'n you look at that link, the Award Winner on the repertory circuit locally is The Harvard Film Archive, like across the board! Clearly we are gonna need to Punch Above Our Weight if we ever hope to move up in the ranks. :) Still it is as good a time as any to pause and reflect hard to believe all this started on VHS in the bowels of the now departed Liberty Cafe in Central Square... Now look at us, twenty year older and still clinging to the side of the same damn burning lifeboat. :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

"The Flash" Tuesdays 8pm The CW

I wanna like this show, "The Flash" is one of those dependable B-List DC super heroes who single skill set (super speed) is endlessly shoe-hornable into almost any conceivable comic book challenge. And then there is The Flash's rogue's gallery, maybe not as notorious as Batman's, but a dependable collection of one-trick ponies, mad scientists and at least one sentient gorilla...better known more popular super heroes get by with worse for antagonists (COUGH Spider-Man COUGH!) Alas the nominal star of this show, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash....is a little too short and a little too young looking to pull off forensic scientist for the local PD. That is a minor quibble. my main beef lies in the show's odd structure which mandates that it is a very very formulaic super hero show (that draws A LOT from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer) until the last five minutes when Barry Allen's trusted mentor Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) does some secretive heavy handed thing to indicate to the aud that He May Not Be On The Side of Righteousness. Its all very ominous and mysterious but you have to wade thru fifty minutes of Nothing New to get there. Then again what do I apparently this show is cleaning up in the ratings producer Greg Berlanti is a new wunderkinder of TV with three hit shows this season ("Arrow" and "The Mysteries of Laura" being the other two) with more on the way.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

I think my favorite movie this fall has been "Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance" (2014)

I'm not numb to the film's drawbacks (languid pace, a solid turn by Emma Stone that is also frustratingly superfluous, Ed Norton's on and off lisp)...But Every Middle Aged Man has that god-awful Birdman voice in his head berating him, telling him he could be A God and Fly Above the Rabble If Only He Could Stop Getting Old! For that moment alone, Michael Keaton deserves an Oscar Nomination.

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