Tuesday, January 17, 2012

más películas que he visto

Después de leer el maravilloso libro de "Fright Night on Channel 9", tenía que ver una película que hubiera sido exhibida en ese programa. Y decidí ver este film italiano protagonizado por el gran Christopher Lee. Es una pieza bastante predecible, pero tiene un ambiente gótico muy bueno. La fotografía en blanco y negro es excelente y las actrices italianas que salen en la película son extremadamente sexy. Con castillos, tumbas y jorobados también. No se puede pedir mucho más.

Después de ver ese documntal sobre el legendario street photogher, uno desea tomar una avión, ir a NYC y tomar fotos como un demente. Una mirada muy interesante al mundo de la alta sociedad (los famosos 1%) de la Gran Manzana. Pero más aún, un documental sobre una persona peculiar, totalmente obsesiva con la fotografía. Una persona para admirar, pero a la misma vez, sentir cierta lástima por ella.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fright Night on Channel 9

Back in the late 1970's our cable system simply carried two stations from the USVI. Then by 1978, a real breakthrough occurred. We suddenly had three superstations from the US mainland in our system. They were WTBS, WGN and WOR. These were basically small independent stations that sent their signal via satellite to cable systems everywhere. These channels really changed the way we viewed cable tv and offered a great alternative to local tv.

Even though WTBS carried the best programming. I always had a soft spot for WOR from New York. WOR was the lowest rated tv station in the Big Apple, offering a fare of reruns, Benny Hill, NY Mets games and old movies. And old movies was the reason I loved this station. For the first time I was able to enjoy all the old RKO classics which were the bread and butter of the station. (Channel 9 was owned by RKO General, so they owned these wonderful movies.)

But of all their movie shows, the most amazing, unpredictable and thrilling was something they would show at midnight on Saturdays (1am our time). It was called "Fright Night". It hard to describe the truly eclectic and downright bizarre movies WOR would show at that time. Being at that late hour, the combination of weird movies and sleepiness one felt made for a completely surreal experience. One in which reality, tiredness and maybe an alcohol buzz would meet in a truly awesome manner.

So I was thrilled to buy the book "Fright Night on Channel 9" by James Arena. This books describes the behind the scenes dealings that resulted in this wonderful tv experience. It explains how the channel, in its aim to get the most inexpensive movie packages possible, ended up with a combination of horror movies that included Euro horrors, movies from the Philippines, sexy independent movies and much more.

The book also describes in detail every movie shown on 'Fright Night" from 1973 until 1987.Something that made me search for some of these movies on DVD or on Netflix streaming.Of course, it is impossible to truly replicate the experience of seeing these movies on WOR, but it was a nostalgic thing to do, nevertheless.

Of course, all things must come to an end, and when WOR was sold to Universal, they changed the station from a small, quirky one to your average, generic station full of talk shows and infomercials. At that moment WOR also stopped being a superstation.
WOR became respectable, I guess.

But it's really special to have this book that takes one to a time when small tv stations were unique, when they were not looking for respectability and just wanted to entertain. A time when turning on the tv at midnight could result in a truly weird, fun time.

I cannot recommend this book enough.

Monday, January 09, 2012

a few movies I've seen recently

Winter in Wartime.
Interesting Dutch movie set in 1945 Occupied Holland. A teenage boy finds an Allied soldier in the woods near his home and helps him. He does not realize what a a decision like that one will mean to him and his family. Entertaining, suspenseful. Not a masterpiece, but a solid little movie.

What Remains; The Life and Work of Sally Mann
Documentary about woman photographer who gained notoriety for her nude portraits of her children and then turn her art to photographing decaying cadavers. An unusual documentary in the sense that you are watching a great artist and at the same time realizing you don't like her as a person, even finding her a bit scary. Not a great documentary either, it drags a bit in spite of its short running time.

There's a Girl in my Soup
Dated, but strangely fascinating 1960's about playboy (Peter Sellers) meeting kooky woman (Goldie Hawn). It is sexist, un-PC, not very funny, but it says a lot about its time. Would make a really cool double feature with "What's New, Pussycat?" for offensive, sexist humor.

Preacher's Wife
The classic version. An angel (Cary Grant) enters the life of a preacher obsessed with building a cathedral (David Niven) and his wife (Loretta Young). This Christmas movie has a "It's a Wonderful Life" flavor to it, but is in a way, less heavy-handed. The three stars are at their peak and Grant is at his charming best, which is a sight to see.

hello again

Almost two months without writing. I have no idea why. I have been doing other things. Reading a lot. Watching movies. Taking photos. And basically trying to eat better and exercise. The other day I had the great experience of seeing that my jeans are too large at the waist. So all the healthy eating has paid off. All in all, I feel good.
I hope to write more often here. I have a soft spot for this blog. I don't want to abandon it.