Hit the Academy Awards party, drink in Strange Brew, Netflix and chill and more must-dos
Today is a good day to rent Steve Jobs, out on Blu-ray now, and ruminate on its box-office failure. After a book, a feature and a documentary, maybe audiences simply had Jobs fatigue. Or maybe it was too nontraditional of a biopic; there was much theatrical artifice in screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s pre-product-rollout three-act structure. But those things made Jobs unique, and it deserves your attention as a piece of vibrant modern-day mythology.
Netflix debuts two high-profile shows today — Fuller House and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny — and each comes with questionable origins. Having never seen an episode of Full House, I won’t touch that one. But I am curious about a sequel to Ang Lee’s 2000 art-house-martial-arts crossover — even if Lee isn’t involved. Yuen Woo-ping, who choreographed the original, directs, and Michelle Yeoh returns as the fierce warrior with a broken heart.
It’s a great night to invite friends over, drink a couple beers and watch a movie you can all participate in. Miami Connection isn’t just a so-bad-it’s-good film. It’s a how-does-this-even-get-made film. Written and directed in 1987 by a Korean-born taekwondo instructor with no filmmaking experience, Miami Connection is true outsider art, full of disjointed macho nonsense, bad ’80s keytar “rock” and earnest declarations of the importance of friendship. Rent or buy it on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube or Google Play.
From the red carpet to the full telecast — hosted by Chris Rock — the 88th Annual Academy Awards is a long affair that should not be watched alone. Why not turn it into a game? Join me as I again co-host the wildest movie celebration in town — the free KC Oscar Party at Screenland Crossroads (1701 McGee). We’ll watch this great big mess — good and bad — on the big screen. There will be cheers, jeers, drinks, food, trivia and a most-accurate-ballot contest, culminating in the annual rush to scavenge the giveaway table!
Legendary gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples is enjoying her latest career renaissance. She won her second Grammy two weeks ago, and tonight HBO debuts a feature-length documentary that played film festivals worldwide last year. Mavis! follows her life as a civil-rights icon, her career with the Staple Singers and her inspiring, present-day comeback.
Good day! Few movies have as personal a connection with me as the bizarre 1983 comedy Strange Brew. I’ve seen it hundreds of times and have every line memorized. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but transposed to a Canadian brewery, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas’ inventively dumb meta comedy has everything from an evil Max Von Sydow plot to take over the world through mind-control to a dog that grows a cape and flies. Today, it’s out in 1080p glory on Blu-ray.
The New Yorker Presents is a 30-minute news-style show featuring multiple short segments tied together by a theme. The stories are almost always based on the 91-year-old magazine’s articles and essays, and the program even features animated interludes of its famous cartoons. With filmmakers such as Jonathan Demme and Alex Gibney involved, the news magazine boasts an impressive pedigree. Stream it for free on Amazon Prime, where two new episodes premiere every Tuesday through March.
Eric Melin is editor of Scene-Stealers.com and president of the KC Film Critics Circle.