MUPPET GUYS TALKING – Reflecting on Folly

Muppet-guys-talking-posterI have been enamored with the Muppets as long as I can remember. The movies, the TV shows, the cartoons – I love all of it. Jim Henson is one of my heroes, and I try to instill his philosophy (his sense of dedication, whimsy, play, and of course, controlled mayhem) in all my creative work to this day. I never tire of hearing stories from the early Muppet performers about just how the whole thing came together.

Muppet Guys Talking is a great glimpse into those early days of the Muppets. Directed by the legendary Frank Oz (who performed Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Bert, Sam Eagle, as well as Yoda in the Star Wars films, among others), this documentary is a fascinating conversation between five of the original Muppet performers: Oz, Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz, Fran Brill, and Bill Barretta. It’s a sincere bit of filmmaking – short on budget and flashy sets, but big on heart and fun. I loved every moment of it!

Muppet Guys Talking is very funny, but it’s is also surprisingly deep, with the performers really getting into the philosophical origins of their characters and Jim Henson’s modus operandi. This lead to an interesting discussion throughout the film about just how the Muppets relate to the truths of the human condition.

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Blu-ray Buyer’s Guide: March 27

TLJ

The Force returns to Blu-ray this week in the form of one of the most controversial entries into the Star Wars saga since The Phantom Menace. I have my own opinions about this movie, but it’s still worth talking about. Plus, a first-time Blu-ray release of a Batman classic.

Here are my picks for March 27, 2018.

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DEATH WISH (2018) – Vengeance is His

Death-Wish-2017-movie-posterI have to give Eli Roth a lot of credit. It takes some serious chutzpah to remake a movie like Death Wish in the current cultural climate. After the tragic mass shooting in Florida brought gun control back to the forefront, I’m honestly surprised that MGM still wanted to release it. That being said, the movie is definitely getting more of a bad rap than it deserves. Most critics are reviewing this movie through a politically-skewed lens.

Released in 1974, the original Death Wish was a morally ambiguous political and social statement of its time. The story of a mild-mannered man gunning down criminals in the streets was a cathartic release for the American public, which was fed up with the day’s high urban crime rate, especially in places like New York City. It was a cynical movie that was ripe for the cynical 1970s. Seeing the film fairly recently for the first time, I expected it to be a rousing action film and it ended up being a disturbing look at one man’s downward spiral into vengeance and murder.

Though it shares its name and basic plot points with the classic 1974 original, this remake, with Bruce Willis standing in for Charles Bronson, is an almost entirely different Death Wish – which is good, bad, and peculiar. It’s entertaining and somewhat profound, and the context of today’s world gives it a resonance that hits home in several places. However, the film eventually loses focus and has trouble deciding what kind of film it wants to be.

SPOILERS AHEAD

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