This was a pretty fantastic Week in Dork. One, got a promotion and a pay raise = more blu rays. Two, saw four excellent films in the theater. My favorite flick of the week was easily Attack the Block and it's definitely going to by high on my Year's Best list. Thanks to Aint It Cool, Matt & I got passes for the May 25th screening at the DC Chinatown Regal. Packed house, great crowd reactions. Can't beat that. The next night we finally got to see Hobo With A Shotgun and it really did live up to my rabid fanboy anticipation. Saw that at the West End Cinema, had a beer, and was given a bucket of free popcorn for the ride home.
MOVIES OF THE WEEK!
Pirates of the Carribean On Stranger Tides: For fans of the series, On Stranger Tides is a solid addition to the saga if not the rip-roaring overtly epic Summer Blockbuster with shades of Lovecraftian tentacleliness like the last two ridiculously enjoyable films. Johnny Depp milks Captain Jack Sparrow for all he's worth and Geoffrey Rush does his best to steal all the scenes in which he appears. Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane are fine additions, but they could have used more screentime in replacement of the throwaway Bloom & Knightly pair, Sam Clafin and Astrid Berg Frisby. Their fishy romance could have easily been excised from the film.
Georgia Peaches: AKA Follow That Car. Roger Corman cashes in on that Dukes of Hazard money with this car wrecker cheapie starring everyone's favorite Cylon-smasher and A-Team faceman, Dirk Benedict. The first twenty minutes of the movie has some really excellent derby moonshine racing, and I absolutely loved watching Benedict out-drive yokel fuzz but once Benedict, Sally Kirkland, and Tanya Tucker join Lane Smith's law the silly joy does drop a notch or two. Still, fun and friendly hickssploitation that the whole family can enjoy.
The Great Texas Dynamite Chase: AKA Dynamite Women. My favorite Playmate turned Actress Claudia Jennings (Gator Bait, Deathsport) in her finest performance as Candy Morgan, the escaped convict robbing bank after bank with nothing more than a few sticks of dynamite and a whole lotta sass. Again, perfect Roger Corman cheeZe with plenty of exploding cars and T&A. The chase slows to a putter in the middle, but things pick up towards the end with a couple of fantastic shotgun fights.
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death: Still set during blitz bombarded WWII England, Sherlock Holmes thankfully leaves the Nazi espionage behind with this loose adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Musgrave Ritual. While Dr. Watson attends to traumatized soldiers at Musgrave Manor, a few poor souls start popping up corpses. Holmes is called in to keep his investigation private and to debunk some possible supernatural hokum. A sizable improvement to Sherlock Holmes in Washington, Faces Death has several nifty set pieces including an indoor lighting strike.
Attack The Block: A New Cult Classic! Imagine The Goonies raised on the violent streets of South London battling it out with Gremlins/Critters-like Ape Wolves and you've got yourself one of the most entertaining films of the year. John Boyega in an absolute breakthrough performance as Moses, the hoodrat thug turned Samurai Alien Hunter. The score is classic John Carpenter with pulsing synth beats that convey the joys of both The Thing and Assault on Precinct 13. And like The Goonies or The Monster Squad, you will want all these kids to be your friends, or at the very least, let them have your back when the Wolf Apes fall from Space. Trust.
Hobo With A Shotgun: "And that's why you don't hug bears." Hobo With A Shotgun. It's all in the title. A film that celebrates the joys and the theatrics of The Extreme and miraculously manages to capture that 80s grime found splattered across the best VHS box art. Rutger Hauer spits and gnashes an epic cult performance with a perfect grasp on the absurd, psychotic dialog. But so does the rest of the cast! It goes without saying that Hobo With A Shotgun is not for everybody, but with the right eagerness it's as thrilling as a bus load of flamethrowered children.
Death Proof: Easily my least favorite of QT's cannon, the first half of this Grindhouse wannabe suffers under the watch of Sydney Poitier's first batch of annoying Austinite snobs, but things quickly pick up with the introduction of Kurt Russell's sadistic Stuntman Mike and Zoe Bell's Vanishing Point gang. Fantastic soundtrack, brutal car crashes, and a brilliant climactic beatdown. Still, I can't stand the first half.
Kung Fu Panda 2: In just the same fashion as the original film, Kung Fu Panda 2 walks the line between a silly kids film with animals and a pretty kickass love letter to Kung Fu flicks of yore. Dragon Warrior Po and The Furious Five battle to save China and Kung Fu against Gary Oldman's villainous peacock. Laughs and heart set against gorgeous CGI animation, Kung Fu Panda 2 will most likely slay Pixar's summer competitor Cars 2...and rightfully so.
The Great Dictator: Sure, Charlie Chaplin was no stranger to mixing social commentary with his tramp comedy (see Modern Times), but The Great Dictator is absolutely stunning with its bursts of serious anger along with its delightfully childish sight gags. And it still holds up. Chaplin as Herr Hinkle and the dancing Globe Balloon. The Barber Shop Bombing. The final cry for freedom. Brilliant. If you've never seen it than do the world a favor and (finally) join the Chaplin bandwagon.
BOOKS OF THE WEEK!
Not Bad For A Human by Lance Henriksen & Joseph Maddrey: I've only skimmed the surface of the autobiography, but I'm incredibly excited to finally have it in my possession. The Terminator, Aliens, Pumpkinhead, Survival Quest, Near Dark. These films were a huge part of my youth. And what I love about this book is that it looks like it goes a lot into the productions. I'll keep plugging away at it this week and will let you know how it all turns out. Right now, it looks like the only way to get your hands on a copy is through the Not Bad For A Human website. It'll cost you 35 bucks but each copy you buy from the website comes autographed by the man himself.
COMIC OF THE WEEK!
Ultimate Comics Captain America: It's the Rumble in the Jungle! The Captain America of WWII vs. The Captain America of Vietnam! While taking out the North Korean trash, Steve Rodgers encounters fellow super-soldier and utterly psychotic (and tattooed) Frank Simpson. Over the course of this four issue arc, Cap suffers all manner of torture but thanks to some snakey divine intervention and a whole lotta American attitude...well, when does Cap ever loose a fight? I love the Ultimate version of Captain America. Mark Millar has always written him as more than a little bit of an ass, but here, Jason Aaron just makes him a complete dick. "Anyone here speak American?" It might be a bit much, but I can deal for four issues.