I begin this this Week in Dork in the usual fashion, with the movies I watched. It’s been kind of a weird week for me, and I’m actually not really sure how I got this many movies in, as the week was kind of a blur. Anyway, here it goes…
Green Lantern: Sadly, this is pretty much the movie the trailer made it look like. Ryan Reynolds is playing Ryan Reynolds again. Far too much of the film takes place on Earth dealing with exceptionally uninteresting things. The space stuff doesn’t really have enough time devoted to it to be as interesting as it should be. And if Blake Lively never steps in front of a camera again, the world will be a better place. It’s not awful. But it could and should have been better. It may seem obvious, but if they’d devoted less time to the crap, and more to the good stuff, the film would have been better. And there is good stuff.
Transcendent Man: “Does God exist? Well, I would say, ‘not yet.’” Ray Kurzweil cuts an interesting figure. At once sad and naively optimistic, he is clearly amazingly accomplished but somehow tinged with a sense of haunted failure (in the body of his late father whose untimely death seems to color much of Kruzweil’s life). This documentary does try to play somewhat evenly with Kurzweil and his ideas. It gives time to detractors, supporters, and those who fall in between. There are some pretty interesting ideas put forth, though nothing is explored in any great depth. What can not be denied is that Kurzweil has done amazing things and he forecasts even more. We’ll see.
Tangled: Considerably better than the trailers made it look, Tangled is still weighed down by needless, low quality musical numbers. The humor is a bit forced, but Disney has done worse in that respect (Hunchback for example). The CG is much better than I expected, though the character design leaves something to be desired. The story is good, but the movie could have been better. I’m not against musicals at all, but it was so clearly shoehorned in because it’s expected in a Disney film. Ugh. Still, much better than originally expected.
Doctor Who: Robot: The first outing of Tom Baker as the Doctor has some cool stuff, and some good U.N.I.T. moments, but is kind of a silly story. It’s basically King Kong mixed with Frankenstein, but with a robot in the place of the monster. The mad scientist is delightfully strange and the cabal of scientific utopians bent on recreating the world in their Orwellian image are lots of fun. This episode will always be special for me, though, because it was the first Doctor Who I ever saw. I chanced upon it while flipping channels and was hooked from moment one.
Kiss Me Deadly: Ralph Meeker is all kinds of cold and nasty as Mike Hammer in this wild, atomic powered Noir classic. He slaps, he punches, and I don’t even know what he did to Sugar Smallhouse, but poor Charlie Max didn’t like it too much. He roughs up suspects, punks, thugs, and nice old men in the pursuit of justice. And what justice. One of the crazier endings I’ve seen. Brutal. Surreal. And frankly, awesome.
|Just how he says 'hello.'|
Super 8: (Upon my second viewing of this film, I found myself enjoying it even more. This is probably in my top five films of the year, so far). Like finding a forgotten gem in a video store, Super 8 harkens back to the kid adventure films of the 80s, like The Goonies, The Explorers, Space Camp, and so many others. Filled with interesting characters and thrilling action, it’s got a lot of heart to back it all up. And it sports a great cast of kid actors, each putting their stamp on various genre regulars (the Fat Kid, the Nerdy Kid, the Sensitive Kid, etc.). Put aside your cynicism, and remember why we love movies.
Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks: A pretty epic story of the very beginning of one of the greatest menaces to face the universe, Genesis of the Daleks introduces us to the people of Skaro before the end of their cataclysmic conflict, and to Davros, the mad genius behind the Daleks. It’s a really good story, and unlike some of the longer ones, well deserving of the six episodes. It doesn’t become repetitive or dull in the middle, as some six episode arcs do, and in fact, some elements feel like maybe they could have used some more time devoted to them, like the underground resistance. A classic story, and one of the better to focus on the Daleks. And even though Davros is just as over the top and two dimensionally evil as The Master, I simply find him more fun.
Deadlier Than the Male: “I do all sorts of things when I’m tight.” Classic British pulp hero, Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond gets a cheeky Bond style film adaptation. Occasionally funny, often delightfully awkward, and constantly condescendingly chauvinistic, Deadlier Than the Male is a great deal of fun. Chock full of ‘That Guy’ actors, beautiful women, and deadly assassins (who also happen to be among the beautiful women). And the crazy final chess match almost feels like something out of The Avengers. Great stuff. Unfortunately, Johnson isn’t the most charming or dynamic of leads, but he’s passable.
Cursed: Post Scream idiocy. Lots of untalented, moderately attractive people run through some of the most lifeless paces you can imagine, hitting nearly every note at exactly the expected time. Characters seem to work very hard to find the absolutely dumbest things to do. All the while, what could be fun is mostly just dull. I love the concept of the werewolf. I just wish there were more good films using it. This is definitely not one. This film is cursed; with dullness. And the finale is just awful.
|From the film makers to you, the viewer.|
Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman: Pretty much like an extended episode of the Animated Series, this may not be amazing, but like the show, it’s darned good and what I’d love to see from DC’s animated features. I don’t need them to reinvent the wheel with each movie. Just tell a good story. Find out who Gotham’s newest cracked defender is as she tires to do the Bat’s job, taking down a criminal syndicate. Though it has strong similarities to Mask of the Phantasm, it manages to do its own thing and have a moderately clever twist. For fans of the show, this is a welcome addition to the franchise.
I also got a chance to watch some of Warehouse 13, and was surprised how much I liked it. It’s sort of a mix of the old Friday the 13th series and Special Unit 2. Goofy, but a lot of fun. And it may be the first time since Unforgiven that I’ve liked Saul Rubinek.
And I watched a handful of episodes of the completely cracked Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Crazy Quilt. Wow. As one would expect from a character called Crazy Quilt, he loves to leave clues for Batman in the form of…that’s right, paintings. What is up with DC?
I finished another volume of Conan, Rogues in the House and Other Stories. Probably the weakest volume to date, but it’s still better than a lot of Conan material I’ve read. And due to circumstances totally within my control, I didn’t finish Reality is Broken. I did get more of it read, but not nearly as much as I should have, and I have no excuse. Should finish that in the next couple of days, unless I really choke.
On the video game front (which for some reason has been active for me recently), I was involved in a co-op game of I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 in which we seem to have beat the game. Total madness, and I’m not gonna lie, it left me feeling pretty friggin’ jazzed by the end. Perhaps laughing a bit maniacally. Perhaps. And, had a chance to play some Halo deathmatch with a couple friends. It was nice playing against people substantially better than me (who weren‘t jerks about it). I got my butt handed to me, but reveled in every kill, because I knew I worked for ‘em.
On a final note, I got to thinking about how my life lacked something important. I realized what I really need that I don’t have is a team of sexy henchwomen. So, I want to try to remedy that. Thus, I’m currently doing an open casting call for sexy henchwomen. If you’re sexy, have a style all your own (or look really good in uniform), and maybe want to go to a comic convention to have my back, then I want to hear from you. As with any good hench-job, it’s dangerous, thankless, and short. But it’ll look good on a resume.