This week seemed consumed by my day job. Lots of late nights slaving away. Of course, this allowed for some serious Podcasting. I've been blitzing through episodes of Criterion Cast, CineAWESOME, Film School Rejects, The Nerdist, Filmspotting, and The Kevin Pollack Chat Show.
And after getting home at midnight I've been craving John Carpenter. Why is that? Dunno. But I got home one late night and I had, had to watch Assault on Precinct 13! And then I had, had to watch Escape From New York! And I'm guessing this week I'm gonna chow down on some Big Trouble in Little China and probably a little Thing.
MOVIES OF THE WEEK!
Sucker Punch: Forget all the asylum Return to Oz mumbo jumbo, I would have much rather watched a movie set in a Fantasy world filled with Gatling gun toting samurai and bomber chasing dragons than this dreary can't-handle-reality tale. Plus, the lead "badass babes" are dull, dull, dull and the only actor I sorta enjoyed was Scott Glenn's Yoda warrior, and I couldn't really figure out his purpose anyway. There are some great visuals here and it made for a helluva teaser trailer, but there just really isn't much to savor. I don't hate Zach Snyder, far from it. I've enjoyed every single one of his films (including that Owl flick) until this layered mess. Still think he's a good choice for an actionfest Man of Steel.
Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels: Once unfairly maligned as a Tarantino knock-off, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a romp of the incompetent, an epic of of the dumb and the dumb luck. Cocky buggers Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng, and Dexter Fletcher find themselves up a creek after a sour game of cards and some pretty lamebrain holdup shenanigans. The real joys of Guy Ritchie's crime comedy comes from anticipating the next clusterfuck and the script does not disappoint. Personally, I'll always be thankful to Lock Stock for unleashing not just Statham upon my universe, but also whacko character actors Vinnie Jones and Jason Flemyng. And it's just funny as hell.
Assault on Precinct 13: "Can't Argue With A Confident Man." As much as I love Night of the Living Dead, Zulu, and Straw Dogs I think I gotta go with Assault on Precinct 13 as my all time favorite siege picture. John Carpenter's simple story just speaks to that stunted adolescent film nerd trapped within. Is there anyone cooler than Darwin Joston's mysterious criminal philosopher Napoleon Wilson? The man can make a game of potatoes look badass. And the overnight bond of violence between him and Austin Soker's Officer Bishop is the stuff of pure movie magic. The Law & The Criminal together battling the endless faceless L.A. street savages. Ultra low-budget, but just a crackerjack flick that puts every penny to good use.
A Safe Place: Orson Welles has a terrifying laugh. Jack Nicholson is impossibly charming even when he's a bore. And Philip Proctor's confused lover is somewhat engaging. But Tuesday Weld, or her fractured character is frustratingly, annoyingly whiney and less pathetic as she is a dimwit. That sounds harsh. It's probably too harsh. I certainly was not in the right headspace for this flick, but I seriously doubt I'll watch this film again.
Gargoyles: Not a good movie. But...It's a curiosity that has to be seen. Cornel Wilde and Jennifer Salt stumble upon a clan of gargoyles living and breeding in the desert. Bernie Casey plays the papa Gargoyle and even though it's a shame his voice is dubbed with some techie jibberish, it is awesome to see him riding horseback over the terrain with his wings flopping about. And the gargoyle makeup is fun, you can see the early greatness of Stan Winston. Worth the 20 dollar purchase? For me, yeah. You, maybe Netflix.
13 Assassins: "He who values his life dies a dog's death." After 83 movies, director Takashi Miike finally cranks one out that I absolutely and utterly adore. A wonderfully simplistic Samurai tale that not only delivers the best overlong actionfest/bloodfest this year (sorry, Dark of the Moon), but also gives cinema its first great villain of 2011 in Goro Inagaki's sociopath bowman Lord Naritsugu. Heavy on the violence, but nowhere near as showy extreme as some of Miike's previous efforts, 13 Assassins may not be for everybody but it should certainly remind genre fans how badass Samurais should be.
Troll Hunter: After having suffered through various try-to-hard found footage flicks like The Blair Witch Project, Quarantine, and Cloverfield I've finally encountered a film that lives up to the concept's potential...or at least entertained my heart to its fullest. Three college students attempt to capture the activities of a bear poacher on film and instead unravel a governmental conspiracy to explode or maintain the feeding habits of rabid trolls. The film is as funny as it is mondo. Otto Jespersen is appropriately grizzly adams badass as the Troll Hunter and his succinct description of duties provides most of the film's humor--that and the blood of Christians.
Thor Tales of Asgard: You know what I don't care about? A teenage Thor. And I just don't understand why these Marvel Animated movies can't hold a candle to the excellent work being done with the animated DC Universe flicks. As a Marvel Boy myself it's just embarrassing. Tales of Asgard appears to tie loosely into the recent cinematic outing, but the animation is far too soft anime and the voice acting flat. It's time for Marvel to mature in the world of animation, pull up your bigboy britches and gain the respect you deserve.
Larry Crowne: Never could quite get behind the pairing of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts (watching them kiss is like watching siblings make out) and the humor of Larry Crowne often feels out of place or it's just simply not funny. However, I like the basic plot of a retired Navy man kicked out of retail existence and rediscovering himself in a crappy community college. Plus, George Takei's economic proffessor Dr. M is Bwahahaha hilarious--give that man a sitcom. Still, this is a sad followup to That Thing You Do.
Escape From New York: Snake Plissken, with his one eye, abdominal tatoo, and Clint Eastwood voice is one of the absolute great 80s anti-heroes and I'd put his cynicism and shoot-first willpower against any contemporary hardhitter. Seriously, can you imagine The Boondock Saints? He'd wipe the floor with their stupid hipster gazes. Plus, Escape From New York has that classic Carpenter Synth score that pulses with Plisken's no-bullshit government hate. Donald Pleasence gets my vote for the Greatest Screen President as the wimpering, wig-loving nameless POTUS. Plus, Henry Dean Stanton, Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau, Lee Van Cleef, Tom Atkins, Ernest Borgnine. A long line of badasses.
Somewhere: Sofia Coppola can direct stagnation and malaise like no one else. But four films into her cannon and I don't care about stagnation and malaise, especially when it concerns sadsack actor Stephen Dorff and his struggles with self in the Hollywood void. Yes, I am happy to see The Gate's Dorff up front and center and far, far away from vampire staker Blade but this film just could not connect with my give-a-shit meter. It's pretty. The score is nice. And so are the performances. So what?
Phantoms: Sorry Jay, Affleck was not Da Bomb in Phantoms. In actuality, no one or no thing was Da Bomb in this horribly cheap and crappy Miramax Horror that devastates Dean Koontz's original novel and scars the resume of all those involved. Liev Schreiber is absolutely horrible as the obviously, pathetically scummy deputy. Rose McGowan is shrew, bitchy, and whiny as the unappreciated little sis. Even Peter O'Toole, a man who has phoned in decades worth of paycheck jobs, can't escape my nausia as the utterly senseless, "Thank God We've Got His Brain" scientist. Yes, I hate this movie.
COMIC OF THE WEEK!
Hellboy The Fury #1: The concluding arc in a trilogy that started with Darkness Falls and continued with the beyond excellent, The Wild Hunt. I can't believe that I'm typing this, but I'll be quite sad to see Duncan Fegredo go after this final story. He's still no Mike Mignola, but he was a fantastic successor to the series and he ended up fitting this universe much more than I originally feared. Only one issue in to this mini, so I don't want to go all goo-goo gushing over it just yet, but I am very very very excited to see where this story eventually dumps our favorite Anung Un Rama.
ACQUISITIONS OF THE WEEK!
Mondo's latest (and final) Guillermo Del Toro prints arrived in the mail this week and I just got them framed this morning. The problem is I'm all out of wall space in this tiny apartment and I'm gonna have to start rotating posters around. Guessing my Bridge on the River Kwai is gonna get moved over to the bedroom and the Shat Attack III poster is getting retired to the closet till Shat Attack V. Also, I managed to snag Mondo's latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre print. Absolutely gorgeous, one of my favorites from that mad company.
But let's get real. The only thing in the world of Dorkdom right now that's consuming my brain is the upcoming San Diego Comic Con. 21 Years Ago, my family moved from San Diego to Virginia. In Virginia I discovered comic books...and learned of the San Diego Comic Con. I've been trying to get back ever since. Now, it's finally happening. With my wife and friends in tow, I am gonna storm Dork Mecca and demand physical contact with both William Shatner and Nicolas Cage. I hope they are ready.