Sunday, July 17, 2011

Matt’s Week in Dork (7/10/11 to 7/16/11)

    A very tame week in Dork for me, certainly on the movie front. 

Doctor Who:  The Brain of Morbius:  The Doctor comes across some ancient evils and nasty skeletons in the closet as he investigates the planet of some Time Lord allies.  Something really bad lurks in the mists, and a crazy doctor may hold the secret.  The costumes and creature design in this are especially cool.  There’s sort of a Frankenstein vibe to the whole thing, giving a Gothic ring to this science fiction tale.

Red Riding Hood:  10 minutes into this movie, and I knew I’d made a horrible, horrible mistake.  It’s not like I thought this was going to be good.  I didn’t.  It looked terrible.  But, somehow I just wasn’t prepared.  Taking crap to the next level, this movie feels like it was written, directed, and staring a cast of 16 year old girls who watch nothing but The Princess Bride and Twilight (hey, I love The Princess Bride, don’t get me wrong).  The dialog is atrocious, every plot twist is blatantly obvious, and all characters are painted in the broadest, most clichéd strokes you can imagine.  It’s like an SCA group got the money to make a movie. Once the town’s celebration started, it was all over.  Laughably bad.  But not a mirthful laugh.  Right now, this stands as my number one worst film of the year.

"Wait, nobody is going to see this, right?"

Eskimo Nell:  This is the Adaptation of sexploitation.  People clearly far more talented that this film demands have created a film about people making a film that is far below their talent levels.  It’s like the movie is about its own creation.  Benny Hill does The Player?  Sadly, it’s not especially clever or particularly interesting.  However, it does have a moderate amount of 70s nudity.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy:  A slow burning Cold War spy story headed by the owl eyed Alec Guinness.  Lots of the usual suspects in the lineup of British character actors make their rounds as various players.  There are plenty of the expected twists and turns as the labyrinthine world of international espionage is explored.  At the end of the day, I found the series a bit of a letdown.  It’s well made and well acted, and there seem to be some pretty big things at stake, but it all feels like it amounts to nothing.  Or very little, anyway.  This is no Reilly: Ace of Spies.

The Middleman:  Reminding me a bit of Special Unit 2 and Adam West’s Batman, The Middleman is chock full ‘o nerdy bits and references.  Wacky mutants, aliens, and evil geniuses all fall before the good guy charm of Matt Keeslar at the titular character and the snark of Natalie Morales, his new partner.  Great guest stars, goofy jokes, and a lot of surreal charm help get past the kind of low production design and occasional flat note (mostly involving Morales’ friends).

Mmm.  Milk.

Elizabeth:  Really strong performances and some fantastic production design make the film a feast to watch, but it’s the script which doesn’t fall too much for the typical bio-pic cliché, that makes it a good film.  I am a little surprised this movie didn’t get in some trouble for its extremely blatant anti-Catholic bent.  I almost expected to see the Pope laugh maniacally while twirling his mustache.  Still, broadly painted strokes or not, it’s a worthy movie, with some very cool characters and scenes.

    And I watched a few episodes of the documentary series Connections and the animated series Archer, as well as a few episodes of The Secret of Isis.

    On Sunday, a friend and I traveled in to DC to visit some museums.  I finally got to see the Space part of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, which was nice.  Good to see it so soon after watching The Right Stuff.  And we made it to the National Gallery of Art and to the Museum of Natural History

    I finished up the next volume of Conan and reviewed it.  And I picked up Christa Faust’s new Supernatural tie-in novel, Coyote’s Kiss, which I started reading on my bus trips.  So far, so good.  I can’t claim to be a Supernatural fan.  I’ve seen the first season and enjoyed it quite a bit, but never pursued watching more.

    On my CD player this week is a band recommended by my friend Joe (who has been pointing me to a lot of good stuff lately), Battles.  Some really crazy stuff, but I’m digging it.

    And finally, I got a very cool Hellraiser poster from Lost Highway and artist “Steve Jencks.”


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