Sunday, August 21, 2011

Matt’s Week in Dork! (8/14/11-8/20/11)

    Though the beginning of the week was somewhat light on dorkiness, the end was capped off with the Baltimore Comic-Con, so that’s a heck of a cherry on top.  As usual, first we have the movies.

100 Rifles:  There was a time, a strange and wonderful time, when Burt Reynolds ruled Hollywood and Jim Brown was in nearly every film that came out.  100 Rifles comes from that.  Not a great movie, and not especially original or ground breaking, it’s still a lot of fun.  Some good, blazing gun battles.  A beautiful Raquel Welch.  And a pretty good odd couple team of Reynolds and Brown.  That and an excellent cast of character actors and beautiful scenery all bring the movie a touch of unexpected quality.  If you’re in the mood for some westploitation, check this one out.

Star Trek The Motion Picture:  An attempt to elevate Star Trek into the realm, not of Star Wars, but of 2001, this movie sports some impressive special effects and sets, and perhaps some heavy concepts.  However, the story itself is extremely simple, and those heavy concepts were already well traveled lands when this film came out (several times on the original show, in fact).  It is very slow paced, which I think is what many don’t care for.  I find myself liking the film quite a bit, though.  If not always for what it does, but often for what it tried to do.  With the follow-up, Wrath of Khan, Trek films became largely a science fiction action movie series.  But this was trying to be a serious science fiction film.  The score is really fantastic, too.  Often unfairly judged, this was really quite an accomplishment.  Check it out, and try to watch it with an open mind.

Final Destination 5:  Tony Todd watches people not die…then die.  Have you seen one of these movies?  Then you’ve seen this movie.  It’s stupid, stupid, stupid.  And this batch of actors was especially bad.  I’m always glad to see Tony Todd, but I wish he was in better stuff.

"Seriously, it's the same movie.  But my check cleared."

Doctor Who: Image of the Fendahl:  A solid, if not especially great story finds the Doctor and Leela facing off against an ancient evil from the dawn of the Solar system.  This story does have an excellent cast and they get a good deal of play.  Leela looks a little weird in this story, due to the actress getting a rather unfortunate haircut.  Otherwise, while good, there’s not a lot to make it really stand out.

Arabesque:  Gregory Peck channels Cary Grant in this screw-ball, espionage romantic caper.  I don’t think there’s a single Arab actor playing any one of the many Arab characters.  It’s funny, has some crazy swinging music from Henry Mancini, and some totally over the top direction from Stanley Donen (his follow up to the actual Cary Grant film, Charade).  I’m sure when this was made, they were tossing around “James Bond like” and there are some obvious parallels.  But this is its own thing.  And it’s worth checking out just to see Peck playing a goof.

Super:  Wow.  Feel like getting depressed?  This occasionally funny, often grim, and almost always sad look at a man who wants to do good in a world of bad is certainly worth a watch.  A great cast does a fine job, many in small but enjoyable roles (look out for William Katt!).  But this is not the feel good hit of the year, that’s for sure.

The Birds:  What a really, really strange movie.  From the lack of score to the crazy character interactions, this is simply odd.  Rod Taylor is one smooth dude, though; navigating through a minefield of womanly emotions from his clingy mother to his impetuous sister, not to mention the stalker socialite.  And then the birds show up.  Madness.  Seeing it at the AFI Silver was a great experience, too. 

Exposed:  Christina Lindberg does her thing.  She’s kind of cute in a girl next door sort of way, and she takes her clothes off a lot.  Otherwise, this movie is indistinguishable from dozens and dozens of other Euro-trash movies.  The music is pretty good, in that swinging late 60s sort of way.

Conan the Barbarian (2011):  This piece of cinematic garbage makes me long for the magic of Ralf Moeller’s Conan the Adventurer.  I don’t know if it is actually possible to screw this up more than the filmmakers did.  From details to the grandest of themes, this isn’t Robert E. Howard’s classic character.  And, it’s simply an awful film to boot.  Bad acting, boring action, crappy effects, dreadful music, and completely idiotic script.  A true turd of a film. 
No matter how far I ride, I can not find a shirt!

    So, on Saturday, Brad, Lisa, our mutual friend Robert, and I all traveled to the Baltimore Comic-Con, which was, as usual, a lot of fun.  Hopefully, Brad and I will have more on it in the days to come.  I think our lives should be getting back to some kind of order after a month or so of nuttiness.  The artist’s ally seemed more jam-packed than in years before.  I like the diversity of people, too.  The big name companies don’t seem to be all that interested in the con scene anymore, so Marvel and DC didn’t really represent.  But they weren’t really missed, either.  From Boom! Studios to Top Shelf to lots and lots of self publishers, there was far more than costumed heroes to check out.  And there were tons of costumed fans.  A surprising number of pretty good ones, too.  I do with the con ran a little longer.  I was only there for the one day, and 6PM seemed early for wrapping up.  I’ll talk about the con a bit more later, and hopefully have some pictures of some of my spoils.

    Plus, when we got back to VA, we stopped at Brad's and watched some episodes of Batman!

    On the book front, I have again picked up Helen of Troy, by Bettany Hughes.  I really mean to finish it this time.  It’s a good book.  Very well written and interesting.  I’ve just gotten side-tracked every time I’ve picked it up.  I’m gonna try this time.  Really, I am.  And I’m interested in reading her new book, The Hemlock Cup.  I’ve still not gotten around to writing up my Conan graphic novel reviews for the last few volumes, and feel like a chump about that.  But I’ll get to it.  Honestly, haven’t been writing all that much of anything recently (as readers of this blog will already have noticed).

    As far as music goes, I snagged an older St. Vincent CD, but haven’t really listened to it much.


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