Sunday, August 28, 2011

Matt’s Week in Dork! (8/21/11-8/27/11)

    The week began with some history, got shaken up by an tremor, was cut and bruised, remembered the 80s, and was finally mildly moistened by a giant storm.  What a weirdly eventful week, if not always a pleasant one.  As always, the movies are up first.

Family Guy: Blue Harvest:  A somewhat funny homage to the original films, there are plenty of fun gags for fans, and some of the usual Family Guy stuff.  It’s not bad.  I did laugh a few times.  But it all feels kind of meh.  Like, these jokes have all been told over the last 30 years by countless other Star Wars fans.  Still, oddly, it did give me a hankerin’ to watch the originals again.

The Ward:  AKA, The Bored.  The movie looks great.  But it’s just a collection of typical haunting crap.  Every jump, every visual, every music cue seems familiar…because it is.  This has all been done before.  Frequently.  And then the end.  Holy crap.  Garbage.  John Carpenter.  What happened, man?

She just watched the end of the movie.

Chu Chin Chow:  An early musical Arabian Nights film, this is interesting, but not especially good.  There are some great moments, and some cool visuals.  But the music is grating and the plot kind of dull.  Worth watching for fans of older movies, especially older fantasy films.  But, sadly, not that great.

Horrible Bosses:  While not ground breaking or especially fresh, this comedy is a good deal of laugh out loud fun.  The cast all do a good job.  Even the usually bland Jennifer Aniston is pretty good.  There are plenty of good bits.  And that cat.  Man, that just made me laugh.

Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time:  Sadly, for Leela’s last story, they return to the Doctor’s homeworld.  Never among my favorite stories, at least this one is less dull than others featuring the Time Lords.  Not really all that much to say about this one.  It’s kind of long, and feels like two stories linked together.

Family Guy: Something…Dark Side:  A bit better than the first one, this is fairly funny, with a bunch of the usual Family Guy jokes dropped in.  The Star Wars jokes are a touch less obvious, thus a bit more surprising and fun.  Like the first one, it makes me want to watch the original films again.

Cadfael: The Devil’s Novice:  Another murder for the good Brother to investigate.  While his fellows are quick to blame a brash young man, or demons, Brother Cadfael uses logic and his worldly experience to get to the heart of the problem.  A solid episode from a fine show.

    Brad and I got to the AFI Silver to see a couple grand old 80s classics.  By what I’m assuming was coincidence, both films featured character actor John Hallam.  But it made for a fun ‘double shot.’

Flash Gordon:  “I'm flying blind on a rocket-cycle!”  One of the things I love about movies in the early 80s (like the 50s) is their almost complete lack of cynicism.  There is nothing ironic about Flash Gordon.  Nothing dismissive.  The filmmakers and the cast took the madness of the old serials and did their darnedest give it a go.  Everyone just went for it.  Over the top sets, extremely grandiose rock music soundtrack, and actors shamelessly punching for the gold.  I miss movies like this.  Movies that were fun without being embarrassed about it.  It’s not to say they’re not made anymore.  But they seem less common than in the early 80s or the 50s.

Liveforce:  “She’s destroyed worlds.”  Sprawling, epic, and strange, Lifeforce is a great bit of semi-Lovecraftian horror/science fiction.  Based on the novel The Space Vampires, what starts as an astronaut adventure, turns into a kind of gothic horror film, then morphs again into a zombie apocalypse, and then kicks up the crazy in the final couple minutes.  A fantastic cast of character actors, some epic music, the physical perfection of Mathilda May, and some killer special effects make for a great forgotten classic.

Land of the Minotaur:  Typical of the Pagan/Satanist subgenre of horror films, this movie is quite boring.  The most dangerous enemy our heroes face seems to be shoddy editing.  Very Euro-70s, and very blah.

In a weird way, this pic totally sums up the film.

The Haunted Strangler:  It kind of goes on too long.  The climactic event happens, then the movie drifts through another fairly substantial act.  But, this is a pretty good movie.  Good cast.  Karloff is excellent.  The film is quite grim, and has some surprisingly brutal bits for the era.

The Atomic Submarine:  Not really a great film, but not a bad submarine/alien invasion mash-up.  Early on, it’s a bit slow, but it picks up near the end with some strange effects and creature.

    I also watched a few episodes of the old Western TV show, Wanted Dead of Alive, with Steve McQueen.  Not bad.  Not especially memorable, like Have Gun, Will Travel, but still quite watchable.

    On Sunday, my friend Ben and I traveled out to the Dulles area, to the Udvar-Hazy Center.  Well worth the trip if you’re into air and/or space vehicles.  Some pretty impressive displays.  It’s a little freaky to be standing right next to some famous pieces of history.  If I had a complaint, it’s that there’s almost too much stuff.  It’s a bit packed in in places.  But, then, that also means there’s plenty of stuff for everyone.

    On Tuesday, as most readers probably already know, and many no doubt felt, the east coast got shaken up by a quake.  I was at work, and other than having some stuff fall over, wasn’t effected too much.  At first, I just assumed it was someone walking on our roof to mess with our constantly troublesome AC unit.

    Unfortunately, on Wednesday, I was personally shaken by a stupid bike crash.  Done cycle while tired.  I flipped my handlebars and banged up my knees pretty bad, so I’ve been hobbling more than usual for the last few days.  Still, could have been MUCH worse.  Some painful surface damage will fade given some time.

I just don't know how it happened.

    And then, to top it off, according to the weather channels, the end of the world rolled over in the form of Hurricane Irene.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Some places got hit really hard, and my heart goes out to those people.  But, as the storm was rolling over this area, and I was listening to the weather folks going into fits of ecstasy as they explained just how horrible and disastrous it was outside at that very moment, I felt something of a disconnect while looking out my window and seeing a mild rain.  I’m glad it wasn’t worse.  But, once again, my contempt for the sensationalist nature of news people rises.  The people who perpetrate this sort of panic inducing chicanery should be held responsible for any damage caused by the panic they create.

    Anyway, I’ve been poking around at some of my comic goodness from the recent convention and a from last year.  I started reading Jim Rugg's Afrodisiac.  I got some of my prints framed and hung up (hope to have more pics coming up).

    I’ve been listening to a bit of Portishead over the last week.  They’re one of my favorite currently active bands, and once in a while I feel the need to listen to a bunch of it.


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