Rather than jumping right into movies this week, I wanted to go over the TV show I've been obsessing over these last couple of weeks. We don't have cable tv here at the apartment. I do all my show watching via streaming or dvds. What that means is that I don't watch a lot of crap. No reality tv. No talking head news. I like to keep it that way. I still consume lots of good stuff, but I tend not to dork out about it too often. Sure, Star Trek is always at the front of my mind. As is LOST, BSG, Supernatural, Quantum Leap, etc. Lately though I've been going nuts over A Man Called Hawk. Bought the complete series while at the San Diego Comic Con and since then I've been trying to make it last. Only 13 episodes spun off from Robert Parker's Spencer For Higher but they are some pretty fantastic bits of over-the-top 80s tv. Hawk is the coolest, baddest of the bad. And he knows everything. If he runs into a poet, he can receipt poetry. If he needs to play guitar to solve the case, he can play guitar. Same goes for sign language. And it all goes down on my home turf, Washington DC. Seriously, Hawk is always meeting up with drug dealers or senators or snitches in front of the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial. Brilliant.
MOVIES OF THE WEEK!
The Exterminator: "In War You Have To Kill To Survive. In The Streets of New York The Choice Is The Same...For The Exterminator." This Vietnam tainted Revenge thriller sees Robert Ginty's meatpacker take on New York's underworld as the blow-torching, crime-stopper The Exterminator. Could easily be dismissed as a Death Wish knockoff if not for the surreal quality of the violence and Robert Ginty's gentle nature. Essential 80s exploitation, plus a beautiful Stan Winston executed decapitation.
The Beaver: Spoilers Ahead, if you care. I can still enjoy a Mel Gibson performance. And I love his current, craggily face. And Gibson pulls off depressingly crazy wonderfully as sad sack rich guy Walter Black. It's not a fun crazy and I doubt it's meant to be. And because of that I don't buy the somewhat happy ending. If Black was this far lost to depression I seriously doubt he could pull himself out by talking out of a beaver puppet. And Anton Yelchin's youth is seriously messed up as well and needs some serious clinical attention. The film just rang false. Still, good performances from most involved, but I don't see what the big deal is over Jennifer Lawrence. She is sooooo boring.
BloodRayne The Third Reich: Streets of Fire. Eddie and the Cruisers. Remember when Michael Pare was the coolest? Now, he seems to work exclusively with trash filmmaker Uwe Boll and it's more depressing than that Beaver movie above. It's criminal, dammit. I remember enjoying the hell outta the first BloodRayne, a hilariously craptastic film with some of the most amazing example of miscasting. But after suffering the atrocities of Postal and Far Cry I can't have fun with Boll's garbage anymore. The third installment of the franchise finally sees the Rayne in the era of the original video game but should we care? No. It's boring crap.
Mimic The Director's Cut: The new Director's Cut does not reveal Guillermo Del Toro's lost masterpiece, but it does punch up several bits of character and hints of screenwriters Del Toro and Matthew Robbins' original thematic intention. It's still my least favorite of Del Toro's cannon, but it's also still a good giant cockroach movie. And how can you not enjoy Charles S Dutton's bluesman railway cop?
X-Men First Class: Still not in love with this film like most fanboys seem to be, but it's impossible to deny the absolute cool of Michael Fassbender's Magneto. If this film focused solely on his relationship with James McAvoy's Charles Xavier and ignore the annoying teenager team building exercises than I would probably be head over heels for this flick. But as is, it's got a couple good performances, a nice 60s backdrop but it's really no different than the other spread-too-thin X flicks.
The Professionals: Self-Made Man Ralph Bellamy hires tough guys Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Woody Strode, and Robert Ryan to invade Mexico and bring back his kidnapped wife, Claudia Cardinale from Mad Dog Killer Jack Palance. One of the great, maybe greatest Men-On-A-Mission movies that obviously paved the way for Peckinpah's epic Wild Bunch. The biggest shock is how you come for the Lee Marvin, but stay for the Burt Lancaster. The man is the king of cool.
First Men In The Moon: Full of charm and adventure, First Men In The Moon offers plenty of Wells' fanciful ideas along with plenty of English eccentrics. Lionel Jeffries delivers one of the best hyper-tense screen doctors in gravity defier Cavor and Edward Judd pulls of both the letch and the hero smashingly. This might be one of Ray Harryhausen's lesser loved creations but his moon worm is beautiful and his Dynamation is always welcome.
COMIC BOOKS OF THE WEEK!
Afrodisiac: This is just boatloads of fun. If you enjoy 70s comics or blaxploitation than you will just split your face smiling. Similar to last year's cinematic Black Dynamite but with a lot more of that mondo disco comic storytelling, Afrodisiac collects decades worth of the soul brother's adventures like that time he punched out God or battled Nixon in a race to tame some Venus trim. Bonkers for sure.
Strange Science Fantasy: Cartoonist Scott Morse dissects the tropes of P.I. tales, Samurai adventures, racing pictures, and boxing set-ups. Hard to wrap your brain around some of the philosophizing but absolutely beautiful to absorb. Like Afrodisiac, mondo in a way that only the independents can pull off.