Sunday, October 23, 2011

Brad's Week in Dork! (10/16-10/22)

Crazy week personally.  Was not as productive in my Dork life as I would have liked.  I seriously need to crank up the Horror Movie watching for Halloween.  This has been one of the weakest Marathon runs I've done in a long time and I've actually missed two days of terror viewing.  Oh well, next week I'll try to get nuts.

The highlight of the Week was the double feature Matt & I did at the AFI Silver of Sweet Smell of Success & The Pit and the Pendulum.  Watching Matt discover the meanest, most brutal performance from Lancaster was a serious treat and I loved how the rest of the audience hissed and chuckled at the biting dialog.  And Vincent Price on the big screen!?!?!?  A true cinematic treat.  The AFI has gotta be the coolest place in the Washington DC area, more people need to turn out for these amazing screenings.


The Thing (2011):  A completely unnecessary prequel to the John Carpenter remake that steals all of that film's tension beats and replaces Rob Bottin's AWEsome practical effects with wonky ineffective CGI. Honestly, there was an opportunity here to explore a wild, bizarre-o terrorfest concept and all you do is rehash the same exact story? At least Carpenter improved on--or did something different with his remake AND at least he had the brass to call it a remake.  Prequel my ass--mindless brand name cash-in.

Footloose:  There's something about Dance Movies...I don't know what it is, but I can watch Step Up sequel after Step Up sequel. Maybe it's cuz I don't have a dancing bone in my body, and I still want to believe that dancing can set a generation free or save the world or...whatever. This Footloose remake is silly fun, but I feel a little (teeny weeny) bit of truth in its Dance Dance Revolution. Dennis Quaid wants to put a stop to sinful dancing cuz it killed his son but Kenny Wormald's outsider has shuffled into town to get crunk with the local fuddy duddies and their daughters. Leave your cynicism at the door and have fun.

End of Days:  Arnie parties like it's 1999 and goes toe to toe with Gabriel Byrne's CGI Satan in this limp millennial apocalypse horror (?) story that packs in more yawns than it does boos. This pretty much rang the death knell on Schwarzenegger's action star status and forced him into the world of whogivesacrap politics. Best left forgotten alongside Collateral Damage and The 6th Day.

Red State:  Kevin Smith departs from his comedic View Askewniverse to take a few cheap shots at Evangelicalism and Godless government. There are some solid uneasy scares at the start, but similiar to the Hostel horror, Red State is peppered with a collection of a-hole jerkwads and I don't really care what terror beseeches these punks. Michael Parks is too perfect as the terror Abin Cooper and John Goodman grumbles good as the ATF Agent leading the siege but as the trumpets climax the film gets a shrug.  Not worth the fuss.

Sweet Smell of Success:  ‎"I love this dirty town." There are no greater cinematic bastards than Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster as Falco and J.J. Hunsecker. Watching Curtis squeeze and sleaze his way through the world of New York press is both painful and delightful--especially when he's bashing up against Lancaster's towering, omnipotent columnist. And the dialog! "The Cat's in the bag and the bag's in the river." "I'd hate to take a bite out of you. You're a cookie filled with arsenic." Brutal!

The Pit and The Pendulum:  Typical of the Roger Corman/Edgar Allen Poe pairings, The Pit and The Pendulum offers up a few nice moments for Vincent Price (especially the hunchbacked flashbacks) but John Kerr's heroic wooden lead knocks the enjoyment down a peg or two--that man can grimace with the best but that's about it. I really do dig that Hero as Damsel in Distress climax though and Barbara Steele delivers a genuinely scary graveyard image.

The Dead Zone:  The bridge between Videodrome and The Fly, David Cronenberg's adaptation of the Stephen King novel feels in a lot of ways like work-for-hire but the Canadian auteur crams in plenty of his unique viewpoint (scissor suicide body twitches, bullets shattering lamps after they've passed through torsos). Christopher Walken gives one of his final honest (non-caricature) performances as the tortured tutor Johnny Smith and there are moments here of utter heartbreak. The Dead Zone is my favorite King novel and although Brooke Adams doesn't quite feel like a love-of-a-lifetime here, the film gets more right than it does wrong.  Plus, cool supporting turns from Anthony Zerbe, Tom Skerritt, and Martin Sheen.


The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan:  The Night Eternal, the third book in The Strain trilogy comes out on Tuesday and I realized that I had stalled on the second book last year.  In an effort to knock it out quick, I downloaded the audio book.  Definitely digging this Vampire apocalypse.  Imagine Del Toro's Blade 2 reapers mixing with the cockroach world of Mimic and you've got an idea of this monster mash.  I sorta wish the second book jumped a couple of decades in time, but I'm halfway through the book and I'm finally reaching that point where I can't just wait to listen to the book in traffic--gotta get it done.


Seeking Major Tom by William Shatner:  Although this latest outing doesn't hold the leval of genius discovered in the Ben Folds produced Has Been, Seeking Major Tom is still plenty of fun.  But you gotta be a true Shatner fan I think.  The first official music video has been released and as you can see it's a doozy.


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