Sunday, October 23, 2011

Matt’s Week in Dork! (10/16/11-10/22/11)

    An extra long week at work, but a pretty good week, all the same.  Not much new, but I had an adventure and posted my first article on cineAWESOME!  Up first, the movies.

The Thing (2011):  Did you ever sit back, while watching the amazing John Carpenter version of The Thing, from 1982, and wonder to yourself, ‘wouldn’t it be amazing if we learned the whole story of the Norwegians, how they found the Thing, and how they ended up at the camp, chasing a dog?  And what if we threw in a bunch of non-Norwegians so that John Q. Sixpack in America could still relate?  And what if we threw in a couple of women, because what The Thing really needed was a little bit of sexual tension to keep the focus off the plot.  And what if we made all of that really, really boring?’  Well, if you asked yourself that, you now have an answer.  I won’t say this is the most pointless remake (and yeah, though officially a prequel, it’s a remake), but it would likely make the list.  The CG effects don’t hold a creepy candle to the practical effects from nearly 30 years ago.  And the cast is just boring.  The only exception is Kristofer Hivju, who I think should be in every movie, just to react to crazy stuff.  The man has a face that was built for surprise.

Doctor Who: Arc of Infinity:  The return of Omega, the renegade Time Lord, brings the group back together and goes from Amsterdam to the Doctor’s home world.  It’s a fun, if inconsequential episode.  Nothing to make it really stick out, but watchable.

Bad Teacher:  While attempting to be crass and shocking, Bad Teacher misses all the marks on being funny.  I kept wanting to laugh.  I wanted to find the situations funny.  I even like a lot of the people in the cast.  But, blah.  Not funny.

Sweet Smell of Success:  Straight-up brutal.  Sleazy trash peddler Tony Curtis is the rotten core of this grim story of love, betrayal, yellow journalism, bribes, and all the ugly things that make the world hum.  The hulking spider at the center of the web of corruption is the fiendish Burt Lancaster.  Battles of wills, fists, and headlines splash across the screen, all driven by the wild jazz score of Elmer Bernstein.  The crazy dialog and collection of vile rogues make this one a must.  Grand.

The Pit and the Pendulum:  Vincent Price may be phoning it in for this Roger Corman cheepy, but even one of his hammy, hardly trying performances is a lot of fun to watch.  Lead actor John Kerr is shockingly awful, making Jack Nicholson of the same era seem positively dynamic.  Not one of the best Corman/Price films.  But it’s plenty watchable.

The Escapees:  Two young crazy girls wander around France, hang out with weird people, and get into some bad stuff.  The movie has a cool look/feel, and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy watching it.  But, it’s not especially good, or really all that interesting.

Uninvited:  Gah.  A danged boring western that feels like a college project.  Low quality.  Poor script.  Bad acting.  Just bad.

The Rape of the Vampire:  That was a bunch of stuff that was filmed.  I have no idea what the crap this movie was supposed to be about, if anything.  It looked pretty good.  Lots of cute girls took their clothes off.  Nothing made much sense.  The editing was awful.  Lots of jazz.  France looks cold.

    I also watched the first disk of Clone Wars season 3.  Man, that show does such a good job of making me forget the awful prequel trilogy.  It’s clearly made by people who actually like not only Star Wars, but the fans (read: not George Lucas).

    On Thursday night, Brad and I went to the AFI Silver and say Sweet Smell of Success and The Pit and the Pendulum.  Great time.  Great theater.  Unfortunately, we then got stuck in the worst traffic I’ve ever been in.  Two hours to make ten miles.  Gah.  That did not make me happy.

    Also, I finally posted my first item on cineAWESOME!  They were nice enough to invite me some time ago to write for them, but I’ve been having a kind of crazy time of it lately.  I’m working on my next piece right now (well, once this is posted).

    Haven’t done much reading, other than a bit more Clark Ashton Smith, which I’m really enjoying.  Makes me remember once again how much I love that era of weird fiction.  C.L. Moore, Lovecraft, Howard, and the rest.  Titans of the strange and wondrous.


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