Sunday, December 18, 2011

Matt’s Week in Dork! (12/11/11-12/17/11)

1408 (aka: This Room’s a Dick):  Though the end goes wonky, this was a pretty entertaining film.  The look and feel was interesting, reminding me of films from the late 70s or early 80s.  John Cusack is a solid lead, able to go from pompous jerk to total psychobilly freakout in 60 seconds.

Darby O’Gill and the Little People:  Disney made some danged strange films once upon a time, and Darby O’Gill must be high up on that list.  An old Irishman sees Leprechauns, Sean Connery needs a job, and Janet Munro is looking for love.  Surreal fun with a somewhat corny (but enjoyable) take on Irish mythology that kind of reminded me of an Irish Rovers tune. 

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Red Zone Cuba:  Oh my goodness, this movie is awful.  With a wandering plot(?), boring and unappealing actors, and seemingly no point, it’s the perfect target for the boys.  And they take full advantage.  The episode is good for a lot of laughs.

Norwegian Ninja:  It’s not like I saw trailer and thought, ‘this will be a typical movie.’  But, wow.  Crazy.  It’s like a Michel Gondry film, only good.  With that twisted Scandinavian sense of humor and a cast of likable weirdos, this movie is really a must see for the seriously bent.  If you pay close attention, you might reach enlightenment, and if you do, you might just be Ninja of the Year.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows:  Though Jeremy Brett is still my favorite Sherlock, these new Guy Ritchie films are far too much fun to ignore.  And say what you will, the original stories had all this pulp craziness in them.  It just hadn’t really made it into film adaptations before.  The friendship between Holmes and Watson still puts a smile on my face.  The portrayal of Watson’s wife Mary is such a welcome change from the usual buzz-killing shrill harpy wives in buddy films usually come off as.  I also enjoyed the introduction of Mycroft and Moriarty.  And I really do love the portrayal of Holmes’ fighting style in these films, taken to a new and interesting place in the finale.  Can’t wait for the next one.  America bound?

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol:  For my money, Mission: Impossible III is really the first Mission: Impossible movie.  It’s certainly the first one where the writers seemed to be aware the franchise was based on a TV show, and that the show was about something.  Ghost Protocol follows suit.  Not to the same level of mind-messing, but still good.  It’s kind of cliché to take a gadget/tech based team’s equipment away, and make them solve problems in new ways (it’s been done in many action/sci-fi/spy movies before).  But I enjoyed the way it was done here.  I loved the way mistakes happened and things didn’t quite work out.  And then seeing the team react.  Even simple things like trying to get a retinal scan while the scanner is moving.  Well done.  They didn’t reinvent the wheel here, but if you’re looking for a solid action film that’s not totally idiotic, give it a go.

The Tiger of Eschnapur:  Part one of Fritz Lang’s Indian based serial-like epic certainly has its good points.  The location shooting is cool, for example.  But, perhaps due to age, the color seems muted, almost bleached, to the point where things I’m sure should look amazing look a touch shabby.  The actors, all clearly European (or American) seem awkwardly out of place (I mean, they went to India to film.  Couldn’t they find a few Indians to be in the movie?).

A Dangerous Method:  Probably the least interesting of David Cronenberg’s recent work, this is still an excellently executed and acted film.  Keira Knightly puts in a violent performance that will likely draw the most attention, and Viggo Mortensen is wonderfully bitter.  But Michael Fassbender’s desperate repression is the real centerpiece.  Excellent stuff, though on occasion it feels like key moments are missing.  But, the performances hold you through the rough patches.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas:  Not as uproariously funny as the second film, this is still good for some serious belly laughs.  Lots of silly 3D gimmickry, potty humor, pot (and other illicit material) humor, and general bad behavior.  Neil Patrick Harris shows up for some more crazy and a new hero is born in Wafflebot.

    I watched a few episodes of the new Doctor Who this week.  Really digging the show.  It doesn’t have the same magic as the original show.  But it has it’s own, which is what’s really important.  I’m really digging Matt Smith’s time on the show.

    So, I went on a weird jaunt with co-Dork Brad to see an 8 minute preview of The Dark Knight Rises.  I wasn’t going to say no.  I enjoyed the adventure of it.  But, waiting in line for about an hour to see a scene from a movie I’m not all that excited about (sorry, fans, I didn’t love The Dark Knight…It was OK.  Not as good as Batman Begins.  Anyway…) was an odd thing to do.  And I think everyone else felt the same way when it was all over.  There was a collective “…And?” vibe at the end of it.  As far as the footage itself goes, it looked pretty good.  Reminded me a bit of a James Bond film, but with a healthy dash of what G.I. Joe should have been.  The only major negative about it was that Bane’s voice was too distorted by his mask, making it nearly impossible to understand him once the music and action kicked in.

    And I finished up The Road to the Rim by A. Bertram Chandler.  A good, quick read, with plenty of the classic space opera excitement and daring do.  I suspect I’ll be enjoying the books in this series for some time.  A nice light entertainment between more serious reading.  But, boy does it make me hungry to get serious on some of the writing I’ve left by the wayside recently.  I’ve spent so much time writing about movies, I’ve kind of neglected my other work.

On a sad note, Christopher Hitchens's cancer siege was finally lost.  It's not a surprise.  But it sucks, none the less. 


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