Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jon Favreau Interviews Harrison Ford

Found this over at Aint It Cool.  Apparently, Jon Favreau who once hosted the great IFC Chat Show Dinner for Five, is conducting interviews with the cast of Cowboys & Aliens as a way of building excitement amongst nerd culture.  First up is this rather entertaining chinwag with Harrison Ford.  They talk horses, cowboys, planes, 3D Tech, and Star Wars.  


WTF? Ernest Dickerson Has Directed A Lifetime Movie?

Hold up.  Ernest Dickerson, the man who shot Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing and directed some of my favorite 90s genre flicks in Tales From The Crypt Demon Knight and Juice has done a new movie for the Lifetime Network called The Last Man Standing?  Well, Dickerson has been cranking out a lot of TV work lately with The Walking Dead, Dexter, Burn Notice, and The Vampire Diaries.  That man works.  So, here is the trailer for his latest job.


Fright Night Posters

Am I actually starting to look forward to this Fright Night remake?  After the first trailer, the R rating, and these four character posters...yep, my butt is gonna be in the theater opening weekend.  Crazy.  Love the Doctor Who Hunter.


New Release Tuesday (6/28/11)!!!

Must Buy DVD of the Week!

ZATHURA (BLU):  Remember when the Internet nearly exploded when Jon Favreau was announced as the director of Iron Man?  I stood back confident.  I knew he was the right man for the job because I had seen the genius that is Zathura, a film that is for my money Favreau's best (fingers crossed that Cowboys & Aliens blows it out of the water) and easily one of the best kid adventure films of the last decade.  I'd put it up there right next to Explorers or The Monster Squad.  And yes, it is infinitely better than that other Chris Van Allburg boardgame fantasy.  Can't wait to see what this looks like on blu with those fantastic Stan Winston Lizards.


SUCKER PUNCH (EXTENDED CUT):  I had thoroughly enjoyed all of Zack Snyder's movies leading up to Sucker Punch (yes, even that owl movie is awesome).  But with this girlsplosion fetish-flick he lost me.  There are elements that I like.  The action is cool and the blending of samurais and dragons and robots and WWI demon soldiers is really exciting.  But between those style moments is a lot of boring talkie sequences and a thin plot unable to rise above some really stiff performances.  A shame.  But!  There is enough here for me to continually enjoy and I am putting it on the Blu Ray shelf.  And I'm curious to see the extended cut.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS MOTION PICTURE TRILOGY (EXTENDED BLU RAY EDITION):  I've been going back and forth on whether or not to purchase the blu rays since I already own the extended edition in standard and it's not like I watch them all the time.  I really love the first and second films, but The Return of the King has always left me cold.  I really just don't like the ending, which I won't go on and on about here.  It just doesn't have the oomph that I want it to have.  That being said, I know I'm going to break down and snatch up the blus eventually.  Maybe not this week but I can't resist.

SEASON OF THE WITCH:  No surprise to you folks that have been paying attention, but I love Nicolas Cage movies.  The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  I take all shades of Cage.  Season of the Witch is nowhere near as awesome as the other 2011 Cage flick Drive Angry, but it's also not nearly as bad as the internet was spewing about this flick in January.  It's fun.  It's got Ron Perlman, and he's in it a lot more than I thought he was going to be.  They are a fun cinematic buddy duo.  That should be worth it for you.

THE WARRIOR'S WAY:  This was a fun movie that nobody seemed to see.  If you like Westerns, or especially Weird Westerns than you really have to check out The Warrior's Way.  Geoffrey Rush and Danny Huston chew a ton of ham and are really a joy to watch.  It is CG heavy, but that's kind of its charm too.  I'm definitely buying it, but you might want to give it a Netflix first.

BLACK MOON:  Haven't seen this one yet.  But everything I've read about this surrealist fantasy has me intrigued   And with the upcoming Barnes and Noble Criterion 50% sale it's even easier to blind buy.  Check out the bizzaro trailer below.


THE NESTING (BLU):  Here's another one I've never seen before, but again I've been hearing good things about this seldom discussed 80s horror.  We've got ghosts and a pretty wicked blade.  I'm in.  Eli Roth recently tweeted that it inspired at least one nasty death in Hostel Part II.  "You will not live until you've killed...The Nesting!"

BARNEY'S VERSION:  I've heard mixed opinions on this one, but I love Paul Giamatti and I'm always in the mood for an actor's showcase.  Plus, it's Canadian!

LIVE LIKE A COP DIE LIKE A MAN:  From the demented (and disgusting mind) that brought us Cannibal Holocaust and Jungle Holocaust (two films I really can't stand!) comes this crime story.  I know very little about it other than that.  I dig the title of course, but there have been plenty of terrible Italian movies with great titles.  And maybe, just maybe the gratuitus outrageousness of Ruggero Deodato will work better for me in a police tale than that gore porn stuff he's known for.  Maybe.

THE ITALIAN CONNECTION:  An obvious French Connection knockoff, but this one stars Henry Silva and Woody Strode!  Plus, that poster is awesome!

THE BOSS:  More Henry Silva!


BEASTLY:  Ugh, just ugh.  Please stop with all these Twilight ripoffs.  The Twilights are bad enough.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Jonah Hex in DCnU's Gotham

I'm sure you guys have heard that DC Comics is relaunching their universe with 52 New Titles in the DCnU.  All these titles will be available in the normal monthly print form as well as the digital format.  My initial response to all this rigmarole was, "Yawn."  Whether its an Infinite Crisis or an Identity Crisis or whatever, it all gets returned back to the status quo eventually.  This is a given when it comes to comics and you just have to accept it.  Okay.

Jonah Hex has always been one of my favorite comic characters.  An ugly Man With No Name type that has been played realistically, futuristically, and bugnutscrazily.  Well, according to Newsarama, Jonah Hex's ongoing title is getting the revamp with All Star Western.  The new comic is still be handled by the duo of Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti, but the stand alone format will finally shift to story arc narratives.  And the setting is switching to Old West Gotham City.  I'm happy to see the stand-alones fall away since Jonah Hex is a character that could really benefit from some narrative growth.  But I'm not to crazy about Gotham City.  Seems a little too gimmicky.  That being said, All Star Western is the only title from the DCnU relaunch that I really give a darn about.  And I really need some good Hex to wash the Josh Brolin taint outta my mouth.


Dork Art: Kubrick!

Oh man, I love this print from the British company Social Fabrik.  It's the perfect print for my bathroom.  Above the john, staring back at me is Kubrick.  All knowing.


Dork Art: Mr. Whaite's Deck of Cards

Pop Artist, Mr. Whaite has started a new series centered around a deck of cards and his latest is the above King of Clubs, the eighth wonder of the world.  Below are the previous entries in the series.  Nifty.


Trailer: Pixar's Brave

Still haven't gotten myself out to see Pixar's latest (and I'm probably gonna pass to be honest, the Cars franchise just does not appeal to me whatsoever) and even though I'm not as in love with Toy Story 3 like the rest of the world seems to be, I can't deny the utter brilliance of flicks like UP, The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo.  And the below trailer for Brave gives me those geek goosebumps.  The Bear on its haunches--this could be really exciting.


Dork Art: Mondo Cap! Mondo Transformers 3!

This Wednesday you better hit up your local comic shop cuz the fourth issue of the prequel comic Captain America: First Avenger has one badass cover supplied by Mondo and artist Tyler Stout.  I think this is some seriously cool news, especially for all you Mondo fans like me.  App Games, VHS Releases, and now Comics.  Mondo is stretching out into all kinds of formats and I can't wait to see them take over Pop Culture.

As for their poster line, well that's still kickin' butt too.  Below you'll see their latest.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon comes to you from artist Jesse Phillips and will be released this Wednesday on the Mondo website.      Both the standard and the varient measure 18 x 36.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brad's Week in Dork! (6/19-6/25)

Started off this Week in Dork right with The Monkees at Wolf Trap.  And it was loads of fun.  For whatever reason, when most girls were heartthrobbing after boybands like Backstreet Boys and *NSynch my wife got starry-eyed for Micky, Davy, Peter, and Mike.  She still has all their albums, all their TV episodes (VHS & DVDs), their bobbleheads, magazine appearances, and even The Monkeemobile.  And through her I've become quite a Monkees dork as well.  Nothing to her level, but I've been loving the music, the TV show (and as you'll read below), the amazing cinematic experience that is HEAD.

Now Mike no longer tours with The Monkees, so seeing Micky Davy and Peter up on stage this past Sunday  might not be the full experience, but the boys still cranked out an excellent 2 Hour show without an opening act or an intermission.  They played all the expected classics as well as a few select choices from HEAD.


Green Lantern:  Green Lantern AKA So Much Wasted Potential. Ryan Reynold's doesn't actually suck up the place, but Blake Lively and all the other Earth based blahness sure as hell does. But I'm not gonna lie, seeing Abin Sur, Sinestro, Kilowog, and Tomar Re walking around still managed to fill me with geeky tingles but the GL Corps' presence in the film is so minuscule it's nearly infuriating. Really, really wish Green Lantern embraced its Science Fiction origin but what you've got is another superhero origin story that I'm guessing really wants to be the DC Universe Iron Man. Lame.

Superman and the Mole Men:  I really enjoy George Reeves' Clark Kent. He's a real reporter, not just a bumbling baffoon...well, except when he says "I just saved-I mean, Superman just saved that kitten." His Superman is cool too; he can fly and bend rifles but that's about it. When a small town oil company accidently drills to the center of the Hollow Earth they unleash an army (well, three) mole men! But, in Twilight Zone fashion, it's the raving lunatic townsfolk that are the real problem and Supes has to come to the rescue of these curious burrowers. Fun, light entertainment.

Dracula 2000:  Sigh. Late 90s Early 00s flick that tries. Unfortunately, Johnny Lee Miller (remember when he was gonna be the next big thing? Me neither) and Justine Waddell are just utterly forgettable leads. It's fun to see Gerard Butler as Dracula and the origin revelation might have been a little interesting if handled properly, but at the end of the day he falls somewhere just ahead of that Van Helsing Drac and the Blade Trinity Drac as the all time worst interpretations. But I do get a kick outta the very PG-13ish Brides of Dracula comprised of Jennifer Esposito, Jeri Ryan, and Colleen Fitzpatrick and if they had gone 80s R on us, they might have made the flick for me. Thankfully, Patrick Lussier would go on to Drive Angry glory.

Kiss Me Deadly:  "Woman are worse than flies." Ralph Meeker is the first cinematic Mike Hammer and he's easily the most brutal, loathsome, and angry incarnation of the famous P.I. An animal enjoying a vicious contempt for his prey. After his little hitchhiker is snuffed out under his watch, Meeker slaps and pummels his way through a variety of lowlifes and poor bastard bystanders. Kiss Me Deadly eventually erupts in one of the Great Noir climaxes, and it would make an excellent double-feature with Samuel Fuller's Pickup on South Street.

Twins of Evil:  One of the lesser known Hammer Horror films, Twins of Evil is an absolute delight of camp that sees Peter Cushing burning potential witches/vampires left and right while dealing with the inappropriately dressed twin nieces that have been forced upon his moral sensibilities. Medeleine and Mary Collinson (Playboy's first ever identical Playmates) relish the opportunity to sink their teeth into the Hammer genre and even though there are plenty of unintentional laughs, Twins of Evil is an absolute watch for the studio's fans.

The Tree of Life:  Despite never quite connecting to the central story of the 1950s Texas family, The Tree of Life is nevertheless captivating with Malick's uncontrollable visual poetry and existential narration. In fact, I found myself relishing the Big Bang excursions, the Dino predators, and the sea of sunflowers more so than Brad Pitt's overbearing father or Sean Penn's struggling offspring. And Brad Pitt is excellent, another stellar turn in his quality-increasing and happily eclectic career. Maybe not for everybody, but there is plenty to ponder in The Tree of Life.

The Rite:  Having now seen The Rite, why would I (or you) ever rewatch this film when you can easily just as watch the far superior The Exorcist? I am amazed at how ineffective this Devil tale is when it comes to the scares or the philosophy of the characters. I do like the brief appearances of both Toby Jones and Rutger Hauer and it's impossible to not like Anthony Hopkins even in these paycheck roles--and his CGIed screaming face is maybe a little eerie.  But, come on!  This will never be seen as anything but an Exorcist wannabe.

Unknown:  Liam Neeson and his special set of skills are at it again, but instead of chasing down his daughter's kidnappers in Taken he's battling Aidan Quinn's villainous doppelganger and remembering how to kick his ass. I've always loved Liam Neeson--he's Darkman for cryin' out loud! But after Batman Begins, Seraphim Falls, Taken, The A-Team, and now Unknown I AM LOVING BadAssKicker Liam Neeson. Knockin' dudes through walls, slamin' sharp objects in their throats. Yep, Neeson is my favorite contemporary action star and I want to see more of him. Like Taken, Unknown could have benefited from a stronger rating and the conspiracy is typically blah but it still manages to be loads of fun. And it's got a great knockout supporting performance from everyone's favorite Hitler, Bruno Ganz.

Head:  Written in the basement of Harry Dean Stanton's home by Bob Rafaelson and Jack Nicolson, HEAD takes the joyful hippie silliness of TV's The Monkees and cranks the Acid up to 11, delivering an AWEsome 60s culture roller coaster that explodes through bonkers backlots that apparently rest atop the luscious locks of Victor Mature. Holy Cow. Bask in the glory and acknowledge HEAD as the greatest Rock n Roll cinematic entertainment to ever force its way onto the screen.

Cop Hater:  This early adaptation of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novel is not particularily good, but I definitely enjoyed the shockingly young Robert Loggia and his throttle carpet headbashing antics. The film is also notable for one of the best Punch-Outs in cinema, blink and you'll miss the THWACK WHAM FLOOR. Other than that, Cop Hater is pretty ordinary.

Superman Returns:  Maybe a little too in love with the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve era, Superman Returns is an entertaining if plodding comic book adventure with an excellent lead in Brandon Routh and a so-so villain in Kevin Spacey's not-quite-goofy-not-quite-scary Lex Luthor. And again, real estate plots? Sigh. But I kinda dig the bravado of the Lois child subplot and I like that James Marsden's fiance is not an expected a-hole, but a good guy trying to do what's right. Curious to see where this franchise would have gone if given the chance.

Gordon's War:  "You Tell That To Spanish Harry, Bitch!" Paul Winfield has been a part of a lot of excellent genre pictures (Trouble Man, Star Trek II, The Terminator, White Dog), but in Gordon's War the audience is blessed with an intense lead performance in which Winfield's Nam Vet takes vengeance on the pimps & pushers responsible for the devastation of his much beloved Harlem. Directed with exploitation class by Ossie Davis, Gordon's War never goes as bugnuts viciously violent and angry as I would like, but it's a solid execution with a pretty fantastic climactic chase sequence.

Off Limits:  Mix the buddy cop banter of Lethal Weapon with some Vietnam commentary and you've got yourself Off Limits, an enjoyable Military Police procedural that doesn't rock your core with its obvious climax but does deliver an appropriate amount of intrigue. Plus, some seriously fun supporting turns from Keith David (he watches the MOD Squad!), David Allen Grier, Fred Ward, and the kinky Scott Glenn.

Steele Justice:  The kind of movie my thirteen year old self would have stayed up till the wee hours of the morning watching on the USA Network, Steele Justice is a low-budget 80s action flick worth a rental but not serious thought. Martin Kove of Cobra Kai fame sneers seriously while brandishing himself in various forms of inappropriate neck ware (snakes and pink sweaters) and somehow manages to maintain a relationship with music video choreographer Sela Ward while gunfights constantly interrupt her MTV world. Nice, but forgettable appearances from character actors Ronny Cox, Bernie Casey, and Shannon Tweed add to the ridiculous entertainment.

Razorback:  From the director of Highlander! (and Highlander 2...) comes this really fantastic killer pig movie. First off, it's beautiful. The opening burning house rampage sets the epic tone for this stunning bit of Aussie Horror and you'll be screaming/choking on the smoke along with the brutalized first player. Secondly, the charging, monstrous beast is pretty darn brilliant for a muppet. And thirdly, similar to great bits of Zombie terror, it's the people who are the real threat--and eventual fodder for Razorback, who you'll be cheering on as the film progresses. Available from the Warner Archive, Razorback should belong in every exploitation junkie's collection.


Black Dynamite Slave Island One Shot:  "His Afro's So Bad It Won't Ever Relax. When He Go To The Barber They Part His Hair With An Axe!"  The Retro Adventures of the Rawly Majestic Black Dynamite continue on the four-colored page, and Brian Ash's Slave Island perfectly captures the ridiculous but somehow sweetly sincere tone of the Michael Jai White film. When Black Dynamite learns of the resort getaway Slave Island he vows to Burn That Muther Down! Along the way he tears apart a Great White Shark, makes serious good outta 61 Hours, and starts a revolution. Best of all is Jun Lofamia's amazing art that really does capture that late 70s comic book look. I really hope Adult Swim delivers on the Black Dynamite cartoon promise but if it doesn't I definitely want more comics.


Matt's Week in Dork! (6/19/11-6/25/11)

    I begin this this Week in Dork in the usual fashion, with the movies I watched.  It’s been kind of a weird week for me, and I’m actually not really sure how I got this many movies in, as the week was kind of a blur.  Anyway, here it goes…

Green Lantern:  Sadly, this is pretty much the movie the trailer made it look like.  Ryan Reynolds is playing Ryan Reynolds again.  Far too much of the film takes place on Earth dealing with exceptionally uninteresting things.  The space stuff doesn’t really have enough time devoted to it to be as interesting as it should be.  And if Blake Lively never steps in front of a camera again, the world will be a better place.  It’s not awful.  But it could and should have been better.  It may seem obvious, but if they’d devoted less time to the crap, and more to the good stuff, the film would have been better.  And there is good stuff.

Transcendent Man:  “Does God exist?  Well, I would say, ‘not yet.’”  Ray Kurzweil cuts an interesting figure.  At once sad and naively optimistic, he is clearly amazingly accomplished but somehow tinged with a sense of haunted failure (in the body of his late father whose untimely death seems to color much of Kruzweil’s life).  This documentary does try to play somewhat evenly with Kurzweil and his ideas.  It gives time to detractors, supporters, and those who fall in between.  There are some pretty interesting ideas put forth, though nothing is explored in any great depth.  What can not be denied is that Kurzweil has done amazing things and he forecasts even more.  We’ll see.

Tangled:  Considerably better than the trailers made it look, Tangled is still weighed down by needless, low quality musical numbers.  The humor is a bit forced, but Disney has done worse in that respect (Hunchback for example).  The CG is much better than I expected, though the character design leaves something to be desired.  The story is good, but the movie could have been better.  I’m not against musicals at all, but it was so clearly shoehorned in because it’s expected in a Disney film.  Ugh.  Still, much better than originally expected.

Doctor Who: Robot:  The first outing of Tom Baker as the Doctor has some cool stuff, and some good U.N.I.T. moments, but is kind of a silly story.  It’s basically King Kong mixed with Frankenstein, but with a robot in the place of the monster.  The mad scientist is delightfully strange and the cabal of scientific utopians bent on recreating the world in their Orwellian image are lots of fun.  This episode will always be special for me, though, because it was the first Doctor Who I ever saw.  I chanced upon it while flipping channels and was hooked from moment one. 

Kiss Me Deadly:  Ralph Meeker is all kinds of cold and nasty as Mike Hammer in this wild, atomic powered Noir classic.  He slaps, he punches, and I don’t even know what he did to Sugar Smallhouse, but poor Charlie Max didn’t like it too much.  He roughs up suspects, punks, thugs, and nice old men in the pursuit of justice.  And what justice.  One of the crazier endings I’ve seen.  Brutal.  Surreal.  And frankly, awesome.

Just how he says 'hello.'

Super 8:  (Upon my second viewing of this film, I found myself enjoying it even more.  This is probably in my top five films of the year, so far).  Like finding a forgotten gem in a video store, Super 8 harkens back to the kid adventure films of the 80s, like The Goonies, The Explorers, Space Camp, and so many others.  Filled with interesting characters and thrilling action, it’s got a lot of heart to back it all up.  And it sports a great cast of kid actors, each putting their stamp on various genre regulars (the Fat Kid, the Nerdy Kid, the Sensitive Kid, etc.).  Put aside your cynicism, and remember why we love movies.

Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks:  A pretty epic story of the very beginning of one of the greatest menaces to face the universe, Genesis of the Daleks introduces us to the people of Skaro before the end of their cataclysmic conflict, and to Davros, the mad genius behind the Daleks.  It’s a really good story, and unlike some of the longer ones, well deserving of the six episodes.  It doesn’t become repetitive or dull in the middle, as some six episode arcs do, and in fact, some elements feel like maybe they could have used some more time devoted to them, like the underground resistance.  A classic story, and one of the better to focus on the Daleks.  And even though Davros is just as over the top and two dimensionally evil as The Master, I simply find him more fun.

Deadlier Than the Male:  “I do all sorts of things when I’m tight.”  Classic British pulp hero, Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond gets a cheeky Bond style film adaptation.  Occasionally funny, often delightfully awkward, and constantly condescendingly chauvinistic, Deadlier Than the Male is a great deal of fun.  Chock full of ‘That Guy’ actors, beautiful women, and deadly assassins (who also happen to be among the beautiful women).  And the crazy final chess match almost feels like something out of The Avengers.  Great stuff.  Unfortunately, Johnson isn’t the most charming or dynamic of leads, but he’s passable.

Cursed:  Post Scream idiocy.  Lots of untalented, moderately attractive people run through some of the most lifeless paces you can imagine, hitting nearly every note at exactly the expected time.  Characters seem to work very hard to find the absolutely dumbest things to do.  All the while, what could be fun is mostly just dull.  I love the concept of the werewolf.  I just wish there were more good films using it.  This is definitely not one.  This film is cursed; with dullness.  And the finale is just awful.

From the film makers to you, the viewer.

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman:  Pretty much like an extended episode of the Animated Series, this may not be amazing, but like the show, it’s darned good and what I’d love to see from DC’s animated features.  I don’t need them to reinvent the wheel with each movie.  Just tell a good story.  Find out who Gotham’s newest cracked defender is as she tires to do the Bat’s job, taking down a criminal syndicate.  Though it has strong similarities to Mask of the Phantasm, it manages to do its own thing and have a moderately clever twist.  For fans of the show, this is a welcome addition to the franchise. 

    I also got a chance to watch some of Warehouse 13, and was surprised how much I liked it.  It’s sort of a mix of the old Friday the 13th series and Special Unit 2.  Goofy, but a lot of fun.  And it may be the first time since Unforgiven that I’ve liked Saul Rubinek.

    And I watched a handful of episodes of the completely cracked Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  Crazy Quilt.  Wow.  As one would expect from a character called Crazy Quilt, he loves to leave clues for Batman in the form of…that’s right, paintings.  What is up with DC?

    I finished another volume of Conan, Rogues in the House and Other Stories.  Probably the weakest volume to date, but it’s still better than a lot of Conan material I’ve read.  And due to circumstances totally within my control, I didn’t finish Reality is Broken.  I did get more of it read, but not nearly as much as I should have, and I have no excuse.  Should finish that in the next couple of days, unless I really choke.

    On the video game front (which for some reason has been active for me recently), I was involved in a co-op game of I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1  in which we seem to have beat the game.  Total madness, and I’m not gonna lie, it left me feeling pretty friggin’ jazzed by the end.  Perhaps laughing a bit maniacally.  Perhaps.  And, had a chance to play some Halo deathmatch with a couple friends.  It was nice playing against people substantially better than me (who weren‘t jerks about it).  I got my butt handed to me, but reveled in every kill, because I knew I worked for ‘em.

    On a final note, I got to thinking about how my life lacked something important.  I realized what I really need that I don’t have is a team of sexy henchwomen.  So, I want to try to remedy that.  Thus, I’m currently doing an open casting call for sexy henchwomen.  If you’re sexy, have a style all your own (or look really good in uniform), and maybe want to go to a comic convention to have my back, then I want to hear from you.  As with any good hench-job, it’s dangerous, thankless, and short.  But it’ll look good on a resume.