I had a pretty fantastic Week in Dork. I followed up my Gunfighter Cineawesome Review with The Ox-Bow Incident and pretty much had my socks blown off. I had been holding off watching the movie till I read the novel, but finally decided that I was too damn lazy to ever read 224 pages...sigh. Now, having checked out the Fonda flick I'm reconsidering my inexplicable apathy towards the book.
The DVD/Blu Ray highlight of the week was definitely Criterion's release of Godzilla. I still haven't delved fully into the disc, having just checked out the dubbed Raymond Burr version of the film, but I am just stoked to finally have this kaiju classic in The Collection.
And the second DVD highlight of the week would be Shout Factory's Lethal Ladies Collection Volume 2. First, it has The Arena. Which is a mondo flick featuring Pam Grier as a Gladiator! Second, it has Fly Me with Kung Fu Stewardesses! Skip down to my mini review below to discover how much damn fun I had with that bit of ridiculous exploitation. I really hope Shout Factory kicks up their Roger Corman Cult Classic Collection release schedule cuz a few discs every three or four month is just not enough.
TV OF THE WEEK!
Twin Peaks Season 1: I had been hankering to rewatch Twin Peaks for some time, and The Auteur Cast's latest series on David Lynch gave me just the right excuse to dive back into the land of Laura Palmer, Log Ladies, Bob, Jaques & Jean Renault, backwards speech dreams, Dianne, and America's finest coffee. When this first aired on television back in 1990 I was 11 years old and could not wrap my tiny little brain around this Lynchian dreamscape. I was definitely aware of the Twin Peaks phenomenon and it seemed like all the adults were raving about this show for about three months--and then it disappeared. Ten years later I discovered the show in college and fell madly in love. Now I've taken it upon my show to introduce my wife to the show, and after a little resistance and the entire run of the first season's 7 episodes, she appears to be hooked. Personally, I've found it very difficult not to spoil the Who Killed Laura Palmer mystery but so far I haven't spoiled a thing. But watching the show through her has made me completely giddy. Possibly you've seen my @VFCinema reaction tweets I've posted over the course of this week. Lotta fun.
Justified Season 3 Episode 2 "Cut Ties": The second ep of the third season may not have had that killer table moment from the premiere, but it did have Carla Gugino reprising her role from the short-lived Karen Sisco...okay, so maybe she has a different name or whatever, but we all know this is Karen Sisco. Seriously, Justified now has Timothy Olyphant AND Carla Gugino!?!? That's just too much pretty for one show to handle. Really looking forward to seeing where this relationship takes us. Plus, "Cut Ties" also introduces us to this season's other Big Bad, Mykelti Williamson as the scary as hell butcher, Limehouse. Season 3 is gearing up to be more of the same--ABSOLUTELY BADASS TV.
They Grow The Hair Big In Twin Peaks
MOVIES OF THE WEEK!
The Ox-Bow Incident: "This Is A Fine Company For A Man To Die With." Just a damn depressing Western. Henry Fonda and Harry Morgan are a couple of ornery drifters who stumble into town and into a bloodthirsty posse after a couple of rustlers kill a local rancher. On the trail, the posse discovers Dana Andrews, Anthony Quinn, and Francis Ford with a herd of the rancher's cattle. Next thing you know, nooses are thrown over the tree and the posse is set for an execution. At just 75 minutes, The Ox-Bow Incident is a tight but swiftly brutal morality play that gets a tad preachy but this choirboy ate it up. A Must See For Fans of the Genre. For further understanding of its genius read my review over at Cineawesome.
The Call of Cthulhu: An effective adaptation of one of HP Lovecraft's most famous creations, this All-New Silent fumbles a bit with a few too many modern-faces but as the fools search where they shouldn't, and the madness spreads into our reality The Call of Cthulhu succeeds in dread where few other adaptations could. And you'll come away from your viewing aching to grab your friends and a camera and Make Your Own Damn Movie.
X The Man With The X-Ray Eyes: "Why Do You Want To See So Much?" Mad Scientist Ray Milland invents some pretty potent eye drops that empower him with X-Ray Vision. When a table of tightwad businessmen refuse to fund his research, he does it anyway thanks to some irresponsible friends and a monkey. Of course the eye drops cause madness and murder and Milland must hide in a freakshow managed by the huckster Don Rickles. Roger Corman had directed 37 films prior to this one, and a bunch of those are better than this...but a bunch of those are also much worse than X. And that's where I'd rank it--Right in The Middle.
Godzilla King of the Monsters: It's an odd experience watching the 1956 American re-edit of the original Gojira. Heaps of narration and wandering Raymond Burr are stuffed into the film as a gateway for English speaking audiences, and even though it holds a certain charm, at the end of the day it just gets in the way of a pretty fantastic monster movie. Let it be said though, that Burr is a professional and gives it his all for his awkward cram sessions. And there's no denying the Rubber Suit Beastie and the utter havoc Godzilla rains upon Tokyo. But this just ain't the proper way to see this film.
Fly Me: "See Stewardesses Battle Kung Fu Killers!" The film opens with three stewardesses boarding a flight from good 'ole U.S.of A. to scary, perverted Hong Kong where each one will be tested in the ways of WTF!?!? One girl spends the majority of the film held hostage, drugged, & nude. Another girl spends the film investigating her disappearance with her policeman lover named Rickshaw (and occasionally karate fighting). And the final girl tries to score with a Bone Specialist Doctor while attempting to ditch her mother in the big city. At the climax all the girls meet in a shoot out/karate beatdown. The film is ridiculous to the point of Zany Wonder and I loved every second of it. Of course, special bonus points awarded to Dick Miller's cabbie with the wandering eyes.
Underworld Awakening: The fourth outing in the tired Underworld franchise regains Kate Beckinsale's catsuited death dealer, and keeps the once-so-crucial hybrid Scott Speedman thankfully out of the limelight. Beckinsale awakens from some sort of deep freeze to a future utopia where humans have cleansed the world of both vampires and werewolves, stating "Mission Accomplished." Groan. Underworld 4 is less of a Suck Fest and more of a Snooze Fest with your only entertainment being provided by your mad MST3K skills of mockery. Or possibly you can start a drinking game at how many times Beckinsale randomly falls from the ceiling--two shots if done in slow mo.
Cover Girl Models: Similar to Fly Me, Cover Girl Models follows three pretty girls who inexplicably get involved in international espionage and awkward karate fights when one model (Pat Anderson, also from Fly Me) wears a dress carrying top secret microfilm stitched into the seam. Unlike Fly Me though, this cheapie exploitation is pretty much dullsville; lacking the quick-fire rapid pace insanity necessary to carry these shenanigans to trash cinema nirvana. And yeah, no Dick Miller, so no bonus points.
The Grey: Imagine Quint's U.S.S. Indianapolis speech from JAWS extended into a feature with the sharks switched for wolves and you start to get an idea of Joe Carnahan's A-Team follow-up, The Grey. A suicidal Liam Neeson says "No Mas" to fanged nature as he goes full-Jack London after his plane crashes somewhere in the winter wilderness of Alaska. Neeson continues his recent trend of mean 'ole badasses, leading the survivors deeper into the savagery of their own hearts. So don't just expect wolf-punching, Carnahan definitely goes a little Mallck metaphysical with the inner monologues and struggles with faith. And, yeah, definitely the first Real Good movie of 2012.
COMIC BOOK OF THE WEEK!
Ultimate Comics Avengers -- Death of Spider-Man: I am way behind on the Marvel Universe let alone the Ultimate Marvel Universe. I was definitely digging Mark Millar & Leinil Yu's run on the series climaxing in the previous trade with Captain America teleporting the Triskelion to an Iranian desert as a means for vaporizing hundreds of Super Vampires. But I gotta say that I was more than a little disappointed with this Epic *meh* Clash between Nick Fury's Avengers and Carol Danvers' New Ultimates. The Puppet Master was way obvious from four trades back, and even while trying to be meta-comenting on the cliches of the Versus comic it still manages to remain a boring cliche. And the Death of Spider-Man business? That really has nothing to do with these characters whatsoever, and feels way out of place when that plot collides here. I'll keep going with the series but this was a bit of a misstep.