Monday, January 2, 2012

Matt’s Week in Dork! (12/25-1/3)

    Between the holidays and getting extremely sick, I didn’t get much done, unfortunately.  With the holidays over, things should improve.

The First Turn-On:  Troma does summer camp and it’s much what you’d expect.  Crass, gross, goofy, and full of T&A.  One thing that impressed me was that even this jaded viewer was actually appalled by something in the film, and that ain’t easy.  Worth checking out if you enjoy Troma’s usual antics and 80s teen comedies.

The Tempest:  Nowhere near as interesting as Taymor’s Titus, it is occasionally visually striking, and I suppose everyone does a good job.  But when all is said and done, it’s only a bit meh.  I think the visuals might have been a bit too much, not allowing the words the place they should have.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Mad Monster:  An absolutely interminable movie gets a ribbing from Joel and the bots.  It’s amazing how a film so short they needed to add a serial episode to pad time still managed to feel like it went on forever.  I can’t imagine watching Mad Monster without the help of the MST3K guys.  Yikes.

Waitress!:  Low-brow?  Sure.  But not really up (or down) to Troma’s usual standards.  Occasionally funny.  Extremely juvenile.  It felt a bit too mainstream.  Like, maybe they were compromising to get more theater/TV play or something.  Ah, well.  They can’t all be winners.

Angels’ Wild Women:  Sometimes you watch a movie and forget that decisions are actually made in the making of process.  People actually took time to set up cameras, to stage shots, to think of dialog.  This movie didn’t happen by accident.  That is kind of mind blowing.  An hour in and it still didn’t seem to be about anything.  Hippies, bikers, a drug dealing Jesus-type guy in the desert.  So much mumbled dialog.  And nobody seemed to have any reason for doing anything.

Another Earth:  Though there’s nothing really wrong with this movie, I never found it especially interesting.  A semi-intriguing premise is pretty much just a backdrop for characters dealing with loss and guilt; standard art film stuff.  Everyone does a fine job, but nobody puts in a memorable performance, because the script simply doesn’t support one.

The Artist:  A love letter, not only to silent films, but to the folks who made them, and the time they came from, The Artist is charming, funny, nostalgic, and just a great time.  The two leads are perfectly cast, Jean Dujardin as the great silent actor, and Berenice Bejo as the up and coming ‘talkie’ actress.  Along with one of the greatest dog companions ever, they navigate the world while sound arrives in cinema and the economy collapses.  The movie is packed to the gills with familiar faces, but does an amazing job of making everyone and everything look right for the period.  Not the first retro-silent film in recent years (2005’s The Call of Cthulhu is an excellent callback to those bygone days), it is perhaps the most grandly realized.  For classic cinema buffs, it’s a must.

Insidious:  Insuckious might be a better name.  This movie seems to be a hodgepodge of every crappy 70s Exorcist wannabe.  Nothing new.  Lots of stupid.  Everyone is so ultra-dramatic as to make it seem vaguely funny.  Blah.

    I read the three volumes of the comic The Chimpanzee Complex (Paradox, The Sons of Ares, and Civilization) by Richard Marazano and Jean-Michel Ponzio.  It’s an interesting series, if not an ultimately satisfying one.  Some strange ideas and a general sense of cosmic dread hang over the whole piece, and the art is beautiful.  But I never felt for any of the characters.  There was something of a late 60s, early 70s Sci-Fi vibe, where everyone’s negative traits seemed in control.  That sort of anti-hope spirit so popular in the Vietnam era.  It got pretty oppressive.  Still, it’s worth a read for folks into more serious science fiction, like 2001, Moon, or Silent Running.

     Otherwise, I put together my Dorkies awards for 2011. 


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