Monday, January 16, 2012

Matt’s Week in Dork! (1/8/12 to 1/14/12)

    Week two without internet (I’m not going to keep counting) and I’m kind of falling into a rhythm.  Still getting some reading and writing done, though I still haven’t cracked into my Flix novel(?) which I feel I should.  And, once again, I didn’t get much watched by way of movies or TV.  I expected to get a lot more watched what with not having the internet to suck up my free time.  Ah, well.  Been busy, though. 

A Murder of Quality:  Denholm Elliot stars as John Le Carre’s (who also wrote the screenplay) recurring character George Smiley.  A brutal murder brings Smiley out of retirement to discover some dirty deeds.  Elliot’s portrayal of the character is more in keeping with his own kindly and frumpy nature than the inscrutable passivity of Alec Guinness or Gary Oldman.  The film feels fairly typical of British, made for TV mysteries, but it’s also typically watchable.  One annoying thing is that it suffers a bit from Law & Order syndrome where you know who the killer is, because they’re played by the supporting actor you recognize.

Dune:  David Lynch was the new film director to watch when he took the helm of this big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic novel.  For various reasons, the film failed, and failed in a big way.  Lynch vowed never to do big budget films again, paving the way for surreal classics like Lost Highway and Inland Empire.  The film itself is gorgeous, with production value spilling out of every frame.  But they try to cram entirely too much into too short of a film, skipping over vast and important elements of the novel, changing some things for seemingly no reason, and managing to alienate both fans of the novel and the average viewer.  The confusing, long winded, and multi-character voice-over is awkward, to say the least.  The cast is fantastic, though sometimes their performances are quite strange.  And the music is suitably operatic electronica.  It would be interesting to see what science fiction film would have been like in the following 20 years had this movie actually worked or done well.  It had the makings of being a more adult answer to the Star Wars films, but too many cooks in the kitchen made it a fascinating mess.

Doctor Who: Android Invasion:  The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith find themselves in a quiet little village where something isn’t quite right.  Some good performances from guest actors help the viewer get past the wonky alien costumes, which look like crappy versions of Sontarans, which already look a bit wonky in the first place.  It feels a bit like a John Pertwee episode, maybe because of how many Pertwee stories featured similar invasion stories.

Lady Frankenstein:  Moderately enjoyable horrible drek.  Bad make-up.  Worse ADR.  Lots of what you should expect from this kind of schlocky drive-in garbage.  The wonky dialog is good for many a laugh.

Corman’s World:  An excellent documentary about the rebel film maker behind some of the greatest low budget movies ever.  With interviews both old and new, we get a view of a multi-decade spanning career that has left its mark all over the film industry.  Say what you will about the movies he made (and still makes, at the time of this writing), he is a certain kind of master.  For movie buffs, this documentary is a must.  It was cool seeing this at the West End Cinema, too, where one of the film's producers is the general manager. 

    I finally picked up Star Trek again.  After a LONG break, I’m back to watching season 3 in production order.  I love the show, but there are certainly some bad episodes.  Still, the good ones are really good.  And it just feels good to be watching it again.

    I also watched a few episodes of the CG kids show Storm Hawks.  It’s not amazing, but it’s a fun show.  The kind of thing I’d have loved as a kid, and still enjoy now.  I got a few honest chuckles out of it, and I do like the weird science fiction vibe of the whole thing.  It once again makes me long for some good animated science fiction aimed at adults (and yes, I’m aware of anime, I just don’t like it…and yes, that includes the show/movie you’re about to suggest I try).

    On Saturday, Brad and I traveled to Baltimore to visit Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, a pleasant collection of various pop culture artifacts.  Lots of cool comics, old posters, statues, and all sorts of stuff.  For anyone into movies, comics, or the history of entertainment in general, this place is a must visit.  It got me really hankerin’ for some classic movie serials.  Gotta dig out Captain Midnight.

    And, I posted my first (and second) Prodigal Son in a long time.  I figure, with the new year, I should try to kick things back in gear and get going on trying to game again.  If felt good to write about it again, and to flip through some books and get some ideas.  Now, I have to turn that into action.

    I guess that’s pretty much it for this week.  I did find myself listening to Kate Nash a bunch again.  I just like her awkward songs about love, loss, and fumbling over oneself.  And her thick (South London?) accent and not too infrequent profanity makes them seem so unpolished and sincere.


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