Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brad's Week in Dork! (2/19-2/25)

Well, I definitely didn't crank out as many movies this week as I've been doing lately but that's probably a good thing for all of us.  You can only steam ahead at that speed for so long before you burn out.  That being said, I still caught a lot of great stuff this week and even started reading Edgar Rice Burroughs's A Princess of Mars.  But the highlights of the week centered on The Wife & I finally completely Twin Peaks and the AFI Silver's screening of Fritz Lang's Metropolis accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra.  These guys were amazing and the idea that my first experience with the Fritz Lang classic was on the big screen with a brilliant accompaniment pounding away to the visuals fills me with great gobs of geeky joy.  If you haven't already you should check out there site and purchase their stuff for your silent film collection.

Got some sad news this week.  My favorite restaurant in the whole dang world, The Tortilla Factory, will be closing March 1st.  The place has been in my neighborhood for the last 37 years and I've been eating there for the last 16.  Since hearing the news I've hit the place up everyday.  I had to make sure that I got my fill of the #5 Beast Feast: A burrito w/red chile sauce, a taco, two enchiladas, and a heap of beans and rice.  It's funny, but as much as I love the place none of my friends or my Wife share the crazy love like I do.  Why is that?  The food is Tex Mex, but it's a Tex Mex that might have been popular in the 70s...your grandma's idea of Tex Mex.  Every time I enter through the doors there's a little bit of a time warp going on.  The loss of that feeling brings genuine sadness to this Week in Dork.

My Last "Beast Feast"

This week also saw the 1 Year Anniversary of In The Mouth of Dorkness.  Seems like a few of you guys out there in Internetland have been enjoying our ranting, but probably not as much as Matt & I have  had with this personal bit of insanity.  Not only has this blog brought us closer to a lot of likeminded madmen and got us an incredibly fantastic regular gig over at cineAWESOME! but it's spared a lot of our friends and coworkers from suffering our Movie Rants/Rages.  To sum it up, this blog makes me as happy as Chewbacca standing behind Marilynn Monroe in a bikini.

"Let's Par-Tay!"


The Walking Dead "Triggerfinger":  Things are starting to go all Dawn of the Dead on Rick & Company.  The retrieval of Herschel from the bar in town became a lot more difficult with a shoot out confrontation with The Others and this week it escalated in some serious gunplay.  But this appears to be just a taste of the hell that's about to come down on The Farm, and I imagine this building to a Human War on par with The Governor battle in the comics.  But will we get The Governor this season?  Is it Michael Rooker?  Who knows, but I doubt it.  And I seriously doubt this season will end with everyone holding up in the prison.  At least I hope not cuz they've done enough holding up at Herschel's place.  Time to get on the road.  And time for Lori to die already.

Supernatural "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie":  Another week, another fun and silly episode of Supernatural.  Feels like forever ago that we dealt with the Leviathan problem and this season definitely lacks some focus, but if these monster-of-the-week episodes are going to be as fun as this one than I really don't mind.  Sam & Dean investigate the death of a batch of parents and it leads them to the Chuck E Cheese terrordome of Plucky Pennywhistle...and you guessed it, there are plenty of Pennywise-like clown demons to rule your nightmares, or at least Sam's nightmares.  The episode also provides for one of this silliest chase-takedowns I've seen as you can witness in the above image.  I really hope Supernatural never ends.  I want these boys to be hunting goblins & ghouls for the rest of my life.

Justified "When The Guns Come Out":  Three seasons in and we finally hit an episode of Justified that I really just did not like.  Bummer.  But before we get to my complaints let me sing at least one praise.  The confrontation between Timothy Olyphant's Raylan and William Mapother's pimp was plenty fun.  Never bring a knife to a gunfight.  And I hope we see more of Mapother this season.  But most of this episode is wasted on a poor excuse to get rid of Natalie Zea's pointless love interest.  I don't know how she reaches the conclusions that she does after her profession of love to Raylan last episode.  And the final scene of this ep was the sorriest excuse of screenwriting we've had from this usually brilliant series.  Hopefully, this is just a hiccup and next episode will put everything back on track.

Twin Peaks Episodes 26-29:  The Wife and I finally completed our epic run of Twin Peaks and even though I enjoyed the trip immensely (granted, I knew how dark things were going to be left off), I cannot say the same things for her.  As Season 2 builds to a climax and Agent Cooper and Windom Earle march towards The Black Lodge the humor and charm of the series start to fade into the background.  And the final episode of the show is pretty damn scary as Coop navigates the red curtain walls of Bob's kingdom.  The pulsating strobe light, Laura Palmer's screams, Bob's visage.  It's incoherent and rather terrifying.  And as the final episode ticked away, The Wife could sense the very dark place where she was going to be left off at--but even then, she was not prepared for the utterly bleak prequel movie...


Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me:  ‎"I am the arm." I completely understand why fan & critical reaction was so harsh towards Fire Walk With Me. In a lot of respects it is a slap to the face of loyal viewers after the shocking cliffhanger climax of season 2--I don't want to go back to the final days of Laura Palmer; we got all that jazz outta our system! Let's see The Black Lodge! Let's see Windom! Let's see Agent Dale Cooper! So, yeah, Fire Walk With Me will illicit your basic prequel rage explaining plot that didn't need explaining and even mismanaging several key characters. However, I definitely appreciated the Chris Isaak/Kiefer Sutherland's opening investigation, the weird David Bowie phasing, and the tiny glimpses of The Black Lodge that float in and out of the mumbled narrative. Still, it's been 25 years now and I'm ready for David Lynch to finally conclude the Twin Peaks story...a pipe dream? Yeah, but one worth having.

Silent Tongue:  ‎"Insanity is a sorry thing." After his Indian bride dies during childbirth, River Phoenix goes mad with grief refusing to bury his love; he stands guard over the elements hollering at the wildlife and possibly communicating with the dead. His father, Richard Harris travels to the medicine show where he originally bought the squaw for three horses and attempts to barter for Alan Bates' other halfbreed daughter. Things get freakier from there. Silent Tongue is an excellent Weird Western from playwright Sam Shepard that stands on its varied performances and rich dialog. River Phoenix died just months before it's Sundance premiere and it only took in a few thousand dollars at the box office. If you're looking for something different in the genre look no further.  And, as usual, check out cineAWESOME! for my latest Western Review.

Anonymous:  The True Story Of William Shakespeare The Fraud as directed by the man who brought us Independence Day, Godzilla, The Patriot, and 2012. And it doesn't suck. But the story of the Shakespeare conspiracy does not really engage this particular viewer either. Rhys Ifans is rather good as the Earl of Oxford, but why bother with the Derek Jacobi framing device? Is it's purpose to give the plot an air of truth? No, it's just obtrusive and rather silly. Still, I suppose it's good to know that Roland Emmerich can put a film together that's somewhat emotionally engaging, and contains only one good EXPLOSION!

Hard Hunted:  ‎"We Were Never Lovers and I Faked That Orgasm!" *Machete To The Stomach* The seventh film in Sidaris's Malibu Express Saga starts off a little slow, trading the tropical locals of Hawaii for the rocky deserts of Arizona where Agents Donna & Justin are sunbathe-waiting for their friend to be killed by Al Leong's Raven helicopter. But once the T & A espionage gets back on track in Hawaii the crazy dune buggies, hovercrafts, jetplanes, and speedboats bring these ridiculous characters into explosively odd dialog collision. Seriously, where does Sidaris get all these wonderful toys?

Metropolis:  It's taken 32 years, but after last year's tributes to the silent cinema (Hugo & The Artist) and a few key Criterion releases, an interest in cinema's original art form has taken a serious hold. And it's impossible to be a fan of film without knowing a little about the history of Fritz Lang's Metropolis and I've owned the Kino release of the 2010 restoration since it's publication. However, when I heard that the AFI Silver would be screening the film with the Alloy Orchestra I made a pact to wait and experience the sci-fi classic on The Big Screen with a Sold Out crowd. I am so glad I did. Similar to my encounter with Citizen Kane a few years back, watching Metropolis for the first time was a revelation. It is indeed the Masterpiece that you've heard about. But unlike Kane or Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, the plot and most of the visual flair of the film had not been spoiled to me via years upon years of pop culture saturation. Yes, I had seen several of the key images depicting Hel, Rudolf Klein-Rogge's Rotwang, and the myriad of fantastic expressionistic sets. But I was unaware of Fritz Rasp's creepy Thin Man. Or Brigitte Helm's seven sins dance. Or the entire plot involving father vs. son. Metropolis on the Big Screen was an amazing experience and will be the movie event to beat in 2012. And Alloy Orchestra's score was stunning; sitting next to them as their music thumped and pounced was similar to living in the film itself.  And yeah, I absolutely had to purchase their score to sync with my blu.

Anatomy of a Murder:  Law & Order's Dick Wolf owes his entire career to this quintessential courtroom drama starring America's Actor Jimmy Stewart as Defense Attorney Paulie Biegler presiding over the not-so-innocent life of Ben Gazzara. Anatomy of a Murder is a long haul story, that draws over all the particulars of the plot with a fine tooth but it's serious eye puts the audience right in the courtroom and it must have been quite an experience for someone who wasn't raised on endless reruns of Sam Waterston's speech of the week . Top notch performances from all involved and it's a beautiful looking film despite being stuck mostly in courtroom benches.  And ya gotta dig Duke Ellington's score.


I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason:  Well, as to be expected, this was a weird one.  Norwegian artist Jason applies his puppy dog style to this science fiction story depicting a future world where anyone can hire hitmen to kill the human pests in their lives.  It centers on one hitman, recently separated from his longtime girlfriend, who accepts a job from a scientist with a time machine to kill the Fuhrer.  Things don't go according to plan and this quick read will supply you with lots of cute pictures involving animals shooting out each other's brains.  Plus Hitler.

Who Is Jake Ellis? by Nathan Edmondson & Tonci Zonjic:  Lots of folks at my local comic shop have been recommending Who Killed Jack Ellis? to me for a while now.  I finally conceded and gave it a read.  It's a fun espionage story with a science-fiction (or supernatural) twist.  Ex-CIA Jon is on the run from both The Americans and a shadowy organization, but it's no big thing cuz he has Jake Ellis living inside his head.  And Jake knows when he should duck and when he should plug a guy.  The first trade could be read as a single story and it's almost tempting just to leave it at that, but I might give the next volume a read in a week or two.  So yeah, good but not a new obsession or anything.


A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs:  If I hadn't been so darn tired I could have easily read the book in one sitting, but as is all I got was fifty pages into the classic pulp adventure story.  I first read the John Carter books nearly 20 years ago but my memory of the tales of Barsoom has pretty much faded completely.  And I have to get this book consumed before the March 9th release date of the new Andrew Stanton movie.  I will say that 50 pages in you can already see where the new Disney film is taking liberties.  The White Apes of Mars are gonna be a whole lot bigger than their novel counterpart and the Attack of the Clones thunderdome seen in the trailer is a cinematic creation that probably should have remained a storyboard concept.  But what's amazing about these books is how fresh they feel for having been written in the early 1900s.  Sure, there's a lack of quotation marks and the dialog is just sorta told at you, but the imagination, the language, and the imagery found inside still holds up.  I do hope we get a good portion of The Old West before the spaceward journey.


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