Sunday, February 12, 2012

Matt’s Week in Dork! (1/5/12-1/11/12)

    A good week.  With some solid nerd stuff, some recaptured youth, and a good dose of culture, it was one to beat.  My weeks keep getting bookended by black and white.

I Walked With a Zombie:  Extremely moody, this Voodoo movie is less sensationalistic and crass than your usual film of this type and era.  The soundstage work is top notch, creating that fascinating unreality that seems cheesy in the wrong hands, but oh, so cool in the right hands.  The characters are, as in other Val Lewton produced films, more complex and interesting than they appear and you might expect.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Body Snatcher:  The cast is in this is awesome, the dark Noir-type mood impressive.  Boris Karloff is an absolute monster, able to be grandfatherly and charming in one breath and devilishly evil in the next.  Really good stuff.

Red: Werewolf Hunter:  Felicia Day is cute as a button, but this movie is pooptastic.  All the usual cliché bits that feature in these sorts of movies are on parade.  And, as always, the CGI creatures don’t help.  They just look like crap.  Honestly, I’d MUCH rather see someone in hairy face make-up than some crappy CG cartoon.  The whole endeavor is hopelessly uninspired.  It almost made me long for the bird flipping werewolf in Cursed.  Almost.  Skip this turd, even if you’re a Felicia Day fan.  Maybe especially if you are.

Road House:  I’m sure that not having seen this when I was 13 makes a lot of difference, but I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.  Sam Elliot is clearly the best part of the movie, and he’s hardly in it.  There’s a lot of great 80s stupid, and plenty of dialog that must have taken some skill to say without laughing.  And boy, a lot of stuff blows up/burns down.  But, in spite of the amazing cast of ugly people, it’s just not quite silly enough to be as entertaining as I’d hoped.  I’m sure it’s a matter of too much hype for the film to live up to.  Alas.

Colombiana:  Holy nuts.  This movie is a giant steaming crap.  The script is more awkward than an 80s nerd at a hot chick convention (They have those…Shut up!).  The only thing less appealing than the acting is the actors, who all looks like rejects from a 90s fashion shoot (read: skinny, dirty, and ugly).  Zoe Saldana is a very striking woman, but seems to be in desperate need of a good meal (and a shower), and is surely in desperate need of an acting coach.  Boring.  Cliché.  Stupid.  The greatest sin is, of course, Boring.

There's a hole in this script.

Guns:  This fifth in the epic Andy Sidaris series gets off to a slow start, with nearly 20 minutes going by before the first nudity (?!).  It’s goofy as all get-out, with all the expected awful dialog and dreadful acting.  Several cast members are once again recycled.  I didn’t find this one as dubiously charming as previous entries in the series, but it still has its moments.  Running beach high five!

Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs:  OK, first off, yes.  The dinosaur effects in this story arc are awful.  Even for Doctor Who standards, they look bad.  They make Land of the Lost look like Jurassic Park.  And yes, like a lot of Pertwee era stories, this one is overlong by at least an episode.  All that aside, the story is very cool, with lots of interesting twists and ideas.  Betrayal by friends, utopian zealots, and plenty of action.  Even the debut of the Doctor’s weird sci-fi looking car.  I also loved a lot of the deserted London stuff.  Reminded me of Day of the Triffids and other similar films.  If you can get past the crappy looking dinosaurs, this is a very cool one and well worth checking out.

Wall Street:  Greed is good.  The mid 80s Wall Street madness is skewered in this indictment of rampant, unscrupulous capitalism.  Everyone is slick and confident, pushy and ultimately shallow.  I’ve always found the world of the stock market mysterious.  I don’t mean technically.  I actually know the math and practices for the most part.  But when it comes to the culture, the meaning, the taboos, I’m lost.  The whole time I was watching this, I was thinking about what Patrick Bateman might be doing at the time.  Now I feel like watching American Psycho again.

    I also started watching Breaking Bad, which is quite good so far.  I like that the names of the second and third episodes, “The Cat’s in the Bag” and “The Bag’s I the River” are references to the great Sweet Smell of Success.

    I also watched the first few episodes of season 4 or Primeval.  I like the show.  It’s got a lot of cool ideas and a lot of potential.  But somehow, it always feels a bit off.  I wish somehow it could be boiled down to its basics, and rebuilt from the ground up.  With a better handle and direction, I think the show could have really been something.  As it is, it’s fun, but not great.

    And last, but most assuredly not least, I made the greatest financial decision of my life when I paid $7.50 for the first season of the original Charlie’s Angels.  Holy smokes, I’ve enjoyed the heck out of that show.  It brings back memories.  And just in general captures that giddy, stupid fun of TV from the era.  Though a bit earlier, it reminds me of the fun I had recently watching some T.J. Hooker.

    On Friday night, co-Dork Brad, his folks and myself all headed up to Kensington Maryland to see Brad’s wife in a presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday In the Park with George.  It was my first time seeing the play, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  I liked the story, and the production was well done.  I found the second act less engaging.  But upon reflection, I like how it takes the theme of the first act, that of Surratt’s uncompromising devotion to his vision, and turns it on its head; with Surratt’s possible descendant being lost in everyone else’s expectations and desires.   Ryan Burke, with his theater beard, made for a great, driven artist.  And Farrell Parker had just the right amount of spunk, in addition to a perfect mix of innocence and worldliness to be an artist’s muse and lover.  Eric Jones as the Soldier made me laugh out loud more than once, his almost Adam West like goody-goody attitude and crackerjack comic timing was a riot.  And our seats were perfect for seeing Lisa, who had several of her best bits not five feet from us, including the unsavory appetites of a philandering old man.  If you’re anything close to local, get out on see the play while it lasts.  There’s something special about live performances.


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