Monday, March 19, 2012

Brad's Week In Dork! (3/11/12-3/17/12)

This Week in Dork was dominated by Shatner's World.  The Wife and I traveled three hours from DC to Philadelphia to catch the one man show and it's hard to express in words how exciting an adventure it was to see The Shat in theatrical action.  Most of the program was concocted of stories glimpsed in his various autobiographies, but to look down upon the man from the front row balcony and hear his Koko the Gorilla ball squeezing saga was ridiculously entertaining.  And then to hit up the lobby snagging Shatner's World t-shirts, coffee mugs, magnets, posters, and baseball caps.  A lifelong Trekkie's dream.  And yeah, I'm now definitely going to the Philly's Wizard World Con to snag the Shat's autograph cuz I was depressed to miss it after the show.  If you're curious for a full on review, check out what I have to say over at Daily Grindhouse.

The other nice thing about Philly was getting a chance to hit up the Museum of Art.  Yes, yes, yes.  The Wife and I ran up and down the Rocky steps along with twenty or thirty other tourists, but the real treat was seeing the Up Close With Van Gogh art exhibit, an artist I've never been particularly fond of in print but seeing these painting in glittery 3D was kinda shocking.  The paintings are incredibly textured and where I've always dismissed them as rather flat images in books I actually got a rush from his thick broad strokes of paint.  I'm an ignorant when it comes to "art" art but it was a thrill to discover a genuine emotional reaction to his painting of forrest moss and hay piles.  Don't know if I'm gonna suddenly become an art snob, but I'd like to delve a little deeper into my education.


The Walking Dead "Better Angels":  Well, after the shocking (or not so shocking) climax of last week's episode, Better Angels deals mostly with the zombie fallout but cranks up to yet another devastating conclusion.  Again, the television series appears to have left Robert Kirkman's comic in the dust as far as characters and plotting are concerned, but I kinda liked how the show dealt with the final confrontation between friends.  And Carl's demented mental decline is rather intriguing, although I imagine he's going to be back on the proper moral path soon enough.  Still...this show is not as good as I want it to be.

Justified "Loose Ends":  Yet another plot point from Elmore Leonard's latest novel is mined for the tv show.  William Mapother returns as hick pimp Delroy and his murderous schemes put him in direct confrontation with Mags Part II, Ava.  It's a confrontation that leads to cheering resolution, but even though I care a little bit more about her than Winona, I want this show to stay on the Raylan/Boyd train.  Goggins definitely gets a great soapbox moment as he whips up a frenzy for Jim Beaver's inevitable Harlan sheriff.   And Limehouse/Quarles/Raylan get closer and closer to each other.

The Wire Season 2:  This show still manages to rule my life.  I am so disgusted with myself that I took this long to fully invest in what has to be the single greatest crime show to air on television.  And entering the second season, I heard a lot of hate for the Port of Baltimore story line.  But I gotta say that I enjoyed this season even more than the last.  Chris Bauer as the corrupt Union leader Frank Sobotka is freaking amazing...maybe, not Omar amazing but's he's not the flashy kinda character.  No, he's the Shakespearean tragedy of the show and yeah, his kid Ziggy is all kinds of annoying but he's annoying in the necessary narrative.  And the Port saga opens up the world of Baltimore and it's a terrifying hellhole. So much so, that as I passed Baltimore on 95 up to Philadelphia this week I looked down at the inner harbor with a sad heap of dread.  This show is fiction.  But it feels depressingly real.  And yeah, the wife couldn't take it after a while and now I've moved on to season 3 alone.


The Warrior's Way:  "See You In Hell, Little Girl. Wear Something Nasty!" This fun weird western mixes both the grit and goofiness of the Samurai and Gunfighter genres with overflowing buckets of CGI panache and honest, "go for it" performances from plucky Kate Bosworth, ridiculously inebriated Geoffrey Rush, droolishly vile Danny Huston, and Man With No Name silent Jang Dong-gun. This is not Serious Action's winky. Winky with heart and a few severed limbs.  To understand why this film succeeds in genremashing while the Charles Bronson/Toshiro Mifune Red Sun fails, read my review over at cineAWESOME!

Baba Yaga:  "I think yer cutting your own throat with all that third world jazz." A trippy (i.e. incoherent) Italian erotic horror story about a Nazi nightmare plagued fashion photographer bewitched by the mythological Russian Baba Yaga. Lots of "Who Goes There?" spookery crammed with nearly wall-to-wall nudity thanks to a batch of willing and swinging actresses. Not sure what to make of the muddled end product, but it definitely passed the time pleasantly.

Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster:  "These Monsters Are As Stupid As Human Beings!" The citizens of Japan sit back and relax as Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra (in pupa form!) monster-conference themselves into a team-up against the space born beastie, Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster. Definitely not the best of the Kaiju flicks, the film takes far too long to build to its ridiculous monster brawl climax with all that orange lightning fire and Mothra ...uh, spraying white web gunk (???) upon them all. Decent, but decent is not what you want from these Rubber Suit mashups.

Corman's World:  As Ron Howard says, "The way Disney movies bring out the child in all of us, so can exploitation." Watching this documentary for the second time I found the film relating to that same introspective particle of my being that Martin Scorsese's Hugo speaks towards; why do I love cheap, base, just-do-it filmmaking? Watch Corman's World for the answer. And seeing the members of the Corman School--Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante, Dick Miller, Pam Grier, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, etc sing the praises of the infamous penny pincher is a true joy for the fans, and Jack Nicholson's genuine love for the man is tremendously moving. You'll come away from Corman's World seeking the B-Movie classics you missed as well as the one's you already cherish.

Head:  We closed out the week with a small Davy Jones Memorial Monkees Marathon party over here at the apartment which included a few choice episodes of the show and concluded with the brilliantly bonkers HEAD.  It's not a film for everyone.  Most of the attendants of the party remained mum at the exploits and at least one person fell alseep.  But dammit, I love this freaking movie.  It's a trippy, psychedelic sketch show that pits our lads against a giant Victor Mature and the impenetrable confines of the boob tube.  The film feels like a celebration as well as a mockery of the late 1960s and you can feel the drug fueled media/government hate raging in the minds of the actors as well as Jack Nicholson's lsd soaked quill.  At the very least, you have to see it just to believe it.


Isle of 100,000 Graves:  Another short, weirdo adventure from the crazed Norwegian cartoonist, Jason.  This one sees a young girl team up with some devious pirates to find lost treasure as well as her deadbeat dad lost somewhere on a remote island controlled by a school of torturous hangmen.  But are all the students of Headchopper Hight evil?  Or will help come from the unlikeliest of henchmen?  Maybe not as geeky as I Killed Adolf Hitler or The Last Musketeer but it comes pretty dark close.  And it's brutal, mean, and downright hilarious.

Werewolves of Montpellier:  Okay.  Yeah.  This one is nuts.  But I keep telling you that about Jason, don't I?  A man dresses as a werewolf to hide his identity while he robs women of their jewelry, but when he's not figuring out how to stare at women's asses on the elevator he's being noticed by a cult of actual werewolves!!!  But do these real werewolves want his blood or his silver bullets?  This is probably my least favorite story from Jason so far, but that's not to see it isn't horrifyingly brilliant--cuz it is!  But don't take my word for it, listen to John Landis "Another werewolf story to warm the cockles of your heart!"


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