Monday, April 2, 2012

Brad's Week In Dork! (3/25/12-3/31/12)

Nothing terribly interesting, or at least unique to this Week In Dork.  I slowed down a little on The Wire and watched season 4 over the entirety of the week, not concluding this season until late Saturday night. Definitely didn't crank out the amount of TV, Movies, and Comics like I did last week.  In fact, I didn't read a single comic book all week.  Sad for me.

Matt & I did venture into DC on Tuesday to catch The Raid (Redemption...ugh, I hate that add on title) at E Street Cinema and to check out The Art of Video Games exhibit at the American Museum of Art.  That was a rather limp display of NES and Colecovision systems hiding behind glass with some weak status as art...I was kinda hoping to see actual art behind some of the designs of these games, not the playstations themselves.  I did find a little charm watching young kids today play around with the original Super Mario Brothers and Ms. Pac Man.  It was a goofy showcase in which I found little insight.

And on Saturday, Matt, The Wife, and I caught Logan's Run on the big screen at the AFI Silver.  It was an afternoon showing with a crowd of 30 folks or so.  Everyone seemed to get into it and I found myself enjoying the second half of that movie much more than I ever have before.  I thank the audience for that, giving some good chuckles at Peter Ustinov's Old Man.


The Wire Season 4:  The machinations of last season saw both Bunny and Prez outta the BPD and into the public school system...gulp.  I found this new insight into the world of Baltimore to be the most painful and it's probably why it took me the whole week to watch this season.  I once did time as a Middle School teacher (just one year) and it was the most miserable and frustrating time of my life.  The school, the kids, the parents.  It was a war I was not equipped to deal in and I didn't have to deal with half of the issues being tackled here in season 4.  Prez, now dubbed Prezbo by his students, has a new opportunity to prove his worth, but will these kids leave him alive by final exams.  And the kids!  Namond, Randy, Michael, Dukie.  These kid actors carry most of this show and if they sucked so would the season, but they are amazing.  Especially Julito McCullum as Namond.  He has to go from violent corner boy punk to the introspective student of Bunny, and there's hope for all the kids in Namond.  But this season also has the mayoral smackdown and the hypocrisy destined to be born from the race.  There's Dominic West's short pleasant life as a beat cop (best of luck boyo).  And the rise of Marlo, the Barksdale power void filler.  Not as slick as Stringer Bell, but scary, scary, scary.

Justified "Measures":  Season 3 is coming to a close.  Raylan, Boyd, Limehouse, and Quarles are going to smash into each other rather quickly.  Quarles is probably going to be the one guy dead on the floor by climax.  The best stuff about this episode comes from the introduction of Michael Ironside's Dixie Mafia goon and Jere Burns' Wynn Duffy finding his balls again while repositioning himself with the mob's higher echelon.  I still say this season is nowhere near as good as the last two, but it's still my favorite current show on TV.


More Dead Than Alive:  A wonderful forgotten Western starring TV's Cheyenne, Clint Walker, as the reformed but still gargantuan Killer Cain. Walker delivers the performance of his career, expertly displaying both shame and pride for where the world has dumped him. Vincent Price, the showman, is excellent as well as the carny barker who recognizes the potential growth of profit layered in gunslinger mythology and Killer Cain's hulking mass. A bizarre jumping narrative, odd musical queues, and surprising bursts of violence might have kept this from being a classic but don't let it go unnoticed--there is a great movie here with strong performances.  More of my ramblings can be found at cineAWESOME!

The Raid:  Imagine Die Hard in a building...uh, wait...imagine Die Hard in a building but only more Die Harder--more Die Hardest--more Die Hardery. This Indonesian actionfest is an insane collection of knife-wielding hallway brutality in which a squadron of coppers storm the slum of the notorious Tama and no machete attached neighbor is safe. So far, no other film this year has been lauded with as much internet hype as this one but I'm hear to tell you that's The Raid is legit. Rapid shaky cam fights cracking, smashing, splintering bone as well as concrete--no punches pulled. See it with a crowd if possible.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure:  ‎"Be Excellent To Each Other!" Another childhood classic. Future messiahs and California metal head flunkies, Bill and Ted collect historical figures via their time traveling telephone booth in an effort to pass their History Exam. Yeah, okay. Obviously that's genius. But this Excellent Adventure is far funnier than it has any right to be--nostalgia be damned. Watching Sigmund Freud chow down on corn dogs, Genghis Khan skateboard a mall cop's groin, and Napoleon become a Ziggy Piggy is pure bliss.

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey:  "STATION!" Maybe not as pure as the original film, I still find plenty of love for Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. It's definitely ten times weirder with its Battleship/Twister Death matches, Poison loving Heaven, Evil Robots, Good Robots, and Easter Bunny Nightmares. Oh, and it's got Shatner. Win. "Catch You Later, Bill & Ted!" Bring on the third movie already.

The Hunger Games:  Not once in its 2 hours and 22 minutes did I emotionally engage with any of the characters or even their performers-yes, not even my irrational Woody Harrelson love could carry me through this rather dull dystopian gladiatorial blather. Cries of Battle Royale, Running Man, Mean Guns, Lord of the Flies rip-offery are null and void thanks to a big shrug of the shoulders to this run-of-the-mill script. Never got a feeling for the world or the lives of the desperate folk, just a collage of CGI matte paintings, David Bowie fashion, and limp, jump-cutty hack & slash.

Logan's Run:  ‎"Welcome Humans! I Am Ready For You!" In this dystopian shopping mall nightmare where 30 year olds are offed during the right of Carrousel, Sand Man Logan 5 (Michael York) and his reluctant sex partner Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter) make a run for the Sanctuary of the Outside World. Do they find a new civilization under the sun or a fish-eating robot sentinel of death? How 'bout a little bit of both. This charmingly dated Science Fiction works thanks to its earnest telling and wild imagination. Even when a couple performances like Farrah Fawcett(-Majors at the time) excruciate, York and Agutter shine with naive wonder and Richard Jordan terrifies with his "Renew!" zealotry.  And yes, I'll take these fragile models any day over The Hunger Games's lackluster decoration.

Rock 'n' Roll High School:  ‎"They're ugly. Ugly, ugly people." As far as Roger Corman production go, Rock 'n Roll High School goes in my Top Five. PJ Soles perfectly captures the insanity of fangirl hero worship and its absolutely infectious, watching her on screen will have your reaching for Rocket to Russia. And the rest of the cast embraces the lovefest: Clint Howard is creepy suave as the bathroom mastermind Eaglebauer, Vincent Van Patten is an excellent goofball jock, and Paul Bartel is the ultimate square-transformed-punker as the music teacher gone Ramone. Plus, you can't go wrong with a Mary Woronov stormtrooper principle and a neatly plotted Dick Miller cameo.

BMX Bandits:  "You're Right In The Poo Now, Sister!" From the director of Stunt Rock, Escape 2000, and Dead End Drive-In comes this bit of Australian BMX porn starring a young, fire frizzy redhead Nicole Kidman. Yes, she might be the star of Days of Thunder and Bewitched to you, but for me she'll always be the girl who took down the bumbling walkie-talkie goons of BMX Bandits (....and the grieving mother who slutted Billy Zane in Dead Calm). Ah, the 80s--I too was in love with BMXes and all their useless accessories and this film would be the perfect companion movie to the equally absurd, RAD.


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