Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Matt’s Week in Dork! (4/1/12-4/7/12)

    Not too much going on this week.  A bunch of TV series watching, I guess.  And a bit of reading.  No major adventures.

Doomsday:  Starting with Escape from New York and a dash of 28 Days Later, then mixing a little Aliens, a healthy dash of Mad Max, and let simmer.  Then, just as you’re settled in, take a swig of Excalibur.  Yup.  It’s a weirdass hodgepodge of other movies, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun.  When it was released, it felt like I was finally seeing the return of R-rated cinema.  Blood, violence, over the top nuttiness.  I’m not putting this up for an Oscar or anything, but if you want some fun apocalyptic adventure with some colorful characters, it’ll do nicely.

The Invention of Lying:  Extremely subversive and genuinely cute, this romantic comedy for atheists features a charming cast, some clever scripting, and a few laugh out loud moments.  And there are a few pretty powerful emotional scenes to boot.  Genre cliché still poke their head in on more than one occasion, but the overall feature is still very enjoyable.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Season Two Part Two:  More and more of the most insane DC characters to pop out of some comicbook writers’ fevered brains do the dance with the Dark Knight.  When you see GI Robot, the Haunted Tank, and the Doom Patrol, you just know it’s madness.  And then Scooby and the gang drop by.  Wow.  This show has so much fun with the crazy, stupid characters of the 60s and 70s.  Plus, it’s genuinely clever and surreal.  Great stuff.  Though on the complete other end of the spectrum, this is my favorite animated Batman since the 90s’ Batman: The Animated Series.

Wrath of the Titans:  I know some hold the original Clash of the Titans in pretty high esteem.  Stop-motion master Ray Harryhausen’s last film sports some cool creatures, and as a boy I thought it was the bee’s knees.  But, honestly, it’s boring as all get out.  The recent remake was surprisingly enjoyable, for a bunch of CG flash, and it wasn’t boring.  This follow-up was shockingly entertaining.  Oh, sure, I could deal with 100% less shaky-cam, something that has LONG outstayed its welcome but won’t go away.  But the story, freed from its remake shackles, is satisfactorily Greco-mythological.  The creatures are cool, the action exciting, and there’s some genuine humor that doesn’t feel out of place.  There’s also a twist in the Zeus/Hades story that I didn’t see coming, but absolutely loved.  I could have watched a whole movie about them, frankly.  Like the first film, I wish there’d been more Danny Huston though.  Man, if I were a kid right now, I’d be in hog heaven.  With these two films, plus Immortals and 300, my love of fantastic Greece would be through the roof.  Heck, it’s half way there now.

Pandorum:  Certainly not a perfect science fiction film, it does capitalize on some of my favorite tropes.  A guy wakes up on a spaceship that has seen better days and needs to find out who he is, what’s been happening, how long he’s been asleep, where the ship is, and what the heck those horrible things running around in the halls are.  With the help of a superior officer, a savage scientist and a crazy warrior farmer (and a few other friends he meets along the way), he may just be able to save everyone.  Creepy sets, nasty monsters, and some cool ideas make this one worth a watch.  There is a twist near the end I found annoying.  And at one point, I thought it was going to have a twist that would ruin the film in my mind (but thankfully, it didn’t happen).  Overall, it’s a good watch.

The Dallas Connection:  Look, I know this is some kind of irrational, chauvinist, and generally wrong thinking, but I don’t like Texas.  Sorry.  There it is.  This isn’t based on first hand experience, or any of the things that one truly needs to make this kind of judgment.  It’s purely based on perception, through the image typically portrayed in movies, TV, and frankly, by Texans themselves.  There’s a sinister embracing of belligerence, stupidity, and profound tackiness that I find alien to my idea of right.  From ‘boot scooting’ and country music, to cowboy hats and rhinestones, it’s like a whole state built on the core concept of  pissing me off.  That rant is to establish why by this point in the series, I’m really missing Hawaii.  The switch to Texas is making it hard for me to continue enjoying the otherwise same-old same-old of the Sidaris T&A action mega-series.  This movie is a real family affair, with a Sidaris in nearly every behind the camera position, but it lacks the charm of many of the earlier films.  Giantess Julie Strain is back to crush acting.  And long-time series regular Rodrigo Obregon gets many a chuckle with his awkward suave.  But I’m really not digging the whole Texas thing.  Line dancing?!  What the hell, Texas.  (Look out for Andy Sidaris acting up a storm in that post-murder locker room).

Day of the Warrior:  Julie Strain has switched names and sides, playing some kind of laughably heroic leader type for our super-spy team.  Most of the regular faces are gone, except perennial favorite Rodrigo Obregon (with sweet sideburns!).  The pro-wrestler villain, Warrior looks like he stepped out of George Michael’s Fantasy Land.  But this movie, in spite of its Texas local, manages to bring back a lot of the charm of earlier films in the series.  Oh, sure, there’s still not a real boob in sight (being the late 90s, the women are starting to sport tattoos, too --ew!), and people seem dodgy on the whole ‘acting’ thing.  But it’s occasionally funny, always goofy, and several things blow up.  Watching a dumbass stripper run across a lawn in high heals while trying to hold onto an oversized video tape is comedy gold.  I’m also impressed that a series of movies with this much pseudo-sex is as monumentally un-erotic as it is.  You’d think something sexy would just happen statistically.  Nope.  But that’s just part of the charm.

Return to Savage Beach:  “You want to go for that swim?“ Oh, yeah.  Back to Hawaii!  At least for part of it.  The final film in the modern epic of spies, explosions, and breast implants features a lot of familiar faces.  Rodrigo Obergon is wearing a sweet Phantom of the Opera mask, too.  Awesome.  This movie also has more Fu.  I think every movie could be made better with some Fu.  And when the two ladies show up in Tomb Raider outfits, with their comicbookishly oversized chests, I was laughing pretty hard.  Look, it’s awful.  I know.  But it’s wonderful.  A great ending to a wacky series.

Night of the Living Dead:  The movie that pretty much launched a sub-genre and redefined the walking dead, this movie is a tight thriller about a bunch of random people stuck in a house, surrounded by an army of hungry dead.  Like the best of what has become known as ‘zombie’ movies (they’re actually referred to as ghouls here), this is about people, not monsters.  The walking dead are like a natural disaster, with the added horror of familiarity and the potential of any one of us to join their ranks with little warning.  Grim, dark, and well ahead of its time.  A must see for horror fans.

    I also got in a few episodes of Supercar, which is weird and fun.  Love those puppets.  Then a few episodes of Futurama, which continues to make me smile.  I love the combination of cerebral and low-brow.  Ben and I also watched another episode of From the Earth to the Moon.  Great show, but every time I watch an episode, I feel a deep emptiness and disappointment that we betrayed all those people did by letting our imagination die.  It’s time to get back to exploring beautiful places.

    And I got my hands on the first two disks of Torchwood’s fourth season, Miracle Day.  Dang, but it’s tough.  Season three, Children of Earth was an emotionally brutalizing experience, but mercifully short.  This season is considerably longer, but no less brutal.  Don’t like anyone too much.  Six episodes in and one of my favorite characters is not coming back.  After the first two seasons, which were uneven to say the very least, season’s three and four have been fascinating, if sometimes hard to watch TV.  Holy nuts is Bill Pullman creepy.

    Finally, I read the second hardcover volume of B.P.R.D.  You can read my review here.  And I finished listening to the audio book of Christopher Hitchens’ Arguably.  See my review here.


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