Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Brad's Week in Dork! (4/22-4/28)

Man.  Maybe it was the intensity of last week's #AvengersFest or the anticipation of next week's actual release of The Avengers, or the upcoming Shat Attack V (it's almost here!!!!), but I could not get excited about anything in the world of Dork this week.  I pretty much just meandered about, watching a tv episode here, a movie there.

I continued on with the Police Academy films, but part 4 kinda grated my nerves and I feel like I'm just watching them to watch them at this point.  I finished Shout Factory's Roger Corman Nurse collection and even though I really enjoyed them I wasn't over the moon with the whole set.  I did finish the Guns, Girls, & G-Strings Andy Sidaris collection and that was definitely worth the $4.99.

But at the end of the week the only two movies I was completely enamored with were Timecrimes (a rather creepy, clever Spanish time travel story) and Safe (Jason Statham's shockingly enjoyable action flick).  And if you haven't already, you should check out my latest Western Review of The Shooting over at cineAWESOME!  And listen to their latest podcast of Crazy Sam Neil double featuring two of my 90s favorites Event Horizon & In The Mouth of Madness (obviously ITMOD loves that film).


The Six Million Dollar Man 3 Pilot Movies:  This was the first time I've ever watched the first three pilot movies that begin the Six Million Dollar Man series.  They're kinda typical of the era, a lot of interesting ideas plotted out but they're obviously still working out the kinks of the series and there's a lot of drag to the pace of the three stories.  Lee Majors is test pilot Steve Austin, and after a pretty horrific crash he's pieced back together by Darren McGavin (the Night Stalker disappears after the first tv movie and is replaced by Richard Anderson).  After a lot of stalling, Steve Austin agrees to help out the government with some special assignments.  Using his new found cybernetic powers he kicks many a terrorists ass.  Having now gotten over the hurdle of the first three movies, I'm looking forward to the actually tv show.

Star Trek "Charlie X":  Matt hates this episode, but it don't bother me none.  Charlie is an annoying omnipotent pre-teen reeking havoc all over the Enterprise cuz Yeoman Rand doesn't know how to deflect his creepy mindbending flirtations.  Lots of perfectly lit extreme closeups and lingering sweaty stares, but I appreciate Captain Kirk's stern father routine as he brings the brat back to his people.  Charlie's a punk, but a pathetic sorry sort of punk.

Star Trek "The Naked Time":  A Star Trek classic that's more than just a collection of shirtless Sulu screencaps.  An away team beams back aboard the Enterprise and carries a deadly crazybrain disease back with them.  Leonard Nimoy shines here as Spock, getting his real first chance to display conflicting emotions.  Spock is badass and cool, but when he starts to crack he's a wonderfully sorry character.  And yes, the Sulu bravado of this episode is plenty fun with him hopping about with his pointy rapier.

Star Trek "The Enemy Within":  My all time favorite episode of the original series, Captain Kirk is split into two beings after one of those pesky transporter malfunctions.  One Kirk is meek, the other is full of rage.  For most of the runtime they battle it out, screaming demands for Brandy and strangling any skirt that should happen by--yes, Shatner has plenty of opportunities to ooze here and he excels at playing the creep.  "I'm CAPTAIN KIRK!!!!!!" indeed.


Mad Doctor of Blood Island:  "He began to show alarming side effects...strange eruptions of the skin...bits of melancholy, violence." I love the William Castle-esque opening Oath of the Green Blood and there are some amazing bits of crazy bonkers Z Movie dialog, but at 90 minutes Mad Doctor of Blood Island feels too long. The cheap, crappy charm wears out its welcome and the film never seems to take the Island of Dr Moreau concept to the exploitation heights of that era.

Return to Savage Beach:  "Whoa, that really hurt. I was shot, right? Where?" The final film in the Guns Girls & G-Strings collection does not disappoint. Julie Strain's L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies partner up with The Day of the Warrior's Arch Villain (Marcus Bagwell) thanks to his accidental murdering of a serial killer. Together these top government agents will spend a majority of the run time getting in and out of clothes as well as tracking down Rodrigo Obregon's resurrected Two-Face. They're gonna have to pose as strippers and take down some pistol packing ninjas, but it's all in the name of convoluted justice. This series of T&A action has had its ups and downs, but the goofy joys of this Savage Beach sequel end the Malibu Express saga on a high note.

Cowboys & Aliens:  The film might deal in archetypes and cliches, but director Jon Favreau picks the right faces to fill his popcorn stables. Daniel Craig is a perfect man with no name outlawing his way into the hearts of a town plagued by battle toads. And it's great to see Harrison Ford spitting John Fordisms while making nice with the savages. I for one, am glad they didn't go for the goof of the title and made a serious as can be action film showcasing the most enjoyable tropes of the genre. Seeing Clancy Brown's shotgun preacher, Sam Rockwell's tepid doc, and Keith Carradine's long tooth sheriff makes me yearn for a modern era of cowboy pictures for these relegated character actors to excel on the sidelines.

Police Academy 4 - Citizens on Patrol:  Steve Guttenberg's final entry in the Police Academy saga is probably the film I've seen the most in the series; I remember watching this on loop as a kid, the hot air balloon chase the height of action cinema. Watching it now, it's hard to give the film my full attention. It starts off pleasant enough with David Spade's Skateboard menace and GW Baily's "Don't Touch My Balls" screaming but four films in and the antics are pretty darn tired. Still, nostalgia carries the day and I cannot hate on Police Academy too much.

Private Duty Nurses:  The second of Roger Corman's Nurse productions, Private Duty Nurses is more serious melodrama than sexual hijinks following the formula of three nurses discovering tragic romance amongst the patients and doctors. Personally I prefer the whacky antics of Candy Stripe Nurses to this far-too-serious narrative involving racist hospitals, Flashbacking Vietnam Vets, and Turkish terrorist gun battles. At the very least it could have used a little more kung fu.  But small roles from Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club!) and the sniveling screeching Paul Hampton (More Dead Than Alive!) keep things interesting.

The Young Nurses:  "I wouldn't go out with your father if he was my father!" Similar to the other Corman produced nurseploitations, The Young Nurses is all over the map with its plot. You've got Sam Fuller's (yes, that Sam Fuller) drug dealing sea captain doctor, a daddy's boy romance, a medical malpractice lawsuit, and a couple of harpoon murders. At just 77 minutes, The Young Nurses is more akin to Candy Stripe Nurses with its whacky hijinks over its extreme melodrama. Drug Dealing & Murder is fun where as the Night Call Nurse suicides and bad acid trips are just damn depressing no matter how much T&A you throw in. Still, this four pack from Shout Factory's Roger Corman Cult Classics line is well worth its price tag.

Police Academy 5 - Assignment Miami Beach:  The Gute leaves the reigns of the franchise to newcomer Matt McCoy and the Police Academy story doesn't suffer for it; the graduates are still up to their typical antics with Jones kung fu dubbing his way into the hearts of Miami diamond thieves, Tackleberry fending off great whites with his magnum, and Captain Harris douching his way into the lamest academy pranks. Assignment Miami Beach is a pure dumb goof but if you've made it this far into the franchise than you're all in, plus who doesn't love a jet black Rene Abuberjonis running afoul of George Gaynes' clumsy buffoonery?

Bite The Bullet:  The Cannonball Run of Westerns from the director of The Professionals and starring the acting duo from the brutally grim The Hunting Party, Gene Hackman & Candice Bergen. Centering around The Western Press race of 1906, Hackman is an ex-Rough Rider who really loves horses but his good natured ways come into conflict with a batch of cow punching manly men like James Coburn, Ben Johnson, Ian Bannen, Jan Michael Vincent, and Dabney Coleman. It's a manic Western that jumps from kooky barroom brawls to attempted rape to PETA level moralizing with delightful ease and despite it's overlong narrative and misplaced third act chain gang, Bite The Bullet is an under appreciated flick that craves your attention.

Timecrimes:  You might want to check out that local science lab before moving into the neighborhood. Timecrimes cleverly and thrillingly explores the logic loops of the time travel genre when Karra Elejalde's peeping tom Hector follows a pair of forest breasts that leads to a masked slasher and a confounded scientist held up inside a mysterious compound. Hector might join the crazy of this science fiction a little too easy, but in accepting the adventure of this twisty time stream he allows writer/director Nacho Vigalondo a qucik, punchy runtime and an intense pace often lost with these speculative head scratchers.

Safe:  "But then the Russians showed up and started shooting everybody." Much more entertaining than it has any right to be, Safe belongs on the higher spectrum of Jason Statham action films despite its frustrating jump cutty close up fight choreography. Statham is the mysterious badass homeless cage fighter caught in between James Hong's triad goons, the Russian Mob, Robert Burke's squadron of corrupt cops, and Chris Sarandon's treacherous NYC mayor. All this violence has something to do with Catherine Chan's codebreaker brain and a safe full of ridiculous amounts of cash. Statham has fun with the brutality and a little of that Fistful of Dollars charm as he turns the rival gangs against one another in an effort to satisfy his own improbable revenge. And there are plenty of winky one-liners to satisfy the John McClanes of the world.  


The Left Bank Gang:  Yet another oddball sensation from Norwegian madman Jason. Does this guy even have a bad book in him? Paris 1920-something. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, and Joyce are tired of raking in peanuts for their comic strips, so it's time to turn to a life of crime. As always, there's great charm to the proceedings with Hemingway schooling Fitzgerald on penis size, Gertrude Stein scolding brushstroke technique, and Zelda puppet-mastering behind the Kubrickian Killing heist. And after each new Jason book I consume I want to champion his work to the spandex loving masses. Yes, yes, yes, we all can't wait for The Avengers but lets save room for literature fetishists.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol 1 "Change Is Constant":  IDW comics and original TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman team up to relaunch the Turtles for a new comic book generation.  And it's okay.  Personally, I really don't need the TMNT origin retold or retooled.  I wish the series would have jumped right into the thick of it with new adventures rather than another story of Leo, Don, and Mikey trying to track down their moody brother Raphael.  But that's what this is.  There's hints of a diabolical General Krang and possibly Shredder but this first volume in the new series focuses mainly on bringing the family back together including the teenage Casey Jones.  It's fun, but not great.  And unless I hear some pretty fantastic things I don't think I'll be continuing with this series.


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