Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Matt’s Week in Dork! (4/22/12-4/28/12)

    Kind of a quiet week.  A lot of reading, and some writing.

I Worship His Shadow:  “Life’s a mix-up.”  The first Lexx story introduces the players, Stanly, Zev, Kai, 790, and the Lexx, and it sets the tone for the whole mad endeavor.  Kind of like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy mixed with some of the darker Heavy Metal comics.  It’s funny, but deeply grim, with a taste for the absurd and an occasional mean spirit.  Not for everyone, but a treat for people with bent tastes and a willingness to embrace weird.

Super Nova:  “Who’s Poet Man?”  “A poet perhaps.”  The second Lexx story sees the crew visit Kai’s long abandoned homeworld in an attempt to find a way to bring him back to life…full life.  Things start out weird and get very dark very quickly.  Tim Curry doesn’t really add much to this movie, though I’m sure everyone was very glad to have a ‘name’ actor on board.  Mostly, he just hams it up.  The folks who wrote Lexx sure had some sick stuff going on, which I totally dig.

What’s Up Superdoc!:  The British seem to have two major comedic styles; the dry, intellectual, and often quite cutting type; and the aggressively broad and stupid.  This movie falls into the latter group.  Making Bennie Hill look like The Office, it has all the subtlety and wit of a Stalin speech.  A couple attractive women are the rare rays of light in an otherwise murky wasteland of low brow humor.  If it had been made in the United States, Charlie Callas would have come spitting and sputtering by at least once.

Eating Pattern:  The third Lexx story takes place on a garbage planet, where the ship is looking to get some much needed food.  Kai seems to be really and truly dead.  Zev gets into some trouble.  And Stan gets himself goofified by a super-hot girl in a crazy outfit who is almost certainly more than she seems.  As usual, there is a profoundly grim humor with some awful brutality.  Lexx has a kind of nihilism mixed with the jokes that some might find off-putting.  People do ugly, ugly things to each other (and themselves).  Of the four movies that make up the first ‘season’ of the show, I think this is the best.

Dawn of the Dead:  “Say goodbye, creep.”  Society collapses in the face of a wide spread disaster.  In the chaos, a handful of people make it to one of those new fangled ‘malls,’ where they hold up and wait to see what happens next.  George Romero’s follow up to Night of the Living Dead takes on the growing consumerism of the 70s, while ramping up the gore and violence.  Probably more than either the first or the third film in the trilogy, this movie defined the subgenre, spawning countless Italian rip-offs and remaining the gold standard for 30 years.  Before Shawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and the remake of this film helped to rebirth zombie movies, this film was THE epic of the genre.  The effects aren’t always that great, the acting is sometimes iffy, and man the woman is a fickle bitch.  But it takes its time, builds up the tension, and gives us some characters to care about.  So, when things go down, it means something.

Planetfall:  I haven’t watched one of these sort of films in a while.  Not gonna lie, it’s rough.  They managed to do a lot with a little, and sometimes it’s OK.  The acting feels like local theater.  It’s not subtle enough for film.  Still, it’s a fun effort.  Not good.  But fun.  This is real, LOW budget stuff.  Not a million, but a couple thousand.  So, don’t expect even TV episode quality.  But it has more heart than a given Asylum film.  It’s the kind of movie I’d like to make (though I hope my script would be better).  It’s people, working for little or no expectation of reward, having fun, and making something together.  And as such, it’s worth a watch.

The Young Nurses:  “You’re gonna lose!!!”  I don’t know when a harpoon murder seems likely.  I know I wasn’t expecting the two featured in this movie.  Somewhere around half way in (around the harpoonings in fact), I realized I had no flippin’ idea what was going on.  Something about drugs, a guy who wants to sail, and hippies or something.  Just a lot of head scratching on my part.  Awkward nudity, more awkward dialog, Dick Miller as a racist cop, and a random stripping to swim in the ocean.  Corman!

Giga Shadow:  “As a mindless servant of death for His Shadow, I was not prone to curiosity.”  The final ‘movie’ that makes up Lexx’s first season, this one mostly ties up the various issues from the first three films.  Had Lexx not become a regular show, this would have been a fine ending.  Not especially strong, it will probably only make sense if you’ve watched the first three.

Safe:  “It’s a nice drive…if you like trees and s*%#.”  After seeing the trailer, I assumed this was going to be another one of those easily forgettable ‘lesser Statham’ movies, like The Bank Job or The Mechanic.  Watchable, sure, but not especially good.  It turned out to be much more entertaining than I expected.  After the Crank films, everything seems tame, but at least they let Statham get some asskicking done here.  Lots of fist fights, gun fights, and dinnerware fights.  Though there is too much shaky cam, when the camera isn’t shaking, there are some really well shot/conceived sequences (one with excellent use of car mirrors).  A great bunch of character actors, including the venerable James Hong, Robert John Burke, and an especially expository Chris Sarandon, are nice additions.  But truthfully, it was just great to see The Statham destroy a bunch of people.

    I cracked into my Magnum P.I. season 1 box set.  Oh, the mustache.  It’s glorious.  Another show that actually lives up to my childhood love, thankfully.

    I also watched a few more episodes of The Tomorrow People and Boardwalk Empire.  Both fine shows, if totally different.  And I rewatched a few Kolchak: The Night Stalker episodes.  Man, I love that show.

    Only one comic this week, Aliens Omnibus 1 (see my review here).  But I actually did a lot of reading.  Some stories from Cthulhu’s Reign, for one.  And I started reading some other stuff which I haven’t finished.

    Mostly, I spent this week writing.  I’ve had a bunch of stuff on my mind and have been getting a lot of it typed out.  Not sure if anything will come of any of it.  But, it’s always good to get it written.


This makes a lot of sense.

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