Thursday, July 5, 2012

Matt’s Week in Dork! (6/24/12-6/30/12)

    Another weird week.  I guess most of them are.  These are the days, though.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou:  Probably Wes Anderson’s most surreal trip through family dysfunction, The Life Aquatic takes the archetypal aquatic nature film maker and applies his usual bent sense of tragic humor.  There’s that sense of failed dreams captured by the video tapes of the Dharma Initiative on Lost, or flashbacks on Venture Bros.  The good times are long gone and things are just grinding down, falling apart, consumed by entropy.  Anderson’s world is not our world, and the strange undersea sequences bring that home, if the characters hadn’t already.  But elements of reality creep into the fractured people and their difficult interplay.  Plus, when Zissou goes all Commando, it’s just straight-up badass.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter:  OK, OK, OK.  It’s about Abraham Lincoln, but you know, as a vampire hunter.  There’s no way you can enjoy this if you don’t embrace the madness.  Is it stupid?  Oh, yeah.  But it’s a heck of a lot of fun.  Frankly, I was expecting another disappointment, like Battleship or Ghost Rider 2, where it never mans up and goes as crazy as it needs to.  But it did.  Not as crazy as I wanted, but crazy enough to be a lot of fun.  Horse throwing, shotgun axing, old Lincoln kung-fu fighting, and all the other things that make a movie worth watching.

Doctor Who: The Awakening:  A lot gets crammed into a short story.  Trying to see Tegan’s grandfather takes the Doctor and his friends to a dumpy little village where some local history enthusiasts have gotten a little too into their historic reenactments.  And what’s up with the simpleton from the past?  Pretty weird stuff, and that awful little stone goblin thing is freaky.  Not really a great tale, but a fair two-part bridge story.

Slaughter:  Jim Brown bashes his way through the mob, and anyone else who gives him some crap.  This movie is awesome.  So many sleazy bad guys, especially the disgusting Rip Torn.  And Don Gordon makes a great partner, his way with the ladies and his jean jacket.  Oh, yeah.  Cool music, plenty of fisticuffs, and some great dialog.  Slaughter!!!

Watchmen:  I just really, really like this movie.  Sacrilege or not, I think that like the Lord of the Rings films, this actually improves some on the book.  Yup.  I said it.  Trimming a good deal of the unnecessary bits, especially the whole magazine stand thread that always annoyed me in the book.  The cast does a fine job.  The movie looks amazing.  Great soundtrack and score.  And the story is very cool.  This is a grand epic with a large cast of characters and deep history.   Graphic violence may disturb some; sadly the nudity seems to disturb more; and the moral ambiguity without a clear judgment will almost certainly throw many viewers for a loop.  Hero?  Villain?  Both?  Where is the line?  Is there a line at all?  Take one life to save a hundred and maybe they make you a hero.  What if you kill one hundred thousand to save six billion?  What happens when a man becomes a god?  Great stuff.  F the haters.

The H-Men:  Slow paced late 50s sci-fi horror, this is entertaining, if not especially exciting.  Some cool creature effects (melting folks, dripping slime, etc) help things along.  But there’s way, way too much sitting around in police station offices jabbering on about this gang or that criminal or some boat in the Pacific.  It feels like there are too many side stories or subplots for a movie about killer ooze.  Still, it was fun.  Probably best watched with friends.

    Ben and I started watching The Pacific, and some more Venture Bros.  Both excellent shows for totally different reasons.  And I started watching The River, which could be interesting, but suffers from network TV syndrome.

    Saturday night, Brad hosted a Batman night.  We started with a couple Adam West episodes featuring Cat Woman.  Goof-tastic fun.  So many awful puns, over the top acting, and twisted ‘plots.’  We followed that with a great episode of Brave and the Bold, featuring Bat Ape.  Yeah, he fights ‘jungle based crime.’  We followed that up with Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman.

Batman:  There are a lot of things I like about this movie, but I’ve never really been a fan.  Keaton is solid both as Wayne and Batman, the effects are good and the set design is awesome.  But it feels like there are too many balls being juggled.  I know it’s well loved, but I never connect with this film.  It’s muddy in tone, the plot wanders, and frankly, I just never like Jack Nicholson.  And Prince’s music makes me want to scream.  It’s so bloody awful.

    Then another bit of Adam West awesome.  And we followed that up with some more Brave and the Bold.  Oh, Aquaman, and his musical number.  What is up with that?  Sadly, I passed out not long into Batman and Robin.  What little I saw was absolutely awful, but some sick part of me feels I need to watch the whole Burton era series again one of these days.  I woke up when it was over, and saw one last Adam West story.  Love that show.

    I read the first hardcover volume of Invincible, Age of Reptiles, some 28 Days Later (reviews to follow).

    I also read the new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 2009, which was all kinds of Alan Moore nutty.  I don’t feel like I’m ready to review it.  I think I’m going to have to go back and read the three parts of Century, 1910, 1969, and 2009 as a unit.  Maybe I’ll have to read all of League again, before I’m really ready.  But if you’ve been reading League up to this point, you need to read this. 
Dang, man.  Total madness.

    Brad and I attended a live recording of Big Planet’s 50th podcast.  That was fun.  We weren’t sure what to expect, and were perhaps a bit quiet, taking in more than giving.  But it was pretty cool.  We’ve really got to get on the ball and do either a podcast, or a weekly video or something.  But it helped make for a good week in dork anyhow.

    And on Friday night, after watching Watchmen, Northern Virginia got hit with a CRAZY powerful storm that came on with no warning.  I’ve lived through at least three substantial hurricanes, countless massive snow storms, torrential downpours that would make Noah crap his pants, and all kinds of madness, and honestly, it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.  When I looked outside, there was no rain, but the sky looked like a strobe light.  And the air was alive.  Not going in one direction or another, but seemingly every direction.  My building, which deadens the sound of the worst weather, creaked and moaned, and I could feel the air getting sucked out and pushed in.  On several occasions, the whole place suddenly smelled like outside, like trees and soil.  And I became genuinely concerned that there might be a tornado or something.  From what I understand, it was even worse elsewhere, and at least I never had more than flickering power, no long-term loss.  But it all reminds me how reliant on technology we all are.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing, exactly.  Just something to be aware of, and something to take into account.


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