Here's just a bunch of random crap I did this week. And none of it really blew my mind. Sure, there's good stuff here. I'm still obsessing over Dark Knight Rises-I think a lot of that might stem from the annoying Internet hate being directed at the final chapter and even though I still have a few minor gripes towards the film, I still kinda love it. So when The Wife said she was sad she missed the flick in IMAX we dropped everything we were doing and sped on over to the Udvar Hazy Air & Space Museum. I mostly watched her watch the film, loving every moment that brought tears to her face. She's amazing, the way film effect her--she's completely invested in the life of Bruce Wayne and I'm right there with her.
TV OF THE WEEK!
Hatfields & McCoys: "Revenge is all I got inside of me." At 6 hours this History Channel production detailing the frustratingly stubborn and grotesquely violent war between the infamous Hatfields & McCoys is a bit of a slog. That being said, I found the impenetrable hate expressed by these mean bastard characters to be rather refreshing. Thanks to the crutch that is History, the character do not grow, they do not find revelation. Just death and sorrow. And Kevin Costner & Bill Paxton are perfect embodiments for these monstrous patriarchs. So if you can handle the sorrow and the pathetic actions of fools than you might just enjoy the bearded gnashing of History's most hateful families.
MOVIES OF THE WEEK!
Ice Age - Continental Drift: After diving into the Ice Age saga on the fourth film, I cannot claim to understand or care for these CG sitcom concoctions, but looking beyond the barf and fart jokes there are still a couple of chuckles to be found. Still, I cannot condone this voice cast. Ray Ramano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, and Queen Latifah are impossible to imagine as anything other than "personalities" even when Peter Dinkledge lends a little class with his taste of "furry." Ice Age - Continental Drift feels a lot like one of the lost, or rather better left forgotten, Land Before Time sequels and the Direct-To-DVD graveyard will be this franchise's eventual destination.
21 Jump Street: Yes, with the H.F.S. baked declaration of "Fuck You Science!" Channing Tatum finally won me over to his dark side of brilliant comic timing. Forget my previous GI Joe-hate or Step Up confusion, you sir are a freaking mad man of comedy. 21 Jump Street defies the odds and delivers a laugh-out-loud remake and a downright game changer for at least half of its two leads. And lets not forget about Ice Cube and his Korean Jesus--he's got more serious problems than yours fool. Sure, the third reel action film payoff is forced and ultimately unnecessary, but it does give supposed fans of the original a happy spurt of cameo nostalgia.
Rango: After about a half dozen viewings, I'm declaring Rango to be a new personal classic. Yep, I'm probably going to watch Johnny Depp's Lizard With No Name at least once a year for the rest of my life. Not only have ILM, Nickelodeon, and Gore Verbinski crafted the most beautiful CG animated film yet (seriously, those sunsets!? Those ugly ass mangy animals!?!) but a thrilling Weird Western cinematic sendup of Polanski's Chinatown as well as a million billion Spaghetti classics. And after experiencing the bland voices of the Ice Age it's a thrill to get real character work from Depp, Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone, and Bill Nighy.
William Shatner's Get A Life: I signed up for a free trial run of Epix just to see The Shat's new doc. It's super short, barely over an hour, but it has a genuine love for its fanboy subjects where the similarly themed Trekkies carried a more mocking tone. However, just like Shatner's The Captains, the film feels heavily steered by The Shat's questions and his revelations are scripted rather than happened upon understanding. Still, I love LOVE, especially Fanboy Love and Get A Life! is a warm dip into the crazy pool of Star Trek geekery. I'm a proud member and one of these days I'll make it out to the big Vegas Trek extravaganza.
Piranha 3DD: "In Case You Haven't Noticed, Fish Ate My Damn Legs!" David Hasselhoff as Fish Hunter aside, there is very little to enjoy about Piranha 3DD. Yep, this is just bad-bad cinema and nowhere near as hilariously fun-bad as it should be...which is the same problem with the first film's remake. Director John Gulager attempts to parade out even skankier hos and splatter even bloodier kills but it all seems very tired. Sure, Hoffy & Ving Rhames score a few laughs but not nearly enough to recommend and I don't wanna get behind the cow fart destruction of Gary Busey. Not cool.
The Dark Knight Rises: Fourth viewing and I'm still quite satisfied with Chris Nolan's conclusion to his epic Batman saga. And on my second IMAX experience I found the ratio switching much less distracting. Favorite bits are still the first brutal confrontation with Tom Hardy's behemoth and the GCPD/League of Shadows Braveheart brawl...sure, a few more bullets could hit their target and The Dark Knight Rises seems to hold its violent punches where The Dark Knight relished in the depravity--And the time line gets super wonky! But quibbles do not destroy a film, and they're no worse than the quibbles I had with either of the two previous Dark Knight entries.
The Gold Rush: Of the latest Criterion rereleases, I easily prefer both Modern Times & The Great Dictator but it's The Gold Rush where you find some of Charlie Chaplin's most iconic images--the boot dinner, the dancing rolls, the teetering cabin. Classic stuff. But I find the Tramp's obsession with Georgia to be rather sad if not downright pathetic. She's such a thin snob of a woman who only sees Chaplin's prospector as a human when he obtains wealth. Their love is bitter and easily dismissed.
The Innkeepers: Similar in pacing and payoff to Ti West's previous House of the Devil, however, I did not find either the spooks or the mystery of The Innkeepers to be engaging. I recognize a well crafted film but it's ultimately a hollow venture that's about as thrilling or thoughtful as a Paranormal Activity sequel. Sara Paxton sure can scream and Kelly McGillis sure got old. Not enough plot for me.
COMICS OF THE WEEK!
The Underwater Welder: Damon Lindelof, in his introduction, draws comparisons to Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone when championing this stellar graphic novel from the creator of Sweet Tooth. And once that parallel is drawn it is impossible to forget. But The Underwater Welder is not a simple homage to twisting genre moralities. There may or may not be a supernatural event at the center of this story, but at its heart The Underwater Welder is a simply drama-drama of an impeding father terrified not just by his responsibilities but his blessings as well. Author Jeff Lemire captures pain and anxiety perfectly and wraps it nicely in a blanket of acceptable fantasy.
Batman - Dark Victory: Picking up shortly after the events of The Long Halloween, Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale introduce a new serial killer to Gotham, The Hang Man. But what does this mystery killer have to do with Holiday? Or the Falcone Crime Family? Or Harvey Dent? Frankly, I find the Who Done It plot less compelling than the murders of The Long Halloween (it's a rehashed device) but I do love the Falcone's deterioration into Freak Show Super Villainy. Sofia Gigante is a monster! Albert Falcone is as much a freak as Joker or Scarecrow. What started in The Long Halloween is solidified in Dark Victory, Loeb & Sale give us Gotham's transition from ordinary Mob crimes into the Rogues Gallery freakshow we've come to love so damn much.
Hawkeye #1: Did I seriously purchase a Hawkeye comic? I did! And no, Jeremy Renner did not turn me to the dark side of lameness. But when Big Planet Comics tells me I should check something out I usually listen (they were certainly right about The Underwater Welder & Green River Killer) Plus, Matt Fraction. He writes some damn good comics. But even though I appreciated the lack of the purple suit and the added sad sack dog sidekick, I really wasn't enthralled with this one-off Bro basher. Hawkeye, hero of the people? Whatever. But for a first issue it feels a little soft.
Beasts of Burden - Neighborhood Watch: Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson's Beasts of Burden is an adorable supernatural horror. Imagine Watership Down, Hellboy, and Pound Puppies smooshed through your Murder She Wrote obsessed television. Neighborhood Watch collect three mini adventures in which Rex & Orphan chase down a chicken killing goblin, the heroic myth of the heroic Bitan is recounted to a liter of pups, and the Beasts encounter a herd of roaming zombie sheep. Yep, weird wild stuff. And a perfect introduction for the uninitiated.
Ultimate Spider-Man #13: Ok, this somehow ties into the current Divided We Fall ultimate crossover event but it seems to only have very loose connections to the overall story. Miles Morales struggles with the outcome of his deadly battle with The Prowler and Nick Fury & The Avengers ponder the destiny of this new Spider-Man. It's all set-up to a two page payoff that has me clamoring for issue 14. Time for Miles to finally confront the legacy of Peter Parker.
The Sixth Gun #18-23: After last week, I just couldn't wait for the next trade. Becky escapes the Sword of Abraham in pursuit of the missing Drake Sinclair. She tracks him to the town of Penance where a mysterious plague seems to have mutated the population. More fun, gross Cowboy action. The Sixth Gun continues to be one of my favorite new series thanks to cartoony, over-the-top violence including eyeless monster monks, Lovecraftian sea beasts, and leashed man-dog trackers. The wordless issue 21 was easily the standout of the collection, featuring plenty of action and another hint towards the history of the Six Guns. Glad I'm all caught up.
HOPELESS DORK EXPENSE OF THE WEEK!
The San Diego International Comic Con 2013: Wow. So, we already have our tickets for next year's show. On Saturday, The Wife & I manned our computers ready to fight an army of faceless fellow dorks in competition for early Comic Con admittance. The preregistration process began at 11AM and when I clicked the link I was the 18,000th person in line--no chance of getting Preview Night or all four days. But thankfully my buddy TitoBane was 1,000th in line and he scored 4 Day Badges for both The Wife & myself. There you have it. Comic Con 2013 here we come. I don't know if I can afford another flight over or a room or whatever but dammit I'm gonna make it happen. We're Comic Con addicts now. Every year for the rest of our lives.