Sunday, September 9, 2012

Matt’s Week in Dork! (9/2/12-9/8/12)

    Weird week.  Busy.  Not too great, actually.  Kinda sucked.  But it ended well.

American Experience: Streamliners: America’s Lost Trains:  Another love letter to the passenger train, this one is specifically about the gorgeous art deco rockets called streamliners.  The onrush of car ownership drove innovation to create something new that would win people back to the rail.  At the height (or depth) of the Depression two men of the family Budd (distant relations who hadn’t known each other) came together to make magic with stainless steel.  These trains of the future helped a nation suffering under the collapse of the old regime look toward tomorrow with hope.  The footage and photos of the trains are awe inspiring.  The interviews and narration are typically solid.  PBS tends still to do some of the best documentaries.  But stories like this remind me of how much innovation we as a nation used to display, our will to embrace the future and challenge tradition.  Man I’d love to have had a chance to ride the California Zephyr.  There’s a majesty in a slower pace, sometimes.  Europe and Japan kept that dream alive.  I’d really like to see a bit of it return, to take a trip on a passenger train, or a zeppelin.  Travel with the time to enjoy it.

Godzilla:  That darned H-Bomb done woke up a monster.  A giant dinosaur goes on a rampage of wanton destruction in post-War Japan, getting on everyone’s already jagged nerves.  But one old scientist who figures things out doesn’t want the creature killed.  But Eye-patch Science Guy is ready to take it on.  The stark black and white gives sequences of destruction a dream-like feel, somehow beautiful and violent.  Godzilla seems to reflect a degree of Japanese anxiety, some quite justified, at that specific time.

Doctor Who: The Caves of Adnrozani:  The Doctor and Peri end up on a barren, sandy planet, and as frequently happens with the Doctor, end up getting caught between opposing forces.  Gunrunners, a monster, lots of hallways.  It’s not bad, but there’s little to set it apart from many other episodes, many better ones.  There is a mad scientist in a black & white harlequin costume.  That’s something.  Peri is an odd companion.  She’s not totally useless, but she’s still kind of a damsel in distress.  I kind of like her, but she’s also kind of annoying.  Do I just like her because she’s cute?  I don’t have an answer for that.

Lawless:  I still stand by my statement that they should have kept the name of the book, ‘The Wettest County in the World,’ which is so much less made for cable TV sounding than Lawless.  That said, this was a pretty good rumrunner epic with a good cast of dirty, ugly, sweaty folks.  Even the Labeouf doesn’t totally suck.  Tom Hardy’s grunty dialog is fantastic.  The violence tends to be sudden, with long stretches of build up and an overall feeling that things might turn sour fast.  They didn’t break any new ground here, but it’s all very well done.

Eugenie de Sade:  “She was Austrian, a student, and an utter idiot.”  There is something sexy about a hot woman reading books.  But, Jess Franco does his darnedest to spoil that.  It looks like it was made in 1974, not 84.  A lot of nudity, virtually no eroticism (what there is almost seems accidental).  Typical Franco.  And thankfully, the director plays a supporting role.  Oh, yeah.  The music sounds like something out of a demonic JC Penny commercial from 1982, continuous and irritating.

Bay Cove:  Wow, this is 80s-tastic.  Even a young Woody Harrelson.  Awful sax music.  Hairspray.  And is that Prince from Lexx.  Don’t move to Witch Island, man.  Crappy, made for Canadian TV junk.

Resident Evil: Extinction:  My favorite of this awesomely silly franchise is sort of Day of the Dead meets Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.  Lots of silly, lots of cool, lots of satellite spying, and Milla jumping.  Rolling across the sand dunes, torching birds, and fighting henti monsters.  Madness.

Resident Evil: Afterlife:  More goofy than the previous film, it sure was fun in 3D.  My major complaint about this movie is the all too brief appearance of the Milla army.  In my head, there are still hundreds (at least) of them out there going about various world saving behaviors.  It’s still a lot of fun, and the ending is good and crazy.

Salon Kitty:  Tinto Brass is as crass and exploitative as they come, and this one is plenty of both.  Pretty girls.  Lots of bad behavior.  Some bent ugliness.  And very little point.  Not recommended.

According to this, we suck.

    Also got in some more episodes of The Prisoner, Batman: The Animated Series, and even a couple Adam West episodes of the 60s show.

    I also finished reading the extremely depressing and informative book, A World Lit Only by Fire.  I’ll be putting up a review of it one of these days.  But in the meantime, go out and read it.  Dang, but I’m glad I live today.  The past sucked.

     Ended the week by heading to Baltimore for Comic-Con.  It was a good deal of fun.  Seemed like a LOT more people there this year, but I'm not sure.  I'm sure Brad will have a lot more to say about it, but it was a good show.  Got some nice swag, saw a ton of cosplay, some of it pretty good.  Some of those folks were pretty darned brave.  And a surprising number of people were actually fit enough for their costumes.  I could have dealt with about 80% less zombie themed art in Artist's Ally, though.  That's for darned sure.


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