Thursday, November 8, 2012
Brad's Week In Dork! (10/21/12-10/27/12)
This Week in Dork saw the death of my annual October Horrorathon. My heart was just not in it this year, and after suffering through the abysmal Sinister early in the week I simply just had to throw in the towel. The idea of being bombarded by more jump scare violin strings is the true horror of this month. Maybe next year I'll refocus and (more importantly) rediscover my love of the genre but for now...I'll find my entertainment elsewhere.
Body Double: This is Brian De Palma at his most Hitchcockiness. Chomping off large, bloody bits from both Rear Window & Vertigo, and it's easy to dismiss Body Double as another Wannabe from that perverted boobies loving De Palma... That being said, I love this era of De Palma sleaze and I'll take Body Double, Blow Out, and Sisters any day over Scarface, Road To Mars, and The Black Dahlia. Craig Wasson is a weakling, phobic actor turned heroic creepy peeper when he witnesses the murder of his naughty nude neighbor at the hands of a Rondo Hatton looking driller killer. This is not high art, but it is fun pretend art. And horror fans should get a snicker from a don't-blink cameo from a straddling Barbara Crampton.
Hellboy - House of the Living Dead: I completed my marathon devouring of Hellboy comics with this enjoyable, goofy, gloomy sequel to Hellboy en Mexico. Wandering the saloons and luchadore rings of 1950s Mexico, HB thrashes hapless opponents in an effort to escape the horrors of past failurs. Enter Frankenstein's monster...some mad doctor has come across the creature and wants to pit its might against Hellboy. Then there's the werewolf and the vampire. A tribute to the Universal Monster mashups like House of Frankenstein & House of Dracula, but despite the high concept geekery this Mignola/Corban teamup still doesn't grab me as much as I want it too. Nor is it as sad and spooky as the original borderland tale. Still, curious to see other lost adventures from this Drunken Blur period.
Sinister: There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for this film out there in Internetland, but I just couldn't get into this boring jump scare pornography. Ethan Hawke is a failing true crime writer desperately trying to rediscover his bestseller status while investigating a quadruple homicide. He moves his family into the slain family's home and discovers a box full of snuff films in the attic. A concept I've always been fascinated with, but seems to rarely pay off in cinema. Sinister can't rely on the Nic Cage insanity of 8MM so it falls back on tired boos and creepy crawly children imagery. I'm not sure if the horror genre is completely dead, but Sinister appears to be another nail in the coffin.
Batman Incorporated #4: Sure, Grant Morrison's Batman Inc appears to be set in a universe completely separate from the New 52 but that's no reason to get your panties in a twist. Morrison continues his Silver Aged obsessed hunt for Talia Al Ghul and enlists an unlikely alley into his cadre of Batmen. Who is Wingman? The answer is not as interesting as what the revelation does for poor demented Damian. There's a lot of exposition to wade through with Morriosn, but the muddy narrative path is just as exciting as punch 'em up fight scenes.
Talon #1: Ugh. Yeah. I'm done. Talon takes everything that I found mysterious and creepy in Scott Snyder's Bat book and forces it into the light. And it's lame lame lame. Mr. Rose returns to Gotham in the wake of the Owls downfall but the evil 1%ers are alive & well & still hunting for his blood. Snooze. I'm not going to continue.
Punisher - War Zone #1: The Punisher vs. The Avengers. Yeah, sure. That's a fair fight. Spider-Man gets all righteous after Frank uses one of his web shooters during a mob assassination. Apparently a couple cops get killed. Time for Cap & Co to take out the vigilante. So issue #2? Thor brings down the hammer smashing Frank's molecules into oblivion, right? Game over. Well, I guess Wolverine might be on the side of The Punisher or something. I'm not going to bother to find out. Super Heroes is just not what I want from a Punisher book.
Wolverine Max #1: It's Wolverine with swearing!!!! Oooooo. Another snooze from Marvel this week. I dig the Jock cover but that's about it. Wolverine crash lands in Japan and looses his memory. Really? More amnesia nonsense. Plus Logan vs. Shark = lots of blood & guts. But these Max books can sometimes feel like poor excuses for potty language and gore. The story seems very been there done that. Tell em I'm wrong and I might pick up issue 2.
Captain America #19: In his eight year run on Captain America, Ed Brubaker produced one of the greatest super hero comics on the stand to one of the most disappointing. The Winter Soldier. The Death of Captain America. Amazing. Cap Reborn? Terrible status quo rebooting. And Brubaker returning Cap to the typical tights action from the gritty espionage business? So sad. But here's his final statement on the series. And it's appropriately bittersweet. Steve Rodgers visits the crazy 1950s Cap in the hospital. He apologizes for the effect the Captain America legacy has had on this nutjob. But in doing so he also states why he must carry on the symbol. Whatever missteps this series might have taken lately, the writer proves that he still understands the appeal of the character. It's time to go Brubaker, but damn, you will go down as one of the all time great shepherds of the character.
Argo: Ben Affleck continues to prove his mastery of tense crime dramas with this breakneck telling of the Iranian Hostage Crisis...or at least one tiny and bizarre aspect of the Crisis. Argo plays like a whackjob Ocean's 11 with Ben Affleck's company man reaching into the banal B.S. of Hollywood as a means for military rescue. With the help of the Planet of the Apes wizard John Chambers (John Goodman) and money man Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) as well as artistic talent of Jack Kirby (Michael Parks...ok, he's only in it for two seconds and he's never named on screen but that's JACK KIRBY! Holy Cow! Jack Kirby on Screen! New Gods Saves The Day!) Affleck stages a daring if completely insane rescue of the six embassy workers hiding out in Victor Garber's Canadian embassy. Argo will send shivers and create panic attacks; it's easily one of the most thrilling film's of the year and I am in awe of Ben Affleck's transition into filmmaker.
Seven Psychopaths: Did someone turn on the time machine and transport us back to 1995 where every film wanted to be Pulp Fiction? Seven Psychopaths feels right at home with films like 2 Days in the Valley and Albino Alligator. And if you cram in Spike Jonze's Adaptation and voila! That being said, I really enjoyed it. Not as much as the director's previous In Bruges, but the diabolical fun these actors are obviously having is infectious even when it's just scenery chewing. The hospital staredown between Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson is worth the price of admission alone. And Tom Waits' bunny lover? Yeah, that's a bag of crazy worth subjecting yourself to. But for me, this film is all about Sam Rockwell. He's batshit. And utterly pathetic. But he deserves his shoot out and so do we.