Thursday, November 8, 2012

Matt's Week in Dork! (10/21/12-10/27/12)

    Started the week with a trip into DC to the National Zoo with Ben.  It was a beautiful day, and just cool enough for a lot of the animals to be out and about and having some fun.  It’s a darned nice zoo, well kept and the animals seem in fairly good spirits (with the exception of the primates, but they never seem too happy).  We got to see the octopus getting fed, and holy smokes, that thing is a beast.  50lbs, I think the guy said.  The tigers and lionesses were up and about and moving around.  The pandas weren’t, but I guess they’re in mourning for the recent death of the cub (is it called a cub?).  They’ve got a nice sea lion pool, and a few other really nice set-ups.  It’s really a nice zoo and a good place to stop if you’re looking around on the cheap.

     On to the movies...

Lady Chatterley:  A young woman’s husband is paralyzed in a way that disallows the giving of the business.  He’s worried about her womanly needs, so puts the idea in her head that she’s welcome to take what she needs when she wants it and from whomsoever pleasest her best.  If nothing else, the film serves as an interesting look at life in the aftermath of the first World War, with elements of old world living still hanging on.  This ‘director’s cut’ is quite long (!), with lots of slow, quiet, dialog free scenes.  Considering it’s over an hour in before we get to the naughty bits (super awkward sex scene that I imagine is what love in the eyes of the Victorians was supposed to look like; you know, with the woman just laying there…enduring), and reviews from folks I know who have read the book, I can’t imagine it’s really a heck of an entertaining thing.  But as a period piece movie, it’s interesting.

FDR: American Badass:  “Shut the f%&$ up Einstein!”  Clearly an accurate glimpse into our past glories, battling those evil Nazi werewolf bastards who kept giving people the polio.  The Delano will shoot down every last hairy jackass who tries to import their crappy werewolf blood tainted booze, give innocent folks the polio, or enslave Europe.  With the help of his stalwart companions, he’ll take the fight to the beaches of Normandy if that’s what needs doing.  Even if his wife doesn’t like his jiggly little polio legs.  There’s something in this movie to offend nearly everyone, and everyone is clearly having a good time.

Daughters of Darkness: Belgian horror?  Why not?  Some pretty women, some melodramatic acting, some moody Belgian location shooting.  Great?  No.  But it was worth a watch.  More in line with Jean Rollin that Jess Franco.  Which is good news in my book.

Argo:   Based on a true story, this film, if nothing else, should serve as a reminder a) don’t go to Iran and b) (religion + politics) crowd = somebody’s gonna get murdered.  The cast is excellent, the direction (Ben Affleck, really?) is good, and the period vibe is well captured.  Is this a movie I’m going to want to revisit?  Probably not.  But in this year of not so good movie after not so good movie, this one does stand up as a pretty good flick.  Very tense.

Seven Psychopaths:  Like a dark, violent take on Adaptation, this tale of a hard drinking screenwriter goes into some strange, surreal places where the fourth wall crumbles and reality is not quite what it seems…or is it.  The cast does a fantastic job here, even Farrell.  It’s violent, odd, and very, very funny.  And there are lots of great little bit parts and character actors.  A lot of fun.

Sacred Flesh:  Where did medieval nuns find the time to get boob jobs?  This is basically just a soft-core fetish video for people into nuns and light S&M.  That’s not me.  And the nudity didn’t really do much for me because of the plastic breasts, the tattoos, and the piercing, which are both unappealing and historically inaccurate.  There’s a lot of pop-philosophy pedantically snarked by a chick in a crazy queen getup.  So, if you like that kind of thing, it might be cool, too.  I don’t.  But hey, it’s mercifully short.

The Fountain:  “Death is the road to awe.” Over the last several years this movie has crawled up the list to become one of my all time favorite films (second favorite of the 2000s).  I think I watch it about two or three times a year, and I enjoy the heck out of it each time, even with all the emotional stuff going on inside me.  The movie is beautiful, like a painting.  And the cast is very good.  The music is phenomenal.  And though I don’t have a mystical bone in my body, nor do I believe in any kind of afterlife, the story about death, rebirth, creative destruction, eternal love, and all that is quite moving and beautiful.  There’s also a degree of ambiguity about the whole thing that (again, like a painting) leaves a lot up to the viewer to interpret.

Tarzan’s Secret Treasure:  Moaureen O’Sullivan is still Jane by this film.  This is still early enough in the series that the daily life of the family (Tarzan, Jane, and Boy) gets a good deal of screen time.  Boy gets all curious about civilization, and takes a journey out into the world.  When people get wind of gold in Tarzan’s land, they get the fever.  But what matters gold to Tarzan, who already has everything he could want?  The earlier films in this series certainly had a more epic, adventurous feel, with more exotic seeming locations and more diverse stories.

Tarzan’s New York Adventure:  Those darned white men with their greed and violence.  Some hunters this time, looking for lions to kill.  But after they kidnap Boy, Tarzan and Jane have to go to New York City to find him.  Tarzan doesn’t think too much of civilization, but that’s no surprise.

Vampire’s Night Orgy:  There’s precious little orgy.  But there are a lot of ugly people and a hairy axe wielder.  Living in a vampire town seems like a drag.  Especially when the countess keeps sending her goons to get meat for dinner.  The music is something special.  It sounds like something you’d hear in an airline commercial while watching The Love Boat.  The vampires in this are more pathetic than scary, and their plans just not thought through.

The Horrible Sexy Vampire:  “I’m bad at logic.”  “Explaining is stupid.”  This movie begs the question, ‘did European women of 1970 all have horrible looking fake red hair/wigs?’  And this should probably be called The Horrible Randomly Invisible and Not Especially Sexy Vampire.

The Vampire Happening:  I guess this is a comedy.  Or what passes for one.  Not much plot and not many jokes.  They do try to make up for obvious shortcomings with a good deal  of nubile nudity.  But the movie is still pretty bad.

The Werewolf VS Vampire Women:  Low budget and typical Euro-crap sabotage this one, but there’s unrealized potential.  It tries for a Hammer vibe, but fails.  Partly because, in spite of almost continual opportunity, there’s almost no nudity.  To the point that it seemed weird.  Haphazard storytelling and weird emotions spazzing all the time don’t help.

Terror Creatures from the Grave:  A mysterious letter from a dead man.  Strange tales of plague spreaders, buried in unhallowed ground.  And a bunch of people who seem to know more than they’re saying.  This is a moody, but annoyingly disjointed horror tale about revenge and haunting.  It’s supposedly based on the works of Edgar Alan Poe.  I guess, maybe on The Fall of the House of Usher?  I’m really not sure.

The Mummy Returns:  “Where is all this stuff ‘written?’” This follow-up to the OK remake of The Mummy embraces the wackier, pulpier side of the first.  Reincarnation, a treasure hunt/chase, Mr. Echo from Lost, everything you need for an over the top mummy adventure film.  OK, yes, their Egyptology is excruciatingly bad, but I like that they actually used the Scorpion King in this, and I do think The Rock could have been a great foundation for a spin-off franchise.  Sadly, the spin-off movie was a crushingly awful and not at all what the flashbacks from this film indicated.  Rachel Weisz gets a chance to do some action and be pretty physical, which is nice.

    I watched the first episode of The Winds of War.  I’ve been aware of this series since I was a boy, but never got around to watching it.  It’s OK so far, though it kind of feels like it’s aimed at hitting all the familiar marks.  We’ll see.

    I think I’m now totally caught up on Hellboy.  I read House of the Living Dead on Sunday morning, and I think that’s it for what’s out.  I kind of went Hellboy crazy these last couple of weeks.  Though not as crazy as Brad.  I still may go back and re-read the rest of it; the Library Editions 1, 3, and 4.  And I’ve got a couple ‘Weird Tales’ collections, but I don’t think I was in love with them when I tried reading ‘em a few years back.

    I read the first trade of the new Brian K. Vaughan series Saga.  I don’t know.  I wasn’t too impressed.  I love Y: The Last Man, but this sci-fantasy goofiness doesn’t sit well with me.  A bit too much like that Bakshi movie Wizards.  Plus, the one character I was starting to find somewhat interesting dies.  That sucks.


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