Monday, June 10, 2013

Matt’s Week in Dork! (6/2/13-6/8/13)

    More Twin Peaks helped me start the week off well.  And it carried me through, even when I was feeling down.  Dang, but I love that show.  Sad it didn’t get another season.  It goes by too fast.  And I watched a few more episodes of Space: Above & Beyond.  There is certainly potential for good in the show, as it takes on the lives of soldiers at war, drawing on WWII, Vietnam, and others for story and character cues.

After Earth:  Well, it didn’t suck.  Was it great?  No.  But it didn’t suck.  And that was a pretty big shock, truth be told.  The tech and design work were excellent and the story was fine, I guess.  Will Smith was OK.  His kid is dreadful.  There are wonky bits, to be sure.  But it was an all right sci-fi tale, probably best for kids.  Yes, there’s some violence and scary stuff, but nothing that would have been kept out of kids movies before Tipper Gore and her morality police turned everyone into hyper-sensitive wimps in the late 80s.  One thing that kind of drove me nuts was the writing around the tech.  While I loved the look and design of it, and the organic ship interiors were great, I was bothered by the environment suits.  Considering that suits with all weather capability are in the works now (one suit would work in the blazing heat of the desert or the frozen wastes of the Arctic), and that manufacturing air, water, and energy through that same suit shouldn’t be too difficult, the fact that his couldn’t do any of those things was bothersome.  But what really bugged me about it was the super advanced element that was missing…gloves.  If I travel to an alien planet, what’s the first thing I’m gonna do?  Put on some danged gloves.  When I do my gardening?  Gloves!  Still, the movie didn’t suck.

Twin Peaks Season 1:  I remember catching this during Summer re-runs and falling completely in love with the strange and magical world of demon serial killers, Zen FBI agents, mysterious woods, and haunting music.  That has never gone away.  It was also my introduction to David Lynch.  I think I’d seen Dune at some point, but it hadn’t left an impression.  This was my real doorway into his madness.  Seeing the show again for the first time in probably 10 years, it still grabs me and draws me in.  Is it for everyone?  No.  But it sure is for me.  And I’m still comfortable calling it my favorite TV show of all time (sorry, Star Trek…I do love you, though).  Agent Cooper is still my hero.

The Earth Dies Screaming:  “Oh, get on.”  Another sci-fi horror film from the UK.  It looks nice, has some interesting character tensions, and a solid premise.  The social commentary is typically heavy-handed.  Still, a worthy, if not especially great bit of creepy fun.  Though all the characters do seem a little too skilled at not running and not putting up any resistance to menace.  It is rather incorrectly titled.  The Earth actually dies rather quietly.  But I guess The Earth Dies All Mellow and Quiet-like doesn’t have the same ring.

Warm Bodies:  “Bitches, man.”  The last act is a bit wonky, but otherwise, this is a very cute and funny retelling of Romeo & Juliet, set against a zombie apocalypse.  Our hero, R, is going through something of an identity crisis.  He’s dead, and he doesn’t feel fulfilled.  When he meets a young women (and eats her boyfriend’s brains), he gets a yen for the love.  Chalk this one up in the My Boyfriend’s Back, Fido, Shawn of the Dead subgenre of zombie comedies.  It mostly works, and considering the tidal wave of zombie films that don’t, it’s a welcome change of pace.

The Vampire Lovers:  “Shall I make Gustav big and gray for you?”  Oh, that Hammer magic.  The sets.  The music.  The women.  Blah, blah; Something about a story.  Vampires, villagers, night visitors.  But who cares?  It’s about the Gothic atmosphere and the gorgeous women.  They’re nearly exploding out of their bosom baring dresses as they slink around old stately manors and darkened forests.  And it’s amazing.  Add in a great cast of staple UK character actors and you’ve got another classic.  My favorite Hammer film is probably still She, but The Vampire Lovers is up there (Twins of Evil and Vampire Circus are also must see greats from the masters of their craft).

Prince of the City:  “Go ahead and try me.  Not for a lousy $400.  At least get me for assault.”  This feels very much like an attempt to do the cop version of The Godfather.  It’s long, beautifully shot, and well acted.  However, it lacks compelling characters.  The performances are good, but I never found myself emotionally invested in the people or what they were doing.  Perhaps this was ground breaking at the time.  I don’t think there were a lot of movies about corrupt cops before this.  But having seen NYPD Blue, The Shield, Training Day, and a dozen more, little in this movie felt especially fresh.  And it is danged long.  But it’s of an era, and it’s certainly well made.  And Jerry Orbach.

Vengeance is a Golden Blade:  Twisty and curvy, the plot of this forgettable but perfectly fine Martial Arts actioner does have a few good surprises.  Everyone seems to be doing a fine job, and there are some good, if not especially memorable fights.  If you’re in the mood for a Shaw Bros. movie, and haven’t seen this one, it shouldn’t disappoint, but don’t expect too much.

    I read All Star Superman for the next book club meeting, and Phantom Stranger for my own edification.  And I read more of Boom! Studios’ Hellraiser comics, which I find myself enjoying quite a bit.


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