Monday, August 5, 2013
Matt’s Week in Dork! (7/28/13-8/3/13)
Sunday started the week off right, with a morning movie, a trip to a comic shop, and an early evening movie. Brad, Ben, and I made a day of it, finally checking out the Angelica theater that has recently been built in a newly developing town center ten or fifteen minutes from my place. The area has a Reston Town Center kind of vibe. Nice, lots of shops, lots of open spaces, and lots of families. The weirdest Target I’ve ever been to (it rests on top of a parking garage…?).
The Wolverine: Is it great? No. Is it better than most of the X-Men movies? Yeah. This movie did what Wolverine Origins should have done, focusing less on mutant battles, and more on character and story. Unfortunately, the action it did feature was kinda awful. Except for the train-top fight, which I enjoyed, I found all the battles and action sequences in the film extremely dull. Not as dull as the battles in Man of Steel, but that film kind of set the gold standard for fights that WILL NOT STOP.
Only God Forgives: If you thought Drive was a bit slow, a bit too quiet, a bit too violent, then you should probably stay way away from this film. Much more in tone like Valhalla Rising, with long sequences of not talking punctuated with sudden bursts of ultra-violence. Although, when you look at it, there isn’t actually much onscreen violence, considering how oppressive it feels. Most viewers are just not going to respond to this movie. But if you enjoy stuff like Lost Highway, Valhalla Rising, Beyond the Black Rainbow, etc. you might want to give it a go.
Doctor Who: Battlefield: The Doctor runs into Arthurian myth in this not entirely bad late story. I’m finding it hard to push through these Sylvester McCoy tales, and I completely understand why the show was on its last legs.
Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack: “It’s like a monster convention!” This movie is weird. It pretty much ignores 50 years of Godzilla films, with only the first one actually having happened. And it re-writes the monsters. Here, Ghidorah is a guardian monster, not the ultimate alien foe. The story, as is so often the case, revolves around a plucky reporter trying to follow the action. And of course, the military is helpless. The mix of CGI and new filming techniques make the film look cheaper and more TV-like. I liked a lot of the stuff about the people on the ground, but the actual monster action was less impressive. I did find Chiharu Niiyama particularly charming as the reporter. I might have been a little happier if they’d cut back on the military stuff and play up her role a bit more.
And my vacation started on Friday evening. I have a lot to do in the next week, including a good deal of serious time wasting.
Brotherhood of the Wolf: This movie is total kitchen sink entertainment. What genre is it? What genre isn’t it? It’s not a ‘teen sex-comedy.’ Otherwise, I think it fits into nearly anything you can think of. Historic mystery, martial-arts fantasy, buddy cop, religious/political conspiracy, costume drama, western, horror, etc. The set-up is simple. A creature is killing people in the French countryside during the mid 18th century. A war hero and his Acadian blood-brother ride in to town to investigate. Things get crazy. Is it a wolf? Is it a monster? Is it something else entirely? Secrets and lies, politics and religion, lust and honor. Crazy stylized action scenes, beautiful Hammer-style production design, and a crazy plot progression make for some entertaining viewing.
Space: Above and Beyond: This show had big problems. The main cast of characters are uninteresting clichés (though they get better as time goes on), the effects suck, the production looks cheap most of the time, and the A.I. rebel subplot is handled surprisingly poorly. But, the WWII vibe and character growth do help. The building storyline and sometimes heart breaking moments, along with the authentic feeling military jargon and behavior make it stand out. A lot of sci-fi shows have action/war themes. Few make it feel ‘real.’ Though on a totally different quality ballpark, this reminded me a great deal of Band of Brothers, or even The Big Red One. I would love to see someone re-launch the show today. Better technology and technique, as well as less devotion to the episodic nature of TV that was still fairly firm in the 90s could make up for a lot. Drop or substantially alter the A.I. business (they’re cartoonishly stupid villains with little or no rhyme or reason, and inconstancies that are unforgivable). In the post-Battlestar reboot landscape, with our generation’s own long term military conflicts hanging over our heads, a show like Space: Above and Beyond, handled with more care and more (or better used) money could be an effective vehicle for storytelling. Sci-fi fans should probably watch this show, but know it’s uneven and gets off to a very, very shaky start. The second half is a marked improvement, and it is sad that the show did not come back for another season, as I think there was a good deal of potential. Who knows, maybe someone will Ronald D. Moore it one of these days.
More reading. More music. Worked on a script. Not much accomplished. You know, another week in the life. Dork life!