I started out the week by actually finishing some things. Yes is the Answer, a sort of oral history of Prog Rock and The Burning Man, Chirsta Faust’s latest Fringe novel. And the end of the week went crazy with Baltimore Comic-Con, and a visit from Dan and Chris.
Dredd: A satisfyingly brutal take on the venerable comic character, Dredd finally does 2000AD’s bent sense of humor and grim future justice. And yes, the helmet NEVER comes off. Karl Urban makes a great Judge Dredd, with a constant frown and that chiseled jaw. The villains are nasty, the heroes are nastier. The violence is weirdly beautiful and the world building is spot on. For some reason I’ll never understand, this movie did not get anything like the audience it should have. I’m constantly seeing stuff online from people just seeing it, saying ‘this is so good; how did I not see it before?’ I don’t know. I saw it in the theater, and had it been there longer, I’d have gone again. Loved it then, and love it on this second viewing.
Battle In Outer Space: A pretty good space launch turned alien attack movie from Japan, this is perhaps too slow paced. Still, in spite of the slow pace and the occasionally meandering plot, I found myself enjoying the adventures of the various characters. Cool Toho type model work. It’s not great, and not as wild and weird as some others of the era. But it’s good.
Mothra: The argument could be made that this is just kind of a Godzilla clone, with a giant moth instead of a giant dinosaur. But so what? It’s fun, it’s well done, and it’s got some cool model destruction. The King Kong style island adventure in the middle is cool. There’s a nice twist in the middle. And the action is solid.
Lords of Salem: I’m actually kind of impressed by just how unimpressive this film is. It’s easy to crap on Rob Zombie. House of 1000 Corpses was a jumbled mess (with a few interesting bits). The Devil’s Rejects (his best) is uneven, to say the least. The Halloween remakes sucks (there; I said it; it sucks). El Superbeasto was absolute garbage. And now Lords of Salem. It has a lot of the disorganized, aimless feel of 1000 Corpses, with the yawn inducing boredom of Halloween. But, it also looks great. That’s the thing with Zombie’s work. He does some good stuff. He works with different cinematographers every time, but always has very cool imagery in his films, which I assume come from him. But the writing. It’s just not there. I loved a lot of the early scenes of Sheri Moon Zombie walking around, and going about her life. It had a very nostalgic, New England in the early 80s vibe to it that I thought was quite nice. But otherwise, the movie is just a mess. I think he was aiming for some combination of The Devil’s Rain and The Sentinel, but he missed the mark.
|Hey look. A goat.|
The African Queen: “Ain’t a thing I can do about it.” I enjoy the heck out of this light-hearted adventure movie, set against WWI era Africa. Bogart and Hepburn are two down and out people on the edge of nowhere, who come together with a hair-brained plan to strike a blow against the Kaiser. We then follow these two down a torturous river and through the fumblings of a budding romance. I love that the actors don’t look good. Hepburn is clearly getting older. Bogart looks like crap. They sweat, they get dirty, and they just don’t look like movie stars. Yet, the film is beautiful to look at. Is it an amazing, life changing film? No. But I get why it’s a classic, and I do really enjoy it.
Wrong: “I only realized that I loved my face after it had been burned with acid.” Two years ago, Rubber kind of blew me away. It was so out of nowhere, so strange, so sickly clever that a movie about a murderous psychic tire (yup!) made it on my top ten list. Wrong is fun, and it’s weird. But it’s not on the same level. Sure, there’s plenty of weirdass behavior and strange images. But while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t blow away by it.
So, Friday night, Chris and Dan arrived. Saturday morning…way too early Saturday morning, we hopped in the car and headed to Baltimore, setting up the Warrior 27 table. We were each able to make various excursions around the place over the course of the day, and I got to see a lot of cool stuff. This year stood out for me because of the breadth and obscurity of the cosplay. I was impressed. Sure, there were a lot of New Who costumes (only one good enough for me to give a pass on the cliché/overexposure). And there were a bunch of Deadpools (I don’t get it). But there was a Captain Haddock (from Tintin) for crying out loud. There was even a couple of ladies doing the nerdy scientists from Pacific Rim. It was pretty cool. After the show, co-Dork Brad and our friend Robert joined us for some Mexican at a place not too far from my house. Too late to bed, and an early rise the next day for Day 2 of the con. More on that next week, I guess.