Sunday, May 4, 2014

Matt’s Week in Dork! (4/27/14-5/3/14)

    Life has been pretty swell for this Dork. 

Transcendence:  Oh, man.  Where to begin.  There was so much potential for telling a good story here.  All missed.  I’ll just start with the biggest problem the movie has.  It’s really, really, really boring.  I mean, BORING.  No, it didn’t need fistfights, or explosions, or more CGI.  It just needed characters one could care about, and a plot that was at all engaging.  Unfortunately, this film is populated by idiot scientists; the kind that are all too common in film, and frustratingly, almost the rule in science fiction.  Even the Luddite terrorists don’t make much sense.  Nobody seems willing to act, to accomplish anything.  There seems to be little growth in character, simply an alteration in behavior as demanded by the advancement of the carbon-copy plot.  And what about those actors.  Depp is fine, I guess.  Frankly, he seemed to be phoning it in.  Rebecca Hall is kind of annoying, but no more so than usual.  Kate Mara…Oh, man.  Kate Mara.  Every danged time she opens her mouth, she spews forth grown inducing dialog and the worst way.  She speaks like a child actor, wooden and stupid.  It’s awful.  Worse still, about 20 minutes into the movie, her character stops being important…but that’s when she becomes a major character…even though she does NOTHING.  So crappy.  Sadly, I’m with everyone else on this one.  This movie is crap.  Hire writers.  Do some research.  Make better films.  This sort of thing is, really, inexcusable.

I need to make better choices.

Welcome to the Jungle:  I didn’t have high hopes for this film, and it isn’t good.  But, Jean Claude Van Damme is extremely funny and by far the best part of the movie.  Otherwise, it’s a bunch of tired sitcom level jokes with the raunchiness of straight to video.  The characters are all stock, mostly played by actors who play essentially the same characters on crappy TV shows.  Honestly, when JCVD is off screen, which is far too often, it drags.  Worth checking out if you don’t have to expend any effort, but pretty much exclusively for the Belgian wonder.

Small Apartments:  This is one of those very odd, small comedies that gets lots of weird actors together in one place and has a lot of fun.  I don’t know that it’s great, but it’s sure different.  And it’s got a lot of bits I really liked, and performances I really liked.  For crying out loud, Johnny Knoxville was good.  What’s that about?  Definitely one to check out if you’re in the mood for something a little bit out there, kind of dark, kind of funny, and certainly not like everything else.

The man loves his Moxie.

    Watched a bunch more of Mad Men’s second season.  It’s a darned fine show.  The awful behavior is fascinating.  And Don Draper.  He’s just so darned cool.

    On Wednesday night, we headed out to The Alamo for a Spaghetti Western and spaghetti dinner (though I was not up to the spaghetti that night).  Here’s hoping we’ll be seeing a lot more of these events there (and from the schedule, it looks like we will).

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:  “More feeling.”  A sprawling journey through Hell for three men looking for some gold.  To say this movie takes its time would be like saying deep space is a bit chilly.  Shots and whole scenes that are held for extremely long times and a meandering story may make it a challenge for some viewers.  But I love their weird Odyssey.  And when they start to stumble upon the soulless, listless combatants of the Civil War, the obviously not American setting gives it a haunting, displaced feel that really does seem like some horrible limbo or hell.  It’s almost certainly too long, the dubbing is kind of wonderfully bad, and many bits can be quite jarring.  But it’s a mad kind of wonderful.  Eastwood, Wallach, and Van Cleef are all great.  And that whole ending…nice.  This is top notch Western/Fantasy.

Mothra Vs. Godzilla:  I think this is the beginning of the wonder and madness the Godzilla films became known for.  It’s super weird, and awesome.  The twin fairies, a giant peace-loving moth, money hungry developers, and plucky reporters.  It’s not my favorite of the series, but it’s chronologically the first one I really love.

    Brad and I went on a mad comic book shop crawl on Saturday (Free Comic Book Day).  Third Eye Comics out in MD, Phoenix (aka Laughing Ogre) out in Ashburn, Big Planet in Vienna, Phoenix again in Fairfax, and The Comic Shop at the Fair Oaks Mall.  In keeping with the spirit of the day (supporting local comic shops), I made sure to find something to buy in each place.  I don’t know if it was timing, or what, but one frustration was that all the shops we hit seemed to have the same handful of titles, in spite of there being nearly 60 different free comics produced.  The awesome thing was that every shop we went to seemed full of people (really, really full in some cases), and people were buying stuff.  Awesome.  After all that madness, Brad and I hooked up with Lisa and headed out to The Alamo again for one of their Late Night shows.

Mad Max:  “They say people don’t believe in heroes anymore.”  The world is going to hell, with only Max and a few of his Bronze brothers keeping civilization's light alive.  I love this glimpse into an ugly, entropic future where civilization wasn’t destroyed by some catastrophic event; it simply ran out of juice.  It’s an ugly, uncomfortable films, with jarring music and nasty characters.  It doesn’t have an easy climax, or a happy ending.  It’s brutal and mean.  It features one of the all time best film endings.

    Other than my list of anticipated Summer films (here), that’s it for this week.  I’m going to try to spend Sunday on my couch, reading comics and watching movies.  Let’s see how that works out.


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