Sunday, August 17, 2014

Matt’s Week in Dork! (8/10/14-8/16/14)

    A light week on movies.  Actually, kinda light on everything dork related.  Didn’t even finish any books or read any comics.  No real excuse.  Just busy with other things.

Guardians of the Galaxy:  A fun second viewing.  That’s pretty much how I’d describe this film.  Fun.  It’s wild and weird and goofy.  Great soundtrack, crowd pleasing, humorous, and adventurous.  A good time at the theater.

Speed Racer:  I’ve ranted about this film time and again.  I love it.  As a Kung Fu film, as a family film, as a Technicolor mad-machine of weirdness.  Not for the hipster.  Not for the cynic.  For those with hearts open.  Awesome.

To Be or Not To Be:  I just couldn’t get into this film.  There are some funny bits, and some sad bits.  And I know it was largely about facing the demons so many European refugees faced when fleeing the Nazis.  So, to a degree, I feel bad about not giving a crap.  Of the Ernst Lubitsch films I’ve seen so far, this was by far the weakest.

    In my ongoing quest to destroy and rebuild Ben’s psyche into a film ubermensch, I subjected him to the film equivalent of psychotropic drugs, Beyond the Black Rainbow.  I always feel like I’ve done my job when he says some permutation of “that’s the weirdest movie I’ve seen.”  So, success!

Beyond the Black Rainbow:  One weird-ass movie.  An homage to all those awesome, late 70s/early 80s sci-fi/horror films by the likes of John Carpenter and David Cronnenberg, it’s unsettling and odd.  It’s one of my favorite films of recent years, in part because it captures so well the feel of the movies I loved and was scared of when I was a lad.

Ironclad: Battle For Blood:  Ugh.  This features some of the most egregious abuse of shaky-cam footage I’ve ever seen.  And that’s saying something.  The script, the acting, the everything.  It sucks.  I’m all for medieval movies, even on a low budget, but this is cheap.  But at least there’s a scene where a guy gets raped, and the movie seems to be saying it was a good thing and he liked it.

You got red on you.

    Saturday, Rebecca and I headed into DC, where we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Shake Shack.  Then headed over to the National Portrait Gallery to watch Buster Keaton’s College, featuring Andrew Greene accompanying on the piano.  It was an excellent showing, with a good and varied crowd.  DC continues to be full of surprises and wonderful little opportunities.  On the way back, I did a bit of exploring, taking the Blue Line out to Old Town Alexandria, then a bus back home.  I found a few places I’d like to check out, but overall that corridor seems to be pretty bland.

College:  If you can get past the scene where Buster Keaton does blackface, which is…um…pretty awful, this movie is extremely enjoyable.  It’s cute, with lots of darned fine physical comedy.  Buster Keaton has a weird sort of deadpan charm that makes him oddly loveable, even when he’s being a bumbling dolt.

    By chance, I tuned in to TCM and caught their Essentials film of the week, a Hitchcock thriller I’d been wanting to see for some time, Foreign Correspondent.

Foreign Correspondent:  Solid Hitchcock, with all the clever dialog, tension, and paranoia.  I love the cast, with even thugs being played by excellent folks.  Beautifully shot, as usual.  Though about WWII, it feels very Cold War to me.  But then, as it takes place before war is declared, I guess that makes sense.  The finale is really crazy.

Brothers Five:  Plenty of fighting and camera zooms in this enjoyable, if slightly silly, Kung Fu fighter.  Cheng Pei-Pei gathers five lost brothers to avenge their father’s death.  There’s a lot of weapon fighting in this one, which I like.  And there are some pretty darned cool bits.  There are better films from the Shaw Brothers, but this one is pretty good.

    That’s pretty much it.  Though I have been listening to a lot of David Bowie.  Loaded up Low, Space Oddity, Hunky Dory, and Aladdin Sane.  Good stuff.

-Matthew J. Constantine

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