Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Matt’s Week in Dork! (9/21/14-9/27/14)

    I get right up in sports’ business, hit the theater, and talk the Victorian weirdness of Alan Moore.  This Dork had a heck of a week.

The Losers:  OK, this movie isn’t very good.  Everyone’s always uttering silly one-liners and walking in slow motion.  None of the characters are especially interesting and the action is only so-so.  Still, I find myself enjoying it in spite of its faults.  If you’re in the mood for a lighter, more PG-13 Expendables, this is a good choice.  Everything about it, the violence, the language, and especially the sex is very, very PG-13.

Kim:  I like this little kid adventure yarn set in the twisting political world of British ruled India.  A smart and resourceful boy gets involved in the deadly Great Game of empire.  Learning from various men different ways of living, he becomes a sort of super spy, taking messages and collecting intel.  I’m sure there are dozens of ways the film is racist, or supports currently unpopular views, and I’m sure the same could be said of the book it’s based on.  But taken at face value, it’s a fun watch with plenty of excitement and plot twists.  Plus, Erroll Flynn is devilishly charming as the Red Bearded Horse Trader.

Snow White and the Huntsman:  When this film focuses on Charliz Theron, it’s pretty good.  Her performance is wonderfully campy and crazy and she’s captivating.  Unfortunately, the movie focuses too much on a dead-eyed Snow White and a faux-Irish Huntsman.  Ugh.  The fantasy elements are cool, too.  They had all the pieces in place, but the casting of the two leads brings down the whole.

    Monday night, Brad and I headed up to the AFI Silver.  Man, I wish I could get up there more often.  I love that place, and it’s a wonderful resource for the film buff.  The fact that it’s not packed every showing makes me sad.  I assume there are enough film fans in the area, but they just don’t take advantage of what they’ve got.

The Zero Theorem:  Terry Gilliam has been one of my favorite directors since I understood what that meant.  The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen, Brazil, Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys.  Even newer films like Tideland and the mainstream studio effort Brothers Grimm.  While The Zero Theorem might rank among the lesser works of the director, I think that still puts it above the average film.  It’s awfully weird, and it has some very funny bits.  I enjoy the heck out of Christoph Waltz.  And the weird computer hacker kid, while not a very good actor, has something that makes him amusing where he could easily be extremely annoying.  There’s a lot to like.  And I can’t even say what didn’t work necessarily.  But I didn’t love it.  Gilliam fans should certainly check it out, and folks who like weird movies.

    Tuesday night, Rebecca took me to my first Major League baseball game.  You may be shocked to learn this, but I am not a follower of sporting events.  I’m aware that some ladies and gentlemen enjoy running about on fields and the like, attempting to move one type of ball or another to other parts of said field.  With the brief exception of an Olympic games back in the 80s, where I thought for a brief time that I would follow soccer, I have avoided sports of all kinds.  My lady, however, is quite the fan of various strenuous team activities.  So, I sat down to watch the Nats do battle with the Mets upon the diamond shaped field.  As various champions faced off against each other, the team we had gone to support and cheer rose to the occasion.  The Nats defeated their foes and there was much rejoicing from the gathered throngs.  I found various elements of the whole enjoyable.  There was an electricity to the crowd not dissimilar to that of a comic convention.  There were hot dogs being peddled for a dollar a piece.  In spite of my monumental ignorance of the game and its rules, etc., I had a good deal of fun.  Am I now a baseball fan?  Well, no.  But I look forward to enjoying a bit of sport in the future.

The Signal:  Not a perfect film, by any means.  But this was much better than I was expecting.  I ended up liking the three main cast members, which was something of a shock.  While some of the eventual resolution wasn’t as cool or exciting as it might have been, I found it satisfying.  And there are some very cool sequences.  Definitely one of the better low budget science fiction films I’ve seen recently, and more creative and interesting than many big budget films.

Prix de Beaute:  A time capsule with a few interesting moments, this is a mostly forgettable film with little to recommend.  If you’re in the mood for an early film with a mix of comedy and drama and some darker twists, it’s OK.  But don’t go out of your way.

    Saturday night brought the latest gathering of the graphic novel club.  This month, one of my favorite comics, one that helped convince me to give comics a try, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  It was a rather spirited group, with lots of opinions.  Some, I’ll admit, I found baffling.  But that’s the wonder of groups like this.  Whatever the case, revisiting the book was an excellent experience.  I find Allan Moore extremely hit & miss, but have to count this one as a palpable hit.

-Matthew J. Constantine

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