Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Ton of Promo for Captain America: The First Avenger

We're just two months away till Captain America throws his shield on the Big Screen and I'm just chomping at the bit for more promo material.  Well, Marvel Studios has released three new character banners and they are...meh.  I like the Cap just fine.  Peggy Carter, I guess that's fine enough.  Red Skull?  Looks a little Spencer's Gift shoddy.  But the bit of promo madness I do really dig are Cap's USO Girls that recently popped up on the U.S.S. Intrepid.  See below, kinda nifty.


Comic Review: Conan: The God in the Bowl and Other Stories

    This volume starts out with some fantastically Conan moments.  His theft and escape are both funny and brazen.  Following this up, we see Conan in a classic story, The God in the Bowl, where he first runs afoul of someone who will become a long term problem in his life.  After this misadventure, Janissa is introduced, and I’m not sure how I feel about her.  On first appearance, she seems to be a simple substitution for Red Sonja, down to her kind of silly revealing costume.

    Overall, the volume is excellent.  More gorgeous artwork from Cary Nord and some crackerjack writing from Busiek, who continues to get at the heart of Conan.  Conan loves what he does, even when he is disgusted by the fickle whims and petty betrayals of so called civilized people.  In the shadow of ancient and corrupt magics, he is a candle of brute reason.

    In rereading this volume for the first time in quite a while, I admit I’m more curious about Janissa and what will happen with that character.  And I really liked the priest of Ibis, Kalanthes.  I’m not sure if he returns either, but I wouldn’t mind.  Can’t wait for the next volume.  This is very much a series to read. 

Conan: Volume 2: The God in the Bowl and Other Stories
Author: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Cary Nord
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
ISBN: 1-59307-403-4
Pages: 176


Happy Birthday, Clint Eastwood!!!

Happy Birthday, Clint Eastwood!  I wouldn't be the dork I am today without the help of Unforgiven, Dirty Harry, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Rookie, and Firefox.  I've watched the movies over and over and over again since I was 10 years old.  To celebrate The Man check out these trailers.


Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World...uh...

The Kids World of Robert Rodriguez is a fascinating place.  I love, love, love the first Spy Kids film.  It's extremely silly with a little kiddie gross-out comedy and a whole lotta heart in the Cortez Family with Mama Gugino and Papa Banderas and Uncle Machete himself, Danny Trejo.  The second film had some fun moments with its cheapie Harryhausen love, but the third film with its clockwork Stallone and iffy 3D was absolutely awful.  As was Rodriguez's Shark Boy and Lava Girl...but Shorts had some nice moments although the kiddie gross-out stuff has gotten old.  Spy Kids 4...well, take a look at the trailer below.  I don't see that heart there with Jessica Alba and Joel McHale.  And the vomit bag gag is just annoying.  Still, I'll check it out but I need Rodriguez's next film to really knock it outta the park.  He needs another Desperado.


Monday, May 30, 2011

New Release Tuesday (5/31/11)!!!

Must Buy DVD of the Week!

DRIVE ANGRY 3D:  If you've followed this blog at all than you know we here at ITMOD are true connoisseurs for all mad things Nicolas Cage, but it's not just that special brand of insanity that pops this beauty on the top spot this week.  It's also the fact that director Patrick Lussier (Dracula 2000, My Bloody Valentine 3D) has crank'd out a grotesque homage to that special 1970s Roger Corman era that produced my favorite exploitation flicks.  Stuff like Race With The Devil and Death Race 2000.  Blood, Bullets, and Octane.  And you've got Twilight's Charlie Mustache Billy Burke as my current favorite Satanist.  Don't let the critics bully you, just sit back and enjoy the mayhem.


ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (BLU RAY):  For my money, this is the perfect Segio Leone Western.  Don't get me wrong, I love Clint as much as the next dork but Once Upon A Time In The West has child-killer Henry Fonda and Harmonica maestro Charles Bronson squaring off in an epic battle of slow-burn standoff.  Throw in Jason Robards, his whisky soaked beard, and sexy Claudia Cardinale for good measure.  I think it might be the same transfer from the two-disc standard release from a few years back, but I'm still stoked to see this on blu.

LEGEND (BLU RAY):  Sure, Legend is not the greatest movie every made but it sure has its moments.  Ridley Scott's hazy cinematography, some all-or-nothing set design, Darkness fantastic makeup, and Tim Curry's terrifying voice.  The last time I saw this was the Director's Cut standard def release from a ways back, but I remember liking the changes and I sure as heck didn't miss the Tangerine Dream score.  Sure it looks pretty on blu.

A MAN CALLED HORSE (BLU RAY):  Sure, it's no Once Upon A Time In The West but A Man Called Horse is one of the better White Indian stories that have plagued Westerns since the beginning.  Richard Harris sells this picture.

STANLEY KUBRICK VISIONARY FILMMAKER COLLECTION (BLU RAY):  It's hard for me to get too excited about this release.  A lot of these flicks have already gotten the blu treatment and several of those are already on my shelf.  But if you don't already have them than this is an essential set.  Lolita, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut.  This is some serious stuff.


BIUTIFUL:  Just look at that above poster of Javier Bardem.  Don't you just want to run out and grab the blu ray right away!  Me, I've heard good things.  But having watched Rabbit Hole and The Other Woman recently I'm not really in the mood to jump right back in to the genre of the uber-depressing.  Still, gotta check this out eventually.

PASSION PLAY:  By all accounts (including that of star Mickey Rourke) this is a terrible movie, but I gotta admit to being lured in by that cast...well, not Megan Fox, she's frickin' awful.  But Rourke and Bill Murray duking it out over a fallen stripper angel.  Yeah, I gotta Netflix this.

NEVER APOLOGIZE:  Malcom McDowell waxing poetic about his eccelctic career?  Yes, please.


CROSS:  Well, maybe we'll give Passion Play a pass but only the deepest, darkest part of my movie soul wants to see Brian Austin Green's super hero go up against Vinnie Jones' Viking and his Satan Stick.  Plus you've got paycheck cashers Michael Clarke Duncan, Tom Sizemore, and Jake Busey spitting mindbender lines like "Wait till they get a load of my balls."  


Dork Art: Doctor Pooh

Okay, so you have just under two days to order this awesome bit of dorkery from the bonkersly brilliant folks over at Qwertee.  I've never been much of a Pooh fan (I know, I know I have no soul) so I'm gonna give it a pass, but as a rapidly growing & ravenous fan for all things Tom Baker...it is tempting.


Jackie Chan's 1911 Trailer

It's been a while since I've really dug a Jackie Chan movie that wasn't Kung Fu Panda or Kung Fu Panda 2, but his new film 1911 looks like it's got some serious potential.  I definitely love his uniform and mustache.  The film is set to be released here in the states in October and I'll have my fingers crossed for quality.  Thanks to Geek Tyrant for the heads-up.


Steve Rogers Returns To Captain America

We all knew it was going to happen.  In July (the same month The First Avenger launches into theaters), the original Star Spangled G.I. Steve Rogers returns to Marvel's Captain America.  And even though some of you might think that the only Cap is Steve Rogers and that this is a good thing...well, I say nay!  The best thing to happen to Captain America was Ed Brubaker, the Winter Soldier, The Death of Captain America, and Bucky Cap.  But then we had to have Reborn  with its LOST-like time shenanigans and we had to have the eventual return to the status quo.  A frustrating reality to mainstream comics.  

Anyway, Ed Brubaker is still with Cap and that's cool.  And I think Steve McNiven is a fine fit for Cap.  And I'll totally be there for the relaunch.  But as a fanboy, I don't have to be happy about anything.  Newsarama has a live chat posted with Brubaker and there are a few interesting tidbits to be discovered.

Bucky, You Will Be Missed


Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Trailer

The new international trailer for the Guillermo Del Toro produced remake of the 1973 Made-For-TV movie gives us some Katie Holmes and a little (but not enough) Guy Pearce, but the jury's still out for me.  At the moment I'm a little tired of Haunted House stories even if they do appear to have ghouls as well.  I know I've seen the original Kim Darby venture but I can't for the life of me remember anything about it.


Dork Art: Brobocop

Disvovered on Geek Art via Mike Mitchell's Tumblr of Amazing Things.  I share the same feelings as one commenter on Mitchell's blog, "As much as it pains me to see Murphy bro'd out like this, it's still killer, lol."  


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Brad's Week in Dork! (5/22-5/28)

This was a pretty fantastic Week in Dork.  One, got a promotion and a pay raise = more blu rays.  Two, saw four excellent films in the theater.  My favorite flick of the week was easily Attack the Block and it's definitely going to by high on my Year's Best list.  Thanks to Aint It Cool, Matt & I got passes for the May 25th screening at the DC Chinatown Regal.  Packed house, great crowd reactions.  Can't beat that.  The next night we finally got to see Hobo With A Shotgun and it really did live up to my rabid fanboy anticipation.  Saw that at the West End Cinema, had a beer, and was given a bucket of free popcorn for the ride home.


Pirates of the Carribean On Stranger Tides:  For fans of the series, On Stranger Tides is a solid addition to the saga if not the rip-roaring overtly epic Summer Blockbuster with shades of Lovecraftian tentacleliness like the last two ridiculously enjoyable films. Johnny Depp milks Captain Jack Sparrow for all he's worth and Geoffrey Rush does his best to steal all the scenes in which he appears. Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane are fine additions, but they could have used more screentime in replacement of the throwaway Bloom & Knightly pair, Sam Clafin and Astrid Berg Frisby. Their fishy romance could have easily been excised from the film.

Georgia Peaches:  AKA Follow That Car.  Roger Corman cashes in on that Dukes of Hazard money with this car wrecker cheapie starring everyone's favorite Cylon-smasher and A-Team faceman, Dirk Benedict. The first twenty minutes of the movie has some really excellent derby moonshine racing, and I absolutely loved watching Benedict out-drive yokel fuzz but once Benedict, Sally Kirkland, and Tanya Tucker join Lane Smith's law the silly joy does drop a notch or two. Still, fun and friendly hickssploitation that the whole family can enjoy.

The Great Texas Dynamite Chase:  AKA Dynamite Women.  My favorite Playmate turned Actress Claudia Jennings (Gator Bait, Deathsport) in her finest performance as Candy Morgan, the escaped convict robbing bank after bank with nothing more than a few sticks of dynamite and a whole lotta sass. Again, perfect Roger Corman cheeZe with plenty of exploding cars and T&A. The chase slows to a putter in the middle, but things pick up towards the end with a couple of fantastic shotgun fights.

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death:  Still set during blitz bombarded WWII England, Sherlock Holmes thankfully leaves the Nazi espionage behind with this loose adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Musgrave Ritual. While Dr. Watson attends to traumatized soldiers at Musgrave Manor, a few poor souls start popping up corpses. Holmes is called in to keep his investigation private and to debunk some possible supernatural hokum. A sizable improvement to Sherlock Holmes in Washington, Faces Death has several nifty set pieces including an indoor lighting strike.

Attack The Block:  A New Cult Classic! Imagine The Goonies raised on the violent streets of South London battling it out with Gremlins/Critters-like Ape Wolves and you've got yourself one of the most entertaining films of the year. John Boyega in an absolute breakthrough performance as Moses, the hoodrat thug turned Samurai Alien Hunter. The score is classic John Carpenter with pulsing synth beats that convey the joys of both The Thing and Assault on Precinct 13. And like The Goonies or The Monster Squad, you will want all these kids to be your friends, or at the very least, let them have your back when the Wolf Apes fall from Space. Trust.

Hobo With A Shotgun:  "And that's why you don't hug bears." Hobo With A Shotgun. It's all in the title. A film that celebrates the joys and the theatrics of The Extreme and miraculously manages to capture that 80s grime found splattered across the best VHS box art. Rutger Hauer spits and gnashes an epic cult performance with a perfect grasp on the absurd, psychotic dialog. But so does the rest of the cast! It goes without saying that Hobo With A Shotgun is not for everybody, but with the right eagerness it's as thrilling as a bus load of flamethrowered children.

Death Proof:  Easily my least favorite of QT's cannon, the first half of this Grindhouse wannabe suffers under the watch of Sydney Poitier's first batch of annoying Austinite snobs, but things quickly pick up with the introduction of Kurt Russell's sadistic Stuntman Mike and Zoe Bell's Vanishing Point gang. Fantastic soundtrack, brutal car crashes, and a brilliant climactic beatdown. Still, I can't stand the first half.

Kung Fu Panda 2:  In just the same fashion as the original film, Kung Fu Panda 2 walks the line between a silly kids film with animals and a pretty kickass love letter to Kung Fu flicks of yore. Dragon Warrior Po and The Furious Five battle to save China and Kung Fu against Gary Oldman's villainous peacock. Laughs and heart set against gorgeous CGI animation, Kung Fu Panda 2 will most likely slay Pixar's summer competitor Cars 2...and rightfully so.

The Great Dictator:  Sure, Charlie Chaplin was no stranger to mixing social commentary with his tramp comedy (see Modern Times), but The Great Dictator is absolutely stunning with its bursts of serious anger along with its delightfully childish sight gags. And it still holds up. Chaplin as Herr Hinkle and the dancing Globe Balloon. The Barber Shop Bombing.  The final cry for freedom. Brilliant. If you've never seen it than do the world a favor and (finally) join the Chaplin bandwagon.


Not Bad For A Human by Lance Henriksen & Joseph Maddrey:  I've only skimmed the surface of the autobiography, but I'm incredibly excited to finally have it in my possession.  The Terminator, Aliens, Pumpkinhead, Survival Quest, Near Dark.  These films were a huge part of my youth.  And what I love about this book is that it looks like it goes a lot into the productions.  I'll keep plugging away at it this week and will let you know how it all turns out.  Right now, it looks like the only way to get your hands on a copy is through the Not Bad For A Human website.  It'll cost you 35 bucks but each copy you buy from the website comes autographed by the man himself.


Ultimate Comics Captain America:  It's the Rumble in the Jungle! The Captain America of WWII vs. The Captain America of Vietnam! While taking out the North Korean trash, Steve Rodgers encounters fellow super-soldier and utterly psychotic (and tattooed) Frank Simpson. Over the course of this four issue arc, Cap suffers all manner of torture but thanks to some snakey divine intervention and a whole lotta American attitude...well, when does Cap ever loose a fight? I love the Ultimate version of Captain America. Mark Millar has always written him as more than a little bit of an ass, but here, Jason Aaron just makes him a complete dick. "Anyone here speak American?" It might be a bit much, but I can deal for four issues.


Matt’s Week in Dork! (5/22/11-5/28/11)

    This was an excellent week for this dork for many reasons.  As always, let me start with the movie reviews.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides:  More rip-roaring adventures on the fantastically weird seas.  If you enjoyed the first three, you should find plenty to like here.  Depp and Rush take the front seat here and they’re good.  Even Penelope Cruz, who I haven’t liked since first seeing in Belle Epoque (an otherwise great movie), is far less grating than usual.  My one major complaint is that the romance between the young missionary and the mermaid is completely uninteresting and serves to detract from the rest of the film.  The screen time would have been better served with more time for the villainous Ian McShane.  Overall, a nice addition to the series.

Doctor Who: The Mutants:  Again I’m glad to see Jon Pertwee in a story that takes him away from Earth.  This time, in the far future, he’s dealing with a fading human empire and a weird, primitive world plagued by mutants.  There are some very strange ideas, and the reveal is pretty cool.  Well worth viewing, and as they get away from the mostly Earth-bound years of Pertwee, the stories start to feel more like what you’d expect from the Tom Baker years.  A great supporting cast help this story out, as well.

Doctor Who: Frontier in Space:  Wow.  This story just keeps going and going.  And then it has another few episodes.  It’s not bad, and I think had I watched it an episode a week, I’d have liked it a lot.  But, watching it in one go is a slog.  I could have dealt without the Master, frankly.  But the rest of it is pretty good.  It’s just really, really long.

Attack the Block:  What happens when a bunch of nasty ape-dog things drop on some projects in London?  The local hoodlums may just have to step up to the plate and learn how to be men.  This movie balances humor with horror extremely well, mixing in a good dose of excitement and some genuine characters.  Yes, you’ve got to deal with accents and slang.  Deal.  It’s worth it.

Hobo With a Shotgun:  If you dig the shocking and degenerate antics of the early days of Troma, you’ve got to check out Hobo With a Shotgun.  Feeling like it was made in 1985, with some John Carpenter style synth music, plenty of goofy gore, and some delightfully off key dialog, it’s a blast for fans of that certain vibe.  If you’re easily offended, well, what are you doing even thinking about watching this?  Otherwise, check out some madness from our neighbors to the north.  And yes, Rutger Hauer has still got it.

Cadfael: The Virgin in the Ice:  More medieval investigations from the good Brother Cadfael.  Is his young friend Brother Oswin a murdering rapist?  Who is the mysterious woodsman?  And can a band of murderous bandits be stopped?  All will be revealed with a little sleuthing, a touch of politics, and some fancy sword work.  Sadly, Sean Pertwee’s short tenure as Hugh Beringar is over by this episode, being replaced here by Eoin McCarthy.

Kung Fu Panda 2:  As with the first film, this manages to be both a fun kids film and a solid homage to classic martial arts cinema.  Like Jet Li in Tai-Chi Master, Po must learn Inner Peace before he can triumph over evil.  Lots of fantastic fighting, beautiful animation, and surprisingly witty humor (mixed with some more typical slapstick) make for a fine family film that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Undercurrent:  Katherine Hepburn is the tomboyish daughter of a fun old scientist.  When a dashing industrialist sweeps her off her feet, life seems pretty grand.  But the shadow of a long lost brother haunts her new love.  Who is this mysterious and hated man?  As Hepburn struggles to find out, we see a great deal of tension as hidden histories come near the surface.  Is Mike dead?  Was he a thief?  A monster?  The actual reveal interesting, I guess.  But in truth, the finale is kind of limp and overlong.  Part of the problem is that Hepburn starts out as an interesting, potentially strong character, but devolves into a screeching damsel.

    So I managed to get out and see four movies this week, which is a rare treat indeed.  One of those was the special showing of Attack the Block, which my fellow Dork, Brad and I saw in DC at the pretty nice little Regal theater right by Chinatown on 7th Street NW.  It was fun to take a trip into DC via the metro line, where the people watching is always a lot of fun.  In spite of living so close, I don’t actually get in to DC that often, and usually by car late at night for some midnight show at E Street.  The other especially cool viewing was of the soon to be cult classic Hobo with a Shotgun which Brad and I got to see at the West End Cinema on 23rd Street NW.  A fun little hole in the wall theater with a very friendly guy working the counter.  It looks like their general fodder is a touch high-brow for me, but I’ll keep my eye out for upcoming stuff.  I’d like to go back.  And, I got some free popcorn on the way out, which was an extra pleasant ending to a cool film.

    I’ve also been enjoying a bunch of music.  Thanks to my old chum Joe, I picked up Oh Land’s US debut CD.  And I’ve been listening to a bunch of Goldfrapp, too.  Kind of a retro-80s vibe to the music this week.  And Garfunkel and Oats put out a new song, too.  Oh, those girls are so perverse.

    Sadly, I did not finish any books this week (close, though).  I did read a bit of the 70s Conan newspaper strip.  That was fun, though it's the goofy Marvel-style Conan I'm not as much of a fan of.