Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dork Art: The Swamp Thing

Stumbling around the internet looking for Dork Art goodness and I discovered that recent Hellboy cover artist Francesco Francavilla has himself a pretty amazing blog.  So far, my favorite piece found over there is the above poster for The Swamp Thing.  Man, I'd love to see this guy get the Mondo Tees treatment.  That would be the balls.


Dork Art: Come Visit The Temple of Doom!

Found this fun piece over at Planet Pulp.  The artist is Blain Hefner and I've been chuckling to myself for the last ten minutes thanks to "Free Mining for the Kids!"  Wonderful.


Dork Art: Ape World

I can't believe that I'm resisting the urge to purchase this print immediately.  If I wasn't still financially reeling from SDCC, Baltimore Comic Con, the upcoming SPX, Horrorfind, and Monster Mania shows than I would already be searching for wallspace.  This is an absolute stunner from Fantome.  Costing 50 pounds (UK, company), limited to just 50 prints and measuring 19.5 X 27 this seems like a must buy purchase.  But I'm poor right now and I gotta let you fine folks have at it with this one.  If you do pick it up, shoot me a picture of it hanging properly on your wall.

Last night, I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes for a second time with co-dork Matt and I'm about halfway through Archaia's awesome Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes so I'm going completely bananas right about now.  Once I'm done with the book I'm cracking open my blus and going Ape for sure.


New Avengers Promo Art

Having just this Summer watched both Captain America and Thor on the big screen, I still can't believe that there is going to be an Avengers movie out next year.  That just seems soooooo unreal to this comic fanboy.  Yet, here are a batch of new Promo images for Joss Whedon's Marvel Epic.  I still have doubts that they can pull this madness off but I also have heaps of hope and all my fingers and toes are crossed.  Assemble!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Nicolas Cage's New 8MM?

No, this is not a remake of the Walter Hill/Ice-T firefighter epic.  It's the latest pairing between Nicholas Cage and Joel Schumacher and it's pretty much getting dumped on DVD later this year after a very short theatrical run.  Based on the trailer below I'm not too surprised.  It looks like fairly standard and even my rampant Cage love can't find too much enthusiasm for this project.  Still, I'll probably snatch it up on blu ray the first chance I get and I'll hope that Cage finds something special (or crazy) in this latest normal guy pushed too far story.


New Release Tuesday (8/30/11)!!!

Must Buy DVD of the Week!

COEN BROTHERS COLLECTION (BLU):  Having just watched both Raising Arizona and Miller's Crossing on the big screen at the AFI Silver, I think it's safe to say that The Coen Brothers are my favorite contemporary filmmakers.  Miller's Crossing is one of the great gangster films and it's a great reminder that Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney are true badasses.  Raising Arizona is a balls-out bugnuts comedy that can drive you mad with its surreal explosions and  random bursts of screaming.  Haven't watched Blood Simple in several years but I remember it as a fine neo noir with the essential M. Emmet Walsh performance.  And even though the shine of my Fargo cult status has faded just a tish, it is still a hilarious and dark bit of crime fiction with absolutely stellar turns from all the members of the cast.  Yep, withoutadoubt this is the must buy of the week.


TOP GUN (BLU):  I can't remember the last time I watched Top Gun.  Maybe fifteen years ago.  I was seven years old when I first saw this in the theater.  My father was still in the Navy and we made regular visits to the Miramar base to watch the F-14s jet about.  As a result I thought Top Gun and Maverick were the coolest.  As I grew up, I became embarrassed over my Need For Speed love and I eventually abandoned Tony Scott's Blockbuster.  I think it's time to return.  My current, weird Tom Cruise fascination will probably kick my enjoyment level up to 11.


THE PERFECT HOST:  Don't really think this movie is going to be much good, but there's something about David Hyde Pierce's performance in the below trailer that really just skeeves me the heck out.  So it's gonna get a Netflix from me.  Fingers crossed that the rest of the film lives up  to Pierce's maniacal snobbery.

WRECKED:  I'm still rooting for ya Adrien Brody.  Recent roles in The Darjeeling Limited, The Brothers Bloom, Midnight in Paris, and even Predators have convinced me that you are my kinda actor and I just know you've got a killer performance waiting to be unleashed (and no it didn't already happen with The Pianist).  Wrecked looks like it has some potential.  Brody driven off the road, trapped inside his vehicle.  Survive!

POLICE, ADJECTIVE:  I've heard nothing but good things from this crime drama and I'm excited to finally get in on this Romanian New Wave.  I know very little about the film's plot, all I've heard is the hype.  Gonna give it a whirl.

NORWEGIAN NINJA:  It's all in the title.  How can you not want to race out and see this flick?  After Dead Snow, Rare Exports, and Troll Hunter I'm all about Scandinavian cinema.  Bring on the madness.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Matt’s Week in Dork! (8/21/11-8/27/11)

    The week began with some history, got shaken up by an tremor, was cut and bruised, remembered the 80s, and was finally mildly moistened by a giant storm.  What a weirdly eventful week, if not always a pleasant one.  As always, the movies are up first.

Family Guy: Blue Harvest:  A somewhat funny homage to the original films, there are plenty of fun gags for fans, and some of the usual Family Guy stuff.  It’s not bad.  I did laugh a few times.  But it all feels kind of meh.  Like, these jokes have all been told over the last 30 years by countless other Star Wars fans.  Still, oddly, it did give me a hankerin’ to watch the originals again.

The Ward:  AKA, The Bored.  The movie looks great.  But it’s just a collection of typical haunting crap.  Every jump, every visual, every music cue seems familiar…because it is.  This has all been done before.  Frequently.  And then the end.  Holy crap.  Garbage.  John Carpenter.  What happened, man?

She just watched the end of the movie.

Chu Chin Chow:  An early musical Arabian Nights film, this is interesting, but not especially good.  There are some great moments, and some cool visuals.  But the music is grating and the plot kind of dull.  Worth watching for fans of older movies, especially older fantasy films.  But, sadly, not that great.

Horrible Bosses:  While not ground breaking or especially fresh, this comedy is a good deal of laugh out loud fun.  The cast all do a good job.  Even the usually bland Jennifer Aniston is pretty good.  There are plenty of good bits.  And that cat.  Man, that just made me laugh.

Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time:  Sadly, for Leela’s last story, they return to the Doctor’s homeworld.  Never among my favorite stories, at least this one is less dull than others featuring the Time Lords.  Not really all that much to say about this one.  It’s kind of long, and feels like two stories linked together.

Family Guy: Something…Dark Side:  A bit better than the first one, this is fairly funny, with a bunch of the usual Family Guy jokes dropped in.  The Star Wars jokes are a touch less obvious, thus a bit more surprising and fun.  Like the first one, it makes me want to watch the original films again.

Cadfael: The Devil’s Novice:  Another murder for the good Brother to investigate.  While his fellows are quick to blame a brash young man, or demons, Brother Cadfael uses logic and his worldly experience to get to the heart of the problem.  A solid episode from a fine show.

    Brad and I got to the AFI Silver to see a couple grand old 80s classics.  By what I’m assuming was coincidence, both films featured character actor John Hallam.  But it made for a fun ‘double shot.’

Flash Gordon:  “I'm flying blind on a rocket-cycle!”  One of the things I love about movies in the early 80s (like the 50s) is their almost complete lack of cynicism.  There is nothing ironic about Flash Gordon.  Nothing dismissive.  The filmmakers and the cast took the madness of the old serials and did their darnedest give it a go.  Everyone just went for it.  Over the top sets, extremely grandiose rock music soundtrack, and actors shamelessly punching for the gold.  I miss movies like this.  Movies that were fun without being embarrassed about it.  It’s not to say they’re not made anymore.  But they seem less common than in the early 80s or the 50s.

Liveforce:  “She’s destroyed worlds.”  Sprawling, epic, and strange, Lifeforce is a great bit of semi-Lovecraftian horror/science fiction.  Based on the novel The Space Vampires, what starts as an astronaut adventure, turns into a kind of gothic horror film, then morphs again into a zombie apocalypse, and then kicks up the crazy in the final couple minutes.  A fantastic cast of character actors, some epic music, the physical perfection of Mathilda May, and some killer special effects make for a great forgotten classic.

Land of the Minotaur:  Typical of the Pagan/Satanist subgenre of horror films, this movie is quite boring.  The most dangerous enemy our heroes face seems to be shoddy editing.  Very Euro-70s, and very blah.

In a weird way, this pic totally sums up the film.

The Haunted Strangler:  It kind of goes on too long.  The climactic event happens, then the movie drifts through another fairly substantial act.  But, this is a pretty good movie.  Good cast.  Karloff is excellent.  The film is quite grim, and has some surprisingly brutal bits for the era.

The Atomic Submarine:  Not really a great film, but not a bad submarine/alien invasion mash-up.  Early on, it’s a bit slow, but it picks up near the end with some strange effects and creature.

    I also watched a few episodes of the old Western TV show, Wanted Dead of Alive, with Steve McQueen.  Not bad.  Not especially memorable, like Have Gun, Will Travel, but still quite watchable.

    On Sunday, my friend Ben and I traveled out to the Dulles area, to the Udvar-Hazy Center.  Well worth the trip if you’re into air and/or space vehicles.  Some pretty impressive displays.  It’s a little freaky to be standing right next to some famous pieces of history.  If I had a complaint, it’s that there’s almost too much stuff.  It’s a bit packed in in places.  But, then, that also means there’s plenty of stuff for everyone.

    On Tuesday, as most readers probably already know, and many no doubt felt, the east coast got shaken up by a quake.  I was at work, and other than having some stuff fall over, wasn’t effected too much.  At first, I just assumed it was someone walking on our roof to mess with our constantly troublesome AC unit.

    Unfortunately, on Wednesday, I was personally shaken by a stupid bike crash.  Done cycle while tired.  I flipped my handlebars and banged up my knees pretty bad, so I’ve been hobbling more than usual for the last few days.  Still, could have been MUCH worse.  Some painful surface damage will fade given some time.

I just don't know how it happened.

    And then, to top it off, according to the weather channels, the end of the world rolled over in the form of Hurricane Irene.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Some places got hit really hard, and my heart goes out to those people.  But, as the storm was rolling over this area, and I was listening to the weather folks going into fits of ecstasy as they explained just how horrible and disastrous it was outside at that very moment, I felt something of a disconnect while looking out my window and seeing a mild rain.  I’m glad it wasn’t worse.  But, once again, my contempt for the sensationalist nature of news people rises.  The people who perpetrate this sort of panic inducing chicanery should be held responsible for any damage caused by the panic they create.

    Anyway, I’ve been poking around at some of my comic goodness from the recent convention and a from last year.  I started reading Jim Rugg's Afrodisiac.  I got some of my prints framed and hung up (hope to have more pics coming up).

    I’ve been listening to a bit of Portishead over the last week.  They’re one of my favorite currently active bands, and once in a while I feel the need to listen to a bunch of it.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Fistful of Summer Movies! (Brad's Picks)

This has been a really strange Summer.  I enjoyed almost every movie I saw (yeah, Conan, I hated your dumb ass), but with the exception of the top three flicks on my list I didn't really love any of them.  And that's including Captain America which I thought was gonna be a done deal for me, but that last 2/3rds (like with Matt) just didn't click.  So, yeah, I'm a little stunned that only one of the films on my Fistful of Summer Anticipation made it here.  I feel like I need to revisit a lot of these flicks.  Stuff like Cap, Super 8, X-Men First Class, Rise of the Planet of the Apes--movies that the world seemed to go ga-ga over and just left me feeling a little shrugged.  Maybe on repeat watching I'll find the love.

5.  Don't Be Afraid of the Dark:  Just saw this the other night.  It doesn't reinvent the wheel or anything, but Producer Guillermo Del Toro and Director Troy Nixey have cranked out one creepy little jumper of a haunted house/monster story.  Absolutely fantastic creature effects with an incredibly interesting (if not surprising for those that know GDT) backstory, I would absolutely love to see another film exploring their little underground world of gnashers.  Plus, I was rather taken by Katie Holmes' sad, struggling stepmother performance.

4.  Cowboys & Aliens:  There seems to be a lot of unnecessary hate for this film out there in Internetland.  I don't get it.  As far as Weird Westerns are concerned, this easily has to be one of the best if not the best.  Again, like Dark, it doesn't elevate the genre or anything, but it hits all the appropriate tropes of the Western and mixes it with some fun Alien abduction business.  Danial Craig and Harrison Ford are fantastic together and I loved the various character actors that come and go.  It's definitely my favorite of the Blockbuster-type flicks, a perfect popcorn movie.

3.  Hobo With A Shotgun:  For us here at ITMOD, this was probably the most anticipated movie of the year and I am so glad that both of us were able to catch it on the big screen.  It's violent, gross, offensive.  And great gobs of fun.  I really can't think of another modern movie that perfectly captures the Test-Your-Might exploitation grindhouse experience of my youth as well as this.  Rodriguez & Tarantino tried, but Jason Eisner succeeded.  Rutger Hauer proves that he's still got it.  Order me up some sequels.

2.  Midnight in Paris:  This is probably the most surprising movie to make my list.  I don't think I've ever really enjoyed a Woody Allen movie.  I've chuckled my way through Annie Hall and Sleeper, but they're just not the kind of movies that really speak to me (remember, Hobo With A Shotgun).  But dammit, with Midnight in Paris Woody Allen has made a great little geek movie.  I am Owen Wilson.  I might not obsess over 20s Paris but I do some serious obsessing.  I get this flick.  And it's charming and funny as all get out.  Adrien Brody's Dali nearly had me on the floor with laughter.  Great, great flick.  Expect to see it on my Top Ten for the whole Year.

1.  Attack The Block:  "Allow it."  I don't think I've loved a movie this hard since I rediscovered The Monster Squad on DVD a few years back.  And they're the same kinda Kids Against The World movie.  It just gets everything so right.  From the Hoodie Kids to the indiscernible wolf gorilla monsters.  It's serious and bloody. It's gut-bustingly funny.  And it's cool.  The John Carpenter-like score has been playing on loop in my car since I saw the first screening.  John Boyega is definitely this year's breakout Star and I want to see whatever he does next.


A Fistful of Summer Movies! (Matt’s Picks)

    OK, so the summer is done, and I watched a ton of movies.  Back in April, we gave a preview of our most anticipated films of the summer (Matt's picks  ---  Brad's Picks).  Now, looking back, and letting you know what our favorite films were.  My most anticipated films were Kung Fu Panda 2, which was a lot of fun; Cowboys and Aliens, which was good; X-Men First Class, which was uneven, having both some very cool aspects and some awful aspects; Pirates of the Caribbean-On Stranger Tides, I could come back to another one of these every couple of years without difficulty; and Captain America: The First Avenger, which was great for the first two thirds, but lost it in the third act when it became little more than a preview for next year’s The Avengers.  So, here are my five favorites from this past summer.

5.  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides:  You know what?  I just enjoy these crazy swashbuckling fantasy films.  They’re fun, action packed, and exciting.  As I said above, I would be happy to come back every couple summers and watch a new adventure of Captain Jack and his friends and enemies.  Sure, the fill-in couple of the pious young man and his mermaid lover are exceptionally dull and I’d be fine if they dropped them, the movie overall was a solid pirate adventure.

4.  Hobo With a Shotgun:  Crass, gross, ignorant, disgusting.  Awesome.  Like a dose of classic 80s Troma terror, this film is a wonderful throwback to the nasty, experimental, low budget movies that graced video stores in my youth.  Great characters.  Weird and sick behavior.  Rutger Hauer.  Classic.

3.  TrollHunter:  The best ‘found footage’ film to date, this bit of crazy from Norway is funny and freaky.  I like the cast, especially Otto Jespersen as the gruff old hunter.  So, so, so much fun.

2.  Attack the Block:  What a fantastic flick.  Young punks living their brutish, ignorant life in the projects of South London are forced to step up, grow up, and become men when horrible beasts from space start hunting the Block.  The character arc of Moses is really something.  And, it’s funny. Believe.

1.  Super 8:  I’m a little surprised this ended up as my favorite, but I really did enjoy it.  Very much the kind of kid-escapism I loved so much as a lad, with plenty of nostalgia.  Good kid actors, a solid story, cool effects, and just generally a good ride.  I would not at all be surprised to find this gain the kind of following with kids today that The Goonies had with my generation.

      As a side note, my least anticipated film of the summer was Conan the Barbarian.  And it lived up (down) to my early feelings...and then some.  It is currently in the running for worst film of the year.  Good sweet crap, why!?


Monday, August 22, 2011

A Fistful of Bad Adaptations! (Brad's Picks)

In Honor (or Disgust) of this past weekend's absolutely atrocious Conan The Barbarian, we here at ITMOD are ranting this week on our other favorite Horrendous and Offensive Bad Adaptations.  There's a lot to choose from and I already know that Matt has picked at least one of my Top Five, but here ya go.  Read and Weep.

5.  Jonah Hex:  Wow, just Wow.  When I heard that Josh Brolin snagged the role as the DC Comics Western anit-hero Jonah Hex I thought that was some brilliant casting.  Brolin was a dead-on choice for the scarred bounty hunter.  But then I saw the trailers, and then I saw the movie.  Yeash.  They got pretty much everything wrong.  It would probably make a good double feature with the equally terrible Wild Wild West if you wanted to put your eyeballs through the searing torture.  I mean, "Sheriff of America"?  What the hell were they thinking?

4.  The Shining:  Now, don't get me wrong.  I love The Shining.  It was one of the first films to scare the crap out of me.  I was eleven or twelve years old when I first watched it in my parents basement and I couldn't sleep for several hours and I was struck with some serious nightmares.  But as an adaptation of Stephen King's original doesn't quite work.  It misses a lot of the Overlook Invasion aspect.  How the Hotel infects Torrance.  Nicholson is pretty much crazy from the get-go.  Now, the Mick Garris gets the adaptation and it's not all bad, but it's also nowhere near as scary.  I'll take the Kubrick any day, but it's still a bad adaptation.

3.  Payback (The Theatrical Cut):  I've ranted on plenty about this 1999 adaptation of Richard Stark's The Hunter.  And I'm not gonna go repeating myself, so if you want a more in-depth dissection go HERE.  Thankfully, the Straight Up Edition turned out to be a wonderful film, but this blue-tinted Kris Kristofferson screaming monstrosity pretty much flops Dead On Arrival.

2.  The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (aka The LXG):  Have you ever read Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neil's graphic novel series?  No, is it cuz of this utterly repulsive Stephen Norrington film?  Then damn, the terrorists have won.  Not only did this awful, dirty film permanently retire James Bond from cinema but it also stopped plenty of comic geeks from checking out one of the greatest works of sequential art of the last decade.  Seriously, stop right now and purchase volume 2 of The League.  It's the best take on the War of the Worlds since HG Wells cooked it up fact, it might be better.  Bold words spawned from absolute rage at this Shane West career killer.

1.  I Am Legend:  This is not a bad film.  In a lot of ways it gets Richard Matheson's novel right were previous adaptations The Last Man On Earth and The Omega Man got it wrong (although both of those films are infinitely more entertaining than this ultimately unsatisfying flick).  Where things go way off the reservation is at the climax.  The last 20 minutes of this flick are completely appalling to anyone familiar with the novel.  Seriously, where do you get off calling this film "I Am Legend" when you don't even have the book's "I Am Legend" climax.  Still, to this day, this Will Smith vehicle can bring up as much rage as the Star Wars prequels.