Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brad's Week In Dork! (9/18-9/24)

Still not cranking out as many movies or books that I would like, and nothing really blew my skirt up this week.  With one exception.  Friday Night, the wife and I traveled on over to the Fall For The Books festival at George Mason University.  There we saw Stephen King read from Doctor Sleep, the upcoming sequel to The Shining.  How cool is that?  I'd heard rumors of the sequel before but was shocked to hear that he was practically done with the book.  Here's what they say on his website:

"It's now official--Stephen is working on Dr. Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. This weekend Steve read an excerpt from this at his appearance at George Mason University. They have given us permission to post their taping of the event here on Steve's site which we will do as soon as we receive the file. Dr. Sleep's plot includes a traveling group of vampires called The Tribe which is part of the passage he read from."

And afterwards I got my hardcover copies of The Shining and 'Salem's Lot signed.  I've had a lot of amazing dork encounters this year (John Landis, Stan Lee, John Carpenter, etc...) but this was my favorite by far.  King was instrumental in my literary/cinematic growth.  If I had never read The Dead Zone when I was 12 years old than I most certainly wouldn't be fiddling around on this blog today.


Rollerball:  James Caan won't quite the team just cuz and that makes The Corporation very unhappy.  Strange dsytopian sci-fi centering around a mondo bizarro future sport involving motorcycles and roller skates.  John Houseman is exceptionally creepy as the scowling corporation figurehead and Moses Gunn is awesome cuz Moses Gunn is awesome.  

Hesher:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is kinda brilliant as the mysterious Metal God Agent of Change and I love how he storms into the world of depressed pre-teen Devin Brocu and his even more depressed beardo dad Rainn Wilson and devastates their sad existence.  But as the film rambled on towards its climax I found myself rather annoyed with the predictable turns of the narrative.  And Natalie Portman's mousy cashier was ultimately boring and pathetic.  Meh. 

Meek's Cutoff:  Grizzly Adams Bruce Greenwood doesn't so much lead a wagon train  across the Cascade Mountains as much as he just dumps them in the wilderness of frontier America.  Meek's Cutoff feels true to the Oregon Trail experience and it's absolutely terrifying in its depiction of the unknown.  But it's not really a fun movie.  Great performances from Michelle Williams and Bruce Greenwood.  But can I ask, what's the deal with that manga Williams poster?  

Straw Dogs:  A hammer meet nail remake of the brutally uncomfortable original film, Staw Dogs definitely has an interesting take with its cast but half the time I just wanted to shout my annoyance at the screen.  To give you an idea, James Marsden's screenwriter (no math here) literally explains the title to the audience.  Ugh.  Still, I really liked James Woods' drunk Coach performance and Dominic Purcell was actually good in the David Warner role.  And it's always nice to see Walton Goggins on the big screen.  Seriously though, who was asking for this remake?  No one.

The Big Clock:  Charles Laughton's murderous Charles Foster Ka--I mean, media baron Earl Janoth attempts to run circles around Ray Milland's investigative journalist.  Fine performances all around, but the Columbo-like narrative seemed to lack suspense and the odd bursts of comedy from the shrill Elsa Lanchester (The Bride of Frankenstein!) pulled me right outta the tense bits.  Know lots of folks who really dig this film so I'll give it a go another day.

Cujo:  A strange, little horror tale.  Dee Wallace's family melodrama is put on hold when a rabid St. Bernard holds her & her son (Danny Pintauro from Who's The Boss) hostage within the confines of her Hades hot Gremlin.  And Wallace knocks out an amazingly intense performance as the sweaty mess of a Mom fighting for her child's survival.  And I love how you can't hate the beast of the flick, just a poor sick puppy. 


Hellboy Volume 11 The Bride of Hell and Other Stories:  Before this trade I've never been a big fan of the blending between Mignola's stories and Richard Corben's art.  That being said, "Hellboy in Mexico" and "Double Feature of Evil" that lead off this collection are spectacular.  Reading the team-up adventures of 1950s Hellboy and the luchador brothers has me aching for more, plus that El Diablo Turkey?  Genius.  The collection has some other fun bits involving Hammer-esque vamps and Cow-Boy aliens but the Mexico stuff is the tops.  Volume 11 is my favorite Hellboy short story collection since Volume 4's Right Hand of Doom.

Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson:  More horror goodness from one of the all time great comic illustrators.  One of the best bits comes right at the beginning.  "Jennifer" written by Bruce Jones is a gross little EC-type tale about a woodsman who enjoys the pleasures of a deformed women a little too much.  It was adapted by Dario Argento for Showtime's so-so anthology series Masters of Horror.  If you're at all interested in horror comics than this is an absolute must.  


Supernatural Season 6:  I love this damn show.  Watched the entirety of Season 6 in four days.  Now that the Apocalypse has come and gone, the show has taken a few dips and dives.  But there are still several fun eps to be had.  The Boys vs. Fairies and The Boys vs. The Old West being my favorite.  Still, what the hell is going on with Cass.  Not sure I like where this season is taking their relationship.  We'll have to wait and see this year.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Matt’s Week in Dork! (9/18-9/24)

       Other than catching some movies, and reading a few comics, I didn’t get up to much in the way of dork this week.  Well, maybe that’s all it takes.  

The Queen of Sheba:  Boring and overwrought, this Bible movie is cheesy as heck.  There really isn’t much to it.  Pretty good sets and OK costumes.  But otherwise, blah.  Melodramatic pap. 

The Omega Factor:  Another strange and somewhat haunting British science fiction show from that magic time of the late 70s and early 80s.  Unfortunately, it’s not as good as it could and maybe should be.  But it’s watchable and has some cool ideas.  I like the cast and some of the stories.  I just wish it had gone further or deeper. 

Rollerball:  Such a strange film.  Rollerball is an occasionally brutal dystopian flick from the 70s that would work as a companion to Soylent Green or Logan’s Run.  James Caan is the individual standing Ayn Rand style against the wishes of the masses.  As the sport changes around him, and the system tries to grind him down, the star Rollerball player searches for answers to what has gone wrong with the world. 

Hyperdrive Season 2:  Like the first season, season 2 of this show is occasionally funny, but generally disappointing.  It’s really too bad.  The cast is quite good and there’s a lot of potential.  But it never lives up.

Amazon Women on the Moon:  Though not as uproariously funny as The Kentucky Fried Movie, this sketch comedy movie has plenty of great bits.  Tons of awesome cameos and very quotable gags.  And it has 3 of the very rare minutes of Arsenio Hall’s career where you might mistake him for a funny person. 

Was Jack the Ripper actually Nessie?

Doctor Who: The Gunfighters:  Excepting the annoying song that keeps playing over various bits of the story, this is a pretty good take on the Tombstone shootout.  In fact, the actual shootout is quite brutal for bloodless, children’s TV.  Worth checking out, for sure.  Though not amazing. 

The Debt:  There are some great moments, and the story and cast are solid, but overall this movie is kind of ho-hum.  Unfortunately, there’s not a lot to say beyond that.  I thought a lot of the flashbacks captured that Cold War era vibe pretty well.  But, at the end of the day, meh. 

Ironclad:  This would be a pretty darned fun, if sometimes a bit goofy bloody medieval action film if not for one thing.  CG blood.  So much CG blood.  Why!?  It looks awful.  I’d rather they just tone down the gore than ramp it up with bad effects.  Well, also the Kate Mara character seems to have stepped right out of a cheesy romance novel, with all her obnoxious pluck and out of place aggressive sexuality.  In the end, while I enjoyed it, I kept thinking it could easily have been much better. 

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Laserblast:  A movie Leonard Malton gave 2 and a half stars, this monster turd gets a good lambasting from Mike and the Bots.  Creepy, scrawny stoners get mixed up in some alien goings on, and nobody is safe.  Even Eddie Deezen shows up to Deezen up the place.  A pretty good episode.  Sadly the exit for Dr. Forester, who is replaced in the following season by the exceptionally annoying and NEVER funny Pearl. 

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Future War:  “An actor prepares….to suck!”  Low rent Jean Claude Van Damme, Daniel Bernhardt is a future cyborg kick-boxer.  Only he can fight the dinosaur puppets (also from the future) and the giant jaw of Robert Z’Dar (“Oh, Z’No!”).  So many empty boxes, it makes They Live look almost box-free.  And so many plaid shirts.  What a craptacular. 

Oh, Z'No!!!

Doctor Who: The Keeper of the Traken:  A pretty good story from very near the end of Tom Baker’s run.  Nothing amazing for who, but typically solid.  I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan of Adric, but he’s not especially annoying here. 

    I also watched several episodes of Fringe.  I finally decided to give the show a second try.  Not that I didn’t enjoy it my first time, just that I got distracted and didn’t get back to it.  I gather it becomes less episodic as it goes on, so that’s cool.  Watching the first season is reminding me how much I’ve come to rely on more arc driven TV seasons, especially when it comes to genre shows. 

    In comics, I read some more of DC’s New 52, and the good news is I found more good stuff.  So far, I’ve read Swamp Thing (meh), Demon Knights (bleh), Red Lanterns and Green Lantern (maybe), Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (maybe), Justice League (meh), Action Comics and Detective Comics (BORING!), Batgirl (I thought this Gail Simone person was supposed to be a good writer, but this read like Chris Claremont on X-Men), Green Arrow (SUCK!), and then this week, Batman and Robin (imagine my shock at finding this one kind of interesting), Superboy (now crank that shock to 11, because this is probably my favorite so far), and Batwoman (We get it.  She’s a lesbian.  Don’t care.  Please write an interesting story next time!). 

    And I started reading the beast that is Habibi.  As of writing this, I’m 250 pages in.  It’s a beautiful book, and as a work, it’s truly impressive.  Do I like it?  Not sure.  But I’m intrigued.  And I’m very curious where it’s all leading.  I was kind of hoping this was going to be a little more Arabian Nights, and a little less I Am Najood, Aged 10 and Divorced. 


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dork Art: An American Werewolf in London

Fantastic Fest 2011 is happening right now.  And I'm infinitely jealous of all the folks down in Austin, Texas enjoying all the wonderful, weird cinema on parade.  One of the big events I'm sorry to have missed is An American Werewolf in London on 35 mm print with Rick Baker in attendance and the opportunity to own the above poster done up by wunderkind Olly Moss.  It's 15 x 24 and limited to 380.  No word yet on when Mondo's site will have it up for sale.  All I know is that I'm gonna try real damn hard to score a copy.  An American Werewolf in London is my second favorite film of all time and absolutely my favorite Horror film.

Below is the Rick Baker Q & A conducted with Justin Ishmael after the screening.

Video streaming by Ustream

A Fistful of Versus! (Matt’s Picks)

    With the arrival of this week’s The Killer Elite featuring would-be badass Clive Owen (seriously, Clive, you were so awesome for like two years…please be cool again) and Jason Statham, we wanted to looks at some of our favorite stars battling each other.

5.  Andy Lau VS Ekin Cheng (The Duel):  Two stars of Cantopop pick up blades and battle atop the Forbidden City.  What more could one ask?  Oh, how about some political intrigue, multiple film homages, the extremely cute Kristy Yang (and Zhao Wei I guess), and Dragon 9's Buddha Pointer (he learned it while working as a theater usher).  And who can forget Asia's answer to Michael Caine, Elvis Tsui?  But at the heart of all this madness is the build up to an epic duel between titans.  Great stuff. 

4.  Arnold VS Arnold (The 6th Day):  Come on, eventually everyone who’s anyone fights an alternate version of themselves, the only true and worthy enemy.  Kirk did it a bunch of times, because he was just that cool.  Arnold waited a while, but eventually ran afoul of his clone.  Granted, their battle was less than epic, being mostly some harsh words that eventually turned to good natured ribbing.  Of course, their true and deadly conflict came in audio format with Austrian Death Machine’s album Double Brutal

3.  Tony Curtis VS Kirk Douglass (The Vikings):  I still have a hard time believing in Tony Curtis as a tough guy, but when he goes up against Kirk Douglass on top of a huge tower, he makes me think twice. 

It wasn't all smiles and sunshine.

2.  Charlton Heston VS Orson Welles (Touch of Evil):  A Mexican cop (Heston) runs afoul of a redneck police captain (Welles), his life and that of his lovely young wife are in danger.  A battle of fists, bullets, and will.  Two powerful men on and off screen clash and it’s the stuff of legend. 

1.  Ben Stiller VS Owen Wilson (Zoolander):  When two male models can’t seem to get along, they have to settle it the only way they know how.  A walk-off.  So dangerous, so mysterious, so hot, only Bowie can call it. 


Friday, September 23, 2011

Dork Art: Replace Face Shatner & Co

Foud via Geek Tyrant, these gems were concocted using ReplaceFace.  I'd definitely hang them on the wall next to the Picassos and Degas.


A Fistful of Versus! (Brad's Picks)

With the release of The Killer Elite this weekend hopefully we'll get a pretty stellar celebrity battle between Jason Statham and Clive Owen (and not a boring suckfest battle like we saw between The Stath and Jet Li in WAR).  Fingers crossed we get some Spidey/Wolverine action like we did with these other great Vs. movies.  Sorry, no Predators, Aliens, Freddys, or Jasons can apply.

5.  Mel Gibson vs. Kurt Russell (Tequila Sunrise):  This was the first film in which I felt the presence of Badass vs Badass.  Ten year old Brad loved The Road Warrior.  Ten year old Brad loved Big Trouble in Little China.  And here was a film that smashed both Mad Max and Jack Burton against each other!??!?!?  It didn't quite live up to my self-inflicted hype, but Tequila Sunrise is still a fine bit of neo-noir.

4.  Clint Eastwood vs. John Malkovich (In The Line of Fire):  This was a scary battle.  Eastwood's Secret Service agent is to ooooooooooooolllllllllllllllllllldddddddddddd for this shit but only he can stop Malkovich's madman from snuffing out POTUS.  As a kid, Malkovich scared the hell outta me.  Anarchy, man!  Nothing can stop a bad guy from doing bad things!  Except Dirty Harry.  Watching it now, it's only okay.  But back then this was an epic Versus.

3.  Liam Neeson vs. Pierce Brosnan (Seraphim Falls):  A wonderful, underrated weird Western that sees the neverending battle between North vs South stomp all over the American West.  Seraphim Falls marks the beginning of Liam Neeson's new action hero career and I am thankful.  He's is an absolute beast as the death wishing Carver and Brosnan's job is just to not fall pray to his rage-fueled shadow.

2.  Al Pacino vs. Robert De Niro (Heat):  These (former) acting titans had never appeared on screen together, despite sharing The Godfather Part II on their CV.  Michael Mann decided that injustice could not stand and pit the two hams against each other in this epic Cat & Mouse thriller.  The film is monumental for a number of reasons, but my favorite might actually be Pacino's scream, "SHE'S GOT A GREAT ASS AND YOU GOT YOUR HEAD ALL THE WAY UP IT!"

1.  Lee Marvin vs. Gene Hackman (Prime Cut):  Not enough people talk about this movie.  As much as I love  Lee Marvin flicks like Point Blank and The Dirty Dozen, it's the vile heart of Prime Cut that crawls to the top of the Frazetta-like mound of celebrity mashup corpses.  Lee Marvin's mob enforcer is sent to Kansas City to  settle a debt with Gene Hackman's sausage enthusiast.  Ground up goons and boodles of female commodity will not get in the way of the epic throwdown between these two monsters of the underworld.


Thursday, September 22, 2011