Sunday, February 19, 2012

Brad's Week In Dork! (2/12-2/18)

"Tom Selleck Saved My Baby" by Dimitri Drjuchin

I'm not sure what I had intended for this Week in Dork--I know I was hoping to read Edgar Rice Burroughs's A Princess of Mars before the March 9th release of John Carter--but I certainly wasn't expecting to spend most of my time in front of the boob tube watching Tom Selleck in Jesse Stone movies.  All it took was one cineAWESOME! podcast and I was off to the Paradise, MA races!  I picked up the first five movies early in the week for a relatively good deal, watched all of those by Wednesday and went back for the final two DVDs and had those consumed by Saturday night.  Madness.  It's not like they were utterly brilliant or anything but it did remind me how much I used to love Tom Selleck.  And now I have a hankering to watch old Magnum episodes.

Fake Polish Crank Poster

I guess my original intent for the week was to spend most of it preparing for the Ghost Rider 2 flick with a string of mad Nic Cage performances, but all I got consumed was the first god awful film and Matt & I had a little Crank party Saturday morning.  Man, I love those freaking crazy ass movies so darn much.

But speaking of cineAWESOME! you guys should click on over to my Top 7 Tuesday: Valentines and read about all the cinematic ladies I wish had in my elementary class V-Day Card Swap.  Putting Zira, Agent Starling, and Marion Ravenwood all on one list was a geeky thrill.

Finally, The Wife has been consumed with her Sunday in the Park With George performances, so we didn't get a lot of time together in general let alone for Twin Peaks marathoning.  But we managed a few eps.


Twin Peaks Episodes 21-25:  The Laura Palmer mystery is long behind us, and the show is now focused mostly on Agent Cooper's pursuit of ex-FBI serial killer Windom Earle.  Possibly not as engaging as the first 2/3rds of the series, Twin Peaks is still endlessly fascinating with its David Warner, Billy Zane, Dan O'Herlihy appearances as well as its deepening exploration of the Bob menace.  Plus, how can you not love David Lynch's Gordon meeting the angelic voiced Shelly in the diner.  That's just a beautifully mad sequence that epitomizes the charm of the show.  The Wife and I have only four episodes left before we jump into the prequel of Fire Walk With Me and we've decided not to pick it up until we can blitz through the rest.  So I'm not sure if we're going to get it done next week or not.

Justified "Thick As Mud":  This was just a fun episode.  The climax of the last episode left Damon Harriman's Dewey Crowe wrapped in plastic and we open here with Dewey floating in a tub of ice and lacking a pair of kidneys.  Watching him hunt down cash in a matter of hours provided for some seriously dark laughs and I appreciated how Raylan took a bit of a back seat here to let the side characters shine.  And Boyd & Neal McDonough finally got their face to face!  Season 3 of Justified might not yet be up to the awesomeness of last seaosn, but it's also too early to tell where all these character confrontations are going to lead and inevitably explode.  Still the best damn ongoing tv on the box right now.

The Walking Dead "Nebraska":  The second season of The Walking Dead is back up and running and it's okay as usual.  I really do enjoy this show, but it continually fails to meet the harshness of Robert Kirkman's ongoing comic series and it feels like they've been walking in place for a little while.  I don't want to jump on the bandwagon of dumping on this series, but I've never been one of its greatest supporters.  The first four eps of the first season were damn tight, but it also really hasn't recovered from the sloppy season one finale in my eyes.  Still, where else can you go to see this level of KNB gore?  And Rick finally going gunfighter in this ep was satisfying.  But, seriously, Laurie and that damn car!?!? Lame.  Bring on The Governor.


Journey 2 The Mysterious Island:  "That's too much happy!" The Rock and The Hunger Games (Josh Hutcherson) follow a mysterious signal sent by a mysterious Grandfather (Michael Caine) that lands them on The Mysterious Island of Jules Verne's fiction...or non-fiction. A far superior silly sequel to the rather mundane silly of the Brendan Fraser original, Journey 2 packs in plenty of odd with giant bee rides, goopy lizard egg babies, tiny sharks, tiny elephants, and big big ants. But the largest laughs for me came from the constant childish bickering between Caine & The Rock as well as Luis Guizman's not so manly man-crush on Rock's berry peck popper. Basically, The Rock's enthusiasm is contagious and it will pull in most easy-going audiences.

Tom Horn:  Steve McQueen had already been diagnosed with terminal cancer while filming his penultimate film, and he was determined as Executive Producer to get his vision of the legendary Cowboy on screen--the film went through five directors after multiple disagreements with its star. The result, however, is a Western masterpiece. Hired by a collection of wealthy Wyoming ranchers, McQueen sets about assassinating various cattle rustlers, but when the violence of the old west hits the city streets the good folks of 1901 modern America want nothing more to do with his shootist ways. The film is brisk as 98 minutes, but McQueen gives every part of himself to the character and the actor's own impending doom can be felt along with the character's ultimate fate. If you enjoyed films like Unforgiven or The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford than you must absolutely see Tom Horn.  Feel free to read more gushing over at cineAWESOME!

Jesse Stone - Night Passage:  A definite step down from the first Jesse Stone made-for-tv-mystery, Night Passage tells the origin of Tom Selleck's arrival in the mob corrupt small town of Paradise, MA. It's an odd experience watching a prequel to Stone Cold, seeing characters (both human & dog) return after witnessing their bitter ends in the last outing. Selleck still shows class as the Sheriff and I'm down for more adventures, but sleazy Stephen Baldwin as the sleazy killer is a rather boring opponent for the take-no-gruff cop.

Do or Die:  ‎"I don't believe it! He's putting up baseballs against my shotgun?" Erik Estrada is Back! Just one film into the series and he's switched characters and sides; he's teamed up with aging playmates Donna Speir & Roberta Vasquez in an effort to take down Pat Morita's happy ending crime lord! More ridiculous Andy Sidaris tomfoolery at work with wickedly cheesy dialog, wannabe cajun assassins "y'all", creepy tequila sex, and even creepier Mr Miyagi sex--see you in your nightmares kids! Six films into the Malibu Express Saga and you think I would be bored with all this horrible T & A nonsense, but I most certainly am not. Bring on the next bit of stoooooopid.

Jesse Stone - Death in Paradise:  The third outing in Tom Selleck's Jesse Stone series has a fairly compelling mystery of an unsurfaced, mushy lake corpse that leads Magnum P.I. deeper down the rabbit hole of depression and alcohol. It also offers up some serious gunplay for Selleck who uses bad guys as shields and puts down the scumbags that have it coming. The introduction of William Devane's psychiatrist is very much welcome and it provides for some thoroughly entertaining grumpy old men bicker healing. And the moment Death In Paradise finished I was compelled to pop in the next film.

Jesse Stone - Sea Change:  A melancholic outing for Jesse Stone, Sea Change is nowhere near as exciting as the previous film but I appreciate the cold case mystery involving Rebecca Pidgeon's grieving sister and the return of Saul Rubinek's jailed gangster. The B Story involving yet another rape and Sean Young brings the question, "Is Paradise, MA the new Cabot Cove?" But I was glad to see the return of Kohl Sudduth's Deputy Suitcase even if we also have to say goodbye to Viola Davis' Number One. Still waiting for Stephen McHattie's Statie to take a little more of the spotlight.

Jesse Stone - Thin Ice:  As usual, we've got two crimes occurring in Paradise, MA. One: Jesse's Statie pal Stephen McHattie is nearly shot to death during a pseudo stakeout. Two: Camryn Manheim's baby was kidnapped seven years ago and she believes he's somewhere in Selleck's small town. Neither crime really manages to capture my interest, but the shooting at least allows for Selleck to sink into some diabolical/criminal schemes, and it leaves Jesse Stone in a rather tight spot for the next (6th) film.

Ghost Rider:  It boggles the mind that even if they couldn't make a "good" Ghost Rider movie that they couldn't make a good "bad" movie either. Nic Cage meanders through the film with a bevy of affectation crutches like Johnny Blaze's inexplicable love for monkeys and Karen Carpenter, but nevertheless comes off as a redneck simpleton rather than the badass servant of Hell that he should be. Director Mark Steven Johnson seems to be aping the origin structure of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man bogging down the script where he should be stripping it bare. But perhaps the worst crime of all is transforming vivacious Eva Mendes into a bland hunk of wood. Criminal moviemaking.

Jesse Stone - No Remorse:  The events of Thin Ice left Tom Selleck's Jesse Stone without a town to Sheriff, but you know he's not going to let bunco bureaucracy get in the way of a Boston Serial Killer and a small town convenience store robber. No Remorse is probably the most fun I've had with the series since the first film, Stone Cold. Saul Rubinek is outta jail and his new, buddy-buddy relationship as Selleck's car dealer had me cracking up. Gangster William Sadler's plot is gearing up into some fairly devious territory; looking forward to his murderous actions taking center stage. And I was quite pleased to see Emmanuel in Space, Krista Allen replacing Stephanie March as the town slut.

Crank:  Jason Statham is dosed with the poisonous "Chinese Shit" and has only hours left to live...and get his Revenge. This neon noir is a manic visual nightmare showcasing not only Statham's balls-to-the-wall confident showmanship, but everyone involved. Seriously, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Efren Ramirez, Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, etc. have to be completely at one with themselves to unleash such a cinematic monstrosity. From the backally stump fight, to the Chinatown sex scene, to the climactic Helicopter dive. Crank is in your face and hip to it's own depravity and I love it.

Crank 2 High Voltage:  So, you thought Crank was a vile & reprehensible action film? Well, that's Marry Poppins compared to the absolutely bugnuts sequel that sees Statham's Chev Chelios resurrected with a Robot Heart fueled on whatever form of electricity he can find--and Statham is jumpstarting it, electo shock dog collaring it, and pumping it with sexual horse track friction. What the hell does that mean? Watch the film to be horrified and amazed by the single greatest bit of exploitation cinema of the last twenty years.  And I've already watched it twice this year.

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance:  The Crank Boys, Neveldine & Taylor, definitely don't reach the levels of absurdity with Nic Cage & his Johnny Blaze persona that I was hoping for, but Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a fun B-Movie romp through the Marvel Universe--AND it's ten times more entertaining than anything found in the dullard original film. The best bits center around the insanely photographed chase sequences, and the depictions of the Ghost Rider demon with Nic Cage's snaky head ticks and his melty, boiling leather. The plot is dry though, and even if I appreciated Ciran Hinds's stroke-faced Satan, the Omen kid plot feels exceptionally tired. An R Rating (let alone a hard Crank R) would have helped the film immensely, but as is, Ghost Rider 2 is a solid entry in the crazy Cage era.

Hell Comes To Frogtown:  Whoa doggy, Hell Comes To Frogtown is an incredibly silly Corman produced post-apocalypser featuring the acting titans Rowdy Roddy Piper and Sandahl know that sounds too mean spirited--these guys are kinda perfect for this flick and deliver some beautifully strange over-the-top dialog involving Frogmen and the inseminating female force known as Med Tech. Most of the budget is stuffed into the six or seven amphibian costumes on set, but it's totally worth it to see these monsters chainsaw attacking Piper and his damsels. And who doesn't love a villainous William Smith?

Jesse Stone - Innocents Lost:  The last Jesse Stone film (so far, anyway) is probably my least favorite of the series after the origin story of Night Passage.  Jesse is still not back with the PPD, but that doesn't mean he can't investigate the apparent drug overdose of a runaway teen he once mentored.  We have more dabblings with William Saddler and Saul Rubinek and I do love how Stone has become so friendly with these obviously vile human beings, and the real a-holes of the story seem to be the town council as well as the Russian Mob.


Winter Soldier #2:  In the second issue we see writer Ed Brubaker continuing to tie the plot of the Winter Soldier program to Doom's Latvaria and we also get to see those machine gun-toting apes use Jet Packs! It's funny, but the super hero shenanigans of his current Captain America run don't really work for me, but the insane use of the fringe characters of the Marvel Universe in this espionage world works for me.  Maybe it's artist Butch Guice's similarity to former Cap artist Steve Epting & the fact that I liked all this whackjob SHIELD stuff done in Brubaker's run a few years back.  Whereas McNiven feels too Marvel goofy theatrical to me.  I don't know, whatever the case I'm digging Winter Soldier.

Road Rage #1:  This on the other hand was LAAAAAMMMMMMEEEEEEE.  I keep wanting to fall in love with the work of Joe Hill but it keeps letting me down.  I seriously need to go back and read Locke & Key.  But this...well, to be fair it's Chris Ryall adapting Stephen King & Son's short story Throttle which in turn was based on Richard Matheson's Duel, but this IDW book reads like a mess.  The book is just bogged down with exposition and the art is flat.  Definitely not bothering with another issue.

BPRD The Long Death #1:  What more can I say about BPRD that I haven't already raved on and on about.  It's a wonderful world in which horrible nightmares have been unleashed upon the Earth.  After the events of "Hell on Earth: Russia,"  "The Long Death" sees the newly suited Johann taking a team back into the woods of Canada where the Jaguar God might still be munching on civies.  Sure, I miss Guy Davis's art, but John Harren's work is top notch; painterly and rather disturbing when the monsters start to munch.  Johann continues down a dark path and I'm afraid I can see a future in villainy...?  Whatever the case, if you are not reading BPRD you are missing out on when of the market's best books.


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