Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trailer: Bernie

Below is the first trailer for Richard Linklater's ("the director of The School of Rock & Dazed and Confused") black comedy Bernie starring Jack Black as true story lady killer.  The film, or the comedy of the film does not look good.  But Matthew McConaughey and his wig brings a certain smile to my face.  If I had to guess, I'd say this sucks but I'd like to hope that there is a McConaughey gem hidden in there somewhere.



Trailer: The Avengers Party Comes To You!

With each new trailer for The Avengers I become increasingly fanboy crazy.  Here's a project I was fairly excited for at the conclusion of Captain America: The First Avenger and now I'm downright rabid.  The Hulk Catch!?!?  Excelsior!


Trailer: Piranha 3DD "Get Me My Legs!"

Am I crazy, or does this trailer for the Piranha 3D sequel look utterly amazing!?!?  Two minutes ago, I had zero interest in seeing this film and now I'm eagerly anticipating its release.  And it's from the director of the Project Greenlight production, FEAST, a film I shockingly enjoyed as well.


We'll Miss You, Davy Jones

Just got a phone call from The Wife about the passing of Monkees frontman Davy Jones.  As a teen, she was obsessed with The Monkees the way most girls were about The Backstreet Boys or 98 Degrees or whatever.  And she turned me into a bit of a Monkees fanatic myself.  Last year, we were able to see Davy, Peter, & Micky perform (Mike, of course, doesn't cotton to that kind of thing anymore) at the Wolf Trap Theater and we had a blast.

But before I met her, I knew the band primarily through early morning Nick at Night reruns and movie cameos.  Her uncontainable joy quickly infected my leanings for geek obsessing, and we've now collected all the old tv episodes as well as a decent collection of memorabilia and the beautifully bizzare Criterion Collection edition of HEAD.  A film that mocks and celebrates the 1960s in a way films like Easy Rider couldn't dream to achieve.

So, it's with a sad heart that I say goodbye to Davy.


A Fistful of Mad Scientists! (Matt’s Picks)

    With our viewing of Metropolis on the big screen this past Friday, we’re listing our favorite mad scientists. 

5.  Dr. Jonathan Gediman loves his work.  OK, maybe a bit too much.  But he seems like a swell fella.  “What a beautiful, beautiful butterfly.”

4.  Dr. Hans Zarkov knows the Earth is in danger, and he’s gonna save it.  Enlisting the aid of a blonde dolt and his screaming lady friend, Zarkov is off in his garage-built space ship to save the day.

3.  I’m not going to swear that Logan didn’t get his doctorate out of a cereal box, but he sure was on to something.  He brought the best out of Bub, and I think he might have actually succeeded in making the walking dead behave, if he’d had the chance. 

2.  Dr. Zaius may not embody my idea of good science, what with his position as ‘Defender of the Faith,’ but he is an orangutan.

1.  Dr. Clayton Forrester’s love of evil science and subjecting others to awful movies wins him a place in my lump of coal (replaced my heart in 1996).  When I finally get Evil Science Island off the ground, I hope I can reflect a little of his glory.  We stand on the shoulders of giants, after all. 


A Special TED Presentation (from the future!)

I'm a big fan of TED presentations, but this one is a touch concerning. Check it out here.

See you...In the future!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dork Art: Re-Animator

Love this Fro Design Co print.  Cost ya 30 bucks for an 11 x 17 print.


Poster: Avengers Assemble!

What I Love:  Stark Tower

What I Hate:  Captain America all the way in the background.  Come On!  Hawkeye gets closer billing?!?  Lame.


New Safe Trailer

Definitely dig the new 60 second trailer for Jason Statham's Safe.  It could turn out to be another run-of-the-mill Stath flick a la The Mechanic or Blitz but I'm hoping for some seriously violent action to elevate the flick.  And my buddy Bernie filmed extra work in Philly for it in 2010.  Yeah, it's been on the shelf for a bit.  Not a good sign.  But R Rating, I like that.


New Release Tuesday!!! (2/27/12)

With the Oscars just days behind us it's nice to snatch up my favorite movie of the nominated as my--

Must Buy DVD of the Week!

HUGO:  Yes, yes, I'm happy enough that The Artist won Best Picture.  It was a great movie and I don't care what all the backlash haters have to say about it.  That being said, Hugo was my #1 movie of 2011 and it's been several years since my Top Film of the Year even got a nomination at Academy Awards.  And that's nice for me.  Sure, the Oscars are nonsense but its always fun to find an excuse to talk movies whether they're bought or naught.  Anyway, Hugo is a film that just fills me with great gobs of pleasure. I've said it before and I'll say it again.  You want to have an inkling of how & why I love movies?  Watch Hugo.  And it's the first Blu Ray release that tempts me to purchase a 3D Television.  It took a true master like Scorsese to teach me the true joys of environmental 3D vs gimmicky Jaws 3D.  Both have value.


SCARLET STREET (BLU):  Watched this for the first time a couple years back.  Fritz Lang's direction doesn't knock you on your feet the way previous efforts like Metropolis or M do, but Scarlet Street is still a damn fine looking noir.  And Edward G Robinson is so wonderfully pathetic in this film and Dan Duryea is such a wonderful tool.  Thank you Kino for giving the film the top blu ray treatment.


THE SPIDERS (BLU):  And then Kino has dropped there keen eye onto the earliest surviving Fritz Lang silent (1919) and I have never seen it.  And I so desperately want to.  Strange Western Adventure, sign me up.

JUSTICE LEAGUE - DOOM:  I do enjoy these DC Animated films, but there last batch of Justice League films have failed to impress.  This one comes from the same creative team as Crisis on Two Earths film and that was mediocre at best.  This one is based on Mark Waid's Tower of Babel story arc and involves all the baddies discovering all the goodies weaknesses.  It's a fun trade with serious animation potential.  Fingers crossed and all that.

BENEATH THE DARKNESS:  The first time I saw the trailer to this movie I cracked up.  Dennis Quaid's serial killer looks oh so serious.  But the movie itself looks like garbage.  Still, I'm gonna check it out for the Quaid factor.

MISS BALA:  Apparently this is a pretty badass flick from Mexico.  Gotta check it out.

BABA YAGA (BLU):  I'm pretty sure I've already seen this film, but maybe all I've seen are the various Euro Slut stills splattered around the internet.  Whatever the case I totally need to see it again.  And in high definition!


THE MANIONS OF AMERICA:  Look, I know it's tempting to finally see James Bond make out with Voyager's Captain Janeway but make no mistake, this is terrible.


Matt’s Week in Dork! (2/19/12-2/25/12)

Other Men’s Women:  A kind of douchy guy starts hanging with his swell chum and said chum’s understanding wife.  All’s well for quite some time, until Douchy McDouche and the cute young wife get a taste of something extra.  Before they can go too far, McDouche takes his leave, but not soon enough.  Problems and troubles.  Blindness, drunkenness, and lots of coffee.  Pretty good movie, though the end, like a lot from the pre-Code days, is kind of bent.  Still not sure what James Cagney is doing in the movie, other than dancing.

The Purchase Price:  Barbara Stanwyck is a torch singing floozy, who flees the life and ends up in an arranged marriage in North Dakota.  OK, sure.  The weird premise ends up working for the most part, and the leads are all quite charming.  It’s a fun old timey romantic comedy with lots of colorful characters and adventures.

The Wall Street Mystery:  This short film is feels like a TV show episode from 30 years later, but it’s enjoyable in a light sort of way.  Though, yikes.  The horribly racist portrayal of the elevator attendant.  Wow.  The investigating doctor is an odd bird, that’s for sure.

Platinum Blonde:  This movie is the berries.  A wise cracking reporter gets a hankerin’ for a rich dame, breaking the heart of his best friend (also a dame!).  Whatever it was that Jean Harlow did to men in her day, she does not do to me.  She’s got comic timing and acting talent, but her sex symbol status is beyond me.  Loretta Young, however, has a certain doe-eyed pluck I find quite charming.  The movie takes on the idle rich as a working man is tempted by the luster of wealth.  Is he a bird in a gilded cage?

A Perfect Murder:  I can’t help it.  I want Michael Douglass to succeed at every turn.  First off, his wife is awful.  Secondly, her boyfriend is a douche.  And thirdly, Douglass is just so danged charming.  The film is extremely 90s, with its no nudity clause sex scenes and almost made for TV, over sanitized feel.  But frankly, Douglass’ reference to a woman as a “Castilian femme fatale” alone was worth the price of admission.  It does serve to remind me just how much I don’t care for Gwyneth Paltrow.  How did she have a career again?

Frisco Jenny:  A young woman from the wrong part of town takes on the world with her wits and cunning.  She’s anything but an angel, but she has one light, her son.  Adopted by a family with money, makes good; better than he’d ever have made with his mother.  Jenny tries to be the young man’s guardian angel, but her shady life and sordid history will haunt them.  The movie follows an interesting path, leading to an interestingly filmed and edited courtroom scene.  Ruth Chatterton gives a heck of a performance as the title character.

The Studio Murder Mystery:  Donald Meek is back as the weirdass doctor/investigator, on the prowl for a good mystery.  His cop buddy that keeps calling him in is great, too.  Just a big dumb lug.  Look, Meek is a strait-up creeper.  I have no idea why they made more than one of these shorts.  And there’s a dude that looks like Nic Cage (once again…vampire?).

Midnight Marry:  “I’ll give you a ring sometime…Maybe.”  A hard-luck kid gets chewed up and spit out by the system, turning into a wild child.  Loretta Young plays the corruptible young woman in this bleak movie about crime, poverty, and the depths of life on the street.  The Depression hit’s the streets like a gut punch.

Terror of the Bloodhunters:  Lacking in the dubious charm of a Corman movie of the same era, this movie is just a bit too dull, and not quite sensationalist as it should be.  The cast is easily forgotten, nor are there any particularly fun or memorable moments.  It is.  That’s about it.

Liane: The Jungle Goddess:  Bad dubbing and awkward, somewhat exploitative stock footage go along with a moderately attractive woman who doesn’t seem to mind taking her top off.  Not at all a good movie, it’s kinda amusing in its way.  Pretty typical of the ‘blonde jungle girl’ subgenre of lowbrow adventure films.

Metropolis:  OK, I know I’ve reviewed this before.  Probably several times.  Heck, I’ve seen this movie countless times (in myriad versions).  But, seeing the complete version, on the big screen at the AFI Silver, with a live band, was a real thrill.  And seeing it with a friend who had never seen it, and another who had never seen any silent film before was a special treat.  What a way to first experience the movie.  And it is a heck of a film.  You can see the roots of so many movies over the decades in its visuals and concepts.  And of course, like many true classics, its messages and themes are as timely today as when it was filmed.  One thing I really like about the movie is that the villains aren’t truly evil.  Even mad scientist Rotwang can be sympathized with.  He is a wronged man, lost in grief, and driven to set things right, not some soulless monster.  And it might be corny, but the overall theme that the head and the hand must be mediated by the heart is something I genuinely believe.  I appreciate the visceral and the cerebral, the high and the low, the mind and the body, the civil and the brutish, order and chaos.  Balance.

Tarzan, The Ape Man:  In an EXTREMELY loose adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic adventure novel, Tarzan appears as a dumb, if handsome, doof.  A plucky young woman enters his life, screams and complains a lot, and romance is born.  There are some pretty cool bits, but I can’t help wishing the book had served as more than a source of a title.  And am I nuts, or are those Indian elephants with prosthetic ears?  I’m not a biologist or anything, but they don’t look right.

Tarzan Escapes:  Much of the goofiness of the first film remains.  But dang if Maureen O’Sullivan doesn’t look seriously hot.  For some reason, Tarzan is still an idiot.  One would think that simply being around Jane and listening to her talk would have taught him a thing or two, but alas, he still does little more than parrot her words.  This movie also makes use of stock footage from previous films.  Watch out for ju-ju, man.  On-gawa.

Coffy:  The movie that made me fall in love with Pam Grier and Blaxploitation, Coffy is crazy.  It’s violent, deviant, filled with memorable characters and performances (not always good, but memorable none the less), and lots of flesh.  If you want a taste of Ms. Grier, the subgenre, or if you’re already a fan but haven’t seen this, check it out.  It’s a must.

Heroes for Sale:  “It may be the end of us, but it’s not the end of America.”  The horrors of war and the winds of fate take their toll on two men.  A fortunate son who turned yellow in the trenches ends up with awards and accolades, while a workaday schlub gets injured and hooked on morphine.  But schlub or no, he’s got grit and makes good.  But, as with a lot of movies from the time, things don’t go well for too long.  The system crushes all.  And after our hero has been chewed up and spit out, he gets stepped on and ground into the pavement.  It’s no shock that folks in the Depression would identify with movies like this.

    And Ben and I checked out a couple TV shows; John Adams, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone.  John Adams seems pretty interesting.  I need to finish it off one of these days.  It’s not an era I’m especially familiar with, but should be.    And of course, I love me some classic anthology sci-fi.

    I also got through the second disk of Smiley’s People, which I’m enjoying much more than Tinker Taylor Sailor Spy.  It’s a good series, with a slow building tension that makes me hungry for the next episode.

       Book wise, I finished the Halo novel I’ve been picking at for a while.  It was a good deal of fun to read, and I’m interested in what the next one will bring.

    With all that, I still managed to host a second game night, which went quite well, I thought.  I’ll post about that later.


Book Review: Halo: Cryptum

    Greg Bear has been around for a long time.  His is one of those names I’ve seen on the sci-fi shelves whenever I’ve scanned them.  But I’ve only ever tried him once before, when I was a young lad when I read Strength of Stones.  Frankly, I didn’t like it, in spite of some awesome ideas.  So, when I saw that there was a new Halo book out, exploring the universe’s ancient past and the origins of the Halos themselves, I was very excited.  But when I saw Bear’s name attached to it, I became a bit wary.  I picked up the book none the less and gave it a go.

    This is the first in what is called The Forerunner Saga (not to be confused with Andre Norton’s Forerunner series, which I’m also reading), and deals with the mysterious race that built the Halo first discovered by man in the video game, and the others learned about later.  We learn about their culture, their religious devotion to something known as The Mantle, the corruption of that devotion, and the breakdown of a millennia old way of life.  And we see it all through the eyes of a spoiled brat of a rich kid, who grows up as his world falls down. 

    I find it interesting that Humans play a part in this history, and that even in this deep history, there is a deeper history going back countless ages.  That here, Humans have been active on the galactic scene before, having made something of an empire for themselves, before being crushed by the Forerunners and limited to their homeworld, which would become known as Earth.

    The book does take a while to really get going, and I found the narrator to be kind of a pain in the ass (though that is intentional) and the setting takes a bit to get a handle on.  But it’s worth the effort.  Once it does get on a roll, things move pretty fast.  There are some really grand ideas and images, some interesting characters, and a lot of stuff set up, hopefully to be explored in the next book.  Now that I’ve enjoyed this book as much as I have, I’m going to have to look back on some of Bear’s other work, and give him another go.

Halo: Cryptum
Author: Greg Bear
Publisher: TOR
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3004-8
Pages: 343

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dork Art: There Aren't Any Coyotes In England

Nice job Harnois75.  An American Werewolf in London remains my second favorite film of all time, and it's a rare treat to discover some nifty new Dork Art celebrating its genius.  Maybe I can score one of these since I have no chance of scoring Olly Moss' Mondo print.