I’ve been watching “Almighty Johnsons” on Syfy and I’m completely hooked. The show is funny and surprising and it’s got some great characters.
I’ve had very good experiences with smaller, Midwestern cons, mostly because they are very welcoming in atmosphere. While they do see distinctions between subsets of geeks, they all seem to recognize that we all belong to the same tribe of Geek.
Sometimes, you just need a little comfort food for the mind. “The Expendables 3” is the cinematic equivalent of pistachio fluff. There’s not any particular thing about it that makes it taste so good. In fact, if you analyzed the ingredients separately there’s nothing there to indicate the spectacular fusion of happiness that will hit your senses. It just mysteriously exists in that realm of freakishly good despite everything about it.
"The Expendables 3" held no surprises. It was a collection of mostly muscle-y men and one very athletic woman going up against a cartoonishly amoral bad guy. Sure, most of them are past their prime. The more I looked at Dolph Lundgren, the more I thought the man’s face looks like a plate of half-cooked grits slammed onto a table by an infuriated and incompetent waitress. I lost track of snippets of conversation because I kept noticing how many noses had been broken so many times they could no longer be properly aligned with the faces they were still attached to. In fact, there are several noses in this movie that have come to resemble a bowl of mashed potatoes plunked down on a face.
Does this in any way, shape, or form make me root for them any less? Absolutely not. These are movie action heroes I grew up with, and I still want to see them succeed in their movie endeavors. I want to see them blow things up and fire enormous guns and generally go on a violence spree that could only happen in a movie where they’re going to single handedly liberate an oppressed country from a vile dictator.
"The Expendables 3" delivered all of that in spades. Is it a beautiful movie? Of course it isn’t. Does it have much redeeming value? Sylvester Stallone has a writing credit on it, I’ll let you make that judgement based on your own opinions. Is it a great excuse to sit in a theater with a bucket of popcorn as big as my head and a soda that is proportionally sized? Yes, yes, and yes again, a thousand times yes.
It’s a silly movie, preposterous in all of the best, most over the top ways. When Jason Statham has the best diction of anyone in the movie, that kind of gives you an indication of what kind of movie it is. The fact that they make jabs about it in the movie only makes the movie that much better. It’s pure, entertainment schlock at its very best.
It’s the end of the summer and watching “Guardians of the Galaxy” made me want to have a dog days of summer movie marathon.
Check out my picks for a summer sci-fi screening the whole family can enjoy. Just add popcorn and giant sodas:
I had the option, yesterday, to go and see “Sin City 2” with a friend of mine who’s going to be starting a work schedule here shortly that will keep him too busy to do stuff like this. The other option was just sitting at home all day drinking water and watching a lot of mindless television. Not surprisingly, having stayed home the bulk of the week in order to get better from being sick and venturing out only to go to my doctor’s office twice (which is two more times than I’ve been in in the last year, for anyone keeping score), and getting some really awesome soup with another friend on Friday, it was time to Not Be In Bed.
When I mentioned to my friend that I wanted to see “Sin City 2”, I did so with the understanding, first of all, that this friend knows me. We have logged a considerable amount of movie viewing time together, which is important, because even he will admit that sometimes my taste in movies worries him from time to time. The genres that I prefer tend to feature violence heavily.
He also knows that I have the Sin City graphic novels, as well as the first movie. We knew what we had signed on to watch before we ever went and paid for the tickets and popcorn. He’d seen the first movie and he’d asked me questions about the graphic novels enough to determine that he’d much prefer other recommendations from me. These are all facts that caused us not even the slightest moment of consternation.
I didn’t go see “Sin City 2” in 3-D, because my eyes simply can’t handle it. Between the astigmatism and the RP, I just end up with horrible headaches and motion sickness that make a movie unwatchable, sadly. So, I just saw regular, old, 2D “Sin City 2”.
Of course, it’s violent. The previews make absolutely no bones about that, whether or not you saw the red band trailer. If you’ve done any research into the graphic novels or paid attention to any of Robert Rodriquez’s or Frank Miller’s work, you’d have to expect that. “Sin City 2” is both violent and splattery. It’s a meaty, viscous movie visually. The beatings are vicious and they resound with the nightmare slaughterhouse sounds of force laden flesh mashing into flesh with all the inertia the impacting bodies can maintain. Bodies break apart wetly in frame after frame after frame. Why? Because Sin City is the kind of place where matters are not resolved through conversation or rational action, it’s brutal and primal and problems are either resolved in a matter that’s unquestionably final or they aren’t resolved at all.
It’s the cinematography and the animation that elevate “Sin City” above the typical revenge-fest fare. The black and white palette with it’s startling splashes of color (which are never the gouts of blood slinging across the screen in Pollockian arches) gives the movie a strange, nostalgic elegance. Sin City is a close approximation of our world, but it definitively isn’t, it’s seedier, it’s dirtier, and it’s a hell of a lot scarier. The violence is both emphasized and stylized, often pulling away for full body shots in silhouette instead of showing close ups of knuckles splitting and teeth pushed through lips. It’s still unflinching in the way that it shows that people are being hurt brutally and irrevocably. There’s always a loser in a Sin City fight, and the majority of the time, it’s the guy or gal who ended up at the bottom of the pile.
As with the previous movie, “Sin City 2” features interconnected stories. We start up meeting an old “friend”, Marv. Marv is still played by Mickey Rourke. He’s the kind of guy you don’t ever want to cross, because he’s still big, he’s still tough, and he still feels no hesitation when it comes to getting into a fight, especially if he’s defending a woman’s honor. In the world of Sin City, Marv smashes things, and, honestly, Marv is a virtuouso when it comes to pulping slimebags who deserve it. I still wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley, but, if I did, I’d definitely hope that he was on my side.
Then there’s the sad tale of Dwight (Josh Brolin). Dwight is contacted by an ex-flame, Ava (Eva Green). She claims that her husband is a sick pervert, subjecting her to all kinds of degradation, and she begs Dwight to help set her free. But this is Sin City, and here, power and money rule above all else. Ava is a dangerous woman with her own agenda, and when she sets her plan in motion, she’s certain she knows exactly what she’s doing. Ava is as intelligent as she is manipulative, the problem arises in her arrogance. She believes she’s concocted the perfect scheme. Eva Green nails the performance as a femme fatale. She’s not afraid to show that she’s not only playing every man around her with consummate skill, she’s doing so to suit her own ends.
We also get to see Johnny, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Johnny is a gambler with a magic touch. He can’t lose, and when he decides to play a high-stakes poker game with none other than Senator Rourke (Powers Boothe), his confident swagger is pure perfection. He’s a man who is about to own the world and he knows it. However, Johnny doesn’t know the meaning of quit while he’s ahead. In Sin City’s world, you don’t upset the balance of power, especially when Senator Rourke is involved.
I have to say, one of my favorite things about the Sin City movies is Powers Boothe as Senator Rourke. He’s so gleefully, maliciously evil. There might have been some redeeming value in there somewhere, as Rourke still indicates that he misses his late son, but he’s gone as rotten as the city he owns. There is nothing in Sin City he doesn’t control and he’s not afraid to show that in every way he can.
The final story in “Sin City 2” revisits Nancy. She was the little girl who grew up to be a stripper in the first movie. Nancy is still grieving for John Hartigan (Bruce Willis), and she’s growing less and less stable with every passing day. She finally decides to take her revenge, enlisting Marv in the process.
"Sin City 2" is really a gorgeous piece of film. It’s unrelentingly dark in its tone and themes. After all, Sin City is all about greed and corruption, which has virtually choked out any hope of redemption. The people in Sin City take drastic, brutal measures and, as a result, find themselves reaping drastic, brutal consequences. Does anyone deserve what Sin City gives them? That could be debated, depending on your views of nature and nurture and how you stand in the Calvin vs. Hobbes philosophical debate.
"Sin City 2" isn’t quite a morality play. It’s a desperation play. And, if you can handle it, it’s worth the watch. Just go in with your eyes open.
I have finally gone a full 24 hours without running a fever.
However, salt is still the best thing EVER right now.
Food smells like food again and has, therefore, become something I want to eat again.
On Monday, I will have to return to my normal schedule, which means I will not get the much needed afternoon nap.
I apologize for the extended absence. Not only did I get a new job, I also ended up getting bronchitis. These last few days have been spent trying to find an angle to lie that did not make my lungs and chest feel like they were on fire, in between worrying about the fact that I just started my new job and have promptly had to take almost a week off, and worrying about all of the writing that I have not gotten done, and, mostly, just gasping for air.
I got to have my first Coca-cola in five days yesterday. It was fantastic, although after days of nothing but water, it felt oddly thick in my mouth. It’s very weird how one’s mouth can adjust to texture like that.
Salt is the best thing ever right now, which I think is mostly post-fever talking.
It’s also an odd experiment in self-torture to end up with a fridge full of fine cheese and gourmet chocolate courtesy of a friend who just came back from Seattle, and to have purchased some gorgeous Valencia oranges and some amazing limes, only to discover that you’re now not allowed to eat any of it until you’ve recovered.
I am finally starting to feel better today. Lesson learned here, as stubborn and impatient as I am when I’m sick (yeah, not a good patient, I admit this freely), when it feels like I am not getting better, it is probably worthwhile to drag myself out of bed and go back to the doctor and mention that. It may turn out they treated me for the wrong thing initially.
However, I suspect some of the fever dreams are going to make excellent story material. If I can make sense of what I wrote down while feverish.
Robin Williams made me laugh so many times. There are so many movies of his that are in my movie collection that serve as reliable workhorses to cheer me up when I need it. I watch “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Aladdin” probably more than I should.
My favorite movie of his, though, was “Toys”. It was odd, to be sure, but it also has an innocence to it. I found it to be a beautifully surreal good versus evil story set against a backdrop of invention and whimsy. “Toys” contained a cinematic world that I desperately wanted to exist.
Leslie Zevo was the kind of pure genius that I wanted to be. He had incredible ideas without worrying about the practicality. He made the things he made because he wanted them to exist. He wanted to make the world kinder, gentler, and much more fun, that was his vision for how he wanted to leave the world. He was the much less scary and completely nonthreatening flipside to Willy Wonka (with all due respect, love, and admiration for both the character and film portrayals thus far of Mr. Wonka, each of which I have enjoyed for vastly different reasons, though Mr. Wilder’s will always be my favorite).
"Toys" is a super-saturated, candy colored celebration of marching through adversity and staying true to yourself.
Will it make me miss seeing Robin Williams any less? I sincerely doubt that, but it will continue to remind me of everything I liked about his performances.
Have you ever stopped to think that maybe, Phil Coulson is so dedicated to nostalgia and collecting vintage items not just because he’s a geek, but because his family is gone (since his parents are dead) and he’s devoted most of his life to his job? He’s keeping other people’s memories because it gives him something to hold onto when his own life is so precarious.
He keeps these beautiful, well-crafted items from a time when things were built to last. They were intended to be kept and loved and, in his collection, they become useful and wanted once again.
This cracks me up. Charlie Hunnam is great, but it’s Tommy Flanagan’s expressions that really make it for me, especially that weirdly smug smirk.