Post-Weekend Open Thread…

Well, things started unpromisingly Friday night when we got the worst rain storm in Chicago’s recorded history. I live right outside O’Hare, and in less than one day we got eight inches of rain, the most since they started keeping records in the 1800s. And that understates it; we got more than six inches of that in under three hours, a simply crazy middle of the night storm. The rain was so intense it sounded like a high pressure hose against my trailer, and there was tons of lightning, which set fire to houses and apartments around the entire area.

Of course my power went out. We’ve had so many crazy storms now and power outages that I think it’s actually working to ConEd’s benefit at this point. I think most people probably feel more sorry for them than mad. On the other hand, my trailer park is on some high ground, so we never really flood, even in circumstances like this. However, some of the major streets by me, including four-lane Elmhurst road, were completely submerged the following day, and for a stretch several blocks long. I’m talking over a foot of water it; it was pretty crazy.

So obviously I didn’t do a lot Saturday. Sunday, however, Paul and Holly (leaving back for California soon) and I roused ourselves for the early showing (10:15) of Captain America. I was well pleased. The film isn’t perfect–since they had but one film to get Cap out in and out of WWII, events were a tad compressed, making the war itself seem way too short–but it was another solid triumph for Marvel.

I mean, seriously, these guys have turned out five (connected) movies in what, three-four years, and all of them have been pretty good. A streak like that shouldn’t be discounted, especially when you look at the way DC / Warners has foundered with their comic book adaptations (barring the Christopher Nolan ones). I cannot wait for the Avengers movie next year. That is going to be crazy. Anyway, I’ll probably go a little deeper into the movie later, but again, I thought it was pretty nicely done.

Went home after dinner at Red Robin’s with P&H (oddly forwent the burger in favor of fried clam strips, but was not disappointed), and watched Unknown on DVD. That was Liam Neeson’s follow-up to Taken, and it’s pretty good, although in the end it’s basically a remake of a certain well-known science fiction movie.

The film’s coda was also amusing, as the film’s nebulous Evil Forces that were attempting to gain control of the film’s McGuffin At the Expense of Humanity were all the usual suspects (Big Business! Oh noes!) What was especially funny in this instance is that the exact McGuffin here would in the real world be vigorously suppressed by Luddite progressives, as have many similar products in the real world, at the probably cost of millions of lives. However, I doubt we’ll ever see such heresy in a major motion picture from Hollywood.

Also caught some of The Thing from Another World on TCM’s Essentials Jr. It did my heart good to know that Galaxy Jane was watching the movie with her kids. What a terrific film. They announced that next week’s movie would be The Road to Utopia. And odd choice, I thought, compared to the better known Road to Morroco or Zanzibar, but maybe they thought Utopia was more kid-friendly in some way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great movie, nearly as good as the other two I mentioned (which is saying something), but if anything it has more injokes that kids will never get.

For example, the film’s main song, ‘Put it There, Pal,’ is full of hilarious references if you are up on your old time radio and movie trivia. However, when Bob zings Bing by noting he “has a voice just right for selling cheese,” well, if you don’t know that Crosby hosted the Kraft Music Hour, I’m not sure what you’ll make of it. Still a very funny movie, though.

Anyway, what did you guys do?

  • Ericb

    My weekend was hot, hot, hot. Since I live near the ocean sea breezes usually cool my apartment somewhat during heat waves but this time there was nothing, no air movement at all and since I don’t have an air conditioner it was hell. You know it’s hot when you sweat while you’re sleeping.

    Moviewise I watched, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein Meets the Worlf Man, The Invisible Man and Night of the Demon.

    I read, Winthrops’ Boston: A Portrait of a Puritan Town, 1630-1649.

  • Gamera

    Sorry to hear about all the rain and blackout Ken, wish some of it would hit down here- we’re pretty dried out. Debating on seeing ‘Captain America’ as I’m not really a superhero fan but I can’t help but like a guy in a red, white, and blue costume punching out National Socialists.

    I ripped though John Ringo’s ‘Princess of Wands’ this weekend. The first third of the novel is a spoof on Lovecraft’s ‘Shadow Over Innsmouth’ except that Ringo’s novel has as a protagonist a gun-toting, kung-fu fighting, red-headed, devout Christian soccer mom that cuts a three mile wide path though the mutant cultists. The remaining two-thirds of her teaming up with an FBI agent and a worshiper of the Norse pantheon to hunt down more cultists at a SF/Fantasy con was fun but not quite as good as the first part.

    Then pulled out ‘Dagon’ and watched it again. Funny, seems a lot of people hated this movie but I really like it. Sure they changed some stuff but it seems mostly close to the original story and the mood of the film is creepy as hell.

    Not really B-movie related but just for the heck of it – I build plastic models as a hobby as well. Finished this 1/48th captured Messerschimt Bf-109 about two weeks ago:

  • I finally saw The Giant Claw. I loved the train scene and the bit with the teenagers and the salt shaker. That buzzard is great.

    I also learned that Freddy Krueger is going to be a Mortal Kombat kombatant. I didn’t see that one coming.

  • The Rev.

    We had picked up some DVDs for cheap at Blockbuster a week ago, so we took in a couple of them. Saturday we watched Winter’s Bone, which is a slice-of-life drama set in the rural Ozarks. A very good film that we all enjoyed, although I wish the sound levels on the DVD had been better; it was often difficult to make out what people were saying. Jennifer Lawrence was excellent, and I hope she has a successful career.

    Sunday it was As Good As It Gets, which Chelsea hadn’t seen before. Good times were had by all. I’d forgotten how hot Helen Hunt is in that movie. Damn.

    On the Jabootu side, Friday night I watched Left for Dead, a recent Albert Pyun movie. Ouch. I rather liked the lead actress, but that was about it. You know how Battlefield Earth used the wipe to a ridiculous extent for scene changes? For this movie, it was freeze frames. It very quickly became annoying, and by the end was downright infuriating. The villain is supposed to be a ghost, but apparently Pyun’s as confused about ghosts as he is about cyborgs, since I wasn’t aware ghosts could (usually) ignore bullets, yet be taken out for a couple of minutes by a pickaxe. Mostly terrible effects, some confusing editing, a couple of “Wait…what?” moments, a paint-by-numbers plot, a villain who suddenly loses his motivation and lets the heroine destroy him at the end…I suppose he’s done worse (Captain America is in the DVR, waiting to confirm this), but I really can’t recommend it.

  • The Rev.

    Gamera: Between the fact that Dagon is a so-so short story with little happening in it, and Gordon’s past Lovecraft movies, I’m surprised by anyone that thought they’d get a faithful recreation of said story (although I guess I’d understand more if they thought it was going to be The Shadow Over Innsmouth, which it much more closely resembles). I’m also surprised to hear that a lot of people don’t like it; I thought it was quite good, and I believe Ken enjoyed it as well. I wonder what Sandy thought of it…

  • John Campbell

    I am in agreement with Gamera. Dagon is good.

    I spent my weekend trolling netflix aimlessly.

    I did finally start the firefly series.

    Alright, alright stop yelling! I know I’m well behind on that.

    Watched some vintage doctor who (Tom Baker still rules!!!)

    Gamera – I’m currently working on a B-26 Marauder. (Cheap revelle kit)

    Can’t wait to start my Eduard Royal Class FW-190!

  • Gamera

    Guys nice to see I’m not alone here. If I remember ‘Dagon’ was a poem wasn’t it? The movie is ‘TSOI’. I guess they thought ‘Dagon’ was a more catchy title so they changed it. Have to say I’m a little biased since ‘TSOI’ was always one of my favorite Lovecraft tales to begin with. Somehow being trapped somewhere surrounded by cultists scares me a heck of a lot more than werewolvies, vampires, or whatever.

    John: Very cool! Can’t go wrong with either a B-26 or Fw-190.

  • Mr. Rational

    Reading — continued my project of reading through B-Masters reviews. Believe it or not, I’ve read pretty much everything there is to read outside of Teleport City…and there, I just finished the H’s.

    Viewing — the first six Harry Potter movies (only one of which I had seen before), and rented the seventh, in preparation for finally going to the theater to see the very last one. Which will be the first Potter film I see in the theater. I thought I’d put it off for long enough, and this was my last chance. My rankings, so far:

    1. Prisoner of Azkaban
    2. Half-Blood Prince
    3. Order of the Phoenix
    4. Goblet of Fire
    5. Chamber of Secrets
    6. Sorcerer’s Stone

  • Ericb

    I like Dagon as well. I don’t have a problem with merging two different stories as long as the end poduct is watchable. Short of making a period piece I don’t think you could credibly set the story of The Shadow Over Innsmouth in New England. The kind of isolation presented in the story doesn’t really exist on the Northeastern coast of the US anymore so if you ditch the old setting you have to ditch the old title. I also think it was a good idea to substitute the gillmen of the original story for the Cthulhu-esqe inhabitants of the movie. Fifty odd years of gillmen movie has certainly reduced their creepiness component.

  • Flangepart

    Did someone say ‘Potter’?

  • Kathy

    After a week in Monterey, I spent the weekend being broke, doing much needed housework, cooking and eating artichokes, and reading Susannah Gregory’s Matthew Bartholomew series numbers seven and twelve (out of order because I reread seven). HIGHLY recommend if you like monks and physicians of the dark ages solving crimes. There’s something about Medieval religious types solving crimes that’s like catnip for me, love the Dame Frevisse series too.
    I need to watch some TCM movies DVD’d for me by Tom, at some point soon.
    Watched some DVR’d Frasier as well; had forgotten how good the series was.

  • I have what I believe are impeccable Lovecraft credentials, so in order:

    1) Dagon is a short story, not a poem. The movie’s prologue is pretty all that comes from Dagon. The rest is all Shadow over Innsmouth.

    2) I thought it was a terrific little HPL adaptation. No problem with having the monsters be tentacled instead of fish-frogs. The latter seems like it could be hard to pull off without the exact right team.

  • Gamera

    I bow to your superior mythos lore Sandy. Dunno why I was thinking ‘Dagon’ was a poem.

  • Rock Baker

    For what its worth, I went into town to make some deals over selling my pinup artwork. By the way, for horror fans, I might try to sell you on a book I recently appeared in, Bloke’s Terrible Tomb of Terror issue no. 1. It’s a super-slick throwback to the old Warren anthology horror titles of the 70s. I have a story in the issue, and it has to be the slickest thing I’ve ever been in. It just looks incredible. Okay, pitch over.

  • The Rev.

    I would just like to point out that I correctly identified “Dagon” as a short story before Sandy confirmed it. That’s all. *gloats*

  • Really? Is this what it means to be a nerd now? Scoring cheap points off who has a greater mastery of obscure trivia? Oh, that I should ever have lived to see such a day.

  • TongoRad

    Hope everything is getting back to normal, Ken. If we had lost power (in the Northern NJ ‘burbs) I would have had to check into a hotel- it’s pretty unfortunate that you had to go through the double-whammy of heat plus no power.

    As mentioned in the previous thread, #1 son and I watched Deep Star Six on Friday and got about as much enjoyment as you probably could out of it. Thanks for the reminder that I even had the thing lying about.

    Saturday we did The Guns of Navarone. There are some truly awesome sequences in that movie. The shipwreck was totally intense, and it was just riviting from there on out. SPOILER- And that dialog near the end between David Niven’s character and Gregory Peck’s- where they found that they had a traitor in their midst? So unbelievably strong was the dialog, acting, everything about it. And, heck, they hadn’t even gotten to the guns yet! It was great seeing that one again.

  • The Rev.

    “Really? Is this what it means to be a nerd now? Scoring cheap points off who has a greater mastery of obscure trivia? Oh, that I should ever have lived to see such a day.”

    What is it the kids these days say? Ah, yes. “Ken wins the Internet.”

  • GalaxyJane

    Yeesh, now I really feel extra-bad about forgetting “The Thing” last night. In my defense (yeah, excuses excuses), hubby and the youngest both spent the weekend recovering from Fifth Disease and we pretty much bummed around scheduleless all weekend. I did feel really crap when I woke up this morning and realized I had completely neglected the movie I’d spent all week planning on to watch an episode of “The Glee Project”. I am prepared to accept my beating with a wet noodle with dignity.

    The youngest would have missed it anyway, he was so beat he fell asleep at 7:15 watching the “Blink” episode of Nu-Who. The kid is terrified of the classic series’ opening credits, but eats up all the scariest stuff Stephen Moffett can dream up.

    I really didn’t watch much of anything this weekend worth talking about. A similarly-minded girlfriend came for dinner Friday night and we watched a bunch of old industrial and educational films on Pub-D-Hub and that was about it. Hubs felt like crap and decided that the only thing painless enough to sustain him was a non-stop “Parking Wars” marathon. I had enough reality TV this weekend to cost me at least 12 IQ points.

  • Toby Clark

    My highlights: Watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. As expected, I was disappointed in it as a coherent adaptation of the source, but was for the most part blown away by the performances and the visuals. A couple of the changes were facepalm-inducing (still not to Goblet of Fire levels) but I have to admit the Elder Wand subplot worked better here than the book’s version.

    Watching Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act. Excellent as always and genuinely shocking. I can’t say I’m optimistic about the upcoming American version.

    Discovering a relatively new anime series called Omamari Himari. Another one of those Unwanted Haren/Shonen mashups. Not exactly Ranma 1/2 but it’s funny and it delivers on the fan service. Shame it didn’t last, but I know where to find the manga.

  • Reed

    Interesting rankings on the Potter movies. I personally enjoyed Sorcerer’s Stone waaaay better than Chamber of Secrets. Watching it now to contrast with the new films it is really amazing how far Daniel Radcliffe has come with his acting. All 3 of the leads have come a long way, but Radcliffe is the only one who really seems to be attempting to continue a career as an actor. He’s on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying if I remember my yahoo celebrity blurbs. I know Watson is going to college in the states now. No idea what Grint is doing with his life. I did see the guy who plays Draco Malfoy is in the upcoming Planet of the Apes prequel, so good for him. Still playing a twit, though. I hope the poor guy isn’t type cast for life.

    I think it is fascinating the effect that the films had on JK Rowling’s writing. Her writing definitely became much more cinematic after working around the movies. When I read the bit of Deathly Hallows where the Order takes Harry out of the Dursely home I thought, “Yep, this will be the opening of the movie with basically no changes.”

    I didn’t watch any movies this weekend. Worked on my guitar, went dancing, played cards with some friends. It was a relaxing weekend, but somehow I never got around to watching a movie. Weird.

    Going to see Captain American tonight!

  • JazzyJ

    TOTALLY off topic, but I ran across a photo that should almost be a totem for this site. I will post a permanent link later, but it is the National Geographic Picture of the Day for July 27. Enjoy!

  • JazzyJ
  • Reed

    I also posted this on the last Captain America entry, but here are my thoughts on the new movie:

    Went to see Captain America last night, and I loved it. It provided everything that I could ask for in a Captain America movie, with two exceptions that I’ll get to later. I think that they blended the golden, silver, and modern age stories very well. No spoilers, but there is a cameo at the World’s Fair that made me smile.

    This is one time that I don’t object to spending so much time on his origin, as they use it to establish the character of Steve Rogers as much as they do how Captain America got his abilities. I can not express how much I love that Cap is still presented as being a nice guy who fights for what he believes in, and not a masked psycho who happens to be preying on bad guys instead of the general public.

    Honestly, I would rather see sequels with his adventures in World War II then movies set in modern times. I fully expect that any sequel will be taken from the Winter Soldier story-line.

    My main complaint: no training montage. Yes, he is a total physical bad ass, but would it have killed them to have someone showing him a few boxing and judo moves? As presented his only fight training is that he has been beaten up a lot because he refuses to run from bullies. A much lesser complaint is that I really miss having Nick Fury lead the Howling Commandos. I understand that as we get further and further away from WWII it would be harder to pull that off, but still…

    Say, did they ever call the Howling Commandos the Howling Commandoes in the movie? I don’t think that they did. I don’t remember them using the term “super soldier serum” either.