Monday, May 30, 2011

Bonus CineFiles: Old school plagues, new wave comedy and Thor done right!

Posted By on Mon, May 30, 2011 at 12:42 AM

Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here on the IndyBlog.

Black Death (Rated R)
Magnolia Home Entertainment

As my Twitter filled with amateur pundits making one lame joke after another about the failed Rapture, I thought about how awesome it would be if that same humor had been around in the Middle Ages. The countryside would've been filled with the corpses of heretics who dared to blaspheme the word of God, with bands of holy warriors going from town to town to dole out His violent justice. It would have at least made my twitter feed a bit more bearable. Black Death was a welcome balm for my disappointment, featuring grungy knights (led by a gritty Sean Bean) slaying non-believers in an effort to find a reason for the plague. On orders from the Church, they end up in a town that has not been hit yet, mostly because they have eschewed all forms of Christianity in favor of paganism and necromancy. Shades of The Wicker Man abound, with the knights finding various brutal ends due to their unwavering faith.

Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Season Cinco (Not Rated)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Adult Swim is a stoner’s entertainment paradise. Every show is about 15 minutes long and laced with pure avant-garde humor that you don’t need drugs to get, but, damn, does it help. The best of the lot has been Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s Awesome Show, Great Job!, without a doubt the greatest mindfuck mainstream American television has ever produced. The final "cinco" season continues this admirable, unrelenting trend, with the duo pushing the boundaries of good taste with skits featuring diarrhea plugs, pubic hair milkshakes and lactating man-breasts, with a plethora of guest stars ranging from Patrick Duffy and Peter Cetera to Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell. And let’s not forget John C. Reilly as the indomitable Channel 5 health reporter, Dr. Steve Brule. All ten episodes are featured, as well as hilarious deleted and extended scenes. It’s definitely not for everyone, but in its attempt for reaching the lowest common denominator, it ironically manages to be the smartest comedy show on television. Season cinco is a perfect send-off.

Almighty Thor (Not Rated)
The Asylum Home Entertainment

I loved Marvel Comics’ latest adaptation, Thor. It was great to finally see the long-running character on the silver screen in a big-budget event. That being said, I think I might like The Asylum’s latest “mock-buster” Almighty Thor a little bit more. Filmed on the cheap and premiering on SyFy, this version of the Norse myths features Richard Grieco as Loki and, even better, former wrestler Kevin Nash as Odin. Up yours, Sir Anthony Hopkins! The Thor depicted here is far from the muscle-bound hero we all know and love; instead he’s a whiny, petulant wannabe-warrior who is prone to crying jags. Lots of them. When Loki escapes from Hell and kills Odin, Thor must man up and find the “hammer of invincibility” in modern-day California, or at least the alleyways thereof. As CGI monsters attack, Thor grabs a Glock(!) and becomes the warrior we know and love. All on 1/100th the budget of the theatrical hit, but twice as fun!

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