“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for August, 2004

Deadbeat at Dawn

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

What this is is a no-budget first timer trying to prove himself 16mm type movie. A film student named Jim Van Bebber stars in it and directed it, using his film school buddies as actors, spending many years and sweating alot of blood to make his movie and prove himself. He finally finished it in 1988, but it feels more like early ’80s or at times even late ’70s. I think he was definitely trying to make a movie like EVIL DEAD or TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE or something but one thing that makes it unique, he made an action movie instead of a horror movie. But he still put in a whole lot of bleeding and stabbing and screaming and dying, etc.

Now, there are alot of reasons not to like this movie. There is alot of bad acting and dialogue, awkward and amateurish shots, self conscious attempts at shocking the audience. Worse than that, it is a movie about gangs with names like The Spyders and The Ravens. And the characters have names like Goose and Bonecrusher (actually I thought they were saying Bumcrusher, but I’ll take IMDB’s word for it). We’re talking about those movie type of gangs where they are a bunch of long haired heavy metal dudes who don’t look tough at all but they figure if they wear a headband and a driving glove, and supposedly do alot of drugs, then that will make them hardcore. There are lots of bad getting high scenes and drinking beer scenes and evil cackling and threatening gum chewing. And every once in a while they remember that they want it to be THE WARRIORS or CLOCKWORK ORANGE so suddenly the guys will be wearing Halloween masks or codpieces or something. And there is always graffiti in the background that says things like “THE CITY IS SHIT.” (social commentary) (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Circle of Iron

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

What if I were to tell you that there was a movie based on a story by Bruce Lee (sort of based on his zen philosophy), starring David Carradine (in multiple roles) but also featuring Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall and Eli Wallach? And maybe I would also say it takes place in a fantasy world and Carradine plays a flute that he also uses for a weapon, and let’s say that my man James Coburn – well, he’s not in it as an actor, but being a student of Bruce Lee maybe he helped write the story. And then the screenplay was written by Sterling Silophant who wrote THE TOWERING INFERNO and crap like that. But then the director was some guy named Richard Moore who only directed that one movie. But he was cinematographer for THE STONE KILLER with Charles Bronson. But also ANNIE.

Well let’s take the gloves off, you can forget about “what if” and come down to the world of reality because I’m about to tell you that I just saw EXACTLY THAT movie described above. (see above.) CIRCLE OF IRON starts out with a corny statement about Bruce Lee before going into a MORTAL KOMBAT type competition where half naked white dudes with mustaches do karate against each other as some type of a test. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Republican National Convention, plus a special bonus column

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Well the republicans are in New York now, trying their best to spin half a million protesters outside (and that number is confirmed by a police source, according to the New York Times) into a small, friendly disagreement among intellectuals. Liberals are supposedly apathetic, but here we have the largest protest in the history of political conventions. No big whoop. Rudy Gulianni is trying to say it only proves that Bush is a good leader, because he sticks by his obviously bad decisions even after the public turns against them.

(And even when the public, and the world, was against it before he ever did it. Rudy didn’t mention that part but if you remember what happened in the real world then I guess it’s implied.)

I gotta be honest, I haven’t watched too much footage of this convention with the sound on, because I was planning to eat today. But I’ve seen a few interesting things. #1, they got this whole fake republican news channel thing. I was watching on C-SPAN and suddenly it turned into the fake news. They showed a long republican infomercial on the screen there in Madison Square Garden, so they had to show it on C-SPAN too, and it took them a minute to figure out to put “RNC Video” on the bottom of the screen. (That’s okay, people aren’t that dumb.) (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Raising Cain

Wednesday, August 25th, 2004

Like the character John Lithgow plays, this movie is fucking nuts. From the very beginning, you don’t know where RAISING CAIN is going, or why, or how. Maybe it’s headed in a straight path, maybe it’s about to spin out on the side of the road, toss you out the window and back over you a couple times, then take off laughing. Or maybe it will go right to your house and drop you off just like you asked, but later you’ll think you hear it jerking off outside your window. You’ll take a deep breathe and you’ll toss open the curtains but it will turn out RAISING CAIN is not there, instead there’s some guy you’ve never seen before riding a unicycle, sporting a beard made of bees. Anything could happen. You don’t really know.

Earlier in his career, Brian DePalma did a lot of “Hitchcockian thrillers.” Yeah there were surprises and plot twists, and little tricks that he played on you, trying to get you to attach your sympathy to one character only to later find yourself lost and not knowing which one to follow. But it must not have been until RAISING CAIN that he decided to take that into overdrive. Take all the techniques and structures of your standard formulas, chop them all up and tape them back together William S. Burroughs style. Now there is no rhyme or reason to it and you get all confused and surprised and god damn if this isn’t a great movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Zatoichi

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

I’ve seen a couple of the old Zatoichi movies and I liked them, but I was excited for this one not because it was a Zatoichi film, but because it was a TAKESHI KITANO film. The great badass laureate does his usual writing/directing/editing deal while playing the blind masseuse with the deadly cane sword.

So I don’t know why but for some reason it threw me off that this really was more of a Kitano movie than what you expect when you see a Zatoichi movie. It’s like, what if Jim Jarmusch made a Zorro movie? It’s kind of weird. The character is very similar to how Shintaro played him, with a little more of the Beat Takeshi humor and for some reason with blond hair. But the feel of the movie itself is very Kitano. It wanders around like a dotted line in a Family Circus comic, gradually introducing a family of offbeat characters, without letting on too strong about which ones the movie is about. It has the usual Kitano sense of humanity, introducing a couple of dumb (one arguably retarded) characters and one crossdresser, without a trace of being judgmental. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Ong-Bak

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

(aka MUAY THAI WARRIOR)

You see, there’s this small town in Thailand somewhere (possibly called Ong-Bak, unless that is only the name of the buddha statue there, but the subtitles led me to believe it was the name of both). Anyway, there’s a young man there named Ting (played by Tony Jaa) who is working hard to prove himself as a master of Muay Thai Kickboxing, or Thai Fist. That’s quite enough bullshit for a young man to have on his mind but then some other asshole has to sneak in and cut off the head of their buddha statue so he can sell it. All the old ladies start crying that the town is not protected anymore so before you know it this little old country boy is headed for big bad Bangkok to get the shit back. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

I, Robot

Friday, August 13th, 2004

Actually, not bad.

This is the story of a world not too far off where everything is similar to now except that Converse All Stars are rare and robots are common. Instead of the other way around. These robots are used to walk dogs, clean the house, chop the vegetables, etc. Everybody loves them, the same way assholes today love their cell phones and their iPods. And they got these new ones coming out pretty soon, the US Robotics corporation is making a big deal about it. These ones talk more like humans and have cute little rubber noses and they are see-through like my iMac. When they talk you can see little dealies moving around inside their heads. Good job on that detail, computer animators. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Miami Blues

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of this one. It’s a weird crime movie starring Fred Ward as a cop with fake teeth, Alec Baldwin as a crook who steals his teeth, and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Baldwin’s dumb hooker turned naive fiancee.

From the cover you’d assume this is just some boring cop movie, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s something completely unique. Or don’t take my word for it. Let me explain to you a little bit about the plot, and see if that waxes your mustache.

See, Alec Baldwin (back when he was young and skinny, and made the gals swoon) gets off a plane in Miami, steals somebody’s luggage, and heads for the exit. At the bottom of an escalator he is approached by a hare krishna, who asks him what his name is. He says, “Trouble,” breaks the guy’s finger, and leaves. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Vern howls at GINGER SNAPS: THE BEGINNING like a horny, rabid dog!!!

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004

SPOILER ALERT !!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with one of the most entertaining reviews you’ve likely read in the last few weeks. Vern-o is one of a kind… God’s own prototype. Anyway, he gives a good look at what to expect from the Third and last (maybe?) GINGER SNAPS flick… I personally didn’t care too much for GINGER SNAPS BACK, but I love the first film. I like what I’ve seen of THE BEGINNING, so I’m very optimistic… but you don’t care what I have to say! This is Vern’s show and if I don’t hand over the floor I’m likely to wake up with a strangled ant-eater in my bed. You don’t want to get on Vern’s bad side… I learned that years ago… So, here he is!

Boys –

How’s it goin. Hope those of you who went had fun at your comic book convention. Who did the delegates end up nominating anyway? Was it batman? I tell you with these volatile times, I thought it was gonna be the ’68 Comic Con all over again, guys dressed up as stormtroopers running through the streets beating up Xena and Catwoman with plastic swords, rolling robots, setting dragons on fire. But it sounds like it was peaceful. I didn’t read any of that crap you guys wrote about it but I bet it was good. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Hunter

Sunday, August 1st, 2004

What could be more badass than Steve Mc-Fucking-Queen in the true life story of a world famous bounty hunter?

Well, it turns out alot of things could, but that’s not a complaint. Maybe it wasn’t the gritty action thriller I pictured when I saw the cover, but I still really enjoyed this goofy movie. It starts out real promising with a bounty hunter named “Papa” Thorsen (Steve) driving a big ass boat of a car into a neighborhood, having a hell of a time parallel parking it, right in front of a crowd of people. Bumping a Cadillac right in front of the owner. Then he goes inside a bar and picks up young Levar Burton, who is wanted for some petty crime. He brings the kid in, gives him some tips for dealing with the judge, and goes home. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.