I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Archive for April, 2005

xXx: State of the Union

Friday, April 29th, 2005

When Rob Cohen, the director of the original XXX first talked about a sequel, it was still gonna star Vin Diesel. And I read some interview where he said one of the ideas he had took place in Washington DC, and it would have a scene where Vin rode a mountain bike up the capital dome.

Well it’s a low down shame we didn’t get to see that but otherwise XXX2 (which ended up being made with Ice Cube instead of Diesel and Lee Tamahori instead of Cohen) is more fun than the first one in almost every way. I’m not saying it’s a good action movie or even a great bad movie, but as an honest individual who tells it like it is I gotta cop to enjoying the fuckin thing. (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.

Overnight

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

(or DUFFY: A PRICK AND HIS DREAM)

A few years back I used to always hear about this movie THE BOONDOCK SAINTS. Some kid told me his brother saw it in Boston and it was the shit, he was trying to find it on video but it wasn’t out yet. People kept mentioning it, and after it came out pretty much straight to video (it played in 5 theaters apparently) a couple people e-mailed me and recommended it.

I felt bad though because here these people are trying to be nice and recommend this movie they think I will like, and I hated the fuckin thing. Maybe there was one or two clever sequences, I can’t remember much, but my main impression was that it was another corny showoff movie with no heart or soul, just a bunch of unconvincing tough guy bullshit and show-offy camera moves. Looks like the general consensus was it was a Tarantino wannabe but I remember I was definitely leaning toward Guy Ritchie. More of that hollow and forced nonsense that wafted off the ass of LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS during its short window of popularity. (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.

Scarface

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Shit man, there’s no other movie like SCARFACE, is there? Even the original SCARFACE, I bet, is nothing like SCARFACE. We got several high quality American gangster epics, but they’re always about gangsters of the Italian American persuasion and usually in New York, New Jersey or Las Vegas or somewhere. This one feels so unique because it’s about Cuban-Americans and it takes place in Miami. It has a real strong sense of place. Its wicked heart pumps the tainted blood of that godforsaken Floridian peninsula, even though they got chased out of there and had to film most of the movie on neutral territory in L.A.

This is the perfect exaggerated painting of the 1980s and the cocaine wars. The good old days. And it even makes you root for this psychotic egomaniac shithead, Tony Montana (Al Pacino [Scarface]). ‘Cause first you see him as an immigrant getting hassled by the man, working as a dishwasher and tough talking his way into bigger work, dropping off some money for some cocaine. His higher ups (small time hoods themselves) don’t believe in him. But when the dealers pull a cross on Tony and his friends and it turns into an insane bloodbath (literally, come to think of it, because alot of the mayhem takes place in the shower), all involved must admit that he handles it with, uh, flair. He leaves with the money and the yayo (a term now popular because of the movie), tells the middlemen to fuck off and brings it all straight to the area boss, who is very impressed. This is typical of his quick rise up the totem pole. Initiative, elbow grease, bootstraps, etc. (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.

Vanishing Point

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Under the opening credits you got these beautiful shots of small town life. Some tractors moving around. Some people working. Interesting looking old dudes watching suspiciously out screen doors.

I figured it was just a regular day in farm country until the end of the sequence when the two huge bulldozers lowered their shovels right next to each other, making a giant, shallow v-shape right in the middle of the highway. A roadblock.

I guess that explains all these media people and cops showing up right in the middle of nowhere. The natives stand around and watch. This might be the end of a long journey, at the beginning of the 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.

Made in U.S.A.

Monday, April 18th, 2005

How’s this for a weird eight-legged-pig-fetus-in-a-jar of a movie: Jean-Luc Godard experimental noodling based on a Richard Stark novel! I knew it existed thanks to our friends at the Movie Database of the Internet, but I never figured I’d see it. Then I discovered a PAL CODE 2 triple feature Godard set that includes it along with PRENOM CARMEN (First Name: Carmen) and PIERROT LE FOU (Parrot Kung Fu I guess).

Now first of all I gotta admit upfront, I couldn’t make ass or tits of this picture. I didn’t get it. I know about that wave the french had over there. As in, I know they had it. I seen a couple of your Truffauts and I saw SEVEN DEADLY SINS once but that’s about it. So if you want to talk to somebody who knows what the fuck they’re talkin about when it comes to Monsieur Godard, I ain’t the one. Ask the cinemasters. There’s a couple good reviews of this on IMDb by people who know their Godards, so you can go to them for a perspective if that’s what you need. (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.

King of New York

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

In this movie Christopher Walken plays Frank White who is the King of New York. He is not literally a king but actually some sort of crime boss of New York. He’s fresh out of the joint and unlike certain heroic individuals who choose to turn their life around and follow a path of Positivity, making the world a better place through art and culture, he decides to be king of new york. But he says he’s gonna build a hospital so that makes it okay.

The director is Abel Ferrara, an asshole director who I sort of like. I mean I never met the guy obviously but he’s one of those greaseballs like Vincent Gallo where, before you even see an interview with the guy, you just get the feeling he’s an asshole. In his movie DRILLER KILLER I didn’t even realize he was the star (he used a pseudonym) and I kept thinking this star really thinks he’s hot shit, it’s not just the character. What a fuckin asshole. But then I listened to the commentary track and heard Ferrara say the same exact thing about himself. So I had to like him. (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.

VTILII potpourri

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

A few polite individuals out there told me they miss my political writings. It’s true, I’ve been avoiding these columns. The fact is, this country has gone so far into cuckoo clock land that it’s easier not to think about it or dwell on it too long. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do but it’s what I find myself having to do to avoid having a spontaneous culturally afflicted coronary. You gotta be careful, especially these days. I mean who knows what could happen. Let me just make it very very clear… if I end up brain dead in some hospital somewhere, pull the damn plug. If your toaster don’t work, you don’t leave it plugged in, man.

I mean I understand that that Terry Schiavo business was complicated. The husband wants one thing, the parents want another, that’s a tough one. And I haven’t heard them say this in so many words but I figure with the gays going around unsanctifying marriage left and right, the republicans had no choice but to ignore the husband’s point of view. It wasn’t sanctified enough to stick. In a 100% ungay, sanctitiously married world, the republicans would’ve definitely sided with the sanctity of the marriage, states rights, small government, don’t tread on me, etc. But all this fruitiness they saw on TV once makes them batty, they get confused and start having opinions that appear to us to be diametrically opposed to what they said was their opinion yesterday. (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 Machinist

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

Not sure if anybody else has noticed this, but this guy Christian Bale is a good actor in my opinion. AMERICAN PSYCHO would have to be up there with Eric Bana in CHOPPER as one of my favorite maniac performances of the last 2-7 years. (Now they’re playing Batman and the Incredible Hulk. They shoulda got the guy from DAHMER for Superman.) Mr. Bale was also pretty good in SHAFT 2K and REIGN OF FIRE, where I wouldn’t’ve even known it was the same guy if I didn’t know how to read and recognize names.

Well here in the machinist he gives another great performance but this time with a special nauseating gimmick: the guy lost a bunch of weight for the movie. He looks like a fuckin skeleton with a pair of pantyhose pulled over it. You know how DeNiro and Del Toro ate a bunch of donuts for RAGIN BULL and FEAR AND LOATHING and that was supposed to be so brave? Well Christian says FUCK THAT, eats nothin but grass and grapeskins for like three months or something, turns his muscles into fuckin corn husks. When I heard about it I figured he gets skinnier over the course of the movie, but no, he looks like this from the beginning. That’s the character. (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.

Striking Distance

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

In this one Bruce plays a cop from a long line of cops. Which of course means his uncle is played by Dennis Farina. You also got John Mahoney as his dad and Tom Sizemore and Robert Pastorelli as his knucklehead cousins. All cops. Sarah Jessica Parker is the love interest, also a cop but not related, so they can fuck in one part. The movie takes place in Pittsburgh and I guess they even got local people to work on the movie, because I recognized the editor’s name, Pasquale Buba, from watching DAWN OF THE DEAD a thousand times. The director also has a familiar name, Mr. Rowdy Herrington of ROADHOUSE fame.

Unfortunately the bad guy is a serial killer – always a bummer. Terrorists and robbers and CIA agents are a good time a the movies, but some asshole that gets a boner tying up women? Not really as fun, in my opinion. Anyway they keep getting real close to catching the fucker, even chase him in a good over-the-top car chase at the beginning. I mean there’s a pretty serious maneuver the killer pulls when completely surrounded. Excellent use of the extreme Y-turn.(The new rule is, always put the best action scene at the very beginning.) (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.

Fever Pitch

Monday, April 11th, 2005

Usually even if I see a movie like this I wouldn’t review it. Because you know, light-hearted romantic comedy is not my area of expertise. But if a movie critic is a bear then FEVER PITCH is a big pile of fish slathered in a barrel of honey, and I think you know why. Because it’s easy as shit to write baseball puns and metaphors. It’s fuckin tee-ball for the hack headline writers of the world. Sometimes they wonder how the fuck they gonna come up with a pun for a movie headline, but with a baseball movie you hit control-A for “strikes out,” control-B for “swings for the fences.”

Actually I don’t think either of those is true, FEVER PITCH is more like a double or a triple or maybe a real good double play. They never use defensive plays in metaphors but double plays are obviously important, also triple plays but those don’t happen enough to be a common phrase. I don’t think there is such a thing as a quadruple play but it would be cool though. Anyway this is a cute romantic comedy deal but what makes it worth mentioning is (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.