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

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for October, 2005

Scooter Libby Indictment

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

On Friday when the indictments fell down on Irve “Scooter” Libby Jr. for obstruction and perjury, the democrat line of the day was “it’s a sad day for America.” There has been a tremendous blow to the dignity of the White House, a stain not on a blue dress but on the presidency itself, etc.

I’m afraid I gotta disagree. It’s not a sad day. The sad day was when the leak happened in the first place. We all knew it happened and we all knew it happened in the context of much bigger crimes. Back then, we were happy to hear about an investigation, but did anybody believe it would lead to anything? Did anybody think it really meant anything when John Ashcroft, after noodling around for a little while, announced that he was recusing himself? Don’t you remember all the stories we read about how this was gonna be a whitewash, like so many other investigations? Did you ever believe that somebody as high up as Scooter Libby would even be criticized in the media, let alone indicted? (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.

Candyman

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

This movie surprised me. Everything about it is classier than I expected. From his reputation you’d think this Candyman guy is just a B-list Jason or Freddy type. But it turns out he’s more a classic movie monster like Dracula or the Phantom of the Opera. And his movie has more subtext than all of Freddy and Jason’s pictures put together, including JASON X. Hell, throw in a couple Child’s Plays too. And one or two Halloweens. And one Silent Night Deadly Night. No Texas Chainsaws though, that would tip the scale.

You know why we have to deal with Jason? Because of some horny counselors not doing their job. Freddy, because of some overzealous parents who took the law into their own hands. Dr. Phibes because some doctors fucked up a heart operation. But we got Candyman because of a bigger reason: America’s history of racist oppression. This is the only slasher/ghost movie I know of that deals with the legacy of slavery and racism (only BLACULA comes close). (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.

Infested: The Invasion of the Killer Bugs

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Well as you know I am always searching for straight to video movies that don’t suck. And even I sometimes forget why that is my mission, so let me put it down in writing here as a reminder. See, in the old days you had b-movies, you had exploitation movies, etc. And the idea of these movies was low budget, lowbrow, easy investment quickie moneymaker. Like squeezing out sausages. And there was alot of disposable garbage made, because that was the whole point. But within that world there were people like Roger Corman, William Castle, Jack Hill etc. who sometimes made movies that transcended just being a product, movies that some people still watch and hold dear today. Lots of directors like John Sayles, John Demme and maybe one or two other guys got their start working on cheapo Roger Corman movies about women in prison or giant alligators. Also unfortunately Ron Howard but that doesn’t count. And people like George Romero and Sam Raimi started with low budget independent movies made for the drive-ins, movies that nobody would expect to still be considered great all these years later. (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.

Capote

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

In the type of acting tour de la force that everybody loves unless they’re some kind of a dick, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Truman Capote, the famous writer and weirdo. Although the use of only his last name as the movie’s title seems to imply that it will tell the entire story of his life and maybe even the entire story of the life of everybody with the last name Capote, this is actually not a full on biography. The story is narrowed down to the 4 or 5 years when he was working on his famous book IN COLD BLOOD, starring Robert Blake.

The movie starts out with a young girl discovering the dead bodies of a family murdered in a farmhouse. And before you know it Capote and his research assistant Harper Lee (author of the book TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, starring Gregory Peck) are nosing around asking everybody questions. So at first I thought this was gonna be kind of a LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN thing with famous authors going around solving crimes. I bet the Marquis De Sade did these murders. Or Edgar Alan Poe. (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 Claims Zorro Fight Californian Neocon Christian Terrorists in LEGEND OF ZORRO and he digs it!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey folks, Harry here… A couple of days ago, crazy Massawyrm began yapping about how much he liked LEGEND OF ZORRO and I pretty much wrote the film off, cuz… well Massa is a bit goofy in the head. He’s rooting for John McCain to be President in 2008 – so he’s not always to be trusted. But then I get this review from man-god Vern that says Zorro is essentially fighting Californian Neocon Christian Terrorist (C.N.C.T for short) and well, that’s the kind of goofy ass fantasy that I might be able to sign up for. Here ya go…

Legend of Zorro is an old fashioned cornball type of movie, just like the first one. It’s all about sword fights and horse chases and the need for California statehood. You got your swashbuckling, your derring-do, your flips, etc. Zorro is the type of guy who will add a flip into any plan whether it’s needed or not. In the opening scene he is chasing an ugly bad guy with wooden teeth, and at one point he does a flip that is actually counter-productive, it causes him to lag behind. But he still catches up. He’s fuckin Zorro, man, what did you think was gonna happen? (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.

Good Night and Good Luck

Monday, October 24th, 2005

For those of you out there who enjoy smart, politically relevant, historically based black and white newsroom dramas directed by charming movie stars who used to be on Roseanne, today’s your lucky day motherfucker. Mr. George Clooney is about to climb down your chimney.

GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK is the short and simple story of Edward R. Murrow getting disgusted with Senator McCarthy’s hearings and deciding to use his show to expose them. Some guy called David Straitharn is great playing Murrow, expressing pretty much everything through either facial expressions or the comments he makes on the air. The story is confined almost entirely to the newroom and the bar. It’s not a biography. The only home life is a subplot about a couple who have to hide the fact that they’re married because its not allowed in the workplace. (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.

Today You Die

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

It goes without saying that TODAY YOU DIE is Steven Seagal’s greatest movie title since at least OUT FOR A KILL. So I won’t bother to say it. Isn’t it awesome though? The movie itself is worth the time of any Seagalogist, but at least on my first viewing here it’s not one of the more crucial ones. It’s more competent than most straight to video movies (especially Seagal’s, lately) but not legitimately great. So, without anything really special or truly ludicrous, it ends up kind of forgettable. But it has its moments.

SUBMERGED flirted with being Seagal’s first monster movie (they cut out the CGI mutants before finishing the movie) and this one threatens to be a rare supernatural storyline. I won’t say his first because he did have some voodoo and shaolin magic in BELLY OF THE BEAST. There were also voodoo curses used by the villains in MARKED FOR DEATH, but it came off more like some cold mafia threat type shit than actual working magic. Anyway the opening scene here is a tarot card reading. I expected the card reader to say “Today you die,” but no dice. In fact, she had a surprisingly honest explanation of the DEATH card, which she said can mean different things. You gotta admire a straight shooting tarot card reader. (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.

Domino

Monday, October 17th, 2005

I probaly never woulda known this if there wasn’t a movie, but it turns out Laurence Harvey, who is a guy in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (but not Frank Sinatra), had a daughter named Domino. But wait, there’s more. This daughter supposedly tried to follow in the footsteps of her super model mother, but then got bored and became a bounty hunter. Rich girl model becomes bounty hunter – sounds like a good story, and apparently director Tony Scott was friends with Domino and spent 12 years trying to bring “her story” to the screen. Tragically, she died of a drug overdose last summer having only seen parts of the unfinished movie. I just watched the whole god damn thing so believe me, I can relate. (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.

Ringers: Lord of the Fans

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

This review is for anybody out there who is a poor sucker, like me. If you are a poor sucker you might foolishly assume that this documentary about LORD OF THE RINGS fans is called RINGERS because it is like the movie TREKKIES. A horrifying look into the abyss. You stare at that fucker and it stares right back at you, or whatever. A freak show. A good time at the movies. A cultural document that gives you the fuckin creeps even thinking about it years later.

But you remember how TREKKIES seemed like it was trying to be respectful and non-exploitative of the fans, but the people they found were just so fuckin over the top that it didn’t work? You know, like halfway through the interview with the guy dressed as a woman that he says is the never shown on screen wife of a minor astrounaut character for one episode, they figured “Ah, fuck it, we can’t make a respectful documentary about these lunatics. Let the freak show begin.” Well this is not like that. This is more like a rejected VH-1 special. (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.

Serenity

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

It’s all Laremy [name removed to protect the innocent*]’s fault. I know, sounds like a made up name, but this is apparently a real guy, a fellow Seattle movie reviewer who emails me all the time. As you know I am one of them lone wolfs they got, so I don’t want any part of no critical community or nothin. So I’ve made kind of a sport of dodging this guy’s kind offers to go to critic’s screenings with him. He sees alot of the same movies I do, but weeks early and for free. So I really oughta go but I told him look bud, I like to see the movies with my man Joe Public. (Joe Public actually is a made up name, it is symbolic of regular individuals such as you or I and not critics. Just to be clear. I think you knew that though sorry)

Anyway, Laremy gives me a heads up on alot of these, and he has a pretty good track record. He told me about 40 Year Old Virgin, he warned me that Lord of War was not as good as hoped, and a couple other ones. So I took him seriously when he said “SERENITY will be HUGE. Nice flick, nice laughs, nice action, well done all the way around. Summer Glau is highly doable as well.” When I asked him if that was that one space ship movie he got a little more thoughtful and warned not to get too excited because “it’s better with no expectations, like peyote.” (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.