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

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for July, 2006

Firestorm

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

This is a pretty enjoyable, totally forgettable action movie directed by Dean Semler, a cinematographer who also directed Steven Seagal’s historic first DTV picture THE PATRIOT. The star is Howie Long, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, currently of the Radio Shack commercials. After a supporting role in BROKEN ARROW they tried to give him the football-star-to-action-star transition like they did to Brian Bosworth. The Boz never caught on big, but he was able to continue starring in DTV movies for several years after STONE COLD. Things didn’t work out that way for Howie, and this is his only starring role. I was gonna say he was more comparable to Lyle Alzado, but I just looked up Lyle and he’s starred in more than I realized. So I don’t know who he’s comparable to.

Anyway, Howie’s movie career was not a success, that is if you define success as “the ability to make enough money that they can keep making action movies starring this particular football player.” That never happened, but as far as I’m concerned he is successful in this movie. He’s square but likable and I guess it’s just nice to see a capable hero you haven’t seen a million times before. (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.

Wassup Rockers

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

I enjoy a good pervy Larry Clark movie, but I don’t know many people who do. But never fear. I am here to tell you that this is his most accessible because it’s a whole movie based around how likable the characters are instead of how despicable they are. You actually root for these guys. It’s incredible.

I’m not gonna lie to you. You still gotta get past the fact that Larry Clark is a creepy, dirty pervert. This movie opens with a video interview of one of its young stars that has the vibe of that infamous Calvin Klein kiddie porn commercial (in other words, this is a film by Larry Clark). The interview itself is great because the kid, Jonathan, is a non-actor talking about his life and some of the things he talks about we end up seeing re-enacted in the movie later. But you might be a little uncomfortable with the fact that he’s sitting on a bed with no shirt on talking to Larry Clark. Not the most savory individual to be hanging out in a kid’s bedroom. (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.

Lady in the Water

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN’S LADY IN THE WATER
a bedtime story by M. Night Shyamalan
directed by M. Night Shyamalan
produced by M. N. Shyamalan
written by M. Night Shyamalan
co-starring M. Night Shyamalan
inspired by the true adventures of M. Night Shyamalan
dedicated to M. Night

The movie I really wanted to watch this week was WASSUP ROCKERS, but for some reason it went straight to the second run theater in Seattle. That theater’s a little out of the way for me and today I just wanted somewhere nearby with some air conditioning, so instead of seeing Larry Clark ogle Hispanic skateboarders from Compton I got to see M. Night Shyamalan ogling Ron Howard’s daughter. I’m not sure which one’s freakier. (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.

Torque

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

and the rise of the American Furious Movement

TORQUE is the most spectacularly ridiculous movie I’ve seen in a while, making even 2 FAST, 2 FURIOUS seem pretty reasonable and down to earth. The movie opens with a shot of a tortoise standing between two street race cars at a starting line. The cars take off down a dusty road at impossible speeds. Suddenly, reflected in one car’s rear-view mirror, is some dude on a motorcycle. He has a hard time passing the cars but once he does he does a big wheelie and leaves them in the dust. A street sign spins uncontrollably in the wake of the motorcycle creating the illusion that it says “CARS SUCK.” And from there we cut to the opening credits.

You hear that, FAST AND THE FURIOUS? The gauntlet has been thrown down. Cars suck, motorcycles rule. Or own. Or whatever it’s called now. In case FAST AND THE FURIOUS came into the movie late though, because it was out in the lobby text messaging somebody, there is a part later on where the hero says, “I live life a quarter mile at a time,” and his girlfriend says, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” These movies may start some kind of deadly motorcycles vs. cars feud, but they’re both from the same producer, Neal H. Moritz. (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.

Action Jackson

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Every once in a while I’ll get in a gentlemanly argument with a motherfucker about whether Michael Bay single-handedly ruined the future of action cinema forever, or whether he’s just an asshole. And invariably a Bay-defender will claim that although his movies are not fun to watch and you don’t know what’s going on while you watch them, Michael Bay “blows things up real good.” I think the idea is supposed to be that Regular Folk like to watch a big fiery explosion with no brains involved and if you got a problem with that you must be some kind of snob.

Well I am not a snob and I think you guys know that. The problem is that in my opinion he DOES NOT blow things up good. He blows things up and then by the camera placement and quick cuts forces us to wonder whether we are in fact watching an explosion or a closeup of Billy Bob Thornton’s shoe or perhaps the reflection off a bead of sweat dripping down Josh Hartnett’s adam’s apple. (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 Punisher (1989)

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Two years ago, I saw and accidentally enjoyed the 2004 movie THE PUNISHER starring Thomas Jane. It was another attempt at a movie version of some Marvel Comics Book which had once been made by none other than Dolph Lundgren. After I saw that movie, I wrote a review (see below), then I looked into the eyes of the universe and I made a solemn vow that one day maybe I would see the Dolph Lundgren version, who knows.

Well today I saw Dolph’s version and I’m here to report that it’s okay. I liked Thomas’s version the best but this one definitely has its moments. Like the 2004 one, this is definitely more in the action movie/vigilante style than some kind of Batman or Superman deal. The main comic book element is that Punisher lives in the sewers and has tunnels to bring him everywhere. Also he has a wacky sidekick who is some kind of homeless guy who always claims to be a theater actor, and who always rhymes. (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.

Underworld Evolution

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

This is part 2 of the Underworld saga and unfortunately I’m less sold on this Len Wiseman individual after part 2. I gotta admit, I had hopes for this one. From the trailers it looked more exciting than the first one. I thought maybe after a little practice and with a bigger budget this guy was gonna make a movie that was more fun. Now I’m not gonna say that Len Wiseman has destroyed my faith in the human spirit and man’s knack for overcoming obstacles with innovation and hardwork, but the guy was definitely trying to. We, as a people, can do better than this.

This is one of those rare part 2s where if you haven’t seen the first one, you will have no clue what in fuck’s name is going on. Also, if you have seen the first one, even if you have seen it recently, and if you are me, you also will have no clue what in fuck’s name is going on. The movie starts with a long flashback to 1602 or something, where you find out all this new information about how there were two twin brothers who were the first vampire and first werewolf and the werewolves were attacking villages so the vampires were trying to kill the first werewolf and then they caught him and his brother didn’t want to kill him on account of them being brothers but the vampires were assholes and got mad so they locked the werewolf brother away forever. (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.

2 Fast 2 Furious

Friday, July 7th, 2006

I recently saw and enjoyed THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS PRESENTS TOKYO DRIFT, part 3 in the FAST AND THE FURIOUS saga. And it reminded me that it was time I got around to seeing part 2. This one is closer to a straightup sequel. They couldn’t get Vin Diesel to return so instead they just follow Paul Walker’s character.

I know that probaly all of you have seen that first movie over a thousand times and have it memorized backwards, forwards and sideways, but in case there is one person out there who may not be familiar with the story, I want to help that one person out. In the first movie, Paul Walker is a new street racer in town who befriends Vin Diesel, who is the charismatic leader of a team of racers, but is also leading a gang of armed robbers or a chop shop or arms dealers or kidnappers or something. And a ways into the movie you find out that Paul is actually an undercover cop trying to bust Vin. But throughout the movie they have a special sort of male bonding – the type that happens between an undercover cop and his mark, or between two dudes obsessed with cars – so at the end Paul purposely lets Vin escape. (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 Street Fighter

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

This is Sonny Chiba’s most famous movie, the one that made him an international star, and the one that Christian-Slater-as-Tarantino-stand-in went on about in TRUE ROMANCE. And as a vehicle to show how awesome Sonny Chiba is, it’s great. As a movie though I would argue that it’s not necessarily his best.

Maybe it wasn’t the greatest idea in the world to re-watch it right after enjoying the KARATE BULL FIGHTER trilogy. This one has alot of the same elements. Fights in dojos, dirty fighting on the streets, war time flashbacks, the tragic death of a goofy sidekick. But I don’t think the story is quite as good. It starts out very promising with Sonny’s character Terry Tsugura going into a prison disguised as a priest to bust a guy out. I mean, you know that’s gonna get good. But after that it’s pretty meandering and confusing for a while as he discusses things with various factions and people try to hire him and what not. (I should point out that I haven’t found it in a subtitled version, only dubbed, and that probaly doesn’t help.) (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.

Cockfighter

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

Well when you want a good sports movie you go to Monte Hellman, the fellow who also did the great racing movie Two Lane Black Top and Silent Night, Deadly Night 3. Now I know some of you from the title, you’re gonna say, “Oh, Vern’s reviewing a gay porno” but no, it’s about chickens.

I don’t know if you are familiar with cockfighting, cock is a term for rooster and what they do, they put two roosters in a circle and have them fight each other. Sometimes they put little metal hooks on their legs to make them more deadly. You know, it is basically like the dog fights we have up here but this is what they do in the south, because chickens are more readily available I guess. (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.