I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Archive for September, 2006

Jet Li’s Fearless

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

I don’t know if that title means “Jet Li’s” in the sense of BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA or as a less formal way of saying Jet Li is Fearless. Neither one makes complete sense because Jet Li is not the director (that would be the great Ronny Yu) and his character is not named Detective Jack Fearless, he is playing a guy named Huo Yuanjia who it turns out is a real life martial artist (1869-1910) who united the various factions of Chinese martial arts to form “wushu.” He’s the guy who is supposed to be the teacher of the fictional character Bruce Lee played in BRUCE LEE’S FIST OF FURY and the one Jet played in JET LI’S FIST OF LEGEND. This new movie is a very mythology-ized version of the guy’s life but does have many elements that are based on actual historical events. But they are honest enough not to say “BASED ON A TRUE STORY” in the ads, despite the continual lowering of the standards for what counts as a true story. (The latest chapter: the prequel to the crappy remake of a completely fictional movie that was vaguely inspired by what Ed Gein did to dead bodies now counts as a true story.) (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.

AVP: Alien vs. Predator

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Judging by this title, we are dealing with a story about 1 (one) Alien facing off against 1 (one) Predator. Maybe the Alien dripped acid blood on the Predator’s invisibility machine, so they start getting up in each other’s face or something. It is hard to predict what would cause them to fight, but it is easy to predict the outcome. The Alien wins because the Alien is hands down cooler than the Predator. Sorry Predators, just tellin it like it is. Of course, the title could also mean the actual movie ALIEN is facing off against the movie PREDATOR. In that case ALIEN will be defeating PREDATOR for tension, atmosphere, originality, and artistic legitimacy, while being roundly defeated in the oneliner and gun size departments.

But the title ALIEN VS. PREDATOR is misleading. It is actually MODERN DAY HUMANS + SOME CGI ALIENS AND TEENAGE PREDATORS. It turns out that the ancient Predators built a pyramid in what is now Antarctica and it’s still there under the ice. Once every 100 years exactly, a Predator ship comes down, sets loose some Alien eggs and has their Predator boys fight the Aliens as a rite of passage. Maybe they are from the south of Predator planet and this is their equivalent of deer hunting. Or Texas football. (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.

Black Christmas

Monday, September 25th, 2006

You probaly know director Bob Clark as the guy who did PORKY’S and A CHRISTMAS STORY. More recently he did the two BABY GENIUSES movies and something called KARATE DOG which, judging by the cover, is not a metaphorical title. But back in the day he was a pretty good director of horror movies. One of the ones he did was DEATHDREAM, a really eerie movie about a guy coming back undead from Vietnam and everybody is sort of in denial that he’s different. I liked that one a hell of alot better than HOMECOMING, Joe Dante’s sort of similar anti-war zombie thing from the Masters of Horror show.

But right after DEATHDREAM Clark did his most famous horror movie, BLACK CHRISTMAS, and it’s a pretty good one. (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’s Ultimate look at the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE Ultimate 2-disc DVD!!!

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here to intro Vern and his look at a DVD I’m certainly picking up for this Halloween season: the newly spiffed up TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE SE. Vern goes through all the reasons this is better than the previous editions and some area where it isn’t, then wraps up the whole shebang with a final verdit. Is it worthy or unworthy? See for yourself!!!

Well friends, we all agree that THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE is one of the greatest films in the history of American independent cinema, etc. etc.

[imagine 30,000 words here about why I love this movie. And believe me, I could do it.]

[Okay, maybe I’d have to pad it out by going off on a tangent about how underrated part 2 is, and why I hate the remake, and I’d have to spell “alot” as two words, but I could still make it to 30,000.] (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.

Wanna See Vern’s MAN-THING? Er, His Review, I Mean…

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

 Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

Wait… Brett Leonard made a bad film? THAT’S UN-POSSIBLE!!

Dear Harry-Thing,

I happened to see this movie MAN-THING and I figured it was my duty to notify you boys. The cover says it’s Marvel Comics and “from the producer of SPIDER-MAN, DAREDEVIL, X-MEN and BLADE.” Funny, no mention of ELEKTRA or DAREDEVIL. You remember that one, where Ben Affleck was the blind sadomasochistic biker version of Spiderman, and Colin Farrell kept trying to kill him by flicking peanuts and paperclips and shit at him? I was thinking maybe I dreamed that movie but my sources assure me that it was an actual, theatrically released movie starring popular Hollywood actors. (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.

Toolbox Murders (2003)

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

The original TOOLBOX MURDERS was made because of TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. You can’t really say it’s a ripoff, because the movies don’t have much in common. But on the DVD, the producer explains that he read in Variety or somewhere about the amount of money TEXAS CHAIN SAW had made so he rented a print of it and hired a screenwriter to watch the movie and make something like that.

So it’s weird that 24 years later poor Tobe Hooper, director of TEXAS CHAIN SAW, wound up doing a remake of TOOLBOX MURDERS. But just like before, his movie doesn’t have much connection with the movie that inspired it. There’s a guy in a ski mask killing people with tools in an apartment building, but everything else is different. (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.

When I Die

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

(The Gonzo Monument… A Documentary)

After the great Hunter S. Thompson died last year, we all heard about how Johnny Depp had put up the money to make good on Thompson’s wish to have his ashes fired out of a cannon from a giant statue of the two-thumbed gonzo fist. You may have seen him discussing this in an old BBC documentary, it showed him making the plans and sketching it up with Ralph Steadman. And last year it actually happened at a memorial service at his Woody Creek ranch.

The whole thing was pretty mysterious. There were some distant, blurry photos, but no press were allowed during the party. Some fans criticized it because it was attended by many celebrities, and because a whole bunch of police and security people kept the fans away. At least one thing I read complained because John Kerry was apparently there. They said Hunter would’ve hated it. (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.

Gridiron Gang

Friday, September 15th, 2006

GRIDIRON GANG is the latest in this year’s new wave of inspirational high concept true story football movies. This one is THE LONGEST YARD meets STAND AND DELIVER: Dwayne T.R. Johnson plays an officer at a juvenile detention center who decides to start a football team to instill self esteem, discipline and teamwork in young criminals. I didn’t see INVINCIBLE and McG’s WE ARE MARSHALL hasn’t come out yet, but I’m guessing this one is the most generic of the bunch. There’s almost no point in me describing the movie. Try this: close your eyes. Now read that premise I just described, and picture a movie about that. There it is, what you just pictured is exactly what the movie is.

Holy shit, how are you reading this with your eyes closed? I didn’t say you could open them. This is weird. Well, I’m not sure exactly what to say about these amazing powers of yours, so instead I will ignore them and just go ahead and review the movie. Even if you don’t close your eyes, if you make a list of everything you expect to happen in a movie like this, you’d probaly get to cross off everything on the list. (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.

Under Pressure

Friday, September 15th, 2006

UNDER PRESSURE is another one by director Craig Baxley, this time starring an actor I’ve never heard of before named Charles Sheen. This guy reminds me almost EXACTLY of the better known actor Charlie Sheen, but with the more formal name “Charles” obviously he must be more sophisticated and more serious about acting.

Mr. Sheen plays a fireman, and in the opening scene he saves a baby from a burning crack house. Nobody should go in there because all the vials of delicious crack ingredients are exploding, but for chrissakes there’s a BABY in there! So he goes in and he saves the baby. There is a pretty impressive amount of close up fire in this scene and you could tell the stuntman in Baxley was getting excited, figuring out how to get some good fire stunts in there. (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.

Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Friday, September 15th, 2006

50 Cent, aka Curtis “Mumbles” Jackson, is not a rapper. I mean technically you might think he was one because he’s released rap albums. Pretty popular, too – the one this movie’s named after went six times platinum. But in a profile in Forbes magazine he talked about his albums and all his other products (a record label with all his buddies on it, a line of clothes, a line of Reebok sneakers, a flavor of VitaminWater, a video game, a ghost-written autobiography) as a continuation of the drug dealing he did starting at the age of 11. Just another hustle, another product.

When I read about his deal with Apple to sponsor a line of low-cost computers aimed at the inner city, I wondered if maybe he was smarter than he was letting on in all his music and interviews. Had he used his fame to give back to the community, strategically getting Apple to help the poor catch up technologically with the rest of American society and build a better future? Maybe, but he never mentions anything like that in the article. It ends with the quote, “I never got into it for the music. I got into it for the business.” (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.