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

Archive for December, 2006

Children of Men

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

There was a time a couple years ago when it seemed like every day the headlines were just trying to out-crazy the day before. Planes falling out of the sky, anthrax in the mail, snipers on the loose, hurricanes, that lady releasing doves for each charge Michael Jackson was acquitted of… you wouldn’t have been surprised to get the morning paper and read that killer bees had swarmed Congress, rabid baboons were loose on the Space Shuttle and the Olsen twins had torched themselves outside of the “Today Show” window to protest censorship of rap music and video games. There are no baboons in CHILDREN OF MEN (there is a deer walking through a building, come to think of it) but this is a movie that perfectly captures that knot in your stomach, that feeling of madness, where the world has gone so crazy you keep bouncing between complete desensitized detachment and wanting to cry at the slightest provocation.

Technically this is a sci-fi movie, but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels so fuckin real. Most dystopia movies are stylized in some way to make them look cool. This one goes for reality. The only futuristic technology you see is for mundane things like video games and animated bus ads. It looks great (like all of director Alfonso Cuaron’s movies) but not like a beautiful painting, more like a good documentary, and mostly shot handheld. There are 4 or 5 classic sequences here that I have no idea how they could’ve possibly been done. Like, there’s a scene where Clive Owen, the hero, runs through a war zone surrounded by total fuckin mayhem. In what appears to be one continuous handheld shot he runs between buildings, up stairs, through hallways evading hundreds of gunshots, seeing tanks blow up buildings, having emotional moments with other characters. And not a moment of it looked artificial to me. The only thing in the whole movie that struck me as a special effect was, of all things, a baby. And that was a good special effect. But the rest looked like reality. (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.

2006 End of Year Spectacular

Friday, December 29th, 2006

First, a little about James Brown dying on Christmas.

God damn, JB. That one took me by surprise. I gotta figure he’s one of the great geniuses of our time. Nobody could ever deny him as a performer, a singer, a dancer, a songwriter. But to me it’s the music that gets me high – all those tight as hell, stop-in-the-exact-center-of-a-dime bands he had over the years. One time in 1969, James had a sold out show in Georgia, but most of his band quit. So Bobby Byrd took a Lear jet to Cincinatti, picked up a young band he’d seen called the Pacemakers from an empty bar gig they were getting paid $15 for. They flew directly to Georgia, came out onto stage with their hero who they’d never met, and still were the baddest band ever. That’s how 17 year old Bootsy Collins got in James Brown’s band.

Giving James credit as the producer of all that music, obviously you gotta keep in mind he’s not playing those instruments (although I saw him do a smokin organ solo one time) and he’s got hundreds of amazing musicians playing with him over the years that need to share that credit. But if it didn’t take genius to put all those people together and make that type of funk then how come nobody else did it? And if you ask me nobody to this day has matched the JBs. You wanna be blown away, pick up Pass the Peas: The Best of the JBs. I have had it in my head for years that if Skander Halim ever makes that Vern Tells It Like It Is movie the opening credits have to use “Hot Pants Road,” because I want that to be my theme music. I guess you can’t go wrong having theme music from the same people who did Black Caesar and Slaughter’s Big Ripoff. (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 Reviews FREE LISL: FEAR AND LOATHING IN DENVER, A New Wayne Ewing/Hunter Thompson Documentary!!

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

I’m not sure how I missed this in the e-mail box, but I did, and in a way I’m glad I did, because it now has a great Vern opening.

You know I love you, bud. As always, Vern’s got something to say and I strongly urge you to pay attention:

Howdy boys,

I sent you guys this review several days ago and you never ran it, so I added this new paragraph to get your attention. Rocky Rocky Rocky, dragons, silver surfers, x-men, etc. As well as boobs and ass, boner boner boner, everybody has a boner, bodily fluids all over the place, geekgasm, etc.

Now to FREE LISL: FEAR AND LOATHING IN DENVER. I know, what kind of a name is Lisl, but I didn’t name her. This is the new documentary by Wayne Ewing, who did the great Hunter S. Thompson documentary BREAKFAST WITH HUNTER. It is his third Thompson-related movie, although with the good doctor’s passing each one gets more removed from the man himself. This one is not really about Thompson, but it’s about a cause he aligned himself with in his last years. Lisl Auman is a woman who, at the age of 21, was sentenced to life in prison for a murder everyone agreed she did not commit. She was actually handcuffed in the back of a police car while a dude she just met the day before, who had been helping her move, killed a police officer and then himself. Because she was an accomplice to his crime she was considered guilty of the murder. (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.

Attack Force

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

ATTACK FORCE is Steven Seagal’s latest, where he takes on a bunch of sexy people given super powers by an experimental military drug. But until recently it was listed on IMDb as HARVESTER, where he takes on a bunch of aliens. After I savaged the last one, SHADOW MAN, I got a nice email from Seagal’s co-writer Joe Halpin, who I found very humble and down to earth. Having his ear for a minute I didn’t want to be rude and bury him in an avalanche of questions, but I couldn’t resist asking if this HARVESTER movie would really end up being about aliens, or if they would chicken out like they did with the “biological mutants” that ended up not being in SUBMERGED.

His answer: “Who knows.” He explained that they had shot it both ways. It could be about aliens, it could be about European mobsters, the studio and Seagal would have to come to an agreement in post-production. This of course brings up alot more questions (the main one being “Shouldn’t you decide on the premise before shooting the movie?”) but it also gives a huge amount of insight into how Seagal’s DTV movies end up the way they do. I mean, if they don’t even know who he’s fighting until after they’re done, no wonder they end up with these weird overdubbed lines, randomly dropped story threads, 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.

Lethal Weapon

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

I meant to see APOCALYPTO this week but I was too god damn sick to haul my ass to the theater. So I figured what the hell, it’s December, I’m Vern – might as well revisit LETHAL WEAPON. Haven’t seen that one since the ’80s. One of my buddies swears by it.

Well, it was interesting to watch this movie again, and I had fun, but I can’t say it has aged too well. I know it’s not fair to compare everything to DIE HARD, but LETHAL WEAPON is no DIE HARD. Bruce knew to keep the hair conservative, it will be timeless, no problem. His hair in that movie is so not dated that today, when the LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD teaser debuted online, everybody was pissed that he didn’t have the old hair do. (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 Seen SMOKING ACES!!

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Carnahan fans have been waiting a while now for his follow-up to NARC, and it seems crazy that it’s almost here.

If you’re a fan, you might want to hop over to CHUD, where Devin Faraci has been fielding questions that Carnahan’s been answering on his very own blog.

In the meantime, let’s see what our own Vern has to say about this film that I’m eagerly looking forward to:

You know what this movie is, it’s a remake of BOBBY. Almost the whole movie takes place in and around this hotel. And you got your huge all-star cast of characters with their various intersecting stories going on. But instead of them all living their lives and making corny speeches not knowing Bobby Kennedy is about to be assassinated, they are all trying to sneak into the hotel to kill Jeremy Piven. And instead of tons of stock footage of Kennedy speeches there is all kinds of fighting and guns. So it’s a reflection of our times. Or a very loose remake. A reimagining. (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 Gingerdead Man

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

get it, gingerDEAD instead of gingerBREAD

For hundreds of years, gingerbread has been a delicious and vibrant European treat. It was used to make soft cakes that would be drenched in hot lemon sauce and whipped cream, or for ornate candy-covered houses like the “witch’s house” from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, or to form the shape of a small man, a reflection of its creator. As man is to God, gingerbread man is to man. And therefore also to God.

No one knows the origin of gingerbread, because how do you pin down something like that? I’m sure they could figure out who invented the McRib Sandwich, but not gingerbread. Some believe it came from the Eastern Mediterranean, and spread across Europe as soldiers came home from the Crusades. At least something good would’ve come out of the Crusades then. Wherever it came from, its ginger packs a powerful punch, so much so that throughout the 17th century you needed a license to bake gingerbread except at Christmas and Easter. (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.