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

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for April, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

HOT FUZZ is the new British comedy picture from S. Pegg/N. Frost (lead comedy actors) and E. Wright (director). They are the same individuals responsible for SHAUN OF THE DEAD, the zombie comedy from a few years back that is known to be so potent that just the mention of it causes a boner on any film fan under the age of 27 residing within a 50′ radius, even if they don’t have the equipment.

Well, I’m gonna lose some credibility with my friends and colleagues in the nerd community by saying this, but I think these movies are a little overrated. I do not by any means think they are bad movies. They are fun movies, they have laughs, they are fairly original, and they are very sincere about their love for the genres they are paying tribute to, it’s not some Leslie Nielsen style “spoof.” (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.

Double Dare

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

This is a 2004 documentary about two stunt women. One is a veteran, Jeannie Epper, double for Lynda Carter on WONDER WOMAN. The other is more of a newcomer, Zoe Bell, double for Xena the warrior princess. And of course now we know her for playing herself, Zoe Bell, stuntwoman, as the heroine of Tarantino’s DEATH PROOF. But this was before.

The movie splits between telling the stories of these two women. Jeannie is in the US, having a harder time getting jobs at her age, also involved in organizing younger stunt women and helping them out like a mom. (In fact, one stunt woman she helps is her daughter.) Meanwhile, Zoe is in New Zealand worried about her future because XENA is about to end. (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 doesn’t like THE CONDEMNED!! Yes, our Vern!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

SPOILER ALERT !!

My friends, I write to you with a heavy heart to admit that the prestigious WWE Films banner is starting to lose its luster. They have three movies under their belt now (get it, belt – that is a wrestling pun in my opinion) but the record now is 1 in 3. And the one I’m counting as good is SEE NO EVIL (click for review!) , the slasher movie about a big bald sexually repressed muscleman poking out people’s eyes in a scary hotel. So your mileage may vary. (mileage is a car metaphor, that is no longer wrestling related, sorry.)

THE CONDEMNED sort of stars Steve Austin, formerly known as Stone Cold Steve Austin, but maybe he dropped that after he got fired from wrestling for getting arrested for wife beating. I’m not sure. Austin is the most sympathetic of ten convicts that an amoral millionaire buys out of prisons in third world countries, puts on an island and forces to kill each other for one of those live streaming internet shows they have in horrible movies (see HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION). They have bombs attached to their ankles so they can’t escape, and if one is able to be the last one remaining he or she will be set free. (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.

Book Review: Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

chainsawMonday morning I heard a phrase on the radio that surprised me: “men, women and chain saws,” said in a somewhat dismissive voice.

What the hell? This was a weird coincidence. Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Berkeley professor Carol J. Clover is a very academic book exploring gender issues in slasher, possession and rape-revenge films, mostly from the ’70s. I read the book years ago and it really affected my view of slasher movies. I paraphrase it alot when defending these kinds of movies (a pretty regular past time these days).

I think it’s been an influential book, but I don’t know anybody else who’s read it, so it was a surprise to hear it on the morning news. I had read it mentioned recently in the Fangoria horror magazine, when Quentin Tarantino mentioned it in an interview about Death Proof. It’s not surprising he read it. In the first half of Death Proof he uses alot of the slasher movie conventions discussed in the book, setting up Butterfly as what Clover calls “the Final Girl.” The biggest clue is that she has “the investigative gaze,” she’s the one who notices Stuntman Mike’s car and keeps eyeing him, and is scared of him. No one else realizes anything is wrong. Ordinarily this would mean that she would go on to survive and defeat, escape from, maybe even kill Stuntman Mike. But, well, maybe some other time. (Of course, he ends up making what is more obviously a feminist movie, not having to even have the women tormented too much before they want to spit on somebody’s grave.) (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.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Ever since this movie played some film festivals it has gotten great reviews, especially here on the internet where people tend to fall for this sort of shit. Of course you know I am a fan of the horrors and it’s always good to see somebody try a different approach, so I was hoping they were right. But one thing I noticed was every review I read would explain the premise, which sounded like a stupid idea that would never work. But at no point did any of the reviews say, “I know, this sounds like a stupid idea that would never work, but somehow they managed to pull it off.” Instead they talked about this idea like it was a good idea. A really good idea.

Here is the stupid idea that would never work: BEHIND THE MASK is done in a fake documentary style (or fakeumentary). It takes place in a world where the iconic killers of horror movies (Freddy, Jason, Michael Meyers and Chucky are specifically mentioned) are all real. A grad student who looks kind of like Sarah Polley is doing a documentary about a guy who calls himself Leslie Vernon, a guy who is an aspiring slasher. And he explains to the camera his whole made up horror backstory, how he picks out his victims and what he plans to do with them, all of course based on the formulas of slasher movies. And there is lots of jokes about how he has to work out alot to be able to chase people while it seems like he’s just walking, and corny shit like that. So it plays off of all these archetypes or cliches and then at the end it switches from documentary to “real movie” as he tries to kill his victims in scenes inspired by FRIDAY THE 13TH 2 and 3 (the Steve Miner years). And according to the vast majority of the critics, who really liked this movie, it gets genuinely scary at this point. (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.

G’House and the Secrety of the Missing Bees

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Okay, I got a new column for the first time in a couple months, so everybody’s gonna assume it’ll be about the recent tragedy in our country, the school shooting where some crazy asshole doubled the body count of the previous worst gun massacre in our history. It’s true, whenever something like this happens you feel like you sort of should say something, not just pretend like nothing happened. Even if right after it happens somebody else kills 150 people in Iraq.

And I have to admit, I looked at those pictures the killer sent to NBC, and as soon as I saw him posing with a claw hammer I thought, “Oh great. Now somebody’s gonna blame it on OLDBOY.” People are already talking about that (not that anybody’s buying it) and I think it’s only a matter of time before some dipshit politician starts talking Korean cinema on the floor of congress. When something like this happens that hits everybody in the gut you gotta try to make politics out of it, but it’s gotta ignore any actual causes (poor treatment for mental illness, easy access to guns) and blame everything on movies, video games, maybe ringtones. The old “in serious times, give them nothing but moronic horse shit for babies” technique. Also known as Liebermania. (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.

Enter the Ninja

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

This week I followed an anonymous tip to take a look at an individual name Sho Kosugi. This guy starred in a series of ninja movies and was said to be a missing link in my badass studies to date. I looked him up and found that ENTER THE NINJA is also known as NINJA 1 because it begins a series, so I started with that.

The movie opens promisingly with the badass in question, Mr. Sho Kosugi, in full ninja uniform, standing in front of a black void, demonstrating every weapon he knows. Nunchakas, throwing stars, arrows, daggers, grappling hook, blow gun. You name it, he spins it around or shoots it. The guy is obviously good and it’s kind of cool how he is basically doing show and tell for you throughout the opening credits. It might as well be some Ninja How-To video. But then all the sudden a ninja in all white flies onto the screen and “kicks” him in the head (although it doesn’t look like he makes contact at all). (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.

Can Jane Fonda Be Outdone? The Barbarella Remake…

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

So the rumor now is that Kate Beckinsale is the frontrunner to play Barbarella in the new Dino De Laurentiis production. I’m pleasantly surprised if that’s who they’re going for. She’s not perfect, she’s no Jane Fonda, but I can imagine her doing a pretty good job. And I’m relieved to see they’re putting a few years between Barbarella and the Paris Hilton generation of actresses, the ones they got now that carry portable dogs and wear giant novelty sized sunglasses. You can’t have a Barbarella like that.

This might be saying too much, but nerve.com is some kind of sex magazine isn’t it, so I’m gonna go for it. Barbarella is, in my opinion, the sexiest movie of all time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hardcore pornography, etc., and Barbarella is very tame. It only has a few teasing glimpses of boobs and the sex often involves pills or machines. (I know some people get off on watching girls screwin machines in pornography now, but that’s not my thing.) But something about the whole world of Barbarella, the crazy space costumes, the shag carpeting in her ship, the groovy psychedelic music… Shit, I’m not one of these sci-fi geeks, but if the technology was available I would consider running away with Barbarella. We could go ride around on that little ski sled thing, shoot some arrows together. I don’t think the leathermen are all that tough, and I could definitely kick away those fuckin killer dolls. I can’t fly, like Pygar, but eyesight… that’s gotta count for something. I think I could cut it in space. I could be a pretty decent space boyfriend, if I worked at it. Although I would feel pretty self conscious flyin around in a spaceship shaped like a dick. I might have to rethink this. (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 Book

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

ZWARTBOEK

Paul Verhoeven has always been one of the top weirdo-pervert directors in my book. (Literally – in my book 5 On the Outside I had a review of THE HOLLOW MAN in chapter 9, “WEIRDOS, CREEPS & PERVERTS.”) Less pedophilic and more of a crowdpleaser than your Larry Clark, Verhoeven is a true original. Even making a studio movie about a cyborg he manages to tell a story with a strong point-of-view about the state of the world. Throughout his years in Hollywood, Verhoeven made many great popcorn movies that outrageously pushed the envelope of violence and sex and sneakily snuck in some subversive politics. And that’s pretty much my favorite type of movie in the world is one that does that. It’s like some poor sucker buys a box of Mike and Ike’s and doesn’t realize somebody tossed a couple MATRIX red pills 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.

Point Break

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Until recently I was the guy who had never seen POINT BREAK. But the other day I busted my cherry on that matter, pardon my French, so I’m some other guy now.

I’m sure you’ve already seen it but let me refresh your memory: Keanu Reeves plays the perfectly named Johnny Utah, college football hero turned fresh-faced FBI rookie teamed with Gary Busey (in one of the first roles of his Crazy Post-Motorcycle Accident Period) to track down a gang of bank robbers who Busey (correctly) theorizes are surfers. (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.