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

Archive for April, 2009

Martyrs

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

tn_martyrsMARTYRS is one seriously fucked up horror movie. It hails from France circa last year, but comes to region 1 DVD today. I went in knowing zero about the plot, just that it had a reputation as a good but brutal horror movie. This DVD actually has an introduction where the director, Pascal Laugier, introduces himself as “the director of the movie you’ve decided to watch tonight” and then says, “I’m not sure you’ve made the right decision.” Then he proceeds to apologize in advance.

And I think he’s only half joking. My recommendation: if you can take a really upsetting horror movie and want to see a good one, stop reading and see it fresh like I did. If you need some convincing or something you can click through. I’ll still try to be vague. (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.

Script review (on video): MACHETE

Monday, April 27th, 2009

I don’t do script reviews very often, partly because I don’t usually want to read the scripts before they’re movies. But somebody sent me Robert Rodriguez’s script for MACHETE and at the time I wasn’t sure I believed it would actually be made, so I couldn’t resist taking a look.

And then it gets messy. You know I tried out Twitter, and I don’t think it’s really for me. Here I’m testing out another technology the kids use today, the video. They got it on all the websights, etc. Anyway that’s why I haven’t had many reviews lately, I was working on this thing. So please watch and let me know what you think.

UPDATE: For those who complained that they can’t understand what the hell the robot is talking about you can click through for the text version. (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.

Frost/Nixon

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

tn_frostnixonFROST/NIXON also came out on DVD yesterday, so I figured I would dig out my unfinished review from when I saw it on the big screen and polish that up.

FROST/NIXON is the most highly anticipated battle since the first ALIEN VS. PREDATOR. But I gotta be honest, I only went to see it because it was the last “best picture” nominee I hadn’t seen. I mean it looked pretty interesting, but I’m not the biggest Ron Howard fan, so I probaly wouldn’t have bothered otherwise. The good news is I didn’t hate it like I did THE READER.

Frank Langella (MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE) plays Richard Nixon, who was apparently some sort of president. Michael Sheen (UNDERWORLD, UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION, UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS, THE QUEEN) plays David Frost, who I guess interviewed Nixon one time. This is the story of them negotiating and then filming an interview over a couple days and a couple other conversations they had in between and afterward and what not. Explosive! (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.

You heard about this “twitter” deal?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

twitter1Well this new “blog” format is working out real good. I don’t think I’m gonna start catching up with all the 21st century technologies, for example I still don’t have a cellular phone device or those shoes with the wheels in them. But everywhere I go I hear about this “twitter” they got now. Moriarty writes in his column about how Harry Twittered him something or other, Harry writes in his column about what he was Twittering during the movie because it was so scary, Devin Feraci on Chud is mad because some other douchebag used his twittering during Crank 2 and also he had to cancel his tweeter for Even Rachel Wood because he was disappointed in the quality of her twitterings, or whatever.

You would think it would only be internet people but it’s on TV too, on Larry King and Oprah. That is one thing they didn’t cover in the movie “Notorious” is how much Puffy goes around on TV talking about the “twitter”. Anyway I guess this is what you’re supposed to do now so I’m gonna test it out today, you go to http://twitter.com/outlawvern to read it I believe.

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.

Notorious

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

tn_notoriousNOTORIOUS, the biopic of the late rapper Christopher “Notorious (Biggie Smalls) B.I.G.” Wallace comes out on DVD today.

I don’t know about Gene Shalit or Tom Shales or some of these guys, but I gotta admit I don’t come to NOTORIOUS as a Biggie fan from day 1. I was a late adopter. I knew a couple of those catchy songs with the R&B choruses, so I thought he was just a gangster Heavy D or a fat Ladies Love Cool James. But years after his death when I finally heard the whole “Ready to Die” album I was converted immediately.

It’s true that Biggie (who was only 24 when he died) mostly had the same materialist tough guy obsessions that 50 Cent still has as a grown adult and business leader. He’s rhyming about money and guns but like a real slick director his execution elevates the subject matter. He was one of the best storytellers in hip hop. (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 Split

Monday, April 20th, 2009

tn_thesplitThere are two Richard Stark based movies left that have never been released for the home video in the U.S. One is MISE A SAC, a French one based on The Score, where Parker and a crew try to rob an entire mining town. The other is THE SPLIT, based on The Seventh, where Jim Brown as the Parker character robs a football stadium and then has some trouble afterwords. My man David M. in France has seen both – he saw a restored print of MISE A SAC and told me it was great. As for THE SPLIT he did me one better than telling me about it, he sent me a recording from when it played letterboxed on the French Turner Classic Movies channel. (I don’t know who the French Ted Turner is, but it sounds like he plays better shit than the American one.)

If you’re reading this in the future maybe every movie ever made is available for instant download, but in my day you had to be patient. You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to see this thing. The closest I came before now was an old movie magazine I bought at an antique mall because it had Barbarella on the cover (wait a minute, is Roger Vadim the French Ted Turner?) So I bought it for the Barbarella, because a man has needs, but it turned out there was also an “article” – really just a plot summary – about THE SPLIT. I’d been meaning to read it and write a book-to-movie-summary comparison until they get off their ass and release it. But now thanks to French Ted Turner I don’t have to stoop to that. (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.

Back In Action

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Yesterday was Roddy Piper’s birthday. I’m celebrating late with the Piper/Billy Blanks picture from 1993, BACK IN ACTION.

Script-wise, I gotta say, this is a half-assed affair. They got the maverick cop (Roddy Piper), the ex-soldier who is back in action on a one man mission of justice (Billy Blanks), standard issue evil druglords, damsel-in-distress sister and also the female reporter love interest always looking for a good story but who ends up trying to help (see also DARKMAN 2, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER). Also some obvious one-liners that I guess I got a laugh from, like when the bad guy thinks (let’s face it, naively) that Piper won’t kill him because of his Miranda rights. Piper stabs him and says “You have the right to remain silent. 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.

Death Cheaters and Stunt Rock

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Looking into the early works of Brian Trenchard-Smith I found a genre I never knew existed: stuntsploitation. Here are two movies about the world of stuntmen, with flimsy plots (if any) to string together a bunch of cool stunt sequences.

First and best is a goofy comedy called DEATH CHEATERS. The title daredevils are played by the mustached John Hargreaves and the bearded Grant Page. Page seems kind of like the sidekick here, but in reality he was and is one of Australia’s top stuntmen. He was the movie’s stunt coordinator and had already done the same for Trenchard-Smith’s THE MAN FROM HONG KONG. He even did the hang gliding for that one as you can guess when you see him do the same in this one. Later he would be the stunt coordinator for MAD MAX 1 and 3. He seems like a goofy kind of Jim Henson creative countercultural type in this, so it never occurred to me that he’s the crazy bastard stalking Stacy Keach in the excellent ROAD GAMES. (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 big question

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Half the fun of writing is all the emails I get, so I think it’s a good idea to finally catch up with modern computertational technology and have comments. That means I gotta transfer over to this “blog” format here, but I don’t want it to look the way it does now. Too slick. So I’m gonna try to figure out how to make it my own (looks hard).

Anyway here’s my biggest question: should I keep the dark background in honor of the crappy-even-for-1999 look I have always been so proud of, or should I lighten it up to make it easier on the eyes? That was a request I got from somebody long ago and I think it might be time to take the plunge but I wanted to run it by everybody first.

Also, any other general comments about changing the look for the first time in like 8 or 9 years. Is everybody emotionally prepared for a change like this?

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.

Raw Deal

Monday, April 13th, 2009

This lesser-but-still-good Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle came in 1986, a breather between COMMANDO and PREDATOR. It opens with some mobsters shooting up a house where cops are protecting a witness. The first line in the movie is a cop reading a Trivial Pursuits question about how many Oscars John Wayne won. The correct answer is never given, but we get the idea: John Wayne is awesome, we’re not in this for the Oscars, but John Wayne deserved Oscars, and so do we, etc.

(note: Marcel from Brooklyn points out that Wayne did get an Oscar for TRUE GRIT. So I guess RAW DEAL is supposed to be Schwarzenegger’s TRUE GRIT or something. I haven’t looked up if he got an Oscar for it or not.) (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.