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

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for August, 2009

Cohen & Tate

Monday, August 31st, 2009

tn_cohenandtateCohen & Tate. Sounds like a buddy movie, huh? Cohen. Tate. Just a couple guys goin around together, their last names eventually linked together with and to form a team. Ol’ C & T. Co and Ta. Some mismatched dudes maybe, sounds like one’s Jewish, maybe the other guy’s real Catholic and they always bicker about it. Ha ha, what a great time for everybody.

Well, no. Cohen and Tate are the two mob hitmen who massacre a couple and all the cops protecting them and kidnap their 9 year-old-son so they can bring him to their bosses to be questioned about a shooting he witnessed. Then somebody’ll probaly kill him and throw him in a lake somewhere. It’s not that funny of a movie, is what I’m getting at. Cohen and Tate hate each other, they hate the kid, the kid hates them, they’re all pretty much plotting how and when to kill each other for the whole movie. No jokes except when Tate tells that old one about “what’s the last thing that goes through a bug’s brain when he hits your windshield?” So there are no laughs. (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.

Bad (a film by Martin Scorsese)

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

tn_badIt’s Michael Jackson’s birthday. Would’ve been his 51st, and if all had gone perfect he would’ve been 17 shows into his run at the 02 in London. Hard to picture. It really feels to me like this country is going through a time of massive change, like the tectonic plates are shifting beneath us. It figures that the same year we have our first black president we also have to lose Michael and the last Kennedy brother. All earlier than I expected, but maybe we’re ahead of schedule. The big live news events of the year: an inauguration and two memorial services. And both Kennedy and MJ instantly reborn as beloved legends.

Now you’re really gonna think I’m a weirdo (though I’ve never owned a chimp) but the truth is I would’ve known it was Michael’s birthday anyway. For some reason it’s a date I always remember, so I usually watch at least a little bit of MOONWALKER. But this year, during all the mourning and memorializing, I picked up the MICHAEL JACKSON VIDEO GREATEST HITS – HISTORY dvd. I had been obsessing over the dancing in his videos. MTV had a marathon, but they kept showing the shorter versions. I was jonesing to see that scene they cut out of “Black Or White” where he smashes the car while grabbing his crotch and yelling. It’s on this DVD (the cover calls it “the controversial ‘Panther’ version”).

But the highlight for me was the “never-before-seen 18-minute long version of ‘Bad’.” (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.

Synechdoche, New York

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

tn_synechdocheSYNECHDOCHE, NEW YORK is the most complex and convoluted movie that worked that I’ve seen in a long time. I loved it and you might too. But there’s also a good chance you’re not on its wavelength, and in that case it will be torture, like me watching WAKING LIFE.

P.S. Hoffman plays Caden, a guy who directs plays. He’s fat, unhappy and uninteresting and his wife (Catherine Keener) is obviously miserable. The opening is so mundane it’s almost hard to translate as a movie: he has trouble getting out of bed, reads the newspaper, mumbles to his wife that Harold Pinter died, they have sort of a conversation but aren’t listening to each other. It’s kind of nice that it begins so uncinematically mired in normal life, because as it goes along it becomes more and more fantastical. (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.

Moon

Friday, August 28th, 2009

tn_moon(from the request line…)

Remember SUNSHINE? Well now we have MOON. It’s not really at all like SUNSHINE, because it’s about being on the moon, not going to the sun. But it’s another serious, thoughtful sci-fi movie, which is kind of like a bald eagle these days. They still exist but you don’t see them too often (and sometimes their beaks are deformed [not sure if that last part is a criticism of SUNSHINE’s last act or just me not knowing when to end the analogy]). (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.

Hard To Buy

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Man, if all had gone according to my plan I would’ve posted in a week or so to show off a photo of the all time greatest movie poster. What I didn’t foresee was some other motherfuckers were able to pay more money for a Japanese Above the Law poster than I was.

Click through to see the picture of the poster and feel my pain.

(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.

Soul Man

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

tn_soulmanWell, I guess as long as we’re talking about race…

From the director of my two favorite FRIDAY THE 13THs (parts 2-3) and the star of THE HITCHER comes this comedy about Mark Watson, a white dude pretending to be black to get a scholarship to Harvard Business School.

Watching THE HITCHER reminded me about seeing this movie in the ’80s, and I thought holy shit, did they really make that movie? I didn’t imagine it? They really pretended anybody would believe C. Thomas Howell as a brother? And no, the idea is not that the whitebread kids at Harvard have never seen a black person up close so they can’t tell the difference. No, he also fools Rae Dawn Chong (put upon love interest) and James Earl Jones (no nonsense criminal law professor).

I mean seriously.  Look at that picture. Squint. Take your glasses off. Stand across the room. Is there any way that would fool you? Would you even notice he was supposed to be black? I don’t get it, man. If anything he looks like an Indian guy with a perm. I mean, he could pass for not white, but I don’t think he could passing for black. He couldn’t pass for passing black, in other words. You really gotta suspend the ol’ disbelief on this 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 reviews Thomas Jane’s DARK COUNTRY (the first review?)

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

tn_darkcountryOver on the Ain’t It Cool News I have what I believe to be the first review anywhere of DARK COUNTRY, directed by and starring Thomas Jane. Most of it takes place at night but I thought I would use the thumbnail on the left because I thought he looked kind of like Steve McQueen there. Also this is the beginning of the movie when he’s leaving for his honeymoon with his new wife, so I use this picture to symbolize Tom Jane beginning his new life as a director. One of the cups is for him and one is for directing. I’m sure you understood that without me explaining it though.

I am Vern…

DARK COUNTRY, by rookie director Thomas Jane, is a stylized noir made on a low budget with a minimal cast. It was written by a guy who wrote Disney’s TARZAN and HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. It was shot in 3-D but is going straight to flat DVD. But somehow this weird combination of elements makes up a pretty good little movie, and possibly the best ever directed by one of the Punishers. (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 Wrath of Kahn

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

tn_torqueRecently using the “twitter” technology I “twittered” this one-liner:

“I love the wide spectrum of views in this summer’s sci-fi. TRANSFORMERS 2 and DISTRICT 9 show both sides of the racism issue, pro and anti.”

So today Aaron S. emailed to inform me that Joseph Kahn, the director of that movie TORQUE that I liked, has a new blog where he has written some against-the-grain views on those two movies. He seems to have a different idea than me about which one is pro.

I didn’t want to write this as an open letter and make a big deal out of it, but I couldn’t get the damn comment thing to work on his blog so what the hell, here is my long response to his post Transforming Michael Bay.

(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.

STEVEN SEAGAL: LAWMAN trailer

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

I still have no idea what to expect from this show, but I’m very happy to see that “this is not a joke” as Seagal says. It’s not trying to be cute, it’s trying to be badass. And I love all the dramatic posed shots of him like a movie. In fact it looks better than some of his movies.

Thanks to Vik for giving me the heads up on this one.

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.

Fighting

Monday, August 24th, 2009

tn_fightingFIGHTING is a new movie about fighting. The “fighting” in the title is not a metaphor for struggling against crushing poverty, self doubt or family troubles, it’s only a metaphor for fighting. Actually, now that I think about it I guess it is a double meaning, I was trying to be a smart ass here but actually it’s true. But mainly it just means fighting.

You could definitely compare the movie to HARD TIMES. It also made me think of LIONHEART because it’s this circle of rich assholes setting up underground fights in different weird locations. But honestly it’s more Spike Lee or Martin Scorsese than Jean-Claude Van Damme. This is not the slick Hollywood movie I expected, it’s a gritty New York movie, layered with texture and naturalism. It makes you feel like you’re in New York, surrounded by people, hearing sounds coming from all directions. It’s all shot in interesting, dirty and cramped locations. The dialogue sounds partly improvised, mumbled and overlapping, sentences that trail off. (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.