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

Archive for November, 2009

The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans

Monday, November 30th, 2009

tn_badlieutenantpocnoWhen I wrote about Abel Ferrara’s BAD LIEUTENANT about 2 years ago I said that should be one of the movies they remake in BE KIND REWIND, or some kids should do a remake in their backyard, or you should use scenes from it for your monologue in acting class. So far I haven’t seen any of those, but it’s even better to see a remake starring Nicolas Cage. Sort of a remake, anyway.

What exactly is THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS? It’s not a sequel, not exactly a remake to BAD LIEUTENANT. Werner Herzog, who directed this new one, claims he hasn’t seen BAD LIEUTENANT. Ferrara claimed he was gonna stop this one from being made. (In my opinion he failed.) This isn’t about the same character and I didn’t notice any mention of the original screenplay in the credits. But it does have a little bit of a BAD LIEUTENANT vibe, and that’s all I can ask. (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 Road

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

tn_theroadTHE ROAD is a good movie, better book. If you’re thinking about reading it but haven’t got to it yet I’d say read it, then see the movie. The movie (directed by John Hillcoat, who did THE PROPOSITION) is very faithful to the book (by Cormac McCarthy, who did No Country For Old Men) and illustrates it well, but it can’t really do the same thing.

In case you don’t watch Oprah, the story is about a man and his son after civilization has been destroyed by some unnamed disaster. They’re cold, hungry and worn out and trying to push their little cart of belongings across the United States to the coast. They don’t even really know what they expect when they get there, they just don’t know what else to 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.

2012

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

tn_2012A bunch of actual good movies came out this week, and I’ll review a couple of them soon. First I have to catch up with this crap I saw last week…

As you know, and as the TV news in this movie will tell you, the Mayans predicted that the world would end on December 21st, 2012. So in this movie it does. Actually, that must be the fictionalized, eclipse-fearing Mayans of APOCALYPTO that predicted that, because the real Mayans didn’t. They just had a calendar which considered somewhere around that date to be the end of an era. They also predicted things that would happen after 2012, so obviously they didn’t expect the world to end. Let’s not hang all this doom and gloom on them. They invented chocolate. (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.

Big Fan

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

tn_bigfan(this review has more spoilers than usual because there’s alot to analyze.)

BIG FAN is the directational debut of Robert Siegel, known obviously to most Seagalogists as the writer of THE ONION MOVIE. He was the editor for The Onion comedy newspaper, then left to write scripts. This one caught the attention of Darren Aronofsky, who was gonna direct it for a while until he decided to have Siegel write a wrestling picture instead.

This one does have some things in common with THE WRESTLER. Both are smartly written, observant, bleak dramas about working class dudes in sports subcultures that don’t usually get much respect. The premise sounds like a comedy: an obsessive sports fan has to decide what to do after getting beaten up by his favorite player. I can imagine the Adam Sandler or Rob Schneider vehicle they could make out of that, but this is more of a drama with some squirmy, uncomfortable chuckles here and there, kind of a minimalistic TAXI DRIVER type character portrait. And for those of us who have written extensively about aikido masters it brings to mind some disturbing hypothetical scenarios. (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.

Filler

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I got some important new reviews in the works, but for now all I have to offer is this video I found using the internet here.

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 Killers (1946)

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

tn_thekillers46To tell you the truth it was the Lee Marvin/Don Siegel version of this Ernest Hemingway story that I was interested in, but Criterion released the two versions together, so I watched this Robert Siodmak/Burt Lancaster one first. Way to go, Criterion – expanding my ignorant horizons.

This is one of those movies I wasn’t sure about watching but then the opening was so great it could’ve turned into a round table discussion of agriculture subsidies and I probly would’ve kept with it. It starts with two out of town assholes walking into a diner and giving the proprietor a bunch of shit. They sit there in their coats and fedoras, ridiculing the menu, the policies, the customers, keep calling everybody “bright boy” and ask them condescending questions. It soon comes out that they’re not there for the steak sandwiches, they’re hired killers waiting for “the Swede” (Lancaster) who works at the gas station across the street to come in for lunch so they can ply their trade on him. (That means kill him. They are killers.)

He doesn’t show up, though, so the killers leave, and the “bright boy” customer who happens to work with Swede races to his house to warn him. But the Swede already knows, and he just lays in bed, resigned to his fate. So they show up and kill him. (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.

Strange Days

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

tn_strangedaysStrange days we’re livin in, here in the futuristic year of 1999. Everywhere you go there’s people getting chased, cars on fire. I just saw 2 people beating up Santa Claus on the sidewalk. Can you believe gas has gotten up to three whole dollars a gallon? What a nightmare! And man, I almost miss junkies. They were so much better than these “wireheads” you got now, who plug into recordings of the brain responses to sex and bank robberies and stuff. Those guys make me sick.

Okay, you got me, this is actually late 2009 when I’m writing this, and that was a made up science fiction scenario that did not end up happening in ’99. I would remember if it had. Isn’t that weird? In less then two months we’ll be at the 10th anniversary not of this movie, but of the future it takes place in. So it’s ironic that it’s about people stuck on re-living old experiences, and meanwhile we’re watching it comparing it to the actual New Year’s Eve 1999 we experienced. (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.

Antichrist

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

tn_antichrist(warning: spoilers reign)

On one hand I don’t want to just dismiss this movie outright, because it’s at least unique and it has a bunch of weird shit that might tap into somebody’s nightmares and really creep them out. On the other hand it’s about Willem Dafoe talking gently to Charlotte Gainsbourg and asking her how she feels about things and then every once in a while he sees a deer in the woods and gets scared and then toward the end she bashes his balls with a block of wood and jerks him off until he bleeds and attaches a mill-stone to his leg and then he scurries around naked in the woods and hides in a little burrow like a wounded badger and tries to beat a crow to death but it gets away.

In my opinion I don’t know WIFN director Lars Von Trier was going for with this fuckin thing, or if there even was something specific that he was going for, or if he even is aware that there are people that watch these things and try to get something out of them. I don’t know if there’s a way to ask him that without it being awkward, but if it ever comes up please see what you can find out. (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 is The Keeper

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

tn_keeperTHE KEEPER is Steven Seagal’s new movie, still no release date in the U.S. but already released in England, where Seagal is so popular they even published a groundbreaking book that chronologically analyzes all his works up to PISTOL WHIPPED. This one isn’t as strong as RENEGADE JUSTICE (URBAN JUSTICE to us Americans) or PISTOL WHIPPED, and not much better than the okay DRIVEN TO KILL, but don’t worry, it’s much better than the less-than-half-assed AGAINST THE DARK and the Guinness Book of World Records-worthy all time most disorienting editing of KILL SWITCH.

The pace is slow and it’s light on weirdness (at least KILL SWITCH has that crazy twist ending) but overall a fairly solid effort. Seagal continues his Old Charles Bronson phase, and as I re-watch parts of it to write this review I find myself really appreciating the little character moments, a sign of a DTV that’s gonna grow on me in repeat viewings. (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.

A Christmas Carol (2009)

Monday, November 16th, 2009

tn_christmascarolI guess I got a nuanced view on these Robert Zemeckis “mo-cap” movies. I think he’s kind of delusional if he really thinks this is the future of movies, and I was complaining about the creepiness of attempted realism in POLAR EXPRESS (and earlier in FINAL FANTASY) long before it was a common complaint with the name “uncanny valley.” When it comes to being creeped out by dead-eyed computer animation, I’m NWA and mainstream critics are Ja Rule or somebody.

On the other hand, I kind of love POLAR EXPRESS and BEOWULF and paid to see both of them twice in the theater. Never on DVD, but I’d gladly go back to see either if they were re-released in 3-D again. I love the strong atmosphere of these worlds that Zemeckis creates, and the way he moves the camera around them. I guess here he’s God and the only way He knows to show us things is through His perspective, so we can float through every crack or groove on a wall or hover high into the sky looking down on the settings and characters like they’re ants in our ant farm. (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.