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

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for January, 2010

Coogan’s Bluff

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

tn_coogansbluffThis pre-DIRTY HARRY teamup between Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel starts with Clint as sheriff’s deputy Coogan tracking a Navajo wife-murderer through the desert. The wide angle, the windy quiet and the cowboy hat tell you it’s a western, except Coogan rides in in a Jeep. He has a shootout with the suspect, captures him and then goes to visit an old girlfriend, leaving the man chained up on the porch like a dog. His boss storms in to chew him out while his girl is bathing him – Coogan asks the sheriff to pass him the soap. (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.

Bringing Out the Dead

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

tn_bringingoutthedeadBRINGING OUT THE DEAD is Martin Scorsese at his most nightmarish and hallucinogenic, a movie almost entirely in helicopters-overhead-paranoid-end-of-GOODFELLAS mode. That’s ’cause it’s about night shift EMT workers, which I think we can safely assume is probly a pretty stressful job. The movie is written by Paul Schrader based on one of those “this job is fucked and we’re all on drugs” type exposes, like Kitchen Confidential was for chefs.

Man of the hour Nic Cage plays Frank Pierce, who doesn’t get enough sleep and thinks he sees the ghosts of everyone he’s failed to save. He has a hard time feeling like a hero since most of the calls he gets are DOA or false alarms. He’s always doing CPR on dead babies or begging the hellishly overcrowded hospital to take in a vegetable. He’s so tired of bum-out cardiac arrests (“COME ON, PEOPLE!” he scolds) that he’s happy dealing with the notoriously foul-smelling drunk Mr. O, who calls in every time he’s wasted. The one time Frank does succeed in resuscitating a guy he feels guilty about it and imagines the man telling him to let him die. (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.

Hang ’em High

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

tn_hangemhighRecently I made a list of all Clint Eastwood’s movies (as an actor) that I haven’t seen or don’t remember. The list is surprisingly long, and I carry it in my wallet now in case I’m at the video store and don’t know what to rent. So hopefully this will be the first of many upcoming doses of Eastwood medicine. (pun)

(you get it, it’s a play on Eastern medicine, that’s why it’s a pun. Needs work I guess.)

HANG ‘EM HIGH opens with Clint by himself moving some cattle across the plains. Soon he runs into some deputies who question him and don’t believe anything he says. You know how cops can be. He got pulled over for cattledriving-while-Clint.  What we don’t know yet is that the cattle really are stolen property. The guy he bought them from was not who he said he was. The real owner was murdered, and that’s why the lawmen are hassling Clint. (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.

New releases

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

tn_whipitI know I keep reviewing movies that aren’t available yet or that people aren’t gonna bother to see in a theater. Well, I noticed that four movies I previously reviewed are out on DVD today so I though I’d steer people back towards those for further discussion.

I am very fond of WHIP IT

and then there is SOUL POWER

and also MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend renting that if you’re not an MJ fan. If you are then you’ll probly want to buy it, if you’re not then move along.

also we got SURROGATES, the one where Bruce Willis controls a robot of himself and you can tell it’s his robot when he has hair.

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 is shocked how good UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION is!!!

Monday, January 25th, 2010

tn_usregeneration

“Why me Lord? What have I ever done / That was worth even one / Of the pleasures I’ve known / Tell me Lord, what did I ever do / That was worth loving you / or [Universal Soldier 3].”

–Kris Kristofferson, “Why Me”

Holy shit fellas, I didn’t see this one coming. I was excited about the idea of Van Damme and Lundgren doing a movie together again, but honestly I assumed they (and everybody else) would be phoning it in. Man, was I wrong. There are no phones used at all. This is a masterpiece of DTV.

I mean seriously, how did this happen? (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.

Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business & Universal Soldier: The Return

Monday, January 25th, 2010

tn_usreturnRemember, I said I was gonna review all the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER movies? I wasn’t lying. Here’s my reviews of the third and fourth installments in preparation for the brand new part 3 that comes out next week.

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER III: UNFINISHED BUSINESS continues from part 2, clearly shot back-to-back and even including a “previously on Universal Soldier” type montage. Burt Reynolds is the sleazy CIA director trying to stop Luc Deveraux (Matt Battaglia, not Van Damme) and the reporter from revealing the UniSol program. I’m sure he wouldn’t get in trouble, but Congressional hearings are probly a pain the ass, you gotta go to bed early the night before, get your suit cleaned, send your lawyer a thank you note, all that shit. Easier to just stay out of the headlines. (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.

No Way Back

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

tn_nowaybackI liked AMERICAN YAKUZA so much I figured I better investigate the other two directorial works of Mr. Frank A. Cappello. #2 of 3 is an unpredictable 1995 action movie starring Russell Crowe as an FBI agent. That’s the mystery of Cappello – the guy only directs three movies but manages to nab both Viggo Mortensen and Russell Crowe in leading roles before they became huge. I really like Crowe in this one, playing an obsessed agent and single dad. It’s actually pretty similar to his role in AMERICAN GANGSTER except he accidentally slips into the Australian accent more. (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 of Eli

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

tn_bookofeliEverybody loves Denzel Washington, including me, but I’m not 100% sure why. I mean, he’s a real good actor. Shoulda got an Oscar for MALCOLM X. Was good at chewing it up in TRAINING DAY when he did get the Oscar. He’s just so great at playing intelligent, strong, capable. But the weird part for someone as popular as him is that he’s not so big on playing likable heroes. His usual character is intense but mostly humorless. Kind of self righteous. Kind of a dick, if you think about it.

So it was pretty brilliant to cast him as a lone samurai walking through a post-apocalyptic wasteland on a mission of faith. The Denzel persona is much more endearing when he doesn’t just give verbal beatdowns, but full-on swordsman massacres. Actually he’s a little different in this one too – quiet and kind of crazy from being alone. (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 – Episodes 8-10

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

tn_lawman(sorry guys – playing catchup on reviewing the last three episodes before tonight’s new one)

Medicine Man

“I like you, my wife loves you. She love that man. I don’t know why.”

This is the rare episode that begins in the daylight, with the Squad checking out a report of a suspicious person in front of a liquor store. They end up chasing a black kid all over the place, driving, cutting through yards, hopping fences. And I think they would be the first to admit that this chase scene is more like a scene from GRUMPY OLD MEN than DISTRICT B13. To their credit I guess there’s a little POINT BREAK 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.

Gamer

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

tn_gamerLet’s say you are a feedback and distortion fetishist. Fuzz and blips, pixelation, video lines, VHS rolling from bad tracking – these things get you hard. That’s fine. We are all beautiful snowflakes. What you do in that case is you make a video of all that stuff, you hide it under your bed, you get it out when you’re lonely. What you don’t do unless you have no self control is make a feature film needlessly slathered in that shit and release it in theaters and on home video to paying audiences who want to be told a story and not just watch little flickers and shit.

More to the point, let’s say you are also a wiseass camera operator who enjoys running through explosions in a firesuit or rollerblading around holding a camcorder, but have not yet developed an interest in some of the other elements of photography such as framing or holding still. Fine! Great! That is your calling, you should rollerblade all you want. It is probly good aerobic exercise. But I have one caveat: if your plan is to incorporate that footage into an actual movie and not just an episode of JACKASS then you have a responsibility to look at the footage first and ask yourself if somebody could watch it and understand what in God’s holy name is being shown. And if the directational fraternity duo Nevildine/Taylor were being honest with themselves the answer to that question would usually be “No. No, not at all. Oh jesus, no, are you kidding me? Uh uh.” I’m thinking maybe these guys should forget about the cameras and just be stunt men. They seem more interested in carrying the camera through risky situations than actually pointing the lens of it at specific things. (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.