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

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for January, 2011

Cop Out

Monday, January 31st, 2011

tn_copoutBruce(disclaimer: I started writing this review before everybody was writing about RED STATE playing at Sundance, and before you guys all discussed Kevin Smith to death. But I still decided to finish it because the tortoise vs. the hare, etc.)

Kevin Smith has been in the news lately for not wanting to be in the news. He’s done a few interviews about how he refuses to do interviews, and sights like /film have been kissing his ass for basically saying that sights like /film can kiss his ass. He has been doing promotion for his new movie RED STATE by going around saying that he will refuse to do any promotion for his new movie RED STATE.

(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 Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

Monday, January 31st, 2011

tn_hornetsnestYou remember Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), the girl with the dragon tattoo, also previously the one who played with fire? Well now she is the girl who kicked the hornet’s nest. Not literally. The first title was literal only, second was both literal and figurative, this one only figurative – there are no bees or insects of any kind involved in this plot. But man, this girl really kicked the hornet’s nest, they’re coming after her.

But I feel it is only fair to point out that the title is in the past tense. She already kicked the hornet’s nest in part 2, and already got stung (SPOILER: she got shot three times, including in the head. This one opens with her being airlifted to the hospital.) Although I enjoyed seeing the girl again this is the least exciting of the three movies by far.
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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 Mechanic (2011 remake)

Friday, January 28th, 2011

tn_mechanicI got mixed feelings about some sucker remaking a Charles Bronson movie. On one hand it’s obviously foolish, because no man has ever been discovered who could stand toe-to-toe with Bronson in badass presence. It doesn’t matter who you get to star, unless maybe Lee Marvin is alive again, or Clint is interested in remaking old Michael Winner movies. Barring that, anybody’s gonna pale in comparison.

On the other hand, alot of Bronson’s movies are (by design) pretty formulaic, they’re all about taking the type of basic situations you’d want to see Charles Bronson in and then putting Charles Bronson in them. Therefore if you do have a new action icon to star in some movies, these are the types of movies you might want to try to put him in. And Jason Statham isn’t a bad candidate, in my opinion. (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 Green Hornet

Friday, January 28th, 2011

tn_greenhornetIn the video store recently I overheard two college kids talking nerd shit. As they walked by me mid-conversation I heard one of them grumble, “And now he’s playing Green Lantern. Fuck you, Seth Green!”

And then a second later, “Er, Seth Rogen, I mean.” He realized that he said the wrong actor, but not that he said the wrong super hero.

Personally I think Rogen is a likable enough guy, most of his movies are funny, he’s a talented young pothead. But that little snippet brings up some issues with the world’s readiness for this movie. 1. there is kind of a super hero burnout where we even have more than one super hero movie in a year that has “Green” in his name, and B), people are sick of Seth Rogen and/or jealous that a regular dude like him gets to dress up as a super hero, even if he has been working out.

To me the second one seems like it could theoretically cancel out the first one. This is a weird casting for this character, he wrote it with his SUPERBAD writing partner, and the director is crazy Frenchman Michel Gondry, who’s never done a movie anything like this or this mainstream. So they oughta have a pretty interesting take on this type of movie, right? (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 Void

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

tn_enterthevoidLike the opening of BLACK CHRISTMAS, HALLOWEEN or THE FUNHOUSE, ENTER THE VOID starts out in a first-person-POV. You are Oscar, a young English speaking gwailo living in Tokyo. Oscar’s out on a balcony talking to this girl who’s wearing not much more than a t-shirt. Oscar’s doing it, so I’m doing it, I’m in his perspective. I see everything he looks at, I even see his blinks. He seems to blink alot, too.

I noticed the girl (turns out it’s Paz de la Huerta, the girl in the see-through raincoat in LIMITS OF CONTROL) was kinda cute. Then I figured out from the conversation that this is actually Oscar’s sister, which means she’s my sister. Our sister. Oh shit, sorry about that, Oscar. Shouldn’t have thought about that while I was seeing through your eyes. I made you into a sicko.

After she leaves he digs out his drug stash, shoots up and looks up at the ceiling and starts hallucinating. This is a movie with alot of psychedelic imagery interludes, sometimes going on as long as the light show in 2001. Moving, pulsing crystalline fractals that shift and melt and fold and swirl and bubble into the shape of veins and slime and cell tissue and then turn out to be a light fixture or something.

And we as Oscar go about our white man in Japan business and go to a club and, I’m sorry to say, we get shot and die. And we have an out of body experience. We float up into the air and just stare at our dead Oscar body laying there on the filthy restroom floor. (spoiler)

(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.

Vice Squad

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

tn_vicesquadVICE SQUAD is a gritty 1982 movie about some L.A. cops trying to catch a murderous pimp. He’s a redneck pimp named Ramrod, played by the Busey-esque Wings Hauser, who I last saw as the evil sorcerer in BEASTMASTER 2. Hauser also sings a crazy song called “Neon Slime” that’s played over the opening credits and is so interesting it does an encore during the end credits so you can re-examine it. It takes two listens to really get it, I think.

Ramrod drives a Bronco, dresses kinda like Cowboy Curtis and has a gigantic photo of Elvis in his apartment. This guy is a real psycho, he gets rough with women in general and beats his hoes especially. One of them he beats so bad she dies, but he doesn’t realize it at the time. The Vice Squad, led by Detective Tom Walsh (Gary Swanson), guilt a hooker friend of the deceased named Princess (Season Hubley) into wearing a wire and helping them bust Ramrod. She’s hesitant but she does it, and it works.

(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 Race 2

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

tn_deathrace2You know, sometimes life brings you down unexpected roads. I never asked to be the guy who liked Paul Not Thomas Anderson’s gratuitous remake of DEATH RACE 2000. It just didn’t seem like something that would happen to me, especially after I skipped the movie in theaters and everybody told me it was shit. But then the DVD came along and I wanted to see what it was like and I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy it. (In other words I will not be damned. I did enjoy it.)

And this week life struck again. Turns out I also like DEATH RACE 2, the DTV prequel.

(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.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [sic]

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

tn_snowwhiteNot too long ago, as you know, I reviewed the animated cartoon movie BEBE’S KIDS. Today I want to acknowledge that there could never be a BEBE’S KIDS – or God forbid even a ROVER DANGERFIELD – if it wasn’t for Walt Disney and friends breaking ground nearly 75 years ago with the first feature length animation cartoon, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS.

I want to start occasionally Expanding My Horizons by reviewing respected or historically important movies that aren’t normally the type of thing I watch or write about. I think this way we can all learn together and I can be less repetitive and also be one of those worldly renaissance type dudes. But the real reason I rented this is that I got a new set-up. The high defintion type TV prices went down this Christmas so I finally scraped together enough cash to get one of those, and a cheap off-brand blu-ray player on the side. SNOW WHITE was recommended to me as one of the more impressive blu-ray transfers, and my sources weren’t lying. The thing looks so vivid you feel like you’re standing face to face with the original watercolor paintings. And some of them are still wet.

(By the way if you didn’t know a cartoon is a series of drawings and paintings shown in quick succession to create the illusion of dwarfs and animals dancing around, etc.)
(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 Fighter

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

tn_fighterTHE FIGHTER is another movie about the working class struggle of the underdog boxer, this one based on a true story, developed for years by Darren Aranofsky, finally directed by David O. Russell when Mark Wahlberg realized he’d been in boxing training for 3 or 4 years now and it would be good to start filming at some point. Those are both kinda weird directors for a normal boxing movie, but this is pretty normal, it’s not some radical reinvention of the genre. What makes it fresh though is the focus on the whole family. It’s equally about the fighter, Micky Ward (Wahlberg, BOOGIE NIGHTS) and his half- brother Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale, AMERICAN PSYCHO) and their place in the town of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Dickie is a former contender and now Micky’s trainer, but to be honest it doesn’t seem like his heart is that in it anymore. He spends most of his time pursuing his other passion, smoking crack.
(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.

Born To Raise Hell

Monday, January 10th, 2011

tn_borntoraisehellIn BORN TO RAISE HELL Steven Seagal plays a commanding officer in the International Drug Task Force, a cooperative agency set up after 9-11 because like those ads say the drugs fund the terrorists. This is also a handy way for Seagal to use what he’s been learning as a deputy sheriff in New Orleans in a movie but then film it in Eastern Europe. His character’s partner was killed six months ago (no need for a flashback, they just tell us this) so I guess he’s out for justice or something. It’s not real clear.

While BORN TO RAISE HELL lacks the toughness and entertainment value of URBAN JUSTICE and PISTOL WHIPPED, it’s a little more memorable than most of the recent Seagal pictures, because he seems to care a little more. Admittedly there are some awkward voiceovers (I’m torn on whether it’s dubbed by a double or if it’s his own voice sped up to sound ridiculous), some of the dreaded avid farts and a scene where they use 6 cuts just showing a dude walking 10 feet from his car to talk to a guy. On the other hand Seagal is the sole credited writer and the movie definitely incorporates his recent hobby of taking part in drug raids and some of his beloved themes of brotherhood and redemption and what 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.