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

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for February, 2011

The King’s Speech and Oscars and shit

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

tn_kingsspeechThe 2011 Oscars are on in a couple hours. I know it’s supposed to be cool for movie fans to say they don’t care about the Oscars because it’s all meaningless and etc., but FREDDY VS. JASON was meaningless too and I still wanted to see who would win. Of course that one was ambiguous, I say Freddy won because of the wink but Jason got to do that cool strut holding the severed head. So I’m calling a best director/best picture split tonight.

I mean there’s nothing wrong with it. We all understand the inherent flaws of an award show, but you can still enjoy them, just like you enjoy seeing everybody’s stupid lists of the top 10 of the year or all time best explosions or whatever so you can get mad at what they left off or agree with some unexpected choices they made or whatever. It’s part of being too into movies, don’t get all uppity about it.

This year I was kinda feeling like I didn’t have a bird in this cockfight, because I didn’t even think I had a favorite theatrically released movie this year, but then I remembered that I did and I just didn’t want to admit it because it was about ballet.

I crammed and watched WINTER’S BONE and 127’S HOURS this weekend, so I’d seen 9 of the 10 best picture nominees. I knew it was gonna be a bummer to watch the only one I hadn’t seen be the winner so I went and saw KING’S SPEECH too. (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.

AGAINST THE DARK taking over the world

Friday, February 25th, 2011

tn_atdghanaIt has been brought to my attention that a hand-painted AGAINST THE DARK poster from Ghana is for sale on the ebay for $250.75. That may seem like alot, but please keep in mind that it’s 15% off of the regular price. And it’s not like it’s $251. It’s a quarter cheaper than that. Not bad.

Nah, I’m just fuckin with you, actually it is a reasonable price for an artifact like this. If you’re not familiar with the Ghana approach to movie posters, they are literally one-of-a-kind original paintings, usually done on cut open flour sacks, that hang outside of the little shacks where the movies (I believe on DVD now) are shown on a TV screen. I have a really good book about it called Extreme Canvas: Movie Poster Paintings from Ghana, but I think that one’s hard to find now. There’s another one that’s supposed to be good called Ghanavision. I enjoy these posters because of their crude look and occasional extreme disregard for movie accuracy. Also I like when they obviously didn’t have much reference material, so they’ll put Arnold Schwarzenegger in his RAW DEAL undershirt for T2 or something. (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.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

tn_mesrine1MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT is part 1 of a 2 part French true-ish crime saga about Jacques Mesrine, international terror, mustachioed robber of banks and casinos, killer of forest rangers, escaper of prisons, etc. One of these lovable maniacs who make the world worse and the movies better. This review is just of the first part. Both parts have been available as an import for a while but I waited for the official American release, so I gotta wait another month for part 2.

Vincent Cassel (EASTERN PROMISES) plays Mesrine as a fun-loving, woman-enjoying dude, a charmer who wins you over when he’s caught robbing a house and without missing a beat just pretends to be a police officer responding to the robbery. In real life nobody likes some asshole that lies to the elderly and steals their shit, but through the filter of a movie we admire his cleverness. And hey, he could’ve just pistol whipped them and gotten similar results. He made a better choice. But he’s not a good man.
(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.

Exiled

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

tn_exiledAfter VENGEANCE heroically bloodshedded me in the face it was obviously time to check out some of these Johnnie To movies that I’ve been ignoring even though everybody and their blood brother has been recommending them to me over the years. It’s nice to see that while Hong Kong action cinema has lost the worldwide attention it had in the ’90s there’s still been some people keeping it alive. Mr. To definitely has a modern take on the types of emotions and style we love from that era. So here’s another one of his more recent ones, 2006’s EXILED.
(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.

Lawman: Port of Call Phoenix

Monday, February 21st, 2011

tn_seagalpaintedI don’t know how I missed this one, because it’s a good one. Entertainments Weekly reported several days ago that A&E has unexpectedly picked up STEVEN SEAGAL: LAWMAN for season 3… but it’s a total reboot. After being chased out of Jefferson Parish by false allegations Chief Seagal has been transferred to Phoenix, Arizona. This is not so much a Seagal type plot but it’s a common cop movie trope, the fish-out-of-water like NYPD’s John McClane or Detroit’s Axel Foley navigating the douchey Californian terrain. (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.

Truck Turner

Friday, February 18th, 2011

tn_truckturnerEverybody knows Isaac Hayes’s music for SHAFT, but he also scored TRUCK TURNER. And while he was at it he decided to also star as Truck Turner. Why not? I guess at one point it was gonna be Robert Mitchum, which would’ve made for a really weird blaxploitation movie.

Under Hayes’s super-funky theme song the movie opens with a montage of vintage L.A. lowlife spots: liquor stores, blood banks, pawn shops, a corner where a bunch of old drunks have an awkward slap fight until a cop breaks it up. And I’m pretty sure those are real dudes. The montage also shows the signs for more than ten bail bonds places, which shows that our man Truck has alot of competition.

(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.

Elephant White

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

tn_elephantwhiteDid you know that Prachya Pinkaew, the director of ONG BAK and CHOCOLATE, was making an English language movie starring Djimon Hounsou and Kevin Bacon? I didn’t either until a screener wound up in my hands. It’s yet another weird, internationally produced DTV action movie from Millennium Films. (This is an early heads-up review – it comes out May 17th on DVD.)

Hounsou plays Curtie Church, a mercenary hired to take out some sex traffickers in Bangkok to avenge the death of a guy (who played a similar character in THE MARINE 2)’s daughter. Turns out Church being manipulated to start a war between two gangs, so he gets caught in the middle. A young girl from the brothel follows him to his bell tower hideout. To protect his mission he gags her and ties her to a pole, only to eventually (you better sit down and swallow all liquids first, this will surprise you) soften up and start trying to help her 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.

Can you fellas explain this to me: Spider-man’s web shooters

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

webshootersOkay, I remember this being a thing when Sam Raimi made his first Spider-man picture (we’ll call it SPIDER-MAN A), but I kinda forgot about it. Now there is some hubbub now that the other guy is doing the other Spider-man picture (SPIDER-MAN B). See, in SPIDER-MAN A the guy had what the nerd community refers to as “organic web-shooters,” which means that he has the power of a Spider-man and can shoot spider-webs from his wrists although he is the size and shape of a man and does not suck the blood of flies or any crazy spider shit like that. In SPIDER-MAN B he has non-organical type web-shooters, meaning he’s just a regular non-webshooting individual who owns little web-shooting machines that he invented, on account of he is a huge nerd. This is considered a victory for all Americans because apparently this is how it was done in the comic strip books. (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.

Unstoppable (2010)

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

tn_unstoppableAfter the one-two Avid fart punch of MAN ON FIRE and DOMINO, I swore off Tony Scott for life. Or, it turns out, for five years. Those two movies sounded up my alley but they were brutally murdered by Scott’s reckless disregard for visual storytelling. I just couldn’t trust him anymore, even if the movie sounded good, which his last couple have not, even if everybody said he calmed down a little.

Now, through the combined magic of blu-ray technology, boredom and Christian forgiveness, I have given Tony Scott another shot with the Denzel Washington-Chris Pine-speeding train motion picture UNSTOPPABLE. The bad news: I didn’t like the movie enough to justify ending my boycott. The good news: at least he’s curbed his instincts to mark his territory by stylistically peeing all over every frame of film.
(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 Marine 2

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

tn_marine2Lately alot of us have been noticing the decrease in high quality action movies on the big screen and the increase of them in the direct-to-DVD world. Some of us are starting to suspect that there’s been a switcheroo, that the DTV format – once designated as a 100% crap zone – has become the more reliable place to find good action movies. At least for English language movies it seems like most of the best ones (the UNDISPUTEDs, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION, BLOOD AND BONE) go straight to video, and anything on the big screen, even the ones I end up enjoying (THE EXPENDABLES, THE MECHANIC, NINJA ASSASSIN) you can pretty much 100% assume is gonna be compromised by some blurry, muddy, sloppy, close-up, confusing, de-thrillified action scenes.

Well, I’m not sure if we’ve reached that milestone yet, I might be cherrypicking my examples there. But add this to the evidence file: we got another DTV sequel that is clearly superior to the theatrical original. (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.