I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Archive for February, 2013

Ip Man: The Legend is Born

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

tn_legendisbornipmanTHE LEGEND IS BORN: IP MAN isn’t related to the Donny Yen movies IP MAN and IP MAN 2. I mean obviously they’re all based on the same Wing Chun master famous for teaching Bruce Lee, but this isn’t the official prequel to those ones, because it doesn’t have the same director or producers or anything. It’s like if right now somebody who’s not Spielberg made their own prequel to LINCOLN.

Well, I’ll try to be open-minded if they do that, because when I finally got around to this LEGEND IS BORN one I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a very effective martial arts melodrama with alot of the classic themes: brotherhood, loyalty, betrayal, finding a master, challenging tradition, falling in love. As kids Ip Man and his adopted brother Tin Chi go to live and study with the Wing Chun master Chan Wah Shun (Sammo Hung) and become friends with a girl student named Mei Wai. The three grow up to be very close, in fact an incomplete love triangle (Tin Chi loves Mei Wai, Mei Wai loves Ip Man, Ip Man doesn’t notice). (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.

Sushi Girl

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

tn_sushigirlI know they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but a movie is not a book and a cover is not always the same art as a poster so I sometimes feel okay writing off a movie because of its poster. And these days when a movie has kind of a quasi-retro poster with a sort-of-old-school-ish illustration and attempted ’70s font, I assume it’s just some bullshit by somebody who liked GRINDHOUSE like I did and thinks if they know about old movies they can make a movie like that even if they don’t have the chops. But some of you said I had to watch SUSHI GIRL, so I gave it a shot. I forgive you.
(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.

Oscars 2013

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

tn_oscarclintOn this, the 10th 20th anniversary of the correct movie winning best picture, we celebrate by having that smarmy millionaire dick from the Comedy Central Roasts and the Fox cartoons sing fake-edgy show tunes and make Hitler jokes, but hopefully it’ll still be fun. I’m kinda bummed that ARGO seems to be headed for best picture, but way worse movies have won before. I’ll be rooting for LINCOLN as the one that has a chance to win (ZERO DARK THIRTY is too misunderstood and DJANGO UNCHAINED is too awesome). Remember, if LINCOLN or DJANGO does not win it proves that Hollywood is pro-slavery.

I’ll be rooting for Honest Abe, who I think is a shoo-in, but I can be bad as these things. I’ll be rooting for Catwoman, even though I got a thing for Li’l Mystique and she might take it. I’d like PARANORMAN to pull off an upset, but I doubt it, so I’ll take WRECK-IT RALPH.

I’ll be kinda mad if LINCOLN doesn’t get best adapted, for many reasons, some mentioned in the link below. I’ll be rooting for ZERO DARK THIRTY in original, but would also be thrilled if Tarantino or Anderson somehow got it. And if they cut to Bruce in the audience.

I definitely want Kathryn Bigelow for director. Oh wait. Okay, Spielberg.

I do not recommend drinking games but if you do them I suggest drinking for McFarlane making a Hitler reference, for cutting to Chris Tucker after another black person speaks on stage, for jokes about ZERO DARK THIRTY and torture, and references to the N-word being used alot in DJANGO UNCHAINED. Or Jamie Foxx’s balls being shown.

Anyway everybody have fun and please share your thoughts below. This is recommended for participants only and not “I don’t watch the Oscars because such-and-such” sticks-in-the-mud.

UPDATE: How I did on my predictions (SPOILER: poorly)

Over on this Fanhattan thing me and some other writers wrote about who we thought would win in some of the categories and why. I would’ve changed some of my predictions if I’d written them more recently, but wouldn’t have done that much better (except I would’ve caught up with everybody and called ARGO for best picture. Back then it seemed like a ridiculous notion to me).

Here are the posts and whether I was right or not.

Best Actor/Actress

Actor: Right. Actress: Wrong.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress

Supporting Actor: Wrong. Did not see that coming at all. Supporting Actress: Right.

Best screenplay

Original: Wrong. Total surprise. Adapted: Wrong. Total outrage.

Best director

Totally wrong.

I can’t seem to find the posts for best animated feature or best picture, but I believe I called WRECK-IT RALPH and LINCOLN.

Total: 2 out of 9. Sorry America.

 

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.

Paycheck

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

tn_paycheckwoozone?Remember when John Woo did a science fictional movie a while back that everybody said was shitty? This was after we’d all kind of given up on him, so I never saw it. Until now.

Ben Affleck, the director of ARGO, stars as Michael Jennings, an amoral engineering genius of a futurist Seattle, some time after the near-future one in STEALTH. (In the future the borders of Seattle will be stretched so far that they will include Vancouver, BC, which is all we see in this movie other than one helicopter shot over Seattle Center). His introduction is funny because he gets to do a John Woo slo-mo strut toward the camera wearing shades (it’s important to the plot that he’s finicky about sunglasses) and, uh, holding a computer monitor under his arm.

(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.

Limitless

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

tn_limitlessIn the beginning of LIMITLESS, Bradley Cooper is actually pretty limited. He somehow has a contract to write a sci-fi novel, but it’s overdue and he hasn’t even started. He doesn’t seem to know how to clean his apartment or brush his hair. His ex-girlfriend (Abbey Cornish from SUCKER PUNCH) is still supporting him, but bristles at his attempts to rekindle their love. He also has an ex-wife who won’t even talk to him. At least he doesn’t have the drug problems he had back when he lost her.

Then he runs into his ex-brother-in-law/dealer on the street, reluctantly goes for a drink with him and ends up leaving with one free sample of a pill this guy claims has been approved by the FDA and will go on the market soon for $850 a pop. Supposedly we only use 20% of our brains and this unlocks our access to the rest. I’ve read that that we-only-use-part-of-our-brain thing is an urban legend, but maybe this guy just doesn’t understand how the pill works. However they do it, they unlimit you. (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.

Bait (2000)

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

tn_baitWhen BAIT came out in 2000 I had no interest. That continued for 12 years. Then one night, in a dream, I was thinking that because of my love for Jamie Foxx’s performance in DJANGO UNCHAINED I was gonna rent his closest thing to an action vehicle. When I woke up I thought, “Yeah, actually I do want to rent BAIT.” So I did. You see, I don’t have a hundred updates a day for you guys, but I’m always working, even when I’m not conscious.

Foxx plays Alvin, a petty thief who gets busted trying to steal a bunch of prawns, and winds up in a cell with a guy (Robert Pastorelli) who recently betrayed his partner (Doug Hutchison) in a gold heist, and also is dying of a heart condition and gives Alvin a message for his wife which is a hint about the location of the hidden gold. The betrayed partner is a psychotic computer genius, and the Treasury Department wants him real bad ’cause he 1) killed two security guards and 2) broke a type of encryption that’s used to protect weapons, therefore posing a threat to national security. Or at least that’s their pitch when they ask for the money for a super-high-tech tracking device/bug that they implant in Alvin’s jaw without his knowledge before they get him released so they can surveil him until the psycho comes after him to get his gold back. (And no, the psycho is not a leprechaun. Maybe a metaphorical leprechaun, I haven’t really considered that yet. I’ll have to think on that a bit.)
(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 Mighty Quinn

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

tn_mightyquinnTHE MIGHTY QUINN is a 1989 Denzel joint where he does a Jamaican accent. Or maybe it’s a Jamaican-ish accent, because it takes place on a fictional Caribbean island, where Denzel’s character Xavier Quinn is the chief of police.

One day a white guy at the rich white people resort gets his head chopped off, and the white guy in charge blames it on Quinn’s irresponsible childhood best friend Maubee (Robert Townsend). All the authorities are convinced except Quinn, who’s a little unsure at first and alot unsure the more he investigates and uncovers a conspiracy.

(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.

K-19: The Widowmaker

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

tn_k-19Well, I was stupid to write off K-19 all these years. I don’t know why I did. I didn’t even know what it’s about. I think I knew K-19 wasn’t a mountain, it’s a submarine. I knew it had kind of an audacious name but was directed by this year’s #1 Oscar snub, Kathryn Bigelow. That should’ve been enough, but I never heard anything too good about it and didn’t feel the need to see it.

Maybe it’s the submarine thing. I know this is blasphemy to alot of people, but I never even got into that one submarine movie that everybody loves that’s by the director of DIE HARD and PREDATOR. I’ve tried and it’s fine and everything but I just can’t get myself excited about it like everybody else. Maybe I’m subconsciously rebelling against my old man, who worked on subs. I never went that way. I’m a proud surface dweller. Strictly a land man. Vote no on Atlantis.
(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 Miserables

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

tn_themiserablesAs you may have noticed, this week I’m doing some leading-up-to-the-Oscars-on-Sunday reviews. This one here completes my best-picture-nominees checklist, and then I’m gonna do a few less acclaimed previous movies from some of the nominees or people involved with the nominated films.

I know, I know. The Oscars don’t mean anything, blah blah blah. You know, the Super Bowl doesn’t prove who the best football player is either, but I don’t begrudge football fans for enjoying watching it. I like watching the Oscars every year and rooting for movies I like and against ones that I don’t like. I have no illusions about it being real important or an accurate scientific measurement of artistic worth or anything stupid like that, so skip the condescending lecture this year. I’ll just re-read the ones I got last year and the year before and the year before and repeat if desired.

The fact is I have fun watching the Oscars and I like to see all of the best picture nominees beforehand. As a non-professional critic and with the up-to-10-nominees they have now this is somewhat of an achievement, I think, and it forces me to watch some things I normally wouldn’t get around to. Before the nominations came out I was hoping the not-great buzz on LES MISERABLES would spare me having to sit through it, but no dice. So a couple weekends ago I saw AMOUR and the next weekend I capped it off with a Miserable Sunday.

(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.

Amour

Monday, February 18th, 2013

tn_amourHollywood is always trying to shove these movies down our throats that are just about a bunch of Hollywood bullshit, like a kid and his talking horse use teleportation to win the Super Bowl, or there’s a serial killer holding a fighting tournament in the sewers to prove his love for a girl, or whatever all these popular movies are now, I would never watch them so I wouldn’t know. But it’s all super heroes and comics books and nothing for the rest of us. What about the grown ups who don’t want to see IRON SPIDER RISES PART 32 or STAR WARS IN THE DARKNESS, we just want to see a nice movie about a French couple in their 80s being miserable in their apartment as the wife becomes increasingly mentally and physically debilitated and the husband has to feed and bathe her and they’re both completely tormented by pain and boredom and we watch in long, static shots as they cry and look off into the distance and agonizingly wait for the sweet comfort of death? No wonder there’s all this piracy and video games, if Hollywood won’t deliver what the people really want. For what we want we gotta go to Michael Haneke.
(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.