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 March, 2013

Offspring

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

tn_offspringI never heard of this one until I saw THE WOMAN. If you didn’t hear, Lucky McKee came up with that one because he saw OFFSPRING and was impressed by Pollyanna McIntosh’s portrayal of the feral, cannibalistic savage also called The Woman. OFFSPRING itself is an adaptation of a book by Jack Ketchum, which is in fact a sequel to another book called Off Season. So after I loved THE WOMAN so much I decided to read those.

In Off Season (published in 1980) a group of vacationers on the coast of Maine are attacked by a tribe of inbred savages. Like THE HILLS HAVE EYES this is a story inspired by the legend of the Sawney Beane Clan, cave-dwelling inbred cannibals who may or may not have terrorized 15th or 16th-century Scotland. The tribe in Off Season like to storm cabins, bash people over the heads, slit ’em open, take their favorite organs, or sometimes drag people back to their cave. They cook up body parts and eat ’em, collect bones, torture people, shit like that. They steal babies and raise them as their own. Their culture is very different from ours. (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.

Spring Breakers

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

tn_springbreakersI have this dumb joke that always amuses me: whenever they’re looking for a director to do a new MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE or a Marvel Comics movie or something I suggest Harmony Korine. It’s funny to picture the director of GUMMO and TRASH HUMPERS selling out or deciding to do a normal mainstream movie, because it just seems like something he would never be interested in. I picture him as a smartass New York art kid for life.

So it was pretty funny to see his new one at a multiplex with an IRON MAN 3 trailer playing before it. I think this was by accident. In style and substance it’s not that much more normal than MISTER LONELY (the one about the commune of celebrity impersonators), it just happens that it focuses on a topic that can be very commercial: young girls in bikinis spraying beer on each other and jumping up and down and sometimes they have guns. And one of the stars is James Franco, who seems to have alot of interests in common with Korine, but is also the star of a $215 million Disney 3D fantasy movie that was #1 at the box office just last week. (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.

Olympus Has Fallen

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

tn_olympushasfallenOLYMPUS HAS FALLEN is a watchable but instantly forgettable throwback to a subgenre I miss, the glossy ’90s studio action like IN THE LINE OF FIRE and UNDER SIEGE. I mean it’s not a studio movie – it was made by the until-recently-DTV sausage factory Millennium Films – but it sure seems legit with its respectable cast of Aaron Eckhart as the President, Ashley Judd as the First Lady, Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman as the Speaker of the House  (a demotion from DEEP IMPACT), Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett as the Secret Service director, Academy Award winner Melissa Leo as the Secretary of Defense, Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott as… some other type of White House guy. Lending whatever action movie credibility they can muster are 300’s Gerard Butler as the hero, PITCH BLACK’s Radha Mitchell as the hero’s wife, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS’s Rick Yune as the villain, and PAPARAZZI’s Cole Hauser reprising his A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD role as Agent Who Gets Killed Early On. (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.

Judge Dredd

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

tn_judgedreddHow are you gonna get em back on JUDGE DREDD with Sylvester Stallone when they’ve seen DREDD with Karl Urban? The new version is lower budget and streamlined and way better. It’s dedicated to the purity of this fascist character and the ugly world he lives in, and doesn’t worry about commercial considerations. (And sure enough did not do well commercially.) The new version is cool because it’s just about this larger than life character on one day doing one job. The old one, of course, had to be the story of the biggest thing that ever happened to Judge Dredd. It has all the weaknesses of calculated blockbuster type filmmaking, and only some of the strengths.

But you know what, it’s pretty fun to watch. There’s alot of good shit in here anyway, especially at the beginning. It’s a little better than I remembered. (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.

Poor Pretty Eddie

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

tn_poorprettyeddieHere’s an interesting oddity, a 1975 b-movie sleazefest about rape, racism and rednecks, exploitation but with bursts of SWEET SWEETBACK type artistic pretension. According to the historical essay in the extras it was actually financed by a notorious Atlanta pornographer named Michael Thevis (he also funded Oliver Stone’s SEIZURE). This biography tells me that Thevis was nicknamed “The Scarface of Porn,” that he started out running a newstand but his sales of Playboy inspired him to sell and produce more porn, an enterprise that eventually grew into a nationwide empire of magazines, loops and peep shows. One of his early projects was publishing two of Ed Wood’s porn novels. But before you get too charmed by his up-by-the-bootstraps story you should know he sold child and animal porn, was involved in gangland executions and when he got put away for burning down the warehouse of a guy who criticized him he busted out of prison, tracked down the former associate that testified against him and killed him and another guy with a shotgun.

Also he’s apparently still alive in prison so I’m not gonna criticize him either. This movie is great! Great job funding it, Scarface of Porn!
(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.

Another new design at Vern’s Flea Market: Argyle

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Okay, I appreciate everybody’s patience with the last couple designs. Now here’s one that some Val Verdian’s might actually want to wear. This is a ’70s iron-on inspired design honoring one of the under-recognized greats of cinema along with one of his most significant action achievements.

argyletshirt

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.

Hitchcock

Friday, March 15th, 2013

tn_hitchcockHow do you make a narrative film about Alfred Hitchcock filming PSYCHO? Adequately.

Anthony Hopkins (BAD COMPANY) plays Alfred “Hitch” Hitchcock, fresh off of NORTH BY NORTHWEST, anxious about his reputation and itching to do something new. He doesn’t want to turn into some by-the-numbers hack so he turns down bullshit like some stupid “Casino Royale” movie they want him to do, whatever the fuck that is. (keep in mind parkour had not been invented yet so it wouldn’t have been that good back then.) He doesn’t want to repeat himself and he’s fascinated by the gory true story of Ed Gein, famed Wisconsin killer, cannibal, grave robber and mama’s boy. When Robert Bloch’s Geinsploitation book Psycho comes out he decides it’s his next movie, but Paramount disagrees. Through his stubbornness, tenacity and a good agent he finds a way to fund it himself and have them distribute it. He makes them his errand boy. (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 Perfect Murder

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

tn_perfectmurderWith DIAL M FOR MURDER fresh on my mind I was really curious how they updated it in the 1998 remake A PERFECT MURDER. In this one Michael Douglas plays the scheming husband, Gwyneth Paltrow is the wife and Viggo Mortensen (when he was still a rising character actor and not yet the guy from LORD OF THE RINGS) is her boyfriend.

The basics are all there. The husband knows the wife is cheating, he blackmails someone else into doing the deed, but she ends up killing the guy, and he has to desperately maneuver to cover his tracks, ultimately being undone by a mistake he made after giving the would-be killer a key to the apartment. But within that framework they do all kinds of things to update, expand, complicate and alter things. Some of it is kinda clever in the way it will surprise you if you’re expecting everything to go the same as in the Hitchcock version (I can’t say “the original,” because that would be the play by Frederick Knott, credited as the basis of this). (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.

Dial M For Murder 3D

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

tn_dialmformurderDIAL M FOR MURDER is a minimalistic talk ‘n murder from our boy Alfred Hitchcock circa 1954. It doesn’t have the same “all in one shot” camera gimmick as ROPE (which was 6 years earlier), but it’s similar because 95% of it takes place in one apartment where an arrogant guy thinks he can get away with murder and an inquisitive guy tries to outsmart him and figure out what went down.

The attempted mastermind is Tony (Ray Milland), whose wife Margot (Grace Kelly) has an American boyfriend named Mark (Robert Cummings), so that would be the motive. Margot and Mark have called it off and tried to keep it a secret, but Tony has known for a long time and has put alot of work into staking out an old college acquaintance named Swann (Anthony Dawson) so he can find dirt on him and blackmail him into doing a murder.

(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.

Oz the Great and Powerful

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

tn_ozOZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL could also be called WALT DISNEY’S SAM RAIMI 3D. That’s what I was hoping to see, and that’s what I got. If it had been a WIZARD OF OZ prequel movie made by somebody not as exciting as Raimi I don’t know that I would’ve even bothered, and it’s not my first choice of what he should be doing now that he’s stopped being a captive of SPIDER-MAN. But it turns out to be a better-than-expected use of Raimi’s time and mine.

Before we get into that I’m gonna say what we’re all thinking: let’s call it quits on these revisionist fantasy and fairy tale type movies now. “What if Alice in Alice in Wonderland was really the chosen one and she puts on armor and leads an army against the jabberwocky” made literally a billion dollars, but it was a moronic idea that was not rescued by Tim Burton’s imaginative visuals. I’ll give the Hansel and Gretel one and the Jack and the Beanstalk one a shot on video, but after that maybe it’s enough now, eh fellas? But they’re into this idea now of the recognizable name that’s not copyrighted. (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.