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 the ‘AICN’ Category

Vern sees LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (remake [not CHAOS])!

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

SPOILER ALERT !!

LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT REMAKE

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT original, VIRGIN SPRING, CHAOS, THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake, and URBAN LEGEND.

Well well well, what do we have here? Looks like a remake of a Wes Craven movie, already unofficially remade as a Demon Dave DeFalco movie, itself based on an Ingmar Bergman movie based on a 13th century ballad based on a legend of why a particular Swedish church was built. I’m not sure the modern moviegoer is concerned with the origin story of the Kärna church, so we gotta wonder what exactly the reason is for this remake. The answer, of course, is that the original movie was first called KRUG AND COMPANY, they didn’t call it LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT until it had been traveling around for a while. They made it up after the fact, it didn’t really mean anything, so in the movie they never mentioned the location of the house. I saw the trailer for the remake where somebody’s driving down a road and says “it’s the last house on the left.” This is the reason to remake it, you can finally go back and establish that! (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.

Vern eulogizes the great Donald E. Westlake

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Well, shit. The first bummer of 2009, or the last one of 2008. Turns out last night before his New Year’s Eve dinner the great mystery writer Donald Westlake collapsed and died. He was 75.

Westlake was a hell of a prolific writer. He started in 1960 and delivered books faster than his agent thought he should. Supposedly it was bad to try to promote more than one book in a year, so he started using pseudonyms. Under the Westlake name he wrote around 50 books – add in the pen names and that number doubles. Movies based on his books include THE HOT ROCK (a fun Robert Redford heist comedy recently reviewed by Quint), BANK SHOT, A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER and the most recent Costa-Gavras movie THE AX. He was also a screenwriter who sometimes adapted other writers – Patricia Highsmith for RIPLEY UNDER GROUND, Dashiel Hammett for a TV anthology, Jim Thompson for THE GRIFTERS (he was nominated for an Oscar for that one). Personally I think his best screenplay is THE STEPFATHER, which does such a great job of including dark satire of ’80s family values in the subtext of an effective thriller. He was often known for lighthearted and goofy material but he was definitely good at the mechanics of a tight mystery or thriller story.

The reason this one hits me hard is that one of the other writers hidden beneath the friendly Westlake exterior was Richard Stark. If you had asked me yesterday I would’ve told you Stark was my favorite living writer. Aside from four spinoffs about an actor/thief named Grofield, Stark’s entire output was the 24 novels of the Parker series. These are the sparsely written, ridiculously badass adventures of a guy who plans heists, then leads the team executing them. He’s the best at what he does, knows how to work with the best people, and is usually disciplined enough to follow his rules and obey his instincts. But something always goes wrong anyway and that’s his other job, the problem solver. The guy who cleans up the mess. Usually, but not always, he’s able to outsmart and outfight everybody and get away with his ass intact, and most of the loot. (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.

Vern has read Stallone’s The Expendables

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

SPOILER ALERT !!

Usually I don’t write much about a movie before it’s made, because I prefer movies that exist. Every once in a while somebody sends me a script like LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD or RAMBO, but I usually ignore them. I would rather watch the finished movie and not know what the original plan was. And to be honest I’m not sure how qualified I am to tell you about the meal based on the recipe. But THE EXPENDABLES – a Sylvester Stallone action ensemble picture where he will write, direct and then star alongside Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Forest Whitaker and Randy Couture – is a big fuckin deal among those of us who love the action cinema of the ’80s and ’90s. We can’t help but dream about this one like nerds once dreamed of Star Wars prequels or new outfits for their limited edition Serenity dolls so they can act out what would’ve happened in the second season. So when Stallone’s script fell into my lap this time I couldn’t resist.

By the way I would like to take a moment to welcome A.B. King to the talkback. Welcome, A.B.

The ragtag team of the title are a group of elite mercenary badasses – at one point described as “totally prepared to die in a blaze of glory” – hired to take out a dictator in the South American country of Corza. I do not have an opinion on what’s going on in Corza because I believe it is a fictional country, but if in fact they’re real I’m against them. They got all kinds of human rights violations and shit. No good. (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.

Vern Vs. Seagal Vs. Vampires In AGAINST THE DARK!!

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Over my several years as a rising Seagalogist I have been asked many times who would win in a fight between Seagal and Van Damme. I have also been asked who would win between Seagal and Bruce Lee. I have never been asked who would win between Seagal and vampires, but I know now that the answer is Sea(SPOILER)gal. But this is also one of those whoever-wins-we-lose type scenarios because, I’m sorry to report, AGAINST THE DARK may be the least interesting movie Seagal has ever made.

Some might disagree. Many who don’t like Seagal’s movies criticize him for the exact reason why I think he’s interesting: he keeps making the same type of movie over and over again. To me it’s the perfecting, tinkering, and slow evolution of that formula that makes the movies cool. You don’t listen to blues to hear brand new riffs. Still, it SEEMS like it would be interesting to see his first attempt at a horror movie. But let’s be honest, nobody’s expecting it to work as a horror movie, and it doesn’t. So it should be a real Seagal movie, but it isn’t. It’s a shitty Sci-Fi-Channel-worthy vampire siege movie where one of the characters happens to be played by Seagal. And not even the main character. (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.

Vern Throws A Kick At JCVD!!

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

By now, you most likely know what this is, and wheter or not you’re interested in it. I’m thrilled Vern got a chance to check it out, though, and if there’s any review of it I’ve been waiting to read, it’s this one.

This is one of those things that almost seems too good to really exist. Did a talented French director really convince Jean-Claude Van Damme to play himself in an arty hostage thriller, giving him his best production values in years, one of his best movies, and definitely the best acting performance and most personal artistic expression of his career (so far)? Okay, I can believe somebody would come up with the idea, I can sort of believe Van Damme would be interested, but it’s hard to believe that they really found the money, really made it, really executed it this good. 2008, I love 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.

Vern Vs. TRANSPORTER 3!!

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here.

Vern is the greatest writer about film writing about film anywhere that film is written about. If you disagree, I will pay a big guy to punch you in a soft place.

I haven’t seen TRANSPORTER 3 yet, but thanks to this review, I feel like I have. Every word’s a gem, Vern. Thanks for the huge Friday morning belly laugh.

Check it out. Tell me I’m wrong.

Here’s a test for you. How many times did you rewind the part in TRANSPORTER 2 where he sees in a reflection that there’s a bomb on the bottom of his car so he drives the car off a pile of junk, flips, successfully hooks the bomb onto a nearby crane and lands the car safely? (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.

Vern Trades Punches With James Bond In QUANTUM OF SOLACE!

Friday, November 14th, 2008

QUANTUM OF SOLACE
(a particular amount of consolation)

You and me we’re movie nerds. So when we go out to a movie we try to see it on the biggest, nicest screen. We see it in Imax if we can, or we have our favorite theaters where we hope it will be playing. But you gotta wonder why we keep doing that when more and more movies are not designed to be comprehensible on a large screen. Increasingly, action movies are designed to be viewed on your phone or wrist watch or whatever silly shit they invent next. Why do I wait out in the cold for two hours to see this movie on the giant Cinerama screen when it’s just gonna guarantee that I will have no idea if James Bond’s car is in front of or behind the other car, which one went off the cliff, what James Bond is doing to the guy he’s fighting and also which one is James Bond? At the very least they should rope off the front 2/3 of all these theaters since Marc Forster, the director of QUANTUM OF SOLACE, apparently was not told that people may sit within 250 feet of the screen. (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.

Vern survives the FACES OF DEATH 30th Anniversary Edition!!

Friday, October 17th, 2008

I know we got some home theater buffs out there, right? Let’s say you have an HDTV, a Blu-Ray player, 5.1 surround (or whatever the best is these days), the whole setup. How do you feel about using all that to watch a guy eat monkey brains?

What I’m getting at, my friends, is that FACES OF DEATH came out on Blu-Ray and a new 30th anniversary DVD earlier this month. I don’t think Harry covered it in his column, so I thought I would give my thoughts on this important event.

As you know, FACES OF DEATH is one of those movies with a reputation so vile, so putrid that it’s not even thought of as a movie. It’s just a tape. A tape more hated than BATMAN AND ROBIN or MEET THE SPARTANS – one most people are disgusted by without having necessarily seen it. Like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE only worse, because it has REAL DEATH IN IT! (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.

Vern Decides To RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP!

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Okay, let’s say it’s the year 2008, you are a horror fan, and the one thing that would really hit the spot for you in the near future would be a low budget FRIDAY THE 13TH (part 1) rip-off with a unique brand of in-your-face FUCK YOU AND YOUR MOTHER New York attitude. But not SLEEPAWAY CAMP, you already saw that one. Well then November 4th is your lucky day, dickwad, because that’s when original SLEEPAWAY CAMP director Robert Hiltzik returns to Sleepaway Camp with his sophomore directorial effort, RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP.

During the cheesy credits sequence (which I thought was a menu animation at first) your mind may slip away to imagine all the modern ways a new SLEEPAWAY CAMP could suck. You can easily picture the bland twentysomething soap opera actors going through the usual DTV horror motions. (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.

Vern’s Got A Contest For You, Sponsored By Seagal’s KILL SWITCH On DVD!

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Hello fellow Seagalogists and others, Steven Seagal’s latest and most recent, KILL SWITCH, arrives on DVD October 7th. Here’s the trailer:

Seagal plays a Memphis homicide detective chasing two unrelated serial killers while committing atrocities against dentistry and possibly juggling more than one family. (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.