So once again we have survived.

Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

Paparazzi

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

This is one of those mysterious movies that suddenly appeared out of nowhere one Friday night, then disappeared again a week later without so much as a puff of smoke. It straddles that blurry line between mainstream studio movie advertised on national television and straight to video thriller nobody’s ever heard of.

I actually saw an ad for it that week and I gotta admit I was a little intrigued. You just saw some dude falling down a fire escape and maybe a car flipping or something, and I thought maybe it was some gritty low budget late ’70s early ’80s style down and dirty revenge thriller. I mean there were no stars in it, it looked like the main character was that sleazeball Tom Sizemore (actually it’s Cole Hauser, some guy who looks kind of like Christian Bale but sounds kind of like Willem Dafoe). The only way they tried to make it sound like a Real Hollywood Movie was to brag that it was produced by Mel Gibson. (the guy from MAD MAX.) (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.

National Treasure

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Well you gotta find something to be proud of your country for, and right now reality sure as shit ain’t doin’ the trick. As I’m writing this we’re lookin down the barrel of four more years of Bush. There are signs of vote fraud starting to peek their heads out, but since it wouldn’t necessarily change who the president is, everybody seems to figure eh, screw it. They just massacred the shit out of innocent people in Fallujah, only to move the rebels into Mosul and Baghdad, so now there will be more massacres. Meanwhile, Bush continues to stick an electrode up the ass of the concept of accountability, promoting everybody he can think of who has fucked up bad. National security adviser has destroyed our national security? Make her secretary of state! White House lawyer wrote the infamous memo arguing that torture is great and the Geneva Conventions are for pussies? Make him attorney general! As we speak they are trying to track down Joseph Hazelwood to head up the EPA and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

I mean I love my country. But my country is being a real bitch right now. Don’t worry, I never hit a country in my life. But my country is getting up in my face trying to provoke me right now and I guess I just gotta leave the apartment for a while to cool off. (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.

Ring 0: Birthday

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Okay, let me take a deep breath and explain this shit. You remember the movie THE RING, directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Naomi Watts. It was a remake of the japanese movie RINGU (or RING) directed by Hideo Nakata. (You may remember I reviewed THE RING on THE AIN’T IT COOL NEWS and also was the first motherfucker on the internet to reveal it was being made back when I reviewed RINGU and RINGU 2 for them.) The movie by Hideo Nakata came after a TV series and both were based on a novel. At the same time Nakata’s movie came out there was another movie called RING 2 or RASEN which means SPIRAL but is not to be confused with the Japanese horror movie UZUMAKI which is about spirals but is completely unrelated to rings. Well RING 2 is also not to be confused with RINGU 2 which is directed by Hideo Nakata. See, RINGU was a huge hit but RASEN (even though it was based on the sequel book) was not, so they pretended it never happened and made a new sequel. Soon after in Korea, they made a remake of the original RINGU, known here as THE RING VIRUS and I haven’t seen that one but I heard it has stuff that was ONLY in the movie version but also stuff only from the book. In the US Gore Verbinski made THE RING which is sort of the same story as the Japanese movie but now in seattle with horses and a girl named Samara instead of Sadako. That one now has a sequel coming out which is directed by, holy shit, Hideo Nakata himself, director of the original RING movie and the second attempt at the first RING movie sequel. So now he’s directing the sequel to the remake of his original, which is apparently a direct sequel to the remake, not a remake of either his original sequel or the sequel that was adapted from the book sequel that he did not direct and nobody liked. (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 Grudge

Sunday, October 24th, 2004

For serious movie watching individuals like you or me, movies start to be like a drug after a while. You know how potheads and acidheads are always experimenting with their drugs? Dude, I wonder what the produce department is like on acid. Dude, I wonder what Disneyland is like on acid. Dude, I wonder what Knott’s Berry Farm is like on acid. Dude, I wonder what Police Academy 2 is like on acid.

Well you and I, we’re walking the clean path. But we’re kind of the same way with movies. Depending on the movie you want it to be a different situation – sit in a different part of a theater, see it with friends or alone, see it with a big crowd or early in the morning so there’s nobody there. If it’s a sequel, do you rewatch the original first or keep it distant in your mind? I had to make these type of decisions for THE GRUDGE because it’s a remake of this japanese horror movie I’ve been meaning to see for a while. Nobody probaly remembers this but I was the first one to review RINGU and RINGU 2 over there on The Ain’t It Cool News and the first one to report it was being remade as THE RING. And then I reviewed that remake too when they made 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.

Christine

Thursday, October 14th, 2004

I don’t know if you remember this movie, it’s about a haunted car. In other words, it’s based on a Stephen King book. And that also means it’s a 50’s car that plays old Little Richard songs and crap while it kills people. I know the filmatists today are bad, they gotta put references to all the TV shows and movies from their childhood, but Stephen King is the original. This guy has been cannibalizing his childhood for decades. And also he’s been making up stories about inanimate objects killing people. Killer laundry machines and shit like that. Remember in the TV movie version of THE SHINING, there was a haunted fire hose that killed a guy? It’s alot like that only a car.

Actually, it’s a better movie than I remember it being when I saw it back in the ’80s, and I’m going to give most of the credit to Mr. John Carpenter. I’m not saying this is HALLOWEEN or THEY LIVE but it’s a good straightforward haunted car movie. The movie stars Keith Gordon (the kid from HOME MOVIES and DRESSED TO KILL) as a nerdy kid whose jock buddy tells him he needs to get laid now that he’s a senior and who gets his ass kicked in metal shop. They stab his sack lunch to death with a switchblade and he suffers the humiliation of everybody seeing that his mom packed him yogurt. (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.

Man on Fire

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

I gotta question I was wondering about. If you had to choose one Scott brother that was better (or not as bad), which would it be, Ridley or Tony? On one hand, Tony has never made a truly great movie like ALIEN or, you know, BLADE RUNNER is a good one too in my opinion. Both by Ridley. Tony’s got nothing on that level. But on the other hand, Tony has a couple okay movies: TRUE ROMANCE and CRIMSON TIDE are both pretty okay. I’m looking on IMDB here and– okay wait a minute, Tony Scott did TOP GUN? I forgot about that one. Never mind. I guess I choose Ridley. Congratulations on this great achievement, Ridley. I remember you seemed pretty pissed off that you didn’t get the best director Oscar for that corny gladiator movie you made. Maybe this great honor will cheer you up. Way to go, champ.

So I guess that makes Tony the underdog here, and he had one this year called MAN ON FIRE that seemed to show some promise as a film of Badass Cinema. Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington (“You shot me in the ass!”) plays an alcoholic ex-CIA killer guy who’s hard up for work so he becomes a bodyguard for a little girl in South America. People get kidnapped there more often than they don’t get kidnapped, so next thing you know she gets stolen and this motherfucker stops at nothing to get her back and/or torture, maim and murder the people responsible. And I don’t know if you ever saw the poster for this one but it was real good. No collage or nothing, just one giant picture of Denzel wearing a suit and sunglasses, looking real tough. Behind him you see nothing but fire and smoke, and he’s standing half way in front of this little girl, holding out one hand in front of her, and she’s wearing a private school uniform and hugging a teddy bear. (You know, for emphasis.) It’s like Chow Yun Fat with the baby on the HARD BOILED poster, only 9 years later. (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.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Friday, September 17th, 2004

Sometimes it almost seems like there’s a whole genre of “INDIANA JONES-TYPE” pictures – movies that look back nostalgically to those golden days when George Lucas looked back nostalgically to those other golden days. THE MUMMY is one example of this horrible type of picture.

I bet some individuals consider SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW to be in that same category, but I think it’s different. It doesn’t have that same third generation xerox feel, because this movie actually feels alot more like the old serials and pulp novels and crap that influenced the genre than the STAR WARS pictures and what not do. The technology used is very modern (apparently it was all shot with actors in front of blue screens and everything else is computered in there) but there’s not a whole lot of modernizing going on here. It takes place in some alternate 1930s where THE WIZARD OF OZ exists but the Hindenburg never blew up and some British fighter jet hot shot named Joseph Sky Captain defends America and the world from evil science with his “army for hire” and wacky inventor sidekick. (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.

My Name Is Modesty and Frankenfish

Thursday, September 9th, 2004

Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

Holy cow, I think that’s the sound of my balls getting busted. And I s’pose if they’re going to get busted, I’m glad it’s by Guillermo Del Toro’s favorite working film critic, the Northwest’s greatest ex-con turned online movie columnist… the one… the only… Vern:

VERN’S VHS PILE

Howdy boys. Well I know Moriarty’s got his DVD shelf that he’s real proud of and he has more DVDs than he will actually live to ever watch, which is good. Always wise to have that shit around to pawn, in my experience. I’m not saying he’s gonna get a whole lot for BASIC, GHOST SHIP, ROLLERBALL, MR. DEEDS, and that kind of crap (yeah, I studied that picture too), but hey, if it buys half a bowl of soup on a cold day it might be worth it. Always save for the future. Anyway I’ve got a couple more reviews of straight to video movies for you so I thought it was time I shared with you something very special. Not to brag or anything but this is Vern’s VHS Pile:

Yep, that’s right, that’s a pile of VHS tapes right there. Most of them are screeners, all of them are an obsolete format, and one of them is even a good movie. Two if you count the headcleaner. I know alot of people will not believe I actually have such a pile, so let me just head you newsies off at the pass and tell you that no, that is not fake, that’s a bonafide 100% real photograph, and all are owned by me, not rented like Ja Rule’s mansion on that episode of CRIBS I read about. (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 Driver

Sunday, September 5th, 2004

This is a lesser known but completely fucking badass Walter Hill picture about a getaway driver. Ryan O’Neal plays the driver character (called “The Driver”) who is pursued by a semi-crazy cop with no name (“The Detective” on the credits) played by Bruce Dern.

The movie starts out with a robbery sort of like the dog race robbery Hill wrote for the remake of THE GETAWAY, except that the movie rushes through the robbery part and focuses on the escape. Right away you know you are in for a treat with this movie, because it’s some of the most intense car chases I’ve ever seen. Lots of car’s–eye-view shots as the driver swerves through oncoming traffic, red lights, parking garages, narrow alleys… he’s got 2 or 3 cops right on his ass everywhere he goes but he keeps managing to run them off the road or fake them out and leave them in the dust. (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.

Raising Cain

Wednesday, August 25th, 2004

Like the character John Lithgow plays, this movie is fucking nuts. From the very beginning, you don’t know where RAISING CAIN is going, or why, or how. Maybe it’s headed in a straight path, maybe it’s about to spin out on the side of the road, toss you out the window and back over you a couple times, then take off laughing. Or maybe it will go right to your house and drop you off just like you asked, but later you’ll think you hear it jerking off outside your window. You’ll take a deep breathe and you’ll toss open the curtains but it will turn out RAISING CAIN is not there, instead there’s some guy you’ve never seen before riding a unicycle, sporting a beard made of bees. Anything could happen. You don’t really know.

Earlier in his career, Brian DePalma did a lot of “Hitchcockian thrillers.” Yeah there were surprises and plot twists, and little tricks that he played on you, trying to get you to attach your sympathy to one character only to later find yourself lost and not knowing which one to follow. But it must not have been until RAISING CAIN that he decided to take that into overdrive. Take all the techniques and structures of your standard formulas, chop them all up and tape them back together William S. Burroughs style. Now there is no rhyme or reason to it and you get all confused and surprised and god damn if this isn’t a great movie. (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.