I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘Alexandre Aja’

Maniac (2013 remake)

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

tn_maniac2013It’s been a while since I’ve seen William Lustig’s MANIAC, but its memory lingers as a favorite movie somewhere in the scummy part of my brain. It’s not a slasher movie by my definition because it follows the killer the whole time, but that makes it more upsetting. Played by GODFATHER I-II supporting player Joe Spinell (who also co-wrote the movie), this maniac is a sweaty, disgusting mess living in the shadows of the flea-bitten New York City of 1980, the era of peep shows and grindhouses. He was the weirdo women had to worry about following them on the subway. He was literally the guy you didn’t want to run into in a dark alley, partly because he might be dumping a body in the garbage, and you don’t want any part of that.

To me the most memorably fucked up scene is the one where he’s handcuffed himself to a mannequin that has a real woman’s scalp attached, and he’s crying and he says, “I’m so happy.” And then later there’s one of my all time favorite turnarounds where this sicko leaves the private world of his dingy apartment, he goes into the city in the daylight, and it turns out he knows people. He’s wearing sunglasses and he’s hanging out at a photo shoot. They think he’s cool! 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.

P2

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

tn_p2It’s weird how the secret to a good movie idea sometimes is just to think of a really limited location and then figure out everything that could happen inside there. Like there’s that movie coming out where Ryan Reynolds is buried alive, and there was the one where Colin Farrell couldn’t leave the phone booth. There’s the building in DIE HARD, the bus in SPEED, the mall in DAWN OF THE DEAD, the hockey stadium in SUDDEN DEATH, and there should be one that takes place entirely in one of those Japanese compartment hotels. Or a nerd gets stuffed in his locker and then terrorists take over the school and he has to fight them from inside. Or a cartoon about a cat stuck in a tree and there’s a bird’s nest there and they’re forced to get along and learn from each other, like Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune in HELL IN THE PACIFIC.
(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.

Piranha 3D

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

tn_piranha3dYou know, people always complain that there’s too much crap out there and not enough smart movies, not enough movies that have something to say or make you think or really move your soul. But then when a truly important and powerful film like that does manage to slip through the cracks – and I’m talking specifically about PIRANHA 3-D, which is a new 3-D movie about piranhas – those same complainers always stay home, the movie doesn’t make as much money as hoped and Hollywood is forced to go back to making the types of movies that do make lots of money, like INCEPTION. So shame on you, moviegoers. Shame shame and shame again. You have blood on your hands. You are murderers and liars. Fuck you.

I really mean this seriously. Well, not that seriously. Well, not at all seriously. But kind of. You don’t have to see PIRANHA 3-D if you don’t want to. But if that’s your stance I really gotta ask: what do you not understand about the title PIRANHA 3-D? It’s right there. It speaks for itself. Piranhas are a type of deadly carnivorous fish, by the way, did you not know that? Okay, obviously you’re gonna go now. I’m glad we straightened that 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.

Mirrors

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

tn_mirrorsSo we got this French director Alexandre Aja who I think of as one of the good ones, but to tell you the truth he’s more potential than actual achievement at this point. When I read that he wanted to do WOLVERINE, or when I thought about they could’ve hired him for CONAN or FRIDAY THE 13TH instead of Marcus Nispel, I imagine these great movies I think he could’ve made. But this is just based on the chops he showed in HIGH TENSION before the stupid twist derailed the whole thing, and on how much I like his HILLS HAVE EYES remake. But even that has that scene where the “Big Brain” character makes a big speech explaining everything, which makes me cringe every time I think about it.

So I figured if I was gonna be talking this guy up I should see his other two movies and find out if he’s the real deal. His first one is a low budget French sci-fi type deal called FURIA. But here is his latest, MIRRORS, starring Kiefer Sutherland. (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 Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

As you may remember, I fucking DESPISED the Texas Chain Saw remake, but I thought the Dawn of the Dead one was fun. I can definitely be a purist at times but not always. I just calls it like I sees it. For me THE HILLS HAVE EYES is a remake with alot of potential because the original is a movie that I like alot, but I know it’s flawed. It’s got these great archetypal type themes, a perfect setup, lots of great horrible gruesome fun, but it’s pretty sloppy and cheap looking, and not always in a good way.

The remake, by the same frenchmen who made HIGH TENSION, had a couple things here and there that bothered me, but I think it goes in the pantheon of the good remakes. It stays very true to most of what I like about the original, and in some areas it even improves. TEXAS CHAINSAW I felt like was made by people who had no fuckin clue what was great about the original; DAWN OF THE DEAD was a good action movie but had none of the substance of the original; also please note I used two semi-colons in this sentence, which I think is pretty god damned professional in my opinion. To me, THE HILLS HAVE EYES feels like a new production of the old classic, because it stays very close to the original story for the first half, and when it veers off in a different direction it still stays true to the themes of the original. Shit, I’ll say it: THE HILLS HAVE EYES = Shakespeare. Hopefully we’ll have many different versions of THE HILLS HAVE EYES – we’ll have it modernized, we’ll have it set during WWII, or in space, we’ll have it done entirely by puppets or animals or children. (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.

High Tension

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

HIGH TENSION (aka HAUTE TENSION, aka SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE)

This is another one of those heavily buzzed foreign imports that I put off watching forever. The final deciding factor, I keep seeing the trailer for a remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES which is made by these same frenchmen. So I figured I oughta investigate, see what these guys are about.

HIGH TENSION is a well made throwback kind of slasher movie, but not as good as WOLF CREEK. Similar subject matter though. Two young ladies, Marie and Alexia, go to visit Alexia’s parents out in the french boonies. While everybody’s in bed, some grunting redneck schlub (he looks like M. Emmett Walsh in an Ed Gein costume) drives up in a rusty truck, breaks in and starts killing everybody. Most of the movie – and the best part of the movie – involves Alexia being tied up and gagged in the back of the truck, while Marie chases the killer trying to save her. (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.