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

Posts Tagged ‘Alice Braga’

Elysium

Monday, August 12th, 2013

tn_elysiumELYSIUM is a real solid sci-fi picture, and different from the ones we usually see these days. The story is pretty simple: Max (Matt Damon), a hard-working ex-con in the shitty world of 2154, gets fucked over by an easily preventable industrial accident. It’s gonna kill him in 5 days but he knows if he was only on Elysium, the space station where all the rich people live after abandoning this polluted, overpopulated shit pile, the medical care he needs would be easily accessible. So he’ll try anything to live, including going back to work for his old crime boss who is involved in some (unsuccessful, from what we see) attempts to smuggle the tired, poor, huddled masses onto Elysium.

It’s written and directed by Neill Blompkamp of DISTRICT 9 fame. He’s from South Africa, and that movie was about apartheid of course, and this one is also about a separation between classes (not entirely, but mostly, along racial lines, it looks like). The whole planet is like one big favela on top of another big favela. Elysium is like a ring of luxurious mansions and golf courses on a perpetually beautiful Spring day. (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.

Predators

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

tn_predatorsWell, whattya know? PREDATORS really is a good old fashioned action movie in the tradition of PREDATOR. Whichever corporate overlord holds the deed to the PREDATOR licensed property seems to be taking a temporary break from the “make sure they know we just want their money” policy that was in place for the two cheesy movies where the PREDATOR predators and the ALIEN aliens all got humiliated together fighting that pizza delivery boy at the pool party or whatever.

The movie begins with THE PIANIST himself, Adrien Brody, dropping from the sky. He just wakes up mid-air, hurtling toward an unknown jungle, no idea how he got here, and luckily finds that he has some kind of small parachute contraption attached to him. We’ve all been there, so it’s a real relatable way to start a 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.

City of God and News From a Personal War

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

tn_cityofgodSomehow I made it to the futuristic year of 2010 without ever seeing CITY OF GOD. I don’t know, just one of those things I never got around to, like skydiving or owning a house. But hey, the rest of the world: you were right! This is a good one.

You remember it: Crime in the slums of Rio De Janeiro, etc. The filmatism is frantic: alot of quick edits, handheld cameras, montages with lots of closeups, even some bullet time-esque rotating cameras. Occasionally it’s disorienting (especially since I’m trying to read the subtitles) but I think it’s closer to Scorsese energetic edits than, you know, that slapdash post Michael Bay shit we keep getting. And in contrast with many of that type it’s not slick or digital, it’s grungy and organic. It’s shot on location in the real favelas, with a cast mostly of real slum kids. So it looks like nothing you’ve seen before. (Except CITY OF GOD, since you all saw it a long time ago. Sorry, I’m catching up. Or SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, since they used pretty much the exact same approach, just in a different country.) (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.

Redbelt

Monday, May 19th, 2008

If you’ve seen anything by David Mamet then you know it’s kind of surprising (and awesome) that his new movie is about Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I even heard rumors that it was a straight ahead kickboxing movie like BLOODSPORT, and when the opening credits had Japanese drums like Christopher Lambert’s THE HUNTED I was about ready for the rebirth of action cinema. But this is really not an action movie. Anyone who goes in looking for that might be disappointed like the guy who wanted his money back when I saw GHOST DOG. Maybe not quite as much – there’s not alot of poetic shots of birds flying or long scenes of dudes driving around quietly contemplating. But this is not BEST OF THE BEST 2008, it’s definitely a David Mamet movie. Slowly unfolding plot that could go in any direction, narrative that respects the audience enough not to spell everything out for them, an intricate con, macho dialogue, magic tricks, Ricky Jay, Joe Mantegna, Mamet’s wife, songs by Mamet’s wife. I was hoping William H. Macey would show up as some retired kickboxing legend, but maybe next time.

The best thing about the movie is Chewetel Ejiofor. He plays Mike Terry, the instructor at a small, struggling jiu-jitsu academy, and a total fucking badass. He has some ties to bigshots in competitive mixed martial arts (or “karate potpouri” I believe they prefer to call it) but he doesn’t consider competition fights to be honorable, so he won’t do that even when he needs the money badly. It’s best to just let the plot fall into place, it’s not exactly high concept. But I will say that it involves some coincidence, a broken window, some lies, and some sleeper holds. (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.

I Am Legend

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Man, I’m a sucker for these QUIET EARTH type stories. You can’t help but think about what you would do in a situation like that, alone or with a couple other people, living in an abandoned city, everybody else either dead or disappeared. All of society’s leftover resources would be there for the plucking. Where would you take up residence? What would you drive? Would the rides at Disneyland still work? What sort of games would you play to amuse yourself? Backhoe Rampage? Skyscraper Free Throw? Condo Shitting? How would you deal with your loneliness? And would you bother to wear pants?

If there’s monsters involved, like in DAWN OF THE DEAD or any of the three movies based on Richard Matheson’s book I Am Legend, then it becomes more of a survivalist challenge, you start thinking about strategies. How to fortify your home, how to transport yourself around safely to scavenge, etc. In this case it’s vampires he’s dealing with so he can pretty much wander around and do what he wants during daylight (vampires have a sunlight related disability), but at nightfall it’s 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.