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

Posts Tagged ‘aliens’

Independence Day: Resurgence

Monday, July 11th, 2016

tn_idra.k.a. ID4-2:RSRG1of3

In case you skipped my INDEPENDENCE DAY review last week: For me, a connoisseur of the summer blockbuster, its release twenty years ago was a dark time. It was one of the earliest cases of the widespread “It’s not supposed to be Shakespeare!” defense in the internet age, and one of the first times I felt wildly out of step with the popular opinion on a movie like that. I already thought JURASSIC PARK was no JAWS but here people were forgetting that a blockbuster movie of that quality had come out just a few summers earlier. Apparently these expensive studio sci-fi romps could only be idiotic and painfully unfunny and if I couldn’t jump up and down hooting and hollering about any dumb bullshit that they decided to put on screens then I was the asshole.

20 years later I’m softer on it. I still think it sucks, but it’s a funny sucks. And I’ve been able to laugh through other equally terrible (though never as societally elevated) Roland Emmerich pictures including 2012. As long as we’re talking about him as a back-up Rob Cohen, not what we have now instead of James Cameron or George Lucas, I can appreciate him. (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.

Independence Day

Thursday, July 7th, 2016
President Whitmore (right) confers with the Chief of Staff's ex-husband's dad
President Whitmore (right) confers with the Chief of Staff’s ex-husband’s dad

summer2016originsWhen Roland Emmerich’s INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE landed (get it, like a space ship [although I guess technically these ones never land, so forget it, I retract that pun]) in theaters 20 years after the first one was a smash hit in the summer of ’96, people were asking if the first one held up. Trick question! It was never good. If there’s any way it’s a classic it’s as a classic example of a summer blockbuster that’s a huge hit, but unworthy to join RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, TERMINATOR 2, etc. in the pantheon.

Let me put it this way: It’s a movie made by people who thought five syllables was too unwieldy for a title, but two was too small, and therefore it should be referred to by the half-sensical abbreviation “ID4.” That’s not normal people thinking. That’s pure Emmerich. And I think it’s fair to say that only Emmerich (with his then writing/producing partner Dean Devlin, an actor from MOON 44) could’ve, or at least would’ve, made this 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.

Summer Movie Flashback: War of the Worlds

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

tn_waroftheworlds

2006
2005

Wow – WAR OF THE WORLDS holds up. I remember it being the most intense PG-13 movie ever, but I thought maybe with the escalation of that rating since the Joker stabbed a guy with a pencil in DARK KNIGHT maybe it wouldn’t seem as harsh by today’s standards.

Nope. This movie is a fuckin nightmare! It starts as an anxiety dream (oh shit, what if my kids come over and I show up late and forgot to clean up and my ex-wife and her husband see that I don’t have any food and…) then one of those ones where you see weird shit in the sky (a strange electrical storm) and in the distance (3-legged alien attack machines), and then it’s a disaster one (mobs attacking your car at night, thousands of people trying to climb onto the same ferry), then a war one (running into the hills at night as tanks roll in the other direction) and then a more intimate things-that-go-bump-in-the-night one (alien in the basement). All of this executed with the classic Steve Spielberg filmatistic chops.

(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.

Alien Resurrection

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

David 8’s basketball practice in PROMETHEUS got me thinking about Ripley 8’s b-ball skills in ALIEN RESURRECTION, so much so that I decided to make it the topic of my Badass Cinema 101 column for CLiNT Magazine. Ask for it by name at your favorite newsstand or magazinier.

Well, I had to re-watch the basketball scene for research, but I decided instead of just watching the scene I wanted to sit and watch the whole movie again. I’ve always liked this one and thought it got a bad rap. It lacks the seriousness and groundbreakingness of ALIEN and ALIENS, but in its own way it’s a highly entertaining sci-fi popcorn movie with great characters, great set-pieces, original ideas, cool monsters and lots of weird shit that only this particular director would’ve done. That last one I’m afraid is probly one of the reasons it’s so hated. Alot of people don’t like seeing things they didn’t already plan to see.
(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.

Prometheus

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Okay, we’ve had high hopes for this movie for a long time. We’ve tried to avoid finding out too much about it. We have a sense of trust because of its connection to an all-time great movie by this same director but we also hope this is gonna be something new we’ve never seen before. So it has this weird combination of known quantity and total mystery.

Well, it’s a little more familiar than I was hoping but I also think you should just see it fresh so come on man, don’t read this review until you’ve already seen it. This is gonna be all SPOILERS.
(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.

Attack the Block

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

tn_attacktheblockWhen I was leaving ATTACK THE BLOCK I noticed the poster for SUPER 8 hanging outside the theater. I guess it’s pretty obvious, but until I saw that it hadn’t occurred to me that they’re two really different versions of a similar idea: a group of kids save their neighborhood from an alien invasion. In fact, writer/director Joe Cornish says, just like J.J. Abrams did, that he was mostly inspired by the Amblin movies of the ’80s and specifically E.T. (the extra-terrestrial).

That influence is all over the surface of SUPER 8, but ATTACK THE BLOCK has a completely different style. Even though it takes place in modern day London it really makes me think of late ’70s, early ’80s movies about young people in New York City – BEAT STREET, THE WARRIORS, the “Beat It” video. It also put me in mind a little bit of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 over here on the west coast. The score by a gentleman named Basement Jaxx is a hell of alot closer to John Carpenter than John Williams. (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.

Evolution

Monday, June 20th, 2011
tn_evolution
chapter 5

2001posterreleased June 8th, 2001

I skipped EVOLUTION in the summer of 2001 because it didn’t look very good. Hey, what do you know, it turns out me-of-ten-years-ago knew what he was doing. But for this important scholarly work it was crucial that I not just view the 2001 movies people remember. To truly get a feel for the period I had to watch at least one movie that came out that summer and then nobody ever thought about it again. (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.

Super 8

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
(intermission)
(intermission)

My Summer of 2001 10th Anniversary Retrospective will continue shortly, but as requested here’s a brief interlude in the present to deal with some pressing issues.

SUPER 8 is the new picture from writer/director Jay-Jay Abrams (‘Felicity’) that is produced by Steven Spielberg and done in a style that’s a slavish tribute to the classic Spielberg pictures of the ’70s and ’80s. It takes place in ’79 and it’s about a kid whose mom recently died (if it was a real Spielberg movie it would be about divorce), his dad doesn’t really understand him, his friends are making a zombie movie, and also there is a gigantic train crash that unleashes a monster that scares away the dogs, knocks over alot of shit and kidnaps his girl.

(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.

District 9

Monday, August 17th, 2009

tn_district9Well, we’re getting to the end of the summer here and it’s been pretty light on good old fashioned popcorn type movies. Most of us enjoyed STAR TREK, but that was at the very beginning of the summer, it seems like a lifetime ago. TERMINATOR SALVATION was a letdown, TRANSFORMERS 2 need not be described, GI JOE was hilarious but not the type of behavior we want to encourage. Leave it to some 29 year old South African director of video game commercials to make the most memorable sci-fi action type movie in a while.

Neill Blomkamp was the plucky young orphan that Peter Jackson discovered living off scraps in the Wellington sewer system (not sure about the authenticity of this wikipedia bio) and for some reason chose to direct a movie of the video game “HALO.” But the money fell through on that one so director Blomkamp and producer Jackson said “Fack it” (they both have accents) and made a lower budget sci-fi movie free of video game heritage, an extension of Blomkamp’s ’05 short film ALIVE IN JOBURG. (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.

Outlander

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

tn_outlanderMan, here’s a solid little movie with a clever genre-mixing premise, nicely acted and directed, a fun time, but owned by the Weinsteins. So of course it was barely released or advertised. These pricks got a quiet, sad drama based on a Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece, they’re gonna pretend it’s some sci-fi action movie. Meanwhile they got this one that actually is a sci-fi action movie, but they forgot they even had it. “Oh shit, did we release that viking thing? I can’t remember. Just send some DVDs to Blockbuster and tell them not to mention it to anybody.”

Oh well, at least it snuck out. The cover art is pretty cool too, and it uses one of those critic quotes that isn’t really a compliment but just a description: “PREDATOR meets BEOWULF.” And that’s accurate. A space ship crash lands in Norway, 709 A.D. A survivor climbs out wearing a space suit that looks alot like a suit of armor (surprisingly that doesn’t come up again later). He’s Jim Caviezel, and I wasn’t sure at first if I was gonna accept aliens that look just like humans, but when he looked up Earth on his computer it said we were an “abandoned seed colony,” so I guess we all come from the same place. Brothers from a different mother. (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.