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

Posts Tagged ‘biopic’

Miles Ahead

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

tn_milesaheadad_milesMILES AHEAD is the directorial debut of Don Cheadle, and he stars in it as Miles Davis. I think it didn’t get much attention for the same reason it’s good: it’s a small, odd movie, not fulfilling most expectations of a musician biopic. I’m not sure if it even is a musician biopic. Maybe it’s a little of that mixed with Miles’ guest appearance on Miami Vice. It’s a small time crime story where the lead happens to be Miles Davis and the McMuffin is a reel-to-reel of the only recording session he’s done in years. He wants it for himself but Columbia Records has contractual claim to it, so people are trying to get it.

The story takes place over just a couple of days, with the device of Ewan McGregor as totally fictional Rolling Stone writer Dave Braden barging his way into the “black Howard Hughes” life of Miles, promising to write his “comeback story!” At first Miles gives him many variations of “fuck off, white boy,” but eventually the two are hanging out together. Making this odd couple happen requires deceit and cocaine and puts the reporter in the middle of many tense situations involving guns and/or a fierce insistence on artistic purity. (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.

Steve Jobs

Monday, March 21st, 2016

tn_stevejobsLooking back through my notebook I discovered that I wrote most of a review of STEVE JOBS back when it was in theaters, but I never typed it up. I guess since it wasn’t nominated for best picture I didn’t catch that when I was doing all the pre-Oscars reviews. But I think it’s a movie worthy of more attention than it got, and it’s available on video and I use a Mac so it seems only fair to finish it.

Steve Jobs was a genius and also an asshole. That’s kinda the basics of Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay, and many of his other screenplays, and therefore I have to guess something he can relate to. Like his other computer history piece THE SOCIAL NETWORK I think this one leans in the direction of genius not justifying assholishness, but it seems to be a question he struggles with.

I’m a little – not alot – familiar with the playwright turned TV mastermind’s work. I know people who adore his shows Sports Night and The West Wing, and some who are masochistically fascinated with The Newsroom.

(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.

Mishima: a life in four chapters

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

tn_mishimalucasminusstarwars

This is the story of Yukio Mishima (Ken Ogata, VENGEANCE IS MINE), once “Japan’s most celebrated author,” but now largely known as a crazy who commited public ritual suicide. Paul Schrader’s complex, lushly produced film weaves together both sides of the writer’s legacy, illustrating what he called “the harmony of pen and sword,” an attempt to fuse his art and his actions into one.

It starts in 1970 the morning of the day when we know from the onscreen text that Mishima is going to take “4 cadets from his private army” to a military base, kidnap a general. Mishima, and those of us who have heard of this incident, know he will make a speech about the soul of Japan and then cut his belly open with a sword. But he doesn’t seem nervous. He skips breakfast but has one last leisurely morning, reading the paper, enjoying some tea in his lovely backyard. (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.

J. Edgar

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

tn_jedgarJ. EDGAR is the work of an unlikely biopic all-star team: Leonardo “The Aviator” DiCaprio playing the notorious FBI director (even though he’s an old man during alot of the movie), Clint “Bird” Eastwood directing, and Dustin Lance “Milk” Black on the keyboards. This topic required calling in the pros because J. Edgar Hoover was an asshole and a weirdo, but not in a charming or funny way, like Larry Flynt or somebody. And even though he was (according to many, including this movie) a  minority – a closeted and tormented gay man – there is nothing anti-establishment about him. He’s not a guy who bucked the system. He created the damn system. Hard to make that glamorous in a movie.

In fact, that’s kind of a reoccurring theme, he keeps complaining about movies glamorizing the “radicals” and “hoodlums” he fights against and is happy when they finally make ones that make kids want to grow up to be G-men. But this won’t make kids want to grow up to be FBI director. Sorry, J. (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.

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

tn_dragonWe here in Seattle are very proud of Bruce Lee. We claim him as our own. He’s one of our icons like Jimi, Cobain, and… well, I’m not gonna say Sir Mix-a-lot. I don’t know. Quincy Jones?

Of course, Bruce was born in San Francisco, raised in Hong Kong, filmed his movies in Hong Kong. He only lived here for about 5 years. But I think it’s fair to say they were important years. Any biography of Bruce mentions that he studied philosophy, right? Well that was right here at our University of Washington. He actually majored in drama, so give us partial credit for his acting too. He started his first kung fu schools here. He met his wife here. He married her here. When he died his family still lived here, so he’s buried here, and so is Brandon. We still don’t have a Bruce Lee statue, but Linda and Shannon Lee are trying to build The Bruce Lee Action Museum here. So we got a legitimate claim, I think. We are a Bruce Lee town.

That’s why it’s so embarrassing that some dumb motherfuckers dropped the ball and got us completely erased from this biopic. (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.

SIFF: Vern is cooler than all of us, he’s seen AMERICAN SPLENDOR!

Tuesday, June 10th, 2003

Hey folks, Harry here… Underground Comix are one of the great joys on this planet, one that unfortunately… many in the world have not experienced. Most folks that know of Harvey Pekar, probably know of him via either his Letterman appearances long ago or his radio show. However, they are missing the glory that is AMERICAN SPLENDOR. A comic with his brilliant narrative and the illustrative talents of gods like Robert Crumb (you know him), Paul Mavrides (co-artist with Gilbert Shelton on some of the genius that is THE FABULOUS FURRY FREAK BROS.) and Frank Stack (those wonderful NEW ADVENTURES OF JESUS!) While I’m dying to see this film, having been a reader of AMERICAN SPLENDOR – pretty much all my life… at least since STAR WARS entered the world, I have one thing that I’m dying to see more than this flick… Next year’s edition of AMERICAN SPLENDOR – which will deal with Pekar’s experiences at Sundance, Cannes and whatnot. Could be AMAZING stuff. His Blog at http://www.harveypekar.com has been pretty great through all of this. Here’s the trailers and VERN’s take on the film which has won awards at both Sundance and Cannes.

Howdy boys,

Vern here still at the Seattle International Film Festival which is a very good film festival to go to in my opinion, because you just have to take the bus to get there. If you live in Seattle.

Anyway here’s the deal, I know you guys are still arguing about “is the Incredible Hulk phoney looking or not” and etc. but I got another comic book movie that is gonna blow you fuckers through the back of the theater. You thought Huge Ackman was born to play Wolverine, you thought Wesley Snipes redefined comic book acting with his performance in Blade, well what about Paul Giamatti playing Harvey Pekar in AMERICAN SPLENDOR? His super powers involve that he writes a comic book, he is a file clerk at a hospital, etc. This is a great performance and a good movie and why are you looking at me so blankly. It won sundance man come on. Did spider-man ever win sundance? Did snoopy ever win sundance? Not even once, in my opinion. (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 Return of the Vern

Monday, December 4th, 2000

Well friends it looks like ol’ Vern has some explainin to do. And the sad thing is I don’t have jack shit to say for myself. Sometimes a man just has to do what a man does when he has to do it, or whatever. There comes a time in a man’s personal journey, that is to say in man’s life, that that journey must take a break, or sojourn, in that journey, is what I’m trying to say. A hiatus.

Okay some of you motherfuckers are looking at me real blank eyed and what not. I haven’t written a column for a couple weeks, jackasses. I guess you didn’t miss me, then. It was supposed to be mysterious. Like – what is Vern up to? Where has he gone? What personal discoveries has he made? Will we ever be the same? Oh I do hope he comes back. And soon!

So here I am 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.