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

Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Walken’

The Jungle Book

Monday, April 18th, 2016

tn_junglebookDisney’s 1967 animated version of THE JUNGLE BOOK was pretty much a hangout movie. A bunch of animal dudes kickin it in the jungle, occasionally singing songs. Like HOUSE PARTY but with snakes and shit. The tiger Shere Khan plays the part of Full Force.

Now modern Disney and director Jon Favreau (executive producer, GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS) have brought in more of the world and narrative of Rudyard Kipling’s stories for an excellent live action(ish) version that captures plenty of the spirit of the old one while also being totally different. It uses versions of the original songs and even evokes Disney animation with a painted version of the castle logo, but never feels redundant. It’s like putting on glasses and seeing that version in more detail, from the visuals to the story.

I have to admit, after COWBOYS & ALIENS I kinda thought maybe we got too excited about Favreau as a director because of IRON MAN. Clearly I was wrong. This is a movie I can’t imagine many directors pulling off. Like with IRON MAN he finds a perfect balance between nerdy love for the source material and clear vision of how to tell the story in a dramatic way we haven’t quite seen on screen before.

And it can’t be easy competing with the memory of Stephen Sommers’ 1994 version.

(That might be unfair. I haven’t seen 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.

Jersey Boys

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

tn_jerseyboys“Frankie’s okay. He’s no Neil Sedaka.”

Here it is again, the ol’ New Movie Directed By Clint Eastwood But Without Him Acting In It rigmarole. It goes like this: New Clint movie comes out. It doesn’t seem like my kind of thing. It gets bad reviews (at least if it came out in recent years). I genuinely intend to see it in theaters, but I keep putting it off. There’s always something I’m more excited for that’s playing. Like, uh, I believe I might’ve seen some robot/dinosaur related picture around the time JERSEY BOYS came out. So I end up missing the movie in theaters. Months later it comes out on video. I’m not excited. I feel like I’m doing my homework. I watch it.

And then the Hey, this is pretty good!

I wouldn’t say this surprised me as much as J. EDGAR (which I still believe is totally underrated, and got 10% worse reviews even than JERSEY BOYS, according to Rotten Tomatoes) but I’m happy to say I enjoyed it. It’s a solid, entertaining biopic of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons based on a Broadway show of some kind. Vincent Piazza of Boardwalk Empire plays guitarist Tommy DeVito and then the guys from the stage version play the other three: John Lloyd Young as lead singer Frankie Valli, Erich Bergen as songwriter/keyboardist Bob Gaudio and Michael Lomenda as bassist Nick Massi.

I thought it was gonna be a musical, but thankfully it’s not. It’s just a story about musical performers doing musical performances, recorded by the actors. I don’t know about the show, but the movie version only has one actual musical number and it’s during the end credits. In my opinion it is more of a blooper reel than an official part of the movie, because why would they be dancing around on a soundstage street singing songs, I mean it just doesn’t make sense.

The rest of the time it’s them singing “Sherry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” and stuff, and these are good songs. So it’s not a problem. (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.

Seven Psychopaths

Friday, February 8th, 2013

tn_sevenpsychopathsNow that I’ve seen SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS I understand why the ads made it look so dumb: it’s too hard to explain. They made it look like some corny post-Tarantino “isn’t it funny, they’re hardened criminals but they’re arguing over a Shih Tzu!” type bullshit. And that’s in there – writer/director Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES) is about the only guy whose style can remind me of Tarantino in a good way – but overall it’s weirder and more distinct than that.

In IN BRUGES the protagonists were hit men, and there was a subplot about a movie being filmed near where they’re staying. In this one the movie business is more central. Colin Farrell plays a clearly idiotic screenwriter trying to write something called SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, but he doesn’t have much more than a title. He doesn’t even have seven psychopaths, so he just spends his time trying to think of concepts for different psychopaths, sometimes based on stories he’s heard or seen in the news. So we see these stories in his head, or going on around him, and fictional reality begins to blend with fiction-within-fiction. (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.

True Romance

Monday, August 20th, 2012

TRUE ROMANCE is an entertaining, uniquely textured crime movie, a celebration of youthful love, kitsch, Asian exploitation cinema, and great character actors. At the time it seemed like a new feel, especially coming from Tony Scott. Now it’s more notable as a record of young, undisciplined Quentin Tarantino manning the word processor. (Roger Avary was hired to restructure the original non-linear story and write an ending where the hero doesn’t die – yeah, that sounds like young QT all right.)
(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.

Kill the Irishman

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

tn_killtheirishmanFrom the director of PUNISHER #2 and the star of PUNISHER #3 comes a solid, entertaining period gangster movie. It’s a biopic of Danny Greene, an Irish American union president, gang enforcer and dodger of car bombs in Cleveland, Ohio circa early ’60s through late ’70s. If it had been done as two separate movies maybe it would’ve got an arthouse release and some critical respect, but they did it as one so it was barely released by Anchor Bay and nobody ever heard of 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.

Vern says, ‘F–k WEDDING CRASHERS!’ Do you think he liked it’

Friday, July 8th, 2005

SPOILER ALERT !!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with our man Vern who is… mighty unhappy with a certain Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy right now. You see, he… well… Shit, Vern can tell you…

Boys –

First off, congratulations on the kid, Moriarty. I hope he doesn’t have too many problems being named after some freak from FORBIDDEN ZONE. But congratulations and in my opinion some credit should also go to the wife, who I bet performed some of the more difficult aspects of the birthing process unless there is something Harry is not telling us.

Second order of business, I saw some movie called WEDDING CRASHERS. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn play a couple of dickheads who like to sneak into weddings because somehow it causes them to automatically get laid. When I first saw the trailer for this one I felt insulted. It seemed like one of those premises that would maybe seem funny when you first think of it but then you would realize before you got a chance to even write it down that it was not funny enough for anybody to actually make or especially watch. The trailer didn’t show any of the plot but I assumed it would be one of those generic romantic comedies where the protagonist lies and tricks people but then to his surprise he meets someone who he really falls in love with, and there are montages and flirting and laughing and they become close but it’s all based on a lie so then suddenly she finds out the truth and he has to admit that he’s a scumbag but then he publicly humiliates himself and proves to her that he really loves her and then… oh shit, what if in this one they got MARRIED AT THE END? Would that be ironic or what? The hunter becomes the huntress, or whatever. (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.

King of New York

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

In this movie Christopher Walken plays Frank White who is the King of New York. He is not literally a king but actually some sort of crime boss of New York. He’s fresh out of the joint and unlike certain heroic individuals who choose to turn their life around and follow a path of Positivity, making the world a better place through art and culture, he decides to be king of new york. But he says he’s gonna build a hospital so that makes it okay.

The director is Abel Ferrara, an asshole director who I sort of like. I mean I never met the guy obviously but he’s one of those greaseballs like Vincent Gallo where, before you even see an interview with the guy, you just get the feeling he’s an asshole. In his movie DRILLER KILLER I didn’t even realize he was the star (he used a pseudonym) and I kept thinking this star really thinks he’s hot shit, it’s not just the character. What a fuckin asshole. But then I listened to the commentary track and heard Ferrara say the same exact thing about himself. So I had to like 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.

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.

The Rundown

Sunday, June 20th, 2004

I had no problem skipping this one when it came to theaters, but it was on DVD where the problems came up. Sure, I tried, but then motherfuckers kept recommending it to me. Saying it was “actually good” and “alot of fun” and all that kind of nonsense. After a while I figured well why not, give this Rock dude a shot. I skipped his mummy pictures, so all I know is he was in BEYOND THE MAT and he seemed like a nice guy. Goes by the name of Dwayne, I believe, in everyday life, but for wrestling and movies it’s last name Rock, first name The. No relation to Chris.

The movie was pretty much what I expected when I first succeeded in skipping it. Unfortunately when they’re trying out action heroes that have not yet convinced the Hollywood suits, they have to team them with some company man as his partner/buddy/”comic” relief sidekick. For example they pulled this shit on Chow Yun Fat in BULLET PROOF MONK and here they have the same fucking narc, Sean William Scott from the AMERICAN PIE teenage pictures, saddling down The Rock, making sure he stays in line and doesn’t pull anything funny like making 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.

The Opportunists

Friday, August 11th, 2000

What I like about this low key independent crime picture from 2000 is it’s small time in every way. I mean it’s got Chris Walken in the lead and he’s a big movie star, but everything about the story and characters goes against Hollywood’s idea of what’s exciting. The story is your usual “ex-con gone straight is running out of options and has to do one last score to survive” type deal but put in a more realistic, unglamorous, ungritty context. This is an unthriller.

Walken lives in suburban New York. I don’t remember ever seeing big buildings in this one. Here he’s a nice guy, almost timid, definitely not the King of New York. You could argue he’s a player because he goes between three places: a house with his grown up daughter, a tiny apartment above his girlfriend’s bar, and a trailer by the garage he rents out. But he’s embarassed of his past and never tries to be a tough guy about it. He’s a mechanic but he doesn’t seem to get much work and on this day doesn’t get the money because he fucked up the job. (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.