“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Russell’

Shot

Friday, September 28th, 2018

SHOT is a movie that’s not necessarily thrilling from start to finish, but that is a unique specimen and time capsule that I’m happy we, as a civilization, maintain a record of. Somehow the canister-diggers at Vinegar Syndrome got their dusty fingers on a 16mm crime epic made by film students in Champaign, Illinois circa 1973, and now all the sudden it’s on Blu-Ray with a newly restored 2k transfer. The movie is appealing not only for exhibiting the fashion and music of its era, but for having an impressive amount of production value considering its origins. Reportedly they raised a $15,000 budget with campus film screenings, but I imagine it was more a matter of string-pulling that accounts for some of this. They have an abundance of helicopter footage, a small plane, multiple police cars, many guns, and a couple car crashes. It’s no FRENCH CONNECTION (a cited inspiration), but picture yourself, like, 22 years old trying to figure out how to get access to that stuff.

The key to watchability is a solid cast of non-professional actors. Vinegar Syndrome’s promo materials call the movie “regional filmmaking” (and also “a low-key piece of regional New American Cinema”) which is a good description, but might sound like something more laughable and homemade than this. The natural performances I think graduate it to legit indie film. It’s much more professional than so many regional horror movies that I’ve seen, and that’s kind of an interesting part of it, I think. If it was after HALLOWEEN they’d be making a horror movie. If it was after RESERVOIR DOGS they’d be making a crime movie. I guess after DIRTY HARRY they wanted to make cop movies. (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 Wrath

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

tn_iamwrathJohn Travolta was the villain in my favorite PUNISHER movie, and in the DTV movie I AM WRATH he kind of gets to be the Punisher. Or at least another government trained killer turned black-clad vigilante hunting down the gangsters who murdered his wife (Rebecca De Mornay, how did they get you in this?).

Actually it starts out more like DEATH WISH or DEATH SENTENCE. Travolta’s character Stanley is a seemingly normal guy, apparently he sells cars (although we only hear about this), his wife is picking him up at the airport and they get jumped by muggers in the parking garage who stab her to death. The police are no help, and let the killer go free even after Stanley identifies him in a lineup. What the fuck?

But 22 minutes in we get the JOHN WICK twist. Stanley smashes through a wall in his house and pulls out a suitcase full of guns, cash and passports – the ol’ emergency preparedness kit. Turns out he was a scary black ops dude who retired for his wife. No wife, no way to stop him from killing 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.

Eraser

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

When we think of Arnold Schwarzenegger we think of the TERMINATOR movies, PREDATOR, the CONAN movies, COMMANDO… movies that came out in years before, say, 1995. I don’t know if the crazy action/sexism combo of TRUE LIES used up everything he had, or if it was playing a pregnant man in JUNIOR that pushed him over, but by the time he made ERASER in ’96 the salad days were over. There was only some slimy lettuce left.

But I kinda enjoyed watching this one again. I’d say I like it better than THE SIXTH DAY, COLLATERAL DAMAGE and END OF DAYS (although that last one has more distinctive weirdness in 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.

The Blob (1988)

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

tn_theblobremakeThere once was a director named Chuck Russell, who did movies like THE MASK and ERASER. Not very good movies as I remember it, but he seemed like his heart was in the right place. He was trying to have some fun. He also did THE SCORPION KING, which I enjoyed, and then disappeared for the last couple years. But before he became The Occasional Director of Studio B-Movies he was a promising name on the ’80s horror scene. His debut was A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS, the ridiculous but fun one that reinvented the series and gave Freddy his obsession with the word “bitch.” He wrote that one along with future THE MIST director Frank Darabont, who also helped him write movie #2, his remake of THE BLOB. (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.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

DREAM WARRIORS is the most popular of the Elm Street sequels, the one that set the pattern for most of them and, to be fair, the roots of everything that’s bad about them. It makes Freddy a little less mysterious, less scary, more jokey. The dreams become less surreal and more gimmicky. But still pretty good.

After skipping out on part 2, Wes Craven decided to co-write this one, although his script was then rewritten by Frank Darabont (who would go on to direct SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) and director Chuck Russell (who would go on to do crap like ERASER). I think the reason for the movie’s lasting popularity is Craven’s “dream warriors” concept. In the first two you had one lead character who has to take on Freddy pretty much by themselves, with only a girlfriend/boyfriend trying to help them. In this one Craven has a girl who for some reason has the power to pull other people into her dreams. So you have a group of teens all in a mental hospital because their Freddy attacks have been misinterpreted as mental illness. They not only share the belief in Freddy, they share the same dream world, so they can work together to fight Freddy. (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.