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

Posts Tagged ‘Coen Brothers’

Bridge of Spies

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

tn_bridgeofspiesIt’s like a whole bridge full of spies. Or at least, there are a couple spies on this bridge. It’s the climax of the story, two countries meeting up one cold night to trade prisoners. I guess that’s where the title comes from.

Tom Hanks plays James Donovan, who is not a spy. He’s just a lawyer who, through luck, foresight and principles, ends up rescuing a downed American spy pilot in this true Cold War story.

When we first meet him Donovan seems far from an American hero. He’s an insurance company lawyer in a bar having an argument where he’s comparing motorcyclists run over by a truck to bowling pins. But when the Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance, BLITZ) is captured, somebody (Alan Alda) decides to give Donovan the shit job of defending him. What nobody expects is that he will take the job seriously.

They tell him he should defend Abel to show that America believes in giving everybody a fair trial. But of course none of these people want to actually give him a fair trial. They’re angry and confused when Donovan tries to, like, do his job. But his attitude is that if we’re gonna brag about what we stand for then we should put in the work to actually stand for that.

I gotta be honest, if I didn’t know this was a Steven Spielberg movie I would never have seen it. The trailers and the poster really make it look like a chore. You can picture the righteous speeches and triumphant music as a Regular Man stands up for noble ideals in court rooms and wintery period settings. And don’t get me wrong, this is a movie for grown ups. It is a 2 hour, 21 minutes drama starring Tom Hanks about the Cold War and the idea of America. That is true. But it’s way more fun than the trailers make it out to be. It’s not that dry, and it’s got plenty of laughs. It’s entertaining. It’s Spielberg. (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 Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

tn_noodleshopThere’s a nice little tradition of cross-cultural, cross-genre remakes. The most famous of course is the Japanese samurai movie YOJIMBO becoming the Italian western A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. And recently I reviewed the Japanese samurai remake of the American western UNFORGIVEN. There was also BLIND FURY, that was an American action movie based on Zatoichi, and they didn’t even have to get cowboys involved at all. There are both Indian and American remakes of OLDBOY. This is a thing that we do now. If the story is strong enough it can work, and translate in different ways for different cultures.

Still, it was a surprise in 2009 when Zhang Yimou, director of gorgeous epics like HERO and RAISE THE RED LANTERN, took on the Coen Brothers’ lean neo-noir debut BLOOD SIMPLE. The dry, dusty tale of adultery, murder and dumb mistakes becomes a period Chinese story with broad comedy elements. It’s weird and not entirely successful, but interesting to a fan of this type of cultural outreach. (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 Grit (2010)

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

tn_truegrit2010Jeff Bridges makes a great Rooster Cogburn – weird froggy voice, sloppy beard, aura of laziness, legitimately kind of disgusting as he’s introduced taking a shit and later casually pisses himself. If you don’t know the character from the novel by Charles Portis, or from John Wayne’s Academy Award winning portrayal in the 1969 version, or from the considerably less Academy Award winning sequel, or perhaps Warren Oates in the TV movie version, or obviously the episode of Scooby-Doo where Rooster has to figure out which Harlem Globetrotter has been replaced by an evil Moon-man, then let me fill you in: Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn is an eccentric, one-eyed civil war vet turned U.S. Marshall who “really knows how to pull a cork” and has a reputation for unnecessary but high quality shootings of suspects. So he’s the bounty hunter of choice for 14-year-old Mattie Ross, who wants to “finish [her] father’s affairs” by chasing down the drunken ranch hand who killed him and fled into Chocktaw territory with the Lucky Ned Pepper gang.
(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.

No Country for Old Men

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

A guide for enthusiasts of Badass Cinema

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is one of those movies that’s so quiet it can be uncomfortable to watch with an audience. Alot of scenes all you hear is the wind blowing lightly over the wide open Texas plains, or the cars driving past outside a motel room, along with every squirm, every sigh, every shoulder crack in the theater. At the end when I saw the music credit for Carter Burwell I honestly couldn’t for the life of me remember any point in the movie where there was music.

So it’s clearly a little arty, it’s not like anybody’s gonna mistake this for THE MUMMY RETURNS. Or for THE FRENCH CONNECTION for that matter. It requires a little patience. But there’s so much about it that’s so fuckin good that it will win over all kinds of people from all walks of life. At first. (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.

Bad Santa

Monday, December 26th, 2005

Well I seen this picture a while back when it was in a theater. I remembered it was pretty good so I wanted to watch it again for Christmas. Because it’s about Christmas. It’s called Bad Santa. (I mentioned that above so you probaly know that already)

Well I watched it about a week too late so this review is not very timely. But since this review will still be here to read next christmas I feel this bad timing should not count against my 2005 New year’s Resolution, A Commitment To Excellence. If you disagree take it up with the magic new year baby.

Anyway what this BAD SANTA one is about is Billy Bob Thornton is a character called Willie, a self loathing alcoholic safecracker who every year gets a job as a department store Santa. His partner Marcus (Tony Cox from FRIDAY) is a dwarf who is his elf. Then after closing time on christmas eve Marcus will be disguised as a snowman decoration or something, he runs and turns the alarm off and they rob the place. (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.

Blood Simple

Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

Hey Harry and Father Geek, it’s me, Vern.

Well you know what guys I am going through some tough times in my life, sort of an introspective type deal, and what you do in this type of situations sometimes is you want to relax, go to an activity such as a barbecue, titty bar or film festival and get your mind off of things.

So that is what ol’ Vern did yesterday, I went and saw the BLOOD SIMPLE movie that every motherfucker has been recommending to me left and right. “Vern, see Fargo. Vern see Blood Simple. Vern, see Big Lebosky.” Well Blood Simple was playing at the Seattle’s International Film Festival, a film festival here in Seattle. (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 takes in THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE!!!

Friday, November 2nd, 2001

Hey folks, Harry here with the latest from that insane man… VERN. Vern comes from another planet…. or so I’ve heard. They apparently herd sheep into trailers there. He’s using this grazing ability to sum up the cornstalkability of this latest film from the Coens…. Here ya go…

THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE

by Vern

Monday I saw the new movie by the Coen Brothers.

First I gotta say, I am not exactly familiar with these brothers. The hughes brothers I know. The wachowski brothers. The Maysles brothers. The doobie brothers I know a thing or two about. For example, they have two drummers don’t they? I don’t know. The point is, you know more about the coen brothers than I do. Are they twins? I don’t know. Maybe they aren’t really brothers, it is only a stage name like the blues brothers, the smothers brothers or the isley brothers. The point is, I wouldn’t know. Because I know jack shit about them, if jack shit was two things. (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.