I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Posts Tagged ‘Darren Aranofsky’

Pi (a.k.a. π)

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

July 10, 1998

PI might be the most impactful of the summer of ’98 indies, at least in the sense that it introduced filmmakers who continue to be relevant 20 years later. It’s one of the old fashioned, scrappy, less-than-a-million dollar shoe-strings-and-boot-straps indie debuts, by which I mean it’s in black and white. Actually, 16mm high-contrast black-and-white reversal film. Vincent Gallo claims he fired Dick Pope as cinematographer of BUFFALO ’66 because reversal stock was too hard for him, but here’s director Darren Aranofsky and cinematographer Matthew Libatique, two Mr. Nobodies out of nowhere and they know how to use it. I like this kind of look, the grain dancing around, creating shadowy faces. It’s so opposite of how low budget movies usually look now that they’re digital.

Co-writer Sean Gullette (TRAITORS) plays Max, a genius mathematician obsessed with his thesis that “everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers.” When he was a kid, he says, he stared into the sun, and this gave him an ability to notice numbers everywhere. He’s fixated on discovering patterns in long sequences, a hobby that first-time director Aranofsky has fun trying to make seem cinematic through fast editing, the cool guy electronic dance music of the era and pre-THE-MATRIX lo res on-screen strings of numbers. Also he figures out how to get some foot chases in there (Max thinks he’s being followed). (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.

mother!

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

mother! is the new movie! from Darren Aranofsky (THE WRESTLER) and it’s marketed as horror, because… I mean I don’t know what else you would call it either. It is in the business of exploiting our fears, but it’s not exactly a genre story, unless you count the occasional bloody wound festering in a wooden floor. Mostly it’s a heightened, surreal portrait of a marriage. And a house.

Jennifer Lawrence (AMERICAN HUSTLE) is the nameless female lead (credited as “mother”), married to an older man (Javier Bardem, PERDITA DURANGO, credited as “Him”) who’s a famous poet suffering from writer’s block while she looks after him and painstakingly rebuilds his house after it was destroyed in a fire. When some random doctor dude (Ed Harris, knightriders!) shows up at their door, the husband invites him to stay without taking her feelings into account, and this is the breeze that will become a tornado of escalation intrusions, insecurities and violations. By the end she’ll be (spoiler!) caught in the middle of huge riots and uprisings even though she will never leave the house. (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.

Noah

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

tn_noahHere’s one of those beloved I.P.s that the studios are always looking to repackage and the fans get real excited for. It’s a high concept that’s practically a movie trailer already, it’s like LORD OF THE RINGS meets TITANIC meets DR. DOLITTLE. And just like with Batman or Superman there’s alot of great interpretations from different eras for the filmatists to draw from. You got the Bible version, you got the Quran version, you got the FANTASIA 2000 version. Alot of people grew up on the Noah property. But like THE LONE RANGER last year maybe the whole premise is a little bit too campy for today’s audiences. It might be a little too late for this to become a franchise.

Russell Crowe (NO WAY BACK, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS) plays Noah, a survivalist living off the grid in the wastelands traveling with his wife (Jennifer Connelly from PHENOMENA) and kids, trying to avoid men and cities. I’m not sure if it’s the future or the past, but they dress kinda like the people of Zion in THE MATRIX. There’s a weird scaly dog like Riddick would be friends with. We see when he’s attacked by barbarians that Noah does know how to kick ass, but he and his family live by a monk-like code, or maybe a hippie one. They don’t carry weapons, they don’t eat meat, they respect nature, the women are allowed to wear pants.
(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.

Black Swan

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

tn_blackswanD. Aranofsky’s BLACK SWAN is one of the best movies I saw last year. It’s a disturbing psychological thriller and a story about art and perfectionism. It’s spooky but I think freaking you out is only a side goal. I think it argues that pushing yourself to the limits of perfection can be painful and self-destructive, but maybe worth it. Striving for excellence ain’t easy.

Natalie Portman plays a New York ballet dancer who’s very good but still just does background parts. To her surprise her boss (Vincent Cassel from EASTERN PROMISES) gives her the lead role in Swan Lake. It’s a dual role and he thinks she’s perfect as the Swan Queen but not yet ready for its evil twin, the Black Swan. (It’s not like an Eddie Murphy dual role where you just wear a fat suit, she has to actually dance in a different style.) So the movie is about her struggle to please him, do a good job and not get replaced. She doesn’t want to end up like her mom (Barbara Hershey), a dancer who never really made it big, or her hero (Winona Ryder) who was forced to retire and seems to have snapped because of that betrayal.
(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 Wrestler

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Wrestling is so weird. It’s boxing, circus sideshow, cheesy stage play and soap opera all in one. The big time wrestling leagues try to drown the show in pyrotechnics and flashy computer animation on giant screens but alot of the appeal is still very old fashioned. It’s the circus. I went to a match one time and saw Andre the Giant. It wasn’t so much like seeing a star as like seeing a Greek god. Or maybe a sasquatch. There was a reason they called him “The 8th Wonder of the World.” These guys are not human, they’re super heroes.

Or it seems that way when you see them up close. But actually they are human. Greek gods might be able to toss lightning around all day without spraining anything, but not humans. God or evolution did not equip humans to break metal chairs over their heads every night, or break tables with their ribs. Wrestlers make their living by not following the proper care and maintenance instructions for the human body, and they always pay the price. (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.

Bitch Session (Requiem For a Dream, Charlie’s Angels)

Monday, October 30th, 2000

This week friends ol’ Vern has a few things he has to get off his chest. A little bitchin and moanin is what I gotta do. So let me run through a few of these points about how, you know, everything is all a bunch of horse shit, etc.

1. HALLOWEEN

First off, last Tuesday was Halloween. And I want to know why you motherfuckers decided it was cancelled. I’m driving along at 7:45 pm, it’s been dark for more than hour and I don’t see a jack o’lantern, I don’t see a trick or treater. I don’t even see those little fuckers smashing my pumpkins. All I see is churches and schools with signs that say “Harvest Festival. Games and Food. October 31st.” (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.