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

Posts Tagged ‘Donald Sutherland’

Kelly’s Heroes

Monday, January 4th, 2016

tn_kellysheroesFor four years now it’s been my tradition to kick off a new year with Clint Eastwood. This year I’m starting it with Clint and a rowdy gang of G.I. goofballs including roughneck Telly Savalas, new agey Donald Sutherland, bitter wiseass Don Rickles and young, harmonica-playing, exactly-the-same-looking Harry Dean Stanton (credited as Dean Stanton). It kinda feels like one of those fun ensemble war pictures like THE DIRTY DOZEN or THE GREAT ESCAPE, except the idea behind it is much more cynical.

Clint plays Kelly, a once great soldier, demoted and disillusioned after an incorrect order caused him to blow up some of his own men. When he finds out about a stash of gold bars in a German bank he finally has a mission he can believe in again: get together a crew to penetrate the enemy lines early and get the loot. Everyone thinks/knows it’s crazy, but the lure of the bling is enough. In fact, they have trouble with more and more people joining the group and expecting a share.

At times it can be kind of a broad comedy, and with that old timey type of military humor where they complain about their job but they just talk about hating to have to lug heavy things around, or get bossed around, they don’t talk about the psychological trauma of having to kill people, or almost being killed, or seeing their friends killed. But in a way this is a very subversive movie, because here’s The Great War, the one we can all get behind, the one that made them The Greatest Generation, and our titleistical heroes never even mention ideals or what they’re fighting for. What they end up getting behind is a big payday. (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 Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Monday, November 25th, 2013

tn_catchingfire(I’m trying to mark the biggest spoilers as usual, but be careful with this one if you don’t want anything given away)

You remember back when THE HUNGER GAMES came out I avoided it. I know this makes me a weirdo, but it wasn’t until Francis Lawrence signed on to direct the sequels that I got interested. The conventional wisdom was that part 1’s Gary Ross (PLEASANTVILLE, SEABISCUIT) was a classy director and this was a step down to replace him with the guy who did CONSTANTINE and I AM LEGEND. But I’m a fan of Mr. Lawrence, I see some genius behind the admittedly large flaws of those movies. As pretty good as THE HUNGER GAMES is I’m way more impressed by Lawrence’s depiction of post-human-New-York-City and Will Smith’s performance as the lonely omega-scientist. Yeah, we all know that there are some problems when the vampires turn out to be leaping computer animated beasts, but shit, they’re better than the animated dogs in HUNGER GAMES. Scarier and with more personality and meaning. Let’s not pretend either of these is flawless, but I know which one I like better.

Now Lawrence’s first HUNGER GAMES chapter has hit, and virtually ever review I’ve seen says what I predicted, that he made a better movie than the first one. See you guys, I know shit.

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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.

Assassin’s Bullet

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Friends, it is my sad duty to verify reports that Isaac Florentine’s ASSASSIN’S BULLET (formerly titled SOFIA on IMDb, and out on DVD today) is no good. I guess it played a couple of theaters at some point, and it has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I can’t say I really disagree. It’s dull and amateurishly written and even though it has a weird thing going on with being a vanity project for some lady I never heard of, that’s not enough to make it very fun.
(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 Mechanic (2011 remake)

Friday, January 28th, 2011

tn_mechanicI got mixed feelings about some sucker remaking a Charles Bronson movie. On one hand it’s obviously foolish, because no man has ever been discovered who could stand toe-to-toe with Bronson in badass presence. It doesn’t matter who you get to star, unless maybe Lee Marvin is alive again, or Clint is interested in remaking old Michael Winner movies. Barring that, anybody’s gonna pale in comparison.

On the other hand, alot of Bronson’s movies are (by design) pretty formulaic, they’re all about taking the type of basic situations you’d want to see Charles Bronson in and then putting Charles Bronson in them. Therefore if you do have a new action icon to star in some movies, these are the types of movies you might want to try to put him in. And Jason Statham isn’t a bad candidate, 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.

Space Cowboys

Friday, December 10th, 2010

tn_spacecowboysI always try to stay up to date on my favorite action movie guys. I accept them as human beings who age and deteriorate like all of us do (not including Prince), and I am very interested in their later works. But alot of people don’t, they turn on their stars if the oxygen ever hits their skin or if their metabolism betrays their bellies. That Australian beer commercial with Steven Seagal that came out recently, I saw comments on other sights it was posted and everybody fixated on his weight, obviously not having seen any of the 26 movies or two seasons of reality TV he’s done in the past 10 years. Same thing with Stallone, every time he comes out with a new one people start gagging about him being old, like it’s the most appalling thing they’ve ever seen. This is just the people reinforcing Hollywood’s obsession with young pretty people, but look at Clint. He’s older, greyer, more withered and hoarse than either of those guys, and I don’t think I’ve heard anybody feelin lucky enough to make fun of him for it.
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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 Italian Job (2003)

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

tn_italianjobcountdownlogoTHE ITALIAN JOB circa 2003 is a standard issue studio ensemble heist movie, and a really enjoyable one. The director of FRIDAY and the writers of DEEP BLUE SEA put together a good group of likable actors to play the team of expert thieves, they came up with some clever gimmicks for an elaborate heist, and they executed it well with good pacing, light humor, a sense of fun but also a reasonable enough sense of danger. So it’s closer to OCEAN’S 11 where they obviously know what they’re doing but have to put in some elbow grease than OCEAN’S PART 13 where they seem to have super powers and can do absolutely anything at a moment’s notice with no trouble at all. (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.

Don’t Look Now

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

tn_dontlooknow“DON’T LOOK NOW but Nicolas Roeg has made an eerie meditation on fate, death, mourning and love!” That would’ve been my quote for the newspaper ad if I was doing this back then. I do quotes, you know. Too bad I’m late on this one, I think I would’ve had alot to offer their marketing team.

Well, it’s like I heard. This isn’t really the type of movie I necessarily want to watch every Halloween, but it’s a good one and a nice change of pace from the other horror movies I was watching last month. It has psychic premonitions, ghosts, a murder and some creepy shit. But it’s more art movie than horror. And that’s fine – maybe better, because there aren’t many movies like this. (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.

Phenomena

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

If you know your horror you know about Dario Argento, the crazy Italian fuck responsible for SUSPIRIA, DEEP RED and Asia Argento. Even if you don’t dig his movies or daughter you have to give him credit for putting together Goblin, the band who made the distinctive scores for alot of his movies as well as DAWN OF THE DEAD and that movie where Art Carney refuses to leave before Mount St. Helens erupts. I also really like INFERNO, the movie I brought up the most when trying to convince people that SILENT HILL was a surreal nightmare world and not just a moronic video game adaptation with stiff dialogue that made no sense like they thought it was.

I thought I had seen most of the big ones by Argento and I had kind of avoided this one PHENOMENA that didn’t have as good of a reputation. Maybe part of the problem is that it’s better known in the U.S. as CREEPERS, the version where they cut out about a half an hour. But at least in its uncut form I really dug this strange fucking movie about an American girl (Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly) sent to a Swiss boarding school during a murder spree. (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.