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

“Malone.”

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Posts Tagged ‘good remakes’

The Thing (1982)

Monday, October 31st, 2016

tn_thething“I don’t know what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off whatever it is.”

In snow, no one can hear you scream. ‘Cause it’s cold. They stayed inside.

John Carpenter’s THE THING (1982) – not to be confused with Christian Nyby’s THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951) or Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s THE THING (2011) – is straight up one of the best horror films achieved by mankind so far. It’s relatable but extraordinary, simple but original, blunt but ambiguous. It has quite possibly the most brilliant creature effects ever devised, or at least the only monster arguably weird enough to top ALIEN in the “well, shit, I never even thought of seeing anything like that!” department.

The Thing crash landed on earth some 100,000 years ago, and has only recently been unfrozen to raise a ruckus. A pessimist would say (as Wilford Brimley’s Blair does in the movie) that this is the type of shenanigans that could end the human race in a couple of years. An optimist would say hey, let’s just be thankful the flying saucer didn’t land properly in the first place, we got an extra 100,000 years out of that. (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 Fly (1986)

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

tn_theflyDavid Cronenberg’s THE FLY is about a best case scenario for a remake. It takes the premise of a fun but very dated old sci-fi joint and gives it context, tone and emotional substance more fit for its time of 1986. At the same time it’s a great stealth-Cronenberg movie that was normal enough to be a big hit at the time but artful and weird enough to be different from anything we’d seen before. This was his brief Hollywood period with DEAD ZONE, which was sandwiched between THE BROOD/SCANNERS/VIDEODROME and DEAD RINGERS/NAKED LUNCH/M. BUTTERFLY/CRASH/EXISTENZ/etc.

It starts cute with undiscovered genius Seth Brundle (DEATH WISH‘s Jeff Goldblum) awkwardly hitting on magazine reporter Veronica Quaife (THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT‘s Geena Davis) and somehow getting her back to his lab, which she’s not happy to learn is also his bachelor’s pad. She’s skeptical and probly a little creeped out until he demonstrates what he’s secretly been working on: “telepods,” a set of chambers that can disintegrate matter on one end and reintegrate it on the other. Teleportation. Star Trek shit! He points out that it will revolutionize transportation. In one of the few corny bits in the screenplay by Charles Edward Pogue (PSYCHO III, KULL THE CONQUEROR) we find out Brundle gets car sickness as extra motivation for inventing such a thing.
(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.

RoboCop (2014 remake)

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

tn_robocop14Many remakes, even good ones, remove or weaken the meaning or subtext of the originals. The classic example is Zack Snyder’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (by this same production company, Strike Entertainment), which is a fun action movie version of Romero’s masterpiece, but doesn’t have much time for the questions about our voluntary enslavement to consumerism and materialism. How do we keep our humanity in the face of this apocalypse? Did we have it in the first place? Who gives a shit. Zombies!

Another one is LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. A surprisingly good remake, in many ways more artful than the original, but with its last act tweaks and audience-pleasing ending it completely ditches the thing that makes Wes Craven’s version worth stomaching: its angry illustration of the dehumanizing effect that revenge has on those who commit it. According to the last scene of the remake fuck all that, sadistic revenge is funny and cool.

ROBOCOP 2014’s goals and tone are very different from Mr. Verhoeven’s 1987 classic, but it’s the rare remake that’s arguably even more directly political than the movie it’s based on. Most would say, and I agree, that Verhoeven’s (or really Neumeier and Miner’s) message about privatization and corporate greed is more powerful because of its hilarious bluntness. It was the sarcastic cop movie that Lee Iacoca and Ronald Reagan’s America was asking for, a movie where amoral corporate assholes run the police force for profit, turn a dead body into a cyborg cop, then unleash him to do high caliber battle with savage DEATH WISH style supercreeps and get mixed up in a feud within the company, reconnect with his old self and turn on them. (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.

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

tn_notld90I still love the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, a nice, moody little cinematic play about differences of opinion between strangers hiding out in a farm house during the first ever worldwide zombie epidemic. I believe I watched it Halloween night of 2012 and I realized I’d kind of worn it out, it was too burnt into my brain and I’d need to take a break from it for a few years at least so I could appreciate it more next time.

But I was really jonesing to watch DAWN and DAY of the dead before Halloween this year so I decided to do a historically inaccurate color trilogy by substituting the 1990 remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, which I hadn’t watched in some time. (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.

Maniac (2013 remake)

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

tn_maniac2013It’s been a while since I’ve seen William Lustig’s MANIAC, but its memory lingers as a favorite movie somewhere in the scummy part of my brain. It’s not a slasher movie by my definition because it follows the killer the whole time, but that makes it more upsetting. Played by GODFATHER I-II supporting player Joe Spinell (who also co-wrote the movie), this maniac is a sweaty, disgusting mess living in the shadows of the flea-bitten New York City of 1980, the era of peep shows and grindhouses. He was the weirdo women had to worry about following them on the subway. He was literally the guy you didn’t want to run into in a dark alley, partly because he might be dumping a body in the garbage, and you don’t want any part of that.

To me the most memorably fucked up scene is the one where he’s handcuffed himself to a mannequin that has a real woman’s scalp attached, and he’s crying and he says, “I’m so happy.” And then later there’s one of my all time favorite turnarounds where this sicko leaves the private world of his dingy apartment, he goes into the city in the daylight, and it turns out he knows people. He’s wearing sunglasses and he’s hanging out at a photo shoot. They think he’s cool! 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.

Footloose (2011 remake)

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

tn_footlooseEnough about premaquels. How about a good old fashioned straight up remake? Kinda refreshing!

I guess I never saw the original FOOTLOOSE before, ’cause I always thought it was about a town where you’re not allowed to dance because they’re real religious. In this remake by Craig Brewer (yes, HUSTLE AND FLOW, BLACK SNAKE MOAN Craig Brewer) the ban happens in response to a great tragedy, when five promising high school teenagers are killed in a head-on collision after a dance. In other words, this movie is about the Patriot Act. (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.

Fright Night (2011 remake)

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

tn_frightnight11I remember the original FRIGHT NIGHT being an okay movie, but I haven’t seen it since the ’80s, so I don’t remember it well enough to compare the remake to it. But on its own I did find the remake to be an entertaining-if-not-entirely-original take on the ol’ vampire shit.

Anton Yelchin plays the hero Charley, Imogen Poots (CENTURION) plays his way-out-of-his-league girlfriend Amy, Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays his friend “Evil Ed,” who gets bit by his neighbor Jerry. Because Jerry is a vampire – don’t worry, it’s not some weirdo biter guy.
(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.

early review: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)

Friday, August 19th, 2011

tn_dontbeafraidDON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK is a classed-up remake of an old ’70s TV movie. The director is a rookie friend of the internet named Troy Nixey, but it was produced and written by none other than Guillermo del Toro (in collaboration with his MIMIC co-writer Matthew Robbins).

The tone is completely serious, but all in fun. It’s not trying to punish you, like a Rob Zombie movie, but it is trying to make you wince and feel sympathy pain. That’s why the opening scene is (SPOILER) an old man crying and apologizing as he chisels out his maid’s front teeth. After that you know the movie is boss so you better just shut the fuck up and do what it says.
(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.

Let Me In

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

tn_letmeinAh shit, I hate it when this happens. I’m about to write a review for a sequel, or in this case a remake, and before I get started I figure I should go back and read what I wrote about the first one so I don’t repeat myself too much or forget something important. But it turns out I never wrote a review of the Swedish kid-befriends-vampire movie LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. And now I’m gonna review the American version of the Swedish movie everybody loves without reviewing the first one, and everybody’s gonna think I’m an asshole.

So please imagine I wrote a brilliant, in some ways moving and definitely mind-expanding and film criticism re-inventing review about how it was a very original and well made movie, I liked how the kids talked like kids and it didn’t really feel like any movie I’d seen before, pretty good, etc. Way to go, Swedes.
(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.