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

Posts Tagged ‘J.T. Walsh’

Red Rock West

Monday, May 1st, 2017

RED ROCK WEST is one of my favorite neo-noirs, an ingeniously concocted tale with a simple, appealing hero who makes one wrong choice that snags him and he has to spend the rest of the movie trying to crawl his way out of an ever-tightening trap. He’s driving through the town of Red Rock, Wyoming when it goes down, so every time he gets out and then something else goes wrong we share his dismay at passing that god damn “Welcome to Red Rock” sign once more.

Well before all the thrilling twists and tense (but down to earth) set pieces, director John Dahl (THE LAST SEDUCTION, ROUNDERS, JOY RIDE) wins me over with an A+ overture of visual storytelling that establishes Michael (Nic Cage)’s hard times and integrity. We meet him waking up in his car on the side of a farm road, shaving, smelling the shirt he takes out of the trunk to make sure it’s not too bad, looking in the window reflection as he tucks it in, preparing to try to make a good impression. We also see his USMC tattoo, even before he starts doing shirtless one-arm push-ups. This will be relevant.

He’s broke and having trouble finding a job and has a bum knee brought back as a souvenir from Lebanon but he’s an honest man, not looking for any shortcuts. Not until he stops at a bar and his timing and Texas plates cause the owner, Wayne (the great J.T. Walsh, BREAKDOWN, EXECUTIVE DECISION) to mistake him for “Lyle from Dallas” who was supposed to be here last week for a job. Michael plays along, which seems like a promising trick for the few minutes before he realizes the job is to murder Wayne’s wife Suzanne (Lara Flynn Boyle, POLTERGEIST III). So it’s neither a line of work he’s interested in or the type where you can just put in your two weeks notice and be on your way. (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.

Tequila Sunrise

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

tn_tequilasunriseex3-gibsonIn the opening of TEQUILA SUNRISE, Mel Gibson as “Mac” McKussic comes to a motel with a guy and a briefcase full of coke for one of those business transactions that guys with briefcases full of coke have at hotels. One of the guys who comes to meet him is Nick Frescia (Kurt Russell), talking cocky, hair all slicked back. Mac immediately knows that Nick is a cop so he talks his way out of the room and makes a run for it, doing a parkour-like swing from a balconly, nimbly hopping fences, ducking under a freeway overpass, trudging through water, dodging police searchlights. (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.

Breakdown

Friday, April 30th, 2010

tn_breakdownBREAKDOWN is a highway suspense thriller starring Kurt Russell. He’s got his wife asleep in their fancy new truck, going on a trip, he takes his eyes off the road onto his coffee thermos for a second, almost nails some gentlemen of the rednecked community who back out into the road in front of him. When he stops at a gas station those guys show up and start puffing their chests out, commenting on his truck. So it’s got that class tension, that tourist guilt that I always dig in a horror or suspense type picture.

That’s good, but on the other hand I definitely prefer Russell as the sardonic working class type. I’m not so sure about him driving a fancy truck like in this one or wearing a tuxedo like in EXECUTIVE DECISION. I still like him on the right side of the tracks (he was still Elvis, after all), but not as much. (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.

House of Games

Monday, January 1st, 2001

Well this is one of those pictures you would call a hitchcockian type thriller, and yes that is named after Alfred Hitchcock. But one difference is that this is NOT directed by Hitchcock, it is the director debut of Mr. David Mamet.

In the opening scenes the acting is kind of stiff and everything is kind of dull and I was thinking of watching something else. But as soon as the story kicks in you see that that is to illustrate that this lady psychologist who is the main character, her life has grown banal and she is in need of adventure. Her everyday job scenes are almost draining they are so dull while the rest of the movie is full of suspense. One of her patients tells her what does she know, she hasn’t experienced anything. And through his gambling problem she goes and decides to thrust herself into some real experiences. She goes to a small bar called “house of games” (get it, that is also the title of the movie, house of games) where she meets a gambler named Joe Montegna. I mean that is the actor’s name anyway. (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.