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

Posts Tagged ‘James Mangold’

Logan

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

(some spoilers here for a great movie that you should just go see regardless of what I say)

When the first X-MEN movie came out I thought this new “Hugh Jackman” guy looked and acted so much like Clint Eastwood that I called it “The Return of Clint.”

“I’m not sure how this was accomplished exactly,” I wrote at the time. “Maybe this is a computer generated renderation of a young Clint… Maybe it is Clint under a lot of makeup to make him look more like he did in his Thunderbolt days. Maybe it is a son of Clint’s, much like Chad McQueen but keeping more in the true spirit of his father than Chad does. Or hell, maybe it’s just some dude named Hugh Jackman who looks a lot like Clint Eastwood.”

These days I lean toward the third one, and maybe the resemblance is harder to see now that Jackman is such a star in his own right and has done plenty of roles where he’s not scowling. But man, he elevated the world of that movie by squinting at it with that Clint attitude, and he was even introduced as a bare knuckle brawler like Philo Beddoe minus the orangutan. It didn’t feel like a guy self-consciously imitating a Clint-like persona, either. It was a genuine badass presence and charisma that I still believe birthed the entire modern era of comic book movie mania, for good or bad. Because without Jackman as Wolverine I don’t think X-MEN would’ve caught on and if X-MEN didn’t catch on I don’t think the Marvel movies would’ve gotten off the ground and we’d all be going to conventions dressing up as characters from serious adult dramas. (I can’t decide if I’m going as BRIDGE OF SPIES this year or one of the ACLU lawyers from LOVING.) (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 Wolverine

Monday, July 29th, 2013

tn_thewolverineRemember Darren Aranofsky was gonna do this new Wolverine movie? He’d done THE WRESTLER and he was the original director on THE FIGHTER and then he named it THE WOLVERINE, but he had to drop out to deal with The Child Custody. From the roll he was on I bet he would’ve made a hell of a movie, but his replacement James Mangold (COPLAND, 3:10 TO YUMA) came up with something pretty interesting too. For his movie the title is representative of the whole approach: strip away the convoluted series-connecting business indicated in the title of the last one (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE) and just focus everything on this character, this Wolverine. The Wolverine.
(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.

Cop Land

Monday, September 17th, 2012

I always thought COP LAND was a sequel to WESTWORLD, but I guess it’s actually a police drama about a small town in New Jersey set up by the mob to shelter corrupt New York cops outside of the city limits. Could use some out of control robots obviously but otherwise it’s a good movie.

As the movie opens Freddie (Sylvester Stallone) is in a small diner where cops hang out, playing a cop-themed pinball machine. That’s how he spends his birthday. He’s drunk and can’t stop playing, is so into it he takes his sheriff keys to go open up a parking meter and get more quarters. This is him, playing a game at being a cop, watching the city cops talk, they get mad that he’s looking at them. And he can’t even hear what they’re saying anyway because he went deaf in one ear saving a drowning girl when he was young. It keeps him off the NYPD and makes him have to keep having people repeat things to him.
(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.

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

tn_310-07The remake of 3:10 TO YUMA is a pretty good modern western, but it dilutes the simple power of the original by overcomplicating it. Delmer Daves and friends took this very short story mostly about two men in a hotel room (don’t take that the wrong way please) and expanded it to movie length, but I thought they made it work beautifully. Now they take that expanded version of the simple idea and they go expand on that. Give the hero more of a backstory, involve his son in the action, have the outlaw escape and get captured by other people, etc. The only thing they simplify is the number of guys in Ben Wade (Russell Crowe)’s gang, so you lose that menacing scene of them all lined up at the bar with one defenseless woman pouring them all shots.
(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.

Knight and Day

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

tn_knightanddayKNIGHT AND DAY is that action/comedy/romance deal that came out this summer, one of two or three that were about a guy who’s secretly a government agent taking a girl on an unexpected adventure involving guns and crashing vehicles. Of those, this is the one where it’s Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. It’s called KNIGHT AND DAY because Cruise’s character takes a little toy of a knight from the airport gift shop to hide something in, and also because it turns out his last name is Knight, and the ‘Day’ comes from Cameron Diaz because she’s playing a young Sandra Day O’Connor. Well, okay, I made up that last part, or at least if it’s true it isn’t made very clear in the movie. Actually there’s no reason for the ‘Day,’ I don’t think they got that far when they were proofreading the title.

I know nobody had very high hopes for this one, but I kind of figured it would be okay just because it’s James Mangold, director of WALK THE LINE. Not a visionary by any stretch of the imagination, and not to brag but I am a visionary so my imagination stretches really far. But he’s usually a decent director and not known for this type of thing, so it seemed potentially interesting I thought. Incorrectly.
(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.

Walk the Line

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

You can’t compare Johnny Cash to anybody, but you can’t help but compare WALK THE LINE to the movie RAY. There aren’t many truly great musician biopics, if any, and they all end up being about the same shit. If you’re a legendary musician it’s pretty much guaranteed that you struggled for a while, got a lucky break, became a superstar, cheated on your wife, then had a drug problem that fucked up your career and relatinships for a while. Then you either died tragically or kicked the drugs. (One exception: small plane crashes.) In the case of both Ray and Johnny they kicked the drugs. But just because they didn’t die young doesn’t mean they had it easy. According to the movies, both had a brother who died when they were kids and were haunted by it for the rest of their lives.

Both RAY and WALK THE LINE benefit from great performances by celebrities playing other celebrities, but in the case of RAY I think without that performance you’d just have a pretty good TV movie. WALK THE LINE is a better movie even if the imitation is not quite as uncanny. (These actors did go the extra mile though and record all the songs themselves. It’s weird because you know it’s not the real John and June but you do know it’s the same John and June you’ve heard talking to each other so it seems to work.) (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.