Hollywood George Romero is not my favorite George Romero, but he’s the most underrated one. With THE DARK HALF (1993, but shot in ’90 and ’91) he’s still filming in Pennsylvania (portraying Stephen King’s Castle Rock, Maine), but funded by Orion, with enough of a budget ($15 million) for Academy Award winning movie star lead Timothy Hutton (CITY OF INDUSTRY), three months of training for 4,000 birds, and some early computer effects. It has more of a slick, Hollywood feel than we associate with Romero, less of his hand-crafted-by-local-artisans vibe, but that’s not the end of the world. It’s cool to see how well he can do a straight-forward adaptation of a book by King (“Hoagie Man,” KNIGHTRIDERS). Better than most, it turns out. (read the rest of this shit…)
Posts Tagged ‘Michael Rooker’
L.A. TAKEDOWN (or MADE IN L.A. as the credits said on the region 2 DVD I watched) is a 1989 TV movie written and directed by Michael Mann, that started as a TV pilot but the series wasn’t picked up.
Actually, I take that back. It started as a 180 page screenplay that he wrote before THIEF, and tried to get Walter Hill to direct, but after a decade of not getting it off the ground he had a chance to do a TV series so he gave up and rewrote it as the pilot. It’s too bad he didn’t keep pushing for it, because it would’ve been interesting to see what the movie version would’ve been like. If it were up to me it would be called HEAT and star Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. But of course there’s already the Burt Reynolds movie called HEAT so that would never happen.
The story begins with a squad of ruthless thieves headed by Patrick McLaren (Alex McArthur, CONSPIRACY THEORY) driving a garbage truck, which they ram into an armored car. It flips and gets pinned against a wall before they attach bombs, yank the guards out and line them up so some of them can threaten them and punch them in the face while the others climb in the car and steal its contents. But like an idiot, the squirrely rookie Waingro (Xander Berkeley, BARB WIRE) turns Mr. Blonde and shoots one of the guards, forcing them to kill the other ones too. This was supposed to be clean. (read the rest of this shit…)
Troma boy made good James Gunn (SUPER) returns as director and this time sole credited writer to bring us GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, the continuing adventures of Marvel’s literally-colorful team of intergalactic reprobates. Gunn doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, he just coasts on the charm and humor of the world and characters he set up in the first one. But this time they hit the ground running, already a team, and Groot (Vin Diesel, FIND ME GUILTY) is a baby tree man instead of a giant one, so they only have one big enforcer guy instead of two, and they have to take turns babysitting.
Think about it: wouldn’t it be weird if in one of the FAST AND FURIOUS movies all the sudden Tyrese was a 2-year-old and they still had to take him with them on their missions? It’s a pretty different dynamic.
The team is still earth-born manchild Peter “Star Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt, WANTED), green warrior woman Gamora (Zoe Saldana, THE TERMINAL), wiseass mercenary raccoon Rocket (Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), and literal-minded berserker-with-a-heart-of-gold Drax (Dave Bautista, WRONG SIDE OF TOWN, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, RIDDICK, KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE). They fly around in a little space cruiser and battle with laser guns, swords, bombs and jumping and what not. This time they do a security job in exchange for Gamora’s evil cyborg sister Nebula (Karen Gillan, THE BIG SHORT), who becomes the dangerous-prisoner-who-maybe-they-should-free-as-an-ally character like Riddick, Napoleon Wilson or Desolation Williams. (read the rest of this shit…)
Peter “Star Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt, ZERO DARK THIRTY) is a wannabe legendary space outlaw, a good fighter with a cool breather mask and ship who takes gigs from unsavory characters retrieving rare objects and stuff. A Transporter, if you will. When he finds something called “the orb” for a scary space guy with the scary space name of Rhonan the Accuser, he learns that it endangers everybody in the galaxy, and he decides he’s against that. So he teams up with an alien lady trying to snatch it from him (Zoe Saldana, but green this time instead of AVATAR blue), two bounty hunters trying to capture him (Bradley Cooper [MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN] and Vin Diesel, both voicing cartoons), and a psycho they met in prison (Dave Bautista, RIDDICK) to try to get it somewhere safe, wherever the fuck that would be. I don’t think they discuss throwing it into a volcano like a lord of the rings would do. (read the rest of this shit…)
I guess when THE 6TH DAY came out I was less loyal to Schwarzenegger than I am now. I thought it looked shitty, so I skipped it. And I kinda forgot I never watched it. But now I feel bad that nobody’s going to see the new Schwarzenegger and Stallone movies in theaters so I wanted to show my appreciation for their works by watching a movie from each of them that I skipped before.
With these low expectations THE 6TH DAY worked out well. It’s enjoyable lesser Arnold, clearly better than COLLATERAL DAMAGE and arguably more consistent than ERASER or END OF DAYS. It takes place in “the near future – sooner than you think,” when cloning is a thing. Cloning humans is illegal, but Re-Pets (clones of your dead pets that you can buy) are popular and Dr. Griffin Weir (Robert Duvall) has made strides in cloning human organs for transplants, though not without protest. (read the rest of this shit…)
SUPER is the landmark thirty-seventh movie about “what if somebody really tried to be a super hero?” But this one was made by James Gunn, the Troma guy turned SCOOBY DOO screenwriter who got some cred when he wrote the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake and then directed SLITHER. Looks like he’s had trouble getting anything off the ground since then (I guess the suits didn’t go for his take on Pepe Le Pew) so he made this one independently like he used to do, but maybe with some more skills and connections he’s made in the big leagues. For example the bit part of the lady at the pet store is played by Linda Cardellini from E.R., because she was Velma in SCOOBY DOO. (That was weird, I thought that character would come back or something, but no. She’s just a pet store lady.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Lately alot of us have been noticing the decrease in high quality action movies on the big screen and the increase of them in the direct-to-DVD world. Some of us are starting to suspect that there’s been a switcheroo, that the DTV format – once designated as a 100% crap zone – has become the more reliable place to find good action movies. At least for English language movies it seems like most of the best ones (the UNDISPUTEDs, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION, BLOOD AND BONE) go straight to video, and anything on the big screen, even the ones I end up enjoying (THE EXPENDABLES, THE MECHANIC, NINJA ASSASSIN) you can pretty much 100% assume is gonna be compromised by some blurry, muddy, sloppy, close-up, confusing, de-thrillified action scenes.
Well, I’m not sure if we’ve reached that milestone yet, I might be cherrypicking my examples there. But add this to the evidence file: we got another DTV sequel that is clearly superior to the theatrical original. (read the rest of this shit…)
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with our main man Vern who has seen SLITHER and wants to tell you about it. Give him your ear… uh… I mean, give him your eye. Enjoy!
I guess horror movies are like anything else, they go in cycles. We’ve had this whole drought where it seemed like there was nothing but sissy PG-13 studio horror, and lots of horror fans whining. Now the harsher R-rated horror movies are starting to trickle back in, and a whole other set of people get their chance to whine. (It turns out that our society is just now going down the shitter because there’s a movie where mutant cannibals are mean to a baby. Even though it’s a remake of a 30 year old movie about mutant cannibals being mean to a baby.) Anyway, now with SLITHER we get back another old buddy we haven’t seen in so long we almost forgot about him: the funny horror movie. (read the rest of this shit…)