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

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Jenkins’

Wolf

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

a survey of summer movies that just didn’t catch on

June 17, 1994

Okay, this one is not a Summer Fling with a McDonalds tie-in. It’s more like a prestige horror film for grownups that didn’t make much of an impact despite its pedigree. It’s Mike Nichols (WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?) doing a serious and/or metaphorical monster movie, reuniting THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK‘s Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer, both at new career heights thanks to Tim Burton BATMAN movies. The score is by Ennio Morricone – more of a minimalistic one than he usually does, and very important to the tone of the movie. The cinematographer is Giuseppe Rotunno (FELLINI SATYRICON, AMARCORD, THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN).

Like one other serious grown up horror movie that I know of, WOLF opens with Jack Nicholson driving down snowy roads. But it’s night and he’s by himself and he has to stop because he hits a wolf. He experiences that common horror movie experience of “Do I have to put it out of its misery?” before a very effective “oh shit Jack don’t do that!” as he grabs the thing by the paws and tries to drag it out of the street. So anyway, yeah, he gets bit. (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.

Bone Tomahawk

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

tn_bonetomahawkBefore THE HATEFUL EIGHT, Kurt Russell first teamed with his crazy mustache on a different ensemble western with bursts of outrageously brutal violence. BONE TOMAHAWK is kinda like a John Wayne movie that happens to bump into CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST for a minute. But don’t get too excited about that high mash up concept. For the most part it’s a straight up western, for people who enjoy westerns. It’s just that it’s got a scene or two that might make a few of those guys spit out their coffee.

In the opening scene two murderous bandits, Buddy (Sid Haig) and Purvis (David Arquette), trespass on some kind of skull-decorated burial ground that Indiana Jones might be able to tell them about. They were just talking about what’s proper to do with the Bibles of the travelers they murdered on the road, but they do not show the same concern for this particular culture. Anyway, they get into some trouble, you could say.

Purvis escapes and makes it into the town of Bright Hope, where he is not welcome, and quickly ends up shot and arrested by Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Russell). But during the night some kind of savages attack the jail, tearing one man apart and abducting Purvis, a deputy (Evan Jonigkeit, Toad from X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST), and a local doctor (Lili Simmons, who I guess is on Banshee, but I honestly thought she was Katherine Heigl). She was at the jail to attend to Purvis’s bullet, and yes, for the record she drops the slug into a metal canister. Anyway she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, she gets abducted. Most of the movie is about the rescue party traveling to cannibal territory to try to get them all back. (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 Witches of Eastwick

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

tn_witchesofeastwickGeorge Miller’s THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK is from a John Updike novel, adapted by Michael Cristofer (THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES). It’s a comedy about women in small towns, not the #1 topic I want in a George Miller movie. And yet it’s very much a George Miller movie. The town of Eastwick could be the New England sister-city to the location-less town in BABE. Looks old fashioned and storybook-like, people act nice and family-oriented, but many of them are uptight and judgmental of non-conformists. The title trio don’t intend to get involved in witchcraft, and when they do that’s not even what turns them into pariahs. It’s actually just them being accused of being hoes.

Our heroines are women left single in three different ways: Alex (Cher) is a widow, Jane (Susan Sarandon) just finalized her divorce, and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer) was simply abandoned with her pack of daughters. They’re all kind of sad about their situations but they have each other, they hang out together and vent and have fun. When they’re real old I’m sure they’ll have cheesecake together and then open a hotel in Miami called The Golden Palace. (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 Indian in the Cupboard

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

tn_indianinthecupboard

RELEASE DATE: July 7
RELEASE DATE: July 14

It sounds like a pun to say THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD feels small, because you see, it’s about a tiny little man who lives in a regular sized kid’s bedroom. But it also is a movie that feels small, in a good way. Based on the 1980 children’s novel by Lynne Reid Banks, it’s the story of a kid named Omri (Hal Scardino, SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER) who discovers that he has one of those magic cupboards that turns miniature toys into living beings. The first one he does is a model Indian, who becomes an Iroquois warrior named Little Bear (Litefoot, MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION). So Omri keeps li’l Little Bear in his bedroom, protects him, gives him materials to build a longhouse with (after he rejects a plastic teepee, having no idea what a teepee is).

So it’s a movie full of what must’ve been really difficult special effects, with many scenes of Litefoot on giant sets composited with Scardino on regular sets, but it’s all about smallness, a world inside this kid’s bedroom (or, in one scene, insides his fannypack). There is no bombast at all. It’s just a sweet, simple 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.

White House Down

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

tn_whitehousedownYou know me, I can enjoy a good DIE HARD type movie. Or a bad one. I like SUDDEN DEATH. I love the UNDER SIEGES, of course. And 3 of the 4 official DIE HARD sequels. But this year is trying to knock me off the wagon. We’ve had three mediocre to bad DIE HARD type movies so far and while A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD was obviously the one that was soul-crushingly disappointing, this is the one that I found most boring. I mean, I’m not gonna pretend Roland Emmerich is known for movies that are worth your time to actually watch, because that would be a bold faced lie. But I figured with this good of a cast and a classic template to follow he could make an enjoyably stupid movie. He mostly just got the second part. (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.

Jack Reacher

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

tn_jackreacherJACK REACHER is the latest in a line of movies based on a pulp character using the character’s name as the title and not making enough money to continue as a series like they probly planned (see also JOHN CARTER, ALEX CROSS, PARKER, HITCHCOCK). This one’s specifically from a book called One Shot by Lee Child, ninth in the Reacher series. I don’t know the books, just the complaint by many readers that it’s important for him to be a big intimidating guy and not a little guy in a little leather jacket like Tom Cruise always plays. So this would probly bother me if I had read 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.

Killing Them Softly

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

I really thought it was a sure thing. Andrew Dominik, director of CHOPPER and THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD: THE MOTION PICTURE, doing another crime movie, this time based on the book Cogan’s Trade by George V. Higgins. I haven’t read it but I loved a different one by him, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, a book about small time hoods that’s made up mostly of long conversations, sometimes going for long stretches without any description, but never getting boring. And also made into a good movie.

After a long wait and a title change and everything we finally got Dominik’s movie, and it’s got all the great things I assumed would be in it: really good performances, a strong sense of tone, a willingness to take its fuckin time, lots of visually inventive scenes, lots of talking (in a good way), some brutality. It’s a solid, arty crime movie that I can almost love, but it also does this thing that makes me kinda hate it. (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 Cabin in the Woods

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

tn_cabininthewoodsWARNING: This review contains major GRUMPINESS

I liked THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, but it’s the kind of movie that people who don’t like horror movies say is THE BEST HORROR MOVIE IN YEARS. Of course it seems that way to them because 1) they don’t have that much to compare it to, they just have a hunch about what those other ones are like, those bad ones, and 2) since they don’t like horror movies that much they prefer one that’s not really that much of a horror movie.

If you say that I hope you’ve seen THE WOMAN, MARTYRS, INSIDE, maybe THE LOVED ONES, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, HILLS HAVE EYES, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. Throw on FRONTIER(S) maybe for good measure. Maybe P2. Hell, HALLOWEEN II. Not saying you’ll like all of these better than CABIN, but you gotta have something more to compare it to than PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

Sorry to rant, but as a proud Fangorian-American I take this kinda shit personally. To me, CABIN IN THE WOODS isn’t a horror movie. It’s horror-once-removed, but an enjoyable example of that, like TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL. It has a clever way of playing with some of the more obvious horror cliches. It has a good cast, likable characters and alot of laughs. But I call bullshit on the idea that it also works as a legit horror movie. And you know how I am. I prefer the real deal.

Look, all I’m saying is that horror comedy is to real horror as smooth jazz is to actual jazz. That’s all. Nothing wrong with that. Real horror is an acquired taste, it isn’t for everybody. Alot of people prefer something gentle, like a songbird. I don’t look down on you for that. Freedom to, you know– pursuing liberty, or whatever.

Good, we all agree. Now, The Internet has decreed that the premise of this movie is a spoiler. If so I’m not gonna try to write a spoilerless review, because that would be a pointless review. So from here on out I’m assuming you’ve seen the 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.