I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Pryor’

A Huey P. Newton Story

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

tn_hueypnewtonPANTHER reminded me of one of the few Spike Lee movies I hadn’t seen, the 2001 made-for-cable A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY. When it comes to the Spike Lee Jointography there are three categories. There’s the main ones you think about – DO THE RIGHT THING, MALCOLM X, all the way through his recent OLDBOY remake. And sprinkled in between are the documentaries, often made for cable. They’re less widely seen, of course, but really good, movies like FOUR LITTLE GIRLS and WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE. But even rarer than that there’s the performance films. I gotta admit I haven’t gotten to most of these. PASSING STRANGE was one, that’s a Broadway musical. I did see ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY. That was pretty good.

A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY, A SPIKE LEE JOINT is a filmed version of a one-man show that Roger Guenveur Smith did starting in 1996 at the New York theater where Hair started.

I don’t know if you know who Smith is. He’s gotta be best known for playing Smiley in DO THE RIGHT THING, so I’m sure people walk up to him on the street every day and say “M-M-M-Martin. M-M-M-Malcolm.” He’s actually been in several Spike Lee movies, he was on Oz I guess, he was one of the stars of Steven Soderbergh’s improvised lobbyist drama K-Street on HBO. But also he was the bad guy in Seagal’s MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE.

He’s an actor I’ve always liked, but I could understand if you didn’t. He has a very theatrical style. He’s a character actor but he likes to show off. He always carries around a little stick of scenery in his pocket to chew on. MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE is an example of him getting a little loosey goosey with the accents. (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.

Hit!

Monday, June 8th, 2009

tn_hitSee, this is the type of gold I’m always digging for. This is why I keep browsing and renting weird old movies I don’t know much about. I’m trying to find a movie like HIT!. Last time I rented a Billy Dee Williams movie it was AGENT 00-SOUL, which I’d wanted to see for years only to discover it’s not a serious movie, it’s a “comedy” where he just keeps tripping on things and falling out of things. It makes the worst Leslie Nielsen movie look like the Coen Brothers.

But HIT! is not only a serious movie, it’s revenge-meets-arthouse, almost like POINT BLANK. It’s an ambiguous, slow-burn revenge movie with great performances and character moments and a creepy Lalo Schifrin score. There’s more care put into the buildup and the little moments than into the action movie parts, but they’re good enough for that to be a fair trade.

In the beginning a teenage girl dies from a heroin overdose. Billy Dee plays her father, some kind of CIA agent. He doesn’t talk until 15 minutes into the movie. Before that he just smolders. His boss tries to help him out, tries to send him on a vacation. But he wants to go after the source – not the street pushers, but the top of the pyramid, some guys in Marseille who run a heroin cartel. Of course the agency tells him not to, and of course he does it 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.

Richard Pryor, Rest in Peace

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

Richard Pryor. God damn. I don’t know why a guy like me always has to eulogize somebody I never met, but it always bums me out when the world loses a genius like Richard Pryor. So I gotta write something about my favorite Richard Pryor works and it helps me to cope and I apologize if you end up suckered into reading the damn thing.

Now, you know I’m not the hugest fan of comedy and laughing and what not, at least not the standup variety. But the one and only comedy god to me, the greatest of all time no doubt about it, was Richard Pryor. If you happened to read my review of the standup movie JESUS IS MAGIC last week you remember the list I made of the greatest standup movies of all time:

  1. RICHARD PRYOR LIVE IN CONCERT
  2. RICHARD PRYOR LIVE IN CONCERT
  3. RICHARD PRYOR LIVE ON THE SUNSET STRIP

end of list.

In the talkback for that review one guy strongly disagreed with the list, he felt that LIVE IN CONCERT was the whole top five, not just top two. And he could definitely make a good argument for that I think. (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.

A Good Month For the DVDs of Badass Cinema

Tuesday, September 24th, 2002

Yeah I know, this Iraq deal is getting even worse but let’s just take one fuckin column to talk about what I used to talk about, the movies.

This month has been hard on the wallet not just because of the economy but also because of numerous high quality dvd releases of important films of Badass Cinema. Today I will take some time to review a few of those dvds.

First of all we got my pick for the best movie of the year so far, BLADE II. I feel I have already written enough about the many fine qualities of this picture so I will focus this review only on the many fine dvd extras brought to you by one of our best directors, Mr. Guillermo del Toro. This is a part of the “New Line Platinum Series” which I have come to know and trust as a series of dvds with extra material above and beyond your “theatrical trailer” or your “chapter stops” or even your “weblinks.” (Does anybody really have a DVD-ROM drive? And if so, do they really need a dvd to figure out how to find the web site for BONES?) BLADE II is no exception, in fact it has even better extras than BLADE I. (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.

Blue Collar

Monday, January 1st, 2001

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Paul Schrader. He is sort of a lesser known legend of independent film. Legendary because of the many screenplays he wrote for Martin Scorsese, including Taxi Driver, lesser because he went on to direct crap like the rock band movie Light of Day with Michael J. whatsisdick. And that sort of thing tends to lower people’s opinion of you. I mean, you don’t see the dude who did Satisfaction with Justine Bateman going on to inspire a new generation of filmmakers. That’s just the way it works.

But Paul Schrader did make sort of a comeback. After a really terrible Elmore Leonard/Tom Arnold picture called Touch he did Affliction with James Coburn and got some Oscars and what not. Now I am in favor of any picture that gets an Oscar for James Coburn just on basic principle, but I haven’t seen it yet so instead I will review Mr. Schrader’s first work as a director, and still maybe his best, Blue Collar. (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.

Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip

Saturday, January 1st, 2000

This is Richard’s standup film from 1985 and like you damn well oughta expect from Richard, it’s some funny shit. It is interesting to contrast this one with his 1979 Live in Concert because Richard has gone from being a genius to being a superstar. The opening credits play this ’80s style funk and show giant billboards advertising the show. Then a spotlight comes on in the back of the theater and Richard struts his way through the audience, and you see this cockiness on his face that is almost like a different person. Everybody loves Richard when he’s on stage being funny but this is something else altogether as you feel the outpouring of love from the audience and you see how it gives him strength. (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.

Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin’

Saturday, January 1st, 2000

This is a video I have seen on the shelfs alot but I never got around to renting it on account of it is only 45 minutes. And who the fuck wants to pay 3.50 or what not for 45 minutes of standup when you could just watch scrambled Def Jam Comedy Jam for free.

But now I finally saw it and it was interesting but hell boys I gotta warn you, this is for Richard Pryor experts only. It is not a good introduction to his works, in my opinion. I don’t want you to watch this one first unless you promise me right here and now that you will watch Richard Pryor Live in Concert and Live On Sunset Strip even if you don’t like this one too 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.