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

Posts Tagged ‘Timothy Olyphant’

Scream 2

Monday, October 5th, 2015

tn_scream2SCREAM 2 is a slasher sequel that had a rare level of difficulty. The fringe nature of the subgenre normally allows part 2s some leeway as exploitational cash grabs, making room for everything from an okay continuation (HALLOWEEN II) to an experimental misstep (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE) to a perfection of the formula (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2) to a re-inventing masterpiece-in-its-own-right (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2). But SCREAM was such a mainstream smash hit, and it created such a new interest in horror among non-horror people, that it had different expectations to live up to.

Also, its horror-movie-where-the-characters-know-about-horror-movies gimmick positioned it as sort of above horror movies, so they couldn’t get away with a normal sequel, they had to also say something about sequels. At the same time it couldn’t really follow the template of the sequels it was supposed to be commenting on because it’s a series where the bad guys die and the good guys come back in sequels, so it’s a totally different type of story from most popular slashers.

As if all that wasn’t a tall enough hurdle to jump over, this was maybe the first movie production to get screwed by internet spoilers. A first draft of the script got leaked online, so they changed the twist ending during filming. (I bet Elise Neal was bummed she didn’t get to do her killer reveal speech.) (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.

So long, Justified

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

tn_justifiedThere are many great shows that have transcended or elevated the television artform, that have been compared favorably to cinema or to great novels. Some of them I’ve seen, some I’ll catch up with some day. But Justified was my kind of show. It was full of badass bravado, dry humor, a love of language and personality. Like the Elmore Leonard books that inspired it it was accessible and unpretentious, but also smart and original. I like to think it could be enjoyed by snooty book lovers as much as by people who liked Walker, Texas Ranger.

I came to it as an enjoyer of Leonard. I remember hearing there was gonna be another show based on one of his characters, starring Timothy Olyphant, and I was curious to check it out in case it might be decent. Then I happened to see an extended preview, a clip of the scene from the pilot where Raylan meets Dewey Crowe and bangs his head against a steering wheel. And I thought oh shit, this actually looks seriously good. I’m gonna have to make an effort to actually watch a TV show from the beginning. And come to think of it I watched the entire series as it aired each week, that’s pretty rare for me.

Leonard has not had a good track record on television. I don’t mean in quality of adaptation, but in survival. There was that show of Maximum Bob with Beau Bridges. It got good reviews and was cancelled before I ever caught an episode. Years later there was Karen Sisco. I thought, now how do you make a TV version of a character that was so perfectly portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in the best Elmore Leonard adaptation ever? And then Carla Gugino came and changed my idea of who that character is. And that one I did manage to watch most of the episodes but again, cancelled before the season even finished. And neither show has ever been released on the home video.

So it’s surprising and great that not only was Justified so good, but it had the chance to last for six seasons, continue to grow in popularity, and go out on a high note. And on purpose – I’m sure FX would’ve let them make two or three or four more seasons if they’d wanted to. (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 Crazies (2010)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

tn_crazies2010Every nerd and his uncle has two or more ideas for a zombie movie these days. And even the uncle got kind of sick of hearing about zombies two or three years ago. But as far as George A. Romero creations go, aren’t crazies more relevant than zombies anyway? Coming back from the dead is kind of a quaint 1960s problem in my opinion. Today we worry about ordinary people, people in our neighborhoods and families, suddenly turning nuts on us. We look at them and we can tell something is wrong, something is different, and we don’t really know why but it might be caused by some military fuckup. And there is no reasoning with these crazies. They are not our friends and loved ones anymore. That’s why a crazy is better than a zombie. (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.

Justified

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

elmoreleonardshowsI know some of you were planning to watch that new FX show JUSTIFIED – what did you think? I thought it was a good first episode, taking advantage of that good side of Timothy Olyphant that we enjoyed in A PERFECT GETAWAY and other things, the opposite of the one that was in HITMAN. The pilot was adapted from an Elmore Leonard story that I haven’t read, and the moronic neo-nazi villains are definitely very Leonard. So we’ll have to see how much of that flavor they can retain with their original stories. But they’re definitely off to a good start with Olyphant’s character, a marshal who’s tougher and smarter than everyone around him, and who gets sent back to Kentucky after his Old West mentality causes trouble in Tampa.

Favorite conversation: when he tells the Jamaican priest about going to a Peter Tosh concert (he wasn’t into it). Favorite scene (easy): when he not only steals the neo-nazi’s shotgun and puts him back in his car, but suddenly bangs his head against the horn.

The pilot reminded me of KAREN SISCO, a surprisingly good Elmore Leonard based show they had on ABC in 2003. Sure enough both are by the same director, Michael Dinner (Mad Magazine’s hilarious parody character of DEATH WISH director Michael Winner). I thought they could never replace Jennifer Lopez as that character from OUT OF SIGHT (still my favorite Leonard movie I think, although JACKIE BROWN is a contender), but after watching a few episodes Carla Gugino became the definitive Karen Sisco for me. It helped that they had Bill Duke as her boss and Robert Forster as her dad. And they did a good job of supplying the criminal-of-the-week characters with personality.

Every time Carla Gugino has another TV show I think “hey, maybe it’ll be a hit and they’ll finally release KAREN SISCO on DVD.” But it didn’t work for THRESHOLD and whatever other shows she was on that got cancelled. So now we’ll just have to hope this one hits big and causes a demand for other Elmore Leonard TV shows. Rights holders please note that Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow directed one episode. Let’s see that DVD.

And while I’m at it I never saw that MAXIMUM BOB show either. That was supposed to be pretty good, wasn’t it?

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 Perfect Getaway

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

tn_perfectgetawaySteve Zahn and Milla Jovovich are on a honeymoon hike in Hawaii. Another couple has been killed, possibly by a newlywed couple like them, and all the other tourists are getting paranoid about it, but they decide to continue with the hike anyway. This is one o’ them suspense thrillers, and it did a good job of keeping me in suspensed thrills.

From the beginning on it keeps dropping hints about what  might be up. A sinister past for Zahn? Maybe it’s straight up and this scary couple here are killers? Or this nice couple? Or the other couple? You’ll have alot of theories throughout and as long as you consider the correct one at some point you can claim you figured it out and defeated the movie. The writer/director is David Twohy, famed chronicler of Riddick. It’s another solid B-movie notch on his belt – nothing transcendent, but effective and fun, with some clever touches. (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.

Hitman

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Timothy Olyphant (the bad guy from LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD [aka the killer from SCREAM 2 {SPOILER FOR SCREAM 2}]) plays a gentleman by the name of Forty Seven, who is a super badass hitman who does nothing at all in life except kill people for a secret organization that has something to do with the church and that raises orphans to be assassins and tattoos bar codes on their heads and makes them stay bald and dress like Dick Cheney. And although the movie has some enjoyable moments I feel like a movie that’s about that should really be more enjoyable than this is. And I’m sorry to say it but I think I have to throw some of the blame at the casting of Mr. Olyphant.

He’s a pretty good actor and I usually like him, but there is a major problem here: he doesn’t look good bald. I really believe that when they had him all signed on and were excited and then started fitting him for his costume and shaved his head and looked at him they must’ve thought oh shit. What have we done? There are plenty of people who can pull off bald: Samuel Jackson, Jason Statham, Telly Savalas, Patrick Stewart, Louis Gossett Jr., Montell Williams, Isaac Hayes, Gordon from Sesame Street, etc. And then there’s everybody else. I’m not saying Olyphant looks like a freak or anything, but he doesn’t look cool, it doesn’t look natural. This is a guy who should not be bald until God or cancer tells him to. And every time he’s sneaking away from an assassination, trying not to be captured or killed by Interpol, the Russian Secret Service and everybody else in the world you keep wondering how it is that nobody can spot this weirdo with the bald head and the tattoo on the back wearing a spotless black suit with a blinding red tie. I know it’s based on a video game and that’s where they get the look from, but come on. Super Mario would have an easier time not getting spotted. (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.

Holy Cow! It’s Vern’s Review Of LIFE FREE OR DIE HARD! Did He Like It Or Not?!?!

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

I haven’t seen this one yet. Almost went to a midnight show tonight, but it just didn’t time out right. But honestly, you guys don’t care what I have to say about this. You probably don’t care what Quint or Harry have to say, either. Or Capone. Or Massawyrm. Or anyone here at the site except for one man… the guy whose original rant about the PG-13 rating ended up summoning Bruce “Walter B” Willis out of the ether in one of the craziest talkback moments of all time.

Yes, that’s right. It’s time for Vern’s review of LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. Which means it’s time for me to piss off and hand over the stage to him:

“No one has that power. There is a much more powerful guy in Hollywood, and his name is Rupert Murdoch. It’s his corporation. I only work there.” –Bruce Willis to Vanity Fair, on not being able to do an R-rated DIE HARD

“This city is like a big CHICKEN, waiting to get PLUCKED.” –SCARFACE, edited for TV version

Fellas–

DIE HARD, the motion picture, characters and their likenesses, are the copyrighted intellectual property of the Twentieth Century Fox Corporation. To them DIE HARD is a franchise, a license, a property, a brand, a tentpole, a consumer product, an opportunity for cross promotion with Arby’s and whichever candy bar it was. To them DIE HARD is a dollar amount for an opening weekend, a domestic gross balanced against a marketing budget. But to the rest of the world, to the people with beating hearts, DIE HARD is something more. (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.