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 ‘Val Kilmer’

Willow

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

tn_willowlucasminusstarwars

“Elora, you don’t want me. Tell her. I’m short. Even for a Nelwyn.”

Like John McClane’ll tell ya, sometimes some shit happens and you just have to step up. For Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis, RETURN OF THE JEDI, THE EWOK ADVENTURE) it’s when his kids find one of those abandoned river babies (we all know how that goes) and then it turns out to be the Chosen One prophesied to kill the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh), so mean knights with packs of dog-like beasts are gonna keep attacking the village until they find her. Willow admits to the town that he has the baby they’re looking for, and he doesn’t argue when the wise wizard The High Aldwin (Billy Barty) appoints him to lead a party on a journey to give the baby back to the Daikini, the bigger people.

I say bigger because Willow’s village is all people under four feet tall. There are fighters among them, like Vohnkar (Phil Fondacaro, RETURN OF THE JEDI) or “Vohnkar Warrior” (Tony Cox, RETURN OF THE JEDI, CAPTAIN EO), but Willow isn’t one of them. A small man looked down upon even among the people of his size, he’s the underest of dogs. As a fledgling magician he screws up even his corny magic trick illusions, and now he finds himself going head to head with a real sorceress.

The first Daikini they find is Mad Martigan (Val Kilmer, BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS), a warrior imprisoned in a small cage who seems at first like a Jack Sparrowish rogue. When an army is headed their way and most of Willow’s party turns tail he has little choice but to free the man and convince him to help, like an action comedy set up. (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.

Top Gun

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

tn_topgunI’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve watched the whole TOP GUN since the ’80s. But I wasn’t too surprised to watch it and see the primordial matter that eventually crawled out and grew into the works of Michael Bay. It’s a mix of gorgeous sunsets, heat trails, fetishized military hardware, bosses played by grizzled character actors (Michael Ironside, Tom Skerritt, the principal guy from BACK TO THE FUTURE), sweaty foreheads, sunglasses, electric guitars, crisp uniforms, the glorification of glistening bodies (in this case mostly male, and good at volleyball), and profoundly unprofessional hot shot yahoos who are supposed to represent the best of the American best.

One difference: less spectacle. This is an impressively small story. For all its bluster this isn’t RED DAWN positing a communist invasion of America. This is about a guy involved in two small international incidents, basically just encounters between jets from opposing armies (nationality unspecified, but you fuckin know it’s Ivan Drago under that helmet). And though it has a reputation as a Navy recruiting film, since it famously worked as one, it’s not politically propagandistic. There’s nothing to make these “Bogies” evil. They’re just part of a system, people doing their job. They see American fighters where they’re not supposed to be, so they try to scare them off. The reverse of what happened in the opening. (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.

Batman Forever

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

tn_batmanforever

RELEASE DATE: May 19
RELEASE DATE: June 16

“Those who cannot remember [BATMAN FOREVER] are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905

You guys wanna see a hit summer blockbuster that was well received at the time, but has since been disavowed like a discredited ideology? The summer of 1995 gives you BATMAN FOREVER.

Just six years earlier Tim Burton had smashed open the zeitgeist with BATMAN, which had been used as somewhat of a reference point for would-be blockbusters since, clearly influencing at least the scoring and marketing of DICK TRACY, DARKMAN, THE ROCKETEER and THE SHADOW, for example. But Burton’s second one, BATMAN RETURNS (1992) was weirder, more personal, and therefore less enthusiastically received by the public. That made the studio weary about plans for a Burton-directed part 3, and they parted ways. Burton is credited as an executive producer on FOREVER, but apparently his only role was to give the new director his blessing and meet with screenwriters Lee & Janet Scott Batchler once to discuss the importance of duality in Batman characters.

Joel Schumacher was a weird but not controversial choice for a replacement. People remembered THE LOST BOYS, FALLING DOWN and maybe FLATLINERS as good movies. And he did THE CLIENT – you know, those John Grisham court room thrillers were a big deal in the ’90s, for some reason. I wonder what happened to that whole genre. Anyway, a 1993 Entertainment Weekly article said “Hiring Schumacher to direct the summer-of-’95 release is seen by insiders as an attempt by Warner Bros. to get the Batman movies back on track” because “Warner doesn’t want a repeat of the macabre 1992 sequel, BATMAN RETURNS, which frightened small children and angered many parents.” It goes on to quote an anonymous “source close to the project” as saying they didn’t want Burton to direct because “he’s too dark and odd for them.”

Yeah, because Schumacher made a real normal movie. No oddness to see here. Just a couple of bros in shiny plastic muscles driving a car up the side of a building. Don’t worry about it, fellas. (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.

Kill the Irishman

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

tn_killtheirishmanFrom the director of PUNISHER #2 and the star of PUNISHER #3 comes a solid, entertaining period gangster movie. It’s a biopic of Danny Greene, an Irish American union president, gang enforcer and dodger of car bombs in Cleveland, Ohio circa early ’60s through late ’70s. If it had been done as two separate movies maybe it would’ve got an arthouse release and some critical respect, but they did it as one so it was barely released by Anchor Bay and nobody ever heard of 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 Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans

Monday, November 30th, 2009

tn_badlieutenantpocnoWhen I wrote about Abel Ferrara’s BAD LIEUTENANT about 2 years ago I said that should be one of the movies they remake in BE KIND REWIND, or some kids should do a remake in their backyard, or you should use scenes from it for your monologue in acting class. So far I haven’t seen any of those, but it’s even better to see a remake starring Nicolas Cage. Sort of a remake, anyway.

What exactly is THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS? It’s not a sequel, not exactly a remake to BAD LIEUTENANT. Werner Herzog, who directed this new one, claims he hasn’t seen BAD LIEUTENANT. Ferrara claimed he was gonna stop this one from being made. (In my opinion he failed.) This isn’t about the same character and I didn’t notice any mention of the original screenplay in the credits. But it does have a little bit of a BAD LIEUTENANT vibe, and that’s all I can ask. (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.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

A couple years ago Shane Black, the hot shot wunderkind enfant terrible wave of the future 22 year old millionaire kid who wrote LETHAL WEAPON and a couple other movies, then got burnt out and disappeared for years, suddenly resurfaced as the writer-director of this well-received if not smash hit smart-alecky mystery comedy. I heard alot of good things about it so one Wednesday afternoon I checked the movie times and went downtown to see it. Unfortunately this was the day that movie about 50 Cent came out and all the showings of KISS KISS BANG BANG had been dropped without the movie times being updated online. I was so hurt that I didn’t watch the movie until just the other day.

Fortunately this one lives up to the word-of-the-mouth. This summer everybody’s excited about Robert Downey Jr.’s funny turn and ad-libs in IRON MAN, but it must’ve been less surprising to people who saw this one. Not only is Downey the star, he is the narrator who possesses the powers of someone recording a DVD commentary. He can skip around, make jokes, apologize for bad narration, complain about movie conventions (specifically comparing one scene to a shot in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER). (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.

Spartan

Friday, August 24th, 2007

SPARTAN is named after some quote from Leonidas, so yes it sort of has something to do with 300. Or maybe David Mamet is really into John Spartan, Stallone’s character from DEMOLITION MAN. Either way, this is a gritty thriller where Val Kilmer plays a badass special ops agent from a nameless government organization who investigates the disappearance of a high ranking politician’s daughter. (It seems like it’s the first daughter, but I think they leave it ambiguous.)

The movie feels much less Hollywood and more realistic than any other of its type, but at the same time you have to accept some pretty crazy shit. I’ll just say it: “the girl,” as the agents all call her, is mad at her dad so she whores herself out at a brothel one night and then, coincidentally it seems like, she gets shipped off to a white slavery ring in Dubai. I say coincidentally because they don’t know she’s anybody’s daughter. They just like her because she’s blond. (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.

Mindhunters

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

Some day I gotta come up with a name for this certain style of movie I like, a movie that is really fuckin dumb, but in a good way. It manages to be so spectacular, almost innovative in its level of stupidity that it is what the young people now and in the ’80s called “awesome.” I’m not talking a dumb comedy like HOW HIGH, I’m talking about a movie that as far as anyone knows is supposed to be serious. One really good example is DEEP BLUE SEA, Renny Harlin’s movie about super intelligent sharks. That takes the genre to its highest levels because there are so many things that play with the audience’s expectations that it is undeniably clever, almost brilliant. And at the same time, so fuckin dumb. A movie where a girl has to take her scuba suit off and stand on top of it so as not to get electrocuted. Because of the super intelligent sharks. That’s the best, when it’s so smart and so dumb that you can’t even tell which is which anymore.

Well this is not that good but it is another dumb movie by the same director. I think maybe the pressure of doing a sequel to DIE HARD was too much for Renny Harlin to take, it damaged his brain and he’s been mushy ever since. MINDHUNTERS isn’t as good as DEEP BLUE SEA but it’s worthwhile if you’re into that type of stupid shit, like I am. It has Val Kilmer, Christian Slater and of course DEEP BLUE SEA’s LL Cool J in the cast but it sat on the shelf for a couple years. It actually came out on DVD in Russia a long time before it came out in american theaters. So maybe the Russians could tell me what to call this genre. (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 Island of Dr. Moreau

Friday, July 2nd, 2004

The disappointment of that Planet of the Apes remake nonsense got me thinking about the old days. How you used to be able to make movies about talking gorillas that were still intelligent type pictures. You got all the rubber makeup and the spaceships and the fighting and what not that the nerds love but you also got some social commentary in there or some politics or some insights about our world and what not. You got vietnam and the civil rights movement going on in the real world and the apes really strikes a ball or whatever with people because of the obvious parallels. These were expensive studio movies but they were willing to give something back instead of just selling a product and then running like hell.

Then out of the blue I got an anonymous tip, telling me Vern, there was a movie in the mid-’90s which attempted this same thing. You got the rubber makeup and you got the sci-fi nonsense. It’s even a remake of an old movie based on a classic book, just like the apes picture. The one catch is that everyone in the world claims this movie is a worthless piece of utter garbage. but you should still watch it, Vern. (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.