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

Posts Tagged ‘Zoe Bell’

Thor: Ragnarok

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Recently some friends and I were choosing favorites between Marvel’s three Chrises. It’s a tough call because Evans (the Captain America one) has the best Marvel series in my opinion, plus he seems like a cool guy in real life and starred in SNOWPIERCER. But Pratt (the Star Lord one) is the funniest and most down-to-earth Chris, and he has the more irreverent Marvel series. I even like his hypermasculine hold-on-I-need-to-roll-up-my-sleeves-so-you-can-see-my-forearms turn in JURASSIC WORLD.

Still, I chose Hemsworth (the Thor one) as my favorite Chris, because here is the most potentially embarrassing of the major Marvel characters, and frankly their least memorable series, but they got this Australian guy I never heard of who looks like He-Man and still was able to fuel the entire first movie on the power of his charisma. I really realized I was a fan when he did Michael Mann’s BLACKHAT. Not only is it a movie I really liked, but it was the first time in a while that one of these new guys displayed the type of manly magnetism that inspired me in the action movies of the ’80s and ’90s. I’m older than him but he made me want to grow up to slick my hair back and do hand stand pushups and read about philosophers.

So thank God his signature character Thor finally gets a movie worthy of his charms. Taika Waititi, the New Zealand writer-director best known for WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS and the great HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, completely reinvents the series as a colorful comedy much more in the vein (and sci-fi landcape) of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY than of the previous THORs. He quickly makes him funny, destroys his hammer, puts him on another planet and has cyborg Stan Lee cut his hair short. So it’s different. (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 Hateful Eight

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

tn_hatefuleight(SPOILERS. This is a don’t-read-before-seeing-the-movie review.)

Quentin Tarantino tries out a couple new tricks in his new one, THE HATEFUL EIGHT: he shot in extra-wide 65mm Cinemascope, and helped hook up a bunch of theaters with 70mm projectors (and projectionists, I assume) to show an early, longer version of the movie complete with an overture, intermission and program. He got Ennio Morricone to compose and orchestrate some new music for it (Tarantino’s only previous original scoring was some bits by RZA and Robert Rodriguez for the KILL BILLs). But it also feels pretty familiar: his second extreme-racism western in a row, with chapter titles like KILL BILL, full of conversation suspense scenes like INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, mostly one location like RESERVOIR DOGS, some non-linear jumps like most of his movies, and a cast with plenty of his regulars (Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, James Parks, Zoe Bell, Waltong Goggins [I almost forgot he was in DJANGO UNCHAINED). Just as INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS got away with some out-of-the-blue, seemingly incongruous narration by Jackson, HATEFUL EIGHT follows up its intermission with some omniscient narration that you suddenly realize is Tarantino himself. I can see why some people would hate that, but I loved it. I mean, who are we fooling, we all know it’s this guy talking to us through this movie anyway. And it helps kick off the second half with an energy the first was lacking.

Here’s something brand new for a Tarantino movie: I didn’t immediately love it. I’m honestly still trying to figure out how I feel about it. I’m not sure I get it. I remember that with both INGLOURIOUS and DJANGO I had misgivings on the first viewings that later seemed completely irrelevant. With the former it was thinking that Brad Pitt seemed like Brad Pitt playing a funny character, he didn’t inhabit the character the way previous Tarantino leads had. With the latter it was that Tarantino had never done a movie that followed one character chronologically, and it seemed kinda too simple for him. Both of those seem like dumb complaints to me now, and I loved both movies without reservations on subsequent viewings. Even so, their first times I liked better than this first time. (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.

Mercenaries

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

tn_mercenariesThere are innumerable dreams to which humanity aspires: feeding the hungry, building racial harmony, inventing comfortable shoes that also look cool, ending war, etc. Of these goals, the one we’ve come closest to achieving is “a female EXPENDABLES.” But it takes small steps to make big ones.

This was a concept that guys like us were already discussing and backseat casting before the movie news told us it was really in the works. In fact there are two such movies still in development. There’s the one from the producers of the male EXPENDABLES. It was announced before Rowdy Ronda Rousey was in part 3, so I don’t know if they plan to spin off from her character or not. From the sound of it it might not be worthy of a woman that tough. They’re calling it “EXPENDABELLES” and it’s from the director and the writers of LEGALLY BLOND. It was reported that they were trying to get Naomi Watts, Kate Beckinsale, Marcia Gay Harden, Li Bingbing and Mila Kunis. Sigourney Weaver turned it down. I’m gonna go ahead and write this one off.

The other one is from Adi Shankar, the face-paint wearing producer of DREDD and those “bootleg universe” shorts like Joseph Kahn’s POWER/RANGERS. This one reportedly stars Gina Carano (HAYWIRE, FURIOUS 6), Katee Sackhoff (RIDDICK) and maybe Sharni Vinson (YOU’RE NEXT, STEP UP 3), which is a promising start.

But leave it to Asylum, the studio that brought us SHARKNADO and I AM OMEGA, to have theirs already done and released before the other two even settle their casting. Admittedly this DTV female mercenary squad is light on marquee names, but it’s a good team. They have Zoë Bell (DEATH PROOF, THE BAYTOWN OUTLAWS, GAME OF DEATH), Kristanna Loken (TERMINATOR 3, S.W.A.T.: FIREFIGHT), Vivica A. Fox (KILL BILL, THE HARD CORPS, BLAST, SET IT OFF), and, uh, Nicole Bilderback (CLUELESS, BRING IT ON). (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.

trailer: MERCENARIES

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Well, looks like on August 8th (on VOD and in theaters most likely not near you) we will get the first of the long-promised “female Expendables” movies.

The good news: Zoe Bell, Cynthia Rothrock, Vivica A. Fox, Kristanna Loken, and Brigitte Nielsen as the villain (which I’ve been saying they should do for a while, though I guess I hadn’t thought of it when we first discussed this). The bad news: produced by The Asylum. Also, director Christopher Ray (MEGA SHARK VS. CROCOSAURUS, 2-HEADED SHARK ATTACK, ASTEROID VS. EARTH) also has one coming out called PRISON RAID with pretty much the exact same cast, so who knows how much thought and care they might’ve put into either one of them. Or one of them might be all outtakes.

I’ll give it a shot, though. It’s also worth noting that Asylum is about to work with a world class director known for transcending the limitations of his chosen formats. Z Nation is the name of their upcoming 13-episode zombie tv show for SyFy. Sounds like Asylum Walking Dead, which sounds like the worst thing ever, but the pilot is directed by John Hyams. I read somewhere that he was also the show-runner, but the SyFy websight lists some other guy, so maybe not. Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed, which makes it hard to type but I’m doing 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.

Raze

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

tn_razeOne thing that would really help with the class tensions in the world would be if the rich people would stop betting on so many fucking death matches. I don’t even care if the combatants entered the competition by choice (like in BEST OF THE BEST 2) or if they were kidnapped (like in this). Whatever the context, fancy dressed motherfuckers lustily cheering for bloody death in the ring, cage or arena sends the wrong message about the value of the working man’s life. These fighters, there’s usually one or two greedy ones, one or two assholes, but for the most part they’re just human beings in a bad spot. They gotta feed their family or pay back some money so they don’t lose the dojo or the mob doesn’t kill them or whatever. Or in this one they’ve all been abducted along with their kids and moms and stuff who the bosses are threatening to kill if these ladies fail to fight to the death. You gotta have some respect for their situation and cool down with all the gleeful cheering and high-fiving, you know?

RAZE seems influenced by HOSTEL – victims locked in a dingy, windowless sanctum for the entertainment of rich sickos. Instead of being there to be tortured it’s the ol’ “they’re watching the live feed” as the fighters, all women, are forced to beat each other to death. The killing with bare hands is not 100% believable, especially from the girls who’ve never fought before. But it’s not pretty. It’s repeated head-bashings, strangulation, neck snaps, thumbs in eye sockets. Pretty brutal. The actors and stunt women acquit themselves well, but it’s rare that a shot shows more than one hit without cutting, and that’s a problem. (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.

Oblivion

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

tn_oblivionJack Harper (Tom Cruise) is just a working man, you know. After the war with the Scavengers (in which the moon was blown up and shit was fucked up) everybody left Earth for Titan – not the publisher of many fine books but the moon of Saturn that is named after the publisher, from what I understand. Now, I don’t want to stereotype, but alot of humans tend to like Titan for its dense atmosphere and stable bodies of surface liquid. One of the top moons for human life.

Down here we still got drone robots that fly around the wreckage trying to kill off the surviving space-insurgents, and Jack is one of the drone repairmen. By night he stays in a nice little house up on a platform, by day he flies around in his dragonfly shaped bubbleship tracking the drones and fixing them. He seems to like the alone time, but it’s not an I AM LEGEND situation, he does enjoy the company of his partner (wife?) Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) back at home and his boss Sally (Melissa Leo) via satellite from the space station they’ll be going to in a couple weeks before they finally get to go live on Titan with the cool kids.
(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.

Baytown Outlaws

Monday, April 8th, 2013

tn_baytownoutlawsI only gave this a chance because I knew Zoe Bell was in it somewhere and I thought it starred Billy Bob Thornton. Turns out both are pretty small parts. And the opening has alot of signs that this is one of these post-GRINDHOUSE prefab exploitation movies that I can’t stand. It uses that old stylistic device that has pretty much never been used in a cool way, the freeze-frame-turns-into-shitty-Photoshop-tracing-that’s-supposed-to-look-like-a-comic-book-panel. The titlated outlaws are three crazy gunhappy berserker redneck brothers, the unshaven type with greasy hair and fetishistically dirty tank tops, ugly tattoos, biker jewelry, of course a rebel flag on one of them. #1, I don’t understand why these type of characters are so appealing to people who make movies like this, and #2 are we at a point where SMOKIN’ ACES is actually an influential film? Holy shit. I thought I was the only one who liked some parts of that.

But you know what? This BAYTOWN OUTLAWS isn’t bad. It won me over. (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.

Game of Death (2011)

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

tn_gameofdeath11Well, here we are with another new layer forming on top of The Mystery of Wesley Snipes. As of this writing Mr. Snipes recently started his 3 year bid for misdemeanor failure-to-file charges. This is the first but not last of his in-the-can DTV productions.

Unfortunately it’s not worth getting excited about. But when it was first announced it seemed promising, because it was gonna be directed by Abel BAD LIEUTENANT: ORIGINAL PORT OF CALL Ferrara, who last worked with Snipes on KING OF NEW YORK. That’s a guy with a strong voice and raw gritty feel, who at the very least you wouldn’t expect to make it generic. And he’d have a soundtrack by Schooly D. Unfortunately Ferrara left, the schedule was shortened and the script reworked on the fly for Italian TV director Giorgio Serafini.

(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.

Gamer

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

tn_gamerLet’s say you are a feedback and distortion fetishist. Fuzz and blips, pixelation, video lines, VHS rolling from bad tracking – these things get you hard. That’s fine. We are all beautiful snowflakes. What you do in that case is you make a video of all that stuff, you hide it under your bed, you get it out when you’re lonely. What you don’t do unless you have no self control is make a feature film needlessly slathered in that shit and release it in theaters and on home video to paying audiences who want to be told a story and not just watch little flickers and shit.

More to the point, let’s say you are also a wiseass camera operator who enjoys running through explosions in a firesuit or rollerblading around holding a camcorder, but have not yet developed an interest in some of the other elements of photography such as framing or holding still. Fine! Great! That is your calling, you should rollerblade all you want. It is probly good aerobic exercise. But I have one caveat: if your plan is to incorporate that footage into an actual movie and not just an episode of JACKASS then you have a responsibility to look at the footage first and ask yourself if somebody could watch it and understand what in God’s holy name is being shown. And if the directational fraternity duo Nevildine/Taylor were being honest with themselves the answer to that question would usually be “No. No, not at all. Oh jesus, no, are you kidding me? Uh uh.” I’m thinking maybe these guys should forget about the cameras and just be stunt men. They seem more interested in carrying the camera through risky situations than actually pointing the lens of it at specific things. (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.

Whip It

Monday, October 5th, 2009

tn_whipitYou know how it is. You have low self-esteem, or you have to move alot so you don’t do good in school, or you do do good in school but people pick on you, or you get kicked out of school, or you don’t get along with your parents, or you don’t have any parents. But then you find out about breakdancing or karate or illegal street racing or lambada (the forbidden dance) or civil war re-enacting or vegetarianism or whatever. Your eyes are opened to an exciting new world, you meet colorful new friends and rivals, you work real hard and train and almost give up but you have to prove something to somebody or to yourself or to both, so you go to the big tournament or championship or whatever. Well, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut WHIP IT is about a girl finding herself through roller derby, and I was hoping it would be a little smarter version of that type of story. A generic plot that manipulates you in an obvious but enjoyable way, and that pays tribute to a sport I happen to enjoy. Like, say, DRUMLINE with girls on rollerskates. Or BRING IT ON with tattoos. That’s all I was hoping for, but WHIP IT turns out to be way better than I was hoping. (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.