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Archive for May, 2007


Sunday, May 27th, 2007

In the movie McQ, John Wayne plays McQ, a cop trying to find out who killed his partner and why. I’m not sure if McQ is short for McQuaid or McQueen, or if it is his real name like McG. Actually, they usually just call him Lon.

McQ was made in 1974, the director was John Sturges, the style seems to be DIRTY HARRY. Except John Wayne was actually offered the real DIRTY HARRY after Frank Sinatra dropped out. He turned it down because he didn’t want Sinatra’s leftovers. Instead, he would prefer to do a rip-off of Sinatra’s leftovers.

Actually, it’s not like DIRTY HARRY. It’s a little more like MAGNUM FORCE because it turns out the other cops are dirty and there’s a coverup. But still it’s not the same type of movie, because instead of the liberal West Coast port city of San Francisco it takes place in my beloved liberal West Coast port city of Seattle. And instead of a funky Lalo Schifrin score it’s a funky Elmer Bernstein score. So it’s totally different. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Wicker Man (2006)

Friday, May 18th, 2007

When I read that the unrated DVD of THE WICKER MAN REMAKE has a SHOCKING ALTERNATE ENDING!, I was a little confused. Because if you’ve ever seen the original, good version of THE WICKER MAN you know this can only SPOILER end one way: an outdoor barbecue featuring Nic Cage in a central role. What could the SHOCKING ALTERNATE ENDING be? He doesn’t get burned alive?

The movie is a pointless and weird re-jiggering of the original. It’s not really the crazed spectacle I was hoping for, at least not from beginning to end. If you’ve seen the original you know where it’s going, and it’s not all that exciting to see him wander around a weird farm colony island looking for this missing girl and getting frustrated that nobody is cooperating. But oh boy does it have its moments. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Hip Hop Project

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Here’s a little documentary not many of you will probaly bother to see, but I just saw it and I have to vouch for it. I know THE HIP HOP PROJECT sounds like a working title they never bothered to change, but it’s actually the name of the youth outreach program documented in the movie. This is the story of a guy in his 20s named Chris “Kazi” Rolle who finds some troubled teenagers with a talent for rapping and helps them record an album. It’s not only his way of keeping them off the streets, or giving them a voice for self expression, or even getting into their lives to be a mentor and a positive influence. It’s all of those things, but it seems like it’s also a form of redemption and self discovery for him, having been an orphan and a homeless criminal and still not having come to terms with where he came from.

Kazi lures these kids in with the promise of recording, and then he tells them the catch: you can’t talk about “money, hoes and clothes.” He wants them to talk about their lives, their problems, try to touch somebody emotionally, maybe change somebody’s life. We do see a scene of some rappers battling, insulting each other to each other’s faces, and it’s very entertaining. But Kazi is trying to get at something more sincere and from the heart. As an exercise he asks them to tell about something that has happened to them in their lives. This leads to an amazing scene where one of the kids rhymes (and I’m not clear whether he has had time to write this or if he is improvising) about his father. While he’s rhyming he starts to cry, his voice quivers, tears start pouring out. But he keeps going. I heard DMX gets tears on stage sometimes but I don’t know if he rhymes while crying. I never seen anything like it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Revenge of the Ninja

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

(aka NINJA II)

REVENGE OF THE NINJA isn’t connected to the story of ENTER THE NINJA. Franco Nero’s White Ninja character is nowhere to be seen, defying the promise of his final freeze-frame wink. Which is bullshit, man. If you’re gonna wink – especially if you’re gonna freeze-frame wink – you better fuckin mean it.

However, Sho Kosugi (who died in part 1) is reborn as a different character, a collector of Japanese antique dolls whose family is killed by ninjas. His white friend convinces him to take his son and mom to AMerica to open a gallery for his dolls. And I don’t think I need to point out that any time in an action or fighting movie where you are discussing the hero’s doll collection you are on some paper thin ice. But I’ll be charitable and accept this as a fulfillment of the Theory of Badass Juxtaposition. (read the rest of this shit…)

Spider-Man 3

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Okay, first off, I only seen Spidermans 1 & 2. I have not seen anything between 1.1 and 1.9 or 2.1 through 2.9, any of these weird DVD special editions. So if I’m missing any info I apologize. But based on this limited theatrical knowledge I would have to say that the conventnerdal wisdom is probaly a little correct: Part 3 is more flawed than Part 1 or Part 2. But not by much. It is the same tone, same combo of boy-girl soap opera, cornball old fashioned comic book reverance for New York City and high-flyin’ CGI action. Only thing is in this one they are telling a more ambitious story (good) which is stitched together with some ridiculous coincidences and occasional bad ideas (bad).

For example, there is a black goo that falls from space which just happens to land right in the park where Spider-man is kickin it with his girl. Okay, admittedly the space goo may have been intentionally honing in on Spider-man’s powers, we don’t really know this. So I will let that one go. But when Tom Hayden Church is running from the pigs he just happens to climb over a fence into a science facility where, at that exact moment, scientists are about to do an experiment with sand which turns him into a sand monster. Admittedly, he did say earlier that he had bad luck, so that is sort of explained why that happens. So I guess I can let that one go too. But what about this. Eddie Brock happens to be in a church praying for God to kill Peter Parker at the exact moment Pete is yanking the evil space goo off of his suit up in the bell tower right above, so the goo falls on Eddie and turns him into a monster!? I mean what are the chances of that? The only way to explain it is that God was pissed that Eddie would defile the church with such a bullshit prayer, so He went Old Testament on him. Hmmm, actually I like that. Come to think of it, never mind, there are no coincidences, it’s air tight. (read the rest of this shit…)

FOX – Vern has some words for you about the pansy-assing of the 4th DIE FLACCID movie.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

A reader named Ed Wilson tipped me off to the following outrageous lunacy:

“In June’s VANITY FAIR, it states that Bruce Willis was initially  disappointed that his fourth DIE HARD film will likely be cut to get a PG-13 rating rather than an R. ‘I really wanted this one to live up to the promise of the first one, which I always thought was the only really good one.’ And he’s not happy about it. ‘That’s a studio decision that is becoming more and more common, because they’re trying to reach a broader audience. It seems almost a courageous move to give a picture an R rating these days. But we still made a pretty hardcore, smashmouth film.'”

Dearest 19th Century Fox:

Howdy. Name’s Vern, nice to meet you. I am writing to ask you one question. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU JOKERS TRYING TO PULL?

Before you blow me off to go bathe in that champagne/money/panda blood mixture you have in your hot tub, please be aware that I am not speaking as a member of the internet community, or associate of the nerd community. I think ALL communites agree with me on this, except maybe the Amish, who don’t watch movies and are therefore neutral. I am speaking as an American, and as a citizen of the world. You can’t fucking do that to DIE HARD. (read the rest of this shit…)

Thunderball and GoldenEye

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

It wasn’t my idea to be here. I don’t belong here. I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m gonna get eaten alive. But Tom Zielinski and Paul Baack thought it would be funny to get me – a Bond-ignorant action movie fan who once called 007 “a fucking baby” — to review Thunderball and GoldenEye. So here goes nothing.

First, the backstory. My disparaging comments about Mr. Bond came in the form of a review for Die Hard 2. In the review I called Bruce Willis’s character John McClane “the working man’s James Bond” and compared and contrasted him to 007. My argument was that Bond was a spoiled rich boy among action heroes. Bond gets an Astin Martin that shoots missiles, McClane has to borrow his mother-in-law’s beater, and it gets impounded. That kind of thing. Tom and Paul had written me a lot of nice emails, and I felt bad that I had been so harsh to their favorite fictional character. So when I was putting together a collection of my reviews, I thought it would be a nice addition to the book if they would write a rebuttal to the review. They graciously did me that favor, which brings us to today, when I owe them one. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Hunted (1995)

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

After reviewing Franco Nero in the white ninja movie ENTER THE NINJA, I got some suggestions to check out THE HUNTED. I’m pretty sure at least one person tried to get me to review this a long time ago, so I hope you will enjoy this and forgive me for taking so long.

Christopher Lambert plays a white businessman who, along with his colleagues, has just wrapped up a big sale one night in Tokyo. Don’t get too excited, he’s not a ninja businessman, just a regular one in a suit and tie. Christopher decides not to go utilize some geishas with his buddies, instead going to a bar to drink by himself. But he sees Joan Chen (ON DEADLY GROUND), drinks some sake with her, ends up going back to her hotel with her. At first he’s very shy and polite, doesn’t go inside, but she invites him in for traditional Japanese hot tub sex. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Digs Into The ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY Box Set! HOLY MOUNTAIN! EL TOPO! Paris Hilton?!? And More!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I haven’t watched my Jodrowsky box yet. Part of it is just time. I haven’t had a chance. But part of it is also because I almost don’t want to watch them. I’ve waited so long for these to be on DVD that now that I have them, I almost don’t want to ruin it by watching them and finally having an opinion about these films, so often discussed, so rarely seen. Leave it to Vern to more than man up for the task. This is a fantastic Vern piece, and a reminder of why he’s one of my favorite writers about film anywhere:

‘If all mankind shitted from a two-meter high toilet, we could have all the electricity we wanted.’
–Alejandro Jodorowsky, HOLY MOUNTAIN commentary

My friends, we will have peace in the Middle East. We will find cures for cancer and AIDS. The honey bees will return to their hives. Michael Bay will apologize and surrender himself to movie jail without incident. I know these things are possible because the impossible has happened: director Alejandro Jodorowsky and producer/Beatles manager Alan Klein have ended their 30 year feud. Everybody’s friends again, so Anchor Bay releases their THE FILMS OF ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY box set Tuesday.

This is literally the Holy Grail of DVDs. When Jodorowsky ditched plans to direct THE STORY OF O thirty years ago, Klein paid him back by shelving his other movies. So EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN have been legendary cult movies, but have not received the wide home viewing they deserve. You could never get these from corporate sources like Blockbuster or Netflix, because the copies in circulation were bootlegs. Jodorowsky supplied the materials to the pirates himself just to get the movies seen. (I wonder what section Blockbuster will put EL TOPO in?) (read the rest of this shit…)