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Archive for December, 2009

American Yakuza

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

tn_americanyakuza“Viggo Mortensen is… AMERICAN YAKUZA.” That’s what it says on the trailer. This is a rare early Viggo lead role and it’s pretty much a straight up action/crime movie. In the tradition of AMERICAN NINJA, AMERICAN KICKBOXER, AMERICAN SAMURAI and AMERICAN BEAUTY, Viggo is an American white guy who earns the trust and acceptance of the Yakuza, complementing their traditions and rituals with his own American spirit. When they drink sake he drinks Bud Light or Wild Turkey. But don’t worry man, he’s cool. I’ll explain. (read the rest of this shit…)

Paranormal Activity

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
Holy shit, the door opened (SPOILER)

Well, no surprise here. I’m on record as being done with this “scary home video” fakumentary subgenre, and I think it’s not worth doing unless you can come up with a new gimmick to add on top of that gimmick, like CLOVERFIELD did by doing a found video Godzilla movie. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY doesn’t have much to distinguish it from BLAIR WITCH PROJECT or [REC] other than it’s even lower rent, taking place entirely in one normal house with only 2 cast members for 98% of the running time. I didn’t check the credits but if more than 4 people worked on this then somebody wasn’t pulling their weight. (read the rest of this shit…)

Steven Seagal: Lawman – Episode 7

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

tn_lawman3To Live or Die

This episode begins with the Squad responding to a call about two men shot in an armed robbery. They go to a Hispanic neighborhood where two Latino men are laying on the ground bleeding from gunshot wounds. Seagal and friends ask the wounded men and witnesses about who shot them (two black men with dreads who robbed them and then shot them anyway) but otherwise all they can do is assure them an ambulance is coming. This is the biggest incident we’ve seen in this series so far, but it’s not exciting, it’s just upsetting to see these poor guys moaning in pain.

“Believe me,” Seagal says. “That really pisses me off bad.” After all the people Seagal has left behind in movies, screaming about which body parts of theirs he injured, and after seeing him abandon the body of a colleague and love interest in a wrecked car in EXIT WOUNDS, it’s weird to see him standing around frustrated that two people are hurt and he can’t do anything. Later we learn that one of the men died. (read the rest of this shit…)


Saturday, December 26th, 2009

tn_ninjaAll I wanted for Christmas was NINJ*. But it doesn’t come out in the US until March, so I ordered it from Thailand. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Over the last year or so, while sci-fi nerds all over the world were dreaming of the possibilities of AVATAR, a much smaller, more specialized band of connoisseurs – DTV action fans – were dreaming of NINJ*. It showed promise because of three reasons:

1. Isaac Florentine. The Israeli martial artist turned filmatist is the only reliable DTV auteur I know of. His movies usually have a fun tone and always have great, well-staged fights with energetic camera movements (and sound effects whenever somebody moves their arm or turns their head). He’s made distinctive vehicles for Dolph (BRIDGE OF DRAGONS), Michael Jai White (UNDISPUTED II) and Van Damme (THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL – although he disowned that one. But I liked it.). (read the rest of this shit…)

thanks everybody

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Hope everyone is well



Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

tn_avatarWhen I came out of AVATAR I had a nice free feeling that I wasn’t even gonna write a review of it. I figured what it excels at is self-evident and what it fails at isn’t really worth dwelling on, and every motherfucker with a computer already wrote way too much about this thing anyway so what’s the point? I wouldn’t have much to say.

Then a couple days later I had written this behemoth. Hopefully there are one or two things here that haven’t been said before. (read the rest of this shit…)

Universal Soldier II: Brothers In Arms

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Some movies you hear about for so long that you almost don’t really believe you’ll ever see it. You always think of it as being something far off in the distance somewhere, then next thing you know it’s there and you weren’t even ready. Everybody’s rushing to get their thoughts online, but I’m a little slower than some people because I want time to process it. I know alot of people are curious what I think about this highly anticipated sci-fi release. I’m sure opinions will be all over the place, but I gotta say that no matter whether you are disappointed or blown away it’s really exciting to see an old favorite coming back, trying to give the fans something new. It’s quite a time to be a fan of these types of movies. (read the rest of this shit…)

R.I.P. Dan O’Bannon

Friday, December 18th, 2009

obannonDamn, I just read on The Ain’t It Cool News that Dan O’Bannon died. He’s mainly known as the creator of ALIEN (he wrote the original script). Although his script was re-written there’s no way to deny it came out of his mind when you watch DARK STAR, which he wrote with John Carpenter (as well as co-starred in and built the sets) and see how similar it is to ALIEN even though it’s a comedy. After that one he was hired by Jodorowsky to work on that version of DUNE that never came about.

O’Bannon’s got a bunch of great credits but the one I always associate him with is the absolutely brilliant RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. If you’ve never gotten around to seeing that one I think you should do it now and I don’t think you’ll regret it. If I ever complete last year’s New Year’s resolution of writing a script I’ll aspire to writing an opening scene half as perfect as that first-day-at-work sequence that opens ROTLD. The way he casually introduces all this information – the geography of the building, the things that will become zombified, the origins of the zombie plague – in the context of a very relatable work situation, making you laugh at the same time he’s building tension… I think it’s one of the all time greats.

To briefly summarize some of his career highlights, he got his start with John Carpenter, hung out with Jodorowsky, created one of the great sci-fi series of all time, invented fast zombies, wrote movies for Tobe Hooper (LIFE FORCE and INVADERS FROM MARS) and Paul Verhoeven (no less than TOTAL RECALL).

He was only 63. Too bad, man. I know it’s been a while since he got his credits on anything but ALIEN spinoffs, but I thought he had more in him. Thanks for the great times bud.

Vampire’s Kiss

Friday, December 18th, 2009

tn_vampireskissMan, you guys were right about VAMPIRE’S KISS. You really can’t judge a DVD by its cover. I always imagined it was a typical dumb ’80s comedy, but it’s something totally different. The year was 1988, Nic Cage was in his early 20s and hungry – so hungry he ate a live roach on camera. And appparently it wasn’t in the script, it was his idea. Planned in advance though – he didn’t improvise it. That would’ve been even more impressive. But even separate of this roach-eating what this is is a grade-A example of mega-acting. (read the rest of this shit…)

Steven Seagal: Lawman – Episodes 5-6

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

tn_lawman2Episode 5: Firearms of Fury

There’s a 911 call about a disturbance with a gun, so the Squad is called in and get the suspect out of his car. Seagal keeps asking where the gun is and eventually the guy admits that it’s in the back of the car – a .44 with the hammer pulled back so it could’ve easily gone off and hit somebody. Seagal instructs another officer on how to pick it up safely.

It’s unclear what happened exactly – apparently an argument between cousins, the guy claimed he’d never point a gun at his cousin, but then why did his cousin call the cops? Seagal says afterwards, “I’m not happy that this happened, but at least we got one more gun off the street.” Sometimes LAWMAN gives me an impression of police work like it’s an old school video game. You gotta keep going around a maze grabbing all the guns you can find but they keep piling up faster and faster until you can’t keep up and then the game is over. (read the rest of this shit…)