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The Badass Cinema Rundown for June 15, 2011

tn_rundownSometimes in a man’s life a man’s gotta post brief snippets about different movie news stories so we can discuss them here.

Well, it was fun looking forward to it while it lasted

My buddy who told me this news looked like he was about to tell me somebody had died. Turns out everybody’s okay, but they hired Simon West to direct EXPENDABLES 2. The guy who broke it to me had actually predicted this back when I was talking up John Hyams and those guys.

This would be worse news if I hadn’t thought THE MECHANIC was okay. But I think the action scenes in THE EXPENDABLES are universally hated, so it seems like they would want to hire someone who was not largely responsible for that worthless style that has virtually killed the American theatrical action movie, non-super hero division. Personally I trace the “don’t plan it out, just shoot a bunch of shit and make it worse in the editing room because nobody cares anymore” approach back to ARMAGEDDON and its special needs baby brother CON AIR. Those were the first two movies that ever made me conscious of quick editing and closeups that made it impossible for me to understand what in fuck’s name was supposed to be going on. So I always thought of him as the Basket Case lump twin of Michael Bay.

Some of you are already praising CON AIR in the comments. I will watch it again some day as part of my Cage studies, and I’m sure it probly seems tame now compared to some of the bullshit they make now. But can you seriously tell me Simon West has ever been a good action director? I don’t think you can.

THE MECHANIC is more competent, but the action scenes are no good, the same thrill-free post-action junk in every other movie these days. I think 15 years on the big screen is long enough that we can assume he’s not gonna suddenly learn how to do it for the first time. So it’s safe to assume EXPENDABLES 2 won’t improve on the action from part 1, and unless Stallone strongarms him I doubt it’ll have the kind of personality and passion that leaked through in scenes like Mickey Rourke’s war monologue. It’s a damn shame. Should’ve just let Dolph direct it maybe.

January could be good though

On the positive side, looks like they finally have a release date for HAYWIRE, the Steven Soderbergh action movie starring “the face of women’s MMA” Gina Carano. Supposedly it’s January 20th of next year. I was hoping for sooner, but that’s not that far off.

This thing has been delayed and delayed, it has changed distributors even after being test screened. To some that might seem like the stink of death, but I still think it’s gonna be good. Let’s see a damn trailer, though.

Some other potential badass director news

Ben Affleck (I liked THE TOWN) is signed on to direct a new version of that French movie TELL NO ONE, which I guess is based on a novel. But he’s about to start filming one called ARGO based on a true story about the CIA pretending to make a movie as a cover for rescuing embassy staff during the Iran Hostage Crisis.

James Mangold (3:10 TO YUMA) is apparently at the top of the list to direct THE WOLVERINE, since Darren Aranofsky left. I don’t know, the guy’s okay but never really knocks me on my ass. And going from visionary director to okay one can be bad (see THE WOLFMAN. Or don’t). For now they’re saying it’s still a script by Christopher McQuarrie (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, WAY OF THE GUN, VALKYRIE), and I don’t understand why they don’t just hire him to direct it. You could have the guy who wrote it or you could have somebody trying to fit into an Aranofsky shaped hole.

Speaking of McQuarrie, looks like he’ll be writing and directing something called ONE SHOT, based on a book by a guy named Lee Child, which is apparently part of a series about this character “Jack Reacher.” Only trouble is they’re in talks with Tom Cruise to star, but apparently the character in the books is a 6’5″ ex-military smashing machine. So that could be an issue.

Anyway I’ll have to check out one of these books, they sound like my type of thing.

David O. Russell (THREE KINGS) might be doing an “action-drama” called THE MISSION, based on a true story about the rescue of three Americans captured by Colombian guerillas. Of course he recently left another action-adventure type movie (some video game thing) and has like 3 other non-badass pictures in the works. And he no longer seems to be mentioning the DIRTY HARRY type movie he wanted to do with Ice Cube. That’s the one I’d want to see most.

DJANGO UNCHAINED rumors will never stop

I’m predicting that Warren Beatty, regretting backing out of KILL BILL, will end up playing the title character in the new Tarantino picture, which is coming out next Christmas. But the latest reports say Jamie Foxx is the frontrunner. Before that the story was that they were looking at him, Idris Elba and Chris Tucker. If you missed me bragging about it in one of the comment threads I was real proud because when Tarantino programmed a screening of FRIDAY among dozens of other things at his theater in L.A. I was theorizing that he wanted Tucker, Cube or Tiny Zeus Lister in the movie. That would blow some minds if ol’ Rhuby Rhod got the role. And of course Idris Elba would be good, he’s ready for a breakout badass role.

But I feel like Tarantino knows what he’s doing when it comes to casting. Whoever he chooses I’m pretty sure will do great. Just like Tucker did in JACKIE BROWN. You know you want to hire him again, Tarantino.

MJW news

Did you know Michael Jai White is in a Stone Cold Steve Austin DTV movie that comes out in August? It’s called TACTICAL FORCE, and UGO has the trailer. Doesn’t necessarily look great (and the bad guy plot is weirdly similar to HUNT TO KILL), but you know I’ll see it immediately.

Also, this can’t be serious, can it?

John Hyams stuff

The facebook teen socializing network (like in the movie) has a page for the upcoming John Hyams UNIVERSAL SOLDIER movie. Whoever does it updates with all the behind the scenes photos and little messages that Scott Adkins writes on twitter and shit like that. Apparently Van Damme gets painted white at some point. I bet he gets real sick and dies and comes back like E.T.

In other Hyams news, he has another movie coming out (I don’t know when) called DRAGON EYES, starring MMA star Cung Le (FIGHTING, TRUE LEGEND). I discovered this video on youtube that combines a Cung Le interview with scenes from that JCVD reality show with some behind the scenes stuff. Turns out Van Damme has an appearance (cameo?) as a guy that trains Cung Le to fight in prison.


I couldn’t find the trailer referred to in the interview, I think the guy just made it up.

What the fuck happened to that Wesley Snipes movie GALLOW WALKER?

What the fuck happened to that Wesley Snipes movie GALLOW WALKER?

that’s it

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147 Responses to “The Badass Cinema Rundown for June 15, 2011”

  1. Without Verhoeven, the future is dark, goddamn Dracula black like Mickey Rourke’s soul.

    I feel like I should have an answer about that hobbity looking shit with MJW, since he & I have of course been close personal friends for months now. But, uh. . . ?

    Fuck this looking to the badass future business. I’m going to see FAST 5 again tomorrow. Good day!

  2. I hate to be that guy, but I have to be that guy. Con Air was what I want a film with the cast of The Expendables to be.

  3. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 16th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I preferred the chit chat in The A Team to The Expendables, that needs to be addressed as much as the action. I’d also like to see Arnold’s team turn up too.

  4. When I saw that picture of Van Damme painted in white and red on the mouth, I Thought hi was doing a remake of Lucio Fulci’s ”Zombie, Flesh Eaters” !!!
    I dont understand why stallone didn’t hire at least Renny Harlin!!! Simon West doing IS a horrible News!! (The General’s Daughter, WTF!!!!) .

  5. Since I like all Simon West’s action movies AND the first Expendables I predict that Expendable II will be just fine.

  6. Knox Harrington

    June 16th, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Why not get Sylvain White, who directed The Losers. That was a far better men-on-a-mission movie than both The Expendables and A-Team.

    To be fair, he also directed Stomp The Yard and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, but I love what he did in The Losers. And he’s clearly still driven and trying to prove himself as a director. The Expendables 2 could be the perfect fit.

  7. holy crap guys, my mom is a huge fan of Lee Child and Jack Reacher, I think there’s over a dozen of his books in my house

  8. THE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER plays a role in one of my favourite cinema memories. It ran in a surprise sneak preview, where they show you an upcoming movie, without telling you before what it will be* and I remember that near the end Travolta suddenly called his assistant and told her something like: “I know who did it!” And right after he said it, the screen turned white and stayed that way for the next 15 minutes. Got no idea what was wrong, but nobody bothered to fix it.

    Also I really enjoy CON AIR, even if I’m willing to admit that it wouldn’t be so enjoyable with a less awesome cast. (Come on, Cage, Malkovich, Cusak, Trejo, Buscemi, Rhames, Meaney, Chappelle and I’m sure I forget a few.) What pissed me off was that years later Simon West “defended” his best movie by saying: “It was meant to be a parody of overblown action movies, but the audience and the critics didn’t get it” or shit like that. (It’s also my mother’s favourite action movie. All the stuff with the bunny still cracks her up.)

    I also hated TOMB RAIDER and haven’t seen anything from West since then, apart from the pilot of HUMAN TARGET, which was pretty good, for a 40 minutes action film with network TV production values.

    *I saw some great movies, that I would have otherwise never watched, that way. Unfortunately also crap like MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE.

  9. speaking of Tomb Raider (isn’t that Vern gonna review that soon?) didn’t they pad Jolie’s bra out for that?

    also one of the definite moments of my teenage years was watching Gia on HBO

  10. Tell No One is a cracking good movie, which has a great way of dealing with exposition: scenes tend to start with people reacting to news, rather than having to listen to it first then react to it. It’s a great shorthand technique and shows a lot of trust in the audience methinks. Affleck has become quite an assured director and I think he’ll make a good stab at this without dumbing it down.

    Vern – you should definitely check out the Lee Child/Jack Reacher books. Two things though – the first book is called Killing Floor, whereas One Shot is book 9. and Tom Cruise is nowhere near the right guy for the role.

    I still like Con Air but mainly for the cast and Nic Cage’s reaction shots to Steve Buscemi.

  11. I’ll somewhat defend Con Air. I actually don’t think it’s a great action film. The nonsensical cuts are everywhere and you can barely understand what’s going on. But I do think there’s a lot of comedic, absurd value to that film. I remember watching an interview with John Malkovich where he described his performance in Con Air as comedic, which is pretty spot on. I’m not sure whether Simon West knew he was making an absurdist comedy, but apparently some of the cast did. I remember catching a few moments on tv a few years ago, and during a scene with an explosion I remember seeing a random, almost nonsensical cut to an airplane tire. It had nothing to do with anything. It was just there. Either that’s tells you that the director is incompetent or that the film has a strange, surrealist agenda (or both).

  12. THE MECHANIC’s terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE direction was what made me stop seeing action movies in the theater. This news is like a headline screaming MAJESTYK RIGHT, ALL HOPE LOST.

  13. CaseyF*ckinRyback

    June 16th, 2011 at 5:55 am

    After hearing that Sly was going with Walter Hill for his next, I had high hopes that he was gonna go with another old-school-er to helm Expendables 2… I’ll be honest, I sincerely hope that West is a rumor, or a “try-this-out-on-the-net-and-see-if-it-sticks” announcement like when Stallone announced 50 Cent for part one, then based on the fan reactions recast it with Terry Crews.

    Renny Harlin would be ideal, Sly worked with Richard Donner before (even tho Assassins was one of Sly’s worst… Is Donner still directing or has he officially hit retirement? The guy that made the Lethal Weapons would be great for an Expendables outing!) or even bring in someone from the 80’s left-field – stunt-king Vic Armstrong (who doubled Indy and made Bond, Arnie and Sly “look so good” has a biography out, which claims that he unofficially directed FX2 and Double Impact in addition to his credited Dolph-starrer Army Of One) would be a dream come true – that way Sly could have a hand in directing the drama and leave the action to someone who plainly knows what the hell he’s doing… Plus would have the edge to command respect from any bunch of tough-guy alpha males.

    As it is… Based on The Mechanic remake, it seems that we’re in real trouble when it comes to big-screen action as the last vestiges of hope are wiped out with a whip-pan and an indecipherable close-up.

    Also, I’ve been following Adkin’s updates on the UniSol4 page – based on his comments, it’s shaping up to be all kinds of awesome. There’s gonna be a fight scene between Boyka and Drago – I’m so there!

  14. I recently read a recent interview with Renny Harlin, where he was asked about EXPENDABLES 2. He said he wasn’t interested.

  15. I’ll go further in defending Con Air by saying that not only does it work on an absurd/parody level, but it also works on a real, emotional one too. Sure, every character is written in shorthand, but it WORKS. The characters Chapelle, Trejo, Malkovich, Buscemi, Ticotin and Williamson play are great. You like the good guys and hate the bad guys within 5 minutes, something that should be easy but is rarely pulled off. (Cusack is kind of a smarmy prick in the movie though).

    And this hasn’t really been said enough – Cage is actually a really unique character. It was refreshing to see a guy from Red State America be the hero without being slow-witted or Forrest Gump, and have a Seagal-esque Green Beret background without being TOO badass like Seagal in Under Siege. I still love the way Cage tries not to kill anyone, how he gets offended by the “trailer park” comment, and how he sticks around to get his friend that insulin shot. And “what would my daughter think of me if I left you here to be dishonored?” or whatever corny/genius line that was. Plus the way he stops himself from punching the convict in drag and changes to an open hand slap.

  16. Wasn’t there an incident at a TOMB RAIDER press screening, where Simon West suddenly started yelling at the screen, that this movie sucks and what they were showing was not his preferred cut of it? I slightly remember Moriarty telling it somewhere at AICN, but don’t quote me on that.

  17. Count me in as a Con Air defender as well. I thought it was fun and I could follow the action scenes. It’s worked out often that a lazy Sunday will have The Rock and Con Air shown back to back on some television station and I never feel like I’ve wasted the day. I agree with Mr 2Zod’s characterization of it, too. It has lots of little touches that are fun.

    I just can’t be bothered to get excited about Expendables 2. I just don’t know about Stallone sometimes. He goes and makes the excellent Rocky Balboa and the very good Rambo and then totally misunderstands what a movie like the Expendables should have been like.

    I wish Verhoeven would do another science fiction movie or something. Weirdly enough I knew his daughter for a while and never realized she was his daughter until after the fact.

    I’m excited for David O. Russell to do another movie. Three Kings is a great film and I hope he goes back to some more interesting stories like that.

    Django Unchained sounds good! It’s Tarantino, though, and my track record with him is that he always comes up with an interesting premise and then I get terribly bored and annoyed by what he makes. If he gets Idris Elba than I am sworn to see it since he was in The Wire and I’m obligated to see any movie with any actor from it. I’m just surprised, and a little saddened, that Idris Elba is the only actor to start getting more roles from it. I was positive we’d see Michael K Williams, The Bunk, and the kids that played Dukie and Michael everywhere. Not that I have anything against Idris Elba, he’s pretty rad, but I thought those other actors would be the break out stars or whatever from The Wire.

    Not to get even further off topic, but has anyone else heard that the guy in the Old Spice commercials is trying to get cast as Luke Cage if they ever do a Luke Cage movie? A Luke Cage movie has the potential to be the best super hero film, but I hate the idea of this guy getting it. I’ve had lots of friends post about it on their Facebook’s and it really annoyed me that the only way for a black actor to get widespread recognition is for him to be in fucking Old Spice commercials. Most didn’t know who Michael J White, Michael K Williams, Idris Elba, or anyone else were.

    Reading Vern’s post and all the comments makes me acutely aware that there’s a better chance of a DTV movie being a good action film than a big budget Hollywood film. That really makes me sad. It also makes me sad that we’re all pining for a movie as good as fucking Con Air. I like Con Air but, shit, it shouldn’t be exceptional!

  18. CON AIR has always been alright. It’s better than THE EXPENDABLES, a similar dream team kinda movie, I’ll give it that. But West directed CON AIR 14 years ago. He directed THE MECHANIC like six months ago and it was an affront to the sanctity of my eyeballs. I’d wager that his “stylish” and “edgy” butchering of that movie is what got him the job.

    Although it also worries me that West might think EXPENDABLES 2: MORE EXPENDABLER is another “parody of overblown action movies” and ramp up the comedy. Which is definitely not what the franchise needs. These guys are badasses, but comedians they are not.

    I’m not sure

  19. I really wish Len Wiseman would make an awesome bad ass R rated action movie so you guys can stop making fun of him and realize that dude is a great action film director. Go watch the pilot to Hawaii 5-0 and tell me this dude wouldn’t make an awesome action film because he loves long takes and not much in the way of bullshit quick cutting.

  20. (continued from previous post)

    …Stallone could have made a worse choice among the available candidates.

  21. Sternshein: Those UNDERWORLD movies can eat a bowl of hot dicks but I love LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD and I don’t care who knows it. Best pure action scenes (non-kung fu category) of the past ten years.

  22. I haven’t actually seen Con Air, so I can’t comment there

    however I did see Tomb Raider when it first came out on dvd and I remember it being boring, with a nonsensical plot and overall not very memorable at all

    the only scene I really remember is that apparently Lara Croft likes to walk around naked in front of her butler for some reason (best job ever?)

  23. (Okay, maybe SOME of the best.)

  24. I still have not seen THE MECHANIC, so I can’t comment on its quality, but man do I love CON AIR. As many of you have already mentioned it is a wonderfully absurd and over the top piece of bad ass cinema with a top notch cast that all deliver. It is also a way better movie then THE EXPENDABLES. I still think Harlin would have been the best choice, but I am curious to see what West does with the film. Actually, if they really want to make E2 good they should get Cage to be the villain and let him improvise all his dialog. I would pay to see that regardless of who is directing.

  25. Griff, you need to make it a priorty to see CON AIR. It is a lot of fun.

  26. Renny wasn’t interested about Expendables? Huh? He desperately needs a hit, and that would have been one. Renny, what the hell?

  27. Is anybody else waiting for AICN to post the story so you can alert Stallone to the mistake he’s making? I mean, the first one was basically CROWDSOURCING: THE MOVIE so maybe it’ll actually work.

  28. I just looked up West’s filmography, and as much as I love CON AIR I have to say that the rest of his body of work sucks.

  29. I am also really excited about HAYWIRE. Soderbergh, is one of my favorite directors and HAYWIRE has an amazing cast. Carano (who for those of you that do not follow MMA also had a small part in BLOOD AND BONE) may have the lead role, but the cast is so stacked with A list talent I don’t know if you could call her the star of the film. For example the cast features Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, and Antonio Banderas.

  30. Knox Harrington

    June 16th, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Good save there with the “(Okay, maybe SOME of the best.)” comment, Majestyk, because I’m pretty sure the Best-Pure-Action-Scenes-Of-The-Past-Ten-Years Award belongs somewhere in Korea.

  31. Vern, holy shit THE WIZARDS HUNTER: THE HUNT FOR EVANGELION CROWLEY looks completely crazy. The premise sounds insane and it start MJW with Franco Nero. Which speaking of the original Django, MJW needs to be in QT’s DJANGO UNCHAINED.

    Also, as a side note were you guys aware that Franco Nero is in CARS 2?

  32. Knox, good point. Having recently watched I SAW THE DEVIL I would have to say that Jee-woon Kim would make the best EXPENDABLES film possible, but unfortunately that will never happen.

  33. Knox Harrington

    June 16th, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I’d get Ryoo Seung-Wan, the guy who directed City of Violence. Kim Jee-Woon is the better director, but I think Ryoo would be a pretty good fit for The Expendables.

    Still, I’d love to see Sylvain White give it a shot.

  34. Simon West? I have to laugh since I had recently mentioned him in the comments of Pearl Harbor. He truly is the retarded little brother of Michael Bay when it comes to cinematism. He can’t shoot anything worth shit and when I saw Con Air in the cinema back when it came out, it was the first time I was ever drawn directly to how badly shot and edited a movie was. It was distractingly bad despite the crazy performances from the actors, who were all acutely aware of how comedic this was supposed to be, which can’t be said for Simon West because it was over the top in all the worst ways and shot by someone completely incompetent. I can’t believe that he ever thought he was shooting in a self-aware way. No fucking way.

    The huge gap between his action movies really does go to show how no one really trusted him again until recently… But then, I don’t think the first Expendables was shot that amazingly so if he does even a remotely competent job of shooting it, it won’t be so bad. But I’m not holding my breath.

  35. The first one was shot as incomprehensibly as any of West’s work, but I’ve been a fan of Stallone for my entire life so I give him a little more leeway. West is just some hired hand who’s bad at the job people pay him to do so he can’t skate by on an old action junkie’s sentimentality.

  36. can i get some help from the assembled brains here? NYAFF is coming up (New York Asian Film Festival). what’s worth going to in this list:


    just a tiny sampling, it’s too much goodness, on and on it goes, i can’t possibly see everything, though i want to…

    SHAOLIN (Hong Kong, 2011, North American Premiere, 131 minutes)
    It doesn’t get any bigger than this. Superstar Andy Lau, Nic Tse and Jackie
    Chan all star in this swank, blockbuster retelling of the primal martial
    arts story: the destruction of Shaolin Temple, which is the birthplace of
    martial arts. It’s a movie that’s been made many times (hence the alternate
    title NEW SHAOLIN TEMPLE) but never before has it been this massive, this
    lavish and this chock full o’action.
    ***The movie’s director, Benny Chan, will be at the screening

    THE YELLOW SEA (Korea, 2010, New York Premiere, 156 minutes) – from the
    director of THE CHASER, and fresh out of Cannes, this is the Korean action
    movie in excelsis. A North Korean immigrant is sent to Seoul to perform a
    hit. Soon the Chinese mafia, the Korean mafia and the cops, are after him
    and hatchets are deployed, trucks are flipped and all hell breaks loose.
    ***The movie’s director, Na Hong-Jin will be at the screening

    13 ASSASSINS: DIRECTOR’S CUT (Japan, 2010, 141 minutes, New York Premiere) –
    the complete UNCUT version of Takashi Miike’s samurai masterpiece. With 17
    minutes of original footage restored.
    ***One of the movie’s stars, Takayuki Yamada, will be at the screening

    BKO: BANGKOK KNOCKOUT (Thailand, 2010, New York Premiere, 105 minutes) –
    Tony Jaa’s mentor, Panna Rittikrai, will school you now. This exploitation
    stunt-tacular features all his best stuntmen and women unleashing muay thai,
    capoeira, dirt bike fu, shovel beatdowns, fights on fire, fights in the
    water, fights under trucks, fights in mid-air, and two back-to-back
    climactic smackdowns that have to be seen to be believed.

    RAW FORCE (Philippines/USA, 1982, 86 minutes) – one of the strangest
    Filipino/US co-productions from the 80’s, this rarely-screened exploitation
    fever dream is better known by its other title Kung Fu Cannibals. With
    zombies, ninjas, samurai, kung fu, and evil monks, this is the entire 1980’s
    exploitation industry fired into your eyes via firehose.

    i want to see everything

  37. RAW FORCE is amazing, but I’m not sure you need to see it on the big screen when you can buy it in a pack of eight other ridiculous action movies for like six bucks.

  38. 13 Assassins is great and I’d not miss a chance to see it on the big screen.

    A friend of mine had a VHS of Kung Fu Cannibals and I remember a bunch of us made a double feature of that and Violent Shit 3: Zombie Doom a few years ago. I can’t say I recommend it, but I remember it being worth seeing with a few friends and some 40s of Hurricane. It’s at least better than Zombie Doom but probably not as good as the English dub of Zombie 90, which is hilarious.

  39. Knox Harrington

    June 16th, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I envy anyone who can make it to that festival. My first pick would be The Yellow Sea. The bit that says “from the director of THE CHASER” is all you need to know. I’ve been hearing good things about it.

    Wouldn’t give up a chance to watch that Director’s Cut of 13 Assassins, though.

  40. BR Baraka:
    Shaolin is excellent. You should definitely check that one out. Also, if you haven’t seen The Blade yet, that’s a really great brutal Hong Kong swordplay picture. Man from Nowhere, City of Violence, Versus, Battle Royale, and Riki-Oh are pretty good, too.

    Haven’t seen any of the others, but 13 Assassins, Bangkok Knockout, and Punished look really promising. And I guess Reign of Assassins and Karate-Robo Zaborgar look like they might be okay.

  41. darth irritable

    June 16th, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    +1 on Reacher. The problem is at 6’5, and 220 – 250 lbs depending on the book, who’d play him? 80s Roddy Piper could pull it off, but not 2012 Tom Cruise. It could be they chose one shot because its using Reacher’s wits more, with less reliance on being a behemoth. Ah well, as long as Cruise doesn’t wear tights again, I guess…

  42. thanks guys, i’m taking your tips to heart

    the yellow sea and shaolin are definite. tickets are probably f&@#ing sold out already. i have to try and buy now

    i don’t know if i can make the raw force screening time, midnight saturday, which is a shame, because it’s going to be a freak show, on screen and in audience

    f&@#! bangkok knockout is midnight saturday too, bummer

    i’m also liking gantz 1 & 2. come on, look at this straight up plate of good wholesome japanese weirdness:



    i mean seriously japan, wtf?:


    and miike does 13 assassins, then…



    the japan society runs in its film festival with the NYAFF, good stuff:


    i always love this festival, it’s always a great time. if you can get your ass to new york city in july, do it. they usually have interviews with director/ stars along with the movie, which is always unique and awesome. i got to meet sion sono that way. sion sono is my f&@#ing hero. everybody has to see “love exposure”:


  43. Charles — I don’t think this WIZARDS HUNTER business can possibly be real, but the idea of MJW + Franco Nero (of COURSE he’s playing Alistair Crowley, why would you even ask that) is a hoot. They’ll have to dramatically improve the grammer on their imdb page if I’m gonna seriously believe it’ll happen, however. Also if it hit theaters with that title it might actually give that whole GAURDIANS OF GA-GHOOL thing a run for its money as the most extraneous and awkward title ever.

  44. I’m happy Mr. Myjestyk agrees with me about Len Wiseman being a good choice to direct action in action movies.

  45. If you want some true Badass Literature, go for the Stephen Hunter series featuring Bob Lee Swagger. Not that Reacher sucks – those books are cool enough – but Bob the Nailer is easily one of the baddest motherfuckers ever. And ignore the fact that the movie version of the first book turned a late-40’s Vietnam vet into Mark Wahlberg. The books are still unsullied, and still rock ass.

  46. I’m sorry but Len Wiseman can never be forgiven for his deplorable UNDERWORLD films, which transcend mind-numbingly boring to a level of tepid unwatchability mankind may never fully comprehend, and God willing will never toy with again.

    UNDERWORLD 2 is likely the only film I have ever watched that I made it up to the big climax and then actually just turned it off in boredom and never returned, because my time was worth more than seeing how that pile of shit ended. And I watched AGAINST THE DARK all the way through.

    LIVE FREE was pretty good, but I’m sure Eichmann had nice qualities too. Never forget.

  47. One possible ray of hope for Expendables 2 is that Stallone has a habit of hiring non-auteur directors who he can mold to influence his own needs. Think George P. Costmatos, Marco Brambilla, Peter MacDonald… Are any of these guys who have a “style” we’d know outside of Stallone vehicle? Maybe West is just going to be the guy to do the paperwork while Stallone tells him how to make him look good in closeup.

    Still doesn’t answer to the poor style of Stallone’s own Expendables 1, but it’s better than a Simon West movie. Con Air is exactly what it needs to be regardless of West.

  48. If Expendables 2 ends up being the inverse of Con Air I’ll end up happy. Mostly, I just want Nic Cage to play the villain.

  49. Agreed, AJ.

    Stephen Hunter is also an interesting film critic. Hey, look at that, the google tells me he won a Pulitzer for his film criticking at WaPo. (It’s a shame the Pulitzer is no longer meaningful to me since Kathleen Parker won one last year.)

    A few years ago, I read POINT OF IMPACT, the basis for SHOOTER, and I was turning those pages fast. Good shit, although it was a tad jarring for me to make Swagger a much older man than MarkyMark in my visualization of the character.

  50. Reacher books are all pretty good, except for Running Blind, which I recommend you avoid at all costs. Persuader is probably the best one.

    Stephen Hunter is pretty great, but his politics have really controlled the direction of his last two books (I, Sniper and Dead Zero), to their detriment. I don’t even particularly like when politics I agree with seep into a novel or film, much less intense conservative politics.

    Point of Impact, Black Light, Dirty White Boys, Time to Hunt, Hot Springs, and Pale Horse Coming are all absolutely worth your time though, and Havana, the 47th Samurai, and Night of Thunder are all quite readable if you can get past the idea that they’re standalone books that just happen to have Bob Lee or Earl Swagger in them.

  51. darth irritable

    June 16th, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Hunter’s good, yes, but he got a bit blah toward the end. I sniper is awesome, but 47th Samurai was for shit. Is running blind the one with the chicks in the baths of paint? Some of the Reacher novels have different names in NZ. Also, Joe Pike is five times the badassitude of anyone, Parker and Jack Bauer included. And at least 4.6 times Liam neeson.

  52. Yes, Running Blind is the one with the women in the paint-filled bathtubs. I think its alternative title is The Visitor.

    I liked I, Sniper until it kind of puttered out at the ending, besides the fact that the villain is Ted Turner.

  53. Re, Hunter. I like some of his stuff – and I was loving Pale Horse Coming – but something about the way he handled race in that book left a dirty taste in my mouth. There’s something just… off about that dude.

    Joe Pike is the greatest for me. The way he kills that dude in the the prison bus in LA Requiem made me a fan for life. I’d pick him over Creasy, Swagger and all the others. Parker doesn’t count because he’s a straight up professional criminal – different gig.

  54. I’m another that enjoyed Con Air. Great fun, great cast and yes in hindsight the action scenes are not done well but I always think that was a style of the time. I enjoyed The Mechanic alot but it wasn’t really a showcase for a crazy action film like Expendables 2. On the original, I think people are a bit harsh. One of the great adrenaline rushes of cinema ws surely Statham firing the gun on the plane. That was an awseome scene and I honestly think the action was OK. A new director is needed for the sequal though. I’m agreed on that. Imagine if Sly did truly go leftfield and hire Jee Woon-kin. Or just get John Woo and tell him we want it in the style of Hard Boiled. Now that’s an action film.

  55. Jareth Cutestory

    June 17th, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I tend to agree with Mr. Subtlety on Wiseman. His stuff is so anticeptic and inert. It’s not terrible, but to praise him for not irritating me isn’t such a great accomplishment. There’s not a lot of depth in his work. He seems to scrub everything too clean, especially the actors. I think our appreciation for him says more about how weak his peers are than how strong Wiseman’s stuff really is.

    EXPENDABLES probably should go with Shane Black. Black works well within the particular kind of ludicrousness that EXPENDABLES requires.

    Also, Tom Cruise playing an action hero named Reacher is a SOUTH PARK joke waiting to happen. They might as well call him Dick Thrasher.

  56. “Give me my special ammunition.”

    “You mean…?”

    “That’s right. Give me a Reacher Round.”

  57. I´d say we´d wait trashing EXPENDABLES 2 until it comes out and we´ve actually seen it….

  58. We are not trashing it. Just lowering our expectations, based on the new director’s body of work.

  59. I liked Con Air.. The part when Malkovich is holding the toy animal as hostage was brilliant. But I don´t really care for Simon West otherwise. TOMB RAIDER was boring as hell´. THE GENERAL´S DAUGHTER was ok,don´t know what else he´s done.

  60. By the way, the picture at the top is Van Damme on the set of the new UNIVERSAL SOLDIER. It is not Snoop Dogg dressed up as Captain Spaulding.

  61. I’m already on record as loving CON AIR, but have no shame in saying it again. It’s the movie Michael Bay movies ought to be (in fact, for years I mistakenly thought it was the only Michael Bay movie I liked. Turns out I’m actually even fucking classier than I knew). But I love it as a comedy, not as an action movie. I don’t think I know any other movie where every single actor is mega-acting 100% of the runttime. I choose to believe they’re all method actors and stayed in character the whole time it was filming, too. That would be the best movie set ever.

  62. Mr. S, I remember also thinking that CON AIR was directed by Bay, and being surprised to find out later that it was not. However, in retrospect I should have taken the lack of scenes that have an American flag in them as a sign it was not Bay.

  63. Wow Vern, you are right about what picture looks like, although when I first saw it all I could think was “What the fuck kind of crazy shit is J.K. Simmons up to?”

  64. I think Con Air was intended as comedy all around. Sure, the Bruckheimer requisite explosions, but all respectable indie actors playing ridiculous criminals? (Remember, that was even the first time Buscemi played Buscemi in a big budget movie. Desperado was basically a grindhouse indie.) Johnny 23 has to be the most politically incorrect villain of all time, bragging about all his rapes. And even Cyrus the Virus hates him for it, because they have standards, man.

    But simply for Nicolas Cage’s hair blowing in the wind, it works. A few years ago I let my hair grow that long. I wasn’t quite mega but I think I got it.

  65. I predicted West would direct EX-2 back when The Mechanic came out due to the Statham connection. I liked The Mechanic more than most did, but I agree the action was somewhat lacking. If he can step up his game to the standards of Con
    Air, we might have something special on our hands. (I don’t think his When a Stranger Calls remake is so bad either, especially compared to it’s PG-13 horror remake brethern.)

    And I know I’m not a fan of UniSolReg as everyone here is, but those pics have me damned curious. I’ll definitely Netflix that sumbitch. And Soderberg doing a cagefighting movie? I’m there…

  66. Glad I´m not the only one who has any love for CON AIR. To be fair I watched in the theatres expecting a sequel to THE ROCK and being extremely disapointed. Watched it recently and it was a blast!!

  67. – It’s on record that I hate “Con Air” for taking more great ideas than any movie like that has any right to use, and then choking the life out of them with poor execution. So let me skip that and go to West’s other movies that I’ve seen: “Tomb Raider” was just forgettable and justifiably panned, but I actually liked “The General’s Daughter” although the final solution to the mystery of who killed the title character was disappointing. In many respects I thought it did very well. So I don’t think West is a hopeless case, I just think that Vern’s assessment of his action movie credentials is right on the money.

    – “Expendables 2”? Unless somebody can pull off a “Unisol: Regeneration” on it, I don’t think it stands a chance, and West doesn’t seem like the man to do it.

    – I really really want “Haywire” to be good. But there’s little to no chance it will be. (At least I won’t end up being disappointed.)

    – I also really liked “The Town”. Hopefully “Tell No-One” is as good.

    – A “Dirty Harry”-type movie with Ice Cube kinda feels like a “Kill Bill”-type movie with Britney Spears. Not that I’m saying Ice is in any way like Britney, but does he have the chops for a leading role as a cynical weatherbeaten cop? My gut, and my memory of “Three Kings”, in which he didn’t really do anything wrong but didn’t blow me away either, say he lacks credibility as a leading man. Of course, I haven’t seen “Triple-X 2” (I couldn’t watch “Triple-X 1” all the way through so I haven’t bothered looking at the sequel) or “Torque”, so I could be way off. (Neither have I seen “Boyz n the Hood” for what it’s worth.)

    On a side note, “I bet he gets real sick and dies and comes back like E.T.” had me snorting so hard, I spat my coffee all over my keyboard.

  68. Paul’s right. Soderbergh has only ever made good movies so the law of averages states that HAYWIRE is going to be terrible. I mean what are the odds of someone who has made 20+ good-to-great movies pulling it off yet again? Astronomical. Math will tell you that every time.

  69. Paul : OutlawVern.com :: Michele Bachmann : American politics

    That’s just math.

  70. Just saw Drive at the L.A. Film Fest. That should be talked about. Vern will like it.

  71. did you guys hear the rumor that Tarantino’s Django Unchained might be released Christmas day of 2012?

    words can not describe how much I fucking hate that idea

    I can never see a movie on Christmas weekend because I’m too fucking busy with Christmas, there’s been a couple of movies I wanted to see over the years that I had to skip because they were released on Christmas and most of them I still haven’t seen

    that’s not to mention the fact that a bunch of other big movies are rumored to come out Christmas of 2012 (so it doesn’t even begin to make sense financial wise) and my local theater is sure to stick it in a shitty theater if it comes out on the same day as more mainstream (read not R rated) stuff

    so I may have to wait for blu ray for QT’s next and the thought of not only having to miss his next movie in theaters, but waiting a few extra months and running the risk of getting spoiled fills me with rage

    just thought I had to rant about that, here’s hoping it’s just a rumor, I was lucky enough to get to see both Grindhouse and Inglourious Basterds in the nice theater at my local theater when they came out and I was hoping the trend would continue

  72. Couldn’t you just see it the day after Christmas?

  73. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Griff: Are there any repertory theaters where you live? Movies tend to hang around here in Toronto for months because there are still several theaters that will play them once they’ve left the chain theaters. Tarantino’s stuff is usually top of the list for long runs in repertory theaters. They’re usually cheaper too, and the audience is mostly comprised of people who care about movies, not shrieking teenagers.

  74. FTopel:

    You going to Devil’s Double on monday? I’m gonna be there for the film and the afterparty. The film is actually pretty cool and wildly violent.

  75. Griff:

    Now, I may be wrong because, as we’ve established, I’m Jewish and thus Christmas is National-Go-Watch-Four-Movies-In-A-Row-And-Then-Get-Chinese-Food-Day to me, but most any movie opening on Christmas Day will probably play through the end of January and into February. Is it traditional for Christmas merriment to last this long? I always thought it ended on December 26th, or is it the 12th day of Christmas? Or whenever the return policy ends on gifts? Or mid-June when the star patterns described in the New Testament are actually visible?

    I’m sure that a 100 million dollar movie co-starring Leo DiCaprio will play for more than 2 weeks.

  76. And if it doesn’t TWC will likely literally go out of business.

  77. Jake: “Ocean’s Eleven”? “Out of Sight”? The “Solaris” remake? (I haven’t seen “Ocean’s Twelve” or “Ocean’s Thirteen” because, frankly, the original did nothing for me. Nor have I seen “Che”.) I won’t say these are BAD films, because they’re not, by any stretch; but they are the kind of films that get rave reviews in certain magazines when they come out, but later on people look back and think: “Wait, why exactly did we love this movie again?” All style, and plenty of it, but no substance.

    “Traffic” was brilliant though. I’ll give you that. And I found myself unexpectedly entertained by “Erin Brockovich” in the “heartwarming story of the little man overcoming adversary that you cheer on in the cinema and then forget about half an hour later” kind of way.

    Still, if Soderbergh’s going to make a terrible movie, then “Haywire” will probably be it. The circumstances surrounding it are just too prescriptive to the process of actually making a good movie. I’m getting a “Cursed” vibe from this one. Sorry.

  78. I was about to ask in what universe was OUT OF SIGHT not a good film, but then I realized that it’s the universe Paul and his people are from. The one where the sky is red and water is dry.

  79. Paul, all of the Oceans movies are well made and fun films. The do have a great deal of style but to say that they have more style then substance is unfair. The cast and characters are part of what make the Oceans films so much fun. I just watched O13 again the other day, and it hold ups up really well. I would also say that even Soderbergh’s less successful films and small experimental projects like BUBBLE & THE GIRL FRIEND EXPERIENCE are skillfully made and at the very least interesting. He is capable of making flawed or slightly inaccessible films, but I have never seen a bad Soderbergh film.

    Also, I don’t know how you can discuss Soderbergh’s body of work and not mention THE LIMEY. It is one of his best films.

  80. Mr. Majestyk, good point. I was tempted to not even respond to the post. OUT OF SIGHT is one of my favorite films of all time, and has to be brought up when discussing Soderbergh’s work.

  81. Also, I think ERIN BROCKOVICH is one of the best examples of just how talented Soderbergh is, because if it had been made by anyone else it would have been a made for TV Lifetime channel movie. However, Soderbergh elevates the materiel and delivers a film that by all accounts I would normally not like, but I really enjoyed.

  82. What are the negative circumstances surrounding HAYWIRE? I haven’t kept up with any news about it so all I really know is the cast, the writer and the director. And that is enough to know I will be seeing it opening weekend so I haven’t really bothered to seek out any additional info.

    I’ve long thought that style gets a bad rap. You never hear anyone giving substance a hard time. Substance just coasts through life on its depth and meaning while style can never seem to catch a break. I feel sorry for it. Especially since I love it so much. Plus the “style vs. substance” debate is kind of a false dichotomy. Sometimes the style IS the substance. Or part of it. I would argue that is the case with the Ocean movies. All three of which I enjoyed even though they are probably my least favorite Soderbergh films.

  83. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Paul: SCHIZOPOLIS owns your sorry ass. I don’t care what planet you are from. Lifetime pass for Soderbergh for making that film alone, as far as I’m concerned.

    OUT OF SIGHT gets better every time I see it. That’s saying a lot for a film that prominently features Jennifer Lopez. Same with the OCEANS films.

    TRAFFIC, on the other hand, gets a bit weaker every time I see it. But it’s still ridiculously good.

  84. well believe me, I’ll try really hard to see it no matter what if it does come out on Christmas

    as whitey, Christmas is usually a big deal and for the last couple of years a lot of family has always come over, which makes it hard to go to the theater

  85. of course Christmas 2012 is quite a ways away, so I do have plenty of time to plan at least

  86. I never miss a Soderbergh. They ain’t all masterpieces, but I’m always glad to cough up some cash & hours for something with his name attached. THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE was one of the 10 best movies of 2008, and the final scene of sex, lies, and videotape is one of my favorite scenes/endings ever.

    Soderbergh is like cinema’s more colorful, less solipsistic version of literature’s Philip Roth. If I thought about this more, I might come up with a better comparison, but that statement is meant as a compliment to both artists, who are each prolific, consistent, & engaging.

  87. I personally think Soderbergh is a better editor and cinematographer than he is a director.

  88. I’ve missed plenty of Soderbergh, but I don’t miss any of his genre larks. I know he’s going to bring a different point of view to the material, and I mean that literally, him being his own DP and all. I don’t think Paul’s style vs. substance dichotomy is accurate in his case because he’s one of those directors where the style IS the substance. The tale and the telling, the form and the function, all one.

    Also that Gina Carano chick is blazing hot and kicks people in the face for a living, so yeah, I’m pretty sure suckitude is far from assured.

  89. Also, Ocean’s 13 is by FAR the best of the series and Solaris gets points for the bizarre gag when future astrophysicists are blaring Insane Clown Posse on their space station.

  90. Majestyk – my problem isn’t that she’s blazing hot and kicks people in the fact for a living. My problem is that might be the ONLY thing she can do for a living. (As opposed to, say, portraying a believable and sympathetic character on-screen).

    I sat through “Out of Sight” in the cinema and didn’t think that much of it. Then I tried to sit through it when it came on television, and couldn’t get to the end of it. I daresay it would appeal to some people, I just didn’t “get” it. Remember, I didn’t say those films were bad, nor do I think that they are. I just said they had more style than substance.

    Actually, I’ll make an exception to the “not bad” category, because there’s one film in that list that definitely IS bad. I saw “Ocean’s Eleven” fairly recently and it was a big disappointment. The film it reminded me of was “Murder on the Orient Express”, in that it seems to be a film full of cameos instead of characters. I’m not saying “Ocean’s Eleven” is a bad film from the point of direction, scoring or cinematography; but it’s hard to escape the feeling that it’s an excuse for a lot of talented actors to sit around in Vegas jacking themselves off. I hope they enjoyed themselves, because I didn’t. The film has no hook, no suspense, no sense of tension. Andy Garcia is never the credible threat he’s said (but not shown) to be, and the security camera “twist” at the end was telegraphed about halfway through the film and as such destroys any tension that they might get caught.

    I’ve never seen or heard of “Schizopolis”, which no doubt is a forgotten masterpiece that has completely missed my radar. (Like Vern and “Juggernaut” for example.) And “The Limey” is one of those films that I’ve always meant to see, largely on recommendation of this site, but never actually have. It’s something I’ve meant to get around to, I just haven’t done it yet.

  91. Just had a bizarre moment where I had to search for my “Ocean’s Eleven” comments and they’re from literally YEARS ago. I was like: “Has it really been that long?”

    Guess I should give the film points for remaining fresh in my mind… but no, it’s still crap. Looks good, sounds good, direction and editing are good, but the total lack of hook or tension just drags it down.

    I liked the scene with the kid from “Dawson’s Creek” and the girl from “Charmed” playing minor celebrities turned bad poker players though. That made me laugh.

  92. Yeah, Jeremy Davies kind of plays his role in Herzog’s RESCUE DAWN the same as the persona he brought to SOLARIS, which is strange and borderline distracting considering the massive gap between the settings of the films.

    SOLARIS might be my least favorite Soderbergh, by the way. It seems like a personal story, the specific story of a certain widower, and, despite the futuristicness and horror aspects, I can never close the distance between the presentation and myself as audience. Needs more professional face kicking.

  93. Anyway, going off the Soderbergh topic for a moment:

    “Mr. Subtlety, June 16th, 2011 at 5:52 pm:

    I’m sorry but Len Wiseman can never be forgiven for his deplorable UNDERWORLD films, which transcend mind-numbingly boring to a level of tepid unwatchability mankind may never fully comprehend, and God willing will never toy with again.

    UNDERWORLD 2 is likely the only film I have ever watched that I made it up to the big climax and then actually just turned it off in boredom and never returned, because my time was worth more than seeing how that pile of shit ended. And I watched AGAINST THE DARK all the way through. ”

    Damn, Subtlety, I’ve seen you angry before, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this vehement. I LOVE that you just compared the Underworld films to “Against the Dark”. Where else but in this forum could you see that comparison?

  94. *…despite my enjoyment of the futurist…

  95. Mouth – I thought it was good, genuinely creepy in parts, but again, I didn’t feel like I took anything away from it. It’s certainly an interesting love story, and probably influenced “Inception” a good deal (come to think of it, I probably should have noticed that sooner!)

    The trouble is, it’s one of the few American remakes I’ve seen without seeing the original film first. Considering the only case I can think of where it’s been generally agreed that a remake does justice to the original is “The Ring”, and I liked the original enough to stay away from the remake like it was a two-hundred pound cowpat, I genuinely regret that decision. Oh well…

  96. Well, then I’ll recommend seeing the original film version of TELL NO ONE before the American version. Haven’t read the book, but the French movie is solid, and, iIrc from my viewing more than a year ago, there’s a badass shot of a traffic collision that blew me away and will be hard for Affleck to match.

  97. You know, I’m sure it’s been mentioned, but I gotta say that you need to see 13 Assassins, vern, while you’re waiting on these films. Great addition to the badass library. Saw it today and I feel like it should’ve been called ‘MANLY.’

  98. Agreed there, anthony4545. Maybe one of the best compliments I can give 13 ASSASSINS is that, as I remember it now, at least one facet of one interpretation of it feels a bit like a Michael Mann movie, but with more subdued music and less subdued bloodshed.

    There are definitely comparisons to be made among the bad guy in Miike’s latest, Magua in THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, and Vincent in COLLATERAL, but the key points of that discussion all chiefly relate to what happens in the final acts of each of those movies, so I’ll marinate on that until more fans of BADASS CINEMA round here catch up on their viewing and get to the level of all the talkbackers who’ve seen these manly macho movie masterpieces.

  99. I can see the Mann similarities now that you mention it, Mouth. I’m curious to see interpretations about the swamp rat guy, if you know what I mean. But i’ll wait so I don’t spoil it for anyone.

  100. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Paul: The Criterion Collection certainly thought highly enough of SCHIZOPOLIS to put it out. There is always the possibility that Soderbergh withheld TRAFFIC from them on condition that they also release SCHIZOPOLIS. But I’ll go to the grave defending the merits of the film.

    Also THE LIMEY is exceptional. But someone who doesn’t like OUT OF SIGHT might not agree.

    I think we had another discussion somewhere about how capable Soderbergh is at getting great performances from unlikely people: Julia Roberts, Sasha Grey, Mulder, Niles Crane, himself, his dad, a random KFC employee. I’m not worried about Gina Carano.

    And finally: I think OCEAN’S 11 is better than INCEPTION in every respect. There, I said it.

  101. Here’s something that just occurred to me, though another viewing will be necessary to confirm:
    the scene in 13 ASSASSINS in which the physical tragedy of the young girl is revealed is visually and tonally comparable to the scene in MIAMI VICE (2006) in which the head honcho drug dealer views the video of Crockett dancing with Gong Li’s character.
    There’s something about the slow, deliberate camera movement, the patience & building anxiety before cutting to the last shot of the scene, the solidity of the surrounding colors, which are darkened yet not doused in shadow, and the tense collaboration of brooding music and brooding facial expression. Again, however, Mann’s films’ music is louder and arguably more intrusive.

  102. Tawdry, I saw Devil’s Double already. Hoping for a ticket to the Franco talk.

    13 Assassins awesome.

  103. I will say that oceans 12 is fucking awesome. I love how they flipped the script and made the oceans team on the run. The score is fucking amazing as well. Its my favorite oceans movie by a long shot (and i liked all of them).

    By the way, I just say Billy Zane in Twin Peaks which is an awesome show (and I just discovered it recently).

  104. Okay Paul, I know everybody else already gave you your whippings, but it would be irresponsible for me not to say you’re fucking nuts for claiming OUT OF SIGHT is only an okay film that was overpraised by magazines at the time. It’s the only movie that’s arguably a better Elmore Leonard adaptation than JACKIE BROWN. It’s pretty close to career best performances from everybody in that spectacular cast, a great balance of humor, great music, great cinematography, romance, sadness. I guess I’m not surprised you don’t like it and I definitely recommend staying the fuck away from THE LIMEY or at least don’t act surprise when everybody gives you shit after you write that Terence Stamp was better in ELEKTRA or the editing is too confusing or whatever spit taker you and your guys come up with for that one.

    Since Soderbergh got great performances out of Jennifer Lopez and a manager from KFC I’m pretty sure he can do a good job with Gina Carano. In that interview he said she had a great screen presence, and his track record shows that he’s a good judge of that. Remember, he was the one that taught Clooney not to bob his head.

    It’s also got the script from Lem Dobbs, the music by David Holmes, fight choreography by J.J. Perry (UNDISPUTED 2) who reported to a Gina Carano fan sight that “Fans can look forward to not seeing the usage of frenetic and obscured viewing angles (a la The Bourne Supremacy) either due to filming style or the actor’s limitations.” Soderbergh said similar things and Deadline or somebody was reporting a while back that they were thinking about just releasing one of the fight scenes online as a promo.

    I watched a couple of Carano’s fights that were on dvd and she’s really captivating to watch. Since she did her own stunts and knocked out a stunt coordinator during rehearsals it should be enjoyable to watch her beating the shit out of Michael Fassbender in a hotel room.

    Plus it’s the ol’ special ops person gets betrayed and kicks everybody’s ass to clear her name. Of course nothing is a given but on paper this is everything I look for in a movie.

  105. paul is almost like this websight’s resident armond white.

    can’t wait for HAYWIRE.

  106. Soderbergh sort of remind me an arthouse Spielberg. A handfull of nearly perfect films (Out of Sight, The Limey, Traffic and Erin Bronkowitz) and from then on he kind of misses the mark, being consistently entertaining but never as good as before. The Good German and Solaris are almost good movies, but never engages me as a good story should. (or maybe I can`t stop comparing them to 2 of my all time favorite movies; The Third Man and the original Solaris.)

    I missed a lot of Soderbergh movies after that, but watched The Informant recently and was blown away. What a great, great movie.

    I`ve been thinking about buying CHE, but it seems really really boring. What are your thoughts on CHE?

    Also, Ì was kind of dissapointed with 13 Assassins, Miike being my favorite director and all, and I feel I missed whatever made everybody else fall in love with it. I know I totally missed the point with the forest guy (and really can`t discuss it without spoiling the movie), but why does everybody think it is brilliant?

  107. Vern – on paper it looks awesome. And yes, it’s a good movie. I do want to make it clear that my objections to it are mostly subjective: it just does nothing for me. It’s got good cinematography, a good score, good direction for the most part, and yet it left me cold. It’s just TOO styalized.

    It’s been ages since I saw it but I remember one scene in particular, where the FBI are on a stakeout and every single one of them is wearing dark glasses. I think this scene sums up my attitude to the entire movie because I have no idea what that’s supposed to accomplish, other than making them look stupid, but there still doesn’t seem to be any point to them doing it in that particular way (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen other stakeout movies where the people doing the staking – erm… outing… erm… stakeouting? – don’t all dress the same way.) Is this some kind of clever-dick in-joke that I don’t get? Are the FBI known for their bad fashion sense? Are they making a reference to “Top Gun” where everyone goes around in aviators? What’s going on?

    I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure they just did a “This is why Superman works alone” right there (yeah, yeah, I’m not saying “Out of Sight” is even in the same universe, in terms of quality, as “Batman and Robin”, but bear with me.) They sacrificed all realism to make some kind of a pun. Which might work, y’know, IF YOU ACTUALLY GET THE JOKE.

    Anyway my attitude to that one scene pretty much summarises my attitude to the movie as a whole. It might be the best movie in the world if you “get” it, but if you don’t, there’s not much else there can hold your attention. Maybe it’s another of those weird American / British things, because I don’t know an American who doesn’t love that movie, and I don’t know a British person (at least, not in my particular circle) who does.

    Virgin Gary – well somebody has got to keep you guys honest!

  108. FBI guys all shop at the same sunglasses store. Didn’t you see MIDNIGHT RUN?

  109. dna, I don’t think 13 ASSASSINS is brilliant.  It’s not a breathtaking cinematic experience shot to shot, reel to reel, but it’s engaging & thematically rich enough to penetrate my cynical fortress and plant its germ in me (Please, no BLUE VELVET jokes.), and so it continues to dominate my analytical & imaginative facilities many moons after the lights came on at the end of its ActionFest screening.  

    It’s kind of like thinking about whether Maggie Q is hot.  Depends on the cosmetics, the mood du jour, the angle, but in your memory you’re pretty sure she’s blazing hot and that always works for you.  You can see the pictures where her face ain’t a 10, but she still pops up in your fantasies as a dime.  

  110. Hey Paul, I think you make some valid points here! I’m glad that you’re engaging in better conversation and not trying to just be disagreeable.

    I know I’m also trying to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable but I’m glad to see you’re trying, too!

    As someone who’s tastes are also very much against the grain I understand it can be difficult, but I like the guys here because I can talk about movies (both those I like and don’t like) in detail and in intelligent way while trusting the people here to act in good faith and to be respectful. I think sometimes you can come off as very abrupt and snide and this is the last website on the planet that deserves such an attitude.

  111. Just curious – did anyone else ever notice the thing Paul is talking about? I’ve watched the movie a bunch of times but don’t remember there being a joke about sunglasses. I assume it must be in the scene where they’re escaping the hotel and they’re all gonna knock the door down?

  112. I have to admit that I found almost all Soderbergh movies to be cold and emotionally distant, starting all the way from Sex, Lies and Videotape. Moreover, that seems to be intentional. He has himself stated that he is more interested in style and form, than storytelling.

    I generally like his movies, but I usually have a hard time trying to love them, due to that emotional distance.

  113. It’s been too long since my last OUT OF SIGHT viewing for me to remember that gag, if it exists beyond the borders of Paulistan, unless it was 1997 Jennifer Lopez’s legs that were wearing the sunglasses. I’d remember that.

  114. Anyone know what the story is with Florentine’s SOFIA? IMDB’s alleged release date was a few days ago.

  115. i think the scene paul is talking about is when foley and buddy drive by adele’s house and notice that it’s crawling with feds outside. they are all wearing sunglasses, and some are holding their earpieces. the joke is obviously that the feds think they are being discreet and blending in, but actually they are completely obvious. i don’t see what the problem with it is. it’s a visual (and funny) way to communicate that foley and buddy are able to instantly spot the feds and know for sure that they have to stay away from adele’s place. plus it underscores the idea that almost everyone in the movie is an incompetent idiot except for foley and sisco (well, actually i guess foley is incompetent in the part where he can’t start the car).

    anyway, OUT OF SIGHT is one of my favorite movies, one of those movies i feel like i can watch ad infinitum. but i believe i’ve gone on about it at length on these boards before, so i’ll spare y’all for now.

  116. dna, I like slow movies about people walking around in a forest (like Weerasethakul’s) so I figured CHE was going to be right up my alley. But I ended up liking THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE and THE INFORMANT! more that year. For me CHE is mid-tier Soderbergh. Which means I just think it is real good, not great.

    I was also slightly disappointed in 13 ASSASSINS. Partly because I heard people hyping it as Miike’s best since AUDITION. Somehow I get the feeling the people saying that haven’t seen all forty or however many movies he made since then. Though I think it also suffers a little from THE THIRD MAN & SOLARIS problem you described. It’s hard not to compare 13 ASSASSINS to SEVEN SAMURAI. And like almost every other movie ever made 13 ASSASSINS is not on that level. I’d put it closer to MAGNIFICENT SEVEN’s level. I’m hoping when I eventually see the longer cut it will turn it from a really good movie to great one.

  117. Vern, I have seen OUT OF SIGHT more times then I can count, and I have no idea what scene Paul is talking about. Maybe it is the scene you mentioned where the federal marshals are trying to arrest them in the hotel, but even then I don’t remember there being a bunch of guys all with sun glasses. I will have to pop the movie in when I get home and report back.

    Paul, thank you for the excuse to watch OUT OF SIGHT again.

  118. FTopel, how was THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE? It looks like it could be really good.

  119. – jake and mouth

    Thanks. I think I might enjoy 13 assassins more on a second viewing. It must have been a bad case of high expectations that ruined my experience. But when it`s “the best movie from Miike since Audition”, it`s hard not to get very excited. The guy has made some brilliant movies since Audition.

    I`m still not sure about CHE, as I really dislike movies with people walking through forests (unless they are being chased by a intergalactic hunter of course..) How is the action in Che? Any cool explosions or squips that could convince me to buy a movie I really ought to see?

    Also, the funniest scene in Out of Sight is in the deleted scenes on the dvd, when Lopez has an erotic fantasy about Clooney and Rhames discussing the pleasures of a relaxing hot bath.

  120. If Thirteen Assassins has come or is coming to any cinema within about two hundred miles of me, it’s entirely missed my radar. :(

  121. Vern / Gary – it was just the first scene that popped into my head to explain what I was talking about. There were about fifty ways they could’ve done to make it obvious that the protagonists could instantly spot the FBI guys, but they had to dress them up in identical clothing and have them all wear the same sunglasses. Why? I don’t get it. I don’t get the scene, or indeed the movie itself.

    One thing that annoys me though: this Gina Carrano movie could be the best movie in the world (although the fact that it’s been delayed so much makes me think it’s probably not), but I doubt it’ll come to a cinema within a hundred miles of me either. Much like “13 Assassins”.

  122. dna – Sadly, CHE is no PREDATOR. And now that you mention it that was a completely blown opportunity. It should have started as a biopic but then as they trained in the forest they would gradually realize they were being picked off one by one by something not of this earth. CHELIEN VS. PREDATOR. I wonder if it is too late for reshoots?

    I don’t really remember there being too much action. I just mostly remember them hanging out in the forest and also some press conferences in New York. I’d only buy it if you are able to resell it. It’s a movie I would like to see again at some point but I don’t really feel the need to own it.

  123. So speaking of Soderbergh, were you guys aware that he plans to retire from film making at age 50. Here is a short AV Club article about it.


    I am disappointed that we are not far away from no new Soderbergh films, but at the same time I respect the guy for getting out if he doesn’t have the passion for it anymore.

  124. I hope Soderbergh (and Tarantino) take a lesson from Jay-Z and realize that just because you’ve retired doesn’t mean you should stop working.

  125. man, how can anyone hate Tarantino? that’s like you saying you hate good sex

  126. I think everyone said 13 Assassins is Miike’s best since blah blah just because it’s probably his least weird movie in a long time. Let’s face it, the guy makes some movies that alienate the shit out of some people. In 13, it felt like he was restraining himself, with most of the violence implied, and so on. I think what they meant to say is that it’s his most mainstream movie in a while. Not that I consider Audition to be a mainstream film by any means. That first hour is hard for some people to sit through.

  127. We’re you responding to my post, Griff? If so I must not have been clear. I love Tarantino’s movies. Which is why even though he apparently plans on retiring at 60 I hope that won’t stop him from continuing to make movies after that.

  128. whoa Jake, I’m sorry, I thought you said “hate” not “hope’ I feel dumb now

    and yeah I hope he never retires either, in fact I don’t really understand why any filmmaker would retire at age 50 or 60

  129. Paul – what are a couple of the other 50 ways they could’ve shown that they were feds not doing a good job of hiding? Give me 2 or 3 and why those would be better than sunglasses and earpieces. I don’t get what you don’t get.

  130. Sometimes when I have to answer my cell phone in public, I have to force myself to say “Hello” like a normal person instead of blurting the automatic fed-type greeting of “This is an unsecured line. Go for Mouth.”

    Occasionally a “niner” or a “negative” or a “roger” slips into my civi speech, too.

    Those 90s, pre-9/11, pre-DHS era feds mighta been less practiced, less combat veteranized, and less subtle than the American law enforcers of today. Twas a more innocent time, when you could make jokes about the FBI and being a cool criminal & shit without accidentally tacitly supporting the terrorists.

  131. Griff, please. Don’t ask that question. I try really hard to not talk anymore about my hatred for Tarantino and his movies anymore, so please…don’t.

  132. Charles, Devil’s Double is solid. Handles the attrocities of Saddam’s regime in a classy way, with a little engaging action because you root for the double. Not anything extraordinary but if you’re interested in it, you should be satisfied.

  133. well CJ, to make up for it you can tell me what your gravatar is from, I was curious

  134. It’s “Mr Bananagrabber” from an episode of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. You should check this show out. It’s really as good as everyone says. It might take a few episodes to get used to it though, but not that many.

  135. thanks CJ, being a citizen of the internet I have of course heard of Arrested Development and it’s always been on my tentative “to do list” to check out

    also I forgive you (though I can’t understand) your hatred of Tarantino, after all it’s the internet, opinions etc

  136. though my overtly generous attitude may have something to do with the drinks I have recently had in which a significant ingredient was a good amount of Captain Morgan’s spiced rum

  137. Thanks FTopel. It is one I am looking forward to, so I am glad to hear it is good.

  138. http://www.beyondhollywood.com/exit-the-dragon-enter-the-transporter-nationality-eroticism-and-homosexuality-in-the-american-martial-arts-film/

    If you click this link you’ll be taken to a page where somebody puts up his master thesis about American Martial Arts films. READ IT VERN

  139. Vern – I don’t get how you don’t get what I don’t… ah, fark it. I just thought it was so unsubtle and unrealistic that it seemed to be making some kind of a point that I’d missed. Like somebody had told a joke and I was the only one not laughing or something.


    I just saw “Stake Land” in the cinema, having decided to take some time out after work on a complete whim. It was a truly surreal experience because I was literally the only person in the cinema, the entire time I was in there. Nobody else came in – no other viewers, no staff, nobody. This is another one of those films about the fear of isolation, so it was pretty ironic in a way.

    The verdict: I don’t have a clue why this one hasn’t been more widely promoted. Ok, I haven’t heard of anybody in it (except the gorgeous and talented Danielle Harris), but it’s a vampire apocalypse film, and a good one at that. How hard can that be to promote?

    It’s a shame it’ll probably tank because this is one gripping, and occasionally scary, film. The performances are universally good, the set-pieces generally work, the action direction relies too much on shakycam (there’s one scene in an encampment in particular that suffers because of this) but I don’t hold it against the film that much.

    What I DO hold against the film, though, is the ending, which relies on the main characters behaving like not just idiots, but sadists, earlier on (they never have before). There’s a sense that they’re getting a just comeuppance in some ways, but it’s out of character for all of them to have behaved the way they did in order to “deserve” it. The concept of a “smart vampire” goes against everything we’ve been told previously in the movie. There’s also an extra character thrown in at the end in what really smacks of producer interference.

    What I like: the badass character is never really “explained” in the same way that, say, the guy from “Zombieland” is. This works. The kid’s transformation from survivor to warrior is subtle and convincing. Most humans in the movie are portrayed roundly and in a way that isn’t “polarised”. Even the brotherhood – the “bad” humans are very, very bad – are portrayed convincingly and don’t come off as cartoonish. The score isn’t memorable, but for the right reasons – it’s never obtrusive.

    Verdict: “Stake Land” is definitely worth seeing if you like a good apocalypse movie. I haven’t seen a thing about it in the press, which is something of a shame, because it delivers on most counts. A disappointing ending and some badly-filmed action scenes notwithstanding, it had me hooked from very early on.

  140. Paul, I’ve seen Stakeland and I think it’s great. I have no issues at all with the ending of the movie. I wish you could e-mail me with your spoiler reasons for not liking the ending so we can discuss it without spoiling the film for others. I’m really curious what you mean about the main characters being sadistic at the end. Also, I think the very end of the movie makes absolute sense and there is no way it was producer interference and not from the very original script.

  141. The action film I’m most looking forward to this summer: DRIVE with Ryan Gosling, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (VALHALLA RISING).
    I’ve watched the short clip in IMDB about a dozen times now.

  142. Sternshein – what I mean by their sadism is how they dealt with the cult leader earlier on in the film. Not anything that they did later on. (Although knowing Hollywood, it’s quite likely that us Brits got a different ending to everyone else.)

  143. I don’t think they were any more sadistic than the cult leader and his men do to others. It’s the apocalypse and most people were being nice but these guys you can’t just be nice to.

  144. I just finished reading the first Reacher novel, and wow, I’m not sure there’s an action-oriented leading man working today who fits the part less than Tom Cruise. He’s way too small and too polished. The role really needs someone who usually plays villains. I nominate Matt Schulze. He’s big and mean-looking, especially with all that muscle he put on for FAST FIVE, but not cartoonish like the Rock or Vin Diesel. Just a blue-collar dude who will fuck you up if he has to. I could see it.

  145. What do you guys think about the news that Jamie Foxx has signed to play the lead in QT’s Django unchained?

  146. Vern & Paul, I know I am really late with this and you have both probably forgotten or don’t care at this point, but I did watch OUT OF SIGHT again last night. I assume the scenes Paul is referencing are two scenes that take place in Miami. The first is when Clooney & Rhames observe the Feds staking out Clooney’s characters ex-wife. In this scene there are a number of Feds trying to be inconspicuous all wearing sun glasses and standing out like a sore thumb. Paul you are right they are wearing sun glasses, but they are not all wearing the same glasses. Also, the whole point of the scene is that it is comical that the Feds stand out so bad. Later in a scene where the Feds are raiding the building Clooney & Rhames have been held up in the majority of the Feds are also wearing sun glasses, again this is building on the joke set up in the previously mentioned scene. Paul, did you really not pick up on that these scenes where meant to be humors, or did you just not find them funny?

  147. Regarding whether or not it’s good to release movies on Christmas Day: I kinda love it. But allow me to share the fact that my family used to go the the movies EVERY SINGLE YEAR on Christmas, a tradition that went on for more than 20 years (explains why I am the way I am, I’d wager). We’d do the presents, have a meal, and roughly eight or so of us would sit down and debate until we finally picked a movie worth watching that would please everybody. It wasn’t perfect, no — one year we all did Quick Change (the Bill Murray bank robbery then escape from New York flick), years later we did Dracula 2000 (as I said, imperfect). But it was fun for us, as a family of movie-lovers, to go en masse and experience something together and laugh or cry or cower in fear (and in the case of End of Days, do all three, but maybe not for the reasons the filmmakers intended). We don’t do it much anymore as we’re all kinda scattered to the four winds and aren’t able to spend every holiday together, but when we do? It’s fucking movie time. Which still thrills me, right down to my shoes.

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