Recently I realized I missed one of the early Isaac Florentine movies, a goofy John-Woo-inspired bank robber story starring Antonio Sabato Jr. (and Sr.), Shannon Lee, Amy Smart and Lochlyn Munro. So I reviewed it for my column on Daily Grindhouse, which is now called America’s Got Punching (formerly Journey to Battle Island).
Archive for April, 2013
THE KICK is a family friendly Thai martial arts movie from director Prachya Pinkaew (ONG BAK, TOM YUM GOONG, CHOCOLATE). It’s not as ridiculous as POWER KIDS (arguably that’s a bad thing) but way less cheesy and broad than MUAY THAI GIANT (definitely a good thing). It’s less gory than POWER KIDS but otherwise schews a little older, with a teen brother and sister getting alot of the focus.
Despite being a Thai production it’s about a Korean family who train and perform Tae Kwon Do. The father has alot of resentment about a loss at the Olympics long ago, just as he had to abandon his dream in order to raise a family. Because of this he puts alot of pressure on his family to train hard, especially his older son, who would rather pursue his dream of STEP UP style dancing. Dad doesn’t even want him to go to a big audition to be a dancer for “Dream Entertainment.” The poor kid has to make a deal to master the impossible “Tornado Kick” to even be allowed to pursue dancing at all. (read the rest of this shit…)
You guys know I’ve always rooted for the movies carrying the prestigious WWE Films banner. I gave the rare rave review of their dumb slasher movie SEE NO EVIL (9% on Rotten Tomatoes), even got quoted by the producer on a commentary track. I wrote that the Triple-H/Parker Posey team in INSIDE OUT might be “this generation’s William Powell and Myrna Loy”. I loved THE MARINE 2 and labelled it one of the few DTV sequels superior to a theatrical original. They were starting to have a really good track record there.
Now I’m a little concerned because it seems like WWE Films is trying to get out of the making-WWE-films business. First they started picking up non-wrestling, independent features to distribute (THE DAY), then they put out two wide theatrical releases, DEAD MAN DOWN and THE CALL, that star Oscar nominees/winners instead of wrestlers. I mean I want to see both movies – they’re from pretty interesting directors, the first looks good and the other looks funny-bad – but I don’t like it. Yeah, so what if Cartoon Network has live action shows and MTV doesn’t play M anymore? Other people will make movies starring Halle Berry, I promise you. WWE should only have her in a buddy cop movie with The Undertaker.
“Snoop gets Lionized” –headline I predict Rolling Stone or somebody will use for their review
Like anybody, when I heard that one of my all time favorite but past his album recording prime rappers Snoop Dogg was changing his name to Snoop Lion and doing a reggae record, I shook my head and laughed. Ah, what will he think of next? But I saw the trailer for this Vice-produced documentary about Snoop going to Jamaica to record the album and suddenly I had to take the whole idea more seriously. The movie looked good enough that I would’ve gone to see it in a theater if it had played here. Instead here it is on DVD in time to promote the album of the same name, which came out Tuesday.
And holy shit you guys, this is a great documentary. I watched it last weekend and it overshadowed all the other things I’ve been watching lately, most of which I liked. I loved it so much I decided to invent this new medal just to make sure you guys will know I’m not fuckin around. This is an acclaimed documentary now, otherwise it wouldn’t have won a prestigious medal like this. If you love Snoop Dogg, or are even open to the idea of Snoop Dogg, you gotta see this. Regardless of how anybody feels about the album this is a great document of a man trying to find himself, of a historic bridging of musical cultures and generations, of the process of songwriting, of an awesome trip to Jamaica.
Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is just a working man, you know. After the war with the Scavengers (in which the moon was blown up and shit was fucked up) everybody left Earth for Titan – not the publisher of many fine books but the moon of Saturn that is named after the publisher, from what I understand. Now, I don’t want to stereotype, but alot of humans tend to like Titan for its dense atmosphere and stable bodies of surface liquid. One of the top moons for human life.
Down here we still got drone robots that fly around the wreckage trying to kill off the surviving space-insurgents, and Jack is one of the drone repairmen. By night he stays in a nice little house up on a platform, by day he flies around in his dragonfly shaped bubbleship tracking the drones and fixing them. He seems to like the alone time, but it’s not an I AM LEGEND situation, he does enjoy the company of his partner (wife?) Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) back at home and his boss Sally (Melissa Leo) via satellite from the space station they’ll be going to in a couple weeks before they finally get to go live on Titan with the cool kids.
(read the rest of this shit…)
THE PACKAGE continues two DTV trends that I enjoy:
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin, possible heir to the DTV throne, co-starring with all the other icons of the DTV Action Era. This is his Dolph Lundgren movie. Previously he did his Michael Jai White movie TACTICAL FORCE, his Danny Trejo movie RECOIL and his Steven Seagal movie MAXIMUM CONVICTION. He’s still got to do a Van Damme, an Adkins and a Cuba Gooding Jr.
2. Dolph doing colorful supporting roles where he gets to goof around more. He also stole the show in ONE IN THE CHAMBER and THE EXPENDABLESes and I haven’t seen STASH HOUSE or SMALL APARTMENTS but I bet it’s true of those too. Maybe all these roles where he gets to experiment more will bring something new to him next time he’s the leading man again. (read the rest of this shit…)
Well, you know us, we like to talk about who should direct the next EXPENDABLES. Of course the answer is a John like maybe Hyams or Woo or McTiernan via satellite. But we knew those were not gonna happen. Recently Stallone twittered that he wanted Mel Gibson to direct it, but even he admitted that was unlikely to happen. It is not clear whether or not he asked Danny Glover as a backup.
A few days ago Stallone twittered about meeting with a “NEW BLOOD” director who he said most of us haven’t heard of. We now know for sure that he was not trying to hint at John Carl Buechler, director of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD. He has revealed that he chose the Australian director Patrick Hughes. I liked his movie RED HILL, which you can read my review of here.
I gotta say, it’s a surprisingly good choice. Who knows how much power Hughes will have (Stallone is often accused of choosing puppet directors so he can control the production without having to do all the directing), or how he’ll do with a bigger production, or what he’ll even want to do with this series. But if he brings any of RED HILL’s foreboding tone and western classicism to it that can only be a good thing.
Note that the FAST AND FURIOUS series is being taken over by James Wan, also an Aussie. Let’s get Greg McLean on a new TRANSPORTER or something.
Please join me to discuss the 1981 Cirio H. Santiago martial arts and boobs picture FIRECRACKER in this week’s installment of JOURNEY TO BATTLE ISLAND (formerly VERN’S PUNCH-QUEST) over on Daily Grindhouse.
I didn’t even realize THE LORDS OF SALEM was coming out this week until somebody told me. I never saw an ad or saw the trailer play before another movie. When I saw the Anchor Bay logo at the beginning I thought, “That’s weird, why is the new Rob Zombie movie being distributed by the company that only does barely-released-or-advertised horror like HATCHET or BEHIND THE MASK?” After the movie was over it kinda made more sense.
There are many things I liked about this one. Oddly enough I like that it stars Zombie’s wife, Sheri Moon Zombie. She was a major character in all his other movies, but in this one she’s the center of the whole story and often alone on screen. I like that because it’s unusual to see an adult, tattooed, dreadlocked white lady as a lead. You see ’em around but they don’t usually make movies about them. Nice to have something different sometimes. (read the rest of this shit…)
RUST AND BONE is a beautifully photographed French relationship drama. It’s about two broken people who meet by chance, try to help each other, then hurt each other, then try to help again. It has superb performances by Marion Cotillard (as Stephanie) and Matthias Schoenaerts (as Alain). It deals with the responsibility of fatherhood and with overcoming disability. I know, doesn’t sound like my kind of movie, but each of these characters has a major characteristic that is my type of subject matter:
1) Alain does backyard fights for money
2) Stephanie gets her legs bit off by a fuckin orca
(read the rest of this shit…)