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Posts Tagged ‘Joel Silver’

Lethal Weapon 3 (30th anniversary revisit)

Friday, June 10th, 2022

At first I wasn’t sure I needed to revisit LETHAL WEAPON 3 for this series, because I already wrote a perfectly good review of it (and the other three) back in 2014. But it’s clearly the kick off to the real deal summer movie season of ’92 if you look at the box office charts for its opening weekend, May 15, 1992. It took #1 of course, but everything else on the charts had been out fora while: BASIC INSTINCT in its ninth week, BEETHOVEN in its seventh week, WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP in its eighth week, THE PLAYER in its sixth week, WAYNE’S WORLD in its fourteenth week, etc.

More importantly, I decided it was necessary for comparison. There will be three other big tentpole type sequels this summer, one of them being PATRIOT GAMES (which I’ve also reviewed, but probly won’t revisit) and the other two being, you know… weird. In contrast, this one wants to be exactly what you would imagine a third LETHAL WEAPON to be, no real surprises. As Desson Howe wrote in his review in the Washington Post, “If there’s an original moment in this movie, producer Joel Silver and director Richard Donner sincerely apologize… essentially, they guarantee you the same product you consumed twice before.” (read the rest of this shit…)

The Matrix

Monday, December 13th, 2021

THE MATRIX is, I continue to believe, one of The Great Movies. It absolutely holds up today, and also it reminds me so much of then. I will always remember what it felt like when this was a new movie, and our entire understanding of the MATRIX story. When we all imagined where it would go next, and then we we had a couple years enjoying or rolling our eyes at all the movies obviously influenced by it, whether that means corny outfits and techno music or that brief, glorious window when Hollywood actors could be convinced to spend months preparing for action scenes with the great Hong Kong choreographers. But mostly I like to remember what it felt like to be surprised by it. Going in wondering if it would be good and then coming out knowing it was this.

I did have hopes. I had come to respect Keanu Reeves’ taste in movies after SPEED and, say what you will, JOHNNY MNEMONIC. I liked BOUND and it was exciting to see directors like that doing a sci-fi movie. And then a day or two before it came out I heard something about there being kung fu in it? So it wasn’t completely out of the blue that it was good. But I don’t think I was expecting something that a couple decades later would still be thought as highly of as the fucking MATRIX is. (read the rest of this shit…)

Weird Science

Monday, August 3rd, 2020

August 2, 1985

I’m no expert on the films of John Hughes, but I’ve seen enough to know WEIRD SCIENCE (which he wrote and directed) is pretty different from the other ones. It’s still a teen movie, like he was known for at the time, but it’s his only foray into science fiction unless you count his screenplay for JUST VISITING (the 2001 flop remake of LES VISITEURS) for involving time travel.

It feels a little off to call WEIRD SCIENCE sci-fi though. It’s more like computer magical realism, I think. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Much like EXPLORERS, we have two oft-bullied nerds, the main character Gary (Anthony Michael Hall, following SIX PACK, VACATION, SIXTEEN CANDLES and THE BREAKFAST CLUB) and computer genius best friend Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith, HOW TO BE A PERFECT PERSON IN JUST THREE DAYS, DANIEL, THE WILD LIFE). Going by the actors’ ages, Gary and Wyatt are about 2 or 3 years too old to be Explorers or Goonies. So they’re different in that they do not dream of adventure; they are entirely consumed by horniness. And the girls they like to stare at in school ignore them, so Gary’s big idea is to make a woman. He’s inspired by seeing BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN on TV (colorized! what the fuck!?) and figures his smart friend should be able to do something like that with his fancy computer machine. (read the rest of this shit…)

Brewster’s Millions

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

May 22, 1985

On the same Wednesday that RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II was released, Walter Hill followed up HARD TIMES, THE DRIVER, THE WARRIORS, THE LONG RIDERS, SOUTHERN COMFORT, 48 HRS. and STREETS OF FIRE with a new movie produced by Lawrence Gordon (ROLLING THUNDER, PREDATOR, DIE HARD) and Joel Silver (COMMANDO, LETHAL WEAPON, ROAD HOUSE) and starring the great Richard Pryor (THE MACK, HIT!). But it was a pretty dumb PG-rated comedy that doesn’t really take full advantage of either of their skills, other than Pryor’s general likability.

Pryor plays Monty Brewster, pitcher for the minor league baseball team the Hackensack Bulls. He and his best friend/catcher Spike Nolan (John Candy, THE SILENT PARTNER) try to be big fish in a small pond, hitting on baseball groupies at a bar after the game, but even there they’re medium-sized, overshadowed by a manlier player from the away team (Grand L. Bush, DIE HARD, LICENCE TO KILL, STREET FIGHTER). Which leads to a bar brawl, the most Walter Hill part of the movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Road House

Monday, June 17th, 2019

ROAD HOUSE is one of the canonical works of… I don’t even want to say action cinema, or badass cinema, I just want to say cinema. When I first wrote about it 15 years ago I was in awe of its unique mix of raucous bar brawls, quotable lines and heightened badassness. I mean, you’d just have to be such a chump not to get something out of a well-made movie about the world’s second best bar security expert (Patrick Swayze shortly after STEEL DAWN) being called into Jasper, Kansas to straighten out “the kind of place that they sweep up the eyeballs after closing,” along the way falling in love, ripping out a guy’s throat and freeing the town from the corrupt grip of rich bully Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara, BUFFALO ’66), who within one scene is revealed as a domestic abuser, shuts off his victim’s aerobics music because it “has no heart,” and boasts “JC Penney is coming here because of me!” It’s a glorious elevated drive-in classic forged from the undiluted sincerity of Swayze, the rioutous fight choreography of Benny “The Jet” Urquidez (BLOODMATCH, THE BIG HIT, WAR INC.), and the savage entertainment instincts of producer Joel Silver (COMMANDO, LETHAL WEAPON, PREDATOR, ACTION JACKSON, DIE HARD, THE MATRIX). It may top even RICOCHET as the most Joel Silver movie ever made. (read the rest of this shit…)

Superfly (2018)

Monday, June 18th, 2018

There’s a new theatrically released remake of SUPER FLY called SUPERFLY. Adapted by screenwriter Alex Tse (WATCHMEN, SUCKER FREE CITY), it’s updated to 2018 and relocated to Atlanta, but itstill tells the story of flamboyantly smooth drug kingpin Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson, Grown-ish, The Lion King on Broadway) trying to pull off one last big score so he can get out of the game. He still has his partner Eddie (Jason Mitchell, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, DRAGON EYES), employee-of-questionable-judgment Fat Freddy (Jacob Ming-Trent, Shrek the Musical), and girlfriend Georgia (Lex Scott Davis, TONI BRAXTON: UNBREAK MY HEART). He still has to deal with The Man (corrupt cops want a piece of his business) but now there’s also a Mexican cartel leader (Esai Morales, THE PRINCIPAL, PAID IN FULL, NEVER BACK DOWN: NO SURRENDER) and a scene involving crypto-currency (I’m glad he doesn’t say the word out loud, like in one of the ads I saw).

You may or may not remember that in the original movie Priest had a scene where he spars with a personal karate instructor. Thankfully, Tse did remember. In the update Priest’s boss and crime mentor Scatter (Michael Kenneth Williams, MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE, ROBOCOP) is also his jiujitsu teacher and keeps a low profile by sticking around the dojo teaching people to fight. Like Frank Lucas in AMERICAN GANGSTER he preaches not calling too much attention to yourself, and symbolically wears a brown belt instead of his true level of black.

So, as you can imagine, I liked this movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Lethal Weapon 4

Monday, January 13th, 2014

tn_lethalweapon4LETHAL WEAPON 4 is a family affair. In part 1 we just had suicidal widower Riggs becoming friends with ol’ Murtaugh and his family. We still have them, but also their friend Leo (added in part 2) and Riggs’s girlfriend Lorna (added in part 3) who now he’s thinking about marrying and they live together so now he has two trailers next to each other instead of the one. And he still has his dog from part 1 plus the dog guard he stole from the bad guys and rehabilitated in part 3. And Lorna is pregnant and Murtaugh’s daughter Rianne is also pregnant and also Chris Rock is in this one and also a Chinese family called the Hongs. There’s even four new writers on this one. The cast just keeps getting bigger, like how in a long running sitcom like The Cosby Show or Roseanne they have a bunch of new grandkids and spouses and shit added on by the end.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Lethal Weapon

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

tn_lethalweaponFirst of all, I would like to extend my deepest and most profound apologies for the first time I wrote about LETHAL WEAPON and fixated on Mel Gibson’s Swayze-esque hair and David Sanborn’s Smooth Cop Jazz saxophone. I know my comments hurt alot of people and put alot of negativity into the world, and that is something I simply never wish to do. I would especially like to apologize to Gibson’s hair stylist Paul Abascal, who not only did hair on many Swayze, Stallone and Willis (?) classics, but also went on to direct PAPARAZZI and the reshoots of PAYBACK. I know now it was a different time and place that cannot be held to a newer era’s standards of taste and style. In the years since that review I have changed alot, I have learned, I have grown as a man, as a critic and as a spiritual being. I have looked at pictures of JCVD in HARD TARGET and realized Mel’s mullet coulda been worse. So to get ready for Christmas I decided I was ready to try LETHAL WEAPON again.

It’s hard to separate LETHAL WEAPON from the litter of movies it spawned. In the sequels Murtaugh (Danny Glover, PREDATOR 2) and Riggs (Mel Gibson, MAD god damn MAX) are great buddies and there’s wisecracking and everything and I mix it up in my mind with the cliches of interracial buddy movies. But really the first LETHAL WEAPON is not about race and it’s pre-buddy. It’s about the formation of their buddyship. It’s about this regular working family man cop who, on the day after his 50th birthday, is forced to be partners with a younger crazy guy. Like, not just a loose cannon, a guy that we’ve actually seen wake up in his trailer, put a gun in his mouth and start crying and almost pull the trigger. While watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. He’s been suicidal since the death of his wife in a car accident, even has a special hollow point set aside for the job. (read the rest of this shit…)

NEW! The Viva Val Verde t-shirt

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Even if you’ve never adventured in the fictional South American country of Val Verde yourself, you may be familiar with its history from such films as COMMANDO, PREDATOR and DIE HARD 2. I know I am. And with my keen sense of observation and the power of high definition blu-ray technology I have spotted the Val Verde flag on the side of two planes in DIE HARD 2 and had it re-created by my crack team of t-shirt artisans.

click here to shirt up

VIVA VAL VERDE is not only an obscure reference and slogan of fictional national pride, but a rallying cry for fans of the larger-than-life movies of the Joel Silver/Arnold/Bruce era. Long live Val Verde and long live Old School Action.

This extraordinary t-shirt (also available in mug) is the inaugural product for my new project Vern’s Flea Market. This is probly classier than most of the other ones I’m gonna do, though. I want to take us all back to the late ’80s, early ’90s when you could go to the parking lot outside the 99 Cent store and young entrepreneurs would sell you such great t-shirts as Black Bart Simpson and Batman Symbol Except It Has Eyes. My designs will be even better. Collect ’em all, like pokeymans or whatever.

El Gringo

Monday, May 14th, 2012

tn_elgringoThe first After Dark Action Fest started Friday. Five action movies that I’m gonna have to qualify as pretty-much-DTV since they’re only playing 10 cities for 1 week. Maybe if one of those cities was Seattle I would feel different. But they have the “same day video-on-demand” option, which I’d never done before, but I decided to do it. I demanded it. I oughta upgrade my cable, it probly looks better for most citizens of the 21st century, but for me it looked okay. (read the rest of this shit…)