Instead of thinking of ACTS OF VENGEANCE as the new one from DTV action master Isaac Florentine, I recommend viwing it as the new Antonio Banderas, and oh shit Isaac Florentine directed this! Held to the standards of Florentine’s amazing UNDISPUTED 2, 3 and 4, NINJA 1 and 2 or other Scott Adkins vehicles it can’t really compete. But for a non-martial artist Banderas has some good fights, and it has a nice, weird revenge story for him to sink his actor teeth into.
He plays Frank Valera, a successful defense attorney who, like all workaholic dads in movies, promises to be at his daughter (Lillian Blankenship, SECURITY)’s talent show where she’s singing a song specifically for him but he stays at work too long and gets there after it’s over and feels like a piece of shit and emotionally watches the cell phone video of her singing and tries to call to apologize to his wife (Cristina Serafini, DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINE) but man did he fuck up, this guy.
(For what it’s worth, most of the delay was caused by gridlock, and he was honking his horn alot. It was mostly out of his control.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Recently some friends and I were choosing favorites between Marvel’s three Chrises. It’s a tough call because Evans (the Captain America one) has the best Marvel series in my opinion, plus he seems like a cool guy in real life and starred in SNOWPIERCER. But Pratt (the Star Lord one) is the funniest and most down-to-earth Chris, and he has the more irreverent Marvel series. I even like his hypermasculine hold-on-I-need-to-roll-up-my-sleeves-so-you-can-see-my-forearms turn in JURASSIC WORLD.
Still, I chose Hemsworth (the Thor one) as my favorite Chris, because here is the most potentially embarrassing of the major Marvel characters, and frankly their least memorable series, but they got this Australian guy I never heard of who looks like He-Man and still was able to fuel the entire first movie on the power of his charisma. I really realized I was a fan when he did Michael Mann’s BLACKHAT. Not only is it a movie I really liked, but it was the first time in a while that one of these new guys displayed the type of manly magnetism that inspired me in the action movies of the ’80s and ’90s. I’m older than him but he made me want to grow up to slick my hair back and do hand stand pushups and read about philosophers.
So thank God his signature character Thor finally gets a movie worthy of his charms. Taika Waititi, the New Zealand writer-director best known for WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS and the great HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, completely reinvents the series as a colorful comedy much more in the vein (and sci-fi landcape) of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY than of the previous THORs. He quickly makes him funny, destroys his hammer, puts him on another planet and has cyborg Stan Lee cut his hair short. So it’s different. (read the rest of this shit…)
I’m not sure if this is what STAR TREK BEYOND is supposed to mean, but this new star trek goes beyond just referencing old star treks. I don’t think part 2, INTO DARKNESS, is as bad as its reputation now, but it kinda left a sour taste in my mouth by building itself too much on “see, this is like before, only it’s the reverse of before” and shit like that. I would rather see a new story, which is what they did here.
Since part 1-2 director J.J. Abrams jumped ship to do a STAR WARS, he’s only producer on this one. And since Paul Greengrass decided to do another BOURNE movie with Matt Damon, Justin Lin (FAST AND FURIOUS 3-6) had to forget about the one he was developing with Jeremy Renner, so he became available.
Another thing that’s different on this one is that Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty, co-wrote it (along with Doug Jung, who wrote CONFIDENCE and some episodes of Dark Blue and Banshee). So it finds Captain Kirk, like Pegg’s character in the Edgar Wright movies, unhappy and questioning what he’s doing with his life. He’s three years into a five year star trekking contract (I guess we’ve missed a whole bunch of adventures since part 2) and getting kind of bored of the ol’ final frontier. So he thinks he wants to become an Admiral.
But one day on what seems like an easy task the Enterprise suddenly gets destroyed by a swarm of metal space bug things and they crash land on a rocky planet. The crew gets split up and they face various threats before they reunite and come up with a plan to fight Krall (Idris Elba, GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE), the leader of the bugs, and rescue themselves. (read the rest of this shit…)
The genius of J.J. Abrams’ STAR TREK: NOT THE MOTION PICTURE BUT STAR TREK (2009) was not just that it had a good gimmick for recasting the original cast of characters and restarting their adventures without denying the existence of their old ones. It was also the way it worked for both Trekkos and regulars. I was able to see it with a girl that grew up watching Star Trek and she loved it, but I enjoyed it too even though, come on. We, as citizens of the world, were all able to share it and enjoy it together equally as brothers and sisters.
Dreddful. Absolutely dreddful. That means good! I really liked this movie.
It’s a coincidence, but it’s kinda cool and weird how much DREDD is like a sci-fi version of THE RAID. Similar premise: heavily armed but outnumbered police team raid a building controlled by a crimelord, crimelord announces over the intercom that they need to be killed, they have to fight their way up to the top of the building to kill the leader. But since it’s sci-fi the brutality and overkill of the police force is part of a dystopian future, the building (called “Peach Trees”) is 200 stories instead of about 30, and the whole thing is sealed behind blast shields so that nobody can get out. Instead of powerful silat skills our protagonist Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) relies on a badass computerized and voice-activated gun with various forms of bullets, explosives and firebursts.
Have you guys noticed that Paul Bettany looks like Peter Weller? I noticed that while watching this. Bettany plays an unnamed priest. This is a new one based on some Japanese comic book, it’s not that Miramax movie about the child molester. I don’t know if that’s a big problem in the world this takes place in, ’cause these priests probly don’t work with kids that much. See, an animated prologue (a much better one than in JONAH HEX) explains that humans have always been at war with vampires, not the Dracula kind but naked CGI monsters with no eyes that jump around on all fours. So the church created an order of “priests,” vampire hunters recognizable by the cross tattoos on their faces. (read the rest of this shit…)
PATHFINDER is the remake of that little Norwegian movie I just reviewed. The remake is directed by Marcus Nispel, the director of the remake of TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and the remake of FRIDAY THE 13TH and a TV remake of FRANKENSTEIN and the remake of CONAN THE BARBARIAN coming out tomorrow. As is his tradition he is not very familiar with the movie he’s remaking, so on the commentary track he calls it “a short film from Scandinavia or, from… the ’80s, I think.”
But this one’s not about the Sami people of Finnmark being invaded by the Tchudes, it’s about Native Americans being invaded by vikings. The idea is that vikings could’ve set up shop here centuries before Columbus, and this is the legend of why they didn’t. (read the rest of this shit…)
Never thought they’d be able to pull a trick like this, but somehow they made STAR TREK cool. I’m not even sure if I can say cool again. I guess when the first couple movies came out it passed as cool. Anyway, this is some top grade movie magic here because it takes this pop culture phenomenon that has for generations been the #1 cliche nerd obsession and makes it into something that we, as a society, can share peacefully and enjoy together.
Going on opening night of course I saw it in a sold out crowd that must’ve contained some hardcore Trekkos (that’s what they prefer to be called – the word “Trekkies” was made up for the classic documentary and to true Trekkos is considered ten times worse than the n-word) but I never even felt a twinge of that nerdophobic uncomfortableness I felt when I went to see SERENITY. Midnight show in Imax might’ve been a different story, I don’t know, but my point is this thing is reaching far outside of the nerd audience. They said we weren’t ready for a black president, and they were wrong. They never said we weren’t ready for a cool STAR TREK, because nobody was even gonna argue that one. (read the rest of this shit…)
There are three very clever sequences in this movie. First, it opens with narration over a starfield, and then pans over to show Mars. Suddenly the familiar UNIVERSAL logo letters spin around Mars. So it’s just like the usual studio logo except the red planet instead of the globe. Then the letters go off screen and the camera zooms into Mars and into a space colony where the movie takes place. It’s like there’s not even time to bother with a studio logo, our only option is to work it into the plot. That is how urgent it is to get to the motherfucking DOOM.
Yeah yeah, I know my movie history, so you don’t have to flood me with emails pointing out that the great visionary McG already connected the first shot of C’S As 1 to whichever studio logo it was. But this is a different thing because the movie has already started, and then we get the logo within the movie. If we are to follow our understanding of standard cinematical language, there may really be giant letters orbiting around Mars within the reality of DOOM. It all takes place indoors, so there’s no way to know if there are giant UNIVERSAL shaped shadows dripping across the landscape. (read the rest of this shit…)
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