Nearly 30 years after GET CARTER and its American cousin HIT MAN there was another version of the movie and/or its source novel, Jack’s Return Home by Ted Lewis. It starred Sylvester Stallone and was almost universally hated. Unsurprisingly it doesn’t fare well if hung up on a wall next to the 1971 version, but I find it at least interesting as an exercise in adaptation and an oddity in the Stallone filmography. And maybe I’m a little easier on it because it takes place in Seattle, with some of it actually filmed here.
In the mid ’90s, the ground was shifting under everyone’s feet. Hair metal bands felt displaced by Nirvana, MC Hammer decided he had to sign to Death Row Records, and the action heroes of the ‘80s were starting to see the writing on the wall. So by the end of the decade the once dominant Stallone was trying to find his place in a new world. JUDGE DREDD (1995) had been a notorious flop, and ASSASSINS (1995) and DAYLIGHT (1996) were poorly received. He couldn’t get Tarantino to cast him as Max Cherry in JACKIE BROWN. Though COP LAND (1997) had been one of Stallone’s best performances, it didn’t seem to bring him the critical credibility he was looking for, and his followup, the thriller D-TOX, was sitting on a shelf (it would be barely released in 2002 under the title EYE SEE YOU). Stallone been pigeonholed by his massive success as a larger than life action god, and many critics were more interested in rooting for his failure than seeing him evolve, or even return to his roots. (read the rest of this shit…)
GET CARTER (1971) is one of those bedrock crime movies I saw a long time ago, and as I forgot its specific details its general vibe stayed strong in my memory. Other movies I loosely associate it with in my mind include POINT BLANK (which came out four years earlier) and THE LIMEY (which came out 28 years later and seems influenced by both). It’s a strong example of an approach that really appeals to me: a straight forward crime/mystery/revenge story written and directed in a serious, realistic manner like we all got together and agreed that pulp is respectable material now, using atmosphere and quiet and stillness more than flash, but in a way that emphasizes rather than gets in the way of its fierce badassness.
Michael Caine (THE LAST WITCH HUNTER), at the time already well known from movies including THE IPCRESS FILE, ALFIE, and THE ITALIAN JOB, plays Jack Carter, a London gangster who returns home to Newcastle for his brother Frank’s funeral. He doesn’t buy that his brother died in a drunk driving accident, as they’re telling him, so during his stay he basically does an investigation, questioning relatives, then old friends, then rivals and strangers, trying to get to the bottom of it. Just a little business to wrap up before running off to South America with his boss’s super hot girlfriend (Britt Ekland, pre-WICKER MAN). (read the rest of this shit…)
A tale has long been whispered of Vin Diesel – musclebound, gravel-voiced, meat-headed action star, professor of macho brotherhood and cinematic tributes to muscle cars and jumping from moving vehicles – and how he’s a huge nerd who loves playing Dungeons & Dragons. It’s an unusual badass juxtaposition and although I always believed it I also knew it could’ve been exaggerated as a way to endear himself to the “Geek” sights who helped turn PITCH BLACK into a minor cult success and get two unlikely sequels off the ground even though it seemed like no one believed in them like he did.
But the proof is in the pudding, and in this flavor of pudding Diesel plays Kaulder, an 800 year old witch hunter aided by a Catholic secret society called The Axe and Cross in controlling the descendants of the monstrous Witch Queen who killed his wife and daughter and cursed him to be immortal even though he was real sad. He uses spells to travel into his memories, where he has a long beard like a Lord of the Rings dwarf and yells “IRON AND FIRE!” whenever leaping at someone with his sword (which he notes he does not have a name for but has heard it called Such-and-Such the Witch Killer by others). I should also mention that sometimes his sword is on fire. So yes, he plays Dungeons & Dragons. He lives his life a quarterstaff at a time. And I bet he gets really into doing voices and yelling out battle cry catch phrases and stuff.
Most of the movie takes place in present day Philadelphia Pittsburgh (or present day Unnamed City Filmed in Philadelphia Pittsburgh). Here Kaulder, like Dominic Torretto, enjoys wearing fitted black long sleeve button up shirts with the collar opened wide, but he drives a different type of fast car. (There’s one part in the movie where a car drifts, but it’s an FX shot and he’s not supposed to be the driver.)
Michael Caine (ON DEADLY GROUND) plays Dolan, his Alfred-like right hand man of 50 years, but since Kaulder is older than him he always calls him “kid.” (read the rest of this shit…)
You guys heard of this INTERSTELLAR? Came out recently. It’s Chris Nolan’s take on the wide-eyed space exploration epic. The type of sci-fi movie that keeps its feet partly on earth, has no lasers or star wars in it whatsoever and tries to seem relatively semi-quasi-plausible by modern scientifical-esque theories. It’s definitely supposed to be a spectacle, but not in the complicated-cgi-creations-loudly-smashing-things-into-a-million-cgi-particles way we generally get now, or even the how-did-they-even-do-that style of the INCEPTION hallway scene. More in the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA sense of gigantic landscapes. It’s the type of movie made by and for people who get awe struck staring up at the stars and weepy at the thought of specific astronauts. People whose imaginations get boners from the idea of a manned mission to Mars more than they would from a monster biting the head off a robot.
So the truth is I’m not the audience for this movie. I was better in monster biting head off a robot class than in science. When a guy sitting by me in the theater said he read that the black hole created for the movie was so “mathematically accurate” that scientists were now making discoveries based on it, I literally had no idea what that meant. Still don’t. On several different levels. So keep that in mind when I tell you I liked, didn’t love INTERSTELLAR. But I’m still gonna write about it, ’cause this is America. (read the rest of this shit…)
The best way to explain the genius of INCEPTION is just to describe what’s going on at the climax. The main characters are all asleep on a jet, dreaming that they’re in a van that’s crashed and is falling off a bridge. All but the driver, Dileep Rao, are asleep and are also in a dream-within-a-dream where they’re tied together floating weightlessly in an elevator. Joseph Gordon Levitt is preparing to wake them up, the rest are asleep and in a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream about blowing up a snowy fortress. But Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page are asleep there because they’re actually in a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream where Leo is making the emotional decision to leave behind a SOLARIS-type living memory of his dead wife Marion Cotillard to go into a limbo to rescue his client, Ken Watanabe, who has lived a whole life there and is now an old man and forgets that he’s not in reality, because time passes at a different pace within each of these worlds. And there is a decades long slowed down music cue that tells Leo the van in the first dream is about to hit the water and wake them all up.
And here’s the kicker: all of this was understandable even on the first viewing for knuckleheads like me and the millions of people who made it a huge hit summer movie. I mean, you don’t have to like it, but it takes a silly motherfucker to deny the accomplishment of making such an effective mainstream thriller out of a concept this complicated. (read the rest of this shit…)
Well, shit. I had been staying offline working on this review for a couple hours before I had to check a detail on IMDb and found out about the massacre in Colorado last night. Fucking horrible, man. Be safe everybody.
We had a fucked up tragedy in Seattle a few months ago, and even though that was on a smaller scale you see how many people it affects. For those of us blessed enough to be unscathed it still has a psychological effect, it forces you to think about yourself and your loved ones having to go through that. Because I walk by the place where it happened, I know people who went there all the time, I’ve dealt with mentally ill people that could’ve been that guy. Or in this case I love movies too, I went to a midnight showing too, alot of my friends did, alot of you guys did. It’s just as bad as all the other things we read about on the news but it seems more personal.
But I’ve also seen how the community has come together, has celebrated the lives and the art of the people who died, are continuing to hold benefit shows and fundraisers for the families and for the little cafe where it happened. You see that people really do care about their neighbors. And I hope we will also try to learn from these horrible things and figure out how to improve the system to identify the root causes and fix things, get sick people help or whatever needs to be done long before it comes to this.
Warner Brothers is pulling advertising for the weekend, canceled a premiere in France and all TV appearances for the stars, because it seems tacky to promote a movie during this. But instead this sick asshole gets to pretend he’s a super villain, he gets to be on TV, the whole world has to pay attention to him. He gets to stand in for the big summer event movie.
Is it wrong to let one psychopath intentionally take away this source of joy, this thing we’ve been looking forward to so long, that we we want to discuss and (possibly) celebrate? Or is it superficial to still want to do that in the face of this sickening loss of human life? I don’t think Batman movies are the most important thing in the world but shit, I want to talk about Batman movies!
I don’t know what the right thing to do is. Maybe it’s too depressing to think about right now, but when you’re ready for my review of the new Batman movie here it is.
THIS IS AN ALL SPOILERS, I’M-ASSUMING-YOU’VE-ALREADY-SEEN-IT REVIEW. If there’s anybody out there still deciding whether to see it or not this is not gonna help, don’t read it. (read the rest of this shit…)
Let’s say you’re a huge great white shark. I mean, just enormous. You’re gonna need to eat, right? Sometimes you can eat orcas, but you try to avoid those because sometimes they’ll eat you back. And little tiny fish won’t do it. A guy your size, it’s hard to find a meal that’s filling.
So you come across this nice little joint called Amity Island. Wide open, not much competition from other sharks or orcas. (There was one smaller shark, but some people killed it, mistaking it for you. Suckers!) So it’s a good set up. Just little pink morsels wiggling around, as far as the eye can see. Which is not that far actually, because sharks don’t have very good vision. But they do have a weird thing where they can sense the electromagnetic pulse of even a heartbeat. And these heartbeats feel delicious. (read the rest of this shit…)
MICHAEL CAINE IS… HARRY BROWN, a pensioner with two things left in the world: his wife (but then she dies) and one friend (who is murdered after complaining that he wants to stab the dumb assholes who keep dropping dog shit through his mail slot). So it’s about an old dude becoming lonely and deciding to hammer down on the hooligans that are ruining his neighborhood (not soccer/football hooligans, just regular unaffiliated hooligans. In fact an interest in sports or arts of some kind, such as graffiti or beatboxing, might be good for these particular hooligans, give them more of a productive focal point for their hooligannery).
Harry is one of the very best categories of badass: the type with a PHd in killing but who chose to go into another field. The war was a long time ago and he doesn’t even like to talk about it. But he told his friend to go to the police, he already had, and they were no help. And Harry is an old man in the same neighborhood, he has to walk past these fuckers too, and he’s always taking the scenic route to avoid them which wastes his time and causes him to miss out on opportunities (little things like being there with his wife when she died). (read the rest of this shit…)
Okay first of all I gotta ask, why does every movie lately gotta be about a nasty divorce, somebody’s dad dying, or both? I guess that’s just what happens when the sky turns grey and the leaves start falling off the trees, all the sudden you get all these depressing movies about how either you or your dad is a novelist and you fucked up everything with your wife and kids and you want to fix your marriage but that’s completely delusional, your wife has a new guy and she hates you because you’re an asshole and she can do better. (that’s what both of these are about.)
Which brings me to my second comment, you better look up what these movies are about before you see them because the titles are misleading. I know, how could you go wrong with a movie called SQUID VS. WHALE, but unfortunately it turns out that title is some kind of a metaphor or something. Which answers my question of how this got a theatrical release. There is no squid vs. whale fight, at least not a living squid and whale. And the dead ones that fight is only in a museum and only in the very end. (read the rest of this shit…)
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here… Now, of the three main editors of the Movie News of AICN, only one hasn’t seen this movie yet… Yeah, me. So, who’s the one dealing with all these spoiler-ific reviews? Yeah, me… At least I was having fun running around Chicago’s dastardly and evil O’Hare airport, missing connections and having good times while the Austin screening of BATMAN BEGINS was rolling… Anyway, this is all to say that I haven’t seen the movie. I didn’t read the script. I want there to be some surprises in the movie for me, so I haven’t read any of the below reviews. I’m sure they’re great, but I’m gonna be selfish on this one. If BB’s as good as everyone and their mother is saying it is, I want to be as fresh as possible come next week. So, be warned. There could be tons of spoilers below.
We have a couple regulars to start off. Our main man Vern and Ghostboy. Vern is first up to bat! ZING! He also has some personal information to share with his mass of fans! Enjoy!
I got two thrilling stories for you today boys. First up is my review of this new Batman picture. Second is an unrelated, earth shattering movie scoop that you have not seen on access hollywood, E.T. – The Entertainment Tonight, the Michael Jackson trial re-enactments, or any of those shows. Possibly it was in some newspaper column in a city called Rochester, but I have not confirmed that yet. Anyway enough preamble let’s get down. (read the rest of this shit…)
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