Archive for 2008

Prisoner of Shark Island and Ninja Vengeance

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Racially questionable double feature:
John Ford’s PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND

and

Karl Armstrong’s NINJA VENGEANCE
(bear with me here)

After my recent Lincoln assassination phase (which mostly just consisted of reading Manhunt by James L. Swanson) I found out about this PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND movie. It’s about Samuel Mudd, the doctor who treated the leg John Wilkes Booth broke by jumping out of the balcony after shooting Lincoln (fuckin ham). Mudd was convicted as part of the conspiracy but instead of being hung he was sent to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. He tried to escape once, but failed, and had to stay in a dungeon for a while. But when a brutal yellow fever outbreak killed the prison doctor, Mudd agreed to take over and won the approval of 300 soldiers in the fort, who signed a petition for him to be pardoned. Sure enough he was later pardoned by Andrew Johnson. (read the rest of this shit…)

The DoubleHeader You’ve All Been Waiting For! Vern Reviews STARSHIP TROOPERS 3 And ROGUE!!

Monday, August 4th, 2008

I’ve been sort of looking forward to this new STARSHIP TROOPERS, and if you got a problem with that too bad because I’ve gotten enough “are you gonna review Starship Troopers 3?” emails to know that we can take you. Ed Neumeier takes over as director this time, which means the satirical tone remains since this is the guy who wrote all three STARSHIP TROOPERS as well as ROBOCOP. And, uh, ANACONDAS: THE HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID. I didn’t know that, I just found that out on IMDB. Hmmm. I had not considered watching that one. This changes everything. This could be the big one.

If you saw STARSHIP TROOPERS 2: HERO OF THE FEDERATION you may or may not remember that it was pretty different from the first one. They scaled it down for DTV, making it into mostly a one-location siege kind of story and incorporating smaller bugs that implant themselves in people’s brains or something. The good part is it was directed by the effects legend Phil Tippett so it ended up having the best effects I’ve seen in a DTV movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Army of One

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Recently I was discussing the upcoming James Bond movie with some buddies. I was joking that the trailer should say “from the director of FINDING NEVERLAND.” That dude’s movies are all over the map, but nothing ever hinted that he would end up directing a 007 movie. One of my buddies said that it didn’t really matter that he didn’t do action because usually the action in Bond movies is shot by a second unit guy named Vic Armstrong.

(I looked it up, and Armstrong actually hasn’t worked on the Daniel Craig ones, but he was stunt coordinator and/or 2nd unit director for DIE ANOTHER DAY, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, TOMORROW NEVER DIES and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN and stunt double for 3 other Bond movies.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Ricochet

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

I think I saw this movie back when it came out and I remember it just being ridiculous, but seeing it again I thought it was a good ridiculous. The movie begins with a melodramatic Hitchcock style credit sequence, but then cuts straight to Denzel Washington, Ice-T and Kevin Pollack playing very aggressive basketball on a playground. As far as I know this one is one of only a handful of movies in all of cinematic history that begin with those three guys playing street ball.

I like this scene because it very quickly sets up most of the major players in the movie while also establishing just why the movie is cool. For one thing, the director is Russell RAZORBACK Mulcahy, video director turned movie director who is fond of fancy hotshot camerawork. But this is 1991, still firmly in the naive days when a director followed a code of honor that they were expected to provide visual clues to the audience to understand what the fuck is going on. For some of you younger individuals it’s probaly hard to imagine, but the camera is flying around in such a way that it enhances your enjoyment of the movie, instead of pissing you off. This starts in the basketball scene with the camera somehow following right behind Denzel as he weaves through the other players and slam dunks. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Day Lincoln Was Shot

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

I am not a history buff. I am not highly educated. I don’t necessarily have what you would call “a curious mind” when it comes to history. And I don’t really dig on civil war movies. It all just seems like a bunch of dudes running around in muddy fields yelling and stabbing. But for some reason lately I caught a weird case of interest in that era. I don’t know man, I understand that slavery was a way of life for those people and they were raised to be racist, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around that whole concept. How can somebody be willing to die to take away somebody’s freedom? How can that be the thing you really believe in?

I just don’t get it. But so much of that conflict still echoes in our lives today: in race relations, class relations, politics, institutionalized racism, relations between different regions of the country. So it’s important shit. (read the rest of this shit…)

Delta Heat

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

DELTA HEAT is a somewhat entertaining buddy movie from ’92. It’s kind of like RUSH HOUR but instead of Chris Tucker as a wiseass LA cop it’s Anthony Edwards as a wiseass LA cop, and instead of Jackie Chan as a Hong Kong inspector it’s Lance Henriksen as a crazy ex-cop New Orleans swamp rat. And instead of doing kung fu he has a hook hand (bitten by a gator, of course). Actually it’s kind of like RUSH HOUR 2 but instead of going to Hong Kong they go to New Orleans.

Edwards gets into town just in time to find out that his par†ner who got there before him is already dead and even got his heart cut out. So so far this investigation is not going well. They had followed a “designer drug” to its source which, according to the partner in his last payphone call, was a guy named Antoine something. Turns out the name belongs to a killer who Henriksen burned alive the same day he got bit by that gator and decided to leave the force. So Edwards is sent to him for tips and after the customary period of buddy rejection they team up to solve the case. Lance cuts his swamp dreadlocks and rejoins society with a leather jacket on his back and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Dark Knight

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

I got an email from Scott L. requesting a review of THE DARK KNIGHT, because he’s seen all these HYPERBOLIC!!!!!!!! reviews that have been springing up on all the websights and thought I might be a good outsider perspective to temper his expectations. I was happy to oblige because I liked the BATMAN BEGINS movie so I was already planning to see this one at a midnight show with a bunch of kids dressed up as the joker and jacked up on Monster and Mountain Dew High Voltage.

This story is about Batman, the caped vigilante of Gotham City, who is trying to stop some crime. There are many other characters such as Bruce Wayne, etc. I won’t give away who is Batman because I’m gonna try not to have spoilers. Also if you were a little confused because “Batman” is not in the title you are not alone. I kept wondering “is this a Batman movie?” Pretty weird. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern asks Why Watch Dark Knight when you could be watching…

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Well it looks like this week is Nerd Hanukkah, when everybody freaks out about the new Batman movie and then they go to San Diego and they seem to open presents every day. I’m not clear what exactly it is they do there but it apparently involves comic books and occasionally Halle Berry or Charlize Theron or somebody. There will be alot of exciting posters passed out or something and lots of exciting news will be broken about some movie or other. You’ll be hearing about your star treks and your hobbits and your Iron Man part 2s and what not. But there is one sequel that you won’t be hearing jack shit about there unless you are currently sitting there reading this article. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that I got the exclusive inside scoop on a movie and the title alone is gonna knock your god damn socks off. Your socks are gonna tear right through your fuckin Captain America boots, fly across the room and land on a table where somebody from some Dr. Who spinoff is signing autographs.

There’s only one thing to do, I gotta spit it out: THE ART OF WAR II: BETRAYAL. Starring WESLEY GOD DAMN SNIPES. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern sees TROPIC THUNDER! The horror! The horror!

Monday, July 14th, 2008

SPOILER ALERT !!

TROPIC THUNDER pretty much won me over only a few seconds in when I realized that the rapper character played by Brandon T. Jackson called himself “Alpa Chino.” Completely ridiculous and totally plausible. So many rappers are obsessed with SCARFACE, CARLITO’S WAY and THE GODFATHER, and so many name themselves after notorious figures: Capone, Noreaga, Moriarty, Scarface, Rick Ross, Freeway, 50 Cent, Beanie Sigel, Irv Gotti, Young Gotti, Daz Dillinger, Kenn Starr, Jim Jones, Hittler. And I seriously only made up two of those names. So the possibility of Alpa Chino’s Booty Sweat Energy Drink actually existing is so likely that I think most of the crowd really wasn’t sure if the movie had started or if this was a real advertisement. (read the rest of this shit…)

Hit List

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Here’s a VHS only action piece from director William Lustig, who I got some respect for due to the sleazy horror movie MANIAC and the badass Robert Forster revenge thriller VIGILANTE. (whoah, I never realized how similar those two titles are.) This one is closer to VIGILANTE although it was a work-for-hire deal for Lustig and not his usual New York-based independent filmmaking.

Basically this is the story of a regular guy whose kid is mistakenly kidnapped and he tries to get him back. I thought because of the title that he would have a list of people to get revenge on, but really he’s just going after this one guy who has his kid. (read the rest of this shit…)