Archive for 2010

Ninja III: The Domination

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

tn_ninjaiiiA few years ago when I wrote about ENTER THE NINJA and REVENGE OF THE NINJA I know everybody told me I had to watch part 3 and it was hilarious and all that. And I always intended to get to it but see I was on a serious ninja kick, I wanted real ninja action and not just some dumb bullshit to laugh at because a girl from BREAKIN’ gets possessed by a ninja.

But forgive me, man. I was on the outside. There was no way to really know without seeing it that NINJA III is a must-see.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

tn_terrordomeI never heard of this 2007 documentary about Public Enemy until I saw it in the new releases this week. Looks like it was made 3 years ago to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first album. I guess on DVD it must be celebrating the anniversary of their third album. But that’s Fear of a Black Planet, that’s a great album.

This is not the definitive hyper-detailed PE documentary I’d have dreamed about if it had ever occurred to me there could be a documentary about them. I’m sorry guys, I would’ve dreamed about it, but I was too distracted waiting for that Hank Shocklee Making of It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back book that never came out. This doesn’t quench my thirst for that one, but it’s not one of these amateurish hip hop documentaries they got either. It’s an enjoyable retrospective with alot of good moments, good photography and editing. Maybe the fonts could be improved, but for the most part it seems professional. (read the rest of this shit…)

Red Cliff

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

tn_redcliffwoozoneSome of you young kids might not know about The Curse of Van Damme. It was an early ’90s phenomenon named after (but not necessarily caused by) our favorite Belgian kickboxer/actor because of his track record for personally delivering talented Hong Kong directors to Hollywood. They’d come over, inject our action movies with a very small watered-down dose of what they had been doing back at home, then their bodies and minds would be completely drained by the studio beasts, leaving them hollow husks whose names on movies were no longer desirable. I mean you got John Woo – who used to wear his heart on the back of his director’s chair, who used special cameras powered by liquified male bonding and typed his scripts in inks made from tears of passion – directing a movie so obviously for a paycheck that, in my opinion, it was even titled PAYCHECK.

But the curse can be broken. Six years and no theatrical releases later John Woo returned home, filming a Chinese movie for the first time in 17 years, and what he came up with was a motherfucking masterpiece. The damn thing is so powerful somebody tried to chop it in half and it just grew into two complete movies. Whoever did it I bet they just ran away because they knew if they chopped those in half you’d have four RED CLIFFS and they would conquer the earth, guaranteed.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Red Hill

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

tn_redhill“Alice, have you seen my gun? I thought I packed it with the photos.”

That’s the first line in RED HILL. It describes kind of a random, odd occurrence, but it also tells us alot. Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) is a cop, he’s just moved, his gun is as important to him as his family memories– or he thought it was, but then he misplaced it. Now he’s looking for it because shit, he has to get to his first day of work here in the small town of Red Hill and he’s gonna look like an idiot if he shows up with no gun.

(read the rest of this shit…)

“Life can be mega”

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

mega-faceoff

Good ol’ Fred Topel just did an interview with Nicolas Cage for Screen Junkies, and he was cool enough to ask Cage about the concept of mega-acting:

SJ: I’ve been reading Outlawvern.com and he’s coined the phrase “mega acting” with regard to your work in films like Bad Lieutenant and Face/Off. The idea is it’s not overacting, because it’s intentionally extreme. Do you feel that’s accurate?

NC: Yeah, I think that makes sense. I often refer to it as outside the box, as opposed to over the top. The two things mean the same thing on one hand but one sort of celebrates the idea of breaking free and going into other forms of expression, whether they’re abstract or extreme or as this friend of yours calls mega acting. The other sort of implies you’re not being truthful to the part, but see, I don’t know how you measure something like that because life can be extreme and life can be mega. I wouldn’t do that to somebody in another art form. Not to compare myself to someone like Francis Bacon but just as a point of explanation, I wouldn’t say, “Hey, you can’t paint a screaming pope like that because a screaming pope doesn’t look like that naturally.”

When Cage is interviewed most of the time he’s probly sitting in front of blownup movie posters talking bullshit with local news people who still watch Entertainment Tonight every night. What’s cool about Fred’s interview is he comes from appreciating the odd sides of Cage’s work, so that’s what he asks about. Check out the whole thing for some more interesting insights.

thanks to Fred for doing the interview and Tommy S. for sending me the link

Animal Kingdom

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

tn_animalkingdomThe cover for the upcoming American DVD of ANIMAL KINGDOM says “Australia’s answer to GOODFELLAS.” As if the U.S. released GOODFELLAS and said, “What say ye, Australia?” And Australia comes back, “Australia has no response to GOODFELLAS at this time.”

Twenty years pass, not a word. Suddenly, out of the blue, America’s phone rings.

“Thank you for calling America, how can I help you?”
“We have Australia on the line. Please hold.”
“Okay.”
“Hello?”
“Yes. This is America. To whom am I speaking, please?”
“Australia calling. We have prepared an answer re: GOODFELLAS. It’s called ANIMAL KINGDOM.”
(read the rest of this shit…)

Knight and Day

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

tn_knightanddayKNIGHT AND DAY is that action/comedy/romance deal that came out this summer, one of two or three that were about a guy who’s secretly a government agent taking a girl on an unexpected adventure involving guns and crashing vehicles. Of those, this is the one where it’s Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. It’s called KNIGHT AND DAY because Cruise’s character takes a little toy of a knight from the airport gift shop to hide something in, and also because it turns out his last name is Knight, and the ‘Day’ comes from Cameron Diaz because she’s playing a young Sandra Day O’Connor. Well, okay, I made up that last part, or at least if it’s true it isn’t made very clear in the movie. Actually there’s no reason for the ‘Day,’ I don’t think they got that far when they were proofreading the title.

I know nobody had very high hopes for this one, but I kind of figured it would be okay just because it’s James Mangold, director of WALK THE LINE. Not a visionary by any stretch of the imagination, and not to brag but I am a visionary so my imagination stretches really far. But he’s usually a decent director and not known for this type of thing, so it seemed potentially interesting I thought. Incorrectly.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Steel Frontier

Monday, November 29th, 2010

tn_steelfrontierThe Steel Frontier is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, alot like the place in ROAD WARRIOR, but filmed in California. It’s the kind of place where you might find a legless man out in the middle of the desert and have to put the poor guy out of his misery. Or you might find a small town where everybody acts kind of like they’re in a western, and a bunch of asshole bullies on motorcycles and souped up post-apocalypse-mobiles might drive into town and start fucking shit up and laughing about it.

That’s exactly what happens here, this guy General Quantrell (Brion James) rolls in with his “desert scum,” goes into the barber shop and gets a nice warm shave while his boys terrorize the place. (read the rest of this shit…)

Important Book Alert #2: THEY LIVE (DEEP FOCUS #1) by Jonathan Lethem

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

tn_theyliveOne day several years ago I was waiting for a bus near a book store, and in the window there was a book about the philosophy of THE MATRIX. There’s more than one book like that, and I can’t remember which one it was that I saw that day, but it got me thinking: there should be a book like that, except it’s entirely about THEY LIVE.

There’s a long-running series of books called 33 1/3, little pocket-sized book length essays about classic albums. I have one for Stevie Wonder’s Songs In the Key of Life, for example. And I’ve long thought there should be a series like that for movies, and I should write the one about THEY LIVE.

Well, too late, buddy. Soft Skull Press is starting a series just like that, although if I understand correctly they’re all gonna be written by novelists. #2 is on DEATH WISH, #4 is gonna be LETHAL WEAPON. THE STING, HEATHERS and THE BAD NEWS BEARS IN BREAKING TRAINING are also coming up, but it all starts with THEY LIVE by Jonathan Lethem, author of the novels Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude. His approach is very different from what I would’ve done/could still do some day, but it’s an interesting, quick read and makes plenty of points that I hadn’t thought of before, making it a good first book about this particular subject. (read the rest of this shit…)

Seagal in Australian beer commercial/contest

Friday, November 26th, 2010

This is probly the funniest commercial Seagal has done (beating out the Orange telephone thing with the golf cart chase and the Mountain Dew one where he accidentally beats up a convenience store robber Mr. Magoo style). It fits into a modern commercial cliche of the Exaggeratedly Awesome Guy Who Likes This Product (other examples: Bruce Campbell for Old Spice, the more recent Michael Jai White-ish Old Spice uberman, the rich Russian guy with the baby giraffe who drinks some product or other, the “most interesting man in the world” who says “I don’t normally drink beer, but when I do I drink” whatever it is). But it also has a little Seagalogy in there because of his reputation for having an entourage of hot women and his love of Asian things (the bridge in the background, the dress on the girl to the left tending his zen garden). I actually wouldn’t be surprised if that was filmed in his actual backyard.

thanks to Chris A., Geoff C. and Mitchell H. for sending this, and stay tuned for upcoming overdue Seagalogical reports involving the last four episodes of LAWMAN and his new one BORN TO RAISE HELL (out in the U.K. but not U.S.).