If you haven’t seen the blog RUPERT PUPKIN SPEAKS, you’re missing out on some good stuff. He’s one of these rare individuals who knows his shit but is still relentlessly passionate and positive about movies, recognizing that at any given time there are way too many gems that you haven’t seen out there to fixate too long on hating the new Starbat prebootquel or whatever. Some of his passions include obscurities available from the Warner Archive and collecting weird movie novelizations.
Alot of his material is lists of recommendations from various guests, and every October he has an avalanche of underrated horror lists. I love reading these and have found some good ones from them, and I’ve always wanted to do one myself.
Well, he never invited me, so this year I just asked him if I could do one. And I guess he is a gentleman, so he said yes.
note: As you can see in the intro I tried not to overlap with anybody else’s lists, but I think P2 and maybe something else ended up on other lists after mine was submitted. But what can you do?
Check out my new Bruce essay on The Village Voice websight (web exclusive – they tried printing it on paper but my writing was so hot it caught on fire). This is basically my response to the anti-Bruce sentiments a few weeks ago when he was in the news for dropping EXPENDABLES 3 and a couple other incidents. Apparently this piece has turned out to be more of a bummer than I intended, and the headline does sound a little harsh. But really I’m just trying to illustrate how much of Bruce’s power in DIE HARD comes from not being a standard action guy, and therefore it makes sense that he’s grown restless with being pushed into the standard action guy slot. It’s a celebration of his talents and unique place in action movie history.
The clock just struck midnight here on the west coast, and thus begins the annual outlawvern.com Watching Of More Horror Movies Than Usual season. Try as they might the GOP were not able to shut down this hallowed tradition.
During October it is my official policy to only watch horror movies, excepting only the occasional new release that I feel the need to watch immediately. (You can’t keep me away from GRAVITY, for example.) But I always figure there must be some non-horror watchers who are regular readers (even if they haven’t made themselves known) so for you my friends I have some non-horror reviews on the backburner that I’ll put the finishing touches on and posting throughout the month. So don’t abandon me. I’ll be there for you.
As usual I’ll be conducting a SLASHER SEARCH, looking for slasher gems I haven’t seen before. But this year I feel like going broader and trying to squeeze in more of the other flavors of horror if possible. I already have a longer list than I’m gonna have time for, but I always welcome suggestions. I can’t guarantee anything but I am a man of reason so if you make a strong argument you might convince me.
Our NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR early coverage concludes with david’s interview with the ninja himself, the world’s most complete fighter, El Gringo, a man who has had bit parts in both the remake of THE PINK PANTHER and ZERO DARK THIRTY, an icon of modern action, Mr. Scott Adkins.
It’s weird meeting action stars in person. I’ve met more than I can count now, and every one of them is different, but I knew Scott Adkins would be cool. We’d previously met face to face when I did an hour-long Skype interview with him in 2012 after I saw him in Expendables 2, and he was incredibly gracious and generous with his time. In that interview, I was shocked at how well versed he was in B-action movies, and we talked about not only his movies and career, but the careers of guys like Jeff Speakman and Michael Dudikoff. He joked to me how upset he was when he saw Jeff Speakman’s second or third movie and that Speakman wasn’t delivering on the martial arts front like he did on his first movie. “Fuck you, Jeff Speakman!” he joked, which I thought was hilarious.
Thanks for indulging me with this Summer Movie Flashback series. Now that I’ve gone through 20 summer movies from the last decade I figured I should have a brief post-game huddle or whatever.
Shit, me starting writing this series almost seems like longer ago than PROMETHEUS, the most recent movie I reviewed in it. So it deserves a wrapup.
Here’s a trailer for NEED FOR SPEED, a movie coming out next March, apparently based on some video game. They’re smart to make it look all serious and not use any hip hop on the trailer so less people will compare it to THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.
Of course with that one TV show being so popular, everybody’s focusing on this being an attempt to use Aaron Paul as a leading man. But the reason I’m drawing your attention to this is because it’s from Scott Waugh, the co-director of ACT OF VALOR. He was a stuntman on many fine (SPARTAN, SPEED, LAST OF THE MOHICANS) and not-so-fine (BATMAN FOREVER, SPY HARD) movies. He worked on both BIKER BOYZ and TORQUE. Then he was second unit director, producer and editor of the documentaries STEP INTO LIQUID and DUST TO GLORY, which led him to the weird stunt/reality/fiction/military recruiting film combo of ACT OF VALOR. I hope he can carry through some of the qualities I liked in ACT OF VALOR, this time 100% free of any guilt of enjoying military propaganda. Of course he’s working with actors now, so he won’t have that interesting “this is a real interrogator guy demonstrating how he does his job” thing going, but I’m sure there will be some good stunts.
The script is by George and John Gatins (FLIGHT, REAL STEEL) and George Nolfi (OCEAN’S TWELVE, BOURNE ULTIMATUM, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU). Michael Keaton is in the cast. My man “Professional” Shane Hurlbut is the cinematographer. Stunt coordinator is Lance Gilbert (TORQUE, STEALTH, VACANCY, PRIEST).
This next-to-last interview in david j. moore’s series of NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR interviews is a name I wasn’t familiar with, but it’s important to learn shit. That’s why we’re here. Fight choreographer Tim Man – remember, I heard it here first. Here’s david:
When I met Tim Man, the stunt and fight choreographer on the Bangkok, Thailand set of Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, my first thought is, “Wow, this guy’s short!” He has a distinct look about him, and he speaks with an unusual accent. He is of Chinese and Swedish descent. Man, trained in Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Tae Kwan Do, Viet Vo Dao, boxing, and Wushu, has worked on several Thai martial arts productions including Ong Bak 2 (2008) and Kill ‘em All (2012). He was tasked with not only creating all the fights for Ninja II, but he also handled all the stunts, and he co-stars in the film as well as a villain named Myat. As I tried to get to know him over the course of several days, I found him to be immensely knowledgeable in action movie terms, and we’d quiz each other over action stars we like and their movies. We discussed the merits of guys like Keith Cooke, Tony Jaa, Gary Daniels, Billy Blanks, and all sorts of other guys, and it was obvious that he was a hardcore fan of B-action and martial arts movies. He was always in good humor, and in between takes, he’d sit down next to me and carry on our conversation.
Shit, NINJA 2 is getting some pretty serious raves out of Fantastic Fest. I almost wish I didn’t hear that, it’s like when I was patiently anticipating THE RAID because of MERANTAU and then all the sudden a bunch of people flipped out for it and the wait became excruciating. Oh well, as long as that’s the case let’s read david j. moore’s interview with action hall of famer Isaac Florentine.
On the set of Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, director Isaac Florentine is completely in his element while making his latest martial arts action film, starring Scott Adkins and Kane Kosugi. I’ve been invited to observe several days of filming on the Bangkok, Thailand set, and my first day consists of watching an intense dialogue scene between Adkins’ character and his mentor, played by Kosugi. Both of them are dressed in Japanese robes during their scenes together, and the dojo set is decked with traditional Japanese tapestries and artifacts. I interact with the crew, as they move lights around, and in between takes I chitchat with Adkins, Kosugi, and Florentine, who all take time out to address my questions, comments, and attempts at humor. Florentine, whom I’ve interviewed before, is incredibly gracious to me, and he thanks me several times for visiting the set. We both agree on the fact that movies like the ones he makes aren’t given the attention or the fair criticism that they deserve, and I’ve made it my prerogative to give him and his peer filmmakers like Jesse Johnson, Ben Ramsey, and Ernie Barbarash, the attention that they should be getting. I interviewed Florentine for a few minutes about Ninja: Shadow of a Tear on set, and while this is not a comprehensive interview on his career, it does shed some light on what his intentions are with making this particular film. (read the rest of this shit…)
As NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR is premiering in Austin, let’s continue with david j. moore’s series of interviews. Today he talks to producer Frank DeMartini, a guy who insisted they stop fucking around and just make a sequel to NINJA already. In other words, an American hero. You’ll also find out why he feels qualified to compare the NINJA series to the AMERICAN NINJA one.
The producer’s chair on the set of Ninja: Shadow of a Tear is filled by Millennium Entertainment’s own Frank DeMartini, who was once a Hollywood attorney before he became a producer. DeMartini is there on the set every moment, supervising every detail of the production, and he allows me to be comfortable on the set, which is sometimes difficult to do on a movie production where grips, make-up, wardrobe people, and props and wires of all sorts can create a hectic atmosphere. DeMartini is calm, and his mandate on this set is to help director Isaac Florentine and star Scott Adkins create the best action film possible. When he has time, he submits to my questions and I’m surprised that he is able to converse on action movie terms. Off the record, we talk about the action movie stars from the glory days of Nu-Image, stars like David Bradley, Frank Zagarino, and Bryan Genesse, and when we actually sit down to conduct the interview, it’s clear that he has an interest in these types of films, and indeed would love to produce more of them.
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Merry Christmas (or whatever the heck it is you guys celebrate over there!) Keep the great stuff coming Vern. You rock.
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