Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Crank

Monday, November 27th, 2006

No, this is not the one where Adam Sandler has a magic remote control that he uses to conquer the world, that’s CLICK. This is CRANK, this is the one where Jason Statham (the Transporter himself) is a hitman who gets injected by high concept poison. It’s gonna kill him, but he figures out that it won’t finish until his adrenaline rate goes down. So he tries to run around, have sex, do coke and get in shootouts until he is able to get revenge on the poisoner. So it’s SPEED in a guy, with a side order of revenge.

An inventive thrill ride full of imagination and wit that keeps you constantly involved as it builds to an unbelievable climax… would be a good way to do this movie. Instead they went the DOMINO route of “if you throw every stupid show-offy technique you ever saw in a commercial at the screen, technically it counts as entertainment.” I think I know what they were thinking: he has to keep his adrenaline up, so the movie has to keep its adrenaline up too. But it’s flawed logic. THE JERK is about a moron, but the movie doesn’t have to be moronic. I don’t think SPEED had cameras flying around constantly to convince you that it’s about speed. If you show a guy in hospital gown zooming around on a motorcycle pursued by police, that is by definition somewhat exciting. But when you throw in unnecessary zooms and split screen and do a jokey flashback on one side and then freeze on a guy’s goofy expression and then switch it to black and white and then zoom into Statham’s chest to show an x-ray of his heart beating (a nod to the Furious Movement) AND you gotta throw in “exciting” guitar music made by a guy who used to be in Tangerine Dream who is now trying to rock out, it seems like you’re overcompensating. It isn’t exciting anymore, it’s just annoying. To me it’s another movie that has no build or rhythm at all, just the same frantic shit for 87 minutes straight. (read the rest of this shit…)

Running Scared (2006)

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

I really don’t have a problem with America’s team captain, Paul Walker. Alot of people seem to hate this guy, but I think he’s pretty good at playing these straight laced hunky characters in movies like THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and EIGHT BELOW. But I gotta admit, when I saw the trailer for RUNNING SCARED I thought it looked like the worst shit ever. Paul Walker doing an accent, playing a mob guy? I wasn’t buying it. It didn’t help that the trailer ended with mobsters trying to hit a glowing hockey puck into Walker’s mouth. Like it’s not enough to hit the guy in the face, they gotta make it visually appealing and EXTREME.

But there are two things that the trailer didn’t get across. One, that Paul Walker actually does a pretty good job playing this type of character. I was hoping that Clint’s FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS would be the movie that shows Walker is a little better than people thought, but his part in that one turned out to be minimal. Instead it was this one that makes you think huh, maybe he could play other types of characters. Hard to say. The second thing the trailer didn’t get across about RUNNING SCARED is that it’s a crazed, ridiculous movie where the day-glo hockey rink fits right in. And I guess the third thing is that Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines are not in this one, it’s Paul Walker. (read the rest of this shit…)

Gridiron Gang

Friday, September 15th, 2006

GRIDIRON GANG is the latest in this year’s new wave of inspirational high concept true story football movies. This one is THE LONGEST YARD meets STAND AND DELIVER: Dwayne T.R. Johnson plays an officer at a juvenile detention center who decides to start a football team to instill self esteem, discipline and teamwork in young criminals. I didn’t see INVINCIBLE and McG’s WE ARE MARSHALL hasn’t come out yet, but I’m guessing this one is the most generic of the bunch. There’s almost no point in me describing the movie. Try this: close your eyes. Now read that premise I just described, and picture a movie about that. There it is, what you just pictured is exactly what the movie is.

Holy shit, how are you reading this with your eyes closed? I didn’t say you could open them. This is weird. Well, I’m not sure exactly what to say about these amazing powers of yours, so instead I will ignore them and just go ahead and review the movie. Even if you don’t close your eyes, if you make a list of everything you expect to happen in a movie like this, you’d probaly get to cross off everything on the list. (read the rest of this shit…)

Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Friday, September 15th, 2006

50 Cent, aka Curtis “Mumbles” Jackson, is not a rapper. I mean technically you might think he was one because he’s released rap albums. Pretty popular, too – the one this movie’s named after went six times platinum. But in a profile in Forbes magazine he talked about his albums and all his other products (a record label with all his buddies on it, a line of clothes, a line of Reebok sneakers, a flavor of VitaminWater, a video game, a ghost-written autobiography) as a continuation of the drug dealing he did starting at the age of 11. Just another hustle, another product.

When I read about his deal with Apple to sponsor a line of low-cost computers aimed at the inner city, I wondered if maybe he was smarter than he was letting on in all his music and interviews. Had he used his fame to give back to the community, strategically getting Apple to help the poor catch up technologically with the rest of American society and build a better future? Maybe, but he never mentions anything like that in the article. It ends with the quote, “I never got into it for the music. I got into it for the business.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern wants to tell you about Brian DePalma’s BLACK DAHLIA!!!

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Fellas –

Brian DePalma’s new picture has gotten alot of good reviews, but it’s the really harsh ones that stick with you. The Ain’t It Cool’s own MiraJeff was so mad he literally said he wanted to recreate the mutilations of the real crime on Brian DePalma. (Maybe he’s moody getting psyched up for his bout with the House of the Dead guy.) “Like high-school kids playing dress-up, or bad Kabuki,” is how David Edelstein described it in his capacity as film and apparently kabuki critic for New York Magazine. And a crazy person at the screening I went to announced during the credits that the movie had “nothing to offer to society,” had too much violence and smoking, and would flop at the box office.

Well, I wish I could give a more passionate defense, because I really have no idea where some of these people are coming from. But I also thought that as a DePalma fan (for here on referred to as “a DePalmaniac”) the movie was pretty underwhelming. It kept me interested, it has some great scenes, I even thought Michael Meyers’s nephew Josh Hartnett was surprisingly good playing the boxer/cop protagonist. But since DePalma’s last movie FEMME FATALE was pretty much The Ultimate 100% Unadulterated Brian DePalma Film, it’s a little disappointing to see him doing what seems like just his little spin on material that alot of other directors could’ve done almost as well. I’m guessing fans of the book, though, will be more interested. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern explores the bizarre mystery that is Wesley Snipes in HARD LUCK…. and the Snipes-less BLADE tv series!

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Hey folks, Harry here – with the latest from Vern. This time, Vern tackles the ever evolving career of one, Wesley Snipes. I miss Wesley Snipes. He was never just the muscle action guy and I kinda hate that THAT is what he’s becoming in these cheap straight to DVD flicks. Snipes is a dramatic actor of an immense amount of range. He just needs to calm down and begin straightening out a lot of the bad press he’s had – and just do the work. Put himself in some independent films – showing his range and humility and getting back to where filmmaker’s won’t be taking a “chance” directing him, but taking the OPPORTUNITY to use him. He’s incredibly talented, I just want to see that back on screen again. Here’s Vern to tell us if we see any of that talent in HARD LUCK…

HARD LUCK

Well boys, time for another chapter in the ongoing drama THE MYSTERY OF WESLEY SNIPES, where we explore why a talented individual who starred in the three hit BLADE movies keeps doing nothing but straight to video. This new one, HARD LUCK, comes to video in October. While it’s not a particularly good movie, and it definitely shouldn’t be released theatrically, it’s at least a step up from the generic and sometimes horrible DTV action movies he’s been doing lately. It’s kind of a quirky crime movie with some occasional funny touches and an unorthodox (but not revolutionary) structure. The big news is that it reunites him with NEW JACK CITY’s Mario Van Peebles, who is director, co-writer and co-star of HARD LUCK. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern’s Peace Initiative

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

As if the whole world wasn’t going to shit already, now we got this war going on between Israel and Hezbollah in Syria. Or according to some people, between the US via Israel and Iran via Syria via Hezbollah in Lebanon or I don’t know. Whatever the fuck is going on over there, it’s not good. People are dying every day and it seems like this could be just the humble beginnings of this latest phase of the world’s biggest mess.

In the old days, like, say, seven years ago, what we would do is the President would make some phone calls, send some diplomats, try to figure out how to get those assholes over there to chill the fuck out. “Come on guys, it’s not worth it.” Like when your buddy’s had a few too many drinks and starts getting in a guy’s face in an argument over a girl or a shoe or a slice of pizza or something. You gotta give your buddy some perspective before things get ugly. (read the rest of this shit…)

Miami Vice

Monday, August 7th, 2006

MIAMI VICE is the movie version of the old TV show from the ’80s about Crocket and Tubbs. It’s written and directed by Michael Mann, executive producer of the TV show, now know as the humorless, pretentious, talented jackass behind COLLATERAL, HEAT, etc.

Remember that show? We, as a nation, stopped wearing socks when that show came on. We stopped shaving. We started wearing pastel shirts under white Armani jackets. We drove Ferraris and had pet alligators. We listened to Phil Collins and Glenn Frey and all that shit. Our hearts pumped to the rhythm of Jan Hammer’s awesome electronic drum pads. It was who we were as Americans. At least that’s what I keep reading in reviews of this movie. Actually, it is partly true, everybody loved that show and people did try to dress up as the characters. Like you Star Wars freakos only it was considered legit. Everybody from little kids to old men in walkers was wearing those ridiculous white suits and sunglasses. Pretending to be an actor on TV pretending to be a cop pretending to be a drug dealer. It was a fun time and it might be fun to make a movie that transports us back to those days. (read the rest of this shit…)

Action Jackson

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Every once in a while I’ll get in a gentlemanly argument with a motherfucker about whether Michael Bay single-handedly ruined the future of action cinema forever, or whether he’s just an asshole. And invariably a Bay-defender will claim that although his movies are not fun to watch and you don’t know what’s going on while you watch them, Michael Bay “blows things up real good.” I think the idea is supposed to be that Regular Folk like to watch a big fiery explosion with no brains involved and if you got a problem with that you must be some kind of snob.

Well I am not a snob and I think you guys know that. The problem is that in my opinion he DOES NOT blow things up good. He blows things up and then by the camera placement and quick cuts forces us to wonder whether we are in fact watching an explosion or a closeup of Billy Bob Thornton’s shoe or perhaps the reflection off a bead of sweat dripping down Josh Hartnett’s adam’s apple. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

This third picture in the FAST AND THE FURIOUS trilogy saga is pretty different and at first doesn’t even seem to be connected to the other ones. I never saw Academy Award nominee for best director John Singleton’s 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, but I know Paul Walker returned and Vin Diesel didn’t. And I believe Tyrese showed up. This time around we lose everybody and start over with a new character played by Lucas Black (the kid from SLING BLADE who I last saw in a small role in JARHEAD).

The first section of the movie, which is also the best section, is all about Lucas Black getting into macho confrontations with dudes and then having a race. In the opening he’s leaving school, getting into his junker car when he exchanges words with a rich asshole jock dickhead (HOME IMPROVEMENT’s Zachary Ty Bryan, still wearing a letterman’s jacket at 24). You can already tell this is gonna be a worthwhile movie when it starts playing western style music and showing closeups of their faces as they stare each other down. They’re about to get in a wrench fight when the jock’s girlfriend suggests a peaceful solution: a fast and/or furious race. Lucas Black says, “I only race for pink slips,” (he doesn’t mention whether or not he lives life a quarter mile at a time) but since the HOME IMPROVEMENT guy’s Viper is worth $80,000, the bet is not agreed upon. So the girlfriend suggests herself as the prize. So you know the western music was not lying about this movie being awesome. (read the rest of this shit…)