Archive for the ‘Science Fiction and Space Shit’ Category

Star Trek (2009)

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

tn_startrekNever thought they’d be able to pull a trick like this, but somehow they made STAR TREK cool. I’m not even sure if I can say cool again. I guess when the first couple movies came out it passed as cool. Anyway, this is some top grade movie magic here because it takes this pop culture phenomenon that has for generations been the #1 cliche nerd obsession and makes it into something that we, as a society, can share peacefully and enjoy together.

Going on opening night of course I saw it in a sold out crowd that must’ve contained some hardcore Trekkos (that’s what they prefer to be called – the word “Trekkies” was made up for the classic documentary and to true Trekkos is considered ten times worse than the n-word) but I never even felt a twinge of that nerdophobic uncomfortableness I felt when I went to see SERENITY. Midnight show in Imax might’ve been a different story, I don’t know, but my point is this thing is reaching far outside of the nerd audience. They said we weren’t ready for a black president, and they were wrong. They never said we weren’t ready for a cool STAR TREK, because nobody was even gonna argue that one. (read the rest of this shit…)

Dead End Drive-In

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Most Americans, when they think of Australia they think of kangaroos and koalas and shit. Me, I think of high speed car chases and vicious (but wise) giant crocodiles. And I guess maybe occasionally I think of 6’5″ Seattle Storm center Lauren Jackson. But usually it’s the cars and crocodiles, because as you maybe noticed I’ve been watching the Australian films this last year or so – ROGUE, DARK AGE, ROAD GAMES, RAZORBACK, etc. I’ve never been there, but something about that place really appeals to me, and so do their movies, I’m not sure why. They seem to have an untapped (by me) reservoir of really good filmatists there who work in a style that appeals to me. Energetic but not frantic, stylish but still raw, serious but not pretentious, lots of car flips.


I was kind of embarrassed though when I found out there was a documentary going around called NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD that lumps these movies together under the silly name “Ozploitation.” It was real popular down there in Austin where my Ain’t It Cool colleagues are and Tarantino’s interviewed in it and everything so it got them all interested. I swear it’s a coincidence, I had no idea this was a big thing right now. If anything, the documentary probaly copied the idea from me. (read the rest of this shit…)


Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

After seeing Paul Not Thomas Anderson’s remake of DEATH RACE 2000 and finding it surprisingly enjoyable, I decided to finally go back and see that Kurt Russell movie he made more than ten years ago that I wanted to see but didn’t because everyone said was garbage. And maybe the lowered expectations helped, but I thought SOLDIER was a good one.

The movie begins in the ’90s with a group of babies being taken out of a hospital into military custody (wonder if the parents noticed?) where they will be raised to be super soldiers. The opening is a montage of these soldiers from infancy to their 40s, being indoctrinated, training and participating in various intergalactic conflicts. I was impressed that I could immediately tell which kid was supposed to be Kurt Russell. I thought they did an amazing job of finding a kid who looked like him, but then I found out they just cast his son, which is kind of cheating. Anyway this character’s name is Todd, but don’t worry, if you forget that it’s tattooed on his face, they all have their names and numbers tattooed on their faces. (I honestly think it would be cool if the movie was called TODD.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Death Race

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

In these trying times it’s hard to have any faith in a lowbrow movie delivering on a good high concept or even a classic standby. There’s just too many ways to fuck it up. You see all the wonderful explosions in the trailer for THE MARINE and you know it’s a pro-wrestler playing a soldier saving his fiancee or somebody from kidnappers, that seems like it should be easy to pull off. And then they fill the movie with lame comic relief and have the wrestler spend most of the movie walking around a field trying to track the bad guys before his brief stints of PG-13 revenge. It’s just boring.

Or more often they go in the other direction, they force in way too much. Like CRANK – I should be able to totally get behind a movie where Jason Statham has been pumped full of a drug that will cause his heart to explode if he does not keep his pulse rate constantly up, and therefore he has to get into all kinds of action and craziness. I know some people like that one but I guess I’m picky, I just can’t stand when they take an exciting premise like that and then seem to worry that unless they throw in ten thousand random quick cuts and split screens and CGI zooms and switches to black and white and video and shit that maybe somebody will get bored. Similar deal with DOOMSDAY which has just about everything you could want in a derivative sci-fi action yarn and then ruins every single one of them with terrible camerawork and editing. For me all that hyperactive shit and lack of thought put into visuals just ruins these movies. (read the rest of this shit…)

Babylon A.D.

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

7% on Rotten Tomatoes… that’s bad, right? I was kind of interested in this idea of Vin Diesel returning in a big sci-fi movie directed by the guy who did LA HAINE (you know, Kassovitz. Amelie’s boyfriend, later in MUNICH). But then there were all these stories about the studio cutting it to shreds, and then the reviews were CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST brutal, and even Kassovitz called it “pure violence and stupidity” before it was even released, pretty much signaling that he was so disappointed in the movie that he was willing to throw away any future chance at directing in Hollywood. I mean those are some pretty bad omens there in my opinion so I couldn’t work up the courage to pay money to see it in a theater. I remember even talking a buddy out of going to see it by describing how bad the buzz was. It was so bad it wasn’t even buzz, it was more of a whistle.

So I’m surprised to be sitting here telling you this, but this movie is actually kind of good. I mean, unlike Vin Diesel’s character, who does a flip on a snowmobile in one scene, the movie doesn’t stick the landing. The conclusion borders on silly, the storytelling becomes pretty muddled (possibly due in part to those studio cuts, I’m not sure) and I was not sure I really understood the point of how it ended up. But as a whole it’s so much better than I had been led to believe. Aside from some corny Riddick-style opening and closing narration Diesel is a cool action movie character inhabiting a fleshed out, believable world of chaos not too far in the future. (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…)

Class of 1999

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Director Mark L. Lester returns in 1990 for an ambitiously ridiculous sequel to CLASS OF 1984. Instead of taking some character or setting from that movie and continuing with it he takes the same sort of story and puts it in a futuristic sci-fi world. So instead of a paranoid vision of violence in schools a couple years from now it’s a purposely ridiculous paranoid vision of cyborg teachers taking on violence in schools.

The first one took a while to warm up, but CLASS OF 1999 is at maximum awesome levels straight out of the gate. You can’t help but laugh as the movie apes ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and then ROBOCOP and then a little TERMINATOR. The ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK part is that the hero is a juvenile delinquent who they let out of prison to go– well, not on a mission. To high school. And it’s in a walled off zone where the kids are so out of control the government has decided not to enforce law there. (read the rest of this shit…)


Sunday, January 20th, 2008

CLOVERFIELD is a new movie about a giant monster named Cloverfield who comes out of the water and attacks New York City. Cloverfield knows he has a sissy name that’s way too close to that asshole cat Garfield. He wants it to have a more rebellious ring to it, like [Holden] Caulfield, or at least semi-respectable, like Seinfeld before he started advertising BEE MOVIE. So to prove he’s not fucking around and to establish dominance one of the first things Cloverfield does on his visit to the big city is rip the head off the Statue of Liberty and throw it across Manhattan. If he was trying to bowl it was a gutterball but, poor bowler or not that shit is threatening to a human like you or me. Let’s face it, he has a size advantage. That is the main thing going on between Cloverfield and us. More weight, more reach. Not really a fair fight.

Since we don’t actually witness the incident (except for where the head lands) it’s hard to really know for sure what Cloverfield’s motive is. It’s easy to jump to conclusions that he’s making a statement about the loss of liberty in America post 9-11, or perhaps he is some sort of rabid anti-American and is threatening our liberty. He should realize that it is very insensitive in the post 9-11 world to not only attack landmarks in Manhattan but to make people think of being beheaded. I don’t care if the fucker’s from space, if you’re visiting some place you gotta do research on the local customs and not just be a big asshole like that. So he’s either very anti-american or just a prick. Or maybe he hates women. My guess though is he thought the statue looked at him funny. Or he saw that torch and thought she was armed and just acted on reflex. After all, it is New York. Okay, I have gone through alot of theories here but I’m sticking with that last one, the Amadou Diallo theory. If anybody finds evidence to back me up on one of those stupid “viral marketing” websights everybody got all caught up in please let me know. (read the rest of this shit…)


Friday, December 28th, 2007



Aliens, predators, why do you always gotta fight? Why can’t you just resolve your differences? I know they say “whoever wins, we lose” but I’ve seen both the AvP movies and clearly nobody is winning anything. We lose, and you lose our respect.

RESURRECTION and RATATOUILLE were already taken and they needed something that started with an R, so the title of this thing is REQUIEM. That might make you wanna ask who died, but you already know the answer: the remaining dignity of aliens and predators across the universe. Two proud races slandered and humiliated, on the Lord’s birthday no less. And why? For what? What the hell did aliens and predators ever do to us other than entertain and delight us, scare us, fuck up our space colonies and skin some dudes in a jungle? Nothing. And for that we give them a franchise so lazy it can’t even be bothered to spell out its own titles. (read the rest of this shit…)

I Am Legend

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Man, I’m a sucker for these QUIET EARTH type stories. You can’t help but think about what you would do in a situation like that, alone or with a couple other people, living in an abandoned city, everybody else either dead or disappeared. All of society’s leftover resources would be there for the plucking. Where would you take up residence? What would you drive? Would the rides at Disneyland still work? What sort of games would you play to amuse yourself? Backhoe Rampage? Skyscraper Free Throw? Condo Shitting? How would you deal with your loneliness? And would you bother to wear pants?

If there’s monsters involved, like in DAWN OF THE DEAD or any of the three movies based on Richard Matheson’s book I Am Legend, then it becomes more of a survivalist challenge, you start thinking about strategies. How to fortify your home, how to transport yourself around safely to scavenge, etc. In this case it’s vampires he’s dealing with so he can pretty much wander around and do what he wants during daylight (vampires have a sunlight related disability), but at nightfall it’s on. (read the rest of this shit…)