Rocky Balboa

A couple weeks ago I saw a theater marquee that said APOCALYPTO and ROCKY BALBOA on it. And I thought damn, Mad Max and Rambo are both directing movies now. Tryin to join the ranks of the Badass Laureates like Clint and Takeshi. While my man Seagal is busy revolutionizing the world of DTV self expression, these guys are going in a more societally accepted direction. Of these two action hero directors, Crazy Fuckin’ Mel obviously gets the medal for ambition because he made an epic about a culture rarely portrayed on film, in a language never spoken on film. He’s moving forward. Stallone is moving backwards but that’s okay, he’s taking care of some personal business. He’s putting a cap on the ROCKY series. And doing a fine job of it in my opinion.

It turns out I did the right thing preparing for this movie. I watched the original ROCKY for the first time in more than a decade. I meant to watch the sequels again too but didn’t get around to it. Well it turns out ROCKY BALBOA is a direct sequel to ROCKY. Forget about what happens in the middle, that still happened but this is all about revisiting what happened in part 1. This is what becomes of that young guy we saw 30 years ago, with the mumbling and the bad jokes, the deep hunger for achievement and the funny hat. It’s almost like those 7 UP documentaries, or BEFORE SUNRISE/BEFORE SUNSET, or maybe HALLOWEEN H20. With punching. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Reviews SNOOP DOGG’S HOOD OF HORROR!!

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Vern, you magnificent beast, only you would review this one for us.

No, no. Only you could review this one for us.

Heaps of fun as always, sir. Thanks.

First there was BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA. Then there was MARY SHELLY’S FRANKENSTEIN. Now, finally, we have SNOOP DOGG’S HOOD OF HORROR. In this case though the man in the title is not the author of the work, but the host, a duty he first mastered in that other great film with his name in the title, SNOOP DOGG’S DOGGYSTYLE. (read the rest of this shit…)

Apocalypto

MEL GIBSON’S APOCALYPTO
by Mel Gibson
not anti-semitic

APOCALYPTO opens with a wild pig being chased through the jungle. Eventually the group of hunters on his ass lure him into a trap that impales him on a set of wooden spikes. Victorious, the hunters step through the leaves and reveal themselves to the camera. They’re Mayan so they’re half naked, covered in ritualistic scars and tattoos, piercings through their noses and chins. We’ve seen guys like this in movies before, they’re called “savages.” I just saw a more fantastical version in the “300” trailer before this movie. You see these type of guys, they might as well be bloodthirsty aliens, you just can’t relate. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Reviews A Direct-To-Video WALKING TALL Sequel!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Only Vern could write this review.

This is why we love him.

All throughout human history, Man and Woman have faced dangers and struggles which they could not hope to overcome. Even in the modern world, we often find ourselves feeling helpless and inadequate in the face of forces beyond our understanding. There are things we simply cannot control, things we must grimly accept as realities of contemporary living. Hurricanes. Tsunamis. Diseases. Wars. Remakes. Sequels. DTV sequels to remakes. Some of them starring Kevin Sorbo from TV’s HERCULES THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS. In this case we are facing WALKING TALL: THE PAYBACK, which fits into the last 3 or 4 categories.

But I am here to bring a message of hope. I have seen the WALKING TALL remake sequel. And I believe we will survive, probaly. (read the rest of this shit…)

Children of Men

There was a time a couple years ago when it seemed like every day the headlines were just trying to out-crazy the day before. Planes falling out of the sky, anthrax in the mail, snipers on the loose, hurricanes, that lady releasing doves for each charge Michael Jackson was acquitted of… you wouldn’t have been surprised to get the morning paper and read that killer bees had swarmed Congress, rabid baboons were loose on the Space Shuttle and the Olsen twins had torched themselves outside of the “Today Show” window to protest censorship of rap music and video games. There are no baboons in CHILDREN OF MEN (there is a deer walking through a building, come to think of it) but this is a movie that perfectly captures that knot in your stomach, that feeling of madness, where the world has gone so crazy you keep bouncing between complete desensitized detachment and wanting to cry at the slightest provocation.

Technically this is a sci-fi movie, but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels so fuckin real. Most dystopia movies are stylized in some way to make them look cool. This one goes for reality. The only futuristic technology you see is for mundane things like video games and animated bus ads. It looks great (like all of director Alfonso Cuaron’s movies) but not like a beautiful painting, more like a good documentary, and mostly shot handheld. There are 4 or 5 classic sequences here that I have no idea how they could’ve possibly been done. Like, there’s a scene where Clive Owen, the hero, runs through a war zone surrounded by total fuckin mayhem. In what appears to be one continuous handheld shot he runs between buildings, up stairs, through hallways evading hundreds of gunshots, seeing tanks blow up buildings, having emotional moments with other characters. And not a moment of it looked artificial to me. The only thing in the whole movie that struck me as a special effect was, of all things, a baby. And that was a good special effect. But the rest looked like reality. (read the rest of this shit…)

2006 End of Year Spectacular

First, a little about James Brown dying on Christmas.

God damn, JB. That one took me by surprise. I gotta figure he’s one of the great geniuses of our time. Nobody could ever deny him as a performer, a singer, a dancer, a songwriter. But to me it’s the music that gets me high – all those tight as hell, stop-in-the-exact-center-of-a-dime bands he had over the years. One time in 1969, James had a sold out show in Georgia, but most of his band quit. So Bobby Byrd took a Lear jet to Cincinatti, picked up a young band he’d seen called the Pacemakers from an empty bar gig they were getting paid $15 for. They flew directly to Georgia, came out onto stage with their hero who they’d never met, and still were the baddest band ever. That’s how 17 year old Bootsy Collins got in James Brown’s band.

Giving James credit as the producer of all that music, obviously you gotta keep in mind he’s not playing those instruments (although I saw him do a smokin organ solo one time) and he’s got hundreds of amazing musicians playing with him over the years that need to share that credit. But if it didn’t take genius to put all those people together and make that type of funk then how come nobody else did it? And if you ask me nobody to this day has matched the JBs. You wanna be blown away, pick up Pass the Peas: The Best of the JBs. I have had it in my head for years that if Skander Halim ever makes that Vern Tells It Like It Is movie the opening credits have to use “Hot Pants Road,” because I want that to be my theme music. I guess you can’t go wrong having theme music from the same people who did Black Caesar and Slaughter’s Big Ripoff. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Reviews FREE LISL: FEAR AND LOATHING IN DENVER, A New Wayne Ewing/Hunter Thompson Documentary!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

I’m not sure how I missed this in the e-mail box, but I did, and in a way I’m glad I did, because it now has a great Vern opening.

You know I love you, bud. As always, Vern’s got something to say and I strongly urge you to pay attention:

Howdy boys,

I sent you guys this review several days ago and you never ran it, so I added this new paragraph to get your attention. Rocky Rocky Rocky, dragons, silver surfers, x-men, etc. As well as boobs and ass, boner boner boner, everybody has a boner, bodily fluids all over the place, geekgasm, etc.

Now to FREE LISL: FEAR AND LOATHING IN DENVER. I know, what kind of a name is Lisl, but I didn’t name her. This is the new documentary by Wayne Ewing, who did the great Hunter S. Thompson documentary BREAKFAST WITH HUNTER. It is his third Thompson-related movie, although with the good doctor’s passing each one gets more removed from the man himself. This one is not really about Thompson, but it’s about a cause he aligned himself with in his last years. Lisl Auman is a woman who, at the age of 21, was sentenced to life in prison for a murder everyone agreed she did not commit. She was actually handcuffed in the back of a police car while a dude she just met the day before, who had been helping her move, killed a police officer and then himself. Because she was an accomplice to his crime she was considered guilty of the murder. (read the rest of this shit…)

Attack Force

ATTACK FORCE is Steven Seagal’s latest, where he takes on a bunch of sexy people given super powers by an experimental military drug. But until recently it was listed on IMDb as HARVESTER, where he takes on a bunch of aliens. After I savaged the last one, SHADOW MAN, I got a nice email from Seagal’s co-writer Joe Halpin, who I found very humble and down to earth. Having his ear for a minute I didn’t want to be rude and bury him in an avalanche of questions, but I couldn’t resist asking if this HARVESTER movie would really end up being about aliens, or if they would chicken out like they did with the “biological mutants” that ended up not being in SUBMERGED.

His answer: “Who knows.” He explained that they had shot it both ways. It could be about aliens, it could be about European mobsters, the studio and Seagal would have to come to an agreement in post-production. This of course brings up alot more questions (the main one being “Shouldn’t you decide on the premise before shooting the movie?”) but it also gives a huge amount of insight into how Seagal’s DTV movies end up the way they do. I mean, if they don’t even know who he’s fighting until after they’re done, no wonder they end up with these weird overdubbed lines, randomly dropped story threads, etc. (read the rest of this shit…)

Lethal Weapon

I meant to see APOCALYPTO this week but I was too god damn sick to haul my ass to the theater. So I figured what the hell, it’s December, I’m Vern – might as well revisit LETHAL WEAPON. Haven’t seen that one since the ’80s. One of my buddies swears by it.

Well, it was interesting to watch this movie again, and I had fun, but I can’t say it has aged too well. I know it’s not fair to compare everything to DIE HARD, but LETHAL WEAPON is no DIE HARD. Bruce knew to keep the hair conservative, it will be timeless, no problem. His hair in that movie is so not dated that today, when the LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD teaser debuted online, everybody was pissed that he didn’t have the old hair do. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern’s Seen SMOKING ACES!!

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Carnahan fans have been waiting a while now for his follow-up to NARC, and it seems crazy that it’s almost here.

If you’re a fan, you might want to hop over to CHUD, where Devin Faraci has been fielding questions that Carnahan’s been answering on his very own blog.

In the meantime, let’s see what our own Vern has to say about this film that I’m eagerly looking forward to:

You know what this movie is, it’s a remake of BOBBY. Almost the whole movie takes place in and around this hotel. And you got your huge all-star cast of characters with their various intersecting stories going on. But instead of them all living their lives and making corny speeches not knowing Bobby Kennedy is about to be assassinated, they are all trying to sneak into the hotel to kill Jeremy Piven. And instead of tons of stock footage of Kennedy speeches there is all kinds of fighting and guns. So it’s a reflection of our times. Or a very loose remake. A reimagining. (read the rest of this shit…)