Mean Guns

A while back I reviewed this sci-fi action movie called EQUILIBRIUM and I complained about the cliche of using techno music in all the action scenes. I asked why somebody didn’t try out some different styles of music on some action scenes. A while later a guy named Jonathan Lee wrote to inform me of a movie called MEAN GUNS where they did just that, they used mambo music during all the action (and other parts of the movie).

The only recognizable stars are Ice-T and Christopher Lambert, and then there’s a bunch of other people. Mario Van Peebles was not available. Anyway, “The Syndicate” has recently bought a prison somehow, and the day before the grand opening Ice-T calls a bunch of criminals there for big meeting, like THE WARRIORS. (read the rest of this shit…)

Transporter 2

One day not too long ago I was sitting in a theater waiting to watch some movie, the identity of which has by now dissolved into the fountain of time. (that’s not a real saying, I just made it up. My audience deserves new sayings, not the same old shit they’ve heard before and understand.) And suddenly there was a trailer for a sequel that probaly nobody, and definitely not me, asked for. The movie of course was THE TRANSPORTER 2 in case you forgot which review you’re reading here. There was kicking, jumping, cars flipping, things exloding, a half naked lingerie wearing sexy nurse assassin with makeup smeared down her eyes Tammy Faye Baker style, that sort of thing. There was this ridiculous shot where The Transporter jumps his BMW from one parking garage into another and skids out right on the edge of the thing. All that flash and bang got me excited and I realized that somehow, even though I kind of hated THE TRANSPORTER, I wanted to see the sequel. I can’t remember ever being excited about a sequel to a movie I didn’t like. But like Jesus and the correctional system said, you gotta give a guy a second chance. (read the rest of this shit…)

Inside Man

INSIDE MAN has gotta be Spike Lee’s most mainstream joint ever. It’s a gimmicky bank robber thriller, not the type of story and characters he as a jointmaker is known for. You can go down his entire jointography and he’s never done this type of movie – it’s not as gritty and realistic as CLOCKERS, it’s not as meandering and novelistic as THE 25TH HOUR or SUMMER OF SAM, it’s not something he seems to be as passionate about as say MALCOLM X or the Jackie Robinson movie he’s been talking about doing for about 500 years that now is gonna be a Robert Redford Joint. (Yeah right Robert Redford, you had no idea Spike Lee wanted to do a Jackie Robinson movie. Who would’ve ever known Spike was interested in that sort of thing?)

So it’s not pure 100% grade A Spike Lee Joint which accounts for its lack of greatness, but I think it’s also kind of a good thing for Spike. He’s never made a movie completely lacking in merit (well, I haven’t seen SHE HATE ME yet) but he seems to get less and less focused as he gets older. Maybe doing one mainstream thriller will get him back in the mode of telling a somewhat concise story. I don’t know. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

As you may remember, I fucking DESPISED the Texas Chain Saw remake, but I thought the Dawn of the Dead one was fun. I can definitely be a purist at times but not always. I just calls it like I sees it. For me THE HILLS HAVE EYES is a remake with alot of potential because the original is a movie that I like alot, but I know it’s flawed. It’s got these great archetypal type themes, a perfect setup, lots of great horrible gruesome fun, but it’s pretty sloppy and cheap looking, and not always in a good way.

The remake, by the same frenchmen who made HIGH TENSION, had a couple things here and there that bothered me, but I think it goes in the pantheon of the good remakes. It stays very true to most of what I like about the original, and in some areas it even improves. TEXAS CHAINSAW I felt like was made by people who had no fuckin clue what was great about the original; DAWN OF THE DEAD was a good action movie but had none of the substance of the original; also please note I used two semi-colons in this sentence, which I think is pretty god damned professional in my opinion. To me, THE HILLS HAVE EYES feels like a new production of the old classic, because it stays very close to the original story for the first half, and when it veers off in a different direction it still stays true to the themes of the original. Shit, I’ll say it: THE HILLS HAVE EYES = Shakespeare. Hopefully we’ll have many different versions of THE HILLS HAVE EYES – we’ll have it modernized, we’ll have it set during WWII, or in space, we’ll have it done entirely by puppets or animals or children. (read the rest of this shit…)

Desert Heat

DESERT HEAT aka COYOTE MOON or INFERNO

When I reviewed Jean-Claude Van Damme’s SECOND IN COMMAND on The Ain’t It Cool News recently I made a shocking admission: I haven’t seen a whole Van Damme movie since 1998’s KNOCK OFF. I understand if that means I lose credibility in some of your eyes, but I gotta be open and honest with you people. I’m one of them straight shooters, in my opinion. So I gotta admit it: I learn more and more about Steven Seagal every day, but when it comes to Van Damme I’m a straight up amateur. And I want to become a more well rounded person so I asked for some advice on the best movies from Van Damme’s post-theatrical days. Two people made convincing cases for COYOTE MOON, or DESERT HEAT as it’s called here in the states, so that was my first stop. (one guy described the plot, the other guy a threesome scene.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Formula 51

FORMULA 51 aka THE 51st STATE

Here’s a movie I always meant to see just because it was directed by Ronny Yu (BRIDE OF CHUCKY), but I skipped it because I never heard a single good word about it. Until the day Paul wrote to disagree with my MUNICH review and then, possibly to avenge me for the review, recommended I watch this one.

Okay, so the movie’s not terrible, it has it’s moments of inspiration, but to me it was a big mess and a little on the cheesy side. When it was over I realized that a better score would’ve gone a long way toward making it more acceptable. Ronny Yu does the whole thing in a goofy, frinetic style and then the cheeseball dance music done by some guy named “Headrillaz” makes it seem like some out of touch commercial trying to be cool. (read the rest of this shit…)

V for Vendetta

V FOR VENDETTA is a big exciting futuristic comic book movie, produced and written by the Wachowskis, starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman, playing in Imax in some towns, but not here. It’s a movie nerds are pretty excited for, but the talk is less about is he wearing the right cape, are his powers depicted in exactly the way I personally imagined them, etc., and more about the politics. Because although it features a guy in a cape and mask who fights bad guys in dark alleys, the story is more of a 1984 type deal than a spiderman. Apparently the comic strip book was written in England in the 1980s in response to the Margaret Thatcher administration.

I saw a review in Entertainment Weekly that talked about references to Bush and Bill O’Reilly and Abu Ghraib and what not, but I figure this is more like STAR WARS prequels: it’s about all the assholes throughout history, and the leaders we have now just so happen to be members. It’s like I always say, if your government is strikingly similar to the dystopian sci-fi stories of the past then you got a problem there, in my opinion. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Follows Will Smith In PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS!!

Merrick here…

Van Damme obsessed Vern sent in this review of PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS. Did you know that Van Damme’s CYBORG is actually a defunct sequel to Dolph Lundgren’s MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE movie? The mind reels over the possibilities!

PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS (the misspelled title really irritates me, but I suppose it’s memorable) stars Will Smith, and is written by Steve Conrad (who recently scripted THE WEATHER MAN.) I’ve always enjoyed Will Smith. Even when he makes schmaltzy movies, his presence is genuine (except for THE WILD, WILD WEST – in which everybody and everything was torturously rotten and disingenuous.) Director Jonathan Mostow (TERMINATOR 3) recently departed Smith’s forthcoming TONIGHT, HE COMES…about a superhero who hooks up with a small town housewife… produced by Akiva Goldsman and Michael Mann. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly that project jumps back on track. It’ll also be interesting to see if they keep that title, given how pornographic it sounds.

But, I digress completely. Here’s Vern…

PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is actually a pretty good drama/shameless inspirational tale based on an actual guy who was profiled on 20/20 one time. Will Smith stars as Chris Gardner, a dude who, while completely broke, struggles through a highly competitive, unpaid stock broker trainee program. There are 20 people in the program and only one will be chosen to stay at the firm, the others are shit out of luck. I won’t give away whether he ends up getting the job at the end. Who knows? Anything could happen. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Ninth Configuration

Here’s a weird fuckin movie written and directed by William Peter Blatty, the guy who wrote the novel of THE EXORCIST. I’ve been hearing the title for years so I know it has a cult following, but I think they had trouble selling it because all they could figure was “from the creator of THE EXORCIST” but it’s not like that movie at all. It starts out as a goofy comedy and turns into a sad essay about God, or something. I don’t really understand the meaning of the title, but it has something to do with a protein molecules and the existence of God. It’s mentioned in a dream scene where an astronaut finds a giant crucifix on the moon.

But now I’m making it sound stranger than it actually is. All I can figure to describe it is “ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST meets ROLLING THUNDER.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern gives a Van Damme in SECOND IN COMMAND!!!

Hey folks, Harry here with another great review from Vern. Like Vern, I too have seen Dolph Lundgren’s directorial debut… who wouldn’t? Fucking He-Man/Ivan Drago’s directorial debut!!! And actually – while funky as fuck and some silly ass kidnapped drug whores in Russian brothels… I dug the sheer joy of bloodletting he let loose. Here’s Vern with Van Damme’s latest…

Boys –

Most people around here know by now that I’m partial to the Steven Seagal pictures. And with The Steven Seagal Blues Band (who I think oughta be called “Steven Seagal and the Hard to Kill”) coming to Seattle in a couple months I probaly oughta be putting my Seagalogy studies into overdrive to prepare. But my New Year’s resolution for 2006 is STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE, and I intend to strive all year long. So I’m not gonna stick with what I know, I’m gonna start trying out new things, becoming a more well rounded individual. With that in mind I recently watched Dolph Lundgren’s directorial debut (Read it here!) as well as Jean-Claude Van Damme’s upcoming May 2nd release SECOND IN COMMAND. (read the rest of this shit…)