Summer Movie Flashback: Inception

tn_inception

2010

2010

The best way to explain the genius of INCEPTION is just to describe what’s going on at the climax. The main characters are all asleep on a jet, dreaming that they’re in a van that’s crashed and is falling off a bridge. All but the driver, Dileep Rao, are asleep and are also in a dream-within-a-dream where they’re tied together floating weightlessly in an elevator. Joseph Gordon Levitt is preparing to wake them up, the rest are asleep and in a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream about blowing up a snowy fortress. But Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page are asleep there because they’re actually in a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream where Leo is making the emotional decision to leave behind a SOLARIS-type living memory of his dead wife Marion Cotillard to go into a limbo to rescue his client, Ken Watanabe, who has lived a whole life there and is now an old man and forgets that he’s not in reality, because time passes at a different pace within each of these worlds. And there is a decades long slowed down music cue that tells Leo the van in the first dream is about to hit the water and wake them all up.

And here’s the kicker: all of this was understandable even on the first viewing for knuckleheads like me and the millions of people who made it a huge hit summer movie. I mean, you don’t have to like it, but it takes a silly motherfucker to deny the accomplishment of making such an effective mainstream thriller out of a concept this complicated. (read the rest of this shit…)

Tom Yum Goong 2 trailer

“Fierce as a lion, strong as an elephant. Sadly after today he’ll disappear forever.”

I can’t tell if this is gonna be any good, but I do know that 1) I personally requested in CLiNT magazine for them to shoot Tony Jaa in 3D, and they did it 2) it is the sequel to maybe my favorite straight-ahead martial arts movie of the 2000s. (Or top 5 if I put it up against KILL BILL.)

One thing I really hope for, though there’s no evidence in this trailer, is an attempt to one-up part 1’s famous long take fight scene. It doesn’t have to be the same kind of thing, but maybe some other spectacular idea we haven’t quite seen on that level before. One thing that makes TOM YUM GOONG so great is that they were clearly intent on outdoing everything they achieved in ONG BAK. They seem to have lost that spirit in later movies as Jaa started having a hard time living up to his legend or whatever was going on that caused him to abandon the filming of the ONG BAK sequels and become a monk for a while.

Now they have JeeJa around, which could help in the upping-the-ante department. And I like that RZA is the bad guy, since he is already kind of a TOM YUM GOONG villain for having rescored it for the bastardized Weinstein version THE PROTECTOR. (Not that he did a bad – or good- job. In fact, if the music on this trailer is from the movie I wouldn’t be against RZA taking a crack at it.)

Interview with Ross Clarkson by david j. moore

tn_ninja2extendedoutlawcontentIn part 2 of this OUTLAWVERN.COM EXCLUSIVE series, author david j. moore talks to NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR cinematographer Ross Clarkson on set. Here’s david:

One of the pleasant surprises while visiting the Bangkok, Thailand set of Isaac Florentine’s Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, was hanging out with the cinematographer, Ross Clarkson. I had lunch with him several times over the course of the few days I was on set, and I found him to be jovial and consistently likable, despite the fact that I could clearly see that he was under pressure while under the restraints of a tight budget and schedule for the film. Clarkson, an Australian living in Hong Kong, got his big break working with Ringo Lam, and has shot numerous films with some of the greatest action stars in the business, including Dolph Lundgren, Michael Jai White, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and of course Scott Adkins.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

tn_princeofpersia

2010

2010

This is another one I never would’ve watched without painting myself into a corner with this review series. It falls into the small percentage of big summer movies that I just had no interest in seeing at all. Alot of the ones I miss, like, say, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4, I didn’t get around to seeing them, and I heard they were bad, but yeah, sure, I’d watch ‘em. Probly will some day. But not this one. I wouldn’t have.

(read the rest of this shit…)

We demanded it, we got it: the return of Sean Boswell

Ladies and gentlemen, we got him. This summer, when FURIOUS 6’s mid-credits sequence caught up with the Han’s-death scene from THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT three movies ago, it created opportunity for what many of us had been hoping for for years: bringing back Sean Boswell, the redneck kid who was transplanted to Tokyo and became their new king of street racing (under the tutelage of Han and with the blessing of Sonny Chiba). But in all the exciting FAST AND FURIOUS 7 casting stories we’ve heard (along with the great returning cast they’ve added Jason Statham, Kurt Russell and Tony God Damn Jaa, plus a cameo by Ronda Rousey) Black was never mentioned, and I gave up hoping that the producers agreed with us that this was important.

But they do! Deadline reports the triumphant news that Black “has signed a deal that calls for his character to become a regular in the series and (get this…) “he will be part of at least the next three installments.”

THEY ARE PLANNING A WHOLE NEW SEAN BOSWELL TRILOGY, PEOPLE

One thing that could be potentially funny, it seems like they will need to begin with Dom coming to Tokyo looking for the man who blew up Han, or at least immediately after those events. So Sean should still be a high school student… but the movie will actually be coming out 8 years after TOKYO DRIFT, and Black is 30 now! I hope they make him wear the same clothes. The poor guy.

Now let’s use The Secret to get a Bow-Wow-in-Hulkmobile cameo.

Interview with Kane Kosugi by david j. moore

tn_kanekosugiexclusiveThis week and next week, because we’ve been good, we get to learn about NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR, the upcoming Isaac Florentine/Scott Adkins joint which premieres September 20th in Austin. You remember david j. moore, who previously shared with us his interviews with Jesse V. Johnson and Ben Ramsey? He visited the set back when it was called NINJA II and did a some interviews that he’s been generous enough to let me run as OUTLAWVERN.COM EXCLUSIVES. (note to Vern look into adding dramatic sound effects as mouseover)

We begin with david’s interview with the legendary Kane Kosugi, who not only tells us about working with Florentine and Adkins, but also what it’s like to be a 6 year old doing fight scenes in Cannon movies.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: Terminator Salvation

tn_terminatorsalvation

2010

2009

If I had turned off TERMINATOR SALVATION about 2/3 in I would’ve come to you and made a case for it being underappreciated. I mean, I think it is, it doesn’t deserve the worldwide wholesale rejection and scorn it gets. But it has such a crippling case of T.A.P.s (third act problems) that it’s hard to be excited about it after you get to the end.

But let’s talk about what’s good in it, because there’s plenty of it, and nobody ever talks about that. First of all, a good cast. John Avatar himself, Sam Worthington, plays the anti-hero Marcus, a death row inmate (we don’t actually know exactly how Riddick he is – “My brother and two cops are dead because of me” is the only explanation of his crimes) who gets the lethal injection and then wakes up in a post-apocalyptic battle between man and machine. On one hand, hey, I’m alive, and I’m free! On the other hand… (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: The Taking of Pelham 123

tn_takingofpelham

2009

2009

After their disagreement over DOMINO, my eyeballs and Tony Scott’s movies weren’t speaking to each other for years. But UNSTOPPABLE was okay and then the poor guy died and my eyeballs started to feel kinda bad and got nostalgic for all the good times of TRUE ROMANCE and CRIMSON TIDE and all that, and they finally saw REVENGE and they liked that quite a bit. You know, maybe if they had known what was coming they could’ve patched things up like N.W.A. did when Eazy E was dying. But that just wasn’t the way it worked out. It’s too bad.

Anyway I got caught in the middle of that beef and that’s why I skipped PELHAM 123 until now. Plus I really like the original and thought (well, knew) it could only suffer from updating. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: Speed Racer

tn_speedracer

2008

2008

These days it’s pretty common for people to say that SPEED RACER is an overlooked gem – or even a masterpiece – that was misunderstood at the time. So give credit to your old Uncle Vern for praising it from day 1. I didn’t misunderstand that shit! I understood the hell out of it. I am a real good understander in my opinion. Not to brag.

But this is the second time I’ve watched it and actually I liked it alot more this time. I didn’t have as many reservations about the aggressively shiny and video gamey pixelscapes it takes place in. It’s still not my favorite look, but my brain has adjusted. I don’t know, maybe the rainbow colored kaleidoscope spinning around the studio logos at the beginning hypnotizes you when you see it on Blu-Ray. It starts to look amazing.

What really impressed me is the next level filmatism within that artifical world. The camera (or “camera”) soars through, over and around these space age racers as they zoom, drift, bounce and fly through loopty-loops, giant pinball machines and monster-faced ice caves, and despite all the speed and freneticism I think this mayhem is really easy to follow. (Judging from my original review maybe the smaller screen helps.) Characters’ heads constantly float away, wiping into the next scene, a more evolved version of Ang Lee’s best moves in HULK and, now that I think about it, one of a long list of ways that this movie must’ve influenced the shit out of SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. There are fight scenes, Speed and Racer X vs. practicioners of nonjitsu, and you get a glimpse of the MATRIX era Wachowskis. Then it bounces into a more candy colored, silly-anime type of style with abstract backgrounds and even more exaggerated physics. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: The X-Files: I Want To Believe

tn_xfiles

2008

2008

I was a casual X-Files-viewing type of individual. I watched it sometimes, but not all the way until the wheels fell off. I mostly liked the funny episodes like the vampires one with Luke Wilson (written by the guy that later did HOME FRIES and Breaking Bad) or the one where the guy describes the men in black as looking like Alex Trebek and Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and then that’s who plays them in the episode. I also liked the whole ongoing story about the aliens and the black oil and shit to a point, but I mean I can only keep track of so much, fellas. I lost interest. So I kinda liked the idea of a smaller, more standalone horror movie with the X-Filesers in it, but since nobody ever claimed I WANT TO BELIEVE was any good I didn’t get around to watching it until now.

I never saw the end of the show, but it looks like Mulder and Scully both quit the FBI, and now they live together, though I don’t think anybody knows Mulder is there. Scully is a big time doctor at a Catholic hospital, Mulder is a shaggy beardo who stays in his room surrounded by news clippings and does… I don’t know. Desk work? Maybe he’s a private monster investigator, or working on a novel, or doing a video game review websight or something. Or scrapbooking maybe is what he’s into, it probly said but I missed it. (read the rest of this shit…)