Terminal Velocity

tn_terminalvelocityTERMINAL VELOCITY is a pretty funny action mystery full of smartass dialogue and clever action gimmicks. I think it’s an attempt to make up a pulp adventurer type character without the usual treasure hunting or old timey setting. But with the brown leather jacket, the slick hair and the bi-plane.

Charlie Sheen plays Ditch Brody, the womanizing wildman shit-stirrer of the Arizona parachutist community. He’s locally notorious for a string of outrageous skydiving mishaps (or skyhaps), most recently parachuting into a young girl’s birthday party wearing the fake muscles and ass from his standard (probly disappointing) bachelorette party routine. Then one day a beautiful woman (Nastassja Kinski) comes in wanting a lesson from him. She acts like a giggly first-timer but is clearly up to something. He’s too horny to pick up on it, and even touches her ass on the way into the plane. Not professional. (read the rest of this shit…)

Van Damme’s latest work

What’s the deal at the end there – are they really telling us this is real? I’m assuming it’s a special effect, and I like it. An iconic JCVD moment (doing the splits between the walls in CYBORG) taken to ludicrous heights. And with a sunset and Enya-type music to show how important it is. Now let’s get Seagal playing the hand slap game with a Volkswagen.

12 Years a Slave

tn_12yearsaslaveWe all know the grand American tradition of the movie about the black man but in the POV of the white man. It’s the story of the civil rights struggle and the brave white FBI agent or country lawyer who stood up and made a difference, or the spunky white lady who gave the mistreated black maids of Jackson a voice, but with her name on the cover. These are well-meaning, sometimes good movies, but they’re suspect in assuming the audience can only follow if they have a white surrogate on screen. They don’t trust us to put ourselves in the shoes of black characters. If Spike Lee hadn’t made MALCOLM X I bet it would’ve been about a white dude trying to understand Malcolm X, or giving him his ideas.
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Drop Zone

tn_dropzoneJohn Badham is pretty much the ultimate journeyman director. Somehow he ended up directing SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, but for the rest of his career he’s had a striking lack of voice or character. Rarely horrible or offensive, sometimes pretty good, usually okay and forgettable. And DROP ZONE is his Wesley Snipes movie.

Snipes plays a U.S. Marshal who, along with his brother (Malcolm Jamal Warner – my notes made me realize he has the same initials as Michael Jai White) has to transport a prisoner (Michael Jeter) on a commercial jet. But the prisoner’s unique computer skills make him an asset to a gang of daring criminals who hide guns on the plane, blow a hole in the side and skydive away with the prisoner in tow. And shoot MJW. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bride of Re-Animator

tn_bridofreaRE-ANIMATOR holds up as a timeless classic, BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR never was one and hasn’t gotten any better. This time Stuart Gordon was not involved (if a man wants to spend 1989 doing ROBOT JOX that is his right), and the directational reins were handed over to producer Brian Yuzna. I guess I’m comparing a shitty non-anamorphic DVD to a nice blu-ray, but this one seems cheaper and more obvious than the first one in every regard, from the broader acting to the shitty Richard Band keyboard score that, when it’s not ripping off the PSYCHO theme again, sounds exactly like every score he did for any Full Moon movie in that era.

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The Hunger Games

tn_hungergamesOkay, I admit it. I kinda liked THE HUNGER GAMES. I was real turned off by all the pre-release hoopla, the reporting of every miniscule detail of casting and filming, for a movie from an only okay director (sorry, Pleasantvillamaniacs) based on a book written for kids and too recent for any of the reporters to have grown up on it and have a personal connection to it. It seemed pretty transparent to me that publicists had convinced everybody that this was gonna be the next TWILIGHT, and they were running scared trying to learn the lingo and the character names to show they knew all about this. Hey man I’ll suck your dick for a hit.

Okay that last sentence was harsh but I wrote it down in my notebook and it’s too late to back out now, it’s part of the historical record. I still feel that way but also I gotta admit I was wrong when I predicted nobody would like the movie that much and it would be quickly forgotten. Then they hired a director I kinda like (I AM LEGEND’s Francis Lawrence) for parts 2-3 so I figured it was time to shut up and listen to all the cool uncles of the internet and try this out. Also I was kind of into Jennifer Lawrence after SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. Sorry. But I watched it with an open-minded and I mostly enjoyed it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Passion

tn_passionHoly shit, Brian De Palma made a new movie. It’s a remake of the 2010 French thriller LOVE CRIME, but it’s still a new Brian De Palma movie. Rachel McAdams from MEAN GIRLS plays Christine, a grown-up mean girl high up in an advertising firm. Isabelle (Noomi Rapace, DEAD MAN DOWN) has a big career opportunity coming to Christine’s place to work on a smart phone campaign. She’s nervous but they get along well. Christine seems to be a cool boss and collaborator until she brazenly takes credit for the ad that Isabelle came up with and created entirely without her. Even worse she convinces Isabelle that it was okay to do that to her because they’re a team and one’s success makes the whole team look good or some bullshit like that.
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The Raid 2: Berendal teaser

Redemption (aka Hummingbird)

tn_redemptionREDEMPTION, huh? ‘Bout time somebody made a movie about redemption.

Okay, this might tie WAR for “most generic Jason Statham title” (except in the UK, where it has the more-distinctive-for-a-Jason-Statham-movie title HUMMINGBIRD), but the movie itself is something else. Written and directed by Steven Knight (the guy that wrote EASTERN PROMISES), it’s in the BLITZ category of serious-minded British crime dramas where Statham gets to beat the shit out of a couple people without it really being an action movie. They hired him more for acting than action on this one.

Stath plays Joey, a.k.a. Crazy Joe, a homeless crackhead who was an elite commando in Afghanistan until he lost it, committed war crimes and went AWOL. You think that’s different from most Statham characters, wait ’til you see his long hair! (read the rest of this shit…)

The Counselor

tn_counselorI’m a lightweight when it comes to reading Cormac McCarthy books. I read No Country For Old Men, loved it, then loved the movie version. I was deeply moved by The Road, the movie was decent. Before those I tried to read All the Pretty Horses, but I think it was too dense for my brain at the time, I didn’t get very far. I haven’t tried Blood Meridian yet, I know that’s the one everybody recommends.

But from my limited experience THE COUNSELOR, the Ridley Scott movie made from McCarthy’s first original screenplay, is sure recognizable as his work. It’s a crime story full of colorful characters and the occasional brutal violence, but it’s not interested in a straightforward approach to storytelling. I mean, it’s never as aggressively untraditional as that one really abrupt thing that happens toward the end of No Country (I had to flip back a few pages after that one ’cause I thought I missed something), but it takes it’s sweet ass time getting to a point where you even know what it’s about on the surface. (read the rest of this shit…)