Challengers
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
12h ago
The trailer for Luca Guadagnino’s CHALLENGERS looked kinda like a 2020s version of a WILD THINGS or CRUEL INTENTIONS type movie, and not just because it hyped up a naughty threesome scene. It looked like a similar type of straight faced but knowing erotic thriller soap opera about rich women who delight in using their sexual power to manipulate men. And it kind of is that, but also it’s way more of a sports movie than I expected. It just sees the world of tennis being a little like those movies. It’s sort of a love triangle, more of a tennis triangle. It’s the non-linear story of the events le ..read more
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Maverick
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
4d ago
May 20, 1994 You know what – I had never seen MAVERICK until now. But look at these credits, man. Directed by Richard Donner (between LETHAL WEAPON 3 and ASSASSINS), written by William Goldman (BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, HEAT [1986]), shot by Vilmos Zsigmond (MCCABE & MRS. MILLER, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, HEAVEN’S GATE, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK), edited by Stuard Baird (DIE HARD 2, THE LAST BOYSCOUT) and Michael Kelly (CRIMEWAVE, BLACK EAGLE), production design by Thomas E. Sanders (BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA). Also I immediately wondered “why does this sound exactly like TOY ..read more
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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
6d ago
“Better no cowgirls at all than cowgirls compromised.” Richard Donner’s MAVERICK was obviously the big western type movie of May 20th, 1994. I didn’t see it. I did see the goofy indie cowgirl comedy that flopped and got terrible reviews. Gus Van Sant’s EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES, from the novel by Tom Robbins (who narrates the movie), was considered a huge debacle at the time. I remembered very little except that I kind of liked it. Thirty years later it wasn’t really what I remembered, but I found it actually pretty delightful. It stars Uma Thurman very close to PULP FICTION, which came out ..read more
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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
1w ago
I am a human, but I love those apes and that planet they got. I really have enjoyed the entire PLANET OF THE APES series except for the Tim Burton one. Even that has amazing Rick Baker makeup and a beautifully goofy ending (that everyone else hates). But the original and all its ‘70s sequels are fun in different ways, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES reinvented it surprisingly well, then DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES pushed this incarnation into full on greatness. This new one KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES builds off of the previous trilogy, but somebody c ..read more
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The Crow (30th anniversary revisit)
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
1w ago
On May 13, 1994, Johnny Carson was on Late Show with David Letterman, his final televised appearance. Times were rolling on, guards were changing. That same day Miramax, an indie studio recently purchased by Disney, had their biggest opening ever with a bitter R-rated comic book adaptation. While boomers were preparing to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Woodstock, here was a movie with a soundtrack full of Lollapalooza bands, their names underlined on the poster, above a 1-900 number you could call “for music CD preview.” That particular demographic hadn’t really been cinematically catered ..read more
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The Last Stop in Yuma County
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
1w ago
THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY is a new indie crime movie from rookie writer/director Francis Galluppi. I’d seen some good reviews, the trailer looked intriguing and I read that Sam Raimi saw it and hired Galluppi for an EVIL DEAD movie. The coveted Necronominod. So it seemed like a good thing to check out as soon as it hit VOD last week. It’s a single location movie, and the location is a diner out in the middle of nowhere, Arizona on a sunny day in the unspecified past, probly early ‘80s. A traveling cutlery salesman (Jim Cummings, THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW) pulls up at the gas station next door ..read more
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Crooklyn
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
1w ago
MALCOLM X (1992) was a big fucking deal for Spike Lee. A big budget period historical drama, an epic really, that he had to fight to get hired on, and to finance, and to get permission to shoot in Mecca. And got recently freed Nelson Mandela to make a cameo in! It worked, and it was a phenomenon. So how the hell do you follow that up? He chose to make his most autobiographical film, though actually it’s more about his younger sister Joie, who gets a story credit and wrote the screenplay with Spike and their brother Cinqué. So on May 13th, 1994, three days after Mandela was inaugurated as the ..read more
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Dream Lover
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
2w ago
May 6, 1994 The erotic thriller DREAM LOVER is so far the only movie directed by Nicholas Kazan, a writer who’s an Oscar nominee for REVERSAL OF FORTUNE and on my shit list for MOBSTERS. James Spader (SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE) stars as Ray Reardon, successful architect, charmer, admitted bad husband, but supposed to be well-meaning and sweet. At his divorce hearing he fires his lawyer and lets his now-ex Martha (Kathleen York, unaired DARKMAN tv pilot) have everything. Sitting in the courthouse afterwards they look like they’re on a first date that’s going really well. They talk about how much ..read more
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3 Ninjas Kick Back
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
2w ago
It’s tempting to say that 3 NINJAS KICK BACK is the bottom of the barrel for a kids movie, mainly because of the amount of farting that happens in a particular scene. But I checked my review of the first 3 NINJAS and I called it “some real bottom of the barrel dreck, almost as bad as any off brand DTV throwaway kiddy garbage you’ll ever encounter,” so that one might’ve been worse. The best thing I can say about this first released 3 NINJAS sequel is that in the tradition of THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II and THE KARATE KID PART II they go to Japan for part of it. That takes some effort. I say “fir ..read more
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PCU
The Life and Art of Vern
by VERN
2w ago
April 29, 1994 PCU fits nicely into my theory of the summer of ’94 – that it was a time when boomers were looking back while gen-xers were moving in – by sort of melding those two things. The first sound you hear in it is Mike Bloomfield at the Monterey Pop Festival saying something about “this is our generation, man,” and then a song sampling Jimi Hendrix’s voice over modern dance music. It seems to be saying “Look, this is like the ‘60s, only it’s the ’90s!,” and in fact comes from an album called if ’60s were ‘90s. This is the directorial debut of DIE HARD’s Harry Ellis himself, Hart Bochne ..read more
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