Thursday, April 17, 2008

Actor Jason Beghe on Scientology

Not all actors are complete morons who are more than happy to keep throwing good money after bad on the scam known as Scientology. I had never heard of this guy but I respect him. He has been on C.S.I. and Veronica Mars and was a scientologist for many years. He finally realized what a stupid waste of money it was and left. Here's his video that hit the news today.


Last night I watched the best horror movie I have seen this decade. Yes, you read that right, decade. It has been slim pickings for several years now in terms of horror movies. I don't like, nor am I interested in, "spooky" Japanese horror movies, American remakes of "spooky" Japanese horror movies, watered-down PG-13 Hollywood horror, torture/sadistic trap movies, freaky accident movies, or atmospheric twist ending movies. I like hardcore, balls-to-the-walls, gory, relentless, nihilistic horror! Also, in an ideal world I don't want any supernatural elements involved. No monsters, no magic powers, no demonic possession, no seeing of dead people, etc. I like to see fucked up people doing fucked up things to people only slightly less fucked up than they are. Well, I finally got what I wanted.

But wait. Doesn't Johnson love The Devil's Rejects? Yes he does. But, in the end, it is a tribute film more than anything else. It is an homage to 70's horror. I love it but the movie I am about to mention is completely original, not an homage. That movie, my friends, is Inside.

Inside is a French film that deals with the horrors experienced by a pregnant woman living alone. I am not going to tell you anymore about the story than that. I went into this movie knowing nothing. I hadn't even seen a trailer. Not knowing what to expect made the experience that much more intense. This movie is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. If your girlfriend gets scared by bullshit like The Eye then, for Christ's sake don't let her watch this! It is relentless, hardcore, gory, and nihilistic. If you are a horror fan, go rent this movie . . . NOW!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A New Star Wars Gansta Rap!!

Check this out! I saw this on Ain't it Cool News just now. There is a new Star Wars Gansta Rap out now. It isn't as funny as the first one but it is still hilarious. It sounds like the same voices from the original so it must have been made by the same guys.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jean-Claude Van Damme is The Shepherd!

Like my friend Jim over at Fantasmo Cinema, I have been watching a lot of DTV Steven Seagal films. Not only have I really enjoyed them, but they have opened my eyes to a whole world of movies that I didn't realize existed. Most people that only keep up with theatrical movies think guys like Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Dolph Lundgren have stopped making movies. WRONG. They are still making ass-kicking films for the direct-to-video market. Sadly though, we don't seem to be treated to any DTV titles from Jeff Speakman or Thomas Ian Griffith though. So after about a dozen Seagal movies, I decided to check out Van Damme's latest movie, The Shepherd.

Van Damme plays a former New Orleans cop named Jack Robideaux. I guess the New Orleans origin is supposed to explain his Belgian accent! The movie opens with Jack driving his truck to New Mexico to begin his new job working for the U.S. Border Patrol. Sitting beside him in the truck is his rabbit, also named Jack. He carries the rabbit with him everywhere. He carries him to his first meeting at work and to the local restaurant to eat . . . twice! There is obviously a reason Jack is so attached to Jack. It makes for some really funny moments. I really think humor has always been one of Van Damme's strong suits and it comes out in this movie.

Well, it's not long before Jack, the man not the rabbit, begins having nightmares and flashbacks of a young girl dying. This is hint number two about his backstory. Moving on to Jack's first day at work patrolling the border, he spots a group of illegals running across the border and piling into a van. The illegal that Jack takes down before he can get back to Mexico is strapped with C4 explosives like a suicide bomber! The guy blows up and you are left thinking, "wow I wonder what this could be about?" Don't wonder because the explanation doesn't make any sense. Seriously, I rewound the scene, listened again and still didn't get it. You see, some crazy ex special forces guy set up shop in Mexico as a drug lord after serving in Afghanistan. For some inexplicable reason, he makes his drug runners wear explosive vests. Maybe to control them? I'm still not sure. This aspect of the plot is nothing like the leap of logic you have to take later.

Once Jack gets captured by the ex special forces drug lord, named Benjamin Myers, Jack is forced to reveal why he is working for the Border Patrol. Because, as both we and Myers note, he is no ordinary border patrol guy! Jack then tells us that his daughter died of a heroin overdose and that he has vowed to kill Myers in revenge. Ok, Jack and his family live in New Orleans. Jacks daughter buys heroin and dies of an overdose. Jack then somehow finds out exactly where her heroin came from, changes careers, and moves to New Mexico to find the drug lord in charge of everything. Even Myers says he doesn't go to New Orleans. Just how in the hell did Jack tie his daughter's heroin to this one specific guy? Oh nevermind. Do I really watch movies like this for the plot? Hell no! I watched it to see Jean-Claude do some Van Dammage! So does he?

You better believe it! The fight scenes in this movie are freakin' awesome! The camera is pulled back enough so you can see than Van Damme is doing the fights himself. There is a fight with some locals in the restaurant that is classic JCVD. We also get a fight in a Mexican jail that is pretty sweet. The warden decides to enter Jack into a for-entertainment prison fight where other inmates bet on the matches. Jack both takes a beating and gives a beating in return. At the end, all of the Mexican inmates are chanting "gringo! gringo!" in appreciation of his fighting ability. You get some awesome kicks to the head, jumps, flips, and other signature Van Damme moves. The final fight is great and features a great twist. Jack is disoriented and more than a little wobbly during his fight with the martial-arts-master henchman of Myers. He still manages to beat the guy to a pulp. His rage in the final moments of the fight is palpable. It isn't a Bloodsport quality fight but Van Damme is older now so I didn't expect it to be. It is, however, on par with his studio work like Hard Target or Sudden Death.

The Shepherd passes the tests where it counts . . . in the action department. In an era where theatrical action movies are dominated by wusses, wire work, and PG-13 ratings, it is nice to see a real man kick some real ass. If you like Van Damme or you just like old-fashioned action movie, The Shepherd is a must watch!

Oh, did you think I forgot the rabbit? You can probably figure it out but I thought I'd leave you curious about something for an extra incentive to buy or rent the movie :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008


This is the original show open for the one hour syndicated ECW program. Now, for all of you younger readers, let me explain something to you. The show you currently see on Tuesdays nights called ECW is NOT ECW. It is an imitation created by Vince McMahon. I first saw ECW on the now defunct station WPEN. In an era of Doink the Clown and Bastion Booger, what I saw on that show was a breath of frsh air. It was my first exposure to The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Francine, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Raven, and the BWO. Leeman and I often talk about this show open which started with the pulse from "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails and then switched to "Thunderkiss '65" by Rob Zombie. Of course, Paul Heyman did not have the rights to use the music so it is hard to find unedited copies of ECW shows. But, in this blog, via the magic of You Tube, I present to you . . . ECW . . . THIS IS EXTREME!!!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I hate downloading

I was just listening to an interview with the legendary writer/director Paul Schrader. In it, he talks about his beliefs about the direction movies are headed in the future. He mentions that DVDs will go away in three to four years and be replaced with downloading. I sure hope not. I have never embraced music downloading. To me, downloading music just isn't the same as buying an actual album. When I buy an album I feel that I now own something tangible. It has artwork, a case, and liner notes that were all printed and made to be the way the band intended. When I download an album, what exactly do I have? An intangible file on my computer. No thanks. That is not what I want to spend my money on.

With movies it is even more personal to me. I like cool packaging. I like seeing the actual movie case sitting on my shelf with the actual artwork on it. I don't want to download a movie and burn it onto a blank Blu Ray. I want to go to the store and buy a movie. Period. I really don't care to have thieving teenagers dictate to me how I buy my movies. If anyone in the home video industry stumbles across this article, please remember that there are millions of us who want a real, authorized, honest-to-god copy of a movie on DVD or Blu Ray. Downloading is bullshit. It's fine if you want to sell movies to kids and techies that way but us regular movie fans want real, tangible copies available at the store.