• JCVD

    JCVD

    ★★★★

    van damme leaves hollywood and goes back to his home country of belgium to make a half-metafictional biography half-DTV crime thriller in his native language where all of his middle-aged stresses, regrets and circumstances surrounding his image, his path to fame, his finances, his divorces, his drug addictions, etc accumulate in non-linear fashion and are eventually given a concentrated cathartic outlet via a ridiculous hostage situation he accidentally finds himself involved in. it opens on a one-shot tracking action sequence…

  • Do Revenge

    Do Revenge

    ★★

    respect anyone trying to bring back some of that clueless/mean girls energy but it's too generically written, the look of it falls on the more annoying end of glossy, and it was clearly music supervised by tiktok. also, why is it so long and mostly played so dramatically straight/earnest? feel like there's a much meaner, satirical version of this that leans into its twist (the only interesting decision it makes) instead of throwing it away within like a minute of introducing it via a scene i can only describe as a character regretfully watching a youtube fan montage in her head.

  • Replicant

    Replicant

    ★★★

    another twin/dual-role JCVD movie one of the stronger entries so far of his DTV era where he gets to go a bit outside his wheelhouse as a leather-clad, misogynistic psycho as well as a newly born clone of the serial killer that the state has made inside a fly-esque pod for the purpose of taking him down, and that van damme plays with the personality of a golden retriever inside his athletic killing machine physique. ringo lam directs this with…

  • The Order

    The Order

    ★★

    JCVD's direct-to-video, israeli indiana jones. sadly pretty low rent but worth watching for the parts where JCVD says things like "something's not kosher here..." or gets into a full chase/fight scene in a head-to-toe disguise as a hasidic jew.

  • Scent of a Woman

    Scent of a Woman

    ★★

    i personally think it's kind of beautiful that for a brief moment everyone united in agreement that we all love watching al do his thing on the big screen so much (and at increasingly loud registers) that we were completely willing to ignore that even by crowd-pleaser standards this is about as hackneyed as it gets. credit to brest as well that even at this absurd, deadening length he remained a steadfast professional and nearly strong-arms it into working on sheer competency.

  • Inferno

    Inferno

    ★★★

    JCVD gets his own direct-to-video neo-western version of a fistful of of dollars where he plays a suicidal drifter cowboy and the “craziest white man i ever knew” re-animated by the magic power of danny trejo + moonlit coyotes for one last gruesome revenge mission: taking down both sides of a biker gang war. along the way he befriends the local eccentric geezers (pat morita being one of them) and gets into sex comedy antics with women of every age…

  • Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
  • Empire Records

    Empire Records

    ★★★

    discovered this one in my teenage years due to generating watchlists out of various lord of the rings cast members (would've watched a history of violence for the first time for the same reason lol) and i still get some residual charm out of the way it turns its record store milieu into a cute, cloying optimistic, loosely strung together concert/hangout movie. even if it's closer to clerks than say dazed & confused or ridgemont high. read that the new regency…

  • Knock Off

    Knock Off

    ★★★★

    a genuinely magical collaboration between a once-in-a-generation screen athlete, a veteran american action screenwriter who by 1998 can't help but see the humor in this type of 80s genre excess, and three hong kong legends at the peak of their craft: tsui hark, sammo hung and arthur wong (regular lau kar-leung cinematographer, which is really obvious during this scene) who together make this a stunning b-movie showcase of hong kong action style and stunt choreography/pageantry, but do so in such…

  • Moulin Rouge!

    Moulin Rouge!

    ★★

    figured after mostly enjoying elvis and finding his ridiculously frenetic, artificial stylistic approach suitable to the subject that i'd go back to this and see if it opened up for me at all but no, not really. i can't hate it as much as some because i do on some level respect that this is deliberately, defiantly what it wants to be, it's just unfortunate that it wants to be is one of the tackiest, most hideous looking and sounding…

  • Maximum Risk

    Maximum Risk

    ★★★

    JCVD does an international identity/gangster conspiracy thriller and once again brings a new hong kong director to american audiences in ringo lam. unfortunately for all its effective bombast as an action film it's surprisingly light on the heroic bloodshed melodrama, or at least the american script by larry ferguson seems way more concerned with keeping the various generic plot threads about FBI and russian collusion going vs. the twin brother stuff i kind of expected more of. and so deadly…

  • The Green Mile

    The Green Mile

    ★★

    darabont brings some handsome direction/production value that makes it occasionally work in the details and the performances are mostly good but despite all the effort on display i just feel like king's text is pretty insurmountably baffling. it goes so far beyond the cornball manipulation and symbolism of its bleak tearjerker melodrama into some ridiculously bone-headed territory in the broad strokes about being a white witness to the noble suffering and martyrdom of a magical empath... about killing the cruelty…