Screen Junkies » action unleashed http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:09:39 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 The 7 Best Jean-Claude Van Damme Films http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-7-best-jean-claude-van-damme-films/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-7-best-jean-claude-van-damme-films/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2013 17:34:55 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=253011 Chocolate, waffles, VAN DAMME.

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Jean-Claude Van Damme is probably the only person laying claim to the nickname “The Muscles from Brussels.” I’m assuming that this is largely because Belgians are either frail or doughy, but it’s also in no small part due to the fact that Van Damme is downright muscle-y.

However, as many action stars used their muscles and wraparound sunglasses as a crutch for weak acting, Van Damme quickly made the leap from martial arts star to legit action actor in a manner that Steven Segal can only dream of. In honor of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning‘s release on Blu-RayTM and DVD, here are his seven best films. Your results may vary.

Bloodsport

Perhaps the most durable film of JCVD’s catalog, Bloodsport is a great example of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Taking some creative liberties with the life story of Frank Dux, the producers let us into the world of underground fighting known as the kumite, in which seedy Asians bet on a (wait for it) Bloodsport where fighters as diverse as those in a video game hammer on each other for sport and glory.

It’s impossible to ignore the parallels between the film and the video game Street Fighter, indicating that the reach of Bloodsport was such that it transcended film and managed to infiltrate other aspects of pop culture.

Universal Soldier

Before Roland Emmerich was going over the top with films like Independence Day, he was cutting his teeth in the action genre with (slightly) less fanfare such as Universal Soldier, which featured futuristic soldiers having at each other as reanimated versions of their Vietnam War-era selves.

Big Bad Dolph Lundgren fashions a necklace made out of ears, and if that doesn’t do it for you, the ambitious scene set upon the Hoover Dam gives us a fascinating glimpse of what’s to come from Mr. Emmerich.

JCVD

Upon learning that Jean-Claude Van Damme is credited as playing “JCVD,” it’s clear that this won’t be a straight up documentary on the action star, but rather a truth-bending interpretation of the action star’s life, in which he plays a struggling, broke actor that is down on his luck and weathered.

It doesn’t always achieve its lofty high-concept ambitions, but it’s a fascinating watch nonetheless to see JCVD go from ass-kicker to uber-vulnerable.

Hard Target

If you can get past the mullet (a ginormous “if”) and get past the denim on denim on denim (probably with lots of turquoise and silver underneath it), you can get to the heart of a really great action film starring an in-his-prime Van Damme directed by an up-and-coming John Woo.

This is Woo at his finest, before he got all cliché and heavy-handed with his imagery and symbolism. It’s bows and arrows and motorcycles and explosions all done in a deft fashion that, for its time, was pushing the boundaries of stale action fare.

Street Fighter

While few would argue this is a “good” film, it’s a fascinating piece of JCVD’s career, as it crosses the same spot on his career arc that Bloodsport does, though in a baroque and stale way. So why watch it unless you want to run through that academic exercise?

Because it’s the archetypical bad video game film that managed to drag some decent talent down with it, namely Raul Julia (sadly, his last film) and Van Damme. Van Damme plays the protagonist Guile, and beyond that, the plot is largely incidental as the film just tosses out reference points to the video game in the hope that will be enough.

It’s not, but it’s incredibly fun and interesting to watch the film try so damn hard.

Breakin’

Sure, JCVD is uncredited here as a spectator during a breakdance scene, but it’s amazing to watch this campy 1984 breakdancing film knowing that somewhere, an undiscovered Jean Claude Van Damme was wandering around the set, speaking with a thick Belgian accent, and wondering if it would be ok if he took another sandwich from the craft services truck.

Kickboxer

Lesson 1: Play to your star’s strengths. Van Damme was rightfully known for and discovered for his prowess as a martial artist, and between this film and Bloodsport, that couldn’t be more clear in the upward trajectory of his career. Any film that has the protagonist dipping his hands in resin and glass is going to have first crack at the number one spot, and this is no exception. In fact, it’s probably the rule.

The name says it all. Kickboxer. We see JCVD kick ass the way it was meant to be kicked, and that’s his legacy.

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7 Greatest Movie Cyborgs http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-greatest-movie-cyborgs/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-greatest-movie-cyborgs/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2013 18:19:11 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=252841 In honor of 'Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning'.

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When Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning heads to Blu-rayTM and DVD on January 22nd, we’ll all get the chance to see what the hype is about. Praise for the film has been pretty ample online. It is regarded as the best in the series and according to some, “better than Skyfall.” That probably means that Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren‘s characters will go down in film history as some of the greatest cyborgs to grace the screen. Until that day, we still have these greats!

RoboCop

A policeman struck down in the line of duty gained a new lease on life when Omni Consumer Products used him as the subject of their RoboCop initiative. Updating the slain Officer Murphy with super-strength, superior understanding of the law, and a huge gun he holstered in his leg, the criminals of Detroit fell at the hands of a man that got his nutrients from baby food.

Pris

In Blade Runner, Daryl Hannah plays Pris, a replicant who was built as a “basic pleasure model,” which basically means she is a robot prostitute. She’s set at an “A Physical” level, which gives her a high threshold for pain and makes her a pretty impressive gymnast. The combination of the hair, makeup, and flexibility is responsible for many a 1980′s nerd not leaving their bedrooms on sunny days.

Inspector Gadget

When the forces of evil conspire to throw the world into a state of peril, it takes a true hero to act on the part of justice. Sometimes, that hero is a bumbling boob who can pull a bowling ball out of his aluminum butt. Inspector Gadget was once a lowly security guard with dreams of a true and just world. After an injury in the line of duty, he is rebuilt with roller skates, a helicopter, and several other doodads. Take that, evil!

Six Million Dollar Man

After sustaining severe injuries in a rocket crash, astronaut Steve Austin is rebuilt to become The Six Million Dollar Man. His right arm, both legs, and left eye are replaced with expensive (at the time) bionic implants. These give him enhanced strength, speed, and vision. It also makes getting through airport security a real bitch. But whatever. He’s Lee Frickin’ Majors. If anyone can charm his way through the TSA, it’s him. Plus he fought Bigfoot. How cool is that?

Number Six

The best science-fiction series in television history had a lot going for it. But most of what it had going for it was Tricia Helfer’s portrayal of a cybernetic sexbot. While viewers were eventually drawn in by the gut-wrenching plot turns and mystery elements, it was Helfer in a red dress that lured in early eyes.

Ash Williams

Of all the cyborgs on this list, Ash Williams has the craziest origin. Once a man simply looking for a nice weekend in the woods, Ash was attacked by demons, forced to chop off his possessed hand with a chainsaw, sent back in time to the Dark Ages where he adorned his stump with both a chainsaw and a kung fu grip gauntlet which he used to defeat an army of the undead. Let’s see RoboCop do that! No, seriously. I think that would make for a great Robocop movie. Let’s please see RoboCop do that.

Darth Vader

It’s no surprise that the biggest badass in our galaxy as well as those far, far away tops this list. Not only is he immensely strong, fast, and good with a sword but he’s also a pimp when it comes to magic. It’s no wonder he was able to crush so many planets before the Rebel Alliance finally sacked up and stood up to him. It should be noted though that he didn’t technically lose that fight. He only lost because he chose to lose.

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7 Sci-Fi Remakes With Vastly Improved Special Effects http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-sci-fi-remakes-with-vastly-improved-special-effects/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-sci-fi-remakes-with-vastly-improved-special-effects/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2012 18:53:43 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=252207 In honor of 'Total Recall' on Blu-ray and DVD 12/18!

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When Len Wiseman’s Total Recall becomes available on DVD and Director’s Cut Blu-rayTM December 18th, viewers can weigh the special effects against the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name. The updated take on the future world Philip K. Dick envisioned. The film’s strengths lay in complex staged action scenes enhanced by sophisticated visual effects. Once the action starts, you don’t have time to catch your breath. The result is a vast improvement from the bug-eyed Arnold puppet head we all know and love. As awesome as Schwarzenegger’s rubberized face gasping for oxygen is, this version of Total Recall has the look that the story deserves. Much like these other science fiction updates that trumped their predecessors in the special effects department.

The Fly (1986)

David Cronenberg topped the special effects of the 1958 classic by hiring the Academy Award-winning makeup designers Chris Walas, Inc. That and gore. Tons and tons of gore that still grosses us out today. There’s just something about acidic vomit, y’know?

The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter‘s update on 1951′s The Thing From Another World took memories of that film and cracked its chest open, turned it inside out, and then made it talk through its butt. What I’m trying to say is that Rob Bottin’s practical effects were so shocking and unforgettable, that Carpenter’s film remains the gold standard for sci-fi horror to this day. Also a valuable upgrade from the original: that awesome hat that Kurt Russell wears.

Battlestar Galactica (2003)

When the Syfy Channel announced that it was remaking the beloved space-opera Battlestar Galactica, fans didn’t know what to expect. What they got was mind-blowing. Set aside the fact that the scripts and plotting for Ronald D. Moore’s reimagining were excellent, and focus solely on the special effects. The unique technique of adding pans, zooms, and focus pulls to the computer-rendered space battles brought to mind newsreel footage of World War II and Vietnam, allowing the viewer to sit amongst the action and connect emotionally to the scenes rather than just watching stuff blow up.

Planet Of The Apes (2001)

It’s by no stretch a better film but those apes looked great.

Star Trek (2009)

JJ Abrams breathed an entirely new life into the already established and worshiped franchise by redesigning and rebuilding everything we thought we knew. Also, he added lens flare. So. Much. Lens. Flare.

The Nutty Professor (1996)

What Jerry Lewis was able to do with a silly face back in 1963, Eddie Murphy was able to top with foam latex fat suits and cutting edge visual effects. Rick Baker’s makeup is flawless — turning Eddie Murphy into not one but five distinct characters. Another draw for this film are the stunning transformation scenes by Rhythm & Hues Studios, as Murphy’s Sherman Klump wrestles to control Buddy Love, often ballooning and shrinking right before our eyes.

War Of The Worlds (2005)

Steven Spielberg took what H.G. Wells scared the crap out of radio listeners with and made it visually terrifying. Industrial Light & Magic served as the main effects house working on the film — creating over 500 CGI effects. In order to prevent the film from looking like total crap, the use of blue screen and computer-generated landscapes was kept to a minimum. Instead the computer-animated Tripod creatures were integrated into shot footage and miniatures.

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Behind The Scenes With The ‘Men In Black III’ Blob Fish http://www.screenjunkies.com/video/behind-the-scenes-with-the-men-in-black-iii-blob-fish/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/video/behind-the-scenes-with-the-men-in-black-iii-blob-fish/#comments Sat, 17 Nov 2012 00:52:41 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?post_type=video&p=252073 Will Smith has really let himself go.

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This exclusive clip tells how the Internet’s favorite fish made it into the cast of Men In Black III.

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7 Classic Guy Films That Never Go Out Of Style http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-classic-guy-films-that-never-go-out-of-style/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-classic-guy-films-that-never-go-out-of-style/#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2012 01:57:52 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=251947 In honor of 'Lawrence of Arabia's' release on Blu-ray.

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Lawrence of Arabia celebrates its 50th anniversary with a Blu-ray™ and DVD release on November 13th. Directed by David Lean, the film tells the true story of how a British Officer changed the course of World War I in the Middle East. For the first time on Blu-ray™, this epic masterpiece recalls another era of film making before vampire sparkling and transforming robots ruined everything. It stands as proof that a great film needs the delicate balance of plot, style, and performance. Being badass doesn’t hurt either, and T. E. Lawrence was definitely that.

But Lawrence of Arabia isn’t alone. Here are our recommendations for other classic guy films that never go out of style.

The Great Escape

In 1942, the Germans build a prison camp they deem inescapable to house the Allied prisoners-of-war who have made several escape attempts in the past. Under the direction of Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett, the POWs assemble to attempt the greatest escape in the history of World War II. The prisoners band together and surreptitiously dig an escape tunnel under the guards’ noses. The second half of the film kicks up the action as the escapees must flee the Gestapo via boats, trains, planes, and most famously — a motorcycle.

The Dirty Dozen

When facing a vicious enemy, you need a more vicious weapon. The Dirty Dozen tells the tale of a US Army Major assigned twelve convicted murderers who he trains to become elite Nazi killers. He then leads them into World War II France to assassinate a multitude of German officers. What makes this such a classic? If the film were made today, one of the team would be an android. Nice show of restraint, Dirty Dozen.

The Getaway

Not to be confused with the Alec Baldwin/Kim Basinger remake from the mid-90′s, The Getaway that we’re talking about is the Sam Peckinpah original starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw. The pair star as a husband and wife who, after his recent release from prison, are dispatched to rob a bank for the sheriff who granted him freedom. Between the corrupt sheriff and a double-crossing partner in crime, McQueen’s Doc McCoy has to be quick on his feet if he wants to ride off into the sunset with his lady.

Cool Hand Luke

Paul Newman stars as a rebellious man sent to a rural prison. He refuses to conform to the rules and restrictions he’s placed under, prompting the guards to attempt to break him by any means necessary. But he stands up to beatings and egg-eating and roof-tarring. The only thing that truly breaks him — ditch-digging. I think we can all agree that digging truly sucks.

Bridge On The River Kwai

While trying to make the most of his time in a Japanese POW camp, a British colonel cooperates with his captors and rallies his men to construct a railway bridge. He sees the bridge as a monument to British morale, and eventually as a monument to himself and his great pride. When the Allies move forward with plans to destroy the bridge, they are met with opposition from the deluded ego that raised it in the first place.

The Godfather I & II

This Francis Ford Coppola classic and its arguably superior sequel tell the tale of two men – father and son – brought into a violent legacy with hopes of a better life for their children. Both men discover that best laid plans are undone by human nature, and once you sacrifice your soul to a dark path, those you love will be forced to walk it for generations to come.

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7 Best Homemade Gadgets In Action Movies http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-best-homemade-gadgets-in-action-movies/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-best-homemade-gadgets-in-action-movies/#comments Tue, 30 Oct 2012 19:11:04 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=251586 Try this at home.

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At the end of a long month, there’s very little better than kicking back and indulging in a long article about movie gadgets. Good news! It’s happening RIGHT NOW. We’ve scoured some of the most iconic action films (and one drama with a crazy-ass gadget…see if you can spot it) and from them harvested some of the most bad-ass weaponized contraptions of all time. Sure, the gadgets listed aren’t always designed for destruction, but we feel that it’s always a device’s highest and best use. Enjoy.

Peter Parker’s Web Slingers – The Amazing Spider-Man

In the latest edition of Spider-Man, coming out on Blu-ray™ and DVD November 9, Parker takes the easy way out and builds mechanical web slingers, rather than develop them genetically, like a TRUE superhero. Just kidding. I actually find the mechanical web slingers much more impressive than the evolved ones, if only because this Peter Parker had to work to develop them, rather than just let it happen to him like another Spider-Man portrayer. Let’s just call him “Toby M.” for the sake of anonymity.

Batterang – The Batman Movies and TV Show

What’s remarkable about this homemade gadget is that it simply defies explanation. It explodes, it sometimes returns, sometimes it’s remote controlled, and it can travel incredible distances at ridiculous speeds. Why? Because Batman. That’s why.

The Tim Burton and Chris Nolan installments have done their best to distance themselves from the campy TV show, but no one can resist the subdued charm of the batterang. Not sure if I should capitalize “batterang…”

Ash’s Chainsaw Hand – Evil Dead 2

While it might not be the most ingenious weapon, it is the most hard-core and bad ass. In the series, Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) undergoes a series of unfortunate catastrophes that cause his hand to be possessed, then cause him to cut it off, replacing it with a chainsaw. It’s not exactly rocket science, but, coming from a guy that calls a shotgun his “boom stick,” it’s to be expected.

The Bolt Shooter – The Good Son

Sometimes bad people make great weapons, and nowhere is that more apparent than in The Good Son, a film that stars Macauley Culkin as the bad guy (boy). And oh, is he ever bad. He does lots of terrible things, like causing wrecks on the freeways by throwing dummies off of bridges, but the most heartless thing he can muster up is taking out a ferocious dog with a weird bolt-gun-crossbow hybrid. He’s a horrible, horrible boy, but his fabrication abilities are off the charts.

Charlie Kelly’s Rat-Bashing Stick – It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

(I am aware this isn’t his actual rat stick, but I figured an action sequence was more profound than gadget accuracy.)
When you kill as many rats as Charlie does, you get that thousand-yard stare in your eyes that comes hand-in-hand with the crushing pain of recognizing your own mortality. Fortunately for Charlie, killing rat families just got a whole lot easier with his rat-bashing stick, a modified baseball bat that features a whole slew of pointy nails and a chain or something. It’s probably the crudest device on this list, but when you see how it warms Charlie’s heart, it might also be the most endearing!

Data’s Telescoping Boxing Glove – The Goonies

I’ll be honest. This is the first device that came to mind, but I’m having a really hard time coming to terms with the efficacy of it. First of all, if you’re going to punch someone to cause them harm, using a padded glove to do it sort of defeats the purpose and mitigates the damage done. Sort of cartoon-y for a film that otherwise offers a sincere and real look at a, um, group of kids that are hunting for treasure and who accidentally stumble upon a pirate armada.

Ok. So the boxing glove is probably in keeping with the premise of the movie.

The Proton Pack – Ghostbusters

Please don’t tell me how a Proton Pack works. Not interested. All I know is that they suck ghosts into a backpack, where they are held until it’s time to more or less incinerate them in a big ghost oven. Or something like that. You know how I know these Proton Packs are homemade? Well, for one, they look like crap. And two, they’re not foolproof. In fact, they’re downright dangerous.

Never ever cross the streams of two Proton Packs. You won’t like the result.

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5 Video Game Adaptations That Got It Right http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/5-video-game-adaptations-that-got-it-right/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/5-video-game-adaptations-that-got-it-right/#comments Tue, 11 Sep 2012 17:00:25 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=250761 In honor of 'Resident Evil: Damnation"...

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Video game adaptations to film (rightfully) have a bad rap. Most of them are thrown together haphazardly to offer mindless entertainment to teenage boys, who aren’t exactly arbiters of great cinema. However, just as broken clocks are right twice a day, video game adaptations can become good films, even if it might not happen very often.

The latest such adaptation, Resident Evil: Damnation hits Blu-Ray TM and DVD on September 25th. This particular film is a visually stunning departure made entirely with computer graphics and it actually serves as an in-depth story prequel to the upcoming Resident Evil 6 video game, unlike the live-action Resident Evil series.

In honor of Resident Evil: Damnation, let’s go through recent history to find some other films that raised the bar for video game adaptations.

Street Fighter

Say what you want about the writing and plot, but this film stayed very true to its source material, offering up a generation’s characters in the form of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia(!)

Aside from a few prior cinematic missteps, this was the world’s first large-scale introduction to video game movies, and it carried the flag dutifully.

Tomb Raider

Taking things up a notch was Tomb Raider, which followed the exploits of the original video game vixen (sorry, Princess Peach), Lara Croft. The outfit was worn very well by Angelina Jolie, who put on the short shorts, tank top, and dual pistols. This movie served as an updated Indiana Jones for the ADD.

The effects were top-notch, the story wasn’t breathtaking, but was strong, and Angelina Jolie… well, let’s just say that none of those things really even matter when you’ve got Angelina doing her thing in short shorts and firing weapons.

But if those things DID matter, I would also mention the acting of both Jolie and her dad, Jon Voight.

Hitman

While Grand Theft Auto hasn’t yet gotten the adaptation treatment (and giving its sprawling nature, how could it?), Hitman comes closer than any at replicating GTA’s grittiness on the big screen. The story is violent and fast-paced in a manner reminiscent of The Transporter or Crank, which means that it’s capable of crossing over to serve both the teenage market and older fans of cutthroat action films.

Further, Timothy Olyphant generally plays a world-weary badass in every single one of his roles, but in this one, he’s especially violent and merciless, Natch.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

When your video game is called “Final Fantasy,” it’s hard to keep the film adaptation confined to the realm of realism, so the producers of this film made it a CGI spectacular, offering up lifelike characters (not the creepy ones that mo-cap creates) amid a beautiful story.

The fact that this film was based on a video game may have served as a hindrance, as it is very reminiscent of Spirited Away, a film that achieved widespread acclaim using the same tactics, and perhaps a less engaging story.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Though it didn’t get the critical acclaim or box office take that fans of the game had hoped for, Prince of Persia is finding a second life after all the haters have grown hoarse. Many of the enthusiasts are probably woman excited to get a shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal up on the big screen, but whatever. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

The epic involves a serious budget, and with Gemma Arterton and Ben Kingsley, let’s hope this sets the stage for a new, bigger, more serious era for video game movies.

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Jean-Claude Van Damme’s 7 Most Memorable Roles http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/jean-claude-van-damme%e2%80%99s-7-most-memorable-roles/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/jean-claude-van-damme%e2%80%99s-7-most-memorable-roles/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2012 19:01:24 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=250555 Van. Dammage.

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Jean-Claude Van Damme has enjoyed a career as one of the most successful action stars of his generation, having starred in dozens of films that served as not only domestic, but international hits as well. From when he burst onto the scene in the late 80’s, JCVD offered a softer European sensibility not found with the Stallones, Willises, or Vin Diesels of the world. Most recently, JCVD has starred in 6 Bullets, available on DVD 9/11, which follows a mercenary with an expertise in finding missing children. Caveat emptor to those who dare cross the Muscles from Brussels.

While Van Damme’s work is numerous, we’ve put together a list of 7 of his most memorable roles for you to bask in. So bask away. BASK, OK?

Guile – Street Fighter

I don’t want to alarm you here, but many of JCVD’s roles included herein are of a martial artistic bend. Setting the tone will be the be-flattopped Street Fighter character of Guile, by far the most handsome of the U.S.’s representatives in the arcade sensation.

It’s not the first time Van Damme has been asked to play American. And while his accent isn’t perfect, his linguistic shortcomings are completely overshadowed by his ability to completely kick ass.

And (SPOILER ALERT) he takes care of business, knocking down the oh-so-evil M. Bison.

Frank Dux – Bloodsport

Unlike Guile, Frank Dux was a real dude, and while Bloodsport took a few creative liberties with the Dux story, it set the benchmark for late-80’s/early-90’s martial arts films, serving as the springboard to the apex of JCVD’s career.

Van Damme carried this story nicely and the quality of the film (no, really) and the performances by both Jean-Claude and Forrest Whitaker allow this film to transcend the painfully eighties production and catapult this work into “legendary” status.

Himself – JCVD

After over a decade of mild scandals and straight-to-DVD films, Jean Claude Van Damme found his way back into mainstream cinemas and wide(ish) release going the meta route and playing a fairly fictionalized version of himself, an actor on the downward slope of his career (true), caught in the heist of a post office (false).

The film offers up a six-minute monologue where JCVD breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience about his real life. It’s as weird as it sounds, but weird was enough to get Van Damme back in the popular lexicon, so JCVD gets a spot on this list.

Alex Wagner and Chad Wagner – Double Impact

That’s right. One entry on this list is actually two roles. I’ll give you a second to wipe your blown mind off your computer screen. He was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for “Most Desirable Male,” but didn’t take it home, sadly. This film is a standout in JCVD’s filmography because it was written and produced by him as well.

The film follows long-lost twins as they team up together to avenge their parents’ murders.

Chance Boudreaux – Hard Target

Ok. This was a John Woo-directed film, featured Van Damme at the apex of his career, and is by all accounts, a beyond-solid action film.

But that’s not why it’s in the canon of JCVD’s most memorable roles. Rather…

It’s the mullet. Oh, that mullet. It’s hard to see beyond that. It’s like asking someone to read a pocket bible while shining a hunting spotlight in their eyes. It’s like asking someone if they hear that squeak outside while blaring Skrillex in their ears. I could go further into this point, but I would rather just let the pic speak for itself. If you’re not on board, I…I don’t know how I can help you.

Luc Devereaux – Universal Soldier

If you thought an America cyborg soldier wouldn’t be programmed with a Belgian accent, you would be wrong, my friend. DEAD WRONG. Universal Soldier pitted Van Damme against Dolph Lundgren in one of blockbuster director Roland Emmerich’s first big-name films.

The film had a budget that surpassed Van Damme’s earlier (and later) work, and was considered a modest hit in America. However, abroad it fared much better, helping cement the Belgian actor’s status as a global action star.

Kurt Sloane – Kickboxer

The name says it all. Kickboxer, like Bloodsport, served as a vehicle to showcase Jean-Claude’s natural gymnastic and martial arts abilities, making it a natural early hit for the actor. The film is best known for containing scenes in which the fighters dip their hands in resin, then in broken glass, a move so badass it makes me want to throw my laptop against the wall in excitement.

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7 Martial Arts Movies You Need To See http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-martial-arts-movies-you-need-to-see/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-martial-arts-movies-you-need-to-see/#comments Tue, 07 Aug 2012 17:00:26 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=249963 In honor of The Raid: Redemption

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When The Raid: Redemption was released in theaters this past spring, it raised the bar on modern action. The film set new precedents with intense building of suspense and fight scenes so impressive and raw, it hurt to watch them. Now, with the film headed to Unrated Blu-rayTM and DVD on August 14th, 2012, you can enjoy all of those hard hits at home. But please don’t copy what you see. These are professionals specifically trained to have their heads kicked into tile walls.

Drunken Master II

Jackie Chan’s best work features stupendous feats of athleticism. Starring as Chinese folk hero, Wong Fei Hung, Chan pulls off his most impressive stunts. All while acting like he’s absolutely shit-faced. Typically, when you see drunken guys fight it’s just a lot of shoving until someone gets a bloody lip or their shirt collar gets ripped. Not the case here. If you’ve ever wanted to see one man defend against many with a bamboo pipe, this is the film for you.

Kill Bill: Volume 1

Quentin Tarantino‘s tribute to Hong Kong martial arts films also delved into other movie genres near and dear to the kinetic director. Spaghetti Westerns, girls with guns, revenge tales, and Japanese chanbara films all inspired this bloody tale of a woman on the hunt for her tormentors. But it’s the martial arts set piece that stands out from the rest of the film as Uma Thurman’s Bride takes on the “Crazy 88″ Yakuza gang. Armed with only a katana sword, she slices and dices and flips and flies, leaving the dojo floor covered with blood, limbs, the dead and the dying in her pursuit for revenge.

Ip Man

This semi-historical film finally allowed Donnie Yen to show off how good he is at hitting people. Yen stars as Wing Chung, a martial arts master who taught many of the greats — including Bruce Lee. Loosely based on the master‘s life, Chung finds himself called to fight during Japan’s 1937 occupation of China.

Fist of Legend

A remake of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury, Jet Li stars as a student who sets out to avenge his murdered master. Li impressively fights off an entire room of attackers and blends modern boxing styles in with the martial arts techniques. The film proved to be very influential. In fact, after seeing it, the Wachowski Brothers hired fight choreographer Yuen-woo Ping for The Matrix films.

No Retreat, No Surrender

Inspired by the success of The Karate Kid, No Retreat, No Surrender took the concept of the new kid in town and gave it a radical twist. Noting the severe lack of supernatural elements in the Ralph Macchio vehicle, NRNS rectified that by having its main character trained by the ghost of Bruce Lee. You might think that the ghost of a martial arts master doesn’t have what it takes to train a high school kid but you’d in fact be wrong. Turns out that with ghost-training, a young man cannot only rise above his peers in a karate tournament, but can also defeat the murderous muscle (Jean Claude Van Damme) of a crime syndicate when they decide to crash the karate tournament. Because after all, there’s nothing crime syndicates love more than committing very public displays of wrongdoing.

Enter the Dragon

This list couldn’t exist without Bruce Lee in non-ghost form. The first Chinese martial arts film produced by Hollywood with a large-scale budget, it combined the intrigue of James Bond with the impressive fighting of Bruce Lee. Lee stars as a martial artist who agrees to spy on a crime lord after he’s invited to participate in an exclusive fighting tournament on a remote island. As I’m sure you’re aware, remote islands have the best tournaments. Bruce Lee was also heavily involved behind the camera as he revised most of the script, in addition to writing and directing the opening scene, in an effort to make the now classic stand apart from other action films.

Magnificent Butcher

Directed by Yuen-woo Ping, this action-comedy (originally titled Lin Shi Rong) was made in an attempt to enjoy the same success that Drunken Master II did. Sammo Hung stars as Lam Sai Wing, a clumsy yet talented fighter. The martial arts featured in this film are old school and an extremely technical merging of two different forms. It did not go on to duplicate the success of Drunken Master II, but it is considered a classic for any serious martial arts fans.

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7 Greatest TV Detectives Of All Time http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-greatest-tv-detectives-of-all-time/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-greatest-tv-detectives-of-all-time/#comments Wed, 01 Aug 2012 16:55:36 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=249980 They're like grown-up Encyclopedia Browns. All of them.

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In honor of the staid literary character Jesse Stone making the leap to DVD on August 7th in Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt, we at Screen Junkies thought we’d examine exactly what makes a great TV detective. Well, solving cases is a good start, but beyond that, you’ve gotta have the character to back up the results. Otherwise, it makes for really boring television. So let’s examine 7 gumshoes who get the job done in style.

Sherlock Holmes

Granted, he was a literary character about a hundred years before he was on TV, but Benedict Cumberbatch and the writers of Sherlock have managed to make him a dynamic enough character, free of entanglements from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works that he gets the first spot on the list.

He’s got an uncanny sense of perception, but unlike many other great detectives on this list, his great detective abilities come at a cost. His humanity. Sherlock comes across as almost autistic or robotic, sometimes to comedic, sometimes to tragic effect.

However, his prowess in working a case can’t be doubted. The guy’s a pro, as we see in the pilot when he is able to land the backstory of his new roommate based only on visual clues.

Dr. House

Speaking of people whose genius comes at a steep price, here’s Dr. Gregory House, the doctor who plays by his own rules, but, dammit, he gets results. Dr. House’s expertise generally lies in the field of medicine as opposed to crime, but good detectin’ is good detectin’. The curmudgeon is a pain in the ass to deal with, but even the higher-ups at Princeton-Plainsboro have to put up with him because he’s just that good.

Fun fact: Dr. House is 96% more likely to diagnose a case while bouncing a ball against a wall or after one of his subordinates says something seemingly unrelated to the case in question.

Det. Goren

While the plot devices of Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU had become old hat during the twilight of their runs, Law & Order: Criminal Intent saw that the cops were the star of the show, rather than the story, which was the case in the two former examples.

Det. Goran was incredibly soft-spoken, and like so many other great detectives on this list, a tortured genius. He would lead the suspects with a seemingly innocuous line of questioning or anecdote, all the while examining and dismantling their alibis. He was played with such gusto by Vincent D’Onofrio that his tics and mannerisms became as big a part of the show as any plot device.

Thomas Magnum

I honestly have no idea if Tom Selleck’s Magnum P.I. was a good detective or not. But here’s what I do know: He had a luscious mustache, he drove a Ferrari, he lived in Hawaii, he wore short shorts, and he liked the Detroit Tigers.

I’m going to make a ruling right here based on that information: AMAZING DETECTIVE.

Even if he was one of those lame detectives that solved crimes without violence (LOSER!), he had a vaguely British handler named Higgins who was exasperated by nearly everything Magnum did.

You can’t argue with these facts. Legendary detective.

Adrian Monk

Ok. Monk might be your grandmother’s favorite detective, but she’s entitled to her opinion, too. Monk follows the standard “detective has uncanny abilities, but is socially retarded due to “X” with “X” in this case being a proclivity for cleanliness meshed with moderate-to-severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.

He’s also a total pussy, but that’s okay, because I was getting kind of sick of awesome detectives.

Jesse Stone

Tom Selleck is back, reprising his role as detective Jesse Stone in the recurring CBS movie series of the same name.

Unlike most of the other, wimpier, guys on this list, Stone actually carries a gun, which means that with Stone comes the promise of seeing bad guys getting shot. If you’re down for a detective that’s got a little more grit than many of the smooth talkers on this list, Jesse Stone is your dude.

Jimmy McNulty

In the interest of not just flooding this piece with characters from The Wire, let’s just say McNulty is a delegate for the entire Baltimore Police Department. Granted, they were underfunded, frustrated, and rarely gave a shit, but they got some pretty damn good results. He was a drunk, a whore, and shitty husband and father, but he played the system to get funding to keep the wire up on Marlo.

While he wasn’t some sort of savant like the other entrants on this list, he was a realistic portrayal of a flawed guy doing his best in a crappy system.

And putting those ribbons on the homeless people was a stroke of effing genius.

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7 High School Horror Films http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-high-school-horror-films/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-high-school-horror-films/#comments Tue, 24 Jul 2012 14:24:20 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=249869 That's some good teen slaying.

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The insane genre-bending horror-comedy Detention is headed to DVD on July 31st. Directed by Torque-apologist Joseph Kahn, the story centers on the students of Grizzly Lake High School. A masked killer named Cinderhella is on the loose killing off members of the student body. Believing the killer to be one of his students, the principal rounds up the likely suspects and sentences them to an all-day detention to avoid that day’s prom from turning into a massacre.

This bloody take on The Breakfast Club has inspired us to take a look at the great high school horror films of our time. As if school wasn’t bad enough without people getting shot, stabbed, eaten, possessed, hit by buses, or a combination of all of those.

The Craft

A girl with a troubled past moves to a town where she befriends a clique of three girls who happen to dabble in the occult. The four begin casting spells together which brings them unimaginable power. However, power corrupts and soon Fairuza Balk goes totally psycho just witching the crap out of everyone. It’s like Mean Girls with lightning fingers.

Heathers

Another high school horror that deals with the subject of popularity and social hierarchy, Heathers goes to some dark places. When a prank leads to the accidental death of the school’s Queen Bee, it’s believed to be a suicide. Before you know it, everyone wants to get in on this teenage suicide craze. This film features one of the first appearances of Christian Slater, who America would fall for as the crazed, kill-happy mastermind behind it all.

Jennifer’s Body

Diablo Cody‘s follow-up to Juno is a far cry from teenage pregnancy and lost youth. The story centers around Megan Fox’s Jennifer, a high school student (yeah, right) sacrificed to a demon. Not one to let hot teen ass go to waste, the demon possesses her and uses her form to seduce and eat the boys in her class. Largely underrated, the film was poorly-received by critics and girls who aren’t as pretty as Megan. But it gave us some genuinely memorable scares and scenes. And this picture:

Thumbs up.

The Faculty

A mix of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Breakfast Club, The Faculty centers on six students discovering that their school is being taken over by alien invaders. The unlikely allies (nerd, jock, Goth, hot girl, hick, and rebel) team up to save not only themselves but Earth itself. Starring Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett. Remember him?

Final Destination

Though we don’t see any action in the halls of the high school, Final Destination tries to take us along with a group of students on their senior trip to Paris. Tries being the key word. Before their flight disembarks, a student has a premonition that the plane will explode, killing them all. He fights his way off the plane, inadvertently taking a few others with him. Moments later, the plane actually explodes. From there, the survivors find they are being stalked by death as they are killed in the most grisly and random accidents. The film has spurred four sequels. Some good, some insultingly bad. But all feature completely gnarly death scenes for all of the gore hounds.

Scream

The instant classic that brought horror back to the box office, for better or worse. This sly, self-referential slasher film kept us guessing and screaming with intense scares and hidden motives. In addition to carving up students at Woodsboro High, the film also carved up and dissected the horror genre itself by laying out and then subverting the rules of Hollywood horror filmmaking. Scream is arguably one of the most important and influential films of the 90′s.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

If high school horror were a contest, Wes Craven‘s original A Nightmare on Elm Street would be the clear winner. Students experiencing vivid nightmares featuring the same burn-covered ghoul discover that when they die in their dream, they die in real life. Pulled into a nightmarish wonderland, it’s a fight for survival and sanity as buried secrets refuse to stay that way. And then there were all those hokey sequels, but hey, whatevs.

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7 Badass Action Movies Based On Historical Events http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-badass-action-movies-based-on-historical-events/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-badass-action-movies-based-on-historical-events/#comments Tue, 24 Jul 2012 14:14:52 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=249888 Sometimes history is awesome. Rarely, but sometimes.

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If you’re reading this website, chances are you don’t go to see most movies to learn something about history. But if a historical event can be the impetus for a great film, then the movie carries with it a resonance that it didn’t have before. Sometimes, that resonance can be very, very boring (see also: period pieces), and sometimes, when applied to action films, it can be pretty damn great. Let’s forget about the former and, in honor of the Blu-rayTM and DVD release of Hatfields & McCoys, focus on the latter as we evaluate seven of the best historical action films of all time.

Glory

If you thought that Matthew Broderick couldn’t spearhead a badass action film, then you haven’t seen 1989’s Glory, a film inspired by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first army unit entirely comprised of African American soldiers.

It’s a moving story in its own right, but it also features a whole mess of action, and, as Hatfields & McCoys demonstrates, the warfare during this era was…messy to say the least. Rather than morphine shots, this era boasted whiskey, leg amputations, and cannonballs taking out whatever was in the their path. Yikes.

Also worth checking out for an up-and-coming Denzel Washington giving a killer performance.

Apocalypto

Careful: Some of these historical action adventure films can be kind of educational, despite their best efforts. Apocalypto is one such film that traces the decline of the Mayan empire in the Mexican Yucatan peninsula.

Following director Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, audiences braced themselves for gore, but not on the level that they got. I don’t know if you consider cutting out still-beating hearts and beheadings “action,” but I do, so these Mayans make the list.

While there is some controversy regarding the film’s depiction, by and large it is based on historical context, which makes the violence all the tougher to stomach.

Munich

Perhaps the best revenge film on this list, Munich follows the aftermath of the terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered and the Mossad extracts revenge by taking out 11 targets. The premise is badass, and made even more so by the fact that it’s very real and very accurate.

The hits take place across the world, and they are carried out by some of the hardest men you’ll ever see depicted in film. Don’t mess with the Israelis. Don’t mess with anyone, actually. It’s crappy behavior. And you’re better than that.

300

It doesn’t get much more historical than the Battle of Thermopylae, when 300 Spartans went head to head with thousands more Persians. It also doesn’t get more action-y, as the entire film is pretty much sensationalized hand-to-hand combat between some hard-ass motherfathers. While this was based on historical events, it’s a copy of a copy, true to graphic novelist Frank Miller’s interpretation of events.

Lots of people die. Unlike some of the other entries on this list, you’re probably not going to learn a single historical fact by watching this film, but learning is pretty overrated.

Ben Hur

They’re not all contemporary films, as this chariot-racing, Charlton Heston-starring film can attest. Ben Hur was an overblown blockbuster before it was cool to make overblown blockbusters. In a time before CGI, the chariot races were shot using actual horses and chariots. Not too shabby.

Of course, Ben Hur is a fictionalization of the plight of many, but by 1959 standards, the adherence to fact throughout the film has it standing as a testament to historical action films well before such a premium was placed on accuracy by critics and the Academy alike.

Hatfields & McCoys (Available on Blu-rayTM and DVD July 31st)

When a feud lasts as long as this one did, a movie won’t suffice, so you have to bring out the big guns: a three-part mini-series that begins following the Civil War, then evolves as the two rural families continually rub each other the wrong way, complete with murders, executions, forbidden love, and MUTTONCHOPS, MUTTONCHOPS, MUTTONCHOPS!!!

The story is most definitely a saga, but one that will keep you engaged as these hillbilly Montagues and Capulets get after it. They set the standard for family feuds.

Sorry, Steve Harvey.

Braveheart

The historical accuracy of Braveheart has been a point of contention (read: Almost all historical scholars call bullshit), but it’s based on a real guy doing some real stuff, namely liberating Scotland from the tyranny of the English monarchy.

They didn’t wear those plaid outfits until the 16th century, but that doesn’t mean the film isn’t based on historical events. Gibson acknowledges that he made the decision to go with less historically accurate interpretations for the sake of good cinema.

But relax, he’s not a historian, he’s a filmmaker. And he made a pretty damn good historical action-drama with Braveheart.

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8 Characters Who Were Dumb Enough To Mess With Samuel L. Jackson http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/8-characters-who-were-dumb-enough-to-mess-with-samuel-l-jackson/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/8-characters-who-were-dumb-enough-to-mess-with-samuel-l-jackson/#comments Tue, 17 Jul 2012 20:26:23 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=249744 In honor of Meeting Evil...

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Next week, the DVD of Sam Jackson’s Meeting Evil hits stores, which gives us at Screen Junkies pause to wonder if it ever really pays to mess with Samuel L. Jackson. I mean, there are probably a couple of guys I fear a little more (Michael Madsen and Danny Trejo come to mind), but that list is short.

Sam Jackson can disassemble your constitution with literally one f-bomb. So it’s best to steer clear of the man and mess with someone you can handle. Like Jason Biggs.

Here are eight characters that learned that lesson the hard way.

The Snakes on a Plane

I don’t know if snakes are aware of who Samuel L. Jackson is, but they should be after seeing how they fare in this campy B-movie nod. Snakes, roaches, lizards, and geckos should all give Mr. Jackson a very wide berth. He is not one to be trifled with. If he doesn’t have a weapon, he will literally curse at you in an angry voice until you die of shame. Of all God’s creatures, only Sam Jackson can do that.

Prince Akeem and Semmi

Sometimes even a broken clock is right.

In Coming to America, these two African transplants draw upon their martial arts training to thwart a disheveled Jackson’s attempted robbery at McDowell’s. In case you were wondering, McDowell’s is the place with the golden arcs. Not arches. Arcs.

When Eddie Murphy’s Akeem sweeps Jackson’s leg (with a mop), Semmi steps up, catches the gun out of the air and lays down the law.

Though it worked out for these two this time, going forward I can’t recommend that anyone mess with Samuel L. This probably won’t be the outcome 95% of the time.

The Guy in the Closet with the Hand Cannon

Just don’t fire guns at Samuel L., okay? That should be a rule. In Pulp Fiction, this poor fella is hiding in the bathroom as Vincent and Jules are wondering if Marcellus Wallace looks like a bitch. And right about the time that Jules divulges that his girlfriend being a vegetarian pretty much makes him a vegetarian too, this guy comes out firing. For some reason, the bullets seem to swerve around the duo. They look around, amazed, before getting a peeved look on their face and lighting the guy up with about ten bullets.

If you fire a gun at SLJ (I don’t expect that name to stick), God will pull some of that divine intervention crap and rain down furious anger, just like Ezekiel said he would.

The Two Rednecks

In case this isn’t totally clear to you right off the bat, the two rednecks in question were the men in A Time to Kill that raped and assaulted his character’s daughter. Completely devastated and shaken, he seeks redress against these men after the justice system fails him. He comes into the courtroom shooting and takes them out, and also a constable in the process.

Fortunately, he’s got a young Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock for lawyers, so he not only avoids the death penalty, but gets acquitted on all charges.

I wouldn’t expect this same result if you hire Magic Mike as your lawyer.

The Police Commander

I thought about just comprising this list of seven people that screw with Sam Jackson’s character in The Negotiator, but that wouldn’t be a very exciting list. I mean, I liked The Negotiator, but I’m aware it wasn’t a very good movie. And recapping it by citing seven people who wronged his negotiating character would probably be overkill. However, the internal affairs snitch played by J.T. Walsh, and the police commander played by often-jerk Ron Rifkin are worth noting.

Most of the people who cross Jackson die, except for Rifkin, who gets clipped in the arm in an effort to prevent him from committing suicide.

Yeah. I just spoiled The Negotiator for you. Cry about it.

The Shark

So the shark from Deep Blue Sea pretty much has his way with Jackson without much direct recourse. I mean, yeah, the shark gets his comeuppance, but that’s not really related to his attacking and eating the shit out of Sam Jackson.

The moral here is that if you’re an African prince or a giant mutant shark, there’s a chance that you can mess with Samuel L. Jackson, but I really don’t think it’s a good idea for the rest of us. So here’s my rule of thumb.

Don’t mess with Samuel L. Jackson. Best case scenario, you get away with it. Worst case scenario, he not only kills you, but precedes dispatching you with a really long, intense monologue that makes you terrified for your last minutes on earth.

Not good times. Don’t mess with Samuel L.

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Walter White’s 7 Most Underhanded Moments http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-lists/walter-whites-7-most-underhanded-moments/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-lists/walter-whites-7-most-underhanded-moments/#comments Tue, 29 May 2012 17:15:36 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=248690 Heavy is the head that wears the porkpie.

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Breaking Bad is a show about choices and consequences. When diagnosed with stage-three terminal lung cancer, high school chemistry teacher Walter White makes a big decision for the good of his family. Like in chemistry, every action causes a reaction and eventually an explosion, and Walter finds his choices lead him down a dark path. Every scheme pulls him deeper and deeper; his humanity eaten away with each questionable decision. Over time he changes from a good-natured suburban dad to the vicious kingpin of a drug operation.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Here are Walter White’s most underhanded moments. Obviously, SPOILERS ABOUND. And don’t forget, season four is available on Blu-rayTM and DVD June 5th, just in time to catch up for Season Five!

Cook Meth In The First Place

With the odds of his survival extremely low, Walter White dreads leaving his pregnant wife and handicapped son without a means of income. After a chance meeting with Jesse, a former student, Walter hatches the plan to cook and sell extremely potent methamphetamine. With Jesse’s knowledge of the criminal underworld, the two team up and find they need to be savvy if they hope to survive.

Lies To Family About Money

When Walter shares the news of his illness with loved ones, relatives and friends offer to help out with his treatment costs. Amongst them is an old flame Gretchen. Now extremely wealthy, Gretchen offers him all of the money he’ll ever need. However, he’s too proud to accept, and dismisses her offer. Instead, he moves ahead full steam with the plans to cook meth. This requires he get involved with extremely violent and dangerous business partners.

Poisoning Tuco

After being threatened by Tuco, a crazed business associate, Walt and Jesse decide they need to take him out. Rather than shoot him point blank and risk reprisal from his cartel associates, they decide to poison Tuco with ricin. However, he’s unable to feed him the poison as planned and is attacked by Tuco. Through sheer luck, Walter and Jesse are able to escape at the last moment.

Allowing Jane to Die

The stress of killing, stealing, and lying takes its toll on the partnership of Walt and Jesse. Walt begins to feel Jesse completely slipping out of his control after he takes up with Jane, a recovering addict who relapses along with Jesse. Walter agrees to give Jesse his share of the money but only on the condition that he get sober first. Jane finds out and blackmails Walter. After caving in and giving Jesse his money, Walter still feels the need to help him kick his addiction. He visits Jesse to find both he and Jane passed out after taking heroin. Jane rolls onto her back and begins to choke on her own vomit. Walter resists the urge to save her and watches as she asphyxiates. Finding his lover dead the next morning causes Jesse to get the rehabilitative help he needs.

However, every action has a reaction. Walter’s shady choice leaves Jane’s dad grief-stricken. Jane’s dad is an air traffic controller. Exhausted and dazed, he returns to work too soon and causes two commercial passenger planes to collide in mid-air, killing all of the passengers.

Orders Gale’s Murder

Walter’s only foothold in the world of drug-dealing is that nobody can replicate or best his formula. This attracts the attention of local businessman (and secret crime lord) Gus Fring. He hires Walt and sets him up with a state of the art super-lab for the mass production of product. This lab also comes with an assistant named Gale. The two get along perfectly. Gus is another story.

Gus and Walter disagree on issues like murdering children. Gus is cheers and Walt is jeers. As this tension grows, Gus has Gale watch Walter and learn his recipe. Once he has it down, Walter and Jesse will be eliminated. In a bid to guarantee his and Jesse’s survival, Walt sends Jesse to murder Gale, a chemistry nerd and karaoke fan mostly innocent of any wrongdoing.

Launders Money Via Car Wash

When his wife Skylar finally learns his shocking secret, she gets used to the money. Too used to it. She insists that she be involved in a business manager capacity. They decide to go along with her plan of cheating a local car wash dealer out of his business. They then use that facility to cover their tracks when asked where all their money is coming from.

Poisons A Child to Get to Gus Fring

In his most diabolical scheme yet, Walter White pulls off a long con that eliminates Gus Fring. His plan is anything but simple:

- Convince Jesse to help him poison Gus
- Steal poison back from wishy-washy Jesse via an innocuous third party
- Poison Jesse’s girlfriend’s son with a not-deadly poison that resembles a deadly poison
- Convince Jesse that Gus poisoned the boy
- Have Jesse arrange a meet with Gus
- Place explosives on Gus’s car during the meet
- Find alternate way of blowing up Gus by placing explosives on an old man’s wheelchair
- Blow up the old man and Gus

So, yeah, I’d say Walter White has experienced a moral shift and established himself as an adaptable thinker capable of extreme evil. He’s become a cancer himself.

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7 Most Terrifying Female Ghosts http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-most-terrifying-female-ghosts/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-most-terrifying-female-ghosts/#comments Tue, 15 May 2012 16:47:27 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=248641 From 'The Woman in Black' to 'Ringu' to 'Ghostbusters'.

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With The Woman In Black available on Blu-ray & DVD May 22nd, we’ll soon be able to see Daniel Radcliffe get the heebie-jeebies in the comfort of our own home. Radcliffe stars as a young lawyer who travels to a remote village to handle the estate of Alice Drablow, a scorned woman whose ghost is terrorizing the locals by taking their children. The film is filled with shocking scares as Radcliffe finds himself at the center of a mystery putting him directly in the sights of the Woman in Black herself.

The Librarian – Ghostbusters

The ghost that started it all and pretty much ruined it for any ghoul or demon who would think to mess with New York City. The Ghostbusters formed shortly after investigating a paranormal disturbance in the stacks of the New York Public Library. What they found was a sweet librarian floating off the ground and insisting for silence. When she didn’t get that silence, this was the result:

SOMEBODY GOT TOLD!
Though she lacks the strength and might of Gozer the Gozerian, she’s on the list because I personally find the Librarian far more scary. And also because Gozer is a shape shifting Sumarian god. Therefore, ineligible for this important list.

The Grady Daughters – The Shining

As if kids aren’t creepy enough, imagine coming face to face with a ghost kid. And not just any ghost kid, but a ghost kid that warns you’re going to be murdered. Now multiply that by two. So creepy, right?!!

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9 Awesome Places To Find More Superheroes http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-lists/9-awesome-places-to-find-more-superheroes/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-lists/9-awesome-places-to-find-more-superheroes/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 16:08:27 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=248115 Including G4's awesome 'Marvel Anime' line-up.

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Over the years, we’ve seen many versions of our favorite superheroes on television screens. From Superman’s black-and-white serials to Spider-Man’s mid-1970′s adventures, we’ve watched our favorite heroes change and adapt to the times. However, it’s time to prepare to see them as we never have before. Marvel Anime: X-Men and Marvel Anime: Iron Man are back on G4 with all new adventures and available on DVD April 24th. Presented in an awesome artistic anime style, the Warren Ellis-scripted reimagings of the classic Marvel heroes are huge hits in Japan and a must-see for fans of the Marvel universe.

In honor of this release, let’s have a look at some of our favorites throughout the years.

Iron Man 1966

Before becoming the cultural phenomenon he is today, Iron Man made the leap from comic to cartoon. The 1966 animated series followed the exploits of genius inventor and billionaire playboy Tony Stark, as he balanced the rigors of world-saving and just chilling out and having a good time. Plus, listen to that intro song. I know that he’s sampled it in the past, but Ghostface Killah needs to work it into more tracks. It’s just precious.

Thor

Thor was always a bridesmaid and never a bride before last summer’s blockbuster version. Relegated to supporting roles, the Son of Odin appeared in the television movie The Incredible Hulk Returns. This was meant to serve as a pilot for Thor‘s own television series but the plans did not come to fruition.

Spider-Man

The Spider-Man we know and love experienced a minor overhaul in Japan. In this late 70′s series, a young motorcycle racer who accepts a blood transfusion from an alien from Planet Spider. This blood co mingles with his, granting him the awesome powers of Spider-Man. And just because this takes place in Japan, he of course pilots the giant robot Leopardon, which he uses to fight over sized monsters.

Also, a samurai cuts a house cat in half in spectacular fashion.

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The 7 Greatest Stephen King Movie Adaptations http://www.screenjunkies.com/general/the-7-greatest-stephen-king-movie-adaptations/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/general/the-7-greatest-stephen-king-movie-adaptations/#comments Tue, 06 Mar 2012 17:47:10 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=246515 Not all Stephen King movies are about murder and horror, just most of them.

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Stephen King has been churning out creepy tales of murder and terror for decades now. Almost as long, Hollywood has been turning to him for inspiration, and the latest Stephen King work to be adapted is Bag of Bones, hitting DVD on March 13th. In honor of that heart-stoppingly bone-chilling occasion, here are the seven greatest Stephen King movie adaptations.

Carrie

Brian De Palma is a master of the psychological thriller, so it’s appropriate that he was the first person to bring a Stephen King novel to the screen. And he does it with a flair for genre alchemy, mixing cheesecake, teen comedy, and over-the-top camp in with the horror story about a high school outcast with telekinetic powers. The climactic massacre at the school prom is still one of the most shocking set-pieces ever devised, 36 years later.

The Shining

Stephen King himself wasn’t a fan of the changes Stanley Kubrick made to his novel about a father attacking his family with an axe during a stay at an abandoned (and haunted) hotel. Most movie fans disagree, though, and The Shining has a reputation as one of the best and scariest horror movies ever made.

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7 Real-Life Cowboys Who Got The Hollywood Treatment http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-real-life-cowboys-who-got-the-hollywood-treatment/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-real-life-cowboys-who-got-the-hollywood-treatment/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 17:00:55 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=245306 In honor of Wyatt Earp's Revenge...

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Cowboys are great subjects for movies. They lead lives of excitement and danger, get into bar fights, and use colorful expressions such as “y’all” and “howdy.” And sometimes, a cowboy’s allure becomes so great that he has a movie (or six) made about his life. These seven real-life cowboys have tasted a bit of that Hollywood fame – yee-haw! And be sure and check out Wyatt Earp’s Revenge, which tells the untold pre-O.K. Corral story of the legendary lawman and his adventures with the best of the west (available on DVD March 6th).

Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp is probably the cowboy that’s had the most movies about him. His famous “gunfight at the OK Corral” has been adapted by everyone from John Sturges to John Ford, and has been played by everyone from Kurt Russell to Randolph Scott – he’s even set to be portrayed by Harrison Ford AND Val Kilmer in two separate upcoming projects.

Jesse James

One of American history‘s most notorious outlaws, Jesse James has also been the subject of several films. He was even played by his own son, Jesse James, Jr., in two silent films in the 1920s. Reed Hadley played him in Samuel Fuller’s I Shot Jesse James, and he was most recently played by none other than Brad Pitt in the critically acclaimed (and fantastic) The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

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7 Movie Gangsters Who Tried To Go Straight (But Got Pulled Back In) http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-movie-gangsters-who-tried-to-go-straight-but-got-pulled-back-in/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-movie-gangsters-who-tried-to-go-straight-but-got-pulled-back-in/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2012 15:51:38 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=245375 There's very little room for advancement in the field of murder.

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London Boulevard (On Blu-ray & DVD next week) stars Colin Farrell as a gangster who wants to put his gangster past behind after three years in prison. He takes up work as the bodyguard for a beautiful young starlet, but his old rivals see his value and insist that he work for them. This seems like a common position for a gangster to be in, but it’s true of any position. If you’re too good at what you do, why would anyone ever want to promote or release you? Trust me. I know. My old boss is still trying to woo me back to Subway. I have dreams, Ethan!

Here are seven other movie gangsters who found that getting out is not that easy.

Carlito Brigante – Carlito’s Way

Carlito Brigante gets out of prison wanting only to walk a straight path but he’s almost immediately pulled back into the life when his friends and cousins constantly beg for his help in their shady practices. Carlito, who is building his retirement fund, can’t say no and all of hte deals don’t go down as planned. This ends poorly for Carlito, who was inches away from tasting true freedom before his past came back to take him out.

Angelo “Snaps” Provolone – Oscar

Provolone promises his father on his deathbed that he’ll give up the life and go straight. His plan is to get into a legal version of crime — banking. However, when he realizes that the bankers aren’t giving him a good deal, he decides to stick to the world of illegal racketeering. What a half-hearted attempt. If I were his dad I would haunt the crap out of him.

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The 5 Most Memorable Movie Mindf*cks http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-5-most-memorable-movie-mindfcks/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-5-most-memorable-movie-mindfcks/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:00:01 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=245290 Yeah, Oldboy is on the list.

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Everybody with a brain likes a good mindf*ck once in a while, right? The damage done to your scalp from repeated head-scratching is nothing compared to the satisfaction and pleasure from a nice confusing narrative jolt. Of course, this doesn’t apply to the characters involved, who are often left shattered by the onscreen twists and turns. The characters in Retreat are no exception. So, in honor of the film’s DVD release on 2/21, open your mind up to five of the best cinematic mindf*cks of all time.

Check out all the Sony “Action Unleashed” DVDs!

Total Recall

Unlike the other movies on this list, Total Recall actually refers to its central twist as “a mindf*ck.” It goes like this: Arnold Schwarzenegger is an average, everyday family man living in the far-off future of 2084. One of the benefits of living in the future is that instead of going on an expensive vacation, you can get the memories of a vacation implanted in your skull – and these memories can even be exciting and dangerous adventures. That’s the option Arnie goes for, but it all goes awry when the dangerous adventure turns out to be real – or does it?

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7 Classic “Just One More Job, Then I’m Out” Movies http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-classic-just-one-more-job-then-im-out-movies/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-classic-just-one-more-job-then-im-out-movies/#comments Tue, 24 Jan 2012 17:00:06 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=243081 Just when they think they're out...

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If you saw the critically acclaimed and universally hailed Drive last year, then you watched a film that’s part of a long tradition and you may not have even known it: The “One More Job” movie. In case you’re unfamiliar with this iconic genre, it goes like this: The main character is a career criminal who wants to finally get out of his life of crime. But before he can, he has to pull “one more job” so he can get out for good. This almost always goes badly.

In honor of the January 31st release of Drive on Blu-rayTM and DVD, here are seven of the best examples of this storied subgenre.

Check out all the Sony “Action Unleashed” DVDs!

The Asphalt Jungle

Sterling Hayden plays Dix in this, the original heist movie. All he wants is to escape his horrible crime-ridden city to a farm on the country, with horses and stuff. But, as is usually the case, in order to do this he has to participate in One More Job. It should go off without a hitch, but you can guess that it doesn’t. Spoiler alert: He actually ends up making it to the farm, but it’s anybody’s guess how long he’ll be alive to enjoy it.

The Wild Bunch

Sometimes you don’t just want to get out of your outside-the-law lifestyle because you feel like it – sometimes that’s just the way the world around you is going. That’s the case in The Wild Bunch, in which a bunch of western cowboy outlaws (headed up by a never-grizzlier William Holden) seek to make one last big score before hanging up their hats and riding off into the sunset. They end up going on a bloody odyssey to hell, but that’s the risk, right?

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6 Non-Porn Porn Movies http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/6-non-porn-porn-movies/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/6-non-porn-porn-movies/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2012 16:25:03 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=242083 It's like porn, but it's not.

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Everyone loves porn stars. That’s why they’re called porn “stars” and not porn “pariahs,” porn “lepers,” or porn “disgusting outcasts.” And with Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star out now on Blu-ray™ & DVD, you might want to brush up on your non-porn porn. Here are some good old fashioned entertainments that aren’t porn, but feature plenty of porn stars, content related to porn, etc. – basically everything short of actual pornography. Enjoy!

Boogie Nights

PT Anderson‘s glorious epic about the world of 70s porn represents a bygone era in porn. This isn’t about people anonymously grunting all over each other, this is about when porn had a plot, man. And those plots revolved around young people with giant penises, like Mark Wahlberg’s Dirk Diggler. Watch it, and shed a single tear for the departure of the glory days or pornography. At least I hope that’s a tear.

The Girlfriend Experience

Here’s a movie that doesn’t just have a cameo from a porn star, but a full-blown starring role from none other than America’s Porn Star Sasha Grey. And she turns in a pretty good performance as an escort who specializes in “the girlfriend experience,” which makes clients believe they have something other than a hooker on their hands. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since director Steven Soderbergh has lots of experience working with non-professional actors. Which, hey, Grey’s a professional actor, when you get down to it.

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7 Movies That Will Terrify Your Inner Child http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/movies-that-will-terrify-your-inner-child/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/movies-that-will-terrify-your-inner-child/#comments Wed, 28 Dec 2011 00:01:42 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=240455 This should keep the little bastard quiet for a while.

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Although most therapists agree that your inner child needs to be nurtured and respected, sometimes you just want to scare the shit out of it instead. If this applies to you, maybe give some of these movies a shot. That should keep the little bastard quiet for a while, huh? Brought to you by Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, now available on Blu-ray & DVD.

Check out these other Sony “Action Unleashed” DVDs!

Super 8

Movies with children in peril tend to be pretty scary to kids, obviously because they see themselves in the middle of the action. And the action in Super 8 is as terrifying as you can get without veering into R-rated, too-shocking-to-resonate territory (I guess you could subject your inner child to Irreversible or The Last House on the Left, but what’s the fun in that? In addition to being scared, your inner child might feel a bit empowered too, since most of the anti-alien-monster heroics in Super 8 are performed by children.

It

Nothing is scarier to children, inner or otherwise, than evil clowns. And It, based on the novel by Stephen King, features the king of the killer clowns. Pennywise, played by Tim Curry, has the power to transform himself into whatever his victims fear the most. And for much of the movie, his victims (and the protagonists of the story) are little kids. No matter how tough your inner child is, he or she won’t be feeling the urge to go to the circus any time soon.

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The Most Brutal ‘Hostel’ Scenes Across The Series http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-most-brutal-hostel-scenes-across-the-series/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-most-brutal-hostel-scenes-across-the-series/#comments Wed, 21 Dec 2011 00:57:36 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=239939 Enjoy, sickos.

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The Hostel movies are famous for their depictions of graphic and brutal violence. Also for their social satire… or something– but mostly, yeah, violence. Here, in anticipation of the release of Hostel: Part III, is a handy guide to some (but nowhere near all) of the most brutal violence that the Hostel movies have to offer. No plot, no characters, just pure hardcore brutality. Enjoy, sickos.

Check out all the Sony “Action Unleashed” DVD titles!

Scalpel Slice/Toilet Drowning, Hostel

The poor bastard in this sequence of the first movie is like most of the victims of the Hostel movies– he’s kind of a dick. But not even the most strident anti-douchebag activist would agree that he deserves the fate he ends up with. First, his fingers are sliced off with a scalpel (note to amateur doctors out there: That’s not how you’re supposed to use a scalpel) before he gets drowned in a toilet. Have you ever been in a toilet? It’s no fun. Oh, and after that his throat gets slashed. The technical term for this is called a “bad vacation.”

Drill Kill, Hostel

Electric drills have a lot of great uses around the house. But did you know you could use them to torture and kill a bound hostage? The killers in Hostel do, and they use their knowledge pretty much like you’d expect. If you like (according to the IMDb parental guide) “explicit close-ups” of a person getting taken to torture town via an electric drill, this scene is for you. And if the drill’s not enough, I hear he also gets his Achilles tendons slashed.

Blowtorch Burn, Hostel

It’s unlikely that a blowtorch would ever be used to do anything other than “burning,” but that doesn’t make this poor girl‘s face hurt any less. In one of the most graphic on-screen facial burnings that would make Freddy Krueger blush, a woman’s face is melted to the point where her eyeball hangs out. Don’t worry though, it’s quickly snatched up and cut off by a friendly eyeball collector. There’s still a bit of a pus problem though.

Chainsaw Maiming, Hostel

The chainsaw is a classic horror movie weapon, so the Hostel movies would be remiss if they didn’t include at least one graphic maiming with a chainsaw. And this one is quite a doozy, with none of those fancy off-frame or cutaway tricks other movies use to show people getting sliced up with chainsaws. You just see the guy’s legs get chopped off. It’s kind of awesome.

Genital Fetch, Hostel: Part II

It’s especially tough to watch a guy’s, uh, “Hostels Parts I and II” get damaged in anyway, and this scene in Hostel: Part II doesn’t pull the punch. The poor guy’s junk gets sliced off by a pair of shears, and then tossed to a dog. A dog, of all things! Now he’ll probably never get his boys back. Oh well, he just bleeds to death anyway.

Bathtub Scythe, Hostel: Part II

In one of the most famous bits of violence in the Hostel movies, one girl hangs another girl above her bathtub, before going to town with a scythe. And call me sexist, but she seems to really be getting into it, though. Like, really into it. This image of girl-on-girl violence made it into some of the movie’s promotional materials, but the real thing in the movie is still genuinely disturbing. Unless you’re into watching a chick bathe in another’s blood. Which, let’s face it, you probably are.

Head Soccer, Hostel: Part II

Sometimes it’s what happens to a person’s head after it gets cut off that sticks in the memory. In this case, a woman’s head gets chopped off in the woods before getting used as a soccer ball by two young boys. And if you’ve ever watched little kids play soccer, you know they’re not exactly respectful of the sphere they’re kicking around. Oh well, she wasn’t using it anyway.

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The 5 Best ‘Underworld’ Fight Scenes http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-5-best-underworld-fight-scenes/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-5-best-underworld-fight-scenes/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2011 18:45:47 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=239835 Werewolves and Vampires do not play well.

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The Underworld movies (or “the Underworld trilogy of films”) are famous for their depictions of werewolf-on-vampire violence, and vice versa. With the entire series getting updated with a newly released “Essential Collection Blu-ray™ Trilogy Set (complete with three never-before-seen Underworld anime shorts), it might be a good time to explore the best examples of that violence in the series. So tighten your black leather fightin’ suits, gang, it’s werewolf-and-vampire-killin’ time!

Click here for all the Sony “Action Unleashed” DVDs!

Selene vs. Michael vs. Viktor , Underworld

The only thing tougher to deal with than a vampire and/or a werewolf is a vampire-werewolf hybrid, as you can see in the character of Michael, who was unfortunately transformed into one. You might not know it to see him fight Elder Vampire Viktor, though, who uses his experience in the field of supernatural ass-kicking to make quick work of him. Thankfully Kate Beckinsale‘s Selene and a big old sword were also present, giving Viktor only a few moments before part of his head gets sliced off the, uh, rest of his head. Ouch.

Michael vs William/Selene vs. Markus, Underworld Evolution

Lots of action movies utilize the technique of two simultaneous fights on two different fronts, and the sequel to Underworld is no different. Vampire twins Markus and William are up against our friends Selene and Michael – with one crucial difference: Selene has recently ingested some wild super vampire blood of her own, which gives her powers she never had before. For example, she pulls a spike out of her chest and drives it through Markus’ head. Michael takes a less elegant approach, opting to tear his guy’s head off. Whatever works.

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7 Victims Who Fought Back With A Vengeance http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-victims-who-fought-back-with-a-vengeance/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-victims-who-fought-back-with-a-vengeance/#comments Tue, 13 Dec 2011 18:58:42 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=239507 They've taken all they can stand.

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Straw Dogs becomes available on Blu-ray™ and DVD December 20th, which means you can watch James Marsden house Alexander Skarsgard in the comfort of your living room. The story centers around Marsden, a big city screenwriter and his hot wife played by Kate Bosworth. When backwater locals notice that nerdy Marsden has a hot wife, they decide to terrorize the couple in the hopes of getting some. These dudes are total charmers.

The brewing conflict explodes and the couple must fight for their lives with James Marsden’s character finding the guts to stand up for himself and his family. That’s why you do not mess with a writer, and by extension a blogger. We’re not afraid to get creative with power tools.

Take a look at all the Sony “Action Unleashed” DVDs!

The Crow

You simply cannot run around killing terrible musicians and their fiancées. Not only is it rude, but it’s also dangerous. You never know when your victim is going to return from the grave with super powers and systematically kill you and your cohorts. Did you learn nothing from watching RoboCop?

Revenge of the Nerds

You can only be pushed so far, even if you’re a nerd. When terrorized by the big men on campus, a group of nerdy students band together to turn the tables on the jocks. In this scenario, an upper-decker simply will not suffice. What they need to do is beat these jerks at their own game. Which means, they best them at the Annual Greek Games, steal their homes, and then their girlfriends.

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7 Classic Action Films Even A Film Snob Can Love http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-classic-action-films-even-a-film-snob-can-love/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-classic-action-films-even-a-film-snob-can-love/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2011 14:00:38 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=234644 Even film snobs like explosions from time to time.

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David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai came out on Blu-ray a few weeks ago, the latest in a series of classic movies recently given the HD upgrade. Film snobs know that this is one of the greatest action/adventure movies ever made – and since I’m feeling generous, here are seven classic action films that can satisfy both the boring-film snob and the action-craving frat boy in all of us.

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The Bridge on the River Kwai

In addition to being a classic action film featuring one of the all-time great screen ‘splosions, The Bridge on the River Kwai has many things a true film snobs will appreciate: immaculate compositions, a refined sense of tension and suspense, great performances from William Holden, Alec Guinness, and Sessue Hayakawa, and a classic and unforgettable score. On the other hand, action fans will appreciate the exciting plot and the famous railroad explosion at the climax of the movie.

The Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa‘s pioneering action movie has the battle scenes that both film snobs and their less-evolved brethren will appreciate, albeit for possibly different reasons. They’re exciting, dramatic, and technically impressive. But they’re also highly influential among later action movies. Just one example of this is Kurosawa’s use of slow-motion, now a familiar device in action movies to make something look extra badass.

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9 Most Ruthless Movie Gangsters http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/9-most-ruthless-movie-gangsters/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/9-most-ruthless-movie-gangsters/#comments Wed, 13 Jul 2011 23:09:00 +0000 Screen Junkies http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=219746 They'll gun you down and sleep like a baby.

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What makes a ruthless gangster? Is it a willingness to kill, and the ability to treat human life as nothing more than an a speed bump on the road to power and wealth? Yep, pretty much.

Well, that was an easy question, wasn’t it?

With that in mind, and in honor of the release of Boyz n the Hood on Blu-ray DVD, we present to you 9 of the most ruthless gangsters of the silver screen.

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Gangster 55 – Gangster No. 1 (2000)

How “gangster” is the main character from Gangster No. 1. He’s so gangster that he doesn’t even have a name. IMDB simply lists him as “Gangster 55.” Of course, what’s in a name? I can call myself the king of Spain, but that doesn’t make it so. However, this character more than lives up to his title, dishing out one of the most brutal beat downs in cinema history, and cutting his rival’s girlfriend’s throat without a second thought.

O-Dog – Menace II Society (1993)

Killing a rival gang member in a turf war is cold, but at the same time, it’s part of the game. Shooting a simple convenience store owner and his wife because he mentions your mother; that’s pretty damn ruthless. As such, O-Dog earned a place on this list.

Doughboy – Boyz n the Hood (1991)

When their friend Ricky is gunned down by gangbangers, both Doughboy and Tré vow to avenge his death. But when push comes to shove, only Doughboy has the ruthless nature necessary to carry out the act. Of course, that same willingness to kill made him a target, and two weeks later he was gunned down in a reprisal shooting, so maybe violence isn’t the answer after all. Just kidding. Kill or be killed, bitch.

Frank Lucas – American Gangster (2007)

Like Gangster No. 1, American Gangster has “gangster” in the title, which almost guarantees the film’s protagonist, Frank Lucas, a spot on the list. Well, even without the name, the film begins with Lucas burning and shooting a man to death, and goes down hill from there, leaving no doubt to his ruthless nature.

Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson – Hoodlum (1997)

Hoodlum is far from the best movie on the list, but there’s no questioning Bumpy Johnson’s ruthlessness. After all, Johnson was Frank Lucas’s mentor. And if Frank Lucas learned how to be a sociopath from you, you’re definitely not afraid to get your hands dirty.

Marcellus Wallace – Pulp Fiction (1994)

Does Marcellus Wallace look like a bitch? Well, in the picture above, he probably does, considering he’s about to get rapped by two deviant hillbillies. But Wallace manages to survive the ordeal, and ruthlessly shoots his attacker in the crotch with a shotgun. He then goes the extra mile, keeping the man alive in order to have him tortured with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch. On a list about ruthless gangsters, it takes that type of creativity to get noticed.

Li’l Zé – City of God (2002)

How ruthless is Li’l Zé? As a child, even before his rise to power in the slums of Rio, he was responsible for a mass murder at a local motel. To make matters worse, the killings served no purpose, aside from Li’l Zé’s personal amusement. If you’re killing for fun while most kids your age are out playing soccer, you’ve earned a spot on this list.

Nino Brown – New Jack City (1991)

With Nino Brown, “It’s always business. Never personal.” This mantra allows him to carry out some truly ruthless acts, like killing an innocent woman as part of his gang initiation. But in the end, business becomes personal, as Brown is gunned down by an outraged member of the community who takes the law into his own hands.

Tony Montana – Scarface (1983)

Guns, chainsaws, car bombs: Tony Montana uses ever weapon available to control his drug empire. But what sets him apart from the rest is his willingness to kill his best friend and right-hand man after discovering he had been sleeping with his sister behind his back. Tony didn’t even wait around long enough to find out that the two were in love and planned to marry. Whoops!

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9 Creepiest Movie Haunted Houses http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/9-creepiest-movie-haunted-houses/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/9-creepiest-movie-haunted-houses/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2011 20:34:19 +0000 Screen Junkies http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=219601 An eccentric millionaire paid me to write this list.

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While you aren’t likely to come across a ghost in the course of your day to day routine, there is no shortage of paranormal hauntings coming out of Hollywood. In fact, movies about haunted houses are almost as old as the film industry itself. In honor of the latest addition to the genre–Insidious, on Blu-ray & DVD now–I’ve compiled this list of the nine creepiest haunted house films. I suggest reading it in a Victorian-era mansion belonging to an eccentric millionaire, perhaps on the anniversary of a mass murder.

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9 Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal Activity tells the story of a young couple living in a new home who are stalked by a demonic presence. In order to capture evidence of the supernatural being, they deploy surveillance cameras, which give the film a documentary-like feel. The film was well received by audiences and critics alike, but as the most recent entry on this list, I felt obligated to place it at the bottom. Only time will tell how this modern take on a classic premise holds up.

8. The Haunting (1963)

In an effort to prove the existence of the supernatural, Dr. John Markway, along with three companions, sets out to investigate the Hill House. It isn’t long until strange occurrences begin to plague the group. But like most good horror films, all is not what it seems.

7. The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

When a young boy named Carlos is made parentless by the Spanish Civil War, he becomes the newest resident of a local orphanage. But after spening some time in his new home, Carlos realizes that humans aren’t the only inhabitants roaming the grounds. If you like Guillermo del Toro, you owe it to yourself to check out this often overshadowed entry in his filmography.

6. The Changeling (1980)

The Changeling tells the story of Dr. John Russell (played by Oscar winner George C. Scott), who is trying to piece his life back together after the death of is wife and child. While renting a Victorian-era home in the Seattle area, the ghost of a murdered child begins haunting him. His investigation of the child’s death leads Russell to many unanswered questions involving a powerful local family that is desperate to let sleeping dogs lie.

5. The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Belasco House is refereed to as the “Mount Everest” of haunted houses. This is due in no small part to the fact that is was the site of a mass murder which is thought to have been carried out by the home’s now-missing owner, Emeric Belasco. At the behest of an eccentric millionaire, physicist Lionel Barrett sets out for the home in order to prove the existence of life after death, but ends up risking his own life in the process.

4. The House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Vincent Price plays eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren in this horror classic in which five people are invited to spend the night in Loren’s haunted mansion. If they live through the night, they will receive $10,000 each (it was a lot of cash back in 1959). In order to up the ante, the guests are all armed with handguns. Add the threat of the supernatural to the mix, and it’s not hard to imagine what could go wrong with this scenario.

3. The Amityville Horror (1979)

Based on a book by the same name, Amityville Horror was reportedly based on a “true story.” And like most horror films that are based on a “true story,” the story in question turned out to be absolute bullshit. Even so, the film is one of the creepiest of all time. When the Lutz family buys their supposed dream home, they are fully aware that it was the site of a mass murder. But what can go wrong? After all, houses don’t have memories, right? If that were the case, it would have made for a very boring film.

2. The Poltergeist (1982)

Steven Spielberg‘s addition to the horror genre tells the story of the Freeling family, and the supernatural forces attempting to drive them from their new home. As the film progresses, the paranormal activity increases, and experts are called in to asses the situation. As it turns out, the home was built on the site of a grave yard, and while developers moved the gravestones, they neglected to move the graves. This doesn’t sit will with the ghosts of the graves’ inhabitants, and it doesn’t bode well for the Freeling’s youngest daughter.

1. The Shining (1980)

This Stanley Kubrick classic has become one of the most influential horror films of all time, casting its shadow not only on the horror genre, but throughout pop-culture. Jack Nicholson stars as Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who agrees to take a job as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. While he plans to use the job’s extensive free time to further his writing career, the ghosts who inhabit the hotel have other ideas. Apparitions plague Jack and his family, pushing him beyond the brink of homicidal madness.

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9 Most Ravenous Movie Vampires http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/9-most-ravenous-movie-vampires-2/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/9-most-ravenous-movie-vampires-2/#comments Tue, 03 May 2011 12:58:11 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=206424 We're not talking about shirtless, sparkly, slightly feminine teenage boys.

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If you’re anything like me, the word “vampire” conjures up the image of a shirtless, sparkly, slightly feminine teenage boy. Of course, that seems to be my brain’s default image, but I digress. Believe it or not, there was a time before Twilight when vampires were considered horrifying creatures rather than moody young metro-sexuals. The new film, Priest, hearkens back to those simpler times when these blood suckers were something you wanted to avoid at all costs rather than something you wanted to ask to the prom. In honor of the return of terrifying vampires to the big screen, we present to you the nine most ravenous vampires of all time.

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Prince Mamuwalde – Blacula (1972)

In Blacula, Prince Mamuwalde is an 18th century prince who wants to put an end to the slave trade. Naturally, he goes to Count Dracula for help, because if there’s anyone who can stop the transatlantic slave trade, it’s an undead Transylvanian nobleman. Things go badly for the prince, and he is transformed into a vampire. Through a series of unfortunate events, he ends up in 1970′s Los Angeles and begins killing again. But at least he does so with style.

Severen – Near Dark (1987)

Caleb Colton thought he was going to get lucky when he met a young girl named Mae. Instead, he was bitten, and turned into a vampire. But despite his new lifestyle, Caleb is still squeamish about the whole “killing humans to feed” thing. This doesn’t sit well with the other vampires, including Severen (Bill Paxton). He likes Caleb even less when it is discovered that a blood transfusion can return vampires to human form. The two end up fighting, and things do not end up well for one of them.

David – Lost Boys (1987)

Before he was draining blood from terrorists on”24,” Kiefer Sutherland was sucking blood in Lost Boys. As David, he played the leader of a local gang in a small California town. However, as it turns out, the gang is more than just a group of thugs. Can you guess their secret? Yep! They’re vampires!

Jerry Dandridge – Fright Night (1985)

When Charley Brewster discovers that his neighbor Jerry Dandridge is a vampire, no one will believe his story: not his mom, not his girlfriend, not the police. With all other options exhausted, he turns to vampire hunter Peter Vincent to sort things out.

Santánico Pandemónium – From Dusk till Dawn (1996)

Santánico Pandemónium is one ravenous vampire. She’s also hot as hell. Honestly, I would risk death by vampire for a chance with Salma Hayek.

Martin – Martin (1977)

This often overlooked vampire film is from George A. Romero, a director better known as the father of the modern zombie film. However, he also put a unique spin on the vampire genre.

Lestat De Lioncourt – Interview with a Vampire (1994)

In the intro, I lamented the way Twilight feminized vampires. However, Interview with a Vampire is just as guilty, if not more so. However, the film takes place in the 1700′s, so it should get a pass. After all, it’s hard not to look girlie in a powdered wig.

Dracula – Dracula (1931)

Béla Lugosi stars in this adaptation of Bram Stoker‘s classic novel. Dracula became the standard by which all other vampire films would be judged.

Nosferatu – Nosferatu (1922)

Even before Dracula hit the silver screen, there was Nosferatu. The film told the story of Count Orlok, a Transylvania nobleman with a penchant for sucking blood. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s a direct rip off of Stoker’s Dracula. When the producers of the film could not secure the rights, they simply decided to steal the story. Even so, their film is widely considered one of the greatest horror films of all time.

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