I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Archive for March, 2010

Anybody in North Carolina?

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

tn_actionfestYou’ve probly all read about this already but I figure it’s my duty not to ignore the existence of ACTIONFEST, “the film festival with a body count,” which is probly the first film festival dedicated just to action movies. It’s taking place April 15-18 in Asheville, North Carolina.

The websight is a little weird because it has a huge collage of movie posters for classic action movies (SHAFT, ROBOCOP, ENTER THE DRAGON, MAD MAX, BULLITT, DIE HARD, DIRTY HARRY, HARD BOILED…), not a single one of which is playing at the festival or has in the past, since this is the first one. Also they use a shot of that awesome car jump in DEAD END DRIVE-IN, which isn’t playing either. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Butcher

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

tn_butcherThere are plenty of things wrong with the 2009 DTV crime movie THE BUTCHER. It’s made entirely of cliches. The filmatism is sometimes awkward and crude. It’s longer and more repetitive than necessary. There’s not much of a sense of danger, because the hero keeps getting in shootouts where all he does is hit everybody while they miss him. He keeps leaving his girl in the car, defenseless, and nobody ever notices her. And the things that are bad aren’t funny-bad.

So this is DTV through and through, but the things I liked about it won the fight with the things I didn’t. And the main thing I liked was Eric Roberts. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

tn_squeakquelThe life cycle of urban slang:

Stage 1: The miracle of birth. Somewhere in the United States, young African Americans decide to start using “holla” (as in “holler”) to describe talking to each other. “If you need anything, holla at me.”

Stage 2: The use of “holla” spreads and evolves. At some point, a rapper decides to yell it to a crowd, a call for a response. “HOLLA!” It becomes a trademark catchphrase for the Rocafella label. Other rappers like it, want to get in on the action.

Stage 3: Holla becames available for home use. People full of hot air who are in jobs where it’s important to maintain an image of with-it-ness (mostly commercial radio DJs and BET hosts) overuse the term.

Stage 4: White people find out and start using it. They sort of have a sense of what it might mean, but it doesn’t matter because it’s divorced of all context. It’s supposed to automatically denote insider status or “being down.” The meaning of the word “Holla!” is now “I have heard this word, ‘Holla!’ and I can prove it by saying it out loud!”

Final stage: A cartoon animal or elderly person says it in a movie, and that’s supposed to be funny.

Note: This scene also contains fistbumping
Note: This scene also contains fistbumping

(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Alvin and the Chipmunks (not the squeakquel – the nutriginal)

Monday, March 29th, 2010

tn_alvinLet’s say you are an adult male, single. You’re unhappy with your advertising job, but you are a home owner, and you also own a whole bunch of instruments and recording equipment for pursuing your true passion of songwriting. You even have a very good connection – a college friend who runs a huge record label and who’s willing to listen to your demos. Only problem is your music is corny and old-fashioned, and he’s looking for terrible and new-fashioned. Also, you’re lonely because you were Afraid Of Commitment so your model-looking girlfriend left you. Then one day you steal an entire basket of muffins for no reason, and your hearing, eyesight and powers of observation are so off-the-charts terrible that you do not notice three large, talking anthropomorphized chipmunks loudly hanging from and climbing into your basket while you’re carrying it. So they hide in your house and eat a bunch of your food and for some reason you keep not hearing them even though they’re talking at normal volume in the same room as you. But you finally notice them so one of them farts in your face, they break a jar over your head and think they killed you so they discuss disposing of your body.

But when you wake up you throw them out of your house and then you hear them singing. You thought they could only talk but it turns out they can also sing. So what do you do? (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Flaming Star

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

tn_flamingstarFLAMING STAR is a Don Siegel western about a mixed-race family – a white man, his white son, his Native American wife, and their son together, Pacer. They all get it from both sides but especially Pacer, who has one foot in each world. The whites won’t even speak to him after a Kiowa massacre of a white family, and at the same time he’s being pressured by the new chief to turn his back on the white man and become a Kiowa warrior. Not like the chief gives two shits about him, he just wants him for the propaganda value, to be able to show somebody who turned their back on the white man. But Pacer doesn’t want to do it and thinks they’ll kill him when he says no.

He and his mother go into the Kiowa village to try to talk their way out of it. Pacer is convinced he’ll be forced to say no in front of everybody, but in fact the chief respects his bravery and allows him to leave peacefully to consider it more. They shouldn’t have been so distrustful. Ironically it’s a white man, an old friend, who ambushes them when they’re leaving.

Oh, and by the way Pacer is played by Elvis Presley. You know, the singer. I should’ve mentioned that probly. That might be relevant to how you’ll react to this one. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Switching servers

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

computerThe outlawvern.com technical squad (Chris – not pictured) has determined that moving to a new server will help us in our goal of bringing unparalleled filmatistic analysis to the ladies and gentlemen of the internet. The switch is planned for 11:30 pm eastern time Friday night, so there will be some downtime then while it takes place.

No big deal, I just thought I would give a heads up so all the weird automated spammers will know to get their “this is a very insightful blog, I will be visiting again! cheap acne medication!” posts finished before then.

Thanks everybody.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Party in Rio

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

tn_partyinrioCITY OF GOD, CITY OF MEN and NEWS FROM A PERSONAL WAR got me interested in what’s going on in Brazil. For further research I decided to check out this video I’d always meant to see, an enlightening travel documentary about Arnold Schwarzenegger visiting Rio De Janeiro during Carnaval.

You young people probly think Schwarznegger is merely the governor of California who used to star in great movies like COMMANDO and TOTAL RECALL, but in fact he is also the former Mr. Universe and notorious horndog. This was 1983, after CONAN THE BARBARIAN but before THE TERMINATOR, and it’s the sort of video that probly mostly played after midnight on Cinemax.

(You young people probly think Cinemax was merely a channel that showed movies. In fact it was what kids used to see boobs before the invention of the internet if they couldn’t find their dad’s stash of Playboys.) (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

City of God and News From a Personal War

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

tn_cityofgodSomehow I made it to the futuristic year of 2010 without ever seeing CITY OF GOD. I don’t know, just one of those things I never got around to, like skydiving or owning a house. But hey, the rest of the world: you were right! This is a good one.

You remember it: Crime in the slums of Rio De Janeiro, etc. The filmatism is frantic: alot of quick edits, handheld cameras, montages with lots of closeups, even some bullet time-esque rotating cameras. Occasionally it’s disorienting (especially since I’m trying to read the subtitles) but I think it’s closer to Scorsese energetic edits than, you know, that slapdash post Michael Bay shit we keep getting. And in contrast with many of that type it’s not slick or digital, it’s grungy and organic. It’s shot on location in the real favelas, with a cast mostly of real slum kids. So it looks like nothing you’ve seen before. (Except CITY OF GOD, since you all saw it a long time ago. Sorry, I’m catching up. Or SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, since they used pretty much the exact same approach, just in a different country.) (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Capitalism: A Love Story

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

tn_capitalismI think the end of the Bush era killed most of the demand for left wing documentaries. I think I heard Robert Greenwald is managing a food co-op or something.

Remember when FAHRENHEIT 9-11 came out? It was a phenomenon. I remember I tried to get tickets online and literally every show in Seattle was sold out. I had to go out of town to wait in a long line to see it. It seemed like such a huge deal then because it was like shit, finally. Finally somebody saying something.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Bonnie and Clyde

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

tn_bonnieandclydeIt is a time of economic turmoil. The gap between the haves and the have-nots keeps getting wider and wider, like a hippopotamus’s mouth when he yawns. Hard-working people hit some bad luck and they lose their homes, property and life savings to the banks. Anger rises, and in the face of cruel systems too complex for guys like me to understand, it’s easy to fall into simplistic stick-it-to-the-man sentiment. These faceless institutions seem to be crushing people under their boots, and we want revenge. If a company can have the rights of a human being, it ought to feel the pain of a human being. We want it to suffer.

Am I talking about today? No, I’m talking about the Great Depression, as depicted in the movie BONNIE AND CLYDE. Arthur Penn directs Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the legendary armed-robber couple whose sex appeal and brazen outlaw lifestyle made them a media sensation in the early ’30s. You know come to think of it though I did say “we” a bunch of times, as if I was talking about us right here, the people alive now, that seems a little misleading if I was really talking about the movie. We’re not in the movie, we’re in today. Wait a minute, maybe I really was talking about today? I think maybe I was. Ah, shit. I can’t remember anymore. I get them mixed up. Man, I really fucked up this opening. Forget about this. Let’s start over. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.