Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Well that’s a bland as fuck horror title. I mean, there’s no way it could subvert any tropes or expectations within the horror genre. No way. Whatsoever. None. Zero. Nada. Nah. Nuh-uh. N- you see where this is going, aren’t you?

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Cabin in the Woods”.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: A group of pesky youngsters travel into the middle of fucking nowhere to stay in a cabin for a weekend. But it doesn’t take too long for their weekend to get ruined by something sinister. Yes, it does indulge a bit in a lot of old school horror tropes… but then it also satirizes them the rest of the time. You can tell that the people crafting the story have a love for the genre and its cliches, but also know when to poke fun of and subvert them. It puts an insanely unique and fun spin on horror that I found really clever and enjoyable.

The characters in this are for the most part walking cliches… but then there are moments where their identities are subverted ever so slightly. The shit they do with these characters is quite fun. And the lead cast, consisting of people like Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams, all do wonders with what they’re given. And in the supporting cast you have people like Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, and Amy Acker, all doing very well in their roles too.

The score for the movie was composed by David Julyan, and I think he did a pretty great job with it. It’s sometimes more subtle and ominous, and sometimes bombastic and thrilling. It’s just a really well composed score that works quite well for the movie. Not much else I can say on that.

“The Cabin in the Woods” was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, and Goddard directing it (this being his debut). And man, they knocked it out of the park with that. While the movie is mostly concerned with pointing at horror tropes and satirizing them, they of course also have to indulge in them a bit, creating some genuinely suspenseful and gruesome scenes that add to the overall experience quite well. There is also a good amount of humor strewn throughout the movie, and it made me laugh… ’tis very funny.

This movie has been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and and fresh certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“The Cabin in the Woods” is fucking rad. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *BOO*. My final score for “The Cabin in the Woods” is a 9,89/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Cabin in the Woods” is now completed.

Hell yeah.

Movie Review: Serenity (2005)

Once upon a time, there was a tv show called “Firefly”. It was this well-written genre-bending sci-fi show about a group of space cowboys and the adventures they went on. It was beloved by many, but was unfortunately canceled after only 14 episodes. Fans were devastated. But two years after it got canceled, fans saw something shiny in the distance. Was it a continuation of the show? Yes it was. And today we’re taking a look at it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Serenity”.

Set after the events of the show, we once again follow the crew of the ship Serenity, led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), as they are hunted down by a mysterious assassin (Chiwetel Ejiofor) hellbent on getting to a specific member of the crew. So now we have our space opera featuring cowboys. And I found this to be a really good plot. It feels like an extended episode of the show, giving us the fun space adventure we wanted while also further evolving the universe. And I also think it works the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen the show before. Sure, people might be slightly lost on a few aspects, but it’s not so ingrained in the show’s plotlines that it would alienate general audiences. And I do in think this is a fun, suspenseful, emotional, and overall well told story.

The characters in this are layered, unique, interesting, and overall entertaining. While I’m sure there are those of you here who are unfamiliar with these characters, I will not go in-depth with those returning from the show as it would make this post last far too long. But in that group we have Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, and Ron Glass, all giving great performances throughout, and most getting some good development throughout. Let’s talk about Chiwetel Ejiofor as the film’s villain, simply known as The Operative. He’s a calm, well-spoken, and generally diplomatic guy who is a highly capable killer. And that makes him quite an interesting villain, making him a good foe for our beloved heroes. And Ejiofor is really good in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like David Krumholtz, Michael Hitchcock, Sarah Paulson, Yan Feldman, Rafael Feldman, Tamara Taylor, and more, all giving solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by David Newman, and I think he did a really good job with it. As expected from something that is about cowboys, it of course takes a lot of inspiration from western and country, with various string-based instruments used throughout to give off that cowboy-ish vibe. But there are also some tracks implementing the sort of percussion and brass one can expect from a lot of sci-fi. And it all comes together to create a fun, engaging, and emotional score.

As previously mentioned, “Serenity” is a follow-up to the tv show “Firefly”, which was created by Joss Whedon. And this movie is written and directed by Whedon as well, who does a great job bringing the stuff I love about the show to a larger scale. The fast-paced action, the intimate conversations between characters, and the overall fun vibe that the show always had. And yes, the snappy dialogue of course makes a return, and it’s just as funny and enjoyable as it was in the show. And the cinematography by Jack Green was really good, giving us a lot of cool shots. The visual effects can be hit or miss, but I don’t mind too much, especially since I know that this was a lower budget production (compared to a lot of contemporary movies). Overall the technical stuff just comes together nicely.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Serenity” is not only a good continuation of the “Firefly” universe, but it’s also an overall enjoyable sci-fi romp. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography/effects/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Serenity” is a 9,82/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Serenity” is now completed.

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me

Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Cinematic universes. Something every studio is trying to pull off after Marvel’s success with it. Most notably we’ve had DC/Warner Bros trying to catch up with their own DC Extended Universe. And it’s been a bit hit and miss for critics and general audiences alike. So let’s see if their big team-up movie is any good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League”.

When our world is threatened by the evil alien Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) have to create a team of superpowered individuals to try to stop this dangerous new enemy. And that’s really all this is about. Okay, there’s a bit more to it, but I prefer to keep plot details relatively vague. Now is this a good plot? For the most part I’d say so. It’s a very straight-forward plot compared to some of the earlier outings in this franchise. I think my only problem with it is that it feels a bit choppy during the first act, like it’s been cut down to fit in a two hour runtime (which it most likely has). But that choppy start aside, this is a fun, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable comic book adventure plot.

The characters in this vary a bit in their depth, but I found most of them to at least be quite enjoyable. Ben Affleck reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and we can tell that he has changed a bit since “BvS”. After what happened at the end of that movie, he has become a somewhat more light-hearted, less homicidal hero. And I liked seeing him as he worked to getting the team together to stop the end of the world. And Affleck is once again great in the role. Next we once again have Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She’s once again a fiercely inspiring, fun, and warm character that I’d follow to hell and back. Seeing her working to get the team together and all that is really interesting, and she’s once again a really cool character. And Gadot is once again great in the role. Next up we have Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash. He gets some decent character development, but for the most part he’s there to be the comic relief, and he works really well for that while still getting some badass moments. And I thought Miller was great in the role. Next we have Ray Fisher as Cyborg, the genius, yet damaged mechanical member of the gang. He gets a decent amount of character development here and I thought he was a really cool character. And Fisher was really good in the role. Next we have Jason Momoa as Aquaman, the half man/half Atlantean warrior. He is very much a superpowered version of Jason Momoa, and I think it kind of works because I find that persona quite enjoyable. So yeah, Momoa was really good in the role. Henry Cavill returns as Superman, and the little we see of him here is my favorite appearance of the character in this franchise. And Cavill was really good in the role. Now, let’s talk Steppenwolf (no, not the band). As a villain he’s… fine, I guess. He’s a big CGI monster with some lines hinting at some deeper stuff, but ultimately ends up becoming kind of generic. Thought Ciarán Hinds did a really good job voicing him though, suitably menacing. We also get supporting performances from people like Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Billy Crudup, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, and more… all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and it was pretty good. Nothing special, heroic big brass tunes with some strings thrown in for added effect. It’s far from bad, and the various tracks work well within their respective scenes. And for those wondering about that “Danny Elfman to use Batman and Superman themes in the score”, it does occur, but it’s more snuck in rather than just overtly used as their own tracks… and I think it works surprisingly well.

The movie was directed by Zack Snyder… and Joss Whedon. As most people probably know, this movie had a very troubled production, with Snyder having to leave the project due to a personal tragedy, so Joss Whedon had to come in and do some reshoots. These things considered, the direction here is quite consistent. When a new director comes in to do reshoots, it could feel like a different movie in parts, but it’s remarkable how consistent it feels here. So is the direction in general any good? Yeah. It’s good, it flows pretty nicely, there’s some good shots here. And the action I quite liked. Now, it didn’t leave the same impact as the action in “Wonder Woman”, but it was easy to follow and I had quite a lot of fun with it. What I liked most about it was seeing the various heroes show off their abilities, with The Flash and his speedforce being the standout. And the visual effects here are for the most part damn good. Some things look a little off at times, from some backgrounds, to closeups of Steppenwolf (BORN TO BE WIIIIIILD!), to even Cyborg at times. But like I said, for the most part the effects look great (again, The Flash having some of the best ones).

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 40% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 45/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Despite a few flaws (that probably stem from production issues), I had a lot of fun with “Justice League”. It has a good plot, good characters, good music, and good directing/action/visual effects/humor. As previously mentioned, the plot is a bit choppy at the start, the villain is a bit bland, and the effects could be less than stellar at times. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League” is an 8,52/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Justice League” is now completed.

Come Together…

My Top 13 Favorite Superhero Movies

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Hey guys, once again it is time for a Top 10 (not really). And by Top 10 I mean Top 13 because I felt like I couldn’t exclude some of these. I was thinking “Hmmm, I need to make a new Top 10… but what kind?”. Then I remembered that “Ant-Man” is coming out this year (And for those of you who have al ready gotten it, we here in Sweden don’t get it until wednesday). And that made me think about superheroes. So to commemorate “Ant-Man” coming out, let’s talk about my favorite Superhero movies of all time(ish).

Rule #1: This rule should be a given at this point; this is my list so if you don’t agree with it, you have no right to bitch and moan about it.
Rule #2: Keep in mind that the title says “Superhero Movies”. This means that is can really be anything about a superhero, the movies doesn’t need to be strictly based on comic books. It also means that “Guardians of the Galaxy” won’t be on the list because that is a space/sci-fi movie and not about superheroes.
Rule #3: Only one movie per series. This means that I might only have ONE “Iron Man” movie or only ONE “Captain America” movie. This limits the list a little bit. However, reboots don’t count since they aren’t really part of the same series.
Rule #4: Keep in mind that I haven’t seen every superhero movie ever. So you will not see movies like “The Crow” or “Blade” or “Megamind” on this list.

Now that the rules are out of the way, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… My Top 13 Favorite Superhero Movies!

Number 13: Superman (1978)
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The oldest movie on the list. This is one of the first superhero movies ever made that actually worked, no the 1966 “Batman” and his shark-repellent does not count even though it is fucking hilarious. No, this is the movie that showed that superhero movies could be made and be good. The only reason it isn’t higher is because I have really not seen this movie since I was like 10, but I do remember liking it. So that is why it is on the lowest spot.

Number 12: Watchmen (2009)
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When this movie came out it got incredibly mixed reception. A lot of people enjoyed it, a lot of people hated it. Me? Well as you may have perceived, I liked it. Do I think it’s perfect? Not at all. For one, it feels a little too long for it’s own good. Second of all, too much blue dick! But despite my problems with the movie, I still enjoyed it a lot for it’s cool action scenes, fantastic soundtrack and Jackie Earle Haley’s performance as Rorshach. He was fantastic in the movie.

Number 11: V For Vendetta (2006)
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Remember remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason Should ever be forgot. The poem of Guy Fawkes and his attempt to take down the parliament with explosives. And then V (Hugo Weaving) comes in with a Guy Fawkes mask and has a plan similar to Fawkes’. A very thought provoking movie with a lot to say. It is also the last movie that the Wachowski’s had a hand in before they lost their fucking minds (Sidenote: I have not yet seen their show “Sense8” which I have heard is pretty great). But this is an excellent movie featuring a genuinely fantastic performance from Natalie Portman and a poetic/surprising turn from Hugo Weaving.

Number 10: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
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I hear how people are going “Wait, is this asshole putting that almost forgotten Hulk movie over the poetic beauty of “V For Vendetta”? What the hell?”. And from that I point you towards rule number 1. But yes, I put this above “V For Vendetta”, and that I will explain why. Long time followers will think I did it because I am an Edward Norton fanboy… and you might be right, but that’s not my reasoning. See, where “V For Vendetta” is a thought provoking and poetic masterpiece, I put “The Incredible Hulk” above it because it is just a fun movie. I really like the action scenes in this movie, they are awesome. And like my old followers probably assumed, I love Edward Norton in this movie, he’s great (as always).

Number 9: The Incredibles (2004)
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Second movie with the word “Incredible” in the title and the first one to not be based on any comic book. That’s right, at number 9 we have the Pixar animated movie “The Incredibles”, directed by Brad Bird who also made “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” which was a good action movie. This movie is fun, it has interesting characters, the animation is terrific and it is perfect for the entire family(ish). What’s not to like?

Number 8: Batman Begins (2005)
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I swear, someone will break rule number 1 because of this spot. You know… since people seem to love “The Dark Knight” so much over this movie. But if you remember when I did my “Top 10 Batman Movies” list, I ranked this above “The Dark Knight”. And that is why this movie is on this list. It has a great plot, great direction by Christopher Nolan, great performances (except for Katie Holmes), and it broguht Batman back from the dead after that failure that is “Batman & Robin”. Let me just tell you my biggest issue with all of Chris Nolan’s Batman movies; Batman’s voice, it just sounds silly. Okay, moving on.

Number 7: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
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That’s right, I like “Age of Ultron” more than the original “Avengers”. Wazzup, motherfuckers! Just kidding, I love you. But if you wanna bitch, go to someone else’s blog because this one is protected by the first rule. But yeah, this is a sequel that I actually enjoyed more than the original. To me, this was more fun and had a much faster pace than the first movie. And Ultron was an amazing villain, mostly thanks to the excellent script and the charismatic performance by James Spader.

Number 6: Iron Man (2008)
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What? I said “Only one movie per series”. Not “One movie per cinematic universe”. So “Iron Man” goes on this list. Mostly for being cool, innovative, fun, great and for starting the MCU. Also, AC/DC music.

Number 5: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)
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While based on a series of comic books, this is the only movie on the list not coming from either DC or Marvel. But we don’t need those two corporate giants to make a good superhero movie, because “Hellboy 2” is fucking awesome! Directed by Guillermo Del Toro who is an amazing visual director, this movie stars Ron Perlman in his second outing as the titular character, trying to save the world. And I got a message for you Hollywood… PLEASE GIVE US A HELLBOY 3!!!

Number 4: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
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A sequel that is so much better than the original that it is absolutely crazy! This movie took everything that was good about the first “Captain America”, and improved on it. Only downer is that there is no Hugo Weaving. But everything else in this movie is amazing. It also never breaks pace, this is an intense, action-packed movie with a pretty good spy-thriller twist on it. Also, this movie has ROBERT REDFORD! MARVEL GOT ROBERT FUCKING REDFORD ON! HALLELUJAH!

Number 3: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
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I guess 2014 was a good year for comic book movies. “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. This movie marked the return to the franchise of director Bryan Singer who hadn’t made a great movie since 2003 when “X2” came out. But when he made this, holy shit he made something fantastic. “Days of Future Past” had the action you wanted, the drama you needed and the humor to keep the movie fun. While I love “X2”, this might actually be my favorite “X-Men” movie of all time. Also, that scene with Quicksilver… amazing.

Number 2: Batman (1989)
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Remember what I said about reboots not counting as being in the same series as earlier movies? Yeah, that is why I could put this movie so far up here. And if you go back and check my “Top 10 Batman Movies” list, you’ll notice that this is my favorite Batman of all time. And that is because this, to me, is a perfect movie. I love absolutely everything about this movie. Sure, the music by Prince is a little distracting, but it doesn’t ruin the movie for me. I still love this movie A LOT. It’s fun, it’s dark, it has Jack Nicholson, it is motherfuckin’ “Batman”!

Number 1: The Matrix (1999)
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This might to some people be my strangest pick for this list. I mean, since all other movies relate back to superheroes in a more direct way. This doesn’t really touch on it that much, but ultimately made it to the list. I was actually debating with myself about putting this movie on the list or not for a while, then I watched Watchmojo’s video “Top 10 Superhero Movies Not based on Comic Books”. That is what ultimately made me put the movie on the list. This is a superhero movie at heart, even though it doesn’t clearly show at first. But to me it is still a superhero movie and my faovrite superhero movie of all time.

So what are your thoughts? What is your favorite superhero movie? Leave a comment and let me know.

Have a good one!

 

 

 

Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

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As the Marvel cinematic universe moves on, they have to figure out what the hell they should do next. Of course they can always look back on the comics/graphic novels for inspiration, but they need to know which ones to go by. And with that said, IN YOUR FACE, AMERICA! Sorry, I wanted to be a jerk about the fact that we got the movie before you.

Ladies and gents… “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.

So in this movie we see how Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) tries to start up a new peacekeeping program to help keep the world safe. But that seems to go to shit as the program takes a robotic body and turns on it’s creator. So now it is up to Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to go out and stop the villainous robot Ultron (James Spader). And with that we get a deep story filled with action, drama, emotion and a lot of narrative strengths. This is a movie with a constantly moving story that never feels dull or boring at any point. I loved it!

At this point we are all familiar with the main players of the movie and we know they are amazingly awesome, so in this part of the “characters/acting” segment we will focus more on the newcomers. First up, James Spader as Ultron… holy shit! If the phrase “perfect casting” could ever be put on something it could be put right here. Spader is fantastic as this 8ft tall robot. Not only does he deliver his lines perfectly, but his voice is just fantastic for Ultron. It is deep, smooth and villainous. I also felt like there was a bit of a Raymond Reddington vibe going on (Sidenote: For those of you who don’t know, Reddington is Spader’s character in the TV-show “The Blacklist”). And it was just great. Next up is Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver. I had my doubts, not because of Johnson, I now he is a really good actor, I just doubted if this Quicksilver could be awesome. And he was awesome, frankly great. He had funny lines and a cool personality which I felt like Johnson captured perfectly. Finally we have Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Sidenote: Johnson and Olsen played husband and wife in 2014’s “Godzilla” and here they play siblings… weird). And she was great, playing her with a lot of confidence and power. She was great. Overall I think all actors were great and the writing for them was also great.

The score for the movie was done by Brian Tyler and by this point we know he is great. He has done the music for most modern Marvel movies (4 M’s in a row, damn). The score is just as large, epic and amazing as it has been for the past however many years Brian Tyler has been along for the ride. And for those of you who wonder, the song “I’ve got no strings” is actually in this movie.

This movie was really well-directed. The shots looked great and nothing lingered for too long. And the action scenes in this movie were amazing, some of the best any superhero movie has ever seen. They were fast, flowing, energetic and badass. And the visual effects were spectacular! Everything looked great, especially Ultron, he looked so real! And the writing in the movie was also really great. Not only were there a lot of funny lines like you would expect but there were some genuinely deep and dramatic lines in there that really worked for the movie. And there was also one moment in the movie that I have to admit (Don’t worry, no spoilers on my blog) that made me almost tear up, well done Marvel.

As this movie hasn’t been out that long in the world (not at all in the U.S.) there aren’t that many things to go by. But so far I can mention that Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10. Reminder: All scores that I present here are always what I find at the time of the review, scores on sites may alter afterwards.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is another badass addition to the MCU with a great plot, great characters/acting, a great score, amazing action and visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem* My final score for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a 9,87/10. This is a great movie that of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is now completed.

If you wonder about my thoughts on the first “Avengers”, I liked it. But I think this is the superior movie.