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: Burn After Reading (2008)

Spies. Romanticized in movies to the point of it being kind of ridiculous. And sure, we have some of the more low-key spy thrillers out there that aren’t all “Look at me, I’m James Bonding all over Europe, motherfucker”. But sometimes you just need someone or something to take the piss out of the general genre.

Ladies and gents… “Burn After Reading”.

The plot is about a whole bunch of things. But the main one is basically that two gym employees (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) get hold of the memoirs of CIA agent Osborne Cox (John Malkovich). And they then plan to try to sell this intel and soon we have a twisty-turny plot that was pretty good. The plot had a lot of interesting and entertaining moments, but I was never really into it. Now, I know that this is meant to mainly be a comedy taking the piss out of the spy genre, and it does that pretty well, but my heart was never truly into it. I don’t know how to exactly put it, but to try to summarize it… The plot itself was decently interesting and entertaining, but I was never truly into it. I guess it just didn’t invest me as much as other satires have.

The characters in this movie are all very entertaining and memorable. John Malkovich was fantastic as Osborne Cox, this kind of alcoholic CIA agent who’s prone to anger. George Clooney plays US Marshal Harry Pfarrer and he was great in the role. His character was a very twitchy and suspicious/paranoid and a bit ADHD and Clooney did all of that very well. Frances McDormand plaus one of the two gym employees who gets hold of Cox’s memoirs and she’s simply terrific in the role. Brad Pitt played the other gym employee and his character was just kind of an idiot… and he was so fun to watch. The character was very entertaining and Pitt was great in the role. And then we also have Tilda Swinton playing Cox’s wife who also happens to be having an affair with Pfarrer and she was great in the role. She was probably the most serious of the characters in the movie and Swinton gave a great performance. Every actor in the movie does a great job.

The score for the movie was composed by Carter Burwell and it was pretty great. Not only was it well composed, but i would also say that it was a joke in itself. Let me explain. This movie is a comedy, but the music is incredibly serious. We see the stuff happening and we laugh, but the music sounds like something we’d hear in a serious spy movie, and I honestly think it was a deliberate choice by Burwell and the directors. So yeah… it was really good and it worked very well for the movie.

This movie was written and directed by the Coen brothers, and they of course did a great job. The shots look great and the writing is on point as always. Sure, not every line is a punchline, but the dialogue is snappy and fun enough to keep a person entertained. And there’s of course violence in the movie. Sure, it doesn’t happen all the time… in fact, it rarely happens in the movie. But when it happens, it hits hard.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Burn After Reading” is a fun satire of the spy genre. It has a good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great writing. However, I am bringing it down a bit because of the plot never truly hooking me into it. Time for my final score. *Grabs envelope*. My final score for “Burn After Reading” is an 8,88/10. So even though it’s flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Burn After Reading” is now completed.

*Burns envelope*.

 

Movie Review: Bone Tomahawk (2015)

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Here’s a good question for you to think about: what’s the most peculiar mix of genres you have ever experienced in a movie? And what movie was that? I am asking because the movie I am reviewing today has a weird (to say the least) blend of genres. And I guess that’s one of the reasons I wanted to check it out.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Bone Tomahawk”.

This movie follows a very unlikely group of gunslingers; a sheriff (Kurt Russell), an old assistant deputy (Richard Jenkins), a crippled cowboy (Patrick Wilson) and a well-dressed gentleman (Matthew Fox) as they go out into the wild west to rescue a bunch of people who have been kidnapped by cave-dwelling, inbred, cannibalistic savages… yeah, you figure out how they came up with that. But do you see now what I meant by peculiar mix of genres? The movie decided to try to combine western with horror. And how did it turn out? Actually, it was quite good. The story is told in a very slow moving and suspenseful way which I honestly think worked to the movie’s advantage. Like I said, the movie moves a bit slower than most western so if you don’t have a good amount of patience, you might not enjoy it… but I did. Also, the suspense is really good in this movie.

The characters in this movie all feel very realistic and fleshed out thanks to some good writing and some damn fine performances. Kurt Russell gives a terrific performance in this movie as the sheriff who has sworn to go out and save the kidnapped people. I would even dare say that he gave one of the best performances of his career. Patrick Wilson plays like I said earlier, a crippled cowboy who is coming along because one of the people who got kidnapped was his wife. And Wilson was great in his role. Matthew Fox was a very well-dressed and well-educated man in this movie, but he was also a douchebag… and he did a great job. And Richard Jenkins as the elderly “assistant deputy” was pretty damn great in the movie too. Everybody was really good in the movie. What’s sad though is that both Jennifer Carpenter and Timothy Olyphant were rumored to have important roles in this movie… how awesome wouldn’t that have been?

The score for the movie was provided by Jeff Herriott and S. Craig Zahler (Sidenote: The director of the movie). And it’s pretty great. It’s slow-building, beautiful and tense, in other words perfect for the movie. It’s not huge and extravagant, but it never needed to be.

Seeing as this is a western and me not being able to change, I guess I have to talk about the shooty-bang-bang bits in it’s own separate segment… here we go. The shootouts are fine in the movie. There’s never really any conflict in the movie that requires two or more people to shoot at eachother. But when Kurt Russell or any of the other guys have to shoot at someone or something, it is pretty satisfying.

As previously stated, the movie was directed by S. Craig Zahler and as a little fun fact, this is his directorial debut. And does he make an impressive debut? Yeah, he does. This movie is very well directed and everything looks terrific. Sure, it’s not perfectly directed, but since this is a debut I guess I can kind of look past it.

This movie has been pretty well received even though it hasn’t been seen by too many people. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating (100% if you go by “Top Critics” only) and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Bone Tomahawk” is an impressive directorial debut from S. Craig Zahler featuring a really good plot, great acting, great music, good shootouts and great directing. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Bone Tomahawk” is a 9,83/10. That means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Bone Tomahawk” is now reviewed.

Remember the question I asked at the beginning of this? Please leave an answer in the comments.

Movie Review: Jack Reacher (2012)

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Book to film adaptations are one of the biggest gambles in the movie industry. There are always books that some people want to see as movies and/or TV-shows. Personally I am waiting for any type of adaptation of Patricia Cornwell’s book series about Kay Scarpetta. But enough about that. Today we are taking a look at a book to film adaptation that not many saw coming and that got decent reviews when it came out.

Jacks and Jills…”Jack Reacher”.

The story is as follows: Trained military sniper shoots (and kills) five innocent civilians. When he later is captured he requests that a certain man investigates his case. And that man is our main character; Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). So when Reacher comes to start his investigation he runs into the suspect’s lawyer Helen (Rosamund Pike). The two starts investigating the case, they find out a lot more than they would expect. They run into some bad stuff during this. One thing is that there might be more people involved in this. And that is all I can really say without diving into the spoiler end of this pool. This movie is something I expected to be a straight up action film (based on a trailer I saw). But this movie is so much more than that. It is a dark, brutal, smart crime-thriller that always stays on. And you guys know I am a HUGE fan of crime-thrillers. Hell, I even made a Top 5 list about crime thrillers a while back. But anyway, this is a movie that spends a good amount of time with investigations, so it’s not all non stop action. But when there is action in this movie…it is awesome! This movie is a big thrill ride that never let’s go. The only thing that kinda bugged me (a little bit) was the fact that a bunch of conversations between Reacher and Helen are very, how should I put it…expositional. I am not kidding, a lot of their conversations are made for exposition…and that bugs me a little bit. Otherwise…good storytelling in this movie.

The characters are…I don’t know how to put it. They are…complex, I think is the right word to explain them. It is difficult to say. One thing for sure is that they are interesting to watch. I especially got very interested in Cruise’s character Jack Reacher. Sure, he is the main character, but a lot of times the main character in movies is kind of uninteresting. But here he is a complex, brutal guy who you can never really tell what he is thinking. And I love complex characters. So yeah, that is what I can say about the character in this movie. They are complex and have several layers on them.

The music is fucking amazing. It is as dark and cold as…the music in “Prisoners” (2013). That is all I can really say. I did say that the movie was dark and brutal, so I guess the soundtrack fits. Wait…guess? No! I know it fits!

The camera work in this movie is really well done. I think the scenes when the camera swings around the current character of that scene, it looks really good. I do think the direction by Christopher McQuarrie was excellent. And I did some research about the character of Jack Reacher prior to this review…apparently Tom Cruise isn’t Reacher in that sense even though his acting was great. Apparently Reacher is a guy that is like 6 foot 5 inches tall and in general being a real Hulk of a man. And that is something that bothered fans of the books when it comes to this movie. They weren’t happy about Tom Cruise who is only 5 foot 7 inches tall and not overly muscular. And I can see why it would bother them…but I don’t care. Tom Cruise pulled off a great performance and that is all that matters to me.

The reception for “Jack Reacher” was pretty good. Rotten Tomoatoes has a 61% positive rating calling it “Jack Reacher is an above-average crime thriller with a smoothly charismatic performance from Tom Cruise.” Metacritic gave this a 50/100. Roger Ebert has no review or score for it. This movie has a solid 7/10 on imdb.com.

I have spoken about “Jack Reacher” and I am going to hand out a score for this movie. My final score for “Jack Reacher” is an 8,89/10 and a recommendation to buy it. With a few faults it is not worthy of the “SEAL OF APPROVAL”. Mainly due to the expositional conversations. But it is still worth buying. This is a thrilling murder mystery that should be watched by anyone who wants a good movie.

“Jack Reacher” is now reviewed.

I should probably seek out the book…