“I can get you there. Getting back, that’s your concern”
Poltergeist, House on Haunted Hill, The Grudge and The Shining: these are all widely respected films that sit within the haunted house lore of horror in cinema. When I say that Cabin in the Woods is different is like saying that having chocolate flavoured ice-cream for the first time is different.
Cabin in the Woods, it seems, is almost as if it’s less a movie and more a critique of a genre as opposed to an actual film because it feels as though throughout the movie Godard and Whedon prefer for you to be consciously thinking about what would be happening in the stereotypical film of this niche genre and watch what I can only expect those two wonderful men would say to each other in a discussion about what’s going on in the film while sharing a tub of popcorn.
What makes this film so entrancing, especially to fans of the horror genre, is how it toys with it all. To say that something is amiss with the way that this particular horror filled weekend with nature comes about is an understatement. It’s actually set up, ingeniously, from the opening scene of the film which focuses on what it is that ends up being the cause for these five young adults’ horrific time together and it’s played so well that I almost feel bad for hinting that it exists in the film.
In so many film that reside in this setting I find it so easy to ask the question, “why?” and be left with a slew of incomprehensible answers from fans trying as hard as possible to explain. Some of the best theological and psychological explanations for what films like this are trying to tell us as a society about ourselves are what really drives my interest in the genre, and that’s what makes this film interesting, because it’s delving into that topic a lot more than it is creating another film that tries to mask those points by just merely handing us faceless characters to watch die horrendous deaths. By the time we arrive at the end of the movie we’re so invested in what the creators of the film have to say about the horror setting that I no longer care about the ludicrous nature of the horror film anymore.
The film’s bigger picture discussion keeps me interested and the movie’s B-film horror nature keeps me gushing at what it can do with so little. I would love to use this as a golden standard for how a lower budget can show in sub-par visuals and at the same time not matter due to wonderfully interesting storytelling.
If you’re thinking about seeing this movie then you already know what the title means. The question that the film’s trailer asks is “can two people have sex without a relationship?” The film, just as well as we do, know the answer to that question and therein lays the basic flaw with this overall idea.
With that said however, it was a really enjoyable ride. I remember about three years ago, when I was still a freshman at this critic gig, when I was happy to watch any romantic comedy. This isn’t because my balls were missing, but rather because I found them to be the nice light fluffy marshmallow center of a film genre that they are. The jokes were not that offensive and you get to see one of the most smile inducing emotion being fulfilled on screen (i.e. love). Fast forward to today and I pretty much loath the genre. It’s filled with the same plot line and character gags what’ve become so trite that I need to find a whole new word to express how well travelled the ride that is the romantic comedy is. However, what has always, in every kind of movie, been able to usurp this problem of familiarity are great characters; and that’s what Friends With Benefits has.
Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) just met at the beginning of the film, after being dumped by their respective significant others, and pretty much became instant friends. They know how to just keep their conversations all pithy and introspective at the same time. One moment they could be talking about how simple the internet is and the next one is making fun of the fact that the other’s hair did something funny and what makes it work is that we get the joke and are laughing with these two rather than at them, or even worse just watching them laugh. The film’s strength is that as the film progresses, and so do our main characters, we care and enjoy spending this time with them. Yes the dreaded third act where they eventually realise what’s really going on had to happen, but I forgive it since I had so much fun getting there.
If Dylan and Jamie aren’t enough for you, then how about Mr. Harper (Richard Jenkins), Dylan’s father who’s a little crazy but emotionally drawing in every scene, Lorna (Patricia Clarkson), Jamie’s mother who’s a bit of a free spirit and while being a bad thing for her daughter is a pretty nice comedic addition, and Tommy (Woody Harrelson), the sports editor for GQ who happens to be very gay and loves to be that guy with all the right jokes about gays that aren’t offensive but downright hilarious regardless. The movie has more than enough great characters, and fun moments with them all, to keep it fresh and entertaining from start to about the last fifteen minutes.
I’d like for Will Gluck to duck and hide, because as promising as he is right now I think it’s best for him to hide from the world. He’s single-handedly shown Ivan Reitman how to do his job and that’s sad that on a junior effort is outshining an industry icon.
I may not be a fan of writing about film news due to the rumour-like quality that a lot of the articles are. However, I do follow the news on a lot of film blogs and I do think that there’s something to keeping track of all of the “news” that’s mentioned throughout the week as it relates to the world of cinema.
So every Friday I’ll be posting a list of links of the week’s news around the internet. Highlighting my favourite stories of the week and those stories so ludicrous I jut can’t imagine them to be true.
Shane Black directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and that’s enough, but for those of you out there needing more credentials he also wrote Lethal Weapon, The Last Action Hero and The Long Kiss Goodnight and each of those movies play perfectly into what Iron Man as a franchise wants to accomplish. Black already has experience working with Robert Downey Jr. and gets his comedic sensibilities and that’s why this news makes me smile and would like to put in my official recommendation for the studio to go ahead and make this happen.
They worked together on Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours which were both great movies (the later more than the former) and the idea of Boyle putting moving pictures to Beaufoy‘s words makes me tinkle a little bit. Also the idea of horror elements re-entering Boyle‘s filmography is also a great idea since
The remake of the awesome Swedish vampire love story Let the Right One In got a second trailer this weekend at Comic Con. The film stars: Chloe Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Richard Jenkins. Check out the second trailer below: Continue reading