REVIEW: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

 

 

 

CAST

Kristen Connolly (The Happening)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Anna Hutchison (Spartacus: Ward of The Damned)
Fran Kranz (Dollhouse)
Jessie Williams (Grey’s Anatomy)
Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers)
Bradley Whitford (The West Wing)
Brian White (Beauty and The Beast)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Tim DeZarn (Fight Club)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Sigourney Weaver (Aliens)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Rukiya Bernard (Van Helsing)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)
Chelah Horsdal (You Me Her)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)

In a high tech underground facility, senior technicians Sitterson and Hadley discuss plans for a mysterious operation. A similar operation undertaken by their counterparts in Stockholm has just ended in failure. American college students Dana, Holden, Marty, Jules, and Curt are spending their weekend at a seemingly deserted cabin in the forest, a cabin recently acquired by Curt’s cousin. From their underground facility where they possess significant technological control over the area in which the cabin is situated, Sitterson and Hadley manipulate the teenagers by intoxicating them with mind-altering drugs that hinder rational thinking and increase libido. They take bets from coworkers as to what kind of monster will attack the teenagers and discuss the failures of similar rituals in other nationsIn the cabin’s cellar, the group finds many bizarre objects, including the diary of Patience Buckner, a cabin resident abused by her sadistic family. Dana recites incantations from the journal, inadvertently summoning the zombified Buckner family despite Marty’s warnings. By releasing pheromones, Hadley successfully induces Curt and Jules to have sex. Attacked by the marauding Buckner zombies, Jules is decapitated while Curt escapes to alert the group. Marty, a frequent marijuana smoker, discovers concealed surveillance equipment before being dragged off by one of the Buckners. Later, the facility workers learn that the ritual in Japan has also ended in failure, meaning that the American ritual is humanity’s last hope. It becomes apparent that the ritual involves blood sacrifice.Curt, Holden, and Dana attempt to escape in their RV, but Sitterson triggers a tunnel collapse to block them. Curt jumps a ravine on his motorcycle in an attempt to flee and alert the authorities, only to crash into a force shield, killing him. Holden and Dana retreat to the RV to plan their next move, but one of the Buckners, hiding within all along, fatally stabs Holden as they are driving away, resulting in the RV crashing and sinking into a lake. Dana escapes and swims ashore and is beset in turn. As she is attacked, Sitterson, Hadley, and their staff celebrate the successful completion of the ritual, viewing the events from their underground facility. The celebration is interrupted by a phone call pointing out that Marty has survived. His heavy marijuana use has apparently rendered him immune to Sitterson and Hadley’s manipulations.Marty rescues Dana and takes her to a hidden elevator he discovered under a grave. They descend into the underground facility, where a menagerie of monsters are imprisoned. Dana correlates them with the objects in the cabin’s cellar and realizes that those items gave victims the opportunity to choose the agents of their own deaths during the ritual. Cornered by the facility’s security personnel, she and Marty release the monsters, including zombies, goblins, mutants, witches, wraiths, a basilisk, a unicorn, a killer robot, and an evil clown. They wreak havoc and slaughter the staff; Hadley is killed by a merman and Sitterson escapes to the lower level.Dana and Marty flee the carnage (particularly menaced by a giant bat). Dana accidentally mortally wounds Sitterson, who begs her to kill Marty. Fleeing further, they discover an ancient temple and are confronted by the facility’s leader, known only as The Director. She explains that they are participating in an annual ritual sacrifice to appease the Ancient Ones (described as “giant evil gods”). Each facility’s ritual conforms to the rules of that region’s local lore; in America young people are chosen to be sacrificed based on similarity to certain archetypes: the whore (Jules), the athlete (Curt), the scholar (Holden), the fool (Marty), and the virgin (Dana). In order to complete the ritual the whore must die first and the virgin must survive or die last. Since all other facilities have failed, the penalty for not completing the ritual is the extermination of the entire human race. Hence, The Director urges Dana to kill Marty. Dana considers, but she is interrupted by a werewolf attack, while zombie Patience Buckner appears and kills The Director.Deciding that humanity is not worth saving, Dana and Marty share a joint while awaiting their fate. The temple floor collapses and a giant hand emerges, destroying the facility and the cabin itself.The genius of Cabin is the way director/co-writer Drew Goddard and producer/co-writer Joss Whedon have taken this mindset and embraced it. The film sat on the shelf for years when MGM suffered too many financial woes to afford a release, and yet its wit and invention remain as sharp as ever.  In the interest of keeping expectations managed, Cabin doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Its approach to horror is  original. The increasingly realistic and excessively gruesome style that they rode in on is far from universally loved. Cabin spills its fair share of guts, but it’s a good old-fashioned crowd pleaser.Cabin finds a way to access the reservoir of geekiness by engaging it rather than pandering to it.

REVIEW: ONE NIGHT AT McCOOL’S

CAST

Matt Dillon (Crash)
Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
Paul Reiser (Aliens)
John Goodman (Red State)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Liv Tyler (Jersey Girl)
One Night at McCool’s stars Liv Tyler as the gorgeous, and seriously unbalanced seductress, Jewel Valentine, who sucks weak minded men into her life and uses them up like 2-ply tissue paper in her mad quest to achieve her dream of home ownership. Crafted with a strong eye to detail and style, McCool’s flows effortlessly through a series of flashbacks and perspective changes to tell the story of three men who fall so hopelessly in love with Liv’s character, that they’ll do anything to please her. True, the acts they commit in the name of love are outrageous and heinous by our standards, but there is a certain amount of truth in the way Liv manipulates these over sexed rump humpers. Each man represents a separate and distinct character flaw.
Liv herself… is perfect. Her strength, comes from more than just a hot body and a pretty face. Her presence is never overwhelming, nor overt. Nor are her lines delivered with a feverish fervor that crashes its way on to film. Still, when she is present, she commands the screen. All eyes are inexorably drawn to Liv and her soft, quietly confident presence. She doesn’t need grandstanding or cool camera angles, or wild poses to capture everyone’s attention. She does it naturally, with grace, poise, and electric charm that makes this character in particular float to life right under your nose.
Liv Tyler owns this film, in just the same way her character Jewel owns the men within it. And though Jewel is certainly unbalanced, and obviously flawed… still there’s a certain sort of attraction to this woman who knows what she wants, and will use anything or anyone to get it. a great film for a great actress

REVIEW: FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

CAST
Justin Timberlake (The Social Network)
Mila Kunis (American Psycho 2)
Patricia Clarkson (Lars and The Real Girl)
Jenna Elfman (ED:TV)
Bryan Greenberg (Bride Wars)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Woody Harrelson (Zombieland)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Emma Stone (Easy A)
Adam Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Tiya Sircar (17 Again)
Rashida Jones (The Social Network)
Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother)
Courtney Henggeler (Mom)
Jamie Rellis (Mila Kunis) is an executive recruiter for a leading job agency in New York City, and Dylan Harper (Justin Timberlake) works as an art director for a small internet company in Los Angeles. Jamie has the task of trying to recruit Dylan to interview for a job with GQ and begin working in New York City. Dylan comes to New York and after interviewing for the position learns from Jamie that he has been given an offer to work for GQ. At first Dylan is hesitant to accept the job and move from Los Angeles to New York. But after a fun night exploring the city with Jamie, Dylan agrees to accept the position.
The following day, Jamie presents Dylan with the contract to sign so she can land her commission for recruiting him. Not knowing anyone else in the city, he and Jamie quickly develop a strong platonic friendship. One night, they get on the topic of sex and relationships. They come to the conclusion that sex should not come with so many emotional attachments. As they both feel the need for a physical connection, they agree to have sex without emotion or commitment. After several trysts together, Jamie comes to the realization that this is not really what she wants and she would like to start dating again. She tells Dylan that they need to stop.
Jamie meets Parker (Bryan Greenberg), an oncologist, and they begin dating. After five dates, they consummate their relationship, only to break up the next morning. Trying to be sympathetic and to console her, Dylan suggests she travels with him to California over the Fourth of July weekend, while he visits his family. Initially hesitant, Jamie agrees after much persistence from Dylan. They fly to Los Angeles, where Jamie meets his sister Annie (Jenna Elfman), nephew Sammy (Nolan Gould), and father (Richard Jenkins), who suffers from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. While in California, they begin to develop strong emotional romantic feelings for each other, and share a passionate kiss, which leads to a night of close intimacy unlike any other they had shared before. However, the next day, Jamie overhears a conversation between Annie and Dylan, where Dylan admits to having no real feelings for Jamie. Hurt, she flies back to New York. A few days later, Dylan returns to New York, trying to reconcile his friendship with Jamie and find out why she has been ignoring him. He finally finds Jamie, and she informs him she overheard everything he said and has no interest in maintaining any kind of a friendship with him.
Soon after this, Jamie discovers that Dylan may be leaving the GQ position for another job before the year elapses on his contract, which would affect her commission. She confronts Dylan about this, which leads to another argument. Both begin to do some soul searching trying to come to terms with their feelings about their relationship. Jamie spends time with her mother, Lorna (Patricia Clarkson), while Dylan discusses it with Annie over the phone. His sister informs him that their father will be flying to Newark and he needs to be picked up at the airport. While at the airport, his father, in a moment of Alzheimer’s-induced confusion, incorrectly recognizes a passer-by as a woman from his past. Dylan asks him about the woman, and his father, upon regaining his lucidity, says that she was a woman he met in the Navy, that she was the love of his life, and he regrets decisions he made in his youth to let her go. He tells Dylan not to do the same thing, and to go after the woman he loves, if there is any chance of saving the relationship.
Dylan realizes how he really feels about Jamie after talking with his father, and decides to go after her. He calls Jamie’s mother to set up an excuse to get Jamie to go to Grand Central Station thinking she will be picking up her mother. He arranges to have a flash mob dance to “Closing Time” set up to surprise Jamie at the station. When the moment comes, he catches up with Jamie and tells her how he really feels. Surprised and happy by this turn of events, Jamie tells him to kiss her. After sharing a passionate kiss, Dylan suggests it is time they go on their first real date. They go across the street to the Pershing Square café and although they attempt to keep the date casual and relaxed, the film ends with them in a sensual embrace and passionate kiss.
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Enjoyable film. Good acting by main actors especially Mila Kunis.