Tag Archive: cabin in the woods


I’m back from my Christmas hiatus and in the past couple of weeks critics and fans alike have been compiling their lists of the ten best films of 2012 or twenty best or whatever you like, but I have decided to take a different approach to compiling my list and I will be looking at, month by month, what were the best releases. I’ll be using the UK release dates for films and, in doing it month by month there will be some big omissions and some surprise inclusions.

Will any of these films feature on the list?

 

January – The Grey

To be honest, if you look at what was released in January it doesn’t really fill you with enthusiasm for the rest of the year as there weren’t really many films worth noting released this month. I think that people were still more bothered about seeing the previous year’s Christmas releases (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) however there were a few films that stood out. You might think that We Need to Talk About Kevin, Shame or War Horse might win this month but I decided to go for Liam Neeson’s The Grey. Neeson continued his rebirth as an action hero in 2012 and it was largely down to his enounter with wolves in the partially surprising hit: The Grey.

 

February – Chronicle

February brought a lot of very disappointing ventures to the cinema. Safe House was a blockbuster than lacked a punch, Man on a Ledge was a very boring ‘thriller’ and One For the Money is one of the most boring films I have ever seen! However, saying that I was really impressed by Woman in Black which seemed to reinstate Hammer Films at the forefront of the horror scene but for the best film of the month it fell short and I went for Chronicle. Chronicle was seen by many to be very refreshing to an overcrowded superhero genre. The characters that appear in this found footage film are not from the pages of comic books and, like The Grey, Chronicle was another surprise hit but worth of all it’s critical acclaim.

March – 21 Jump Street

If you think that 21 Jump Street is a strange and ridiculous choice to be on this list then I really do encourage you to look at films that were released in the UK in March this year. March saw releases from some very highly anticipated films that were subsequently big disappointments, none bigger than John Carter. Of course, March also brought us the beginning of a huge new franchise with the Jennifer Lawrence led The Hunger Games, however I enjoyed 21 Jump Street a lot more. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much in the cinema, 21 Jump Street was a welcome injection of humour to an otherwise dull month.

 

April – Avengers Assemble

There was a clear winner for this month. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble became the third highest grossing film of all time, breaking no end of records on its way to this achievement. This was the event that film fans had been waiting for for 4 years and it did not disappoint, The Avengers (as it was known sensibly in other countries) provided big entertainment, big action, big characters and big laughs. The only real competition in this month came from another film with Joss Whedon’s name attached: Cabin in the Woods, which was seen to redefine the horror genre but really, nothing could top Avengers Assemble.

 

May – The Raid: Redemption

May saw a lack of big releases as the prospect of going up against Marvel’s box office Goliath seemed a little bit daunting for many studios. And of course there is a bit of a lull in the cinema calender before the big summer smashes get released. The Raid was something that we don’t see nearly enough on this side of the Atlantic, a foreign release… and a successful one at that! The Raid is a brilliant, action packed, adrenaline fueled Indonesian martial arts film and it should come as no surprise that there are plans in America to do an English language remake.

 

June – Killer Joe

Now, June saw the second big release of the year: Prometheus. And don’t get me started on how over rated that was and what a bore fest it unfortunately turned out to be. Rock of Ages was a very very dull adaptation of the successful stage musical and The Five Year Engagement was about five years too long. Killer Joe proved that Matthew McConaughey could really act and it turned out to be a very gritty, gothic crime drama that also featured Emile Hirsch who is quietly going about proving what a good actor he is too.

 

July – The Dark Knight Rises

At the beginning of July The Amazing Spider-Man was released and was a very good attempt at reshaping Spider-Man’s origins; then on the 20th of July Christopher Nolan turned up to show everyone how it was done. Nolan’s Batman trilogy ended with one of the greatest films of the year. Full stop. He brought an all star cast here and cranked up the tension, cranked up the stakes and people flocked to the cinema to see how the greatest superhero trilogy ever made would end. And it did not disappoint. Sure, it never quite reached the heights of The Dark Knight which preceded it but I thought that the ending of The Dark Knight Rises was one of the greatest and most satisfying endings I have ever seen.

 

August – Ted

Fans of controversial humour, outrageous humour and toilet humour were delivered an early Christmas present back in August when Seth MacFarlane made his feature film directorial debut in this story of a child’s teddy bear coming to life to become a sex-craved, pot smoking best friend (voiced by MacFarlane himself). I think Ted may suffer from a lack of rewatchability but all in all it was a very funny film with some great cameos and hilarious scenes. The “white trash girls names” scene is one of the best scenes of the year in itself!

 

September – Looper

There were some very popular films released in September: Anna Karenina, Dredd, The Sweeney and House at the End of the Street to name a few. Lawless, featuring wonderful performances from Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce among others was an incredible film and gives Looper a run for its money but when I saw Looper I knew I was watching something special. Looper is one of the best films that I have ever seen and has fast become one of my favourites. The time travel plot device that has long been a staple in the science fiction genre and Looper gave an alternate look while skirting around the edges of Rian Johnson’s own laws of time travel. Looper was incredible! My best film of the year.

 

October – Skyfall

2012 saw the return of James Bond to the big screen in Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes. After a disappointing Quantum of Solace Bond returned in a flood of critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide in the critically lauded Skyfall. Skyfall delivered a more personal look at the characters in Bond’s world, including a small trip into Bond’s background, a more in-depth look at M and revealed a few dark secrets of MI6. Skyfall also brought back some famous characters in a new style, Q and Moneypenny. Skyfall was simply fantastic and should be an outside bet for a couple of Oscar nominations.

 

November – Argo

My heart longs to say that Rise of the Guardians was the best film released in November but my head says otherwise. November saw End of Watch and Silver Linings Playbook released as well but I think that Argo was a really really incredible achievement for Ben Affleck. Argo was crammed full of suspense and tension and had audiences chewing on their nails whilst sitting on the edge of their seats. A true story of a rescue attempt using the undercover story of being a film crew for a science fiction film seems almost unbelievable but Argo brings it to the screen with such perfect realism.

 

December – Life of Pi

Life of Pi was very hotly anticipated as soon as it was announced. Being a best-selling book Life of Pi already had a huge audience waiting to see how the adaptation would turn out. The story is of 16 year old Pi who suffers a ship wreck which kills his family and leaves Pi stranded with just a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. It is a truly touching and emotional story and is already reaping the rewards of their hard work with Golden Globe nominations for Best Score, Best Drama and Best Director.

Back in 2009 unless you were a die hard Home And Away fan it’s very unlikely that you would have had any idea who this Chris Hemsworth guy was. But now, it seems like every big film that gets announced Hemsworth is linked with the role and more than likely getting it as well.

Chris Hemsworth has undoubtedly been the break out star from all of Marvel’s success. Obviously, Hemsworth is best known as Thor to mainstream cinema goers; first of all picking up the hammer in his individual solo outing alongside the likes of seasoned pros Natalie Portman and Sir Anthony Hopkins, he then appeared in the third highest grossing film of all time, Marvel’s The Avengers, or Avengers Assemble if you like. And of course, it goes without saying that once again Hemsworth will be donning the cape and armour for 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and who’s to say we won’t be seeing him in Captain America: Winter Soldier as well? It’s a role that Hemsworth has played almost perfectly so far and as he is only 29 at the minute he could have a lot more outings as Thor left in him.

As well as the continued affiliation with Marvel Chris Hemsworth also had a small stint in Star Trek where it is unlikely he will return considering he died in the first fifteen minutes, he featured in the critically acclaimed genre defying project Cabin in the Woods and then took on the mentor/protector role of Huntsman in the re-imagined telling of Snow White, Snow White and the Huntsman. With Kristen Stewart (Snow White) seemingly dropped from the sequel to the fantasy fairy tale the sequel is rumoured to focus on Hemsworth’s character, putting him at the helm of another franchise.

Along with the franchises Chris Hemsworth has managed to not get stuck in one role as he varies his projects with various stand alone movies. He stars as the main character in the remake of 1980s film Red Dawn alongside Josh Hutcherson (another rising star) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Then there is also Rush, the biographical drama of Formula 1 driver James Hunt where again Hemsworth is leading man. Then there’s one of the most anticipated and sought after movies in Hollywood today: Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse, a sci-fi story set in the aftermath of a robot uprising. This is already being anticipated as a huge hit and with Chris Hemsworth in the staring role it is hard to estimate just how high the success will be that Robopocalypse reaches.

So that’s Robopocalypse, The Huntsman franchise, Marvel’s continually expanding universe with Thor making Hemsworth’s schedule more than just a little busy so you could forgive him for slowing down a little bit, yet that does not seem to be his plan. Word has it that Hemsworth has an offer to play Mitch Rapp in American Assassin, an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s novel. Rapp is a recurring character in Flynn’s work so it seems as though another franchise beckons for this already huge star.

Soon enough, Chris Hemsworth will be one of the biggest stars on the planet, it’s just a matter of time.

Some weeks go by when there is not a single thing happening in the movie world that I am bothered about and then all of a sudden three things come along at once:

 

First up, there is a new Van Helsing film in development! Before you question why this is good news, you first have to know that this will not be a sequel to the awful Hugh Jackman interpretation of the character back in 2004, this will be a complete reboot. The reboot is to be written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, a writing pair that can boast hits such as Star Trek, Fringe, Alias, The Legend of Zorro, Mission: Impossible III, Transformers and, to a lesser extent, Cowboys and Aliens. Kurtzman has said that the reboot will be ‘grounded in reality’ and has high aims as he wants to ‘do for Van Helsing what [Christopher] Nolan has done for Batman’. The other piece of exciting news surrounding this project is who is attached to star as the title character: Tom Cruise. His career seems to have had its own little reboot in the last couple of years and he is being lined up to appear in everything, not that I’m complaining, I think he is a great person to watch and has a fantastic on screen persona. Van Helsing has no set release date yet with Cruise’s hectic schedule but a release of 2014/15 may be realistic.

 

Next up, Bourne! The Bourne trilogy is one of my favourites of all time, I think Matt Damon’s portrayal of super spy Jason Bourne is a character to rival any other and the storyline, the directing and the supporting cast are all fantastic. So when I heard that Damon and director Paul Greengrass would not be returning for fourth film The Bourne Legacy I was understandably disappointed. Then my disappointment faded with the announcement of Jeremy Renner becoming the lead role and playing Aaron Cross in what has been dubbed a ‘paraquel’ (the events take place simultaneously with the original Bourne trilogy). Frank Marshall, the producer of The Bourne Legacy has now said that it is his ‘dream’ to see Matt and Jeremy team up in the fifth installment. Of course, this is just a dream at the minute and Damon has fierce loyalty to director Greengrass and recently had a falling out with writer and new director Tony Gilroy but money talks and a huge payday for Damon could be in line if he was to return to the franchise which would be incredible!

Here is the incredible trailer for Renner’s The Bourne Legacy

And finally…

 

Marvel are riding high on the waves of success at the minute and a few months ago announced the line up for their next few films. among the regulars of Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2 there were a couple of surprises with Marvel announcing two secret films. Immediately there was speculation that the 2014 secret movie would be a Black Panther origin story. Black Panther is one of my favourite characters in the Marvel universe and really does deserve a film and in the past week or so there has been no shortage of actors saying that they would love to be a part of the film. Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter) said that he hoped to be a part of The Incredible Hulk but wasn’t and would sign on to Black Panther today; Brian J. White (Cabin in the Woods, Brick) has also said he would love to work with Marvel when he was linked with the role but I don’t think that he looks the part so I would count him out straight away; Aldis Hodge (Leverage) seems to be the current fan favourite out of people who have confirmed their interest in the role and just by looking at him you have to say that he does seem to be the perfect fit. I would still hope that Djimon Hounsou got the part but maybe Marvel will go for a lesser known and cheaper actor for the part.

(left to right) Fan favourite Aldis Hodge; Marvel superhero Black Panther; my pick Djimon Hounsou.

Snow White and the Huntsman is the second incarnation of the classic fairy tale to hit the big screen this year after Mirror Mirror earlier in 2012. In this fantasy action adventure take on the world renown classic the Huntsman ordered to kill Snow White ends up becoming a friend, protector and mentor in her quest to vanquish the evil Queen.

The film opens with a narration and a series of flashbacks in order to provide the audience with some of the back story. It feels as though the film makers tried to just feed us information that we didn’t really need and it sets a very slow pace for what is to follow. The narration also wasn’t filled with any kind of emotion and played quite tediously through the speakers. What follows is a lot of the Queen and Snow White doing pretty much nothing at all which forces the first act of the film to trudge along slowly.

Charlize Theron plays the evil Queen and a lot of the attention in the run up to release was focussed on her and her portrayal of the character, however I was left pretty disappointed by her performance; it wasn’t exactly bad but it wasn’t anything to shout about either. There were points of the film where we hadn’t seen the Queen for so long that I had genuinely forgotten she was a part of the film and as an actor that is not something you want the audience to forget. Kristen Stewart becomes the famous princess and does a sturdy job, again though there is something lacking from her performance, she doesn’t exactly ooze charisma on the screen and I’m not sure she does enough to justify the title role in a film expected to be as huge as this.

This take on the fairy tale bases as much emphasis on Snow White as it does the Huntsman and when the Huntsman arrives it is as if the movie shifts up a gear; played by Chris Hemsworth the Huntsman injects some much needed pace and emotion into the film. It seems as though the Huntsman is the only character the writers decided to take their time on, giving him a very emotive back story and motives, something which other characters (particularly the evil Queen) are lacking. You get a real connection with the Huntsman because of Hemsworth’s performance as he continues to make a name for himself following up three great movies: Thor, Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers.

The majority of scenes without the Huntsman aren’t really worth watching but one in particular is worthy of any fantasy film ever. The first time we meet the adult William is when he ambushes a royal carriage and the fight scene that follows is fantastic; the fight scenes throughout the entire movie are actually a joy to behold. William is played by Englishman Sam Claflin who is relatively new to the acting world but previously appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Based on this performance though, is Claflin doesn’t get more high profile acting work then a terrible injustice has been done in the acting world.

Snow White and the Huntsman is a real treat for the eyes. Everything about it just looks fantastic: the landscape, the costumes, the special effects. It all just looks so perfect and Rupert Sanders, the director, creates this incredible fantasy world so well. You never want to take your eyes off the screen.

In my opinion, this is a much better film than the earlier Snow White retelling Mirror Mirror. Whilst some of the characters aren’t as well developed as others the visuals and the Huntsman and William themselves are worth watching this film for alone. As the film goes along it gets stronger and stronger and climaxes very well. It’s definitely worth a watch.

My Rating: 7/10.

Cabin in the Woods Review

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!***

Filmed in 2009, Cabin in the Woods hit delay after delay and finally saw its release recently, three years later. Was it worth the wait?

The majority of the film takes place, rather unsurprisingly, at a Cabin in the Woods. Five friends go for a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods but soon find out that all is not as it seems with this innocent looking little shack. Working together, the group must find out what is the truth about the cabin in the woods.

The cast of the film is relatively unrecognisable to mainstream cinema audiences. The most famous member of the protagonist group is Chris Hemsworth who was pretty much unknown himself at the time of filming but has since rose to international fame with Thor whilst the only real star of the cast is Sigourney Weaver and her part is just a cameo really. The rest of the cast features Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz and Richard Jenkins.

There is a lot to enjoy about Cabin in the Woods. I have read a few blogs that have described this film as being a reinvention or a revitalization of the horror genre, I disagree. Instead of being any of these, I think that Cabin in the Woods is a critique and a very clever pulling apart of the genre, something which Joss Whedon (producer) wanted to do as him and Drew Goddard (director) set out to do.

Lots of common elements of horror films are exaggerated and emphasised within Cabin in the Woods. Starting with the characters, the story of the ritual which the organisation of the film are trying to carry out requires five very different types of people: the athlete, the dumb blonde, the stoner/fool, the academic, the virgin. Sound familiar? These are stereotypes that can be found in most, if not all, horror films.

The 'monster board' from Cabin in the Woods

The fact that the organisation takes bets on which monster will be set loose to kill the five teenagers offers a lot more references to horror movies, from the curse the teenagers unknowingly decide upon to the monsters that it could be; aliens, killer clowns, mermen, jack o’ lantern, vampires and werewolves.

As well as the deep critique of the horror genre there is also a lot to enjoy on the surface of the film. The first two acts build up the characters and the idea of the organisation behind it all, whilst the third act really gets the blood pumping and is really quite exciting. Watching the third act makes it clear why the cast is pretty unknown and locations are limited: their entire budget went on the action scenes during the last half an hour. It is a budget well spent as the monsters and the havoc they reap really becomes real at the end of the film.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of the horror is lost from the film because of what it is trying to accomplish. By this, I mean that the main thing that makes horror work, for me, is the sense of ‘not knowing’, the tension and suspense growing throughout the film because we, the audience, know just as much as the protagonist and nothing more. Here, though, because we are placed inside the organisation from the off, the suspense and tension cannot be created. We are told, pretty much, or it is hinted at largely, what is going to happen to the five teenagers before it happens. While there are still a couple of moments to make you jump, it is not something I would call scary.

Overall, there is a lot to enjoy for film fans of all ages and experiences in Cabin in the Woods. It’s something very new and very original at a time where reboots, remakes and sequels are prominent in cinemas. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have created something very clever here and well deserve credit for it.

My Rating: 7/10.

UK Release Date: 13th April 2012.

The Cabin in the Woods has had several setbacks during production. It was firstly delayed because the studio (MGM) were hoping to convert it into 3D before it was delayed further because of MGM’s financial difficulties which jeopardised a lot of their projects at the time, including the upcoming James Bond film. But in April this year, it is finally getting its public release.

The Cabin in the Woods features five friends who go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin. It’s a pretty basic horror premise and a formula no doubt familiar to many movie goers but there is a lot of hype around this movie.

It was co-written and produced by Joss Whedon, the man who has been given the huge task of bringing The Avengers to the big screen and making it look good. So many fans will be basing their expectations of The Avengers on this film. It also features actors that Whedon has worked with before: Amy Acker (Dollhouse, Angel), Fran Kranz (Dollhouse), Tom Lenk (Buffy, Angel) and Chris Hemsworth (who will be starring in The Avengers as the Mighty Thor). So hopefully Whedon brings out the best in his performers.

The trailer for The Cabin in the Woods is your pretty basic horror trailer; starts peacefully, a creepy warning from an older person, then they start to realise something is wrong, and then all hell breaks loose and the characters have to run for their lives or fight back. It has its light hearted moments in the trailer and is a pretty dark trailer (in terms of lighting) to add to the frightening feel. With all the rubbish horror films being released in modern times it is a risk but the success of The Woman in Black earlier this year could mean horror is coming back.