Richard Jenkins

The Cabin in the Woods

Year: 2012
Directed By: Drew Goddard
Written By: Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard

RYAN’S REVIEW

For the life of me I can’t remember what it was that prompted Amber and I to see this film for the first time. With the unoriginal crap generally hitting theaters these days from the horror genre being what they are we usually don’t waste our time with them. It must have been a really slow season for movies hitting the On Demand channel but whatever the reason we took a chance on something we otherwise never would have seen. We started watching it casually and more or less taking it for more of the same before it really started to surprise us. This movie has a rather interesting twist on the same old same old and I really liked it. I tend to like horror movie satires and this one is specifically cool because I love a scenario in which everyone dies and the whole world hangs in the balance only to fall over the edge.

Like any other typical horror movie this one is about a group of teenagers who go on an outdoorsy trip and scary things start to happen to them. Only in this one those things are happening because men for unknown reasons are manipulating the whole situation in the most interesting ways. These two interesting fellows are at the controls casually doing their jobs, on what is alluded to being a big day for them, using technology to set up the five happy college kids in terrifying situations. You don’t really understand what their job is but you know that they are controlling everything for some reason.  The mystery behind it only makes the movie more interesting and exciting when these guys start to turn up the volume.

The lead role in this very typical group of young people is the obvious jock played by Chris Hemsworth. I find it really funny that at one point he is standing at a gas pump and for absolutely no apparent reason he is holding a football. He is just such a cliché character and it comes so natural to the mighty son of Odin. I love when Thor tries his Evel Knievel move after a vaguely heartfelt speech of abandonment and simply crashes to his death against an invisible wall. His monologue is the kicker because he is promising to bring back help and all of that, but really he is just leaving them behind to escape on his own. I laughed so hard the first time I watched it when he crashes into that wall and dies so unceremoniously. It was at that moment that this movie had me, I specifically remember looking to Amber and saying “I love this.”

My favorite character in this group of obvious characters is the obvious one, being the stoner guy who plays “the fool.” Everybody is acting crazy and he is just looking at them asking, “really?” I also love that he uses his cleverly disguised bong as a weapon when faced with danger. I read that Fran Kranz, who play the fool, needed to do a lot of research in order to play this stoner character including learning how to smoke and roll joints. I find that funny too, it must have been hard putting in that kind of work for his job. In the scene where they are all jumping into the lake he isn’t participating because apparently the guy is too ripped to take his shirt off. Taking that into consideration his prep work makes sense, the ripped guys aren’t usually the pot smokers. As for the rest of the group, or the scholar, the whore, and the virgin. They were all interchangeable and nothing more than pretty faces playing their role.  I don’t think any of them were noteworthy and any actor could have been cast in each of the parts with no notable difference in the film. .

The real golden nuggets in the cast are the men playing the parts of the mysterious operators, and the woman who appears at the end as the boss behind it all. The operators are played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford and they have great chemistry working together. Their opening scene was specifically written to confuse the audience and make them think they were in the wrong theater. Richard Jenkins, playing the older of the two operators, is a flawlessly talented actor who can do a bit of everything. I specifically like him for his humor because he can be so funny. He is generally unknown by name but everyone recognizes him because he is in so many films. Bradley Whitford has been around forever but I remember him most for playing the bad guy in Billy Madison. In this film he is great playing alongside Jenkins. I specifically like how casual he is with the whole process of his job. Whether he is chit chatting on the ride to the office, firing an automatic weapon against monsters, or dying at the hands of the merman he seems so casual I find it funny. These guys are great together and the way they are portrayed keeps the movie so interesting as it progresses. I love when they think that they have accomplished their goal and they start to party. They are popping champagne and celebrating while over their shoulders Kristen Connolly, who plays “the virgin,” is being brutally beaten on the big screen.

The end of the film features Sigourney Weaver in the top dog role as the boss making a final plea to the two survivors to do what is right for the sake of mankind. I love Sigourney Weaver and her part in this movie is the cherry on top that makes everything so cool. Joss Whedon is a fanboy and all fanboys love the woman who taught us women could be badass in the role of Ripley. Also playing a significant part in another fan favorite, Ghostbusters, Signourney Weaver is near and dear to the hearts of us all.  This seems to me like her cashing in an easy paycheck but her presence gives the film credibility. As always, she brings it when she is on-screen, her performance capped off what was already a fun and exciting movie.

This movie was filmed and shelved for a few years before ever hitting theaters 2012. It just happened to hit the big screen the same year as another hit by Joss Whedon and Chris Hemsworth, The Avengers. In the time that elapsed between shooting and release Hemsworth became an actor of more notoriety. He had made his place in the Marvel superhero world in 2011 when Thor came out so when this film was released his name was in top billing. It made his unceremonious death a bit more surprising when we watched it the first time and all the funnier because it was unexpected. This was not the only film in which that happened to Hemsworth. The remake of Red Dawn was also shot and sat on the shelf for a couple of years before release. I remember that happening but can’t remember the reason. I was very much disappointed by the decision to remake that classic movie about a real conflict with whatever asinine thing happened in the new one.  I don’t know how he did in that film or what befalls his character in it because I will not waste my time watching it, those are precious hours and minutes I cannot get back and feel right about losing.

This is a fun movie from a really cool and continually up and coming filmmaker in Joss Whedon. Depending on how the next Avengers film does, which all indications are that it will be even more awesome, this guy will have his ticket punched and there is no telling what he is capable of doing. I read that he and Drew Goddard wrote this movie rather quickly. It was something he did in his downtime for fun. That says a lot about what he is capable of in the future. This movie has been a welcome addition to the collection and I think it is more than worth your time to see.  This is the time of the year for scary movies and it’s great to have a fun one to throw into the mix.

 

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

I went into this movie thinking it was your everyday scary movie about a cabin in the woods. I think it was fun to go into it like that. I was completely caught off guard with this movie, and in a good way. This is so different from the usual horror flick and that’s what makes it worth watching.

cabinI like this poster! It’s a great way to subtly introduce the movie’s plot. The coloration is great and adds an eerie feeling to the plot of the movie. The typography is not horrible, but could have been handled in a better way. Overall, I really think this poster and movie work so well. It is a refreshing take on a Halloween-esque movie.

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Me, Myself & Irene

Year: 2000
Directed By: Peter and Bobby Farrelly
Written By: The Farrelly Brothers and Mike Cerrone

RYAN’S REVIEW

There is often a fine line between funny and stupid.  Nobody out there knows how to teeter on that line better than the Farrelly Brothers.  They have been making us laugh, and blush, for twenty years now and this film is exactly what I expect from them.  A stupid scenario formatted to be really funny.  Occasionally I find their movies to be too stupid but there are some exceptional ones.  This one is incredibly funny but does tend to get too stupid here and there. However, the laughs this movie offers will challenge those you got out of any film.  A funny movie made by funny people with their favorite funny man.

I remember the days when Jim Carrey was just full-on bursting with comedy.  In the mid to late nineties the man was so relentlessly funny and everything he touched turned to gold.  That all changed somewhere along the way and looking back over his career it seems to have ended after this film.  I am and always will be a big fan of Jim Carrey but he has been missing something for quite a while now.  I don’t know what that is but I will always hold out hope to see the Carrey of old come back.  His talent is undeniable but something has certainly changed about him.  He is currently wrapping up the sequel to one of his greatest, his first collaboration with the Farrelly brothers in fact.  Dumb and Dumber To will be hitting theaters sometime in the near future and I have high hopes for it.  Those guys were hilarious the first time around and I look forward to seeing what they are able to do now. At the same time I have concerns about the state of Carrey’s career when he is going back to Lloyd Christmas while nothing else seems to be working.  Jim Carrey if you are out there I am hoping you hit a home run with your next film and I believe in you man, never give up.

While I will never accept it until it is undeniable, this is currently the last really funny movie made by Carrey.  He has made a couple of comedies that weren’t bad since but nothing as nonstop funny and over the top.  With that being the case, Carrey really went all out in this one.  The two personalities of Charlie and Hank gave Carrey a duality to capture two different kinds of comedy.  I love when he turns into Hank and tries to pull off a super cool persona.  One of my favorite parts of the film is when he slides off the hood of the car in one motion while smoking a cigarette, hilarious.  I also love so much about his character as Charlie too.  His half-assed explanation about his children being that “his great grandmother was half Italian” is simply priceless. I remember when this movie came out Jim Carrey was seen as such a crazy guy that with each new film there was a prevalent thought along the lines of “what will he do this time?” In this movie he admitted that his antics were too much for even him at one point.  The specific scene that made him blush was the one in which he drinks milk from the mother’s breast.  He should have blushed too; he was really going to town on that thing. All for the greater good though, you gotta love a comedian that will literally do anything to make us laugh.

Since seeing Chicago and Cold Mountain I have considered Renee Zellweger one of the most impressive actresses of the decade but this film never seemed right for her.  This part, the hot girl in trouble messed up with the wrong people, in a film like this.  It’s just beneath her as an actress.  Granted this was before the two movies I mentioned but it still doesn’t seem like a good career decision.  Why did she play a part like this? She isn’t bad in the film I just think she could have done better in 2000.  I am a huge fan of Richard Jenkins and always enjoy a chance to see him in any movie.  I don’t think this film really showcases what he has to offer as a comedian and actor but he’s here.  Chris Cooper is great in the bad guy role.  He has a real sinister look to him and a tone in his voice that brooks no argument.  Cooper is never cast as a guy that gets picked on, for good reason.  Any time I have ever seen him I feel like he is always a character that conveys some power or a sense of danger. The rest of the cast only makes the film funnier.  There are plenty of people I haven’t even mentioned that are worth noting.  Tony Cox is always great and brings some great laughs to this movie.  Anthony Anderson is awesome whether he is being funny or stone cold gangster “Antwon Mitchell” style. He’s like a chubbier Michael Strahan; you can’t help but like the guy because he makes everything he is in better.

This movie is what it is, but when what it is makes us laugh it’s easy to be forgiving as a critical viewer.  This movie occasionally is a bit too much but it is funny enough to make you forget about anything that was simply stupid in the effort to be funny.  It is a relentless movie that will have your side hurting after all the laughter it provokes.  I sincerely hope that in a few months Jim Carrey will give his greatest comedic performance in his next collaboration with the Farrellys but until then I will always be happy to have this one.  It’s going on 15 years since this came out but this movie is just as funny now as it was then.  Having said all that I wouldn’t recommend a movie this vulgar to my mom, but to anybody else I’d point them toward it and tell them to get ready to laugh.  A very funny movie that is worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I love this movie. I never get tired of watching it. I know that a lot of people hate on this one. Actually they hate on Jim Carrey in general, but I don’t care. I love that guy. I love him when he is serious, I love him when he is funny, I just think he is one hell of a person. Also, on a side note, when he dated Jenny McCarthy, he got along famously with her Autistic son, she referred to him as an autism whisperer. THAT makes me love him EVEN more. Back to the matter at hand though, this movie shows what it can be like when a person just finally gets pushed too far. I think we can all (to some degree) relate to that feeling.

Me Myself & Irene

The only reason this is a great poster is because of Jim Carrey. He carries it completely and you totally get a sense of what the movie is about. He looks seriously goofy and nice on the left side and the right side he looks utterly like pure evil. The tagline is great too. “From Gentle To Mental.” The thing I really hate about this poster is the typography. And that’s a big one for me. I like that they used different weights for the words, but the outline and overlapping and drop shadow are killing me. Really? Other than that, this poster is really successful. I always know what movie it is immediately, and that’s simply because of the main focus. Jim Carrey. (I love him.)

NEXT MOVIE: Minority Report (2002)

Intolerable Cruelty

Year: 2003
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Several contributors including the Coen brothers

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie came out during a time when I had recently discovered the Coen brothers and thought they were the greatest duo in the business.  For that matter, I still think they are two of the greatest filmmakers out there but I do not think this was their best movie.  I think it is a good movie that features so much of what makes them great.  The elaborate set design, the witty dialogue, and the interesting characters that are always featured in their films are all in this one. The Coen brothers are also really great when it comes to casting their films.  This movie, like many of their others, is driven by the powerful performances of the actors they chose to cast.

The main two stars of this film are Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney.  I have never been a fan of either really although I have enjoyed many of their movies. This movie was Zeta-Jone’s follow-up to her Academy Award winning role in Chicago. She showed an incredible amount of talent in Chicago so I cannot say she isn’t a good actress but I have always thought of her more as just a pretty face.  She is a very beautiful woman but I always felt that was all that kept her in the movies because outside of Chicago I don’t think she has had a stellar career. She plays her part in this movie well but I don’t know that there is any honor to be had in playing this role well.  She is a cruel and bloodsucking woman in this movie and this part is probably a big part of why I don’t care for her that much.  Clooney is good in this movie as he is good in many movies but I just cannot stand the man.  No matter what he does or how many good movies he makes I will never get over his horrible stint as Batman in one of the worst movies of all time, Batman & Robin. He destroyed the Batman franchise with that role, he should be ashamed of himself.

I think some of the other actors, even in the smallest of roles, manage to outshine the stars of the film a bit.  I think Cedric the Entertainer was hilarious as Gus Petch and really thought this was the beginning of great things to come from him. I haven’t seen him in anything lately but I do think he is really funny. Geoffrey Rush is an amazing actor who is as talented as they come.  I love the opening scene when he catches his wife having an affair.  He has such a great accent that works well for both humor or evil and I like how it gives him diversity as an actor. I am a fan of Richard Jenkins and he is in many Coen brothers movies.  I think he is really funny in this one playing the part of Freddie Bender.  I don’t necessarily think Billy Bob Thorton did anything spectacular in his role but he was a hot commodity at the time this movie came out.  I have never understood it but the guy was so popular. I guess a lot of it had to do with his relationship with Angelina Jolie, which was weird enough to keep everybody interested.

Watching this movie now I can see what it was that I liked about it ten years ago.  It is clever and well made.  Today I don’t really care for it quite as much because it is all about divorce.  There is nothing funny about divorce and I specifically don’t like movies about it.  This one mostly mocks the practice of money grubbing marriages though so I don’t know that it really qualifies the same way.  These are loveless marriages all about sex and philandering and greed.  It’s still divorce though and all these kinds of divorces do is sully something that is already dirty.

Despite that this is still a good movie and I think it is worth your time.  It may not be the best Coen bros’ movie but it is still a Coen Bros movie and this means there is something to it.  These guys are the best even when they aren’t at their best.  It’s been ten years since this movie came out now and I think there is a good chance in another ten years it will be a movie nobody remembers.  So check it out if you have a chance and let us know what you think.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I still love these guys, but this is by far my least favorite of the Coen Brothers movies. I love all of their films. They are witty and interesting tales. Like books made into incredible movies, except they wrote the books themselves and you can see every single detail that is their style throughout their films, much like a Tim Burton film. I just didn’t like the whole story. The movie was shot well and is interesting enough, but I didn’t really love the story of divorce lawyers and marrying for money. I figure that this story has already been told, and usually the Coens’ stories are so original.

MPW-7461

This is a very clean poster. Nothing really special. You have the movie tagline, followed by an off center picture of them, and then the billing and title at the bottom. I love a nice sans serif font, so I don’t hate this poster, it is actually really nice, but I just don’t think that it is anything special.

NEXT MOVIE: I, Robot (2004)

Hall Pass

Year: 2011
Directed By: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Written By: Pete Jones, Kevin Barnett, Peter and Bobby Farrelly

RYAN’S REVIEW

I do not like infidelity and I hate watching movies about it. So I really protested when this one was suggested for rental. With nothing else to choose from at the time I settled and found myself laughing much more than I ever would have expected. As a happily married man I want to say one thing for the record; if you need a “hall pass” from marriage then there is no hope for your relationship. Taking time apart is one thing, but carte blanche to do whatever you want and betray the trust and love of your spouse is something that can only be bad. Despite that I think this movie is funny because it is honest about the situation. The horny men are practically hopeless in their efforts to woo women while their wives become the willing prey of other horny men. This is a movie I really didn’t expect much from but found something to really like and appreciate about it.

The strength of this movie comes from the stars. I don’t know what has been up with Owen Wilson lately but I think with this movie he showed us he still has plenty to offer. I have always liked Wilson and was really disappointed when I heard that he was having troubles a few years ago. I don’t know enough about what happened but I think he had some serious depression issues and if I’m not mistaken there was a suicide scare at one point. He seems to be on the right track now though and as a fan I am grateful for that. He is really funny in this movie and had great chemistry with his main co-star. I think Jason Sudeikis is hilarious; everything he does makes me laugh. These two guys together are what make this movie funny and I can not imagine that I would have liked it had any other two men played the parts.

I have always thought Jenna Fischer was great as Pam on The Office, and I enjoyed seeing her in this movie. She is a beautiful woman who has a normal look to her that made her a good fit for this part. I am sincerely glad too that she and her husband in this movie are the ones that stay true to each other despite their opportunities. I have never been a fan of Christina Applegate and at one point thought she was second only to Michael Jackson in plastic surgery procedures. I do not know this and have no idea if it is true at all but there have been times over the years when she has just not looked right. She looks more normal now but I think that is just the work of a better surgeon that fixed the disaster that had become her nose. I have never found her to be particularly funny and given I think her looks are as fake as a three dollar bill I don’t see anything to appreciate in her. She isn’t bad in this movie but I do not like the character she plays or what she does. While I think the idea of “Hall Pass” is stupid in general. I think it is much worse to give it to your husband then run out and have one of your own. Not only that but to dishonor your vows for thirty seconds with an idiot who is ready to kick you straight to the curb once he is finished with you is just shameful.

This movie had a really good supporting cast as well. I am usually a big fan of Richard Jenkins and whatever he brings to the films he is in but I don’t think this was the right role for him. I just don’t see him as the super cool single guy that can get any woman he wants and do anything. Where were the other funny guys these guys usually co-star with? Why wasn’t Will Ferrell chosen, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, or anybody else really? I just can’t imagine how they ended up settling for Jenkins in this role. Stephen Merchant is one of the guys in their posse here and I think he is really funny too. In case you don’t know who Merchant is; he is the writing partner of Ricky Gervais and they have created many funny things together. I have never seen Nicky Whelan before in anything else, but damn. Could they have found a hotter woman to play her part? Not to mention the fact that she gets topless in this one which is always a plus, and in her case a mega plus.

One of the things I specifically like about this movie is that it is honest. These guys think they are getting what they want but they are so hopeless that they resort to desperation in the end. It’s honest too because while they are trying so hard to get what they want and failing, their wives are able to do it so much easier. This is why a hall pass is stupid gentlemen. Why you are out there chasing all the ass you can lay your eyes on and getting rejected your wife is out there with the opportunity to do whatever she wants really, and she will be more successful. In the end both parties will have done something that they will have to live with and it is the kind of thing that can destroy a relationship. I think it is natural for both men and women to desire others after making their commitment to each other because we are all weak and pathetic creatures of desire. Nothing is worth the trouble you will incur by acting on those desires though. You can destroy your life and hurt the lives of your friends and family by doing this. It is a selfish thing to do and more often than not it simply isn’t worth that kind of trouble. You have to suppress those desires and just appreciate the out-of-reach people like the ones we see on TV. Checking out and perving on women you come in contact with in the real world will only lead to trouble.

I for one would never do this even if my wife suggested it. Sure it sounds like a cool idea but is it worth what I would be risking? I come from a broken home and am part of a generation that grew up with divorced parents. I can tell you that it isn’t worth it, don’t do it. I was a kid that suffered from the mistakes of my parents and I would never in a million years want to put my own children through such a thing. Not only that but I am lucky enough to really love my wife and I would never betray her trust with another. I will say it again; if you think you need a hall pass from marriage so you can chase other women then you might as well go ahead and call an attorney because your relationship is probably beyond saving.

I think the fact that I hate the idea of this movie so much but still liked enough to add it to the collection says something about how good it is. It’s a funny movie and I never expected to laugh so much when I sat down to watch it. I think this movie is worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone that asked.