Sigourney Weaver

Paul

Year: 2011
Directed By: Greg Motolla
Written By: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

RYAN’S REVIEW

I don’t think I had even seen this movie when I bought it on the spot to add to our collection. Did I really need to see it to feel secure in the purchase? I am under the impression that if Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are going to collaborate on something that it will automatically be awesome and it belongs in our collection. I am happy to say that impression didn’t end with this film and I don’t expect it to change with anything these two do together in the future. This movie is a classic example of what happens when a group of funny people get together to do what they do best. This movie is fun and funny; I enjoy it every time I see it.

I first fell in love with these guys when I saw Shaun of the Dead for the third time. I consider it one of my favorite comedies of all time and I never tire of seeing it. It’s a movie I have found to get better with each viewing, the greats are always like that. I liked Hot Fuzz an awful lot too but felt it suffered in comparison. I have never been really interested in British comedy; choosing always to harness a true American mentality when it comes to film and entertainment. We are the greatest, anything anybody else does they are simply copying us (also, I’m from the South, it all plays into this mentality I had when I was young). Of course I have learned time and time again over the last fifteen years as a truly open minded adult that I was horribly mistaken with that line of thinking. My point being, there was a time when I would have turned my nose up to these guys simply because they were British. They, in fact, are part of the reason I am a more open minded and aware person today when it comes to film and entertainment. When this movie came out it was so exciting because it was like they were invading American film with it. They wrote a simple but really funny story and invited all the cool kids to the party.

To voice the alien namesake of the film they got Seth Rogen, such an unbelievably like able guy that when he went before a Congressional panel to talk about Alzheimers disease elected men of official office seemed to be gushing over him. They got some SNL headliners in Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. They got a typical comedy go-to-guy Jason Bateman and brought in other regular comedy stars like Jane Lynch, Jeffrey Tambor, David Koechner, and Joe Lo Truglio. To put a cherry on top of this alien joy ride they throw in Ripley herself just for the fun of it. Sigourney Weaver’s mere presence in this film makes it all that much better given the content.

Two popular British stars who have succeeded in doing their own thing at home decided to head this way and try it out American style. I think they were very successful at it and I think that is the most significant thing about this movie. It’s a fun and funny movie but more than that it represents a significant accomplishment and testament to the talents of Pegg and Frost. Of course Pegg is becoming more and more of a star these days on his own. I like the variety of his work but I’d rather see him with Frost at his side any day of the week.

I was at work one day when I mentioned this movie coming up on the blog and was surprised to hear animosity about the film from a zealously religious friend and co-worker. It gave me pause for a moment but when I gave it some thought I understood. This movie does refute the existence of God by having an alien character that knows more about the universe than we do. I had never given the matter much thought but I understood why it would bother my friend. I think it’s a shame to let something like that rob you of enjoying something so funny but hey, to each his own right?

This movie certainly doesn’t bother me on any moral or religious pretexts and I am happy enough just to enjoy it for what it is. It is a remarkably funny comedy and it’s a lot of fun to watch. I love the ease with which everything regarding Paul seems to make sense. It’s clever writing on behalf of Pegg and Frost; who are great as the comic book guys touring the American nerd hot spots. They made a cool movie and there is no reason to take anything literally enough to blind you from something you could enjoy. You avoid this one and you are missing out on something that is good. It’s a mere step in careers that continue to climb the steps of stardom for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. In the case of these two I’ve found that all steps on the way to the top have been worth our time so far. Good movie that I think any mature adult would enjoy.

NEXT MOVIE: The People Under the Stairs (1991)

As a footnote, I wanted to include video of Seth Rogen’s testimonial before Congress. Amber showed it to me one day and I was both taken with his story and impressed by how he handled himself in such an official setting. He comes in and is naturally funny before delving into a very serious topic. I admire what he stood up to do and I hope he has been able to make headway with his goals. When you watch this, pay note to how the Congressman is responding to him.

Advertisements

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.

Cedar Rapids

Year: 2011
Directed By: Miguel Arteta
Written By: Phil Johnston

RYAN’S REVIEW

Amber and I watched this movie on a whim a few months ago and I really enjoyed it.  I hadn’t wanted to watch the movie at all but found myself so surprised that I added it to the DVDs Christmas list of movies I wanted to add into the collection.  This movie has a good but not great cast and a relatively typical story that they all make the most of.  The thing is that it surprised me, and I always enjoy the movies that surprise me because it happens so infrequently these days.  As a lifelong movie fan I have grown bored with all the rehashed themes and remakes that plague the industry today.  That coupled with the fact that TV has stepped up its game so significantly has made it harder to get into movies these days.  More often than not I feel like I have reached a point where I have seen everything and long for the character development we see on TV series that simply isn’t possible in a featured film.  So whenever I find myself surprised now it makes me appreciate the movie all that much more.  This movie isn’t that original or anything special really but it made me laugh, and I saw more than I expected with it.

I do not like Ed Helms.  I have always hated his character on The Office and I haven’t thought much of his movie career outside of that.  The Hangover was an awesome movie, but it wasn’t Ed Helms that made it awesome.  He was good in that movie but is out shined by his costars. He plays a part in this movie that he is well suited for.  I do like him as the straight laced and innocent guy that eventually succumbs to stress and peer pressure before going nuts.  The part where he is hanging out with a prostitute and unknowingly smokes crack was what ultimately made me decided we needed to own this movie, it was such a funny scene and situation.

I think John C. Reilly is an awesome actor and like most of what he does.  Unless he is starring along side Will Ferrell and simply acting like an idiot.  In my opinion the man has far too much talent to waste his time on movies like Step Brothers and Talladega Nights. He is really funny in this movie and manages to make me laugh without sinking to the shameless level of comedy we usually see from Will Ferrell. Anne Heche surprised me in this movie as well.  I have never really been a big fan of hers but in this movie she is witty and really sexy to boot.  I have grown to really like Rob Corddry and although he has a small part in this movie he still brought something to the table.  I was shocked to see Alia Shawkat in this movie because I haven’t seen her in anything since playing Maeby on Arrested Development (possibly one of the funniest shows ever made, oh how I miss it). Thomas Lennon has a small role in this movie and he is one of those guys that can make any movie better.  There is no end to Lennon’s versatility and he brings something funny to every role he plays.  I have always thought Sigourney Weaver was great and like that she can still play a part like the one she has in this movie. Also on board here is Kurtwood Smith and I think he was perfectly cast for his role.

Last but not least, Stephen Root.  I saved him to last specifically so I can say more about him because the man deserves any and all credit he can get.  I have been a fan of Root since he played Milton on Office Space and I am a huge fan of King of the Hill in which he voiced one of my favorite characters, Bill Dauterive. I did not think at the time, especially once Dodgeball came out, that Root had much to offer as an actor.  I could not have been more wrong because the man can do ANYTHING. He is such a diverse talent that I am simply amazed at everything I see him in.  I see him so frequently too that it only adds to the wonder.  Sometimes I wonder if there is a TV series out there that he hasn’t been part of. I have seen him play parts in Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, Justified, and 24 just to name a few.  What amazes me even more than his presence in so many shows is the fact that he plays such different characters in all of them so flawlessly.  He pops up in movies all of the time and he always brings it.  Stephen Root truly is an unsung hero in the acting world and I think he is simply great in everything. In this movie he plays Ed Helms boss and does a great job.  He has one line that is just so funny.  He tells Ed Helms that he watched him grow up with the potential to do anything and somehow he managed to do nothing.  That isn’t a specific quote but if you see the movie I don’t think you can help but laugh at that one.

I don’t think this is an exceptional movie by any means but it is a good movie that I really enjoyed.  There are a lot of funny people being funny here and in the end it all comes together quite nicely.  This movie didn’t enjoy any wide release or anything so it is probably one many have never heard of.  If you get a chance to see it though it’s worth your time to see it.

Galaxy Quest

Year: 1999
Directed By: Dean Parisot
Written By: David Howard and Robert Gordon

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I was working at Action Video twelve years ago this was one of the family friendly movies I played frequently in the store.  I thought the movie was funny and it provided me many hours of both background noise and entertainment during the work hours when I was sixteen.  I have always loved this movie and still find it funny when watching it now. The cast is made up of great actors who in some cases are so surprisingly funny.  I’m also married to a big time Star Trek fan so I especially like a movie like this that is more or less a parody of that series.

I grew up watching Home Improvement so I have always been a Tim Allen fan and specifically like him in this movie. He is really natural in this leadership role and does a great job heading this fantastic ensemble.  Sigourney Weaver is great in this movie, she can be so funny and so attractive sometimes.  She has such a funny role as the hot woman from the show who didn’t actually do anything but speak to the voice activated computer. What surprises me is how funny she actually is though, I usually associate her with more serious roles so it was a pleasant surprise. Alan Rickman is awesome, I have always liked him in anything he was part of and this is no different.  Rickman is hilarious in the role of the Spock-like Dr. Lazarus. I like seeing the diversity from him as an actor when he can be so funny with a role like this.  I think two of the best roles in the movie go to Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell.  Shalhoub is just so casual and nonchalant no matter what is going on in the movie and it’s really funny.  My favorite scene is when everyone is freaking out while they are trying to land on the alien planet but Shalhoub is just sitting there with a goofy smile on his face eating candy.  Sam Rockwell playing the part of the no name guy from the show that gets killed on landing parties is great.  When he realizes that he is the character that gets killed on the alien planet and starts freaking out it’s so funny.  There is one scene where he looks at everybody and demands to know if anyone there knows his last name, and nobody can answer.  These characters are not only all funny individually but they had great on screen chemistry that made the movie work really well.  Enrico Colantoni plays one of the main aliens and he is very funny in his role as well.  There is also a much younger Justin Long in this film playing the part of a big fan that struggles to get the attention of his idol Captain Nesmith.

This is a fun and funny movie that I really have always enjoyed.  Not only is this one that I enjoy myself but I look forward to watching it with my kids one day as it is a film you can watch with your children and still enjoy.  The humor in this movie can resonate with both fans of Star Trek as well as the people out there who never saw the show.  This movie didn’t make any serious waves when it came out and it didn’t win any awards but I think it is worth your time.  For a fun and simple movie that you can just sit back and enjoy this is one you need to check out.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I don’t care who you are, this movie is funny. I guess technically, if you have never seen Star Trek, then maybe you won’t get all of the humor, but nevertheless this movie is funny. Ryan introduced me to this movie before he made (yes, MADE) me wach all of the Star Trek movies. I didn’t really understand all of the humor at the time, but I really like Tim Allen and you can never go wrong putting Sigourney Weaver in anything sci-fi, spoof or not.

Is this movie a little bit cheezy? You bet it is. Is it still worth the time? Absolutely. What are you waiting for?

NEXT MOVIE: The Game (1997)

Avatar

Year: 2009
Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron

RYAN’S REVIEW

When this movie came out I saw it in the theater three times.  I thought it was one of the most awesome movies I had ever seen.  It was really something special, and the box office results reflect the fact that it was no ordinary movie.  I hailed James Cameron as a genius and still do because the fact is he might have saved the theater business from going under.  He created an experience that can’t be recreated at home.  His 3D, and I’m not talking about the crap being passed off as 3D now, but James Cameron 3D, Avatar 3D, will save the movie industry.  That is of course when people figure out what Cameron did different and learn to recreate it.  Until then let’s look forward to Avatar 2 because I have every hope that it will surpass it’s predecessor and blow us away all over again. For further opinions about James Cameron see our posts on The Abyss and Aliens. It’s difficult to describe watching Avatar in 3D because I didn’t write about the experience when it happened, but I remembered thinking I wish I could see every movie I loved just like that.  I felt like I was inside the movie, and it was amazing.

That being said, having just watched it I can see now that this movie doesn’t belong in our collection and I regret buying it when it came out.  We don’t own a 3D TV, and even if we did I don’t know how well the film actually transitions to the small screen in that format. The 3D effects made this movie truly amazing and an outstanding viewing experience, but without them it’s a different story.  It’s just a movie without those effects, and not a good one at that.  The story is practically a knock-off, the performances are weak, even by the A-list actors, and until the end the movie is more or less boring without the 3D.  Giovanni Ribisi is so cliché in this film he should be embarrassed, Stephen Lang is trying too hard to pass himself off as a badass, and Sigourney Weaver is just going through the motions.  The surprising actress is Michelle Rodriguez, who I usually hate but didn’t mind here.  Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are both good,  but the effects that make their characters tend to overshadow their acting.

If you have watched this movie on a 3D TV then please let me know how it was, but if you don’t own one I’d advise you not to waste your time with this one.  If you saw it in the theater I trust you were pleased but that experience can’t be recreated at home with a normal TV.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I am really happy that I can say that I saw this film in 3D. It was an amazing experience and by far the coolest movie I have ever seen in the theater in 3D. It was the experience that was amazing. The movie itself was not. The story has been told before, and while I appreciate the effort put forth to make a statement about human kind, they story wasn’t original and I am not sure why Ryan bought this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Back to the Future (1985)

Aliens

Year: 1986
Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron and David Giler

RYAN’S REVIEW

Now this is a badass Aliens movie, the best of them all, a sequel that spawned a franchise. This movie has lived on in the past 25 years.  With scenes popping up in DirectTV commercials, Troy and Abed dressed as Ripley and the Alien in a Halloween episode of Community, and it even has had a clear influence on the Halo franchise. The soldiers in the Halo games are taken directly from this film, the captain may even be voiced by the actual actor from this movie for all I know.  Aliens is what all sequels should be, a bigger and better version of the original. I have mentioned before that I think James Cameron is a badass and this movie is one of the reasons why.  He took a movie that was already cool and expanded the story to devastating proportions.  For anybody that thought that one alien was scary in 1979 must have been blown away when they saw what Cameron had cooked up.

This movie, like its predecessor won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and Sigourney Weaver was actually nominated for Best Actress. In a genre dominated by the likes of Schwarzenegger and Stallone, Weaver did prove to be just as much a badass with this film.  This movie also has James Cameron regular Michael Beihn, I’ve said it before, I think he is awesome.  Lance Henriksen is great as the android Bishop, and Bill Paxton was appropriately cast as a whiny bitch. I don’t care for Paul Reiser but he too is appropriately cast, as a douche bag.  The cast was great in this movie and the story and execution of the film give this film the strength and longevity it has enjoyed over the last 25 years.  If you haven’t already seen this movie then it is a definite must see, more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW 

I liked this better than the original. It had more action, it was scarier and it tied into the first one. I think my favorite thing about this movie is how mad Ridley gets throughout the film. No one can say “goddamnit” like she can. Again, this isn’t one of those films that I like watching over and over, but it a really good film, how could it not be coming from Cameron? Definitely see this one, at least once.

NEXT MOVIE: Alien 3 (1992)