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The Thing (2011)
Misses The Mark
First off, I will have to make a disclaimer: I love the 1982 John Carpenter's "The Thing". That being said, this review will try to be fair. Hopefully.
First off, "The Thing" is a prequel. I always have a fascination of prequels because they have a unique approach to writing in that the events must lead up logically to a movie already made rather than taking the idea of the first movie and going in different directions with it. This creates a lot of confinement and there have been some really cool prequels that, even in this confinement, still feel fresh and take whatever franchise into a new direction (case in point, From Dusk Til Dawn 3). So already, this movie has both a reputation to live up to (the 1982 movie is very highly regarded by John Carpenter fans, horror fans and even fans of good drama and story telling) and adding in the fact that the writers must somehow lead up to the original movie is a tough task to undertake. Overall, it was a valiant effort...but missed the mark.
The entire concept of the monster of this movie is that it dissolves any sort of trust between people. When these people are in a confined location like Antarctica, it becomes a boiler room situation with wills being tested, fears being escalated and the overall sense of any safety even with someone you've known for a while completely in chaos. I feel that this Thing movie missed that sense of despair, confinement and overall breakdown of the relationships between colleagues and comrades and even enemies when a shape shifting impostor is thrown into the mix. This is made blatantly evident when over half the characters don't seem worthy of care by the audience. Most have no personality to connect to, and the sheer number of characters just makes it worse to get to know these people. So when they start dropping like flies, one really doesn't care a whole lot.
And really, that's the fundamental flaw with the movie and why the whole thing feels forced. The pacing wasn't as deliberately slow, the whodunnit aspect didn't feel properly in place, and finally...and again, this criticism is as a fan of the original movie...why on earth did the thing not try to hide more than it did? At one point, it seemed like the movie shifted gears into a simple monster movie with *insert beastly monster* just running around killing which was completely uncharacteristic of the original movie where the thing, even when found out, would try to make an escape to hide again...
So in all, as a standalone movie, it wasn't bad at all. It was a nice return to gory disgusting things that go bump in the dark. But as a prequel, it missed the mark I think the film makers were trying to hit. John Carpenter laid out a very specific and deliberate tone to the original movie that this one just couldn't seem to figure out how to replicate...no blood test needed to find this impostor.
Pushes Your Emotions With Ease
I just saw 50/50 on a whim having seen one trailer (which I will talk down about in a moment) and liking Seth Rogan in pretty much anything I've seen him in. I wasn't prepared to be fighting the movie as it tried to yank tears out of my eye ducts, mostly because of the trailer.
Now granted, I kind of dismissed the trailer a bit. Again, I saw Seth Rogan doing his usual funny comments on and coming up with plans that backfire but the gist of the trailer made it seem like two desperate friends come up with a scheme to get women. My guess based on the trailer was that sooner or later, the secret would come out that no one was suffering from cancer. Yeah, thanks a lot, trailer. That's TWICE you've completely misrepresented movies in a span of a month (Drive being the other).
So to the actual movie, it centers around a young guy who seems to pride himself on being healthy, doing the right thing (we see him in the opening credits wait for a crosswalk to turn green even while someone else just crosses the street anyway because no cars are coming) due in no small part to an over concerned mother who seems to be overbearing but with good intentions. But even living healthy cannot stop the emergence of a rare cancer in his spine.
While the movie was very heartfelt (again, tear-jerking galore from the middle to the end of the movie), it was also very funny. Seth Rogan provided the goof-ball comic relief while Anna Kendrick and Levitt's interactions as first timers on both sides of the psychologist and patient relationship provide at time hilarious interactions as both deal with reality. Angelica Huston was very convincing as the too-much- concerned-with-everything mother who wants very badly to help but keeps offering it in ways Levitt doesn't want.
Overall, it was very fun in the scenes where Seth and Joseph dueling with the cancer and insincere girlfriends. One of my favorite scenes involves Seth Rogan's reaction to learning of Levitt's girlfriend's secret and how he lets him know. Very funny stuff.
If you're looking for a goof-ball comedy, don't let the trailers fool you. This is more or less on the same lines as movies like Knocked Up, but with much more emphasis on the drama side of things as cancer and death are a lot more serious issues to deal with as a human than being an unexpected parent. In all, a good rounded flick and one to watch and actually take something from when you leave the theater.
Cabin Fever (2002)
I'm starting to believe that most of the people submitting reviews to this site have not actually paid attention to the movie they are supposedly reviewing or even finished it. 8 reviews in the 13 I read here had false information or simply stated nothing past the first half hour.
I on the other hand have seen this movie in it's entirety more than once.
First off, it must be known that this movie doesn't take itself seriously. Anyone else that tries to take it seriously will just be put off by the dark and tasteless humor and gore interspersed. If you go in thinking this is going to be a very serious movie, you're in for a very serious disappointment and rightfully so.
Second, it seems people don't understand the logic of movie at all. It's actually not hard to follow and doesn't require a lot of thought process to understand both the character motivations and the plot as a whole. In fact, most of the characters verbally just say "I'm doing this because of this". It can't get much more clearer than that.
Third, it's a gore movie. The movie's about a flesh eating virus. It eats flesh. Underneath skin is muscle and blood and bone. It's gross when it's not where it's suppose to be. In a gore movie, this is shown for shock and scare. So I repeat, this is a gore movie.
Now for the actual review...overall, it's a fun movie. I think the main character (the kid from Boy Meets World) was chosen specifically so you'd see him in these horrid situations. Before this movie, he was nothing but family friendly comedy material and here we see him perform atrocious acts while defending himself from enemies both seen and unseen. The other characters are good, too. There's the girlfriend- who's-not-a-girlfriend, the nympho who has sex just to hold on to any shred left of normal life, a cocky jerk who cares of no one else, and the 'tough' guy who isn't really tough at all.
This sort of movie is what I've heard referred to (and like the term) as a 'pressure cooker' movie...a small group of people is put into a situation where they can't or won't trust each other yet they cannot escape each other either. Between the absurd locals and the virus, the group is caught between the proverbial rock and hard place and watching them get crushed under the gravity of the situation is just as fun as watching them physically get destroyed by the situation.
The comedy itself is hit and miss. One of the ones that was a good idea but should've been left on the cutting room floor is the 'nigger' joke. I don't object to it because it was a cheesy joke but rather to the fact that it bookends the movie, almost as if the whole movie was a joke...the setup was when we first meet the weird shop keeper and the punchline was at the end. But then, maybe this was the full intent...thinking about it, the 'hero' was telling a story about a man who's decapitated head ends up in a bowling alley ball return and no one listening to the story can help their laughter at the whole thing...maybe that's the point of that story and the point of this one...just have a good time and enjoy it.
Leave your brain at the door, please, before turning this one on and you'll have a much better time.
Apparently, People Still Think Trailers Are Accurate
To open, I just read about 15 reviews where the reviewer simply had no idea what they were walking into or even worse, were mislead as to what they were going to see. I'm sorry, but that does not excuse your poor review. I too would be mad if I thought I was going to see Transformers and then ended up seeing GoBots. Please, pout elsewhere. The trailers do not even give the slightest hint what this movie truly is and that's where the crime is, not the movie.
Now, to get to the review, I must say this movie wasn't a movie in the normal sense, it was an experience and I'm quite glad I decided to de- hermitize myself to go check it out in the theater. The whole film just washes over you and if you're nostalgic of the 80's (please note my Transformers vs. GoBots reference above), it's like a dream or distant memory of that ear with a flair and quality you don't see often in movies these days (or at least I don't seem to...).
There were scenes here and there that I thought maybe held on a little 'too' long with the image before moving on, but overall, everything when put together was an experience. It wasn't trying to tell a great story, it wasn't trying to develop great characters, it was just trying to provide a feeling and I think it did that very well and that feeling was nothing but coolness to me.
Again, read reviews of a movie and don't look at trailers before seeing a movie...and REALLY read those reviews. Also, to the nay sayers, I'd also like to add that I think the title DRIVE was intended to state what the main character has. He has drive to achieve his goal regardless of any obstacles in his path.
Pauly Shore Is Dead (2003)
What's With All The Hate?
First, this movie isn't supposed to be an Oscar contender. Second, it's still a Pauly Shore movie, even if it's not like any other Pauly Shore movie. I really think the negative reviews of this movie were from people putting it on a pedestal before even watching it, expecting it to be extremely artsy, a biting satire on Hollywood or whatever other pretentious reasons they could come up with to hate the movie when it failed to play out like their fantasy they came up with simply by looking at the box and title.
It's not a bad movie. It's not a great movie, but it's got plenty of humor in it, both clever Hollywood in-jokes (with lots of celebrities making fun of themselves along with Pauly) and simple toilet humor. I really think all the 'film school dropouts' need to sit back and enjoy the movie for what it is, not for what it isn't. It's a Pauly Shore movie that doesn't play like a typical Pauly Shore movie, nothing more nothing less. And if you didn't like other Pauly Shore movies, you should at least still give it a shot because of this. Just don't expect it cure cancer or feed hungry children. It's still a Pauly Shore movie.