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Now Playing II - Dead by Dawn

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

Previews of The Cabin in the Woods, Lockout, and The Three Stooges

A long introduction need not apply this week.  Let’s get right down to it.  Three films are making their way to the masses.  Will any stand up and knock down the mighty The Hunger Games?  My magic 8 ball tells me the outlook is not good.  That number one streak may last until The Avengers is released next month.  First up in the ring is…

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

It’s one of the standard tales of the horror genre.  A group of college pals gather together for a night out in the woods and end up awakening something evil.  The twist in this variation is that this time, there is a sinister organization watching from behind the scenes, manipulating events until only one remains.

I am an unabashed “Whedonite”.  While I don’t think that everything writer Joss Whedon does turns to gold, (Fox’s Dollhouse was not one of his better shows), I do think he has a knack for writing great characters and strong protagonists.  He loves to play with the conventions of a story and creates memorable worlds.  For an example of him at his best, look towards the TV series Firefly.  It may have only lasted a few episodes (thanks to Fox’s gross mishandling of the series) but it started strong and its quality barely wavered throughout its run on television and its one feature film, Serenity.

The Cabin in the Woods also had an interesting journey to the cinemas.  It was actually shot in 2009 and was set to be released in February 2010.  However, MGM, the company producing the movie, decided to hold off on the release to convert it to a 3D film, going against the wishes of writer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard (writer of Cloverfield .  This is his first theatrical directed film).  However the plan was eventually scrapped once MGM went bankrupt.  In a restructuring deal, this film (as well as the Red Dawn remake) was sold to Lionsgate who decided to put the film out this weekend, a few weeks ahead of Whedon’s summer action film, The Avengers.

It may have taken a while but the movie is finally here.  Will it be worth the wait?  I was able to procure a copy of the script a few months ago and I did like what I read.  It deconstructs the horror movie quite efficiently while delivering the requisite scares inherent to the genre, with a dose of Whedon-type humor.  Hopefully the script will translate well to the screen.  I’m giving this 4 Initiatives out of 5.  The Cabin in the Woods is rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity.

LOCKOUT

The President’s daughter is missing while visiting a high security prison…in SPACE.  One man, wrongly convicted of espionage, has to infiltrate the compound to rescue her and secure his freedom.

When I first saw this trailer, I immediately thought of Luc Besson.  This writer/producer has a tendency to create high concept action films with a slant towards the absurd (the parkour driven insanity of District 13, the Jason Statham Transporter series, Liam Neeson’s Taken…to name a few).  I researched this movie on IMDB and sure enough, he is a co-writer.  His involvement, as well as star Guy Pearce (Hunting), elevated my anticipation of this from “Why did they make this?” to “When can I watch this?”  It looks to be a silly action movie, a genre of which I have a particular weakness.  It may not be high cinema, but it could be highly enjoyable.  I’m giving this 4 Escape from L.A. (or space in this case) out of 5.  Lockout is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references.

THE THREE STOOGES

Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos, Under New Management), Larry (Sean Hayes, Lucas) and Curly (Will Sasso, Ski School 2) are three knuckleheads trying to save their childhood orphanage.  Along the way, they stumble upon a murder plot and end up cast in a reality show.

Oh Farrelly brothers, how the once mighty have fallen.  The directors of Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, and There’s Something About Mary have not been a true factor in the comedy scene since they had led the charge towards the R-rated gross out comedies with a heart.  Their output has been decreasing in quality since those three film helped define a genre.  And now there’s The Three Stooges.  The trailers have done nothing to make me want to see this.  The three main stars may have the mannerisms of the original Stooges but they look like nothing but a pale imitation. There are cameos from the Jersey Shore cast that makes me want to bang my head against the seat in front of me.  I hope the trailers are misleading and this is a return to form for the Farrelly’s.  I just can’t see it from the little bits shown.  I’m giving this 1 Nyuk out of 5.  The Three Stooges is rated PG for slapstick action violence, some rude and suggestive humor including language.

 

That will do it for this week.  Next week, the lucky ones will have to think like a man.  Until next time, slowly I turn.  Step by step.  Inch by inch.

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