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VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

4/5 stars from both of us.
7.6/10 from Clint (same as IMDB in general!)
8/10 from Carolyn.

Ultimately I was kind of disappointed with this one, given all the hype.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. I just felt that the concept held more promise than the execution gave. This is usually true in many movies with unique concepts, but it hurt this for me… More than usual. There wasn’t nearly enough time spent on all the *other* monsters.

It felt rushed. It was too short. This story would have been better if it was fleshed out more: 2.5 hours instead of 1.5 hours. But oh, horror movies always have to be 1.5 hours!

This could have been a deeper story, with more epicness. Still a good movie. Still worth seeing. But I rank this as not as good as Joss Whedon’s average work.

The controlled environment definitely reminded me of The Hunger Games — but The Hunger Games had a much better societal commentary.

This seemed to start out too slow, then finish up too fast.

Pacing.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1259521/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The New Guy (2002)

5.5/10 on IMDB, but we give it 4/5 stars,
with 7/10 from Carolyn, and 7.6/10 from Clint.

“It was funny, but not spectacular,” says Carolyn.

I think this is one of the ultimate nerd-fantasy movies. “A high school senior [DJ Qualls] branded uncool in the ninth grade gets himself expelled so he changes his image to cool kid at the town’s other high school [to impress girls like Eliza Dushku].”

We also have Zooey Deschanel, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin, and cameos by Tony Hawk, Kool Moe Dee, Vanilla Ice, Tommy Lee, David Hasselhoff, and Henry Rollins.

This is the only movie directed by its director, and the only non-TV movie written by its writer, who wrote for Growing Pains and currently writes Melissa & Joey, whatever that is. So it’s a movie primarily made by relative nobodies. It shows. It does not have a Hollywood sensibility to it.

They go the ridiculous route whenever possible — which is my preference for things. It’s almost cartoonish in its unrealisticness. This high school is about as realistic as Crowley High from Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil.

And that’s good. This story wouldn’t be nearly as funny or endearing if it was contrained by real-world realism. This is an idealists’ movie, and above all a ridiculous coming-of-age comedy: And that’s what helps make it good, and stand out as a unique movie worth seeing.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241760/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Hunger Games (2012)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native rating: 7.4/10.

…. That was Elizabeth Banks?!?
The same director as Pleasantville?

Anyway, this movie was pretty awesome. I thought it was just going to be Battale Royale (with cheese), but it was more like the movie Live! (2007) combined with Battle Royale (2000), both of which I rate 8/10.  Combine the two together, and we have a 9/10 movie.

Battle Royale lacked the societal commentary & relevancy, and Live! lacked the awesome technology-driven futuristic deathmatch. This combined both.

Glad to see it’s a trilogy… Not having read the books, it’s cool to wonder what will happen next. It’s not cool to have to wait years, though.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Ten (2007)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 2.7/5 stars, 5.1/10.
Netflix’s guess for us was 3.9/5 stars — very accurate.

After the resounding success of Wanderlust (2012), one of the funniest movies we’ve seen in awhile, we noticed there were David Wain/Ken Marino (The State, Wet Hot American Summer) movies we had not seen!

Enjoyable anthology of 10 stories analagous to the 10 commandments. The only problem was some of the stories didn’t really have too much to do with their corresponding commandment. But that’s okay, as it was really just a framework for Wain/Marino comedy.

Incredible cast: Paul Rudd, Famke Janssen, Adam Brody, Jon Hamm, Winona Ryder, Gretchen MolLiev Schreiber, Rob Corddry, Radhisa Jones, H. Jon Benjamin, and pretty much every member of The State. And most of these people did a musica performance together at the end. Unnecessary, but funny and entertaining. Gretchen Mol sings her own name in a lyric explaining that this movie is fictitious and she’s just an actress.

If you need a reason to watch this, I submit this one: Wynona Rider passionately making out with a wooden dummy.

Basically, if you like Wain-style comedy (The State, Wet Hot American Summer, Superjail, Wanderlust), you should check this out. It’s probably the least good out of all of the above, but it’s still better than the general public thinks.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0811106/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Dante 01 (2008)

3/5 stars, 6/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 2.5/5 stars, 4.9/10.
(Netflix’s guess for us was 3.1/5, very good Netflix!).

Directed by Marc Caro, who co-directed The City Of Lost Children & Delicatessen with Jean-Pierre Jenuet.

They used to collaborate together, then they went their separate ways when Jeneut went to work on Alien:Ressurrection. After that, Jenuet went on to do Amelie & Micmacs. These movies are very much in the same cinematic style as Delicatessen & The City Of Lost Children, except they are very whimsical, missing all of the darkness from Delicatessan & The City Of Lost Children.

Apparently, the darkness came from Marc Caro. So we sought to see what a Marc Caro movie was like WITHOUT Jenuet.

The answer: Not as good.

This kind of came off as Chronicles Of Riddick meets Clockwork Orange meets Pandorum. The movie had very good visuals, an interesting moral dillema, and a disturbing, claustrophobic insane-asylum-on-space-station atmosphere — but the ending was a total cop-out that left few satisifed.

And a lot of questions were never answered, which makes the mystery aspect retroactively come off as pretentious. Like, for instance, what was the company *TRULY* doing with the nanotechnology? Adding Christ allegory only makes a movie more pretentious and revolting to me.

I don’t regret seeing it, but my impression is Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet are both incapable of making a single movie as good as when they both collaborated.  They should get back together!

Special thanks to Ian Buckwalter for helping me understand the Jeunet/Caro dichotomy, and pointing out to me that this movie exists in the first place.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0487928/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Following (1998)

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native: 3.4/5 stars, 7.6/10.
(Netflix’s guess for us was 3.7/5 stars, a bit low.)

Carolyn adds: “It wasn’t as good as Memento or Inception [or Batman Begins/The Dark Knight], but it was very detailed and I thought it told a good twisted story.”

I agree with Carolyn, but I felt that only the actual twist was worthy of a 5/5 star, 9/10 rating. The movie itself wasn’t. The movie WAS really good — but dry, with a stilted fight scene more awkward than that found in the original Star Trek Series, and a low-budget feel that definitely helped the noir feel, but ultimately left things seeming unpolished.

The story, however, was top notch, and I still really liked this.

Interesting how the main character never acted again, even though he was quite good: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0369918/board/nest/66469954

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0154506/

VIDEO: MOVIE: CARTOON: ANIME: The Secret World of Arrietty aka Arrietty The Borrower aka Kari-gurashiNoArietti (2010)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native rating: 3.9/5 stars (Netflix incorrectly guessed we’d rate this lower–3.7/5), 7.7/10.

Hayao Miyazaki FTW!
Almost everything he touches is gold!
Can studio Ghibli do wrong?

This is really good!

Based on The Borrowers, which is something we were utterly unfamiliar with — making it more enjoyable by depriving us of any bullshit rose-colored nostalgia for the “original”.

We actually watched the English (US, not UK) dub with Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, and Carol Burnett. Normally we watch Japanese, but we ran into “technical difficulties”.

Carolyn still likes Ponyo better, but not me. I was a bit disappointed with Ponyo, despite really liking it.If I had to rank Miyazaki-involved films in order from my favorite to least, it would probably be:
Howl’s Moving Castle
Princess Mononoke
Arietty
Ponyo
Spirited Away
The Cat Returns (he was just a producer for this one)

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568921/

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