Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Movie Mini-Reviews - 15-05-12

Cabin In The Woods

Joss Whedon's fan-service film is an interesting take on the "Slasher movie" genre by injecting it with science-fiction. For anyone else this would not work but Whedon manages to pull it off quite successfully. I don't think the mindless simpletons who love horror movies will be too impressed by this though, its far to clever an idea and too well written for them to fully comprehend.

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Jessie Williams, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford; Whedon weaves a tale by where the staple eerie deserted cabin in the middle of nowhere is actually on top of a huge secret government-sanctioned facility with a somewhat nefarious purpose.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2


Once you leave most of your brain at home, this is a very enjoyable B-movie starring Guy L.A. Confidential Pierce as Snow a former CIA Agent sent into an orbital maximum security prison where the inmates are running amok to both clear his name for a crime he didn't commit and to rescue the President's daughter Emilie [Maggie Taken Grace].

When you consider that this movie [with the aid of Luc Besson] was written and directed by two Irish fellas who studied in Dun Laoghaire and never directed a feature film before then you have to be fuckin' impressed. Stephen St. Leger and James Mather previously directed the most incredible short film I've ever seen - Prey Alone and this movie is an extension of the extraordinary budget-conscious ideas they explored in that. I hope to see more from them.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****


I respectfully request that a new genre be created henceforth, known as 'The Statham'. 

This will be a sub-genre of the staple action movie but specifically characterised by:
1. starring Jason Statham
and one or more of the caveats:
2. shooting [normally while running and/or jumping]
3. running [normally while shooting]
4. driving [probably while shooting]

Safe will be the most recent offering of the genre which should be retroactively applied to The Transporter [and sequels], Crank and War to name but a few. Provisions should also be made for identifying dual genre Stathams like The Mechanic and Blitz  [Statham/Thriller] and also where there may be elements of superior traditional action not necessarily encompassed by the Statham, such as The Expendables [Statham/Action].

Safe is an excellent Statham.

Colonel Creedon Verdict: ****1/2

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I did not initially want to see this movie, in part because I knew nothing about it and Mel Gibson's public bigotry is reaching proportions that I'm frankly uncomfortable with. Due to the current level of negative public perception of Gibson in the US, Get The Gringo [as it is known there] is a Video on Demand as opposed to a theatrical release which doesn't inspire confidence. But I guess Gibson's no Roman Polanski or Woody Allen, so when the opportunity to see this came about I said I'd give it a shot. 

It's no secret that Mexico is a practically lawless hellhole [or at least that's the impression I have from watching movies like this and seeing news reports like this] so I was surprised to discover that it even had prisons. After a dramatic chase across the border, Gibson's character finds himself in a unique prison in which the daily life and routine inside is probably better for inmates than people living outside. He befriends the son of another inmate who was killed for his liver, and due to the boy's rare blood type, he too will one day be murdered to prolong the life of the prison's most influential inmate, a Mexican crime boss.

Sadly Gibson is getting far to old to be running and shooting and at 55 is a little unconvincing here. I recall him saying that he didn't want to be a film star anymore and would act only if the script was good enough. Yes, he co-wrote this movie! Nevertheless, this is certainly a different take on the prison-movie genre and was very well paced and judged by first time director Adrian Grunberg who was Gibson's 1stAD on Apocalypto. The action scenes were thankfully unstylised in keeping with a realistic tone and I was well impressed at seeing someones eyeball explode through sunglasses that shattered - I can't recall seeing that before. I doubt this was supported by the Mexican tourist board.

Colonel Creedon Verdict: ***1/2

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