Mini-reviews of the films I watched this wee

Movies watched: Cabin in the Woods (2nd viewing/at home), Thor (2nd viewing/at home), The Apparition (1st viewing/in theater), Snakes on a Plane (1st viewing/at home/edited version), Ghost Ship (1st viewing/at home), The Avengers (2nd viewing/at home)

Common threads: Joss Whedon, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Juliana Margulies, Tom Hiddleston, Stan Lee, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, coffee, horror movies, comic books and Dark Castle productions

Editor’s Note: The film shown in The Apparition trailer is a better film than the film itself (no, seriously).

Cabin in the Woods

Best horror film in ages. Intelligent writing, mental and psychological twists, wit and sarcasm, stereotypes turned on their heads, talented cast and strong ensemble direction. Oh, and continuity, a rare thing in so many films lately. Stand out performances by entire cast (no, really), but I do have a personal favorite in Fran Kranz. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard do some exceptional writing here.and Drew Goddard some keen directing (Drew, who I notice has done television work in the past with Joss and J.J. Abrams). If you love horror films, this one is for you (keep a eye out for the “monster white board” and if you see this in DVD, pause, read and enjoy). Though I questioned the “knowing everything from the start” feeling at the start of the film, I was pleasantly surprised to find the knowledge the audience knows just helps the ride be more topsy-turvy and fun. I loved this film.

Thor

I am a comic book girl and a sucker for the family betrayal story and the fish out of water tale, both which are at the core of this story. Talented cast, with some of my favorites in the mix, especially in Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings. There are some great moments, especially with Thor banished to earth discovering the wonders of coffee, and that you cannot commandeer a horse from a small-town pet store. Strong moments, especially in the realization and confrontation between Loki and his father, and between Loki and Thor. I will admit to having a major soft spot for Loki in this and cannot help but feel his is the tragic story that makes for some of the best villains and heroes. Odin, Thor and Loki’s father and king of Asgard, is the real unlikeable, villain here – manipulative and cruel in all of his actions (I cringe when Thor returns and tells him what a great father he is). It is refreshing to have the human female love interest to be strong on her own, Jane, a persistent and smart scientist who SHIELD even comes to realize as an asset, and in the scenes where she is definitely the one teaching Thor to have some humanity.

The Apparition

One of the worst horror films I have seen in a very long time and what a waste to have seen it on the “big screen“. This film could not even be categorized as so bad its good, which is often a compliment of some of the horror films I do enjoy. There was no continuity in this one, nor any understandable plot at all. The characters seemed to be half-asleep and completely confused by their roles in this, stumbling about and making ridiculous decisions. There were small moments which screamed potential in this, such as the scenes in total silence which was unnerving to experience but went nowhere (you have your audience uncomfortable and waiting – DO something with that), as well as a strong starting point that teased at some rich back story, that again, went nowhere. There are countless plot holes in this film, pieces of details that are never explained, horrible dialogue and a waste of some considerable young talent, especially a new favorite actor of mine, Sebastian Stan. One of my most hated moments was when Kelly discovers her husband’s secret stash of ghost hunting paraphernalia and past journals, and in that discovery she seems only to care that he was once with another girl, even as she is living in a house and life most obviously being taken over by some sort of ghost (though we are never quite sure it is a ghost at al). I am quite aware that stereotyping is part of the horror genre, but this was just insulting in its portrayal of women, to me. This is a “do not even waste your time on Netflix” kind of movie.

Snakes on a Plane

I am late to the party on this one, and I am sure the film was more comediac to me because we watched it on broadcast television with laughable adult language edits – my favorite being “I am sick of these monkey fighting snakes on this Monday through Friday plane.” – but this was a fun, Friday night film, to me. There were noticable plot holes all over the place, a ridiculous premise, and some eye-rolling characters, but on the whole this was an enjoyable ride. The snakes, admittedly, made me uncomfortable even if they looked terribly fake, as did the presence of children and a baby (I am a mom, I do not enjoy seeing kids in peril, at all, and well, I have an irrational fear of snakes), but the film had a good cast with a few favorites of mine, most notably Julianna Margulies, Kenan Thompson, Taylor Kitsch (though blink and you’ll miss him) and David Koechner – well, and one would be remiss if they did not say Samuel L. Jackson, right? This film is as good, and as bad, as one might expect – but fun, nonetheless.

Ghost Ship

A Dark Castle film done right (not like The Apparition), this film tells the tale of a cursed cruise ship from the 1960’s that a tugboat retrieval crew is hired to salvage. It is ripe with back story, continuity, special effects and a good ensemble cast that work. There is a twist here, too. The best scene in this film is the flashback scene, almost beautiful in its cinematography and choreography, if one can call gore beautiful, with rather stunningly eerie music to set the tone. Some good performances from Julianna Margulies (again), Emily Browning and Karl Urban (where do I know him from? Oh that’s right,2009 Star Trek’s Bones). I quite enjoyed this one.

The Avengers

A second time for me and I still love this film so very much. What can I say, an outstanding ensemble cast led by one of my favorite writer and directors, Joss Whedon. Honestly, what is not to love about this film? I love the entire cast, I am a comic book geek at heart so all the characters (though please bring Wasp around next time) already are close to my heart, and each and every character, even some of the smaller side ones, are well-developed and share equal importance on-screen and in-story. There is wit, intelligence, continuity (yes, there is that word again), sarcasm, action and strong, human, flawed and heroic people in this (not just men, not just women, but people). This was one of those films that bring out the kid in me to the point where I wanted to cheer when the credits came up. This is the rare blockbuster that deserves to be one, and a movie franchise that I actually anxiously await the next installment of, especially in that I know that the entire cast will be back (sans one that makes me sad, but I will not spoil story here) and that Joss will be at the helm, again. Without sounding like a film poster blurb, this is a must-see.

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