Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Five Year Engagement Review


The Five-Year Engagement proves that Jason Segel makes every movie better simply by being in it.  Even last year’s Bad Teacher, which I gave a negative review to, was a better film because of Segel.  This time, he teams up with Emily Blunt, and this proves to be a winning combination as they are both charming and very sweet together.  You root for them to get together and stay together, and that’s vital in any romantic comedy.

Jason Segel plays Tom, a San Francisco chef, who is madly in love with Violet (Emily Blunt).  Even though his proposal to her goes very, very wrong, it’s still incredibly romantic.  Their plans to get married are put on hold when Violet gets accepted to college in Michigan, which forces the couple to move from sunny San Francisco. Tom is then forced to look for a new job and adjust to the cold winters of Michigan.  Violet on the other hand is enjoying college thanks to an inspiring professor played by Rhys Ifans.

The film has a lot of insightful truths about relationships and how they can conflict with career choices.  You love your career and your partner, so how do you find a way to give them both equal time without giving up your career or losing your partner?  It’s a tough position to be in, and there is no easy answer.  The film knows when to be sweet without being too sweet.  As an audience member, I genuinely cared about Tom and Violet.  They were a likable couple and fun to spend time with for two hours.

The supporting cast is also terrific, including Kevin Hart, Alison Brie, Chris Pratt, Mindy Kaling, Randall Park, Chris Parnell, and Brian Posehn. They add flavor and life to all of the scenes they are in and each of them add something fun and unique to the mix.  Even though the film runs at a little over two hours, it never feels like it, thanks to the fantastic cast.

The Five-Year Engagement is not a perfect movie, however.  Some of the gags, including the ones that feature amputation, really don’t work and fall flat on their face.  The misunderstandings are also a little too convenient for my liking. The storyline with the teacher is also quite predictable and unneeded.  Still, thanks to the great supporting cast, the likeable duo of Segel and Blunt, and a smart screenplay, The Five-Year Engagement is worth the wait.

Grade: A-

How should you see it: On the big screen

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods review (no spoilers)

The Cabin in the Woods has been on the shelf for over three years, due to various issues, none of which are at all related to the quality of the film.  Usually when a film is on the shelf for three years, it’s a very bad sign.  It’s because the movie is terrible, and they are trying to figure out how to market it and release it to an audience.  With The Cabin in the Woods, I have to ask everyone, what took you so long? This is a film that needs to be seen.

I remember seeing the poster for this film at my local cinema one Friday night, and I didn’t really give it a lot of thought. I saw the simple title of The Cabin in the Woods and dismissed it as another crappy, predictable, and lifeless horror flick.  When Silent House was released last month and disappointed me greatly, I was just about ready to give up on horror movies all together.  That was until I viewed The Cabin in the Woods.

Of course I did my research before checking out the film and once I saw the 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the talent behind the film, I was sold.  Expectations, of course, were high, but Cabin in the Woods met all of them with flying colors.  The story is one you have heard before: five good-looking teens go to a cabin looking to party and have sex. The teenagers are played by Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, and Anna Hutchison.  Williams is familiar to audiences from Grey’s Anatomy and Hemsworth, of course, has played Thor.

Once they are in the woods, some clich├ęs are turned upside down, including the horny teenagers who can’t control their hormones, the ever popular hillbilly gas station owner, and the pot-headed buffoon with random moments of intelligence.  We also have two men in a control tower, played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, and as far as their role in this film, well, you will have to see this film to know that.

Once you think you have the answers,The Cabin in the Woods changes the question. This is the kind of movie that is best to see cold turkey, which means it’s best to know as little about it as possible.  Some of my fellow reviewers have suggested possibly reading their reviews after seeing the film, although I don’t believe any of their reviews, or mine for that matter, give that much away. I would recommend that you read other reviews with great caution, though.

The horror genre has been sort of floundering around with limited results lately.  A lot of people say the horror genre is “dead,” but the genre will never be dead. It goes in cycles, just like most things in life. This is exactly the kind of film that is going to take a stale genre and make it fresh, exciting, and fun again. This is the Friday night horror flick I have been craving for the longest time. You go on a date, laugh, get scared, but most of all, you enjoy yourself.

Director James Gunn summed it up well on his Facebook when he said that you need to go out and support this movie. Hollywood is only going to make the kind of horror movies that make money. If you support a bad horror movie, they think that’s what you want. Horror fans need to stand up and say, “This is what I want to see and this is what I deserve” by going out and buying a ticket to The Cabin in the Woods. 

You might have a lot of questions when it’s all said and done, and I know a lot of people are maybe expecting a traditional horror film. Personally, I had my questions, but the journey was fun, so some of the plot holes or confusion didn’t totally bother me. As far as those expecting a traditional horror film, this is not that type of movie.  That’s a good thing. This is an original and exciting horror flick. 

Grade: A 

How should you see it? On the big screen