Sunday, April 15, 2012

Movies: What's hot what's not!

     I saw three movies this week and thought I would share my feelings about whether or not they are worth checking out. Here they are in no particular order.

THE GREY- Directed by Joe Carnahan - Starring Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo
Screenplay by Joe Carnahan and Ian MacKenzie Jeffers

    The Grey with Liam Neeson is about a hunter along with a group of oil roughnecks who find themselves fighting for their lives after their commercial flight crashes into the Alaskan tundra.
     The film introduces us to a skilled hunter named Ottaway (played by Neeson)  who culls wolves in and around the oil patch, but the sharp shooter is an individual in deep mourning at the loss of his wife and in fact somewhat suicidal.
     When the plane crashes it seems things can't get any worse until a pack of wolves begin stalking the survivors as if they were a herd instead of man. Without his rifle Ottaway attempts to prepare the men for the impending danger, but this does not come without at least some resistance by one member named Diaz. As the group undergoes a bit of alpha-male infighting the wolves attack and the men realize that their only strength is in numbers. It is at this point they decide to that they will not survive the elements or the wolves if they do not try and hike out of the barrens.
     Overall, 'The Grey' is a stunning film to watch and Neeson carries his character forward under the direction of Joe Carnahan quite effectively. The backdrop of Alaskan landscape does well to illustrate the cold and elements the men face as they are systematically killed by the relentless wolf pack. There are few flaws in the script, most notably was the decision to leave the crashed aircraft to get to safety. The fact that it was a source of refuge from the wolves and the elements is dwarfed only by the fact that all commercial aircraft have transponders which would surely have led to rescue.
     That aside, I would recommend this film to anyone looking for a good bout of pulse pounding entertainment. Liam Neeson, along with actors Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts and Dermot Mulroney carry this tale of survival to an ending that is both unexpected and very refreshing.

RATING (Definitely worth seeing)

THE DARKEST HOUR  Directed by Chris Gorak and produced by Timur Bekmambetoy.
Starring Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella

     Two young tech savvy businessmen go to Moscow to sell their social networking program to investors only to find they've been screwed over by the middle man they thought was helping get a footprint in the Russian Capital.
     What do young men who've been screwed over for billions do when this happens? Well, they go 'Clubbing' of course and drown their sorrows in vodka and woman, but that gets interupted by an alien invasion that sucks all the electricity out of the power grid and vaporizes humans when touched by the invisible entities. Luckily, the main characters manage to take refuge in a basement while Moscow and the rest of the world falls victim to the invasion.
     Don't get me wrong, I like a good invasion flick as much as the next guy or gal, but this movie had some real time-line issues that left me (the guy who smoked up in science) wondering if the writers had a smick about anything.
     First off, the world gets wiped out in a day, or is it a week, a month? I don't really know, but what we do know is that during that rather murky time-line while our characters were hiding out in the basement some people, in particularly a fat Russian plummer has already developed a microwave gun that disables the aliens force field.
     It was from this point that I began to think: "Oh man, guess I gotta watch it until the end."
     And I did and it sucked.

RATING (Not worth seeing)

Directed by Drew Goddard
Starring Fran Kranz, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison

     Five friends set out for a cabin in the woods that is no doubt going to be a haven for serial killers, zombie families, or whatever horror might horror might suit your fancy.
     If you go to see Cabin in the Woods thinking that you are going to be watching another 70's style slasher film, then guess again. This movie is filled with gore, laughs, and right from the get go you are in on the fact that the five teens destiny is already preordained by scientists working behind the scenes to deliver the particular path they take.
     It plays like a slasher film, whilst the command center below the cabin controls who lives and who dies, but the bigger story is that the film basically says that every slasher movie, creature feature and monster film is real and that the command center is delivering these teenagers to slaughter to serve a higher purpose. I won't ruin that for you, but will say that Fran Kranz, who plays 'Marty' the classic stoner actually steals the spotlight with his  laid back humor and witty responses that are tempered by whatever brand of weed it is that he is smoking in his travel-mug/bong.
     I loved this film, it was a funny interesting and when it was all over I actually heard the audience clapping when the credits rolled. If you're a horror fan who has a sense of humor you will like this movie.

RATING (Definitely worth seeing)