Off The Radar: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

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Roze-Rating: 5 / 5

It’s everything a film should be, it’s fun, scary and the right amount of freaky. In terms of total theater experience Cabin in the Woods is the perfect example of how to execute that without taking itself too seriously. It is no exaggeration when I say that you will experience so many emotions just in the hour and a half run time. You’ll feel suspense, fear, laughter, disgust and maybe the odd “WTF?”. On the surface it feels and looks like a typical horror flick. There’s even the cliched group of characters you so often get in these type of films. We have the jock, the nerd, the party girl, the stoner and of course the black guy. But when we are introduced to them, we know something is off as they are all academic and actually care about their studies… whaaaat? Yes on the surface they look cliched but that first introduction to their intellectual personalities is what makes us care for them so much (you’ll see). As the movie progresses we get a real sense of the satirical approach to these characters and the genre in general which makes it hilarious but opens our eyes to the “logic” we so often see in these films.

What makes this film so special is it’s unpredictability. I mean if you judge a book by its cover then you probably wouldn’t think that with this film, even the film title is cliched. My advice when watching it is to have an open mind and enjoy the chaos. This is honestly the best horror flick I’ve seen and will be in my best films of all time list. It’s about time we got a truly innovative, fun movie. Mainstream film makers should strive to produce pieces of gold like Cabin in the Woods. If you’re still not interested in seeing this film, I have one word for you… “Merman”.

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Trophy Wife (Pilot – Episode 6)

Trophy wife ABCRoze-Verdict: Nothing new in terms of sitcom formula, but there are enough hilarious characters to carry the somewhat unique premise. Give it a go.

Kate was a party girl until a night out at a karaoke bar sends her and future husband Pete to hospital where she meets his two ex wives and kids, all in one night. This doesn’t startle her as we meet her almost a year into their marriage trying to fit in to the crazy family dynamics.

Starring;

  • Malin Åkerman as Kate Harrison
  • Bradley Whitford as Pete Harrison
  • Michaela Watkins as Jackie Fisher
  • Natalie Morales as Meg Gomez
  • Ryan Lee as Warren Harrison
  • Bailee Madison as Hillary Harrison
  • Albert Tsai as Bert Harrison
  • Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Diane Buckley

Didn’t expect much from this sitcom even with the addition of Malin Akerman as the lead but after watching a few episodes I’m glad it’s not tainted with dated laughing tracks which seems to be the sign for cheesy comedies nowadays. The premise is pretty original and provides the show for a lot of potential in terms of future story arcs and episode plots. Once again I find that having a large cast with characters possessing varied personalities leads to a successful sitcom. So far within the six episodes they’ve utilized their large cast extremely well providing loads of laughs while exploiting the characters strengths. If a comedy makes you laugh then it succeeds in my opinion and this show definitely kept me laughing.

The characters are all likable and have their own crazy characteristics which gives us a load of different jokes to giggle at. For example we have Dr. Diane Buckley who is incredibly arrogant, competitive and controlling. Characteristics we’d all be able to relate to, from mother’s to wives, even though their not great personality traits she’s probably one of the funniest characters as we get heaps of smart ass comebacks and insults. Eventually we end up rooting for her because she is simply a badass. Another character we get to indulge in is Jackie Fisher a hippie like character with little knowledge of the modern world and… most things, we don’t love her because she is just pure weird but because of the relationship she has with her adopted son Bert who is THE MAN. I hate to say it but their chemistry is so real that it exudes cuuuuute. The other characters have their own traits which make them likable and relatable which is why this show succeeds for me.

Malin Akerman may not steal all the laughs but she makes for a charming lead that we can root for. I thought with such complicated family dynamics there would be some drama in there, what if Pete falls in love with one of his ex’s again as they spend way too much time together. Once seeing the chemistry between Akerman (Kate) and Whitford (Pete), they seemed inseparable and if that story arc ever happens it would probably complicate the show as the different family bonds makes the series enjoyable.

I would say Trophy Wife is a cross between modern family and cougar town except with much crazier family dynamics. It’s weird, crazy and pleasant all at the same time.

Hit & Run (2012)

90243_galRoze-Rating: 3 / 5

Dax Shepard tries his hand at directing his first mainstream film, Hit & Run. The film follows a young couple who are based in the middle of nowhere not exactly by choice. Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) is in the witness protection program having been caught up in a past crime. During the one year the couple have been together, Annie (Kristen Bell) is largely unaware of Charlie’s past and even his real name. His past gradually starts to unravel as the couple get involved with an adrenaline pumping road trip with the sole purpose of trying to get Annie to her dream job interview.

Before I even sat down to watch this film, I was really rooting for it to be a big hit. Not because Kristen Bell is in it looking super fine, but because it’s a Dax Shepard project. He wrote it and co-directed it, and it really puts things into perspective about how far he’s come since those days he worked at Punk’d. For those reasons I just wanted to like it a lot, but there honestly is too many problems with this film to truly consider it a good film.

The cast is undoubtedly awesome with appearances from Kristen Bell, Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper and Beau Bridges. The entire cast play their characters the best they can but they are largely let down by the writing. The characters weren’t written well enough to fully meet the potential they had. Each character has their own little charm which made them unique and potentially memorable, but the lack of thorough writing to fully explore them and crucially their dialogue effectively made them seem bland. Which is such a shame because I started to like the characters, I just didn’t feel they were real enough.

What really let the film down was the storyline, some parts kinda annoyed me. There was a bit too much wrong with it for me to take it seriously, even for a comedy. The reason for this is because the premise is quite promising and with such a premise, you could do so much with it to make it funny and realistic at the same time. I think there was a lack of seriousness within the characters, where they were being chased and potentially killed, it ruined it for me because I thought it was pretty stupid how they would still be fixated on getting to the job interview.

What I did love was the film making, for his debut in directing a blockbuster film, there was a lot of substance behind filming the chase scenes. In reality they were quite boring scenes but the way he utilised the camera positions and angles really made it exciting to watch. It’s a good film to watch if you don’t want anything too serious.