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”.
Based on true events, The Iceman explores the life of infamous contract killer Richard Kuklinski. The film spans from his time as small time pornography dubber to mob hit-man. To his family he is in the currency exchange business seemingly living a normal life but once too many kills gain the interest of the media he is inevitably arrested for over 100 murders.
The Iceman is intensely dark and gritty with the help of a powerful performance by Michael Shannon who independently makes this a must watch. There’s great performances everywhere within this film as we’re given a star cast to indulge in. Winona Ryder (haaaawt) is solid as Kuklinski’s wife, a crucial character within the hit-man’s world as she is the basis of the only human emotion Kuklinski feels. Ray Liotta is mob boss Roy Dameo, feeling quite at home having countless gangster experience on the screen. Chris Evans is perfect as Kuklinkski’s accomplice, he’s deeply dark but slick as he has no problem with what he does. Nice seeing Evans out of the Marvel universe and getting into these scary roles. Probably one of the most surprising performances comes from former Friends star David Schwimmer. Throughout the film I kept thinking I recognized his face but couldn’t put a name to it. Hidden behind a distasteful hair do and mustache he plays Dameo’s right hand man Josh Rosenthal. He’s like a son to Dameo but sloppy antics and a lack of integrity leave the mob boss a hard decision to make.
Stealing the show is of course Michael Shannon who puts it all on the screen. He’s dark, gritty and slightly misunderstood. I felt he played the character terrifyingly well and it could possibly be one of the best performances of the year. He gave Kaklinski a humanistic side as opposed to the emotionless person we see at the start. He’s molded by his disturbing childhood which gives him this ignition of anger whenever he is provoked. The difference between his jailed brother and him is that he has the ability to control it when necessary. Despite his ability to kill with no remorse he has a strong moral code of not harming women or children which doesn’t necessarily put him in the category of serial killer as he does feel something towards people. Having a violent childhood makes him somewhat cynical towards god, shown through a scene where he gives a man time to pray before he is killed, mocking the idea that god could possibly come down and stop him.
Despite a great performance by Shannon, it felt like the script was lacking character depth. We’re given a character that is compelling, he kills because he’s good at it and feels very little for the people he kills. But he cares dearly for his family just like anyone else. There’s no in depth exploration of who the Iceman really is. We are given small nit-picks of his personality and values, and it can be interpreted differently depending on how you see him. It just felt like an opportunity missed for a brilliant character piece. Ultimately it’s more of a gangster thriller than a thorough look into the Iceman.
The cinematography fit’s perfectly with the intended tone of the film, it’s dark, colourless and stylish. The combination of cinematography and music makes most of the film intense and relentless.
A scene that I love the most is when Kaklinski continuously bangs his head against an elevator wall while repeating “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”, it show’s how little that means in the gangster business but also gives him a vulnerability that we don’t see for the first half of the film.
The Expendables come back for a second go at a full on action flick. This time they have new members Billy (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) who help take on money hungry savage Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) who has no conscience about the destruction he causes along the way to fortune. His actions prompt Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his men to track him, find him then kill him.
I really wasn’t a fan of the first one, I enjoyed the action but everything else was just pure… fail. The acting was terrible, dialogue cliched and the plot was just stupid. Thankfully Mr. Stallone has recognized a few of the problems and fixed them quite successfully, but of course he forgot a few.
The cast has some how gotten awesomer from the first film with introductions of Liam Hemsworth and Chuck Norris and more screen time from Bruce Willis and “The Terminator” Arnold Schwarzenegger. Action junkies will be pumped just by seeing all these action stars together, and that alone is satisfying, as it was for me. Although not all of them put in their best performances, and well there’s a reason that I’ve had a blind eye towards it. It’s unusual because you can really separate the real actors from the action stars. That being said, a lot of them did improve since Expendables 1, and Jean-Claude Van Damme makes a brutal villain, and he plays it to perfection; one of the only good performances.
The action is relentless as it should be and plays tribute to all of the past action classics. It’s loud, violent and unnecessary which is what makes it a lot of fun. It even improved in that aspect of the film. This is what I think was done a lot better than the first, it had clear intentions, which was to pay tribute to these action stars past films and parody them. This will become apparent when you see Arnold Schwarzenegger tell the crew “I’m back!” and when he replies to Bruce Willis with a “Oh yippee-kai-yay”. This film doesn’t takes itself seriously which is where the first film really faulted. This made me look past the below par acting and stale dialogue, because the film isn’t meant to be “excellent”, its meant to be mindless, gratuitous, blood stained fun. It finds the right balance between fun and seriousness.
I find it hard to start watching series regardless of how good it may be because it’s quite a big commitment. It may seem like I’m over thinking it but I know that once I’m hooked, I’m totally HOOKED, and watching 50 odd minute episodes when there’s 4 or more seasons just seems too intimidating. Which is why I tend to watch comedy series only cause I know I can get three episodes in within an hour without feeling guilty and unproductive, even if I am a lazy ass, it’s still nice to think otherwise (sigh).
Anyways, I scoured the world wide web for a new series to watch which was guaranteed to be funny and entertaining and found Archer. It had pretty good responses and I’m a big fan of family guy and south park so animation wasn’t a problem. Although when I checked it out on youtube I was almost put off because the animation seemed odd compared to other animated comedies, but after watching it I have gladly retreated from that opinion. I think it’s hard to rate a series because it’s all down to an individuals taste, and once you watch an episode you can decide if it’s for you or not, unlike a film where once you’ve committed to it, you will most likely watch it all, especially if your in the cinema. It would take one shitty movie for someone to walk out after spending all that money. Good thing I lived in a country where the cinema wasn’t expensive at all, because I would have been pissed if I spent 17 NZ Dollars (5.300 OR) on “Blonde and Blonder”, last time I will let my penis pick the movie.
So I’ve managed to get through two seasons of Archer within a week with the third one to go, and I just had to review it and somehow show my support because I don’t think enough people know about this series, and it is a god damn injustice to this piece of comedy gold. I don’t understand how show’s like “Mad Love” get 8 odd million viewers per episode in America, and Archer only gets 1 million. Don’t get me wrong, those typical sitcom’s with live audiences can be some of the funniest crap on TV but I think they are making sitcom’s for the sake of it now. Yes back to Archer, it ticks off all the boxes for a good comedy series and as the series progress there are significant changes with every episode which improve on the last. Which is a testament to the creators I think for noticing its faults and making it even better than before.
So it’s about a secret agency ISIS which is no where near it’s prime, employing people which other agencies would consider liabilities. The agency is run by Malory Archer (Jessica Walter), mother of the protagonist Sterling Malory Archer (Refered to as Archer), code name “Duchess” (H. Jon Benjamin) who is an alcohol addicted, sex crazed, cocky, mommy’s boy. The craziness ensues as a result of Archer’s actions or at the behest of his sexual active mother. Of course to aid the already hostel environment that the mother-son relationship provides, we have a group of ISIS employee’s who are just as crazy as the next character. With some big names playing the characters, there’s little that can go wrong. We have Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) a comptroller for ISIS who is perceived as a pretty normal character at first, but just wait, those first impressions will change immensely. Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer) a… well she’s into some crazy shit and doesn’t have the intelligence to hide it like other closet fetish addicts are. Doctor Algernop Krieger (Lucky Yates) is one of the more mysterious characters as it takes awhile to figure him out and what kind of “crazy” he is. Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) definitely one of the sanest characters and the best looking, it’s amazing how cartoons can look sexy, maybe that’s the pervert in me, but she does have some nicely animated… assets. Anyways her ambition and jealously towards Archer’s special treatment from his mother get the best of her at times. Lastly we have Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) who is probably one of the most weirdest and sickest characters you will see on television, but it’s hilarious in the best of ways. She prides herself for her incompetent ability of keeping secrets and having no feminine bone in her. The one thing each character has in common is that they are all unhealthily addicted to sex, but it’s not the worst addiction to have, waaaaay.
A good description of Archer would be if James Bond and Maxwell Smart made a baby and that baby was put in an environment similar to “The Office” while keeping the threats and thrills of a 007 agent. At first you will criticize the series for lacking in the James Bond-esque action and situations, but by the time you get into the second season you will notice how much its improved in terms of action while staying true to its humor. The animation also adds to the charm of Archer, and really backs up the dialogue where most of the humor comes from of course. It’s also quite unique and sets itself apart from other animated comedies, it gives it a darker and cruder side, which a lot of the humor ends up being. If you haven’t seen Archer, it’s definitely worth a watch. Enjoy.
Marvel sets the world alight with this ground breaking film which incorporate’s seven Marvel Comic heroes introduced from five previous films, illustrating their path into the S.H.I.E.L.D. Avengers initiative. The Avengers broke significant records during it’s release, namely the all-time domestic weekend record, taking an estimated $200.3 million, thankfully the financial success of the film did not go in vain.
To prepare myself for this well anticipated film, I spent some time getting a hold of the films leading up to it, and made sure it was in order, starting with “Ironman”, starring Robert Downey Jr. He fit into the role of Tony Stark so well that even during the film’s multiple premier’s, he exuded pure Tony Stark mannerism’s and style. The next film created quite a debate leading up to The Avengers. “The Incredible Hulk”, starring the experienced Ed Norton, who plays Bruce Banner with a likeable charm, resultantly winning the hearts of the Marvel fans. Of course, when the news got out that he had been replaced with Mark Ruffalo, this created quite a bit of negativity and doubt over the Bruce Banner character. He soon proved critics and pessimists wrong, taking a different direction with the character in the best way possible. Ironman 2 sheds a lot more light on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his intentions about introducing the S.H.I.E.L.D. initiative, which is why The Avengers film is present with us now. It also introduces Natasha Romanoff, known as Black Widow, who is played perfectly by Scarlett Johansson, showing the athleticism and no nonsense characteristics of her role. Following these films are Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans), which are generally Origin films, with exception to Thor, which introduces the space threat within the Marvel Universe, emphasizing the potential threats on earth.
The Avengers depicts the final stage of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Avenger initiative, which involves the process of assembling each character to triumph against Loki and his increasing army. Managing a cast of main characters, would prove to be a difficult task, but the thoroughness of the script, really finds the perfect balance between each characters screen time; leaving no room for an independent hero. That’s where the film flourishes, we are able to get to know each character that much more and how they all react in the presence of each other. It is normal for families to fall out every now and again, and this film really is about the ultimate group of heroes who have their differences uniting at a time of desperation to save the world. One particular scene, where they are all in the middle of battle back to back and the camera pans around them, really symbolizes that perfectly, and is sure to send shivers down your spine. Another great aspect of this film is the comedy it possesses. The moments which are intended to make you laugh will achieve that genuinely, but props must go to Robert Downey Jr. who uses his improv skills at it’s best. Finally, the action is great, filled with iconic comic moments, from the Hulk smash to the flawless archery skills of Hawkeye. There will be no let down towards that aspect of the film, and nor does the film on the whole. If you are looking to watch a film with masses of action, mixed with comedy, then this film will offer vast’s amount of fun, leaving you thinking of it for quite some time.
The best feature of Marvel film’s are the sneaky Easter eggs they subtly fit into the film, which only the hardcore fans are likely to find, but then they add the end credit addition for the less hardcore fans. This is where the fun continues, being able to anticipate future film plots, and debating with other fans, which is why the Marvel experience, is quite a special one to take part in.
Who do you guys think the villain during the end credits was? What impact do you reckon he will have on the future Marvel films? Which Marvel film are you looking forward to the most, Ironman 3, Thor: The Dark Wolrld, Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Ant-Man?
Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)