Sep 18, 2012 / 10:00 am
New out on DVD/Blu-ray for Tuesday September 18.
The Cabin in the Woods
In this much buzzed about horror film, five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the strange and terrifying events that they are experiencing.
Back in the nineties, the film Scream changed the way we looked at horrors by being very self aware and winking at the camera, but The Cabin in the Woods kicks it up a notch by toying with the audiences expectations and providing an absolute thrill ride of a movie that is scary, funny, and super entertaining.
The clever script is written by Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame and the director of The Avengers) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfiled) and they infuse it with a ton of humour, while at the same time paying homage to some of the most famous horror movies of the past few decades.
This is one of the most creative and original fright films that I've seen it quite some time and I highly recommend it to any fan of this particular genre.
The Cabin in the Woods is bloody awesome!
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm its guests in unexpected ways.
Directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) and featuring a wonderful cast of veteran actors that includes Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a lighthearted, cute and sentimental film that will definitely appeal to the more mature segment of the population.
There is nothing overly groundbreaking happening here but I did enjoy this sweet and leisurely paced little character film.
I think that it is absolutely worth a rental.
Hysteria is a romantic comedy with an accomplished cast led by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones and Rupert Everett, that tells an untold tale of discovery - the surprising story of the birth of the electro-mechanical vibrator at the very peak of Victorian prudishness.
The performances are fine and the film is mildly amusing at times but there was just nothing special about Hysteria. It's all very prim and proper and lacks any sort of energy at all. I'm quite lukewarm towards this film so I can only give it a hesitant recommendation.
Also out this week is the documentary/concert film Katy Perry: Part of Me, the mystery comedy Salvation Boulevard starring Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly, the kids film Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3, and for the first time ever on blu-ray you can buy the box set of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures.
Blast From the Past
Picking up where I left off last week, here are my top ten films of 1996.
10. From Dusk Till Dawn - This crazy blend of crime thriller, action and horror is from the fertile imagination of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. It's a funny, violent and gory exploitation flick that is a wild ride to watch. It features a great cast that includes George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Cheech Marin. From Dusk Till Dawn is a ton of fun.
9. Hard Eight - Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my favourite directors working right now and this little gem of a picture was his debut film. It's a character driven crime drama that stars Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson. It's quite compelling and I highly recommend people seek out this lesser known film.
8. Flirting with Disaster - Ben Stiller plays a young father searching for his biological parents in this hilarious and clever dark comedy. It has a great cast and a host of memorable characters and outrageous moments. This was David O. Russell's follow up film to his indie hit Spanking the Monkey, and I think he hit a home run with this one.
7. A Time to Kill - Back in 1993 I read the John Grisham novel of the same name and I thought that this would make a really good film if done properly. I think director Joel Schumacher did a tremendous job of adapting this powerful courtroom drama for the big screen. This is the film that really launched Matthew McConaughey into stardom and it still remains one of the best films he's ever done. It has a large and wonderful cast and it's a riveting story from start to finish. A Time to Kill is a really strong film.
6. Bound - Before the Wachowski Brothers wowed audiences with The Matrix, they created this dark and clever crime thriller about two women who hatch a plot to steal $2 million of mafia money. Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly steam up the screen together in this sexy film that is full of twists and turns. It keeps you guessing right until the end. Bound is great stuff!
5. Secrets & Lies - Nominated for five Oscars, this beautiful and heartfelt British film directed by the wonderful Mike Leigh was easily one of the best dramas of the year. It features such nuanced performances and a subtle, realistic tone that makes you feel like you are literally being dropped into these people's lives. The story involves a young black woman who decides to search for her biological mother and the problems that arise when she finds out that her mother is white. It may sound simple, however it is anything but. This film is just about note perfect in every way.
4. Sling Blade - Billy Bob Thornton blew me away with his portrayal of a mentally impaired man who upon being released from a psychiatric institution has to re-acclimate himself to life in small town Arkansas. He should have won the Oscar that year. Amazingly, Thornton also wrote and directed the film as well and it remains one of the best performances of his career. This is a rich character study and a film filled with intensity and heartache. Sling Blade is absolutely superb!
3. Trainspotting - This ultra dark comedy about a group of heroin addicts in an economically depressed area of Edinburgh, Scotland is like a pure shot of adrenaline. It's pulse pounding, hyper kinetic and has a raw, visceral energy that is punctuated by its propulsive soundtrack. There is some really crazy stuff that happens in this film and in many ways it reminded me of the originality and creativity of Pulp Fiction. This won't appeal to everyone because of its dark and dirty subject matter but Trainspotting is a thrill ride like no other.
2. Mr. Holland's Opus - I can be a huge sucker for well done sentiment and this film delivers it in spades. There is something about this tale that spans three decades in the life of a music teacher, played wonderfully by Richard Dreyfuss, that really struck a chord with me and often times gave me a lump in my throat. I suppose it's the relatability of the situations or my profound love of music that inspired me to want to give this film repeated viewings. I love everything about Mr. Holland's Opus. It's joyous!
1. Fargo - Simply put, this is the Coen Brothers masterpiece and one of the top films of the nineties. It is a brilliant work of crime fiction featuring offbeat and quirky characters with the setting and accents of the people in Minnesota being one of the most memorable aspects of the film. It is at times very funny and also very dark and violent but everything about the tone of this film is pitch perfect. The performances are superb also with Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi among the standouts. I know this film is divisive and it has a lot of naysayers that just don't "get" it but to me Fargo is a work of genius and easily the best film of 1996. "You betcha, yah"
Read more Cinema Scoop articles
- Movie Review: The Internship Jun 8
- The Internship on the verge of a 'Purge' Jun 7
- New out on DVD/Blu-ray this week Jun 4
- 'Now You See Me' all smoke and mirrors Jun 1
- Your weekend movie guide May 31
- New out on DVD/Blu-ray this week May 28
- 'Fast & Furious 6' delivers the thrills May 25
- Vehicular destruction vs. drunken chaos May 23
- New out on DVD/Blu-ray this week May 21
- 'Star Trek Into Darkness' a thrilling ride May 17
- Star Trek fans prepare for 'Into Darkness' May 16
- New out on DVD/Blu-ray this week May 14
(Click for RSS instructions.)