Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Hunger Games

The popular book series hit theaters this last weekend and made some impressive accomplishments at the box office. It is the most successful movie to open outside of the typical summer blockbuster season at an incredible $214 million worldwide. It is also the most successful movie ever that was not a sequel or a continued part of a series. It is the 3rd highest opener of all time behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows and the Dark Knight. The Hunger Games is based on the book series by Suzanne Collins. The first book center around a future in which the government has cracked down on a rebellion and created 12 districts in charge of producing goods and materials and supplying them to the capital. The districts are kept poor and powerless in order to prevent another uprising. As a reminder of the governments power, every year they take a male and female child from each district to fight to the death in an arena created by the game makers. The winner will receive food and wealth for the remainder of their lives and bring pride to their district. This story fallows the chosen two from district 12, Katniss and Peeta as they are taken to the capital and showboated as celebrities before being thrown into an arena with 22 other children and forced to fight and kill each other until there is only one survivor. The movie lived up to my expectations as a fan of the book. While many characters and nuances were left out, the movie was incredible. The small pieces that were changed for the film, I believe were done so that general audiences could enjoy the movie and not be too lost. The film also made some interesting changes by including a few tidbits from the next book. For example, in the book, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) played a very, very small role. In fact he was hardly in the book at all and his character was not memorable at all. But in the movie, he played a slightly more predominate character and included some aspects of his character development in the second book. The cast was great. I had not read the book before the previews came out for the movie so its hard to say they fit exactly what I pictured. Even though I knew Woody Harrelson played Haymitch (the mentor), I still had seen a short, fat man when I read the book. But Woody played the part of drunken bum very well! Jennifer Lawrence was also great! I am looking forward to a lot of good things from her. I thought she did well in X-Men: First Class, but seeing her carry a movie and show so much emotion was really impressive. Josh Hutcherson was good as Peeta too. Without changing the love story between he and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) it was presented slightly different than in the book. It will be interesting how they develop that part of the story in the next movie. I really thought the marketing of this movie was brilliant. The previews never once showed the actual Hunger Games,just the lead up. The games did not disappoint and made the movie that more captivating. You never knew what to expect visually even if you already knew what was about to occur. There was a lot of fear leading up to this movie that it would be another Twilight movie. A great book, but on film it was just a dumb teenie-bopper movie which featured sub-par acting and an annoying love story filled with drama and teen angst. I have to say those fears were squashed completely. This will be a fantastic franchise and while I have not read the next 2 books yet, I am on pins and needles to know what happens next. I highly recommend seeing this movie. Check this one out in theaters, its a fun experience. I give this movie 4.5 stars out of 5. The only thing I did not like about the movie was the depiction of the love story between the two main characters. I don't know if it was the chemistry between actors or the script, but it was less interesting than in the book. Other than that, the movie was great. Movie poster from: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2868031744/tt1392170

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Its strange that two of the best films of the SXSW festival had depressing and disgusting themes, but in the spirit of the excellent movie Wolf, Eden takes its place at the top of this years films. Eden is the story of a 19 year old South Korean girl in the mid- 1990's who is abducted by a underage girl prostitution ring. The girl, Chong Kim is played by Jamie Chung (Hangover Part II, Sucker Punch). Beau Bridges plays the head of this particular unit, although the movie hints at the organization having several locations and businesses. And Matt O'Leary (In Time, Live Free or Die Hard) plays Vaughn the second in command who deals with the girls on a daily basis.

What really makes this story intense is that its true. Chong Kim was abducted in the mid-1990's and went from victim to accomplice to avenger to advocate. During her 3 1/2 + years in captivity she was able to convince her captor that she was too old and undesirable to work with customers (she is 19, but most of the girls are between 10-15). She proves herself worthy of helping Vaughn collect money and keep track of the girls. By getting close to the operations side of the shadowy organization she is able to position herself in a way that will assist her to attempt to escape.

The movie is gut wrenching and disturbing. Of course we all know that human trafficking occurs, but seeing it in this manor really makes you sick as you watch it. The movie does a great job though of not showing gratuitous nudity or sex. With a theme that is based around sex, it is unique to build a story without showing explicit acts. This movie does not need that shock value to make you feel the pain and turn your head on multiple occasions in disgust.

As I stated previously, this rates with the top films of the festival. During the Q&A we learned more about Chang's struggles after she escaped, her trepidation of turning to the police after seeing so many of them as clients, how true the film was to the real story, and that the film has not been picked up yet! This is one of those movies which need a lot of help to get to the screen and a lot of word of mouth. With the exception of Beau Bridges the movie doesn't show case any A-list actors, nor does it have special effects or a quick pace. But this movie is good. When it gets picked up- go see this. As one audience member put it today, this film will force you to ask "What can I do" when the credits role. I give it 4 stars out of 5. Great film!

Movie poster from: http://d1oi7t5trwfj5d.cloudfront.net/fe/ed7f3069da11e19987123138165f92/file/Eden%20poster.jpg

Lovely Molly

The writer/director of the Blair Witch Project debuted his new horror film Lovely Molly at SXSW this week. The story centers around newlywed couple Molly (new comer Gretchen Lodge) and Tim (Johnny Lewis- Alien vs. Predator Requiem) who move into Molly's parents old house. Unfortunately the house saw the tragic fate of her mother at presumably the evil and possibly possessed father. The spirit lives on and begins to torment Hannah until it completely takes her over and possess her to do unspeakable things.

The movie was nothing really new as far as possession movies go, but still had some good scares. The acting was acceptable and believable. But I do not feel like it was an extraordinary movie. It was by far the scariest movie of the festival but I could only see this as a straight to dvd type movie. I give it 2.5 stars out of 5. Its not a waste of time by any means, but don't expect a mind blowing horror film.

Movie poster from: http://twitchfilm.com/news/LovelyMollyPoster.jpg

The Last Fall

The Last Fall made its world premiere at SXSW in Austin, TX this week. The story involves an NFL receiver who after only 3 seasons is being forced into retirement with no one interested in picking him up. Kyle Bishop (Lance Gross- Meet the Browns) returns home after being forced into retirement and struggles with re-learning how to live a normal life. He seeks a job at a local gym through an old high school friend, starts dating his old high school girlfriend, and has to deal with the disappointment of letting down his family.

The acting was well played and the story interesting, especially since it was loosely based on director Matthew A. Cherry's own experience in the NFL. However it was hard to really connect to the character and care about what he was going through. Even during the Q&A, Matthew Cherry discussed how he "only" made $250,000 a year and how thats really not that much money. I am sorry that after 3 seasons of professional football, you squandered all your money on drinking and partying instead of saving and investing. Yeah, that's rough. But you know what, most people will never even make $150,000 a year in their lifetime. It simply is not heartbreaking when his brand new Mercedes gets repossessed. Should have sold it when you lost your job, etc. It was difficult because the actors did a very good job, but I just didn't care about the characters in the film. I give this movie 2 stars out of 5. It was not the worst film of the festival by any means, but I just did not enjoy it or think general audiences really would.

Movie poster from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1986161/


Wolf may be one of the best films of the SXSW Film Festival this year. Director's Ya'Ke Smith's feature length directoral debut is an emotional powerhouse about a family going through the difficult trials of faith and justice. Jordan Cooper plays Carl, a young boy who is molested by his local Bishop (Eugene Lee). The young boy becomes confused and thinks it is an act of love and accepts the bishop's improprieties. When the bishop attempts to separate himself from the young boy and fight his inner demons, Carl takes the "break-up" hard and tries to kill himself. The story develops around Carl's struggle to come to grips with his molestation at the hands of a trusted man, his feelings of what love is or should be, his mother's enduring love, and his father's frustration and guilt. The story is as much about the family as the crime which makes it a touching movie, not just a sad and depressing one.

The story was very good and very well written (also by Ya'Ke Smith). It touched on the struggle the families of these tragedies go through and how they make it to the other side with love. It also explains the unending circle of violence and sickness through child molestation and how the cycle continues for people who refuse to deal with it or have the love of family to help guide the victim back to the light.

The acting was incredible. During the Q&A, it was revealed that the director had the family, Jordan Cooper (Carl), Mikala Gibson (mom), and Shelton Jolevette (dad) spend about a month doing "family outings" and picnics to get to know each other. When they would meet they would all set into their roles in the family. This type of training worked beautifully and you could really feel true love between the cast members and what seemed like real pain. This type of closeness conveyed to the screen and made for a powerful ride.

I would highly recommend this movie, and have. I truly hope this gets picked up by a studio. Either way, I think the cast and the director have an exciting road ahead of them and I look forward to seeing more of their performances. I give this movie 4 stars out of 5. Go see this movie!

Movie poster from: http://d1oi7t5trwfj5d.cloudfront.net/d8/90dc70640211e19987123138165f92/file/wolf.jpg

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gayby- SXSW World Premiere

Gayby had its World Premiere yesterday at the Stateside Theater during SXSW in Austin, TX. Director and cast member Jonathan Lisecki was there to introduce his new odd comedy.

Gayby is about two best friends, Jenn (Jenn Harris) and Matt (Matthew Wilkas). They have been best friends since college and Jenn starts to feel like she is ready to have a baby. Her problem is she hasn't been the luckiest when it comes to relationships. She pitches the idea of having a child with her best friend Matt. Not an unheard of scenario (as is pointed out by other gay stand-in fathers in the movies). The catch is Jenn wants to do it the old-fashioned way outside of the labs and turkey basters! What ensues is a fairly funny look at two best friends who want to have a baby together while their external relationships start to pick up. Matt finds love unexpectedly in a new customer at his comic book store. Jenn never really finds a real partner, but does meet some interesting prospects through an online dating service.

The movie was made up of a bunch of unknowns. You may recognize some of the people but without doing a imdb search on them, you probably won't place the few places they've been seen. The acting wasn't too bad and unfortunately the worst acting and most annoying voice came from the director. Clearly he had something vested in this film and loved being a part of it behind the camera and in front of it. I think if he had shrunk his character down to just a few lines making cameos it would have worked better. There was something about his voice and the quality of sound that just hurt your ears somehow. It caused a weird high pitched hum when he would say certain things. The story was fairly entertaining till the end. I think this director and the cast have a future making some great quality comedies- however this falls short of being really memorable. I give this 2.5 stars out of 5. Not a bad watch on tv.

Movie poster from: http://www.traileraddict.com/content/unknown/gayby.jpg

Sellebrity- SXSW World Premiere

The World Premiere of Sellebrity was last night at the SXSW film festival in Austin, TX. The documentary centers around the two sides of the paparazzi- the photographers and the consumers. Through interviews with stars like Jennifer Aniston, Elton Jon, Selma Hayek, Kid Rock, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Antony, the film describes the actors' frustrations with the professional paparazzi and every other person with a cell phone camera. The actors all acknowledge that their profession requires some degree of photos to tell the story of their lives and careers but that the paparazzi take it too far by photographing them at home, invade their personal space, chasing them dangerously in cars, and attacking their children. They use examples of the Britney Spears meltdown, the death of Princess Diana, the break up of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, and the stalking of little baby Siri.

The movie points out that in capitalist America, we the consumer, drive such recklessness and have a duty to change the moral outlook of this country based around our buying habits. The Paparazzi only attacks celebrity's and hunts them because they can make a lot of money from those pictures. They make a lot of money from the magazines who are willing to pay large sums to get that picture in their magazine. They do this because the American consumer eats it up and will buy it every month or every other week to find out what America's royalty are doing now. If the American consumer stops supporting such reckless behavior, then the magazines will learn that these shots are not what will sell their magazine anymore. Thus stopping the support of the paparazzi and their dangerous and annoying methods.

The film does an excellent job of staying neutral. In addition to having magazine editors interviewed, they also have some of the most aggressive paparazzi members interviewed to understand their point. They are here to make money and make a living. In a capitalist society, value is determined by how much money someone will pay for your product. These guys have a sought after product and therefore they sell it.

The Q&A afterwards was almost as interesting as the movie. The world premiere brought the director, producer (whom we sat next to and accidentally called out her mom for recording the movie on her I-Phone!), the primary interviewer, the main paparazzi who was interviewed, and Italian who is considered the oldest Paparazzi alive. The discussion was very interesting as people started to ask what the solution should be (we don't know), what was the point of the film if they did not explicitly call for the end of the paparazzi (to start a conversation- get people thinking about their power and influence as a consumer), questions about total footage (well over 80 hours paparazzi footage alone), and the interviews (Jennifer and J-Lo gave hours of their time whereas Elton John ran late and then only had 5 minutes before his party started!). The Q&A really got interesting when an audience member called out the director for just blaming the American consumer (clearly she reads these magazines and has a guilty consciences). The movie never directly blames the consumer for anything but says that the consumer plays their part just as the paparazzi plays their part. Everyone has a part to play, but the great thing about consumerism is that we can use our democracy and freedom to boycott any action or product we do not agree with. This is a unique power and something fairly new.

I really enjoyed this movie and the Q&A. The movie had a quick pace to it that kept you interested the full 89 minutes. It had a great message but allowed us to determine what we do with that message. It was not judgmental or one-sided but created an atmosphere for an honest discussion about how do we protect privacy or do we simply think these people shouldn't have privacy. I would definitely recommend seeing this. At this point we don't know if it will get picked up and have a limited release in theaters, but I think this would fit well in an E! channel lineup!

There is not a movie poster or images from the movie unfortunately- the image above is from: http://s3.amazonaws.com/auteurs_production/images/film/sellebrity/w448/sellebrity.jpg?1329680604

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

We Are Legion takes the audience inside the world of Anonymous, the radical hacktivist collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age. Through interviews with past and current members of Anonymous and other hacker groups as well as just normal individuals, this film describes the evolution of hacktivism, a new way to stand against big corporations and corrupt governments. This film asks the primary question, how will America handle the future of activism, protest, and free speech. When people run their lives, businesses, and banking online, what role does the American government have in protecting its citizens rights that exist outside of the digital world.

This movie was very intriguing and while clearly biased served up some very valid information that describes the true intentions of the group known as Anonymous. The history of the group including its founding, first missions, and splinter groups that separated from the core community was intriguing and different from the portrayal that CNN or other news agencies cover. The idea that this is just one group with a single leader directing the chaos is simply not true and there is so much more to understand about this group and their purpose.

The moral question of how do we move forward is what I felt was the compelling issue of the film. While the story of Anonymous was interesting in and of itself, it only serves to illustrate what is a very important issue which has yet to be addressed adequately. How do we balance security and freedom? How do we protect consumers' information from being leaked while at the same time not forcing government censorship?

While hoping this doesn't land me on a government watch list or the Church of Scientologists hit list, I have to say I really enjoyed this movie. Its a social commentary and an important one that we all have to answer in this digital age. We need to as individuals discover to what extreme do we want protection on the internet and then move to change the government and laws that define it. Anyone who enjoys documentaries, technology, or current affairs, I recommend this movie. Check it out as a good dvd rental to learn more or watch it on HBO. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Once again, no one - sheet yet for this film so here is just a picture of the famous mask: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=anonymous&num=10&hl=en&gbv=2&biw=1269&bih=680&tbm=isch&tbnid=X5SVIHGqRij8NM:&imgrefurl=http://www.extremetech.com/computing/121153-hackers-give-anonymous-a-taste-of-their-own-medicine&docid=aUTTriUI3NdCNM&imgurl=http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/anonymous.jpg&w=599&h=399&ei=umxdT5mVKIn02QWEu-XrDg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=178&vpy=200&dur=1014&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=88&ty=87&sig=107657995355174378887&sqi=2&page=1&tbnh=143&tbnw=191&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:6,s:0

See Girl Run- SXSW World Premiere

The world premiere of See Girl Run was shown this afternoon at the Stateside Theater in Austin, TX at the SXSW film festival. This hilarious film features Robin Tunney (Prison Break, The Craft), Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), and Josh Hamilton (J. Edgar). Robin Tunney and William Sadler (Fringe and Hawaii Five-O) who plays her father both attended the premiere.

The story follows Robin Tunney as she struggles to come to terms with her life as a married woman and her continuing curiosity in her high school boyfriend who she "never broke up with". She disappears one day to head back to her home town and stalk her high school boyfriend to determine whether or not she would be happier with him than her current husband. She stays with her mom and dad who seem to be examples of her dismal, boring, and unhappy future with her current husband and her alcoholic, seriously depressed brother. Nothing like a screwed up family to put your rich girl problems in perspective.

This movie is the type of comedy that is reminiscent of the classic Garden State. Its funny, but not in a hilarious way. There are funny moments mixed with touching moments. Its a coming of age story, just a little late! I really felt that this film was similar to Garden State and was a great film. The only complaint I have is the sound track really. I feel like Garden State was not only a great movie, but was supported by an amazing sound track. This sound track had a few decent songs, but I feel like better music could have been chosen. If the movie does get picked up by a studio (and I really hope it does), I would suggest spending some money on music and getting some songs that help move a long the film and enhance the story.

I really do hope this film gets picked up. I think it would be very successful. I give the film a 4 out of 5 stars and would suggest if this hits theaters to go see it.

The included picture was of the Q&A after the film with Robin Tunney and director Nate Meyer. The film does not currently have a one-sheet or any screen shots available.

The Hunter- SXSW U.S. Premiere

Willem Dafoe and Daniel Nettheim presented the U.S. premiere of The Hunter at SXSW this afternoon in Austin, TX. Willem Dafoe plays Martin who is hired by a shadowy biotech company looking to kill the mythical and supposedly last Tasmanian Tiger in existence. The biotech company believes that the organs and blood from the Tasmanian Tiger can be utilized and sold. After Martin arrives he begins to discover that he was not the first hunter hired by the biotech company, and that his predecessors have all gone missing. As he begins to hunt the animal he forms relationships and makes enemies in the remote area of Tasmania. While the movie is not based on a true story it is based on the mythical sightings of local residents of the supposedly extinct animal. There is still no confirmation whether the animal is truly extinct or if these sightings are a rare glimpse into a miraculous repopulation.

The cinematography in this film is absolute breathtaking. Tasmania is quite an incredible land and has been preserved as a tropical paradise. While the movie was incredibly slow up until the last 30 minutes or so, the story was very interesting and had just enough mystery to keep the audience engaged. The acting was very good including supporting cast member Sam Neill and Frances O'Connor. I enjoyed this movie and the attention it brought to Tasmania in general and the possibly extinct and unique animal. I give this movie 3.5 stars out of 5 mostly due to some of the slowness of majority of the film meaning this would be a great rental.

Movie poster from: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3348476160/tt1703148

Killer Joe- SXSW U.S. Premiere

Killer Joe premiered for the first time in the United States tonight at the SXSW Austin Film Festival. The film was first seen at the Toronto Film Festival. Killer Joe has been perhaps the most bizarre movie of the festival so far. With such an outstanding cast, you don't expect it to be so odd, but it was. Although any movie which forces the audience to say "WTF" in astonishment as the credits begin to role has clearly done its job as a film.

This film features a great cast including Matthew McConaughey as Killer Joe Cooper, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Hayden Church, Gina Gershon, and Juno Temple. The film has oddly enough earned a NC-17 rating and while overall for the film that is surprising, there were a few scenes which I have to admit, I have never seen before.

The story evolves around a trailer trash family who needs money and the father and son decide to hire Killer Joe to kill the ex-wife and receive the insurance money when she dies. Madness ensues as payment becomes tricky and Killer Joe is just a wee bit crazy. No I am sorry- this guy is nuts!!! In some of the most bizarre and brutal scenes I have ever seen, Killer Joe finds a way to settle his payment arrangement with the trailer trash family.

The movie was really good. While there were parts- one part in particular involving fried chicken- that made you wonder just what exactly was happening, it was still entertaining. The cast all played their parts beautifully and it lived up to its genre of the blackest of comedies. If you have a strong stomach and entertained by the weird and dark, then you will enjoy this move. I give it 4 stars out of 5. Honestly another great rental, which may be all you can do if it retains its NC-17 rating anyway!

Movie poster from: http://www.joblo.com/newsimages1/news-killer-poster.jpg

Safety Not Guaranteed- SXSW

Safety Not Guaranteed is a comedy about 3 journalists who research a story centered around a bizarre wanted ad in the newspaper. The ad is looking for a partner for time travel. They must bring their own weapons. Payment will be given upon return from their travel. Safety Not Guaranteed. Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) plays intern Darius who gets roped into working the story by Jake Johnson (New Girl), a journalist for a Seattle magazine. As Aubrey starts to interview the man who put the ad in the paper played by Mark Duplass (The League), she discovers there may be some truth to this guy actually being able to time travel.

The story was very interesting and there were some genuinely funny parts in the movie. The cast all did an amazing job and through frequent ad-libbing, the comedy seemed fresh and natural. There were also some great cameos from Kristen Bell (Heroes) and Mary Lynn Rajskub (24). This movie was surprisingly funny and shows a lot of promise for future comedians currently mostly in television. I recommend seeing this movie as possible a matinee or a great rental. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

No movie poster yet, clip from the movie from: http://www-movieline-com.vimg.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/sundance_safety630__120130225313.jpg

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Announcement- SXSW World Premiere

The Announcement is the true story of how Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced he had the HIV virus and how that announcement changed his life as well as almost every life on the planet. The documentary made its world debut at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX today. The director likened this event to the JFK assassination claiming that everyone remembers where they were on the day Magic met the media at the Forum and announced his retirement from the NBA. I would have to disagree with that statement. I think the legacy that Magic continued after his announcement was what everyone remembers. The film does an amazing job at depicting this young kid who learned the value of hard work from his father and to do that hard work with a smile from his mother. His focus on not just playing basketball but winning championships was almost as addicting as that big goofy smile he had while doing it.

While the film touched on the depression and the difficult time Johnson felt after he discovered he had HIV, he also highlighted the fact that from day one he was convinced he could beat it and he wouldn't just give up and die. He continued on to be such a powerful voice for HIV/AIDS as the first "regular guy" who could just get it. His positivity inspired people to continue to fight and hope who had been diagnosed with the virus. His intensity, drive, and commitment forced those in power to listen and those with power and knowledge to create a solution.

This was an amazing film and was very touching. While my good friend hates sports movies for being overly inspirational, this was a movie more about a man with a disease that he was determined to overcome, than a underdog sports movie. It was also a lot of fun to see him play again. What an incredible player- an entertainer both by scoring and by selflessly passing the ball in the most extraordinary ways. I highly recommend this movie! I give it a 4.5 out of 5. It will be playing on ESPN tomorrow night and I would assume will be repeated quite often. Check it out!!

Movie poster from: http://nbanewsalex.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/magic-aagz062_16x20-action_magic-johnson-posters1.jpg

The Babymakers- SXSW World Premiere

The world premiere of The Babymakers premiered last night at the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX at the SXSW film festival. The movie involves a married couple (Olivia Munn and Paul Schneider) who after 3 years of marriage have decided to now start a family. After a montage of some funny and enjoyable attempts at conceiving, the movie skips forward to them still trying months later, still unsuccessful. The movie is about the unfortunate circumstance in which Paul Schneider has donated all of his good sperm to a bank to earn enough money to buy Olivia Munn her engagement ring and now is shooting blanks. His desperation forces him to hire an Indian mafia man (also director Jay Chandrasekhar) to help him and his moronic friends break back into the sperm bank and steal back his last usable vial of sperm to get his wife pregnant.

If that synopsis sounds ridiculous, its because it is. But its also hilarious. There was a moment in the movie where Olivia Munn decided she wants to adopt now and there is about a 20 minute lull where the movie starts to drag. Cut those 20 minutes out, and the movie is great. Definitely a B-level comedy with some lesser known talent and new comer Olivia Munn, but quite funny and entertaining. Because of the 20 minute lull it can see tediously long in a theater, but would make a great date night comedy-unless you yourself are trying to have a baby. The movie shows the real stress and at the same time the dedication and love within a marriage that real people have to go through every day. While this is not a touching or emotional movie really, one can see that real love will always find a way not only to work things out but also to laugh your ass off along the way. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Without an official poster yet, here is a pic from the film: http://s3.amazonaws.com/auteurs_production/images/film/the-babymakers/w448/the-babymakers.jpg?1329608009

The Cabin in the Woods- SXSW World Premiere

The Cabin in the Woods was made back in 2009 and due to the tireless efforts of producer/writer Joss Whedon and director/writer Drew Goddard was finally released last night at the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX during SXSW film festival. In the nastiest of weather the red carpet was out to welcome both producer and director and actors Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, Kristen Connolly, and Anna Hutchison.

The movie is about 5 college friends who decide to take a weekend trip up to a cabin owned by Curt Vaughn (Chris Hemsworth)'s cousin. Describing this movie is rather difficult without giving away spoilers because there is so much confusion and mystery throughout the movie. Joss Whedon made a personally plea to the audience to remain spoiler free as we talked about our experience with friends, family, and the internet. Suffice to say, the group of 5 learns that their lives and deaths serve a higher purpose than they could ever realize.

It is impossible to review this movie as a whole. The first third of the movie was horrendous. It was confusing, comical, and seemed more like a satirical look at the classic horror films that take place in the woods complete with weird guy at a gas station along the way, girl who is hesitant to have sex, girl who is all about the sex, and the stoner who figures the whole thing out. The script was not mind blowing but also not horrible. Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins roles were confusing and seemed pointless as well. The first third almost made me want to walk out- probably among the worst 30-45 minutes in a movie.

The second third of the movie was better. Now they have settled into the cabin and crazy stuff starts to happen. Unfortunately, I was still too distracted by how bad the film was up to this point, I had trouble enjoying this point in the film. The pace picked up and the body count started to rack up.

Now the third part of the film is when you start to forget how bad the movie was up to this point. While the end does not justify the means, the end did redeem the movie from a solid F to maybe a low C. You could tell this third was where the writers and director really started to enjoy themselves and have fun. FX effects were very impressive and quite complex and the story kind of started to make sense.

This was by no means a riveting movie. While it had a very different base idea, the way it was executed was nothing shocking or incredibly new. The story had a lot of promise, but the corniness at the beginning of the movie killed a lot of that promise and made it difficult to decide whether this was a horror comedy or an actual horror film. Joss seemed to understand this was not an instant classic, but also very excited to finally get this film made. With his, what I would call, misplaced excitement, I am now fearing The Avengers may have some shortcomings this summer. The Avengers will mark Joss Whedon's second movie as a director following Serenity from 7 years ago. Serenity was a fun movie, but most of its limited success was due to his incredible work and cult following from the classic one season show Firefly.

I would not recommend paying for this movie in a theater. If you are a horror junkie and understand that 80% of horror movies are actually garbage but are at least fun to watch, then pick this up. If you can appreciate an idea even if its not executed very well, then you will think this movie was ok. I personally give it 2.5 stars out of 5.

Movie poster image from: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2977084160/tt1259521