The Cabin in the Woods

Sherlock Jr 1924

Many people watch movies as a form of escapism, and it makes sense that those people wouldn’t like movies that involve reflexive techniques that address this fantasy element. For at least 90 years, as of today’s anniversary of the release of Buster Keaton‘s Sherlock Jr., there has been a lot of evidence to indicate that such meta cinema is not popular with American audiences. At the start of 1924, Keaton was riding a wave of success following his two hits of the previous year, Three Ages and Our Hospitality. But Sherlock Jr. was his first real critical failure, and as a result it was also a box office disappointment (outside of Soviet Russia, that is). Not the flop that many have labeled it as — in fact its final gross was really close to that of Three Ages, and technically it made a bit of money — but in terms of Keaton’s trajectory until then, it was definitely a blow. The issue noted at the time was simply that viewers didn’t find it to be very funny. Humor can be either very dependent on an escapist mindset or the very opposite. Laughter is a diversion, much like fantasy, though it also often requires an understanding of what is actually going on. For instance, for slapstick and other comedy involving bodily harm, the awareness that the pain is fake makes it funny rather than tragic. For satire and spoof, the latter being part of the comedy of both Three Ages (which parodies D.W. Griffith’s […]

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IntroMovieMonsters

CGI is okay, but there’s really nothing quite like sticking some poor actor in a costume and making them walk around. It’s the foundation of monster films, and something we get to see less and less of these days. Ironically enough, as costumed monsters get sparser with modern techniques, they also became way cooler thanks to those very same advances. Check out some of the most unique ones since 2000 – costumes that remind us why we love monster movies.

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The Best Horror Movies of 2012

Another year has come and mostly gone and hundreds, if not thousands, of young, stupid, misbehaving teenagers have been lost at the hands of ghosts, apparitions, psychos, monsters, animals, and families with strange murder dynamics. Like any responsible site, it’s now our job to look back on a year of cinematic chaos and movie madness and sort all of this into an easy digestible list full of horrors! And family films! Because really, 2012 in horror wasn’t all that violent, but it was reflective and satisfying in a familiar way. Onward!

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The Best Movies of 2012

I watched 439 new-to-me films in 2012 (so far), and the majority of them were new releases. So, it is with no small measure that I say that this has been a spectacular year for movies, both domestic and foreign made, and anyone who claims otherwise is a dipshit. Narrowing the great ones down to just twelve was predictably difficult… so I’ve included twenty honorable mentions. There are still a few high profile films I need to see, most notably Zero Dark Thirty, and I’ve caught the vast majority of the big titles, but stay tuned through to the end of the piece for all the necessary sidenotes. And this should go without saying, but any film critic’s best-of list is essentially nothing more than a list of his or her objectively preferred movies, and what follows below is mine for 2012. That said, the movies listed below are in fact the twelve (correct) best films of the year. In alphabetical order.

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As far as I can tell, regular folk don’t care for movies about movies or films about filmmaking. They used to, back when Hollywood was a more glamourous and idolized place for Americans. Classics like Sunset Boulevard, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful and the 1954 version of A Star is Born were among the top-grossing releases of their time. But 60 years later, it seems the only people really interested in stories of Hollywood, actors, directors, screenwriters, et al. are people involved with the film industry — the self-indulgence being one step below all the awards nonsense — and movie geeks, including film critics and fans. If you’re reading Film School Rejects, you’re not one of the aforementioned “regular folk,” and you probably get more of a kick out of stuff like Living in Oblivion, Ed Wood, Get Shorty, State and Main, The Hard Way, The Last Tycoon, The Stunt Man, The Big Picture, The Player, Bowfinger, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Argo than those people do. While it is true that The Artist faced the challenge of being a silent film, another major obstacle in the way of box office success must have been its Hollywood setting. Argo isn’t really literally about filmmaking, though, and that might be working in its favor. Ben Affleck‘s period thriller, which is expected to finally take the top spot at the box office this weekend, is about not making a film, so it should have the opposite result of most movies in which […]

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“In a perfect world, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ would be a lock for a Best Original Screenplay nomination.” – Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit It must be frustrating to write for an awards blog (aka an Oscar blog, since the Academy Awards are always the main focus of these sites), and know that the best films of the year are not necessarily the ones that will be nominated. Magidson’s comment above, from his April review of The Cabin in the Woods, sort of sums that up. But at the same time I don’t know if the movie truly deserves the statement. Something to consider, semantically speaking, is that the Academy’s award is not for “Most Original Screenplay” but “Best Original Screenplay.” This isn’t to say that the script, by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, isn’t well-written, and you’re welcome to argue its case for a nomination. Is it the best-written original screenplay of the year, though? All my time as a movie lover and watcher of the Oscars, including the past few years of hate-watching, the original screenplay category is one I’ve constantly been excited about. It’s the place where you could find some of the more clever and creative efforts, including a number of films that might not get other nominations. You could find a good number of interesting foreign films outside of the foreign-language award ghetto (such as Bunuel‘s two nominations for writing), as well as an interesting showing of mainstream and blockbuster fare, especially in the […]

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Argo

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that brings you only the most excellent links, news items, art and moving images from around the web. It’s also glad to be back in the saddle now that guest author week is over. First up tonight, a big round of applause for Ryan Gallagher of The Criterion Cast for stepping in last week and filling in while I gorged myself on the bloody mess known as Fantastic Fest. It made the festival experience that much more enjoyable to know that fans of this column were being treated to some excellent writing. Maybe we’ll convince him to come back again in the future. We begin our news night with one of over 30 new images from Argo, the Ben Affleck directed drama that’s getting all sorts of buzz. Even our own Rob Hunter is said to have liked it a lot…

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Since audiences feasted their eyes on The Cabin in the Woods earlier this year, many have waited for the day they could listen to the commentary. To hear Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon wax nostalgic on horror and let us in on the secrets behind the making of this highly inventive movie would truly be a joy. Now, the DVD/Blu-Ray has been released for this film that’s sure to be on a number of top 10 lists, and not just those of horror fans. So sit back, click off the lights – your computer should light up enough so you can read – and check out all the things we learned listening to this commentary for The Cabin in the Woods. Cue the harbinger.

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Drinking Games

Earlier this year, Lionsgate finally released the much-anticipated horror deconstruction film The Cabin in the Woods. While Joss Whedon got more press for his involvement in that little independent film known as The Avengers, this project with director Drew Goddard turned the heads of many genre fans. (And for the most part, those heads stayed on their bodies.) The Cabin in the Woods hits DVD and Blu-ray this week, offering some keen insights into this meta-movie about five college kids facing untold terrors on a weekend getaway. Even those who aren’t fans of the genre can find something to appreciate while they watch this film, so drink up, and let’s get this party started!

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! I hope you’ve been saving your pennies because there are tons of fantastic releases worth buying today. All three (or so) Indiana Jones movies finally make their Blu-ray debut, genre fans get one of the year’s best horror films (The Cabin In the Woods) as well as Scream Factory’s stellar Blus of two Halloween classics, David Fincher fanatics will rejoice at Criterion’s release of The Game and my favorite film from 2011 hits DVD as my Pick of the Week. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Oslo August 31st Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) is out on leave from drug rehab for the purpose of a job interview, but it’s a job he knows he’ll never hold. Instead he visits an old friend, touches base with his family, searches for an old flame and fights the urge to kill himself. This Norwegian drama finds both heartache and vitality in its story and in its lead character, and Danielsen Lie makes it all so palpable and affecting. That said, there’s also an undeniable desire for life here that struggles against his depression with desperate intensity. Make no mistake, Anders is sadness incarnate, but he’s also a man at a crossroads with a decision before him that you can’t turn away from. Check out my full review.

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While the year isn’t even half over yet, it’s going to be a hard climb for anyone to topple the summer Joss Whedon is having. If The Avengers box office wasn’t enough to give him the best summer ever (it is), his co-writing and producing on The Cabin in the Woods might be the nudge to put him over the top with most fans. Whedon has a few projects in the pipeline (he wrote the upcoming In Your Eyes and is directing his take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing), but what if you need more Whedon right now!? Turn your eyes to the page, dear friend. Titan Books currently has three Joss-related offerings ready for your perusal. We took a look at them to give you the straight dope on whether they’re just for super-fans or if everyone can enjoy. After all, not everyone is a huge fan of Whedon. Indeed, personally, I’m at best 50/50 on the guy, finding serious flaws within some his work, absolutely loving some of it, and having not ever watched a good chunk of it. The following contains spoilers for The Cabin in the Woods and Joss Whedon’s career.

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The Reject Report - Large

Movie fans can feel it. The Summer movie season is in the air, and we’ll be analyzing what it’s opening attack has to offer. For now, though, we’ve got four new films squaring off to soak up as much pre-Summer sun as they can, some of them sure to be more successful at that than others. Here’s a hint: the movie set in foggy Baltimore in the 1800s won’t be getting much sun. Another action film for the adult crowd and an animated yarn have better chances, but it’ll end up being the romantic comedy hitting that top spot here just before we’re flooded with superhero blockbusters. It’s the final Reject Report before Summer hits, and the flood of new movies this weekend is just one more indication that the industry has no urge to slow down now.

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The Reject Report - Large

A chimpanzee, Zac Efron, Steve Harvey, and Katniss – Not Jennifer Lawrence – all have their palms on a brand new Dodge Challenger. Hemi. The last person with their hand on the car wins it, and, unfortunately for Katniss – Still not Jennifer Lawrence – who could afford 10 Dodge Challengers right now – the game’s been going for four days straight. She’s exhausted. The other players are all fresh, and a few of them have heavy fan support. Who will walk away with this magnificent car or the claim of #1 at the box office if you’re into the whole analogy thing? One things for certain. The chimpanzee was already distracted by a low-hanging branch. Let the contest begin.

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Boiling Point

Here’s a question: when we did we stop being fans of movies and become defenders of them? Follow up: when did it become a punishable offense not to enjoy things the same way others do? Sub question: since when is not liking a film as much as someone else the same as hating it? I’m assuming that since movies have existed, people have enjoyed talking about them. Shortly after the awe and wonder faded, they probably also enjoyed (or at least engaged in) debating over their particular merits. You know, once there started being more than one released every few months. Here’s a troubling trend I’m noticing: movie critics now consider themselves defenders of films, rather than critics or writers. With the rapid spread of information (and random words) through things like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, it has become increasingly difficult to even properly identify someone as a critic. What makes a critic? If you publicly reveal your opinion to the masses on the internet, is it not a topic for conversation? Is it not then welcomed for people to engage in debate? Doesn’t that make you a critic? If you didn’t want people to comment on your comment, shouldn’t you have kept it to yourself?

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The Hunger Games

See, this is why there’s no ESPN in the future, because every show they had would only cover The Hunger Games. Once again, the juggernaut about a dystopian American Idol where teens fling arrows at pre-teens and everyone laughs and laughs and laughs hit the #1 spot, overshadowing three new films. But before we talk about them, let’s dig into where this Lionsgate film, the reason you hear corks popping in their hallways every Sunday afternoon, stands in history. It currently sits with $337m domestic and another $194m foreign. While half a billion dollars worldwide isn’t exactly a ground-shaker these days – 93 films over history have hit the $.5b mark – it’s still impressive business for the studio backing it. With $78m, The Hunger Games‘ reported budget and most of which pulled in from the Saw franchise and Tyler Perry movies, Lionsgate grabbed up The Hunger Games property, actually cared about how the film looked unlike some recent high-property franchises, and ended up with a good film that’s just raking in the dough. The Hunger Games would have done impressive business on the branding alone, but it’s the general concern for how the film looks and plays that’s making it such a phenomenon.

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When we’re introduced to Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford‘s white-collar characters in the opening scene of The Cabin in the Woods, it becomes wildly apparent Drew Goddard‘s film is not your typical horror picture. They’re tasked with delivering an exceptional amount of exposition, which Goddard and Joss Whedon let them deliver with a pure sense of glee. Unlike Jenkins’s previous horror film performance, The Father in Let Me In, this is a character who is about as Average Joe as they come, and he just happens to have a not-so-Average-Joe occupation. Here’s what Jenkins had to say about comedic exposition, the brilliance of unexpected filmmaking, and why his character Ted in Burn After Reading deserved getting axed to death:

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Genre dissections like The Cabin in the Woods are risky ventures. When filmmakers are clearly intent on both telling a story and offering a self-reflexive statement, there’s a significant chance that one impulse could overwhelm the other. The possible results — an ineffectual drama or a suffocating, pretentious satire — are not pleasant. So it’s fortunate that Cabin director/co-writer Drew Goddard, working closely with producer/fellow writer Joss Whedon, manages the tricky balancing act. His long-awaited horror movie, which has sat on the shelf for more than two years thanks to upheaval at original distributor MGM, is smart and fun, packing unexpected surprises while cleverly recalibrating genre expectations. The film’s about a group of five archetypal college friends — among them the jock figure (Chris Hemsworth), the stoner (Fran Kranz) and the “virgin” (Kristen Connolly) — who head to an isolated cabin for the proverbial weekend getaway. Naturally, something goes terribly wrong while they’re there, but it’s surely not what you think.

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Drew Goddard’s highly anticipated horror film The Cabin in the Woods goes into wide release this weekend, and everyone should make a point to see it. Forget The Hunger Games; this is the cinematic experience of the spring that should drive people to the theaters. By now, you’ve read a lot – possibly too much – about The Cabin in the Woods, and everyone from the director and studio to fans on Twitter are complaining about spoilers flying through the interwebs. In the interest of keeping secrets secret, here are seven spoiler-free reasons to see The Cabin in the Woods this weekend.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of trinkets for the weary-eyed, movie-loving masses. A testament to man’s quest for knowledge, the internet’s infinite wealth of silliness and cat videos, and a totem for the lost souls of movie fandom. Come here, my children, come here and bask in the glory of the best links of the day. We begin tonight’s sermon with a shot of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence looking very 1929 in Serena, the upcoming film from In a Better World director Susanne Bier. It’s about a pair of newlyweds who move from Boston to the wild mountains of North Carolina and produce off-spring. Shenanigans ensue.

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Kristen Connolly in

What can be said about a movie that you’re not supposed to talk about? A lot, apparently. Recently, Kristen Connolly, star of the new genre-bending horror film Cabin in the Woods sat down with us to talk about her role in the film and the production in general. She also let us in on a few secrets about her earlier career in soap operas and what she wears to cook eggs in the morning. At Kristen’s side was director Drew Goddard to throw in his two cents about how the rumor mill has been treating his movie and why he doesn’t like movie trailers or even posters. And there’s blood. Lots and lots of blood.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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