Friday, April 13, 2012

The Cabin In The Woods

One, I'll start out saying this is one of the best horror movies I've seen in years.  Two, I'll add that the less you know about it going in, the better.  Three, I'll temper that just a bit by saying that if you're expecting a typical slasher film, you might end up disappointed, and we wouldn't want that.

I won't spoil anything serious here, but I still have to say that I recommend against reading further if you haven't seen the movie and plan to.

As the crowd were leaving the theater--and the crowd was definitely sizable--we heard one man laugh sadly, saying this was the worst movie he'd ever paid money to see in theaters.  I didn't say anything to him, but had to laugh because the words about to come out of my own mouth were "That may be the best horror movie I've ever seen."  I'm not sure what caused disappointed patron to hate the movie so much.  Perhaps it defied his expectations.  Perhaps he was looking more for straight horror than horror-comedy.  Perhaps it got too weird for him.  Whatever it was, I'm both sorry and flabbergasted that he had such a bad experience.  I mean, the movie isn't for everyone--what movie is?--but to say it's the worst he's seen in theaters?  What could possibly have set him off like that?

I digress.  Unfortunately, unless I address some elements of the film head-on, it's rather hard not to digress.  I suppose I'll just have to touch lightly.  I love when genre films acknowledge the tropes and archetypes that form them.  I love even more when those tropes and archetypes are subverted.  Though I'm not a horror fan, this movie could have been made just for me.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and I recommend it especially to fans of horror, but also to fans of movies in general.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mirror Mirror

I saw Mirror Mirror nearly a week ago, and the fact that it's taken me this long to say anything about it probably says quite a bit about the movie.  It was exactly what it looked like it would be in the previews--silly, fluffy, harmless.  The costumes were colorful and bizarre.  The performances were lighthearted and amiable.  The story was straightforward and low-stakes.   Really, I'm not sure there's much more to be said about Mirror Mirror. 

At some point before seeing the film, I remember learning that it was directed by Tarsem (or Tarsem Singh, depending where in the credits one looks), the mind behind one of the most fascinating moves I've seen in the last year, The Fall.  There are plenty of criticisms one can lob against The Fall, but one thing it can't be accused of is being generic.  For what it's worth, I liked the film quite a bit.

So when Tarsem's name came up in the credits, I realized I'd forgotten his role in the film altogether--and then immediately found myself unsurprised to see it there.  The film did have a certain visual flair.  However, I found myself more reminded of the decade-old miniseries The Tenth Kingdom than The Fall.  Granted, a lot of that came from the puppy-tinged relationship between the Prince and the Evil Queen.

One positive I will offer is this: I liked that many of the seven dwarves were established beyond just one character trait (Sleepy, Grumpy, etc.)  Granted, they weren't that much more defined, but any time you have that many characters sharing all their camera time it's hard to establish complete personalities.  They were even given a backstory, and an explanation for why they all came together.  It was a refreshing touch.

Overall, I'd rate the movie as harmless and fluffy.  I laughed a few times and promptly forgot about it.