Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “Joss Whedon

Every Reference in The Cabin in the Woods

Considering that The Cabin in the Woods is very much about all of the horror films that preceded it – it’s both an homage to and criticism of the entire horror genre – trying to pinpoint each of the hundreds of subtle and not-so-subtle references in The Cabin in the Woods is an undertaking worthy of applause.

For those of you who have seen the film, you’re definitely in for a treat. If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing and watch it immediately so that you can come back and partake in this wonderful video essay. Obviously, there are some spoilers ahead.


Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron – Comic Con Poster


In Your Eyes – Joss Whedon on Vimeo

The latest flick from Writer/Executive Producer Joss Whedon is now available exclusively to rent on vimeo. A boy-meets-girl story, wrapped in a supernatural world. In Your Eyes features Zoe Kazan, Michael Stahl-David, Nikki Reed, Jennifer Grey, Steve Howey and is directed by Brin Hill.

In Your Eyes – Trailer from Bellwether Pictures on Vimeo.


Guardians of the Galaxy – First Press Release


Wonder Woman – Fanmade Trailer

It’s been a long time since the Lynda Carter series, and Hollywood seems to have had so many problems creating a Wonder Woman movie; so fan Sam Balcomb and friends have created a fake trailer of their own. A word from Sam:

Firstly, thanks for watching. Whether you like, or dislike, our live action interpretation of Diana of Themyscira, Wonder Woman, born of clay, I think (quite a few of) you will agree she is a character just as vital and crucial to our understanding of humanity as any other superhero… if not more so.

We spent the majority of 2013 working on this — the look, the feel, the aspects we most wanted to portray. It’s a scant two and half minutes, but in the end, it’s one hundred and fifty seconds of pure fantasy, where I get to consider the two sides of my favorite warrior: a crusader in man’s world, and a paragon of virtue told through Greek mythology.

The Cabin in the Woods ****½

You should see Cabin in the Woods before you read this review; see it before seeing the trailer, which gives away far too much. The main problem of course is that it has been difficult for most people to see the movie at all. Bankrupt studios, lawyers, delayed release dates and a seemingly difficult movie to market; the Cabin in the Woods has had a troubled time over the last couple of years.

It beggars belief that this film hasn’t been championed by the studio or distributors, it was only due to an online campaign that we finally got to see it in the cinemas here in Australia, over a year late!

The premise is a seemingly simple one, five college students jump in a camper van and head out to distant cousins Cabin in the Woods, not an entirely unfamiliar scenario in the horror film genre. The students are Dana (Kristen Connelly), her best friend Jules (Anna Hutchison), Jules’ boyfriend Curt (Chris Hemsworth), his friend Holden (Jesse Williams) and stoner dropout Marty (Fran Kranz).

They are not your typical stereotypes, initially at least; however, their personalities change soon after they arrive at the cabin. A few beers and a game of ‘truth or dare’ lead them into the basement where they encounter a plethora of odd artifacts. What could possibly go wrong?

Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford), the two guys watching them on closed-circuit TV, and apparently manipulating their surroundings seem more than willing to ensure that a lot will go wrong for these kids…

To say anything more would only ruin the surprise and lessen the impact of what is so far the best movie of the year.

Written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the script is exceptional; it’s smart, fun and filled with tension. An obvious love and deep knowledge of the genre has been poured into almost every scene and it pays off for horror fans of all sub-genres. Filled with references to horror films of all eras, with a particular focus on the classic 80’s period, most notably The Evil Dead, this movie is destined to be a drinking game staple for years to come.

The script is filled with fantastic dialogue and some excellent jokes, all of which are delivered by a solid cast, with a special mention of Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford who are particularly good.

I was never a massive fan of Buffy or Firefly, however Whedon has surpassed those efforts this year with this film and some other super hero flick that has done quite well recently. Drew Goddard has done a great job bringing all the elements together, paying homage to many the films referenced.

As a horror film it’s not really very frightening and it loses it’s way slightly towards the end, however, as a horror-comedy, it’s up there with the very best. No spoilers here, if you like horror, see it at any cost, if you love horror you’ll want to own it as soon as possible.

Quality: 5 out of 5 stars

Any Good: 4 out of 5 stars (It would have been 5 with a few more scares)

The Cabin in the Woods – Poster Art

The Avengers – By my 6½ Year Old Son *****

The Avengers is about good guys fighting bad guys. Loki is the bad guy who brings an alien army to attack earth.

At the beginning, Black Widow is captured and Loki attacks the underground station and hypnotises Hawkeye with his power.

Captain America tries to catch Loki but he needs Iron Man to help him. Then Thor takes Loki away, but Thor fights Iron Man and Captain America.

Black Widow gets the Hulk to come to Nick Fury’s ship where Nick Fury brings the Avengers together. Black Widow fights Hawkeye and brings him back.

Loki escapes and brings his alien army to earth and all of the Avengers battle a whole army of aliens and sea monsters who can fly. Loki tries to hypnotise Iron Man but he can’t because Iron man has a robotic heart.


In Stark tower, Hulk smashes Loki like a basketball. Iron Man saves the earth by exploding a bomb in the alien spaceship.

It was a long movie and little kids would be scared, but a big kid like me would give it 5 stars.

Cabin in the Woods – Mondo Art

Cool Mondo Art poster for an Alamo Drafthouse screening of The Cabin in the Woods.

The Cabin in the Woods – Trailer

The Cabin in the Woods is finally getting a release. The film, directed by Drew Goddard who co-wrote with Joss Whedon, has had a protracted journey to the big screen. Originally shot film in early 2009 with a pre-fame Chris Hemsworth in the lead, and a cast that includes Jesse Williams, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Richard Jenkins. MGM then delayed the movie to convert it to 3D, and then the film dropped off the radar thanks to the company’s bankruptcy.

Now Lionsgate have picked it up and issued a cool trailer. The trailer seems to show almost too much, however it looks intriging and is something I’m now looking forward too…

The film revolves around five college-type characters who head to a cabin in the woods and are given clear and clever instructions by “white collar” characters. Once the “victims” arrive at the cabin, it becomes clear that the plan is to lure the kids there to have them break the given instructions so that they might then be “punished.”

The Cabin in the Woods – Teaser Poster

Cool teaser poster for the forthcoming Drew Goddard mindf**k, The Cabin in the Woods…

and a couple of piss-taking mock-ups of the orignal from last year.

Captain America ***

New York in 1942, America is recruiting heavily for war; determined to serve, young Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is deemed physically unfit for military service, yet again. He has applied 5 times in different boroughs and has been rejected in every one. He is finally accepted into a secret training facility by Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci); after proving himself to be courageous, smart and compassionate, Steve is deemed the ideal candidate for Dr. Erskine’s  gene experiment. The process, which is run by Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), is a success and transforms Rogers’ weak body into the perfect human specimen. Almost immediately, Dr. Erskine is assassinated, by an agent of HYDRA, his equipment destroyed and with the loss of the final serum the experiment can never be repeated.

In Europe, Nazi Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), head of the HYDRA division is amassing his own private army. The Nazi party isn’t extreme enough for this guy, he wants to take over ‘everything’; and to do so, enlists the help of Dr. (Toby Jones) and some mystical, all-powerful, Norse god artefact.

Rogers is initially misused by the US Military as a propaganda tool to sell war bonds, grows frustrated and with the help of Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Howard Stark embarks on a one man raid on one of Schmidt’s munitions facilities, rescuing 200 allied prisoners. Captain America is born; with the help of a ‘conveniently evenly split along racial lines’ team he takes the war to Schmidt who has undergone his own transformation, into the Red Skull.

I was never a fan of Captain America in comic book form, and wasn’t particularly interested in seeing this movie version. My son wanted to see it so off we went, and I’m pleased we did. It’s a much better quality movie and a lot more fun than I expected.

The actors all deliver fairly solid performances for this kind of movie; Chris Evans is very likeable as Steve Rogers, as the Captain anyone could play him, but it is his performance as ‘skinny Steve’ that grounds the movie and gives us a character to like and cheer for. Hugo Weaving is hamming it up as Johann Schmidt, but that’s no bad thing, ditto solid support work from Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones delivering good performances without really trying.

As expected from a comic book blockbuster, there are a lot of massive CGI set pieces throughout, however it is the ‘Benjamin Button’ skinny Steve that is the best work; that apart, the special effects are a mixed bag. The 1940’s setting gives the movie a naturally classy look and it reminded me of the ‘Rocketeer’ from , which is a compliment to the design team. 

Captain America is a fun movie; sure it’s implausible, brash, loud and filled with clichés, and it’s also a suitable preview to the forthcoming ‘The Avengers’ which in the hands of comic nerd hero Joss Whedon should be a good story. However Whedon is not a proven director and that’s where Marvel has also slipped up here after setting the bar high with Thor which was a pleasant surprise. As with this, I wasn’t a fan of the comics, but in Kenneth Branagh they had a good director who knows how to play those familial problems and get the best out of his actors. In director Joe Johnson, Marvel have taken a safe bet, he’s done big budget effects laden movies before, however this movie doesn’t deliver the quality of characterisation set by Thor; or the fun of the Jon Favreau directed ‘Iron Man’ movies. In Whedon they seem to have given the fanboys what they want but at what cost?

Quality: 3 out of 5 stars

Any good: 3 out of 5 stars