The Cabin in the Woods… out with the old (school), in with the new (genre mashup)?

Drew Goddard at the 2012 SXSW premiere of The Cabin in the Woods

By Late Night
First-time director Drew Goddard steps up to the plate in a big way with the sci-fi/government conspiracy/slasher horror/monster movie mashup, The Cabin in the Woods (opening April 13).  Goddard is the writer of the thoroughly entertaining sci-fi/monster movie Cloverfield (2008), but he is better known by his work for the small screen, as a writer/producer for Lost, Alias and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It is no accident that many visionary directors write their own material.  And it’s readily apparent from this short clip that Goddard can build interest and suspense with just a few words:

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“Actionary” presents just about all the action you can handle

Presented entirely for your cinematic enjoyment, the following is a masterfully-edited selection of the most fantastic action sequences of recent years, set to the wildly shifting time signatures of modern electronic music.   The full title on YouTube is Actionary 720p in Dubstep styles (fix), and it claims to only use footage from official movie trailers.  Consider it the uber-trailer for the entire genre of big-budget action films; it is not concerned with context, it is only about celebrating the moments of kinetic movie magic created by hacks and visionaries alike, perfectly matching the on-screen motions to the ebb and flow of the dubstep track (and on a related note, it is also a perfect example of why dubstep is taking over the world).

Prepare to fall in love with the movies again:

Does It Take a Visionary to Make Sacha Baron Cohen Funny?

Larry Charles knows funny

Sacha Baron Cohen may not be everyone’s favorite satirical comic (I think he’s hilarious), but he has undeniably carved out his own unique space in the pop culture landscape.  One of the keys to Cohen’s success is his steady collaboration with Larry Charles, who directed Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and Bruno.  This team’s latest project, The Dictator (opening May 11), is supposedly based on a novel written by the late Saddam Hussein.  Heh.  Sounds like something you might see joked about on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Hmmm.

The music alone in this clip qualifies it for the kick ass trailer folder:

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Is The Invisible War invisible to Hollywood?

Kirby Dick at Sundance 2012

Documentary directors get no respect in Tinseltown. The majors will pay lip service to some of top talent, but they never seem to give them wide theatrical releases. The exception, of course, is Michael Moore.  Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is the high-grossing doc in history; with pulling power like that, the studios will overlook the politics to get a piece of the action.

But it is much more common for documentary directors to struggle for screens at the multiplexes. Kirby Dick, best known for exposing the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and their hypocritical rating system in This Film Is Not Yet Rated, recently won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival with his latest documentary The Invisible War.   This should make the film a sure bet, but the studios appear uninterested in distributing this one.  Perhaps Dick reddened too many important faces* with Not Yet Rated (Box Office Magazine calls him an “agit-provocateur “).  Or maybe it’s because of the subject matter of War.  From the website www.invisiblewarmovie.com:

THE INVISIBLE WAR is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military.


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Can Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds make up for all the duds?

Hacks seem to know that cars and bikes can absolve many sins. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Tyler Perry is confounding. He has made some crappy movies, but they have all made money (so says Box Office Mojo). He is a successful filmmaker, but he is still a Hollywood outsider.  At VOH, he is considered a solid hack, yet clearly the man has a vision. And while we don’t always like what we see of it, this vision has gathered a large audience of faithful fanatiques.

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“Discovering” Jee-woon Kim: this is why we have VOH

Visionary: Jee-woon Kim

Wow.  In keeping with my practice of late night movie viewing, I just enjoyed the 130 minute long epic, rock-n-roll, western-themed THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD by Korean director Jee-woon Kim.    Great characters, unbelievable action, and epic (yes, I used that word again) cinematography.  I’ll even go so far as to say it was a cinematic tour de force, a highly energized and stylized mishmash of the old with the new.  Check out the kick ass trailer after the jump:

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“What this movie needs is a good chase scene…”

Master of motion

Although acclaimed director John Frankenheimer (1930 – 2002) is probably most well-known for his classic mind control epic THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962), I’d like to take a brief moment to recognize him for his ability to craft intensely realistic car chase scenes, something that is absolutely required of any director wishing to make a living in the action/thriller genre. Read More

The worst kind of hack is a money-losing hack

Patrick Lussier: Hacking in 3D? (Note the now-obligatory eye logo; et tu Comic con?)

Did you see DRIVE ANGRY (in 3D!)?  Probably not.  Turns out almost no one “turned out” for the cool car + sexygirl redneck revenge fantasy.  Box Office Mojo dissed it like this:

Drive Angry was the biggest loser this week, debuting all the way down in ninth place with just $6.9 million. That’s the worst nationwide opening in the modern 3D era and the lowest-grossing start for star Nicolas Cage since The Weather Man in 2005. When adjusting for ticket price inflation and 3D premiums, it’s essentially neck-and-neck with Racing with the Moon from 1984 as Cage’s least-attended start ever.

Here it is, months later Memorial Day weekend, and the movie has only grossed $10.7 million. The audience has spoken. How much of this blame shall we lay on director Patrick Lussier?  Take a look at the clip below, and then consider that he also wrote and edited the film.   I say it’s all on him.

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