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Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods

Mike Finkelstein has learned many things from horror films. One of the greatest lessons: never go camping in a deserted area with four friends. Except for this one time-maybe this time, it’ll be fun-maybe? Here is his review for The Cabin in the Woods.

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Mike Finkelstein has learned many things from horror films. One of the greatest lessons: never go camping in a deserted area with four friends.  Except for this one time…maybe this time, it’ll be fun…maybe?  Here is his review for “The Cabin in the Woods”.

PLOT: It’s the classic, cliche horror story: five teen friends (the jock, the blonde, the prep, the pothead and the virgin) head into the woods for a weekend camping trip, only to meet a force outside of themselves that wants them dead.  Wait, did I say cliche?  Heh…I take that back…

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: When SCREAM hit theaters back in 1996, it tore open the horror genre.  No one was expecting a meta-slasher flick that was both funny/self-aware and smart/terrifying at the same time (that comment doesn’t exactly include the sequels…).  Now, over fifteen years later, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS has completely blown SCREAM (and all its imitators) out of the water by going 20 steps further, and has easily taken the title of best “horror” film of the past decade.

Yes, I know…that’s a huge title to live up to, but there’s a reason why the word “horror” is in quotation marks.  Can you really call CABIN IN THE WOODS a horror film?  On one hand, yes you can.  It has its main cast of idiotic teen friends, consisting of the Jock (Chris Hemsworth before he hit it big in THOR), the virgin (Kristen Connolly), the dumb blonde (Anna Hutchison), the good guy (Jesse Williams), and the pothead (Fran Kranz), all of whom get hunted down and killed off in some gruesome manner by a terrifying family of redneck zombies.  They have their warning signs, their cliched moments of playing truth or dare and splitting up, and their very, very bad decisions.

But then, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard do something that the phrase “thinking outside the box” can’t even remotely justify.  How, exactly?  I can’t tell you that, or it’ll ruin all the fun.  All I can say is that all those B-movie cliched moments are turned on their heads, and we are left with no idea of what the hell is going on.  And I ain’t talking about some little twist that comes halfway through, oh no.  We’re screwed within the first minute, because we go in expecting one film, and end up getting something completely different.

Now, you may be a tad confused, and rightfully so.  (Not since MIDNIGHT IN PARIS have I had a harder time trying to write a review without giving away a thing about the plot.)  So let me try to sum this up one more time: imagine a complete deconstruction of the horror genre in one film that both honors and laughs at every joke, every formula, and every wrong move and turn and scream that your five favorite friends (the idiots getting killed) could make.  Imagine a horror nerd’s wet dream when all those movies and villains and souls you love from movies past meet face to face in one hallway.  Imagine taking that deconstruction to the Nth degree and finally meeting the man behind the curtain. That’s what you get when you see THE CABIN IN THE WOODS.

Oh, and whatever you think I mean right now, throw it out the window.  You’re wrong.

As for our five main actors, they all went through the motions of their performances with no issues, and seemed to be having fun every step of the way.  (Having been shot in 2009, this was made before Chris Hemsworth was cast in THOR, and it’s safe to mention that you could still see the star power in him even then.)  Alas, the only character of the bunch that was truly memorable—and in some strange, Freudian way, it makes complete sense that no one else stood out…they never do—was our loveable pothead, Marty, played hysterically by “Dollhouse” favorite Fran Kranz. The kid steals the show in every scene he’s in, whether it be with a giant bong-turned-coffee-mug, or the sheer confusion that comes out of his mouth every time a stupid decision is made. (A complete 180 from his work in Mike Nichol’s Broadway production of “Death of a Salesman”…even more stunning.)  He is right on level with Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, who were absolutely brilliant and perfectly cast in their roles (you’ll see) and helped deliver every unforgettable moment in the film.

Again, I will reiterate: I am not a fan of horror films.  To me, they are long, cliched, and completely unoriginal.  But then, once in a while, we are lucky enough to experience a movie that completely resets the bar.  Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard just did that.  Whether you’re a fan of horror movies or just film in general, you will leave this meta-fest with a smile on your face, amazed at not just the thrills and chills, but the humor and the brains that bring THE CABIN IN THE WOODS to a whole new level.

Oh, and one more piece of advice…never bet on the merman…

GRADE: A-

Mike’s LIKES:

1) BRADLEY WHITFORD AND RICHARD JENKINS: These two vets are absolutely brilliant in their roles as…well, you’ll see…Humor, sarcasm, and just play narcissistic…  Loved it

2) MARTY/SMOKE A GIANT BONG IN YOUR FATHER’S VAN?: For a stoner, Marty is the smartest guy in the entire movie.  Mix his impeccable logic with moments like “a giant bong” and “I’m going to take a walk”, and you got the show stealer.

3) TAKING BETS:  I would have bet on Kevin, but that’s just me…

4) A HORROR NERD’S WET DREAM:  If you’re a horror movie fan, get ready…by the end of the movie, all your dreams and fantasies will come true, and you will be in heaven.

5) A NOTE ON JOSS WHEDON: My respect for Joss Whedon is growing by the day, not just for his directing style, but for all the love and care that he puts into his movies.  If Whedon puts as much effort into THE AVENGERS as he did in CABIN, we’re in for an incredible film…

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) NONE: I’m not a fan of horror movies, and I loved this one.  Completely out of the box and different than anything you’ve seen before, yet not.  (I know what I’m saying makes no sense, so just go see the movie already!)

EXTRA FACTS:

1) The film’s release date was postponed because the studio wanted to convert it to 3D.  The plans were eventually scrapped (much to the relief of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard).

2) In the tie-in book “The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion” co-writer Drew Goddard said that Kevin was meant to be “a sweet-looking guy who seemed like he might work at Best Buy–until he dismembers people.”  (If you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t expect to understand this.)

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst

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Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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Priest Accidentally Forgets To Turn Off Filters Before Live Streaming Mass

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The internet is having a field day with the innocent mistake of biblical proportions.

With new social distancing guidelines, many churches have closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And while that doesn’t justify all the wine you’ve been chugging during your self quarantine, it does have many people practicing their faith from their homes. One Italian priest was just trying to recite a little prayer for his followers when he accidentally left a filter feature on during the broadcast! In the clip the priest is digitally adorned with a space helmet, workout gear, a fedora and sunglasses and more.

Social media went nuts for the video, which has now gone viral. One comment reads “He just doubled his holy power.” Another reads “Father, Son and Holy Influencer.” One commenter couldn’t resist a good pun and said the video is having a “Mass effect.”

Enjoy your daily blessing and take a look at the funny video below!

 

Priest in Italy live streams mass, activates filters by mistake from r/funny

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Danny DeVito Passionately Urges New Yorkers To Stay Home…And Twitter Agrees!

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For the love of Danny DeVito, stay home!

The world is in a dark place right now and I am not sure how much more bad news we can handle. That’s why when I saw Danny DeVito’s name trending on Twitter I froze. Our great nation could very well crumble if anything bad was to happen to such an icon right now. With extreme trepidation I clicked on the social media link and was relieved to see that good ol’ Danny boy is just strumming up hype because he is passionately urging New Yorkers to stay home.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been driving New Yorkers to stay home and has taken every precaution short of shutting the state down completely to help prevent the virus from spreading. Because New Yorkers can be hard headed, it doesn’t hurt to have some famous friends reiterate your message. Big names like Lala Anthony, Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller have all made appearances on Cuomo’s social media pleading with New Yorker’s to heed the governors warning. Only one celebrity was able to make it to Twitter’s trending page however and that was none other than Danny DeVito. DeVito’s message is simple…stay home! In the two minute video, DeVito reminds fans that it’s not just up to the elderly to isolate themselves. “Young people can get it and they can transmit it to old people and the next thing you know – I’m out of there” says the actor. We must save him!

Twitter went into a frenzy with many users agreeing that we need to stay home for Danny. One user wrote “When Danny speaks, I listen.” Another passionately wrote “If you idiots kill Danny DeVito I SWEAR TO GOD.” One promoted DeVito from the icon status I previously awarded him and said “WE GOTTA PROTECT WORLD TREASURE DANNY DeVITO.” 

Take a look at the video below and for the love of the newly minted national treasure, stay home!

 

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