Mixing splatter and hilarity, the surprising Cabin in the Woods makes a good case for post-modern horror. Consider first, if you will, the ingenious poster for the long-delayed project: There’s a basemented cabin (not in the woods) suspended in blank white space, whose naked architectonics reveal that the structure can be manipulated like Rubik’s cube, twisted this way and that.
It’s too bad that the word “icon” has become the most overused term in what passes for modern celebrity journalism. But if the word icon doesn’t apply to Bob Marley, who became a kind of quasi-religious figure to millions, a sign of hope, and, as it turns out, financially generous, to whom can it possibly apply?
This writer saw The Three Stooges, the longest-running comedy team in American movies, in person only once–as a late-career stage act at a state fair. And after a more than 30-year career, the three–minus the marvelous Curly Howard (substituted by the mediocre Curly Joe DeRita)–had honed down their best movie sketches, brought along their all-important soundman (Bonk!
Oka! tells tales within tales of primitive, transitional and perhaps sustainable Africa. For her third film, part-time Hawaii writer-director Lavinia Currier (Passion in the Desert, full disclosure: this writer worked as a consultant on this film) has chosen an intricate challenge: a narrative without melodrama, telling several stories: Equatorial Banzele forest pygmies enduring enmity from neighboring Bantus; incursion by timber companies and illegal hunters (some from China) chasing after the magnificent elephants within the forest; a quest by a terminally ill American ethnomusicologist trying, before shades fall, to complete his musical-instrument collection by finding the befabled Molimo, an extremely rare instrument said to be able to call elephants.
Karen, a sophisticated 40-something poetry and dance teacher almost exclusively referred to as “Ma’am,” gazes around the classroom before zooming in on her prey. “When you stare at a woman, do you undress her with your eyes or cover her up?” she asks Marlon (Paolo Avelino), a struggling student utterly enamored by the enigmatic poetess, played by Jean Garcia in this film, the lineup in this weekʻs Third Annual Filipino Film Festival.
Franchise comedy movies–meaning a stable of at least three or four films with related casts and plots–are rare, the most lucrative of the lot belonging to the American Pie collective, six and counting (two of these on direct-to-DVD). The newest, if not the freshest, is the current American Reunion, replete with scatology, cunnilingus, fellatio, infidelity, sex-with-food, major drunkenness and old jokes.
The comedies of director Lasse Hallström (Chocolat, My Life as a Dog come to mind) are like no one else’s: deft, “humanistic,” character-driven and funnier as they go along. They often begin gently, with here and there a few chuckles, and then rope audiences in, ending up far more eccentric than they first appear.
Yes, it’s all true, Disney spent $250 million on the budget for John Carter, which only reinforces what Dolly Parton said about her enhancements: “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” Well, not cheap exactly in the case of Carter–just maybe uninspired. Your humble reviewer could spend the rest of this page listing the titles of the movies from which Carter borrowed.
When it begins later this week, the 10th annual Temple Emanu-El Kirk Cashmere Jewish Film Festival, with films from seven countries, examines the history of anti-semitism in a wide range of material, including the Olympics and recent American political scene. These films will not have played at commercial theaters here.
There are two kinds of people in this world. Draw a line in the dirt, and I’m on the side saying, “Um, gross, dirt.” Comedy Wanderlust is a film about taking people out of their Bed, Bath & Beyond-sponsored comfort zones and nudging them across that absolutely grizzly line into more uninhibited, down-to-earth territory.