REVIEW: Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Written by: Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (screenplay)
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz and Anna Hutchison

Slasher films are just realistic slapstick with uglier, less funny comedians.  Whack someone over the head, and if they don’t bleed it’s funny; if they do, it’s terrifying.  Since Wes Craven clued teenagers in on the gruesome joke in Scream, countless conceptual spin-offs (many made by Craven in increasingly meta sequels) have emerged from the over-done ashes of a seemingly dead genre.

Cabin in the Woods takes meta horror one step further, first by taking the dead teenager scenario, spinning it on its head and then almost taking the spin-off seriously.  When it works, and it often does, it’s an innovative in-joke that makes the audience feel smart even if it is rather simple.  Five slasher stereotypes- the jock, the brains, the whore, the moron the virgin- venture to the cabin of the title for a vacation away from technology.  They are warned away from doing it by an ominous gas station attendee, but of course decide to go.  Then, they are subsequently slaughtered one by one.

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REVIEW: Thor

Thor
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, & Don Payne (screenplay), Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, & Jack Kirby (comic)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Tom Hiddleston

It’s almost hard not to write off Thor as the beginning of an onslaught of mindless summer action movies.  However, with its welcome injection of humor and a toned-down scale, it rises above that classification if only by a little bit.

The best moments of Thor occur outside Asgard, the homeworld of its hero, in a small town in New Mexico.  He arrives there much like many movie aliens, and director Kenneth Branagh riffs off this aspect quite well.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) brings alien customs (which closely resembles stereotypical viking culture) to such places as small-town diners and hospital rooms.  In one hilarious instance, he smashes a glass down on the floor and demands a refill.

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