Thursday, February 01, 2007

February 07, 2004

Abridged Movie reviews

From time to time I like to write down general feelings on movies I have seen recently. I call these entries my abridged movie reviews simply because normally I do not go into a whole lot of detail about the movie and only pick out key elements to bring my points to mind. Also I don't feel particularly capable of reviewing other than the fact that I am a huge fan of movies I have pretty much no qualifications... although come to think of it some of the "real" critics don't seem to have any real credentials other than maybe (hopefully) some sort of degree in the written word. One of the things that drives me crazy about certain critics is the way they compare a movie out of genre or out of context. A lot of the time they look at every movie as if it is supposed to be the next big Oscar flick or something when the truth of the matter is some movies are just made to be movies.

On the bill tonight Cabin Fever.

Cabin Fever
I had high hopes for this movie when I first started seeing the teaser trailers for it in theaters. Those hopes were quickly put in jeopardy when I started seeing the full trailers and the poor reviews. Then the movie finally hit theaters, one more big blow against the movie. First off it was not in all of the theaters in my area, that made it difficult to work out a where, secondly it did not stick around very long making it too late when I finally got around to the when part.

So finally it was released on DVD, I immediately put it on my Netflix list. It was on the waiting list for a couple of DVD cycles but finally it came to my door along with Identity. I graciously let my brother borrow and watch it before I watched it myself. His review of the flick was less than enthused. Both he and his wife thought it left quite a bit to be desired. So on my shelf it went again for a few days until I was in a mood where I would not be greatly disappointed so I could at least be open to the good points however few and far between they were.

So after watching Cabin Fever I'm left with the feeling that it could have been a fantastically great movie. It could have been one of the greatest independent type movies of the year. It could have helped launch a few careers. It could it could it could... it didn't. I don't think it was a horrible movie like some have said, but it certainly didn't make much of an effort to be all that great.

One way to improve things would have been to pick a genre and stick with the basic rules of it. there seemed to be a lot of middle of the roading it between styles (the main ones being; the recent teen blood fest scary movies type, and old school gore fest psychological thriller type horror movies). These seem to me to be incompatible types. One genre involves a fast paced keep moving along story full of cheap pops (or surprise scary moments) while the other style should move along much slower, examine events in fuller detail, let you know and feel what the characters are feeling all of that good stuff that just creeps you out. Cabin Fever would have done well to stick with style number two, in fact originally after hearing the premise I thought for sure that is what I would get. Think about it for a minute, a group of young twenty somethings up in a mountain cabin alone one by one contracting a flesh eating virus, not knowing how it is spread or anything at all about it. The film should have focused a lot more on the mental status of all involved, and the reactions that were involved when the disease hit one of them. Take out some of the unimportant teen nonsense and the cheap thrills/gross out moments and there would have been plenty of time for these details. There was also some unexplainable just silly parts mixed in that really took me out of the feeling.

The acting was surprisingly well done. I was unfamiliar with 90% of the cast here. Giuseppe Andrews and Rider Strong were the two I was familiar with beforehand so I'll point to their performances as examples since they stood out in my mind easier. Giuseppe Andrews did his job perfectly, he seems to have that party boy letch character down pretty well doesn't he? I didn't exactly like how his character was used (or misused more accurately ) There seemed to be some more story to him that we should have known but never had the chance. More impressive was Rider Strong, being the most recognizable person in a semi independent type movie is a tough burden to bear. Strong did it pretty well he worked well within his parameters. Again it was the chosen direction of the movie that held him back. One minute he had to be the weakest type personality of the three guys in the group, the next minute he had to be the forceful voice of reason, then the shy around a girl type, then the protector, then the loner, then the smart one that figures out what is going on, then the crazed one, then the attempted helper, and so on as you can see the character types thrust upon him in different parts of this movie are enough for a half dozen films so it comes down to indecisive choices again.

Overall feeling
A lackluster middle of the road movie. Rent it, watch it, don't expect a whole lot. Don't expect to be really scared, do expect to be grossed out by some of the gore moments. Also the DVD pokes fun at a few things that I found made it worth a laughing look. The first thing that hit me was the "family friendly" version they offered up which condensed the 93 minutes movie into a neat and clean 1 and a half minutes or so. The second funny feature was something called the "Chick version" of the movie, I didn't really watch the whole movie again but the idea of this option was to remove most of the gore stuff from the movie for those with weaker stomachs. Sure these are not as good as lets say cut scenes alternate endings gag reels background information or interviews, but they were nice funny little additions to a pretty bare DVD.

This turned out much longer than I had planned so I will keep Identity and Analyze That for tomorrow or possibly later. I also plan on seeing Barbershop 2 tomorrow so I might have a blurb about that as well.

The thought of the day today is: Any day that you do not learn at least one new thing is just not worth it.

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