6WH: Week 6 - Now Playing

As usual, this week is something of a cheat since most of these aren't exactly playing at a theater near you. On the other hand, the advent of OnDemand and other streaming services means you can watch these in the comfort of your own. Truly, we are living in wondrous times.
  • The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror V: Nightmare Cafeteria
  • Ravenous (trailer)
  • The Necronomicon (short)
  • Bone Tomahawk - I guess Kurt Russell figured that if he was going to make the effort to grow a bitchin frontier beard (for Tarantino's upcoming epic Western, The Hateful Eight), he might as well leverage it to make another Western. This one decidedly more dark.
    Bone Tomahawk
    Picture The Searchers, but with more cannibals and slightly less racism. A posse of cowboys rides off to rescue a group of captives from what appear to be cannibals. There's not much of a plot, and yet the 2 hour plus runtime doesn't feel too long either. There are some serious deficits facing our heroes, but they make due, and while tensions sometimes rise, there seems to be a grudging respect granted between each other by the (gruesome) end. The film is buoyed by a fantastic ensemble cast, lead by the aforementioned Kurt Russell, but also including an injured Patrick Wilson, an almost unrecognizable Richard Jenkins, and Matthew Fox (who manages to ham it up without going too overboard, well calibrated). It's hard to call this a "fun" movie, but it is captivating and worth a look (unless you're squeamish, but if you are, why are you even reading this?) ***
  • Thursday the 12th (Robot Chicken)
  • Thanksgiving (fake trailer)
  • How Scream Should Have Ended (short)
  • The Final Girls - This movie puts a new wrinkle into the clever, self aware slasher sub-sub-genre by not just having its heroes steeped in slasher movie knowledge, but by actually inserting them into the movie (Last Action Hero style). As such, it comports itself well, with a nice ensemble cast, a few clever references and laughs, and plenty of dashed expectations. Most slasher tropes are hit hard here - tragedy in the past being revisited upon the present (with multiple, Inception-like levels), a masked madman, a machete and some gore (though still a distressing lack of variety in weaponry/kills), no real nudity, but plenty of pretty faces.
    The Final Girls (and a dude)
    Including Malin Akerman, who can somehow pass for both a mother of a teenager and... a teenager herself. Also of note, Nina Dobrev, who plays the typical "bitch" character, but knows exactly what happens to such characters and charmingly leverages her bitchosity to move things along. The stereotypical final girl is played by Taissa Farmiga, and Alia Shawkat (of Arrested Development fame) plays her best friend. Thomas Middleditch plays the "Randy" type character who knows a lot about the movie they're stuck in, and Alexander Ludwig rounds out our regular cast as the hunky love interest. This has some nice tweaks on a played out theme and is wholly enjoyable, though perhaps not quite destined for big recognition. Still, very enjoyable and recommended. Great ending too! ***
  • It's the Gifts That I Hate (Robot Chicken)
  • Tucker & Dale vs Evil (trailer)
  • Just Before Dawn (trailer)
  • Cub - Belgian film about troubled youngster Sam as he heads off on a weekend camping trip with a group of Cub-scouts, only to find... something lurking in the woods around them. Part slasher, part hillbilly horror, this is a short one that comports itself well enough and then goes to some very dark places. I'm especially not sure what to really make of the ending, which is rather bleak. It appears there are actually two killers, one a big dude who we're lead to guess was laid off when the local factory shut down (a common feature of hillbilly horror: soft, capitalistic city dwellers head out to the countryside only to be the subject of rural revenge). Lots of stalking and sneaking, a la a slasher, but the kills are generally done with elaborate and increasingly improbable booby traps, as befits most cinematic hillbillies. Also, kids are involved. It's amazing how many "summer camp" horror movies there are that don't actually feature young kids. Teenagers, usually councilors, are the cannon fodder of such movies. Here, we have a bunch of 12 year olds, including our protagonist, Sam. Even one of the killers (spoiler, there's more than one) is a kid. It's a little odd, and gives the movie a serious edge. I learned about this movie from a couple of folks talking about Fantastic Fest last year, and this is a movie very well suited to that atmosphere. Which I sometimes love, but which takes a certain mindset that isn't particularly common. I can't see this one being particularly crowd-pleasing, at least, not with that ending. That being said, I'm glad I watched it and it might even be something I'd revisit, because it's got a lot to chew on. **1/2
Phew, hard to believe it's been 6 weeks! Do not despair, as we'll still have a wrapup post on Sunday, along with the usual "Speed Round" of stuff I watched but haven't yet covered. Also look for a book review on Wednesday. And don't forget about Kernunrex and Zack, who continue to rock the Six Weeks like no one's business.