Cabin in the Woods

[3.5 stars] The Cabin in the Woods (2011) on IMDb [Amazon Link]

This was co-written and produced by Joss Whedon. If you're geeky enough to know the name, it's a good bet you've probably already seen this. But if not: it's a smart, frequently funny, takeoff on "this sort of movie". (Hereafter: TSOM.)

Because it starts out just like TSOM, except with tongue firmly in cheek: five young adults set out for a weekend of fun at the titular Cabin. And they are exactly the stereotypical group that winds up being terrorized, gore-spattered, and mostly killed in TSOM. Which is entirely the point.

In seemingly unrelated scenes, technical personnel are shown working in some underground lair on some mysterious project. The two main technicians are played Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, and they're big enough stars to tell the attentive fan that they must be doing something importantly plot-relevant! But what is it, and how does it relate to our five protagonists?

Do you ever wonder why the characters in TSOM act so stupid just before they get done in? It turns out there are perfectly good explanations for that.

No spoilers here, but what the MPAA refers to as "strong bloody horror violence and gore" is soon to commence. If you're a bigger fan of TSOM than I, you will almost certainly love it more and get more of the in-jokes.

Favorite quote: "Good work, zombie arm!"

Last Modified 2012-09-23 11:03 AM EDT


[3.5 stars] Unknown (2011) on IMDb [Amazon Link]

This 2011 Liam Neeson flick worked its way to the top of the Netflix queue. It's a twisty tale of lost identity.

Liam plays Martin Harris, a doctor arriving in Berlin for a conference. He's accompanied by his lovely wife, Elizabeth. (Who's played by January Jones from Mad Men.) But—darn it!—Martin's misplaced his briefcase back at the airport. Without a word to Elizabeth, he's back in a cab, headed back to the airport to retrieve it. But there's a horrific accident, and Martin goes into a coma for days.

He expects to have his concerned wife at his bedside when he awakens. But she's not. He goes back to the hotel where they were staying, only to find that Elizabeth seemingly doesn't know him from Adam, and there's a new guy with her claiming to be Martin Harris. Whoa, what's going on?

Martin's pretty upset. He's also surprised when people start trying to kill him. (As moviewatchers, we are not surprised: that sort of thing happens in every movie like this.)

All is explained by the end, of course. Little clues are scattered throughout; I confess that I only figured them out in retrospect, and was as surprised at the Surprising Plot Twist as the filmmakers intended me to be. (I think it would have been even better to have opened the movie with Martin coming out of the coma, telling the previous events in flashback as necessary.)

The Phony Campaign

2012-09-23 Update

[phony baloney]

A slight narrowing of Obama's phony lead over Romney and Johnson, but it's still pretty dominating:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 6,250,000 -90,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 1,720,000 +130,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 473,000 +26,000

And now, the news behind the phoniness:

  • Two Obama fans took the President's advocacy of "redistribution" a little too seriously and decided to do some freelance redistribution on their own.

    Bail was set at $100,000 and $75,000 today for two men charged with depositing two checks stolen from President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters into bank accounts they fraudulently opened.


    The checks were made out to legitimate businesses, but the suspects deposited them in phony accounts they had set up under the names of those companies, authorities said.

    Obama could have told them: That sort of expropriation is only legal if you're a government official.

  • A small kerfuffle erupted on the left in response to Mitt Romney's interview with Univision.

    Mitt Romney dyed his face brown for his Univision interview.

    … accompanied by pictures that (under different lighting conditions) show Romney looking paler.

    But crack investigators at ABC News/Univision found there was nothing to it, via an interview with the makeup artist Lazz Rodriguez:

    "When he walked in, I remember thinking, 'Wow this is tanner than I thought he was,' but I think he's just been outside a lot lately for his campaign," Rodriguez noted. "It was definitely a real tan."

    I see a new campaign slogan: "Mitt Romney: less phony than he sometimes appears to be."

  • Mark Steyn noted the phoniness of the Obama Administration's desperate spinning of the horrors in Libya. Please Read The Whole Thing™, but here's a small excerpt:

    … after a week and a half of peddling an utterly false narrative of what happened in Libya, the United States government is apparently beginning to discern that there are limits to what even Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice can say with a straight face. The official line -- that the slaughter of American officials was some sort of improvised movie review that got a little out of hand -- is now in the process of modification to something bearing a less patently absurd relationship to what actually happened. That should not make any more forgivable the grotesque damage that the administration has done to the bedrock principle of civilized society: freedom of speech.

    Any chance some Obama fans might notice that the Administration that once promised to be "reality based" is dealing increasingly in fantasy and lies? Probably not.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:59 PM EDT