Tag Archives: the cabin in the woods

Sigourney Weaver’s 10 Best Movies

sigourney-weaver-jake-chessum-varietySigourney Weaver has the best resume of any actress in the science fiction genre (including impressive turns in the Aliens franchise, Galaxy Quest, The Cabin in the Woods, Avatar) in addition to being one of the best dramatic and comedic actresses in Hollywood for three decades.  She is THE template for a female action star for her work in Alien and Aliens, and she’s done some very covert work as a voice actor in two of Pixar’s gems (WALL-E and Finding Dory…ok, not so covert in Finding Dory).  Her body of work is even more impressive than I realized when I began putting her list together and was forced to leave off things like Gorillas in the Mist or The Year of Living Dangerously that would easily make most actresses’ lists.
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My Favorite Scene: The Cabin in the Woods (2012) *Every Monster Ever Including Angry Unicorn*

I hate horror movies.  Well, no, that’s too wide a statement, but for the most part I find the genre as eye-rollingly predictable as I do romantic comedies.  Then, every now and again, one comes along and scares the bejeebers out of me and I do appreciate those.  The Cabin in the Woods is the horror movie for people who love everything about horror movies, no matter if they’re good or bad.  Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the team behind Angel and The Avengers and Daredevil while we’re at it, wrote this amazingly plausible reason to have these contrived situations arranged for a purpose.

I don’t want to give away the plot for anyone who hasn’t seen this, but there’s a point at which the monster stable used in the scenarios we’ve all seen a thousand times…..um……gets loose in an office complex.  It is spectacular and WARNING spectacularly bloody (I’m not kidding, this is a massacre) so if you haven’t seen the film and this is out of context, you may not appreciate why this isn’t really so much horrific as it is hysterically funny.  If you haven’t seen this, DO.  Brilliant spring surprise from three years ago that makes every crappy horror film I’ve ever seen worth it.

I know it’s kind of cheating to throw in a bonus, but if any scene in the whole film sums up the tongue-in-cheek, twisted meta horror that makes this film so brilliant it’s this bit when Bradley Whitford puts THE HARBINGER on speakerphone to mock him while he delivers portents of doom.

Oscar Week: My Personal Oscars

Renaissance Film Awards
Renaissance Film Awards

The first iteration of this blog dates back more than a decade to when I just used to mass email a list of cool stuff I’d found out to a bunch of my friends.  I called it the Renaissance News.  I’ve let that mostly fall by the wayside in this current iteration, but every year around Oscar time, I do the Renaissance Film Awards (or Rennys as they are known in the business), which are basically my personal Oscars.  It is a dictatorial process; subjective to my tastes and it follows the Oscar categories with a few exceptions.  I have an ensemble cast award like the SAG Awards.  I do not have the documentary or short film awards or-as I like to call them-the part of the broadcast for snack making.  I also, to my shame, have not seen any foreign language films this year, so I’ll update the draft when I get around to that.  These are this year’s nominees and winners, probably the most widespread dispersion in the eleven or so years I’ve done this.  There was an abundance of riches this year.  So here they are: this year’s Rennys.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Argo
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Silver Linings Playbook
WINNER: ARGO

Best Original Screenplay
The Dark Knight Rises
Django Unchained
Looper
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Seven Psychopaths
WINNER: LOOPER

Best Visual Effects
The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Life of Pi
Prometheus
WINNER: THE LIFE OF PI

Best Sound Mixing
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Looper
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty
WINNER: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Best Sound Editing
Argo
The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Zero Dark Thirty
WINNER: ZERO DARK THIRTY

Best Song
“Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift, The Hunger Games
“Skyfall” by Adele, Skyfall
“Song of the Lonely Mountain” by Neil Flynn, The Hobbit: AUJ
“Too Old To Die Young” by Brother Dege, Django Unchained
“Touch the Sky” by Julie Fowlis, Brave
WINNER: “SKYFALL” BY ADELE, SKYFALL

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat, Zero Dark Thirty
Michael Dyana, The Life of Pi
Thomas Newman, Skyfall
Howard Shore, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Hans Zimmer, The Dark Knight Rises
WINNER: HOWARD SHORE, THE HOBBIT: AUJ

Best Animated Feature
Brave
Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph
WINNER: BRAVE

Best Makeup
The Avengers
Django Unchained
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Impossible
Lincoln
WINNER: LINCOLN

Best Film Editing
Argo
The Dark Knight Rises
Looper
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty
WINNER: ARGO

Best Costumes
The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hunger Games
Les Miserables
WINNER: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

Best Art Direction
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
The Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall
WINNER: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

Best Cinematography
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
The Life of Pi
Skyfall
WINNER: SKYFALL

Best Ensemble Cast
Argo
The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
Django Unchained
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
WINNER: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Best Supporting Actress
Judi Dench, Skyfall
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jackie Weaver, The Silver Linings Playbook
WINNER: ANNE HATHAWAY, LES MISERABLES

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Robert DeNiro, The Silver Linings Playbook
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Andy Serkis, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
WINNER: JAVIER BARDEM, SKYFALL

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Keira Knightley, Seeking a Friend at the End of the World
Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games
Jennifer Lawrence, The Silver Linings Playbook
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
WINNER: JESSICA CHASTAIN, ZERO DARK THIRTY

Best Actor
Tom Holland, The Impossible
Joseph Gordon Levitt, Looper
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Denzel Washington, Flight
WINNER: DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, LINCOLN

Best Director
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Ang Lee, The Life of Pi
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises
WINNER: BEN AFFLECK, ARGO

Best Picture
Argo
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Looper
Zero Dark Thirty
WINNER: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

TDKR and The Hobbit rotate in my mind daily (with Argo not far behind).  I changed my mind between when I did my Top 10 earlier this month and now.  What settled it for me was that a spectacular finale trumped a fantastic beginning .  No film won more than three awards.  It was a triumphant year for movies and some of these were even nominated by that show that will be on Sunday.  What films got your personal Oscars this year?