Tag Archives: Richard Jenkins

Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher (2012), which from now on will be referred to as Werner Herzog as Villain, is the adaptation of the sixth book in Lee Child’s wildly successful series of thriller novels. I feel much the same way about Werner Herzog as Villain as Homer Simpson does about the film Man Getting hit by Football in one of my favourite ever Simpsons episodes. Other films may have more heart, action and better scripts than Werner Herzog as Villain, but Werner Herzog as Villain has Werner Herzog as villain.

Unfortunately, having Werner Herzog as villain was not quite enough to save Werner as Villain for me. Nope, not even the most inspired piece of casting I can recall saves this film from its flaws. Things start relatively promisingly too, with a brutal opening featuring an indiscriminate sniper attack. Also, Richard Jenkins shows up and I do love me some Richard Jenkins. But before too long the really shitty script begins to make itself known and takes things over. Tom Cruise shows up too, bringing very little with him to be honest. He is meant to be a total badass, but he just couldn’t pull it off. He just has this really smarmy presence, which is weird because I thought that Reacher was meant to be more of a salt of the earth, ‘everyman’ type of guy (that was definitely the impression I got from the only Reacher novel I read). The only couple of good moments were included in the trailer, leaving essentially the only reason to watch the movie the fact that Werner Herzog is the villain. The film is just so bloody long too. Seriously, a film like this really only needs to be 90 minutes or so, but this just keeps stretching out far over the 2 hour mark.

Herzog, bein creepy

Herzog, bein creepy

Just to be clear though, the fact that this Werner Herzog as Villain has Werner Herzog playing the bad guy is as incredible in practice as it is in theory. His Herzogian voice just makes for such an iconic character and he brings something decidedly disconcerting to the role. Herzog has a cracking villain face as well and his character works well. Because if anyone can play a character who ate his own fingers and make it seem believable, it is Werner Herzog (we’re talking about a man who once ate his own frickin shoe). Herzog genuinely brings an intensity to proceedings that is sorely lacking from the rest of the film. If only Tom Cruise in the titular role brought anywhere near that level of presence. Indeed, the only other actor who is on Herzog’s level in this film is the charismatic young Aussie Jai Courtney as his main henchman. This is the first role I have seen Courtney in, but let’s just say I was very impressed, and it gives me a lot of hope for his upcoming turn as John McClane’s son in A Good Day to Die Hard (2013).

Courtney and Cruise about to throw down

Courtney and Cruise about to throw down

If you are a huge Werner Herzog fan like me, Werner Herzog as Villain is probably worth your while. Even then, just wait for it on Blu-ray and in all seriousness you could just fast forward through any scenes not featuring Herzog and you would not miss much. For everyone else though, don’t even bother at all. The woeful script and general averageness of the rest of it does not really make it worth the effort.

Verdict: Schooner of Carlton Draught

Like what you read? Then please like Not Now I’m Drinking a Beer and Watching a Movie on facebook here.

The Cabin in the Woods

cabin poster

If you had of asked me two thirds of the way through The Cabin in the Woods (2012) what I thought of it, you would have gotten a positive answer. It was a good, not quite great and very clever experience. However then the film went and produced one of the most inspired and downright brilliant closing acts that I can recall.

The Cabin in the Woods is a very rare beast indeed in that it functions expertly as an example of both meta-horror and straight horror. Rare is the film that can subvert a genre in this way, whilst also being a fantastic example of the genre at the very same time. It looked like the film had revealed too much too soon. The meta-nature of the entire concept is revealed quite early on. The film is best seen without having too much spoiled. I will do my best to avoid any huge spoilers, but I make no promises. The setup is standard slasher fare. Five college students, each representing an obvious stereotype (stoner, jock etc), head to a creepy isolated cabin in the woods for a weekend of booze, weed and getting it on. Vicious murders ensue. However, basically from the get-go, we know this is not a standard slasher film. The cabin is set in some strange, The Simpsons Movie esque dome and is under constant surveillance by boffins. What initially appears to be a ‘big brother is watching you’ kind of thing soon evolves into something more nuanced than that. These boffins (two of them played brilliantly by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford), also manipulate the situation, making the murders happen. It is kept delightfully obscure what master these folks are serving though, with hints smattered through the film. I first had the government pegged, then some sick and twisted billionaire who watched these murders for kicks. I’m not saying either of these assumptions is necessarily wrong, but it just shows that the film can take you down interesting thought paths.

The boffins at work

The boffins at work

That summary gives you the first two thirds of the film, that I thought was really quite good. But I do not think I can sum up the brilliant final third without giving too much away.  You simply just need to go and see the film, you really do. The closing act is a cacophony of incredible storytelling, effects and creature design. I know this is all a bit vague and I wish that I could go in to more details of what I thought, but it is impossible to do so without spoilers. The cast throughout the film are basically all really good. I love Richard Jenkins, he is one of my favourites, so it was so great seeing him in this. The five actors who make up the college party – Kristen Connelly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz and Holden Williams – are all really good too. Chris Hemsworth is good here and continues to grow on me as an actor. I think he has a decent amount of talent to go with his physical presence. I sat down and watched the pretty dire Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) this morning and he was by far and away the best thing in it. Kristen Connelly, an unknown to me, plays the lead character and she is likewise very good, both playing up her slasher film stereotype and creating a multi dimensioned person behind that.

The excellent college student cast members

The excellent college student cast members

The Cabin in the Woods makes exceedingly interesting use of horror tropes, examining a genre in an exhilarating and enjoyable way. Too often genre examinations in films come out borderline academic and too self knowing. No such issues here. The connection of the contemporary horror film with mythological undertones is made; and shows the mark of a couple of really creative creators at work behind this film. Watch it. I can’t promise you will like it, but you will find an original film here.

Verdict: Longneck of Melbourne Bitter

Like what you read? Then please like Not Now I’m Drinking a Beer and Watching a Movie on facebook here.