Daily Archives: 12/11/2011

Trailered – “The Cabin in the Woods”

Joss Whedon is like nerd catnip to me.  I have a dvd shelf groaning with the “Buffy” DVDs, the complete seasons of “Angel”, “Firefly”, “Dollhouse” and more copies of “Serenity” than anybody really needs to own.

Exhibit A:

Yep, that's one of the three or four copies of "Serenity" which I own...

Yes, friends, that’s what hard-bitten fans of consumer electronics battles will recognize as an HD-DVD copy of “Serenity” – I didn’t buy an HD-DVD player solely to play this movie, but it was certainly a motivating factor in my picking up an Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive back in the day (don’t worry, I now own the movie on Blu-Ray, too, so I can still get my HD Whedon fix).

What I’m trying to say is that when it comes to Whedon, I’m prepared to follow him just about anywhere his muse takes him.  With that in mind, I was interested to see the trailer that Lionsgate posted the other day for the distaff horror movie, “The Cabin in the Woods” which Whedon wrote and produced in 2009.  This horror hybrid suffered a long delay due to green-lighting studio MGM’s financial troubles during the last few years and finally gets a release in the states on April 13th, 2012.

Filmed so long ago that Chris Hemsworth is now a movie star...

The trailer starts by giving us a hint that this a horror movie with the now requisite amount of self-awareness and post-modern wit about genre conventions and tropes – this is not the empty-headed slasher crew of the late-70’s and early-80’s cycle of cinematic shockers.  So, they shouldn’t end up doing anything so stupid as to…

…go to this bloke’s out-of-the-way petrol station-cum-mass-murder waypoint.  Because that would be really ill-advised.  Are we sure that these kids are that bright?

Oh, it’s OK – they’ve got Thor and that lad from “Dollhouse” with them.  It’s all fine.

Nice place - I would totally stay there.

It’s only half-way through the trailer that the shizz really begins to hit the fan:

I await the rug being pulled from under my feet with ill-disguised glee...

Uh-oh.  Does this mean that it’s going to be post-modern, quasi-feminist and nobody’s going to be wearing hockey masks?

Now that's a home security system...

We’ve got sci-fi elements going on here – there’s more than a hint (with the trailer’s quick cuts of technicians pushing buttons and our heroes in the cabin being remotely viewed in some high-tech facility) that this horror film is as much about a critique of ‘reality’ TV and the way that entertainment has even invaded news gathering as it is about nubile college co-eds being sliced and diced in remote holiday locales.

Yes, this will end well...

Of course, I imagine that fans of slice-and-dice won’t be disappointed.  Knowing Whedon’s literary predilection for sparing the traditional slasher fodder and ensuring that you never know who’s going to meet the rough end of his reaper’s pencil, I heartily expect much of the main cast not to make it to the inevitable, video premiere spin-offs.

Where do these evil organisations find these wonderful lairs? In 'Sociopathic Architectural Digest' magazine?

Overall, I’m quite keen to see what Whedon and his collaborator/“Cloverfield” writer Drew Goddard do with the horror tropes available to them here.  I’d rather that this film was its own beast and not just the ‘let’s dice up young folk with a knowing wink’ fare which Eli Roth’s “Hostel” offered.

Knowing Whedon and Goddard’s work as I do, I’m sure that this film has a lot more on its mind than most studio horror efforts have the ambition (or latitude) to aim for.

 

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A Dragonborn Tale

A splendid cover version of the "Skyrim" theme...

As Will Ferrell’s “Zoolander” character, the terrifying fashion designer Mugatu, might have said “Skyrim is so hot right now“.

Hence this cover version of “The Dragonborn Comes” by Malukah, which is really quite a lovely tune made lovelier by this relatively simple, mostly unadorned performance.

You can download it if you go to her Soundcloud page – her website took a fair old pasting once the major games blogs picked up her YouTube video and is currently migrating.

 

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Warm Food for a Cold Day

Chicken Casserole a-la Mrs Rolling Eyeballs

The ever-resourceful Mrs Rolling Eyeballs tackles the vexing topic of what to eat on a rainy, miserable day (provided you’re not a vegetarian) over at her blog.

I heartily endorse the delicious meal which ensued.

 

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Metallica’s 30th anniversary shows – with added Ozzy & Mustaine

Iron Men

Blabbermouth has a cool report on the last of Metallica’s 30th anniversary shows – and a star-studded affair it was too.

Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Dave Mustaine notable enough names for you?

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Those VGA 2011 reveals…

US men’s channel Spike TV has played host to the annual VGA awards ceremony for a few years now – taking place in December, the show celebrates the best titles of the year and has become one of the annual high-points in the gaming calendar for title reveals and trailer debuts.

This year was no exception.

It's a very pretty dystopian apocalypse...

As with most similar events in the video game sphere, a fair number of the surprises were spoiled on the internet prior to Saturday night’s presentation – a development not helped by the likes of Tony Hawk hyping announcements on his Twitter feed and NeoGaf sleuths making threads when they’ve found a new website domain or discovered something which momentarily leaked and was taken down quickly (but not quickly enough) by its makers.

The big announcement for me, inevitably, was “The Last of Us” – a survival horror title which had seen some advanced speculation in the week before the event as VGA mainstay Geoff Keighley’s Twitter feed teased a big PS3 exclusive that wasn’t even on the radar of the vid-game community sites.

Ellen Page has a vid-game doppelganger...

Some had expected to see an open-world Zombie game akin to Valve’s “Left4Dead” but it would seem that “The Last of Us” is something a bit different, which is in fairness what you might come to expect from a Naughty Dog game.

We’re seeing a world post an as-yet-undetermined apocalyptic event, with humans eking out a desperate existence and what look like mutant hybrid antagonists doing their best to remove humanity from the equation.

It’s  hard to take away anything truly concrete from a couple of minutes of trailer but I was pleased to see the emphasis on character in the brief running time and that Naughty Dog seem to be continuing their strong run of having female protagonists who are plausible, not defined by the worst excesses of the male gaze, funny and interesting.

Not Drake and Ellen Page's vid-game alter ego battle nature and what not...

I’m looking at this trailer and it’s giving me a distinct “Enslaved” vibe, which can only be a good thing, as that’s one of my favourite games of this generation.

Much as I would like to purely wax rhapsodic about Naughty Dog’s game, there was other noteworthy stuff shown at the VGAs.

Epic Games' new game, "Fortnite".

Epic Games presented a trailer for FortNite, a new IP from the creators of “Unreal”, “Gears of War” and “Infinity Blade” which forums have instantly dubbed “Team Fortress 2” mashed up with “Minecraft”.  If the evidence of the trailer is to be taken at face value, we’re going to be building a siege-proof fortress by day and defending it against enemy incursion by night, whilst looking like the Heavy, The Scout and other TF2 favourites.  So, I get the snap-judgement but I want to see more.

We also saw the aforementioned Tony Hawk title, which takes the beloved first and second titles in the “Pro Skater” series and seems to be giving them the de rigeur HD up-scaling treatment for every platform known to person-kind.   There’s a new XBLA “Alan Wake” title, “American Nightmare”, which is quite some going given the protracted dev cycle of the first game – they’re practically chucking them out the door in double-quick time!

A new trailer happened along for “Metal Gear Rising”, which now has the subtitle “Revengeance” and is officially being made by Platinum Games, which is a fair old turn up for the books.  There’s been some playing with the previously announced timeline, in which the game no longer takes place between the second and fourth “Metal Gear” entries in the series and is now set after “MGS4”.  More reassuringly, it still looks as though it doesn’t make a lick of sense: Huzzah!

We also had a new “Command & Conquer: Generals” PC-exclusive title from BioWare, some new “Mass Effect 3” gameplay, trailers of Activision’s licensed “The Amazing Spider-Man” game and the gorgeous CG trailer for “Transformers: Fall of Cybertron”, the intro movie from Blizzard’s “Diablo 3”, a haunting “BioShock:Infinite” teaser and “Rainbow Six: Patriots”.

Some sequels, some licensed stuff but enough there to keep anybody busy for a while, I think.

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