Red State (2011)

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Original Theatrical Release Date: September 01, 2011
Director: Kevin Smith

In middle-America, all is not as sleepy and peaceful as it would seem. A fundamentalist church called The Five Points Church, led by pastor Abin Cooper (Michael Parks), preaches anti-gay and almost anti-everything hate gospel. Unfortunately, their bite is worse than their bark and when three teenage boys; Travis (Michael Angarano), Billy-Ray (Nicholas Braun), and Jarod (Kyle Gallner) – find an older woman soliciting sex on an internet site similar to Craigslist – they agree to meeting up with her for a foursome, which lands them squarely in the hungry religious jaws of the Cooper clan.

This movie blew me away. If you’re a Kevin Smith/View Askew fan like myself, you’ve come to expect a certain quality and tone of movie from the man and the studio behind him which produced films such as Clerks, Dogma and Chasing Amy. Red State is NOTHING like those other films. This is intense, this is gritty. As Smith himself points out – the Jay and Silent Bob films are like a smooth milkshake while Red State is like drinking straight whiskey. This is a film that none other than Quentin Tarantino strongly endorses, if that gives you any sort of idea as to what the tone is.

First of all, the film is especially poignant and is almost like a satire of the Westboro Baptist Church. We see it in the news every day, but in reality – the crazy religious zeal of some of these people is one incident away from an actual, real-life horror film. Red State is part horror film, part thriller and absolutely riveting.

With Michael Parks as Abin Cooper – the charismatic and terrifying patriarch of the Five Points Church – Smith hit gold. Everyone cast in this film not only does their jobs, but does them well. This movie is often overlooked because it goes beyond the fandoms of the Jay And Silent Bob/View Askew universe, which is understandable in some ways because Red State is so different from those others that it’s almost like another director is at the helm – though Smith can definitely be felt within the context of the film by the acerbic dialogue.

This film is amazing. Absolutely amazing. Do yourself a favor and go watch it. You’ll be uneasy for a long while and it’s perfect for a Halloween horror movie night.

JOE Rating:  ★★★★★

Movie Trailer For Red State

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Scott Pilgrim VS. The World (2010)

Scott Pilgrim VS. The World (2010)

Original Theatrical Release: August 13, 2010
Director: Edgar Wright

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) lives in Toronto, Canada and hopes to be successful with his band, Sex Bob-omb. He is still having trouble getting over his ex-girlfriend and has taken to dating a high school girl, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), who is five years younger than he is. When Scott meets the much more mature Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), however, he entagles himself in a love triangle. But, that’s not all…if he wants to be with Ramona he has to defeat Ramona’s Seven Evil Exes…all with different sets of fighting abilities.

This is, of course, based on the Oni Press comics by Bryan Lee O’Malley of the same name and does a pretty good job (better than I expected, actually) of capturing the feeling of the book and artwork. The special effects are all pretty nice, aside from a few times where it looked pretty unrealistic (even in the context of the film…I call it the Storm-Syndrome because of Storm/Halle Berry flying up the elevator shaft in the first X-Men film…looked completely false and unrealistic and unnatural)

I thought Michael Cera was a good choice for Scott Pilgrim and also all of the Seven Evil Exes seemed to be spot on, especially Lucas Lee (Chris Evans) and Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman).

The movie moved at a pretty decent pace, I thought, but maybe could have either been shortened or made into a couple of movies if more detail was put in. Some viewers might think the movie is all flash and not be able to appreciate the novelty of the story’s premise.

There are, of course, tons of throwbacks to classic video games and that gives it a fun sort of edge.

JOE Rating: ★★★★

Movie Trailer For Scott Pilgrim vs. The World