Red Dawn (2012) – Wolverines!

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the coming-of-age action film, Red Dawn.

Usually, I include Catie’s summary that applies to both films.  But this time, I tweaked it just a bit:

With North Korea and Russia invading the United States, a group of Washington State high school students turned refugees slowly organize themselves into an effective guerilla force. 

It may be hard to believe, but I didn’t actually request to cover the remake this month.  Since I had already seen both films, I let Catie choose which one she wanted to review before turning in any requests.  And with her decision to cover the original, I returned to Redbox for a copy of the remake.

Before I dive into the 2012 film, let’s talk about the 1984 version.  I can remember my older brother LOVING this film in the ‘80s.  I watched it on occasion with him, but being that I was quite a bit younger at the time, the movie didn’t resonate as much with me as it did him.  However, now as an adult, I believe the original Red Dawn will forever be a classic.

Heck, just look at the cast: Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey, Powers Boothe, and Harry Dean Stanton (to just name a few).  Every single one of these actors and actresses are still known today, something that can’t be said for most ‘80s Hollywood stars.  But casting aside, the film stands firm on its own merits… and my fifteen year old, soon to be sixteen year old, nephew has watched this “old” flick a few times himself and enjoys it just as much as his dad did back in the day.  This alone speaks to the power of Red Dawn.

So is it even possible for the remake to hold up?

Like many others out there, I was appalled by the news that Hollywood was remaking Red Dawn.  I mean, seriously… are there any original thoughts left as far as films are concerned today?

Regardless of how I felt, I knew at the time that I would have to at least check it out.  And then I heard who was cast (THOR, people!) and saw the trailer, both of which piqued my interest.

THOR! I mean, Jed…

Granted, besides Chris Hemsworth (that’s Thor for those who don’t already know), not many of the actors and actresses were “big” stars.  But I did find it interesting that Connor Cruise (Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s son) was making his acting debut in this film… plus, we had just recently seen Adrianne Palicki in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, so it’s not like we didn’t “know” any of the other cast members.  And once we started watching the remake, we recognized others: Josh Hutcherson (Peeta, The Hunger Games), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Sam and Dean Winchester’s dad from Supernatural), Isabel Lucas (Alice, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), Edwin Hodge (Kai, from the hopeful NCIS: Red Team), and a few others.

But what about the story?

The 2012 remake kept the general idea behind Red Dawn’s storyline; I mean, didn’t they have to?    However, they did change enough of the individual facets to help it stand on its own… different location, different character details (i.e. Jed is a Marine in the remake instead of “just a regular guy”), different bad guys, and a few different twists with the plotline that you won’t expect—sorry for being so cryptic, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

But most importantly, the 2012 film will more than likely affect today’s generation like its predecessor did…  even if the children of the ‘80s disagree… and I feel this is important.

Bottom line, the 2012 remake did not disappoint this Red Dawn (1984) fan at all and I think everyone should at least give it a chance.

Wolverines!!

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of Red Dawn?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

Friday FabOoolousness – A Date with the Movies

Very rarely do we actually go to the movie theater to catch a new release, but my guy and I do frequent the fabOoolous movie vending machines known as Redbox.  We also like to “rent” movies via OnDemand, whether it is the pay services or the free premium channels that accompany our cable plan.  Without fail, there’s always an “older” film we missed…

Lately, our weekends have been filled with late night cinematic dates after a day of football.  After watching our teams win and lose AND stuffing our pie-holes with football foods all day long, we only seem to have enough energy to curl up on the couch and pop in a movie once the sun goes down.  Mostly we lean toward the comedies, wanting to laugh the Red Raider and Cowboy losses away, but we don’t shy away from the drama and tension filled mysteries either.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a list of movies here at The Ooo Factor, so it’s time… but, warning: not all of these come highly recommended.

*****

If you’re in the mood to laugh…

I love John Cusack.  Love.  I can watch a few of his movies time and time again, like Sixteen Candles, The Sure Thing, Better Off Dead, Stand By Me, One Crazy Summer, Say Anything…, Grosse Pointe Blank, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and Runaway Jury.  See?  I really do like him… which is why when I saw the previews for Hot Tub Time Machine in 2010, I knew I had to see it!

As with most of the movies we watch, we waited until we thought Hot Tub Time Machine should be on video.  I checked Redbox every single Tuesday for the new releases—nothing.  We are lucky to have all of the movie channels provided by AT&T U-Verse in our house, and yet we never found it on the schedule—I even used the “search” function over and over again.  And, then, finally, this past weekend, I found it on Comedy Central.  Granted, any movie on a television channel that airs commercials has been edited and scenes have been taken out, but I didn’t care.  FINALLY, I could watch my next John Cusack film.

And, we laughed our butts off.  Maybe it’s not his best work, but it is funny.  The performances by Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke are entertaining.  Even the supporting cast is great (Chevy Chase, Crispin Glover, Sebastian Stan, and Lizzy Caplan).  The ‘80s references are even better…

I was afraid Hot Tub Time Machine was horrible; so bad that the rental outlets and movie channels black-listed it, but it’s not at all a disappointment.  It’s silly; it doesn’t require much thought; but, it’s full of laughs, especially when watched late at night.

The next Cusack film on my list:

*****

If you’re in the mood for love and laughs…

Let me first begin by saying that I am not a huge fan of Steve Carell.  I don’t dislike him, but much like Will Ferrell, I feel he’s the same character in almost every single movie he stars in.  But don’t let me fool anyone; this doesn’t stop me from watching Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Date Night, and Dinner for Schmucks over and over again. 

Secondly, I’ve never been one of the Ryan Gosling “Kool-Aid” drinkers.  He was great in Murder by Numbers, stagnant in Drive, and absolutely phenomenal in All Good ThingsOh, and as a side note, I may be one of the very few women in the world who has never seen The Notebook… and I’m not in any rush to.

But, then one night I stumbled across Crazy, Stupid, Love just as it was starting on one of the movie channels.  And, I couldn’t look away.  This film is happy, sad, funny, and then everything all over again.  Steve Carell’s performance is fantastic; for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like he was playing an idiot.  And, Ryan Gosling?  Let’s just say I hopped right in line for that Kool-Aid.  I’m not even sure I can describe just how adorable and sexy he is in this film.  Seriously.  I had to watch it again just for him.

And, let’s not forget about the rest of the cast: Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, John Carroll, and Kevin Bacon.  Perhaps the best scene in the movie includes every single one of these actors (minus Marisa Tomei), and let me just say… be prepared to laugh!

The next Gosling movie on my list:

 

*****

If you’re in the mood for a late-night slasher… of sorts…

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve got to have my horror and slasher movie fix at least a few times a month… which is why when Cabin in the Woods hit Redbox, I rented it immediately.  My mother was staying with us that weekend, and I felt sorry for her having to sit through it with me (considering I did not inherit my love for this genre from either of my parents); but she loves me and she understands my obsession with this sort of movie.  Let me just compliment her publicly on what a trooper she is—she sat through the entire hour and a half with me.

Most slashers don’t have much of a plot.  These films have a killer who goes around and kills everyone in his way, usually for no reason.  From the previews, I figured Cabin in the Woods would be just like the others—but, it wasn’t.

This horror film actually had a plot.  The kids/people in this film weren’t killed for absolutely no reason at all.  The five college students were selected for a particular purpose crucial to the grand scheme of things by a “puppet-master-type” organization led by Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins.  And, no, I’m not kidding—Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins.

Granted, this wasn’t Joss Whedon’s best work, but it wasn’t bad.  Heck, it even attracted my guy away from his playing video games upstairs.  Why?  Zombies.   Even I had no idea we’d be hit with the walking undead when I rented it.

As with any Whedon project, a few of the actors cast in Cabin in the Woods hailed from his other productions… such as Chris Hemsworth, also known as “Thor” from The Avengers, Amy Acker from Angel, and Fran Kranz from Dollhouse.  I always appreciate this tiny attention to detail in his movies, and I’m not even a full-blown Whedonite like most of my friends.

Oh, and watch out for the surprise cameo at the very end of the film.  It shocked me!

The next Chris Hemsworth movie on my list:

*****

And, finally, one that I actually can’t recommend…

When I first saw the trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter I thought, “Wow, this looks  promising…”  And then, I heard the movie was adapted from a popular book, making it even more interesting in my opinion.  I came home, told my guy about it, and he didn’t seem nearly as intrigued as I did—and then he saw the trailer.

So, since both of us were on board and wanted to see Abraham Lincoln battle vampires before he was President of the United States, we paid money to rent it last weekend on OnDemand.

And… drum roll please… neither of us liked it.

I won’t lie; this film put me to sleep.  The best part, as far as I was concerned, was the tiny role played by Alan Tudyk.  And, when I say tiny, I mean tiny.

That’s it.  That’s all I have to say about it.  I’ve got nothing else.

*****

Have you seen any of these movies?  If so, what did you think?  What movies have you seen lately that come highly recommended?  Have you been disappointed by any recent films?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Friday FabOoolousness – Time to Avenge

I’m not going to lie – I’ve never been big on comic books or action heroes.  Even though I absolutely loved the Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk TV series growing up, it never really dawned on me that the characters were more than television personalities.

And then I started dating my guy…

Today is the day he’s been waiting for since first learning that his favorite superheros were coming to the big screen individually back in 2008.  Today they fight together as Marvel’s The Avengers hits theaters nationwide.

Four years ago, I accompanied my guy to Studio Movie Grill to watch Iron Man, starring Robert Downey, Jr.  I wasn’t thrilled to go, but he was, so I put on a happy face and we were off.  He knew I wasn’t excited which is why we chose Studio Movie Grill as the theater – for those that don’t know, SMG has a full food and drink menu, including alcohol.  It was a win-win.

What I didn’t expect was falling absolutely in love with Iron Man.  The movie exceeded all expectations, and no – the martinis had nothing to do with it – but it was Robert Downey, Jr. and the non-stop action.  RDJ was back (I’m a big Less Than Zero fan) and I couldn’t have been happier.

Later that year, we saw The Incredible Hulk, starring another one of my favorites – Edward Norton (American History X, enough said).  Despite my love for Edward Norton, I was a tad annoyed that the movie universe reinvented the cinematic story after it had already been done once before (Hulk in 2003, starring Eric Bana).  Were we supposed to forget all about that one?

Anyway, as expected, I enjoyed The Incredible Hulk as well.  But then again, I’ve always loved the Hulk.  On a side note, I still remember vividly the first time I ever peeled as a result of a sunburn – I was a little girl watching the Hulk TV series when my skin started to lift and rub off.  At the time, I had no idea what was going on.  All I knew was that Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk and I was falling apart.  I ran outside, screaming to my mother who had to console me and reassure me that I wasn’t going to turn green anytime soon.  But, I digress…

In 2010, I was actually just as excited to see Iron Man 2 in theaters as my guy.  While I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first, it was still a good movie.  I actually don’t think the movie necessary failed, but I was so caught off guard with how fun the original was in 2008, that it would have been difficult for anything to live up to the hype.

But still, at this point I remained in the dark about the complete cast of The Avengers.  Thor to me was a character in Adventures in Babysitting, not a popular comic book superhero.  Call me blonde, call me naïve, call me what you will – I was in the dark.

Anyone recognize this guy? Besides the fact that he’s playing Thor… I’ll give you a hint — think Law & Order…

So my guy finally gave me the cliff-notes version of the S.H.I.E.L.D.  (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) organization led by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).  I already knew Iron Man and the Hulk, and had figured out that Thor was more than Elisabeth Shue’s friend, but still needed to meet the rest of the team: Captain America.

Last year, we didn’t rush to the theaters to see Thor or Captain America: The First Avenger.  However, we did rent Captain America from our favorite vending machine (Redbox), starring Chris Evans.  Again, I’m being truthful today, I wasn’t impressed.  I thought the pace of the film was slow and the movie itself too long.  Please don’t hate me; I wasn’t the only one disappointed – my guy was too.

Perhaps it was this disappointment that we didn’t rush out, and still haven’t seen Thor (starring Chris Hemsworth).  Stop screaming; we fully intend to watch this.  To prepare for the The Avengers release, Redbox brought back all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and we will be sure and catch it this time.

Now, today, May 4, 2012, we have The Avengers in theaters – Iron Man, Hulk (played by another of my favorites, Mark Ruffalo), Thor, Captain America, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

What’s better than this star power?  The film is directed by the great, Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse TV series).

I decided to treat my sweet and bought our tickets to The Avengers early.  The news thrilled him.  Score bonus points for me!  Anyway, I’ve got high expectations for this movie, let’s hope it doesn’t disappoint…

Who plans to see The Avengers this weekend?  Which Marvel superhero is your favorite and why?  Which of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies is your favorite and why?  What’s your guess as to who played Thor in 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting?  I’d love to hear from you!

For those who haven’t been following Amber West’s blog, click on over today and see what good she’s doing.  In brief, a fellow blogger has been battling to save her twins (her water broke at 18 weeks), and sadly she lost her babies yesterday.  Amber, like she always does, is trying to help with a fundraiser.  Stop by and see if you’d be willing to share a few dollars…

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