Tag Archives: Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Vic’s Review – “The Thing” 2011

This terrifying prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic of the same name tells the story of a team of Norwegian scientists who find an alien ship frozen in Antarctica. When the organism inside awakens, blood flows across the frozen landscape. Leading the group is pilot Carter (Joel Edgerton), who allies with paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in a desperate attempt to rally the paranoid workers to combat the deadly threat.

Victor

Rating 7 out of  10

As a standalone Sci-Fi creature feature The Thing would have played out as an average straight forward monster movie. But as a Prequel to one of the most highly regarded Sci-Fi/Horror films of all time, John Carpenter’s The Thing, the film fares better. Is it a love letter to Carpenter’s film? Yes. Is it almost a play by play of Carpenter’s film? Yes. But these little distractions aside the film plays out very well as a, if by the numbers, sci fi beastie film.

The set up is fast, interesting and straightforward. It begins, obviously, with the discovery of the alien saucer, the one we see in the beginning of JC’s movie, by Norwiegan explorers. The scene is a bit gripping as we see the vessel in near pristine condition. It answers the question of how it would have looked like pre-thermite. We then are introduced to Kate Lloyd, played rather convincingly and capably, by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (McClane’s Daughter in Live Free Die Hard). She agrees to help with investigation into the saucer discovery, Headed by a stern and aloof Professor. The rest is rather predictable fare if anyone has seen Carpenter’s version. It almost plays out like a remake. They dig up and cart the remains of an alien life form back to the base, it thaws (the scientists in Hawks’ version had the brains to keep it in a cold room at least), it gets loose, tries to assimilate a camp member, it fails, they examine the remains, they take samples of the blood and determine that the alien is trying to imitate them in order to survive. The rest is where the film, much to it’s credit actually thrives, but only because it has Carpenter’s version as a template.

The suspense, paranoia and solid acting are all on display here and the characterizations are well fleshed out. We gravitate towards Joel Edgarton as the group pilot, Carter, whom we trust and like as he helps Kate take charge of the fearful and paranoid camp members. The creature effects are deep, dark and very weird. Yes, they are CGI but the shots never linger long and we get creeped out by the contorted and sinewy creatures that are spawned by the The Thing. Kate, obviously is the MacCready of the picture and she figures things out accordingly and does a good job of being the hero of the piece. What I enjoyed the most in the film are all the references and connections to JC’s film. If you observe and watch with a keen eye all the pieces of the end of this film and Carpenter’s version come together nicely. Even as to where “The Axe” came from. The ending is a bit of a let down  but it is oblique and appropriate so I wasn’t as annoyed since they began to piece things together. All in all a decent homage to Carpenter’s visionary film and a nice and welcome companion piece to it. I recommend it to all fans and even non-fans (who may watch this one first then watch JC’s film) of Carpenter’s masterpiece.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Scott Pilgrim’s 23 years old, in a rock band, between jobs, and dating a cute high school girl. Everything’s fantastic until a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, roller-blading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. But the path to Ramona’s heart isn’t covered in rose petals. Her seven evil exes stand between Scott and true happiness. The film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel “Scott Pilgrim Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.” The film stars Michael Cera (Super Bad, Youth in Revolt) as Pilgrim. Directed by Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead).

Kyle
Rating: 8 out of 10

I know what some of you may be thinking: “Oh, another Michael Cera movie. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” I hate to burst your bubble but this definitely isn’t your typical Michael Cera film. What the cast and crew brought to “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” was truly a unique blend of action, comedy and romance. The moment the Universal Studios logo hit the screen, I was laughing. The moment a duel-to-the-death began to take place, I was at the edge of my seat with anticipation. Even the heartbreak and romance within the film was relatable to those who haven’t had the best of luck in relationships. The film continued to surprise me from scene to scene; from the random acts of the characters and their dialogue, to the visual and sound effects mimicking NES games, the film is nonstop fun.

There is an ideal combination of special effects and physical hand-to-hand combat with a dash of arcade style humor. It was like watching a live-action comic book fight or video game battle take place right before your very eyes! Nothing beats hearing an enthusiastic howl of “K.O.” from a non-existent referee.

The fact that it opened alongside “The Expendables” and “Eat Prey Love” is disappointing. The combination of these two movie’s audiences unfortunately exceeds the comic book/video game audience. Whether it’s by word-of-mouth or its Blu-ray and DVD release, I strongly hope  this film gets the attention and respect it deserves.

The Movie Brothers are happy to welcome Kyle Baker as a new contributor. He’s an avid movie lover and studied television and digital film design and production at the State University of New York at Fredonia. For those of you who use Flixter on facebook, Kyle is a regular reviewer.