Movie Recommendations: Tucker & Dale vs Evil, The Country Girl and Cargo

 It’s time for a few more movie recommendations. Today I’ll be offering my brief opinions of Tucker & Dale vs Evil, The Country Girl and Cargo.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil

I was first introduced to Alan Tudyk through Firefly, and from his appearances in Dollhouse I realised that he’s actually a really good actor. In this film he stars as one of two well-meaning hillbillies who encounter some college kids on a vacation. For their part, Tucker & Dale just want to enjoy their cabin but the kids have watched one too many slasher movies.

It’s similar to Shaun of the Dead in that it takes some genre tropes but doesn’t play them for cheap laughs, it actually crafts a good movie around the parody. Tyler Labine really stole the show as Dale and Katrina Bowden gave a good performance as the girl they rescued (or as the other kids think – captured). There were many laugh out loud moments and most of the deaths were over-the-top which I really enjoyed.

It has some heart, good laughs and is a very well made affectionate parody.

The Country Girl

I hadn’t really been exposed to much of Bing Crosby or Grace Kelly’s work. I assumed they mostly did light musical comedies and didn’t really give it much thought. The Country Girl, however, is a serious and intense look at an actor who is struggling with alcoholism and a fear of responsibility.

Bing Crosby plays a man who is in the twilight of his career, but gets offered an opportunity to star in a big New York production, but the success rests on his shoulders and he’s unsure whether he can handle the pressure. There was one tragic moment, an accident which completely unravelled his life and since then he’s been so scared to take any responsibility that he turns to the bottle while lying to others and blaming his problems on his overbearing wife.

Grace Kelly gives an Oscar-nominated performance as the suffering wife. For so long she’s tried to help her husband but he needs so much care she’s become more of a mother to him. He can’t live without her so she feels trapped, part of her knows she deserves to be happy but another part still loves him and feels that she just needs to help him get back to a place where he can be the man he once was. Grace Kelly portrays the conflict superbly.

William Holden is just trying to get the play made. At first he’s frustrated with his leading man, then as he opens up to the director, Holden becomes frustrated with the wife. It’s not that simple though and through his efforts to direct the play he soon becomes entangled in the situation.  

Alcoholism is never an easy subject because a story involving it can often turn into a preachy message, but that’s not the case here. There are a lot of tragic scenes which make you feel sympathy for all the characters and each actor gives a complex, nuanced performance. It’s a really good film and I think it would be a good companion piece for The Long Weekend, which is the same sort of situation but seen through the eyes of a writer rather than an actor.

Cargo

I was bored on Sunday evening and wanted a sci-fi fix, I found this German movie. It takes place in the late 23rd century and Earth is no longer habitable. There is a colony on the planet Rhea but it’s not large enough to hold the entire human population. To get there you either need to win a lottery or have enough money to afford passage. Laura is a doctor who takes assignments on cargo runs to save money so she can join her sister on Rhea.

This mission takes four years, in which the crew will be in cryosleep apart from an eight month shift to monitor the craft. It’s a routine mission that is made complicated by threats of terrorist activity and a marshal being assigned. Things take a turn for the worse on Laura’s shift when she feels there’s another presence on board.

It’s not long before the mystery begins to unfold but the pace is suspenseful and there are a few interesting revelations. The spacescapes look gorgeous and the effects are good. The main ship reminds me of some concept art for the ring ship design that was once considered for the Enterprise. Overall it’s a very good old-school sci-fi movie.

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