Monday, December 5, 2011

Red State

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Red State - 5 out of 5

Is that a store brand Edward Cullen?
It's been a long time since I've said this but Kevin Smith made an AWESOME film!!!  Now, don't get me wrong, I like Kevin Smith.  I think the man is very talented and he seems like a guy I would love to hang out with, talk about comic books and play some video games with but, over the years, I've found myself distancing myself from his films because I just have, plain and simple, not been entertained by them.  I no longer can watch his early works like Clerks, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Dogma.  However, I think that has more to do with the fact that Comedy Central seems to plays those films on a daily basis.  I really enjoyed Jersey Girl, despite J-Lo having a part in it but the reality is, George Carlin's performance in that one is so good, it made the movie.  And, more lately, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Cop Out were so bad, I nearly had to be hospitalized with psychological trauma.  However, Kevin Smith broke new ground and breathed new life into my interest in his career with the thriller Red State.

Apparently, that one officer doesn't believe the man's fishing story and how it was, "this big!"

Based on the nutjobs who "lovingly" yell, "God hates fags;" the Westboro Baptist Church, Smith crafted a unique, chilling movie about a group of religious fanatics who adore the hellfire and brimstone approach to loving the Lord.  Not only do they love the pitchforks and flames licking your feet, they also like automatic weapons and murdering those they believe have sinned against the maker.  Well, some high school students desperate to do what all high school boys are desperate to do (have intercourse) answer an online ad that promises the visceral touch of a lady.  However, they find it was a trap laid by the church and now they are in a life and death situation...and things only get worse as the government decides to take action against the church, who is considered a terrorist cell on our national soil.

See this young man (played by the very talented Michael Angarano), he wants to get laid and it ends up putting him into danger.  The lesson:  Sex is dangerous...but still worth it!

I think Kevin Pollack is trying out his Robert De Niro
impression.  Oh, by the way, Kevin Pollack is in this movie.
When you think Smith, you think nerdy references and poop jokes but he breaks out of his own restrictions of comedies and shows some amazing skill with this film, tackling a genre I never dreamed he would ever attempt.  Smith's visions and his constructs he creates with the camera is the likes of which I never anticipated from the man.  Prior to this, Smith's work as a director always seemed like, "see this gag, just film it," but in Red State, Smith uses the camera to show the terror and tension almost perfectly.  Add into the fact he wrote the film and the story is addicting, engaging and almost sickeningly hypnotic, the movie is--well, I'm just going to say it, the best movie Kevin Smith ever made.  In fact, the movie was so engrossing, I came home very late from a get together with friends and planned on watching a little bit of it to wind down before bed and ended up staying up later than I should have to finish it.

Damn if Milton isn't still looking for his stapler. a boss!
However, not only is Kevin's work on the notepad and behind the camera what makes this film work so well, it's the amazing cast he assembled.  Forgoing his usual guys that you always see in his movies (thank goodness Afleck was nowhere to be seen in this one), Smith collects a group of individuals who really embody and sell their roles.  Most notably is Michael Parks as the preacher Abin Cooper (loosely based on the wacko Fred Phelps) and John Goodman playing the government agent; Joseph Keenan.  I am at a loss for words as I can't adequately describe how amazing both these men were in their respective parts.  However, I did find it quite amusing that Parks' character is based on the head/creator of the WBC; Fred Phelps, and, despite the evil and downright chilling performance the actor gives, the character still comes off nicer, sweeter and much less of an evil douche bag than the real life Fred Phelps.  I guess that speaks volumes on how despicable the supposed "holy man" is.

Goodman is intense in this one!

Surprise is the only word I can use to sum up how I felt after watching Red State.  I went into it expecting to be...well, I expected to hate the film because of the last few Smith films I saw.  However, once the film started and all the way to the epic third act, I was hooked and when the credits rolled, I sat in my recliner with my jaw dropped.  Kevin Smith threw a curve ball out of Hollywood and what an amazing throw it was!

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