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Movie Review – Kevin Smith’s Red State

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Red StateGoing into Red State I was convinced I was about to watch a horror movie revolving around religious fanatics who butchered people.  Gore porn focused on inbred God-fearing folks with a dash of humor.  Instead I walked out of the theater dazed (in a good way) by what I watched and convinced this is the best movie so far out of writer/director Kevin Smith.  Instead the movie is genre-less, part regular Smith horndog comedy, part horror, part thriller, lots of action and in the end one hell of a statement about sex, religion and politics.

Set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.

The description for the film is pretty open on sites like IMDB and that might be it’s biggest disservice, because this is absolutely Smith’s best film (and I’m fond of Clerks, Chasing Amy and Dogma).  The film begins as a sex romp with three teens trekking off for a sex romp by the headquarters of a cultish evangelical religious group.  All hell breaks loose and quickly it’s apparent this isn’t the normal Smith film.  I hate to give it away as the shifts in tone are some of the most fun things about the film, keeping you off balance with each shift and opening the film up to so many possibilities in direction.

The acting was really good, with fantastic turns by leads Michael Parks as the evangelical preacher Abin Cooper and John Goodman as conflicted ATF agent Joseph Kennan.  The direction is kicked up a notch as well, with some amazingly tense moments and action scenes that are unlike anything Smith has done before (there’s massive growth in the action scenes since Cop Out).

What’s amazing is the statement this movie makes.  Part allegory on first amendment rights, partly about fanaticism and totally about blind faith and the willingness to submit, the movie deftly mixes sex, religion and politics without being preachy.  The movie begins and ends as a “Smith” film with lots of humor, but the in between is unlike anything he’s done before.  Both in statement and execution.  Previously it was the words that drove his films, now it’s the actions.  A complete 180 in how his stories have been told.  And the story itself is pertinent today with it’s focus on fanaticism, whether it’s Al Qaeda, the Westboro Baptist Church, or other hate groups, all at the forefront of much that’s driving the world.

There’s little I’d change in the movie, only one thing isn’t explained and to bring it up would create a spoiler.  The biggest thing I’d focus on, and part of the point of the tour, is it’s marketing.  This isn’t a horror movie.  It’s horror and action and thriller all rolled into one.  To market it as such is a disservice to itself and likely to turn off those who would never see such movie.  And this is one to see.  The audience seemed to have the same feeling as the shared experience with fans resulted in a communal and in-sync viewing where we cheered at the same moments and clapped and applauded at the same time.  I have rarely seen an audience enjoy a film more and have so much fun.

As the second last film in Kevin Smith’s career (he has stated he’s done after Hit Somebody), it’s an absolute highlight.  Fantastic story, direction, acting, action and one hell of a statement.  This was an early viewing, but you better believe I’ll be there opening night when the film eventually hits theaters.

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I had a great night last night watching Kevin Smith‘s new movie Red State followed by a question and answer session.  the movie is fantastic and blows Smith’s previous work away.  Expect a review today.  Yes, I’m bummed a man with 1.7 million followers couldn’t get me a date to the screening (see the tweet below), but what can you do.  Onto the comic book news.

Around the Blogs:

Northwestern – Bruce Wayne to Batman: It’s basic physiology – What would it take for a real world person to become Batman?  Head to Northwestern and find out!

Readers – Winter Star Productions Announces Graphic Novel Along with its Movie “Midnight Reckoning” – This time it’s the movie that becomes the graphic novel.

PR – Central City Tower Debuts Graphic Novel at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo – Some news out of C2E2

Bleeding Cool – David Slade To Direct New Daredevil Film – I actually liked the first one.  It wasn’t great, but it was ok.

CBLDF – The Good Fighters: Terry Moore – Any time we can plug the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  Support them!

Comics Alliance – Digital Comics: Why They Can’t Be Both a Shark and a Goldfish – Are digital comics good or bad? You decide!

ICv2 – ‘Captain Action Spider-Man & Captain America Costume Sets’ – I want!

CBR Robot 6 – Bat-mystery solved! Bruce Wayne is a Yale graduate! – Even more of a reason to dislike him.

Comic Book Movie – Easter Egg Hidden In The Newest ‘Thor’ Trailer. – Pretty funny and great someone caught this.

The Gateway Online – A world of artistic superheroes – Wish I was closer to Alberta to check this out.

Around the Tweets: – Kevin Smith and Red State Edition