The advance reviews for this live action version of the cult-anime movie may be terrible, but I love the simpliclity of the key hart here. Emphasize the pink hair, the title card and the blood (although inexplicably, the blood to the left of India Eisley’s shoulder is black for some reason.) It is a striking enough image with the ever present fire-arm, a mandatory accessory on nearly all action movie posters.
It seems not even the niche Christian-focused blockbusters are immune to the remake bug. Here we see the Kirk Cameron headlined Left Behind franchise rebooted with none other than Nic Cage as a bigger, badder, cheesier bit of rapture-porn. Other than the overt Christian stuff, (“The God my father talked about would never do something like this!”) it’s not easy to distinguish this from any other mid-budget direct to video apocalypse thriller. Lea Thompson and Ashley Tisdale also star.
An airborne 747 is heading to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun.
Prepare for mediocrity!
We are big fans in these parts of director Jim Mickle (who was even kind enough to guest spot on the cinecast), the director previously made dramatically driven genre pictures, Mulberry St. and Stakeland, films that paid very close attention to keeping ‘the family unit’ close together. So Mickle was perhaps an obvious choice when it came time to do an English remake of the Jorge Michel Grau’s We Are What We Are, a film about a family of cannibals dealing with the future after the death of their patriarch and possible discovery in the aftermath. Featuring a superb cast led by Mickle regular (and regular co-writer) Nick Damici, as well as Michael Parks and Kelly McGillis, the remake played Cannes and Sundance and is showing up on VOD at the end of September. Until then, the original is on Netflix Instant.
Check out the trailer below.
I was holding out that we might get an English subtitled version of this trailer a short while after it went up unsubbed at Twitch on Friday, but such is not the case. It’s too long to wait to so here us the gorgeous first look at the Sang-il Lee’s Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1991 classic Unforgiven. Even if the Zhang Yimou’s Chinese re-envisioning of Blood Simple as A Woman, A Gun and A Noodleshop didn’t quite pan out, I fully expect the awareness of Ken Watanabe (Inception, The Last Samurai, Batman Begins, Letters from Iwo Jima) as well as the source material (and a bit of a hunger for well produced samurai films), to get this a sizeable North American theatrical release at some point. Satô Kôichi and Jun Kunimura co-star.
Here comes Spike Lee’s remake of Park Chan-Wook’s crazy, ultra-violent comic book flick Oldboy. The fans of the original are legion, for many it was a key introduction to South Korean cinema in the early 2000s, and there has already been a fairly large debate as to what this remake can amount to. But never count out Spike Lee, whose only truly straight-up genre picture was 2006’s Inside Man, which is a feat of filmmaking par excellence. Unsurprisingly, when drunken ad-man Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) gets mysteriously locked in a cell for two decades, Lee chooses to dwell on major American emotional and political beats on TV. Already, I see them taking a slightly different approach with the daughter (Elizabeth Olsen) and the jailer (Samuel L. Jackson) but they also seem to be keeping the original films signature set-piece, a lengthy fight with a hammer. I expect the rest of the film to be interesting with Lee at the helm, perhaps even better than Scorscese’s remake of Hong Kong genre-film touchstone Infernal Affairs. Time Will tell.
Have a look at the first Red-Band trailer for Spike Lee’s Oldboy, below.
For this remake of Alain Corneau’s icy thriller Love Crime, the rivalry between the manipulative boss (Rachel McAdams) of an advertising agency and her talented protégée (Noomi Rapace) escalates from stealing credit to public humiliation to murder. If I recall correctly, the movie was a major divider of cinephiles and casual movie-goes alike when it screened at last years edition of TIFF. Great dollops of DePalma-licious cheese are promised in the second trailer as the director favours, well, uh, passion and heat over the cold french dagger of the original. Easily nudging into self-parody (see also Femme Fatale, and many other examples of the directors work over the past 25 years) this might be the most DePalma-ish DePalma movie ever DePalma’d up on screen. DePalma.
(Holy Shit! Want. This. Now.)
The scope and tone of the Zack Snyder directed Superman feels earnest and emotional in all the right ways. This is the best execution of ‘pure epic’ that I’ve ever seen in a modern comic book superhero movie. Here is hoping that Man of Steel lives up to the incredible expectations engendered by this trailer.
While Chloe Moretz and Julianne more lack the flat out ‘otherliness’ of Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, the Carrie remake (of Depalma’s 1976 classic) seems to be sticking true to the beats of the original tale while bringing us into the 21st century where cellphones and cyber bullying co-exist with psychical humiliation, and studio cinema has a way of putting ridiculously attractive collection of twentysomethings all in the same highschool. How will a rampage of butchery and revenge by loners and daughter of a zealous religious nutter be taken in our ‘school shooting every couple of months’ world? I predict the film will be good, perhaps too safe for its own good, but not great – and very likely completely ignored by the general public. Your mileage may vary. The trailer is below. It uses a creepy remix of the classic Shirelles song to great effect and it is great to know that head-bashing as a trailer cutting rhythm works quite well here as well, albeit note quite at the level of the masterpiece trailer for A Serious Man.
There is a moment in Fede Alvarez’s articleless remake of The Evil Dead that offers a hint of the condescension to come; an utter lack of faith in the audience or a confidence crisis in storytelling. After a thoroughly unnecessary prologue involving the exorcism of a dead-ite girl in the basement filled with more cat corpses and mutant hillbillies than Sleepwalkers and The Hills Have Eyes combined and our younger, prettier, twentysomethings come to the cabin in the woods to become, as they say, “spam in a cabin.” Fifteen minutes after an interminable stretch of graceless character building and (forgive me) soul sucking serio-tragic exposition, the characters find themselves down in the burned out foundation from the prologue, dead kitties still hanging from the charred joists. This is when the editing geniuses behind the film feel the need to flash back to the prologue to remind us that, you know, an ‘evil dead’ thing was going on in this creepy woodland cottage. This is immediately followed by the reveal of the Necronomicon, the evil book that releases demons into the world. Here it is not only fully annotated in large bloody english Cliff-Notes over the ancient text, but also, far more insultingly, the book has a handy-dandy series of pictures to explain things after each scene and to tell the audience what is going to happen next. If this is satire of the excesses of Raimi’s original trilogy (Dead By Dawn is itself a parody-laced remake-slash-continuation of sorts – if you don’t know, don’t ask) the he is of the most subtlest sort. (Hint: This is not the case.)
Alvarez and co-writers Rodo Sayagues, with script-polisher Diablo Cody, are utter slaves to burying references and Evil Easter Eggs from the original trilogy that things threaten to make this film more of a distracting dialogue with what came before, not to mention rather unsuccessful games of bait-and-switch in the screenplay. “The Classic” Delta 88 Oldsmobile, the charming rustbucket of a vehicle which takes on an increasing significance in the original films, shows up here not as an old clunker, but more a piece of impostor art object to be used as pretty object for our pretty actress to sit upon. I single out the remade car not as a miffed Raimi fanboy (of which I assure you, after a few too many Spiderman flicks and Disney Oz prequels, I am not) but rather that an ill executed homage such as this is indicative of the whole enterprise. But wait, there is more. At the other end of the pander-spectrum are things of such pathological minutiae that I am kind of embarrassed to know of their existence at all, such a necklace chain sculpted into the shape of skull (again don’t ask – it is not really that important.)
Excess is the name of the game in these films, and that is not a problem per se. What was the original if not the combination of the Friday 13th slasher mixed with the highlight reel of all The Exorcist pea-soup moments shaken and cooked into a high energy speedball of manic-camerawork. It worked as slapstick, it worked as a frightening hallucination. The remake is merely an engine for gore. Painful, quite realistic gore. A wet-dream for those who look for this type of thing, that somehow survived NC-17 censorship. Tree rape and limb-severings aplenty are done so with effects that slickly combine old-school practical and modern digital craft. So much time is spent getting rusty nails propelled into arms and faces that the filmmakers forgot to make it riveting (sorry) in any other way. If onscreen suffering floats your boat, and you’ve not tired of the Torture Porn cycle that I thought was well behind us at this point, then this is the horror film for you. Because Evil Dead is not scary, or even interesting.