Friday One Sheet: Extraterrestrial

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This cabin in the woods meets hostile aliens picture looks derivative and boring in almost every way, but I have to hand it to the key art team for crafting a concise, aesthetically pleasing poster that evokes both alien abduction movies, and the Evil Dead remake simultaneously. If the goal is to offer passers-by a glimpse what your film is with just a glance, this is how it is done, folks.

Cinecast Episode 304 – Beware Movies That Are Named After Songs

A ‘Biggie Size’ episode of the Cinecast has Matt Gamble return to heap copious praise upon Mad Men and Game of Thrones. Never one to disappoint, he gets into fisticuffs with Kurt over the Evil Dead remake and ancient tomes made out of human skin. Andrew moderates like a champ and tries his utmost to keep the other two from fondling each others buttons in a delightful display of homoerotic movie-nerd posturing. Ahem. Before that business, there is a pleasant conversation on Derek Cianfrance’s A Place Beyond The Pines, as well as some home-theatre (and Blu Ray) discussion. It appears that Kurt will finally be joining movie fandom in the 21st century by going BLU. The Watchlist has a little Dwayne Johnson, a little Matt Damon, as well as the Activist Dude and “Food Insecurity” in America. We also talk a bit about the trailers for the Carrie remake as well as Elysium.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

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Review: Evil Dead

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.

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Bookmarks for October 30th

What we’ve been reading – October 30th:

  • Doc Films and Social Impact: Outreach, Outreach, Outreach
    In a 2007 study titled Documentaries on a Mission, scholar Matt Nisbet suggests that the bulk of the documentary audiences are “the choir,” a group of people watching films that cater to their “pre-existing social views.” He offers that one way a film can get beyond the choir and on the public agenda is by providing a news hook: “Documentary films…have a strong influence as media agenda-setters. Films provide dramatic ‘news pegs’ for journalists seeking to either sustain or generate new coverage of an issue.”
  • How Mr Fox saved Wes Anderson
    Though we don’t like to admit it, Anderson has been on a bit of a slide lately. Something artful and still auteur from the director yet aimed more at the masses is exactly what he needed.
  • George Miller Has Found His Max
    Tom Hardy is currently in negotiations to play “Mad” Max Rockatansky in Fury Road, the fourth film in the post-apocalyptic franchise.
  • Evil Dead coming back to theaters!
    Sam Raimi’s classic horror film “The Evil Dead” will be making its way back to theaters. It’s being re-released for a special run by Grindhouse Releasing, though no official dates have been given.
  • Give Me The Best Fictional Baseball Teams In Movie History!
    Confronted with the choice to root for the Yankees or the Phillies in this year’s World Series – or even the option to watch the action – I plan to opt for nearly anything else. I’m going to pop in a DVD and take in some of the great fictional baseball teams in movie history to forget about this season. Here are my picks…
  • Jackman ditches Oscars
    According to Variety, sources close to Jackman confirmed he turned the gig down in order to keep his mind on his current Broadway run then get his head back into movies for a while. He might host it again, but isn’t keen on doing it 2 years in a row.
  • Adorable But Horrible: 26 Cute Critters You’ll Want to Avoid
    Horror isn’t always slimy and grotesque; some of the most frightening monsters come in the cutest packages. We list the fluffy, wide-eyed, and downright adorable critters that want to scare you, eat you, or enslave you for all time.

Cinecast Episode 124 – Go To Hell


Episode 124:
What a great weekend at the movies! Kurt and Andrew revel in this fact and really get into a positive discussion over some great films. DVD picks are fun and whoops, this thing turns into nearly 3 hours after a fairly lengthy tangent on the intricacies of lending out DVDs. Nice.
Thanks for listening!

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R3view – Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me To Hell poster

Director: Sam Raimi (Evil Dead Trilogy, Spiderman Trilogy)
Writers: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi
Producers: Robert G. Tapert, Sam Raimi, Grant Curtis
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 99 min

After churning out expensive (and lucrative) Spiderman films for a decade, cult director Sam Raimi goes back to his low-budget horror-comedy roots to deliver what is essentially Evil Dead 4 with a girl in the lead. Buckets of goo, jump scares, Three Stooges antics, psychotic gypsies and seances round out the fun-house atmosphere this old fashioned E.C. Comics type romp.

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Will Evil Dead 4 Really Happen?

While Bruce Campbell isn’t the hottest property in Hollywood – and by that, I mean every studio is banging on his door (although if they had any sense they would be) – he is royalty, a demi-god even, among movie nerds such as myself. He is the ultimate B-movie star. He is one of the biggest cult icons in America. And of course, he has Sam Raimi and their creation that is the Evil Dead trilogy to thank.

Since the third installment – the more comical, Middle Ages set Army of Darkness in 1992 – superfans have been drolling for another sequel to bask in the witty, sarcastic goodness of Bruce Campbell as Ash. And over the past sixteen years, there have been mumblings about the possibility of one by Raimi and Campbell both. But then as it would turn out, Raimi would become one of the hottest directors in Hollywood with the Spider-Man trilogy (which consumed something like seven years of his life) and he put any plans for another Evil Dead movie aside. Then a couple years ago, he brought up the possibility of an Evil Dead remake, which both delighted and infuriated fans. Then once again, things quieted. Just this past weekend as Comic-Con though, Raimi brought up to idea of a sequel again, and it seems like it may actually get closer to becoming a reality.

“I love working with Bruce Campbell,” Raimi said. “He’s super willing to do anything to make it right. He’s a very funny guy, but mostly he’s got this quality where he will physically do anything to get the shot done right, so I would love to work with Bruce again because I’d love to test those limits. I’d love to make another Evil Dead picture. And actually that’s in the wheelhouse. I’d like to work on it with my brother Ivan [Raimi] when he comes up next week.”

It’s in the wheelhouse. He’s working on it with his brother next week. Cool. Will this get anywhere? It’s hard to tell, but I don’t think I’m alone in hoping so. Granted, most of the sequels released the past few years have been cringe-worthy, but despite Raimi’s failure that was Spider-Man 3, I still have plenty of faith in the man, and I’m always itching to see Bruce Campbell take on lead roles (which happens far less than it should). Thanks to /Film for the heads up!