Posts Tagged ‘movie reviews

03
Jun
09

Drag Me To Hell

drag_me_to_hell_posterLet me just start off by saying, THANK YOU SAM RAIMI! The motion picture community has waited too long for a film that exhibits complete originality and guts. Drag Me To Hell is being called the “perfect” horror film, and I could not agree more. It produces on the simple figments of the horror genre that have worked for years, keeping the audience gripping their theater chairs and covering their eyes.

Drag Me To Hell is about a loan officer, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), fighting to be promoted to assistant manager. In order to get herself noticed, Christine must decline an extension to an elderly, gypsy woman. Cursed by her decision, Christine has three days to appease the evil spirits that are coming to take her to soul to hell.

Curses, demons, old woman without teeth; this horror movie has it all. Sam Raimi makes his stunning return to the horror genre, and speaking for all the fans out there, we are grateful. For those of you who don’t know, Sam Raimi was the writer and director of the Evil Dead saga, as well as the director of all three Spider-Man movies. Once you see Drag Me To Hell you will know for sure what genre Raimi belongs in. It is refreshing to see that a horror movie does not need to have an overkill of blood and guts to shock its audience. Raimi reverts back to the simplicity of horror that made the genre so great in the 60’s and 70’s. The simple use of build up in a scene will suck an audience in and then send them jolting back in their seat at the peak. Raimi does this effectively with the use of amazing visuals and sound.

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The look and feel of this movie is like a colorful comic book. It sounds like a weird combo for a horror film but it works. The colors make the audience more intimate with the surroundings, making them a lot easier to scare. Raimi did not use blood and gore as a fall back to a weak plot. He used the cheap, age old trick of the ghoul jumping out of the bushes, and it worked every time. But lets be honest, a horror movie just is not as fun without a little bit of the disgusting. Don’t worry fans, Raimi might not use a lot of blood and guts, but he sure does keep the audience at max gross out. The old, gypsy lady is constantly gnawing at Christine’s face, and for some reason always spewing some sort of gross liquid. We all know old ladies make us sick sometimes; well this definitely exploits that uneasy feeling around the elderly.

Also the sound and music in this movie are amazing. Christopher Young, who also worked on such classic horror films as Hellraiser II, and the Fly II, was responsible for the chilling background music. The sound fits perfectly into the idea of the build up. The film has an eerie way of getting very quiet right before the peak. You could tell the entire audience knew what was coming by their frightened squeals, but they still jumped out of their seats every time. On the opposite end, the movie knew when to blast your ear drums. The film is full of sound bits that sound like metal fingernails on a chalkboard, creeping you out at every turn. There is one instance during a sayounce where the audience is attacked with a loud, ear piercing roar. It is paralyzing to the characters, but it is also right at the edge of unbearable for the audience. This peak of the sound gives the audience a sense of panic just long enough to put them at edge and expect more jolts.

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It has been a long time since a horror movie has kept me on edge through out its entirety, but Drag Me To Hell did it with ease. It has a completely original plot line, with an ending that will easily satisfy movie goers. This movie is guaranteed to make you think twice before crossing a gypsy woman, and check your back seat a few times before you leave the parking lot.

 

 

 

 

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22
Apr
09

The Wrestler

thewrestlerposter2The Wrestler is an exciting little romantic comedy about high school sweethearts who have to endure the challenges of love! Oh wait, no, let’s try this again. The Wrestler is about, ummmmm, a Wrestler? That’s right ladies and gentlemen the title says it all. The Wrestler sees the “comeback” of once popular Hollywood, boxing actor, Mickey Rourke. Rourke plays a beat down old wrestling legend named Randy “The Ram” Robinson, who continues to wrestle for close to nothing just to get by. With one foot in the grave and the other perched on a sweaty man’s chest, “Ram” must look deep inside to discover what is truly important in his broken life. Close to death, “Ram” realizes that the only thing in life that he has ever loved, and that has ever loved him in return, was professional wrestling. Providing support and obstacles along the way is his daughter Stephanie, played by the lovely Evan Rachel Wood, and stripper love interest Cassidy, played by the stunning Marissa Tomei.

Now before you write this one off as some cheesy wrestling flick that would only rival Over the Top in pure gut wrenching genius, let me tell you that this film was extremely intriguing. This film generated a lot of noise when it was first released. Maybe it was because you could only see the movie if you lived in one of the limited release areas. It’s like hearing about a super cool toy that everyone is getting, but has not been put on the shelves in your toy store, you gotta have it. I had heard so many great things about this movie that I definitely had to check it out. I was also slightly worried because movies that have a lot of Oscar hype can tend to be a little boring at times, but I decided to go ahead and grab this flick anyway. I am glad I did because from start to finish The Wrestler is anything but boring. It has an amazing cast of characters who make it easy to submerge yourself deep into the story line. Mickey Rourke does an amazing job portraying “The Ram”. Through out the movie the audience can not help but feel sorry for this guy. He is rusted and torn, but continues to push and fight for his dreams. It definitely strikes a chord with the viewer. Everyone has a passion for something that drives them in life, and if that is suddenly taken away it would turn anyone’s world upside down. I also love the interaction Rourke has with the other characters in the movie. He tries so hard to make things right with his estranged daughter, but no matter how hard he fights he just can not redeem himself for past mistakes as a father. It is definitely heartbreaking but a reality in a lot of veteran wrestler’s lives. But the dynamic between “Ram” and the stripper Cassidy I think is by far the most important to the film. As a wrestler “Ram” can relate to this stripper in a strange way. They are both constantly fighting the shadowing cloud of age that is threatening their careers; as well as, juggling their “stage characters” and “real” personalities. It is a fascinating dynamic that adds a different dimension to this film.

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The way this movie was shot I also found very intriguing. The Wrestler was directed by Darren Aronofsky, whose famous works include Pi (1998), Requiem for a Dream (2006), and The Fountain (2006). If you have seen any of these movies you know that they are all complete mind trips; which makes it interesting to see him do a film that is so real and tangible. This movie has a very cool documentary feel to it. In other words, you feel as if you are right there beside Rourke as he battles life. The majority of the action is filmed from behind Rourke, with a following shot of his back. It is like the audience it literally tagging along with him in this adventure. I am not sure if Aronofsky did this on purpose, but it is like a spectator view at a wrestling event. I constantly felt like “Ram” was entering a ring when starting a new scene. This was very effective because it really shows the audience that no matter where he goes, “Ram” is a wrestler first and foremost. The actual wrestling matches were very realistic. They were actually shot at real events. The audience was not extras or paid actors, they were real fans who came out to see an amateur wrestling bout. They were able to steal some time from these events to shoot the scenes where “Ram” wrestles. Because of this the energy of those scenes makes the movie explosive and exciting. This coupled with the emotional plot line makes The Wrestler an entertaining, yet heartbreaking, flick.

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Definitely go see this movie. Most times I would say skip an Oscar nominated movie, unless you wanted a good nap, but this is one you should experience. Aronofsky does an amazing job of throwing the audience waist deep into a world of underground wrestling, and is not afraid to show the brutal honestly behind the profession.