Friday, April 19, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

STAR TREK - NEW Trailer and Posters

In the wake of a shocking act of terror from within their own organization, the crew of The Enterprise is called back home to Earth.  In defiance of regulations and with a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads his crew on a manhunt to capture an unstoppable force of destruction and bring those responsible to justice.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.



THE LONE RANGER Character Posters Revealed

From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the filmmaking team behind the blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, comes Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “The Lone Ranger,” a thrilling adventure infused with action and humor, in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes.  Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice—taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.

“The Lone Ranger” also stars Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter.

A Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films presentation, “The Lone Ranger” is directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski, with screen story by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Justin Haythe and screenplay by Justin Haythe and Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio. “The Lone Ranger” releases in U.S. theaters on July 3, 2013.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

EVIL DEAD (2013)

Director Fede Alvarez was recently asked if he was worried about the similarities between Cabin in the Woods (2012) and Evil Dead. For the uninitiated, Cabin in the Woods gloriously mocked the now well-worn conventions of wooded horror in a delirious blend of horror, camp, and satire. Alvarez--apparently missing the point--clarified that he was not worried by Cabin because "it wasn't really a horror movie, right?"

He is correct, Cabin was a comedy; A Comedy made possible now that the tropes of modern horror are so predictable that each outing is increasingly ridiculous, allowing modern audiences to laugh at what once may have shocked. Having seen Alvarez' Evil Dead (2013), I believe this question is something the director should have contemplated a bit further.

The Evil Dead (1981) is something of a sacred cow among its cult of followers. Sam Raimi and his long-suffering team of amateur filmmakers (including a young Joel Coen) inspired a generation of micro-budget filmmakers to quit film school and say, "I can do that!" And they did… over and over… But there is a special quirkiness about the Raimi brand that has yet to be replicated. Raimi's horror tends to work backwards from a comedic beat, lingering beyond the laugh to a point where the absurd becomes an uncomfortable reality that the viewer must confront--like a grinning clown.

Much like the pretenders to the throne of John Carpenter's Halloween (1978), Sam Raimi's Evil Dead inspired dozens of copycats that got the formula but not the voice. Evil Dead (2013), produced by Raimi, Tapert, and Campbell has isolated moments of absurdity that never develop into proper scares beyond their jack-in-the-box wrapping.

Enough of the intangibles, let's talk story.

Evil Dead begins with a frightened young girl running through woods, pursued by what appear to be the type of lecherous men we expect to find in Deliverance. This, of course, is a red herring, as we'll soon find out, the girl is possessed and is to be "cleansed with fire" by her father while a number of locals look on in a ritual led by an anonymous gypsy woman. The demon inside reveals itself, launching into an awkward, obscenity-laced diatribe that plays unintentionally funny to a post-Excorcist audience.

Flash forward, a group of 20-somethings arrive at the old, family cabin with the intention of isolating their detoxing friend, Mia, who--as we're told through clunky exposition--has overdosed and died once already--a fact unknown to her absent older brother, David, who has removed himself from the lives of his once close-knit circle of friends. If that sounds like the makings of a supernatural melodrama on the CW network, it probably is.

I appreciate the addition of the detox plot. It allows some natural disbelief to exist among the friends once Mia experiences the reawakened evil.

Oh and about that…

Eric (David's BFF) has discovered a flesh-covered book, wrapped in a trash bag, bound with barbed wire, lying in the basement among a dozen or so hanged, dead animals in a room which turns out to be the source of the "burnt hair" smell the group has been complaining about. Yes, the site where the unfortunate soul in the prologue was "cleansed." No need for context clues or subtlety, the film flash-cuts to the scene to remind us of that thing that just happened 5 minutes earlier.

Curiously, those who saw fit to bind the book in such a way didn't think to bury it or perhaps keep it with the gypsy woman who knew of its power.

That may seem trivial, nit-picky even, but it illustrates a fundamental problem with the remake. Some of Alvarez' changes dilute the idea. Originally, the couple that discovered the book were left to an unknown fate (unseen entirely in the first film), one that resulted in their discovery of this book lying conspicuously out in the open for Ash and his friends to find. Well, Alvarez' characters are smart enough to bind the book but not smart enough to bury it.

Ignoring the ominous, hand-written warnings to stay away from the book (which all appear to have been scribbled by an obscene 13 year old), David speaks aloud those forbidden words, "Klaatu, Barada, Nik--" oh wait, wrong movie… some strange-sounding, possibly latin shit which commences an assault on Mia who has decided to bail on her detox and drive furiously through the rain to escape the woods.

Of course, a ghostly doppleganger appears in the road and, predictably, Mia swerves rather than brake, sending her car careening into the woods.

Mia is then possessed and brings the evil back to the cabin where it proceeds to wreak predictable havoc on David, Eric, Olivia, and David's girlfriend (who has maybe 4 lines in the movie).

Despite some fantastic cinematography, solid special effects work, and a few genuinely chilling visuals, the film offers very little in the way of elevating the source material, opting to to tread, once again, those already well-worn cabin in the woods cliches.

Cliche check-list:
- Ghost appearing in the road, check.
- Crouching possessed girl being slowly approached by tepid secondary character asking, "are you okay?" x 3, check.
- Ghost appearing in bathroom mirror, check
- Look away, look back, something is there x 10, check.
- Walking slowly backwards towards demon while distracted, check.
- Machete thrusting through wall over and over, inching closer to character, check.

And so on…

This may come across as particularly harsh especially for a film that is so well made and likely to be praised by genre fans eager to see the dead returning to possess the souls of the living and mutilate their victims in increasingly bloody and outlandish ways but it is a fair criticism. Horror fans have become apologists for the genre and now simply base their lofty praise on the special effects. So long as "fans" are willing to concede to the success of the makeup department, we as a movie-going audience will forever be treated to movie experiences that play more like show reels for the KNB effects group rather than an immersive, story-driven experience.

Evil Dead, despite all that it has going for it, is just a hyper-charged, frenetic cliche. Loads of energy, gallons of blood, demon-voices swirling about in digital surround sound... all carefully paced to distract you from its woefully-inept script, poor acting (save for Jane Levy's performance), tonal inconsistency, and obvious repackaging of a product you've already been sold hundreds of times over the last 30 years.

Alright Raimi, you owe us an Army of Darkness 2 now.

**1/2 out of  ****

- Samuel Farmer for

Patrick Barry's Skateboarding Indie, VEER, Plays Like a Eulogy to Adolescence

At its core, VEER sets its sights on two characters at a crossroad in life and never flinches from the reality both men must inevitably face: Prolonged childhood or responsibility?

Jesse and Strazz, skaters and former teammates, are worlds apart at the film's open. While Strazz enjoys all the creature comforts afforded by turning his adolescent pastime into an enterprise, Jesse couch-surfs, avoiding the rapidly descending burden of adulthood, eventually landing him--like so many millennials--back in his childhood home. There, Jesse is surrounded by visual reminders of his past glories which serve as a constant reminder that he hasn't grown up.

Jesse's story straddles the line between documentary and cinema vérité, shifting between carefully staged coverage and run-and-gun, guerilla camerawork with characters occasionally breaking the fourth wall to interact with the camera (shot on 16mm film). The world in which Jesse inhabits feels "lived-in," a compliment to the filmmakers. 

Strazz' rather vapid existence (shot with HD digital cameras), is a world away from his former teammate. Perhaps sensing that all his success is missing something grounded, Strazz routinely suggests including Jesse in various business ventures whether it be a new line of personalized decks or his character likeness in a video game. Strazz' efforts are overruled by his manager, quipping, "We're not running a charity here."

Occasionally, Strazz enters Jesse's world and vice versa. Despite frequent interruptions from pressing business calls and pictures with fans, Strazz has moments where his existence in Jesse's grainy, black and white universe feels organic if largely nostalgic. However Jesse is worse for wear in the polished world of high definition.

The antagonist in the film is life. It's no spoiler to say that life will always win but it's fun to watch our working class heroes fight the good fight.

- Martin Quartermass for

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

EVIL DEAD screening pre-show

Excited to be venturing out to join a number of my friends for the new EVIL DEAD tonight. We all got together last night for a dinner party and to watch the first EVIL DEAD. I went to a very early screening and saw the new one a couple weeks ago. The similarities on the films are vast, but their take on the seriousness of the tone is night and day. The new one sheds off the camp and goes straight for the gut. Which I both adore and appreciate.