Friday, May 29, 2009

This Weekend Sucks! Box Office Update for 5/29 : Drag Me Up To Hell!

Post Memorial Day Weekend releases always make for strange bedfellows. These are the films that aren't quite Summer Release material, weren't big enough for Memorial Day Weekend, yet still deserve some prime Box Office Real Estate.

So, if you are looking to catch a new flick in the theaters this weekend, you can either look to the heavens or go to Hell. Seriously.

On the high end of the spectrum is Pixar's latest computer animated feature, UP. UP is the first PG rated Pixar film since The Incredibles in 1994, which is a good sign that the movie might be more than goofy toddler pandering.

Some people find it hard to bad mouth kid's films. I myself find it even harder to bad mouth kid's

Trailer for Pixar's UpImage by _heather_r_ via Flickr

films featuring a curmudgeonly misanthropic old man in the heroic roll. Actually casting curmudgeonly misanthropic old Ed Asner to do the voice is truly inspired. Finally, an animated feature without Ray Romano's irritating whine. Just think of Grumpy Old Men meets The Goonies. Who can say no to that?

I have very specific rules when it comes to animated features, and none of them are very rational. One of these is that I do my best to avoid cartoons in which animals speak. Up's technologically jacked up dog (aptly named Dug) threatens to break this rule, but I'm willing to give him a pass since it is his translating collar that does the talking, not him.

Now, if you rather take the low road, you'll end up asking the annoyed teen in the ticket booth to Drag Me to Hell, Sam Raimi's unrequested return to the horror genre.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a huge Raimi fan. But he's been doing so well with mega-budgeted superhero flicks that you have to wonder why he's want to take a step backwards into the schlock he struggled to make a career out of in the old days. I love the Evil Dead series, and even Darkman. But as we are fond of saying here as TMS!, a film isn't good just because you like it.

Army of DarknessImage via Wikipedia

Based on a screenplay written by Sam and Ivan after Army of Darkness back in 1992, Drag Me to Hell feels like a late '90s horror film. Then again, almost all ghost-curse-possession films these days feel like late '90s horror films. As much as I love horror films, its hard to feel any sympathy for people stupid enough to stay in a house five minutes after they've discovered that it even might be haunted.

Drag Me to Hell doesn't deal with a haunted house. Instead, the source of pain and agony for our young attractive heroine is a good old fashioned Gypsy Curse. The problem is, sympathy is still hard to come by.I'm not quite sure what was going through Raimi's brain. With today's economic climate, fueled by hatred of the greedy banks that managed to suck everybody dry before asking for government bailouts to help pay the bills, one wonders why he would make the main character played by Alison Lohman (filling in for Ellen Page) a bank teller. Even worse, she becomes the recipient of her demonic death sentence after the elderly woman she tries to evict from her home casts some major voodoo on her. After that, with this heartless bitch and her idiot boyfriend (Justin Long, desperately trying to be more than That Guy in the Mac Commercials) trying to save her hide, I've got nothing to do but root for the Gypsy Curse. Seems like a waste of time, if you ask me.

And for all of you old school Raimi fans; sorry, no Bruce Campbell guest appearance in this one. He was too busy working on Burn Notice to swing by for a day. So there you go, yet another reason to give this puppy a pass.

So there you have it. Kid's film or horror flick. Some choice, eh? Choose wisely, for the next choice might be your last. Well, it probably won't. But it sure sounded cool, eh?
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Vincent Price in Bloodbath at the House of Death

It looks like this obscure little classic cult film starring Vincent Price is finally making its way onto DVD. Writer/Director Ray Cameron cobbled together this low budget farce, parodying everything from slasher films to box office hits like E.T. in the same way that films like Scary Movie still do today.

Bloodbath at the House of Death will be getting a DVD release in the UK at teh end of June. Its always great to see little films like this finally get exposure, even if it is on the other side of the pond. Let's hope that the US gets this classic soon.