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Month: April 2013

April 2, 2013

Sneak Preview: Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead – Ode

*I’d like to thank aintitcool.com for putting on this sneak preview of the film down in Miami, FL, and of course for bringing Bruce Campbell.*

I’m not one for April Fool’s pranks. I find them annoying, stupid, and most of the time, ridiculous.  But there are times when one happens, and its wonderful.  It’s even better when you are going to see one of the most classic horror films of all time, 1981’s “The Evil Dead” with Bruce Campbell in the audience introducing the film and conducting a Q&A after the film.  It’s even better when the film starts, gets about a minute in, and the film breaks, revealing the trick, which I had a sneaking suspicion was coming.  April Fool’s, you’re not here to watch “The Evil Dead” ’81, you’re here to watch “Evil Dead” 2013.  Truly, truly awesome, and now I’m lucky enough to bring you kids a review of the as-of-yet-unreleased “Evil Dead” remake, which is an ode to everything wonderful and right with horror remakes.

Everything you’ve heard about “Evil Dead” is warranted; it’s a brutal, bloody, gory, sick, twisted, squirm-inducing nightmare.  In the best way possible.  While, as a rule, horror remakes are usually unnecessary, I really thought “The Evil Dead” was in need of a tune-up.  Coming out three years after “Halloween” and merely a year after the genre game-changer “Friday the 13th,” “Dead” made it’s mark as The Ultimate Experience in Grueling Terror.  It was low-budget, gritty, and a new take on the slasher genre.  It had the demonic spirit of “The Exorcist” but the wink-wink-nod-nod of “Friday the 13th” and even some old Herschel Gordon Lewis films.  However, if you look at “Dead” now, it seems dated.  You can tell that it only took them about $300,000.00 to make the film.  Still, I believe in keeping a classic, a classic, and not messing with a good thing.  Come some 30 years and two sequels later, a new vision of “Evil Dead” is about to be unleashed nationwide, and with the blessing of Sam Raimi and Mr. Bruce Campbell, I can honestly say we got a winner.

While keeping with the spirit of the original film, we follow five teens who have decided to head out to the middle of nowhere to a cabin in the woods.  The added twist this time around is that they are there for an intervention for Mia, played by Jane Levy, who could be America’s newest Scream Queen, a heroin-addict who just suffered an overdose.  I liked the fact that the teens are in the woods for a reason, because in films like these you always get a lot of red herrings, namely the Necronomicon, which is unnamed in this version, but you should know what the Necronomicon is at this point, where you have to suspend disbelief nearly the entire film, and don’t worry, you’ll have to do it anyway for most of this movie, in a good way.

While the story is reasonably strong for the genre, the violence and gore is ramped up to 11, and it’s wonderful.  The gore effects are great, and I was surprised to see that WETA was behind some of the work, and it makes sense, because some of the effects are right out of “Dead/Alive,” before Peter Jackson got all Hollywood on us genre fans.

As a horror film, “Evil Dead” is fine, a bloody-romp in the vein of what most people are used to out of the horror genre these days, as a remake, one of the best ones made.  And while I use the term “remake,” “Dead” is more like a re-imagining of the original.  There are various odes to Raimi’s masterwork, including our heroine wearing a Michigan State sweater, to the old car that she is also sitting on.  We even get some chainsaw, yes, a chainsaw, what would an “Evil Dead” movie be without some chainsaw.  With all that being said, if you’re a purist, go into “Evil Dead” with an open mind, and have fun with it; there are plenty of odes to the original, and if you’re new to the world of Ash and the Deadites, do your homework and watch “The Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn” and “Army of Darkness” (the primitive screw-head next to me kept calling it “Evil Dead 3.”  I wanted to tell him to go home because his mom called, and he had chores to do, plus it was a school night).  2013’s “Evil Dead.”  In a world full or remakes and bad ideas, its nice to see they got something right.  Hail to the King, baby…..

Fun Fact:  Look closely at the car Mia is sitting on and you’ll notice that it’s an Oldsmobile Delta Royale 88, the same car used in the original “Evil Dead” trilogy. Which begs the question, could this possibly be a sequel as opposed to a remake, or just coincidence?

April 2, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Sweet 16 Results: FILM BAD

HANNIBAL LECTER (1) WINNER
DARTH VADER (4)

If there was any Star Wars character in need of psychotherapy it would be Anakin Skywalker.  Mommy issues, daddy issues, inferiority complexes, obsessive behavior, night terrors, megalomania, depression, mental trauma, and so on.  All gravy for Dr. Lecter.  Anakin has also proven to be easily duped by the kinder older gentlemen hiding a dark secret.  They don’t get much darker than Hannibal.  Not even Palpatine dined on his enemies.  

THE JOKER (2) WINNER
KHAN NOONIEN SINGH (3)

A man out for revenge is a scary thing.  A man out for chaos is even more frightening.  Khan’s relentless linear thinking eventually makes him predictable.  There is no telling what depths or what ends The Joker would go to.  The Joker’s intellect is also very comparable to Khan’s.  The difference is Khan isn’t certifiably insane.  A genius level intellect in the hands of a mad man is the personification of chaos.  

April 2, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Sweet 16 Results: TV BAD

BOYD CROWDER (5) 
CERSEI LANNISTER  (8) WINNER

The one thing you have to admire about Cersei is her survival instincts.  She seems to always get her way.  She can get more done with a goblet in her hand than Boyd could with a gun.  Even in defeat, Boyd could still probably respect that.

BEN LINUS (2) WINNER
TRINITY KILLER (6)

Ben Linus may not have the flare for the dramatic like T.K., but he always gets the job done.  He is relentless and getting his way and sometimes without even getting his hands dirty.

April 1, 2013

Simplistic TV: Game of Thrones: Season Three Premiere

Game of Thrones: S3, EP:1-Valar Dohaeris – Duty


And just like that; it’s back!  The long-awaited season premiere of Game of Thrones was unleashed upon an unsuspecting viewership on March 31st, 2013.  I mean if I was Jesus, just getting out of the grave, I would be so pumped that I get to continue my journey with Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, and our favorite boy-king, Joffery Baratheon.  However, before season three really kicks into high gear, I understand that it’s the duty of the showrunners to get into the swing of things with an episode, while there were great moments, that needed to build up some tension, introduce, and re-introduce, some characters, and setup what is to come for the future of Westeros.

Valar Dohaeris, meaning in High Valyrian, all men must serve, is quite the appropriate title for the season opener.  We pick up right where season two left off, our favorite tubby Night’s Watchmen, Samwell Tarly, running for his life from the newly-spawned, White Walkers.  What I like about what HBO did this time around is that they re-introduced the cold open, which hadn’t been done in an episode or GoT since the series opener, and I hope its a trend that they finally keep this season.

Moving from North of the Wall, to a little further South, but still North of the Wall, we catch up with Jon Snow as he is being led to the Kind Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder, played by Ciaran Hinds.  A lot of people were criticizing the casting of Hinds as Rayder, but if there was anyone with acting chops to take on a meaty role like Mance Rayder, why not Hinds?  He already has HBO cred, playing Julius Caesar in HBO’s “Rome” and he’s simply a great actor.  I expect good things out of the Snow/Rayder dynamic.

Meanwhile, way down South, in King’s Landing, Tyrion is coming to terms with his complete lack of power, but still think her deserves some credit for his battle plan against Stannis Baratheon’s army during the Battle of Blackwater.  However his father Tywin Lannister, who has taken his “rightful” place as Hand of the King, has other plans for Tyrion.  What I found most interesting about the Tywin and Tyrion confrontation is that at a certain point I was gaining some respect for Tywin.  Sure, he’s the head of the most hated, and feared, family in the Seven Kingdoms, but I saw something in Tywin that I respected beyond his ruthlessness and cunning nature.  But after his tirade to Tyrion, I’m questioning my respect, and I’m interested to see how this resentment plays out during the season between the father and son.

Across the Narrow Sea, we meet up with The Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, who is seeing her dragons grow while trying to buy an army with the spoils she acquired after pillaging Quarth.  She arrives in Astapor, a slave colony, looking into purchasing a slave army called The Unsullied.  The army is owned by a ruthless, rude, and conniving master named Krazyns, who insults Dany in his native tongue.  On top of being insulted, Dany is also nearly assassinated by a young girl seemingly sent by the warlocks of Quarth.  Low and behold, her savior was not her sworn protector, Jorah Mormont, but the wayward Barristan Selmy, former captain of the King’s Guard.

As the episode proceeds we also check in on Robb Stark, Davos Seaworth, Stannis, and Sansa Stark.  Every major character is touched on, some more than others, but there is still enough revealed get your curiosity going and seeing where all the characters end up come season end.  What is even more interesting is the fact that both season three and the forthcoming season four will cover book three of “A Story of Fire and Ice.”  Where will season three end and four begin?  For you book readers I’m sure you already have a clue, but I won’t spoil it for the rest of the readers.

To serve all men, as I pointed out earlier, is very appropriate for the premiere.  We are seeing who is serving who, and continued play for power from Westeros and beyond the Narrow Sea.  From the lowest service of The Unsullied to the highest of service by Tywin Lannister.  it seems that all who are within service are working at the whim of either a Mad King, a lowly slaver, and everywhere in between.  With the tone set early, it seems that service and loyalty will play a major part this season.

Overall, it looks like Season Three of GoT will be the most ambitious yet, with several major plot lines to play out, and new ones to begin.  It will be our duty as viewers to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride through, and beyond, Westeros.

Fun Fact:  In commemoration of GoT, American craft brewery Ommegang released a special edition beer called “Iron Throne” a Blonde Ale.  Check out what beer drinkers are saying about “Iron Throne” here.

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