A lot of people rightly praise Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, but I’ve always preferred his…”more mature” feels like an obscenely inaccurate phrase, so I’ll just call them his “middle-period” pieces. Between Evil Dead 2 and Spider-Man, Raimi struggled for mainstream success, feeling – like every decent genre director in the ’80s and ’90s – that niche audiences and cult success are all well and good…until you looked at the numbers. Besides, Universal wanted to create its own TV channel. Who better to make that happen than a writer/director/producer triple threat?
These struggles cost him fans and failed to win him the wide audience Hollywood’s power brokers and spreadsheet psychics insist every director must possess before they’re allowed to sit in the Front Room with the Grown Ups, where they might accidentally/on-purpose break the studio’s Nice Things (like, oh, I don’t know, say…a profitable superhero franchise). While Darkman and Army of Darkness are “kinder” and “gentler” films than either previous Dead movie (and easier to follow than the Great Black Mark on Raimi’s pre-Spider-Man career, Crimewave), I’m going to own up another Fanboy Heresy and admit I actually prefer them to the original Dead duology.
Not that I don’t love the Dead movies, but I prefer flicks with characters over flicks with mobile viscera containers (that just so happen to speak and/or emote). Why do you think I go out of my way to avoid “art house” or “Sundance Channel” films? Continue reading The Quick and the Dead (1995)
In the lead up to Inception a lot of the advance press wondered if the movie would prove too complicated for modern audiences, something we should’ve all dismissed as “bullshit.” Then the advance critics started crowing about it being the BEST MOVIE EVAHR, which I dismissed out of hand because advance critics are bullshit artists. Then the print critics who actually matter found out it was something other than the BEST MOVIE EVAHR. So it became “[t]he emperor’s new bed-clothes.”
Such is what this film’s had to deal with, over and above all the ten years of Hell its creator supposedly endured just to get it written in the first place. Either Christopher Nolan wrote the thing right after Momento and needed the Dark Knight‘s billion dollar profit to get a green light or it just took him ten years to write. Either way, I’ll believe it. Paradox, right?
Modern movies are caught in a terrible paradox of their own. Either they’re the BEST MOVIE EVARH or they’re the latest grand scam of Hollywood hacks. It’s a terrible state of affairs, particularly for just-straight-up-good movies that deserve to be appreciated for more than one weekend in July. Just because so many directors are artless assholes who only know how to make commercials doesn’t mean Christopher Nolan is too. It just means he has to compete with them all. So his films are inevitably less than the masterworks they probably should be. Continue reading Inception (2010)