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Posts Tagged ‘Evil Dead’

When visiting my parents or talking to then on the telephone they often ask what movies I have seen, if I respond with the name of a film they haven’t heard of my mom, knowing I watch a lot of foreign language movies will ask “is it foreign”. On more than one occasion I have given the somewhat flippant and slightly rude response “yes, American”. It is funny that a movie made five thousand miles away in Hollywood is familiar and not foreign because it is in something similar to “The Queens English”, and yet something made across the channel in France, still on the same continent as England, is in some way foreign and exotic. Maybe we are two nations joined by a common language and not divided by it as George Bernard Shaw quipped. Whatever the reason, as we step below the surface of these idea we find an interesting thing, filmmaking does exist beyond the bright lights of Hollywood, both in Europe and in the rest of America.Mean Streets The Terminator Blood Simple Memento

When I talk about American independent cinema it isn’t just the obvious and seminal movies like Easy Rider (1969) (Dennis Hopper) or Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) (Monte Hellman) or the small no budget movies that you have never heard of. Think of some of the biggest name directors working today: Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ethan and Joel Coen, Christopher Nolan, then look at their independent films Mean Streets (1973), The Terminator (1984), Blood Simple (1984), Memento (2000) . Sam Raimi may be making money movies for Disney now but it all started with Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead II (1987). Would George Lucas have made Star Wars (1977), if he hadn’t already made THX-1138 (1971) or the hugely profitable American Graffiti (1973)? Then there are directors like David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino and Darren Aronofsky that are just more comfortable outside or on the edge of the system. There was a time before he started believing his own publicity that Kevin Smith was the darling of the indie scene thanks to the cult status of Clerks (1994), but before that came Richard Linklater’s Slacker (1991). A day in the life of various social outcasts and misfits held together by loose strands and an even looser narrative, the style and the realistic dialogue became a blueprint for a generation. Linklater wasn’t seduced by Hollywood instead he remained in Austin and two years later he came up with Dazed And Confused (1993).Dazed And Confused Clerks THX 1138 Evil Dead

The same can be said for foreign language cinema, it isn’t all about weird esoteric art house movies, there are many accessible movies not in the English language. Not that the weird esoteric art house movies are a bad thing, they are just not the best place to start. The test as to if a movie is accessible and worth seeing is simple, would you watch it if it were in English? If the answer is yes, it is worth a look. There were two movies that seemed to cross the language barrier that came out within a year of each other just over a decade ago: Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie (2001). Many of the people who watched and enjoyed them wouldn’t normally have seen a movie in another language. There have been some interesting examples too; the French thriller Tell No One (2006) is very American in its style, no great surprise, it is based on an American novel (of the same name) by Harlan Coben. A Hollywood remake was supposed to have been made but it doesn’t appear to have materialised yet. The same can’t be said for Anything for Her (2008), it took just two years for the American remake The Next Three Days to hit cinema screens. Both Tell No One and Anything for Her benefited from the presence of actresses familiar to English speaking audiences Kristin Scott Thomas and Diane Kruger respectively. On the subject of remakes the terrible Queen Latifah movie Taxi (2004) is a remake of a great French movie also called Taxi (1998). It has spawned three sequels (the first of which is also really good) the movies are notable for lots of things including significant early roles for Marion Cotillard.Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Amélie Tell No One Anything for Her

When I first saw Oldboy (2003) it immediately became one of my all time favourite films. I didn‘t expect it to have gained the following that it has, I also didn‘t think Hollywood would dare to touch it, but they have the American remake of Park Chan-wook’s vengeance movievis in production and is set for release later this year, it is directed by Spike Lee. The other movie that plays well to British and American audiences is Run Lola Run (1998). It put its German star Franka Potente and director and Tom Tykwer onto the international stage both have worked in American and their native Germany many times since. But I can trace my first experience of a foreign language movie back a little further than that. In 1990 I read a review of a film I really wanted to see Nikita (1990). At fourteen years old I didn’t have a chance of getting into see it at the cinema to see the eighteen certificate movie, but a couple of months later (when I was fifteen) renting the video was surprisingly easy. Its impact in America was such that it spawned a Hollywood remake and two television series. Its director Luc Besson’s next two films Léon (1994) and The Fifth Element (1997) were in English.Oldboy Run Lola Run Nikita Taxi

I have done little more than scratch the surface of independent and foreign langue movies, but I hope I have inspired at least one person to look below the tent-pole blockbuster and popcorn movie and towards the smaller films that don’t get all the publicity. Many of them will get limited runs in big multiplexes but others are harder to find, but if this means you are also helping to support your local independent cinema’s it’s an added bonus. As you grow to love them as much as I do you will look deeper and further back at older movies and a whole world of cinema will open up to you. I know that I am to a certain extent preaching to the converted as many readers are film fans and bloggers themselves and are far more cineliterate than me.

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Jack the Giant Slayer: The latest cynical attempt to craft a knowing, fun and funny film suitable for all the family from a fairytale. Like most of the previous attempts it is okay attempt, reasonable funny and entertaining but without anything original or exceptional.Jack the Giant Slayer

Dark Skies: Sci-Fi horror about a suburban family that will be very familiar to anyone who has seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies. Not bad but probably one to wait for the DVD or stream.Dark Skies

Spring Breakers: Satire or exploitation? Four young female college students looking for “a break from reality” head to Florida for spring break, there they meet Alien, a drug dealer, rapper and wanabee gangster. Depending on your point of view they get more than they expected and all they ever wanted. Not as hollow and meaningless as some would have you believe but not as edgy or subversive as the filmmakers would like you to think.spring-breakers-640x426

Papadopoulos & Sons: British comedy about a self made millionaire who loses everything and is forced to reopen the family fish and chip shop with his estranged older brother. Lightweight but well-meaning and enjoyable.Papadopoulos & Sons

Oblivion: Set in a dystopian future on an abandoned earth. It has its problems but it looks great and there is enough going on to entertain. Forget the anti Tom Cruise backlash he is actually perfect for the role although totally overshadowed by the mesmerising brilliant Andrea Riseborough who steals the film despite having a relatively small part.oblivion-andrea-riseborough

The Place Beyond the Pines: Splint into three distinct sections. As a whole the film is really good but its lasting impression suffers as each section is a little weaker than the one before. Taken on its own merits the contrivances of the plot are a problem but they rely on coincidence far less outlandish than many Shakespearian tragedy.The Place Beyond the Pines

Olympus Has Fallen: Basically its Die Hard in the White House. It has its problems chef amongst them is not casting an everyman in the lead. That and totally steeling its plot from Die Hard.Olympus Has Fallen aaron eckhart and gerard butler

Evil Dead: It doesn’t know if it wants to be a remake, a rebook, a reimagining or a sequel to the horror classic. It lacks the humour and the originality of the original on a positive note it does still manage to be repugnant and repulsive.Evil Dead

Iron Man 3: The perfect steppingstone between the first and forthcoming second Avengers movie. It ticks all the boxes and avoids all the pitfalls of Iron Man 2. I doesn’t quite live up to the first Iron Man and could do with having about ten minutes trimmed from the running time, mostly in the final act.Iron Man 3

I’m So Excited: Following The Skin I Live In was always going to be an impossible task, that’s why Pedro Almodóvar did the right thing by turning to a lightweight farce, or did he? While on the surface the movie is a silly and irrelevant comedy, not far below the surface is a cutting political allegory. Far from the directors best but still worth seeing.I’m So Excited

The Look Of Love: You never know what to expect from Michael Winterbottom and this biopic of Paul Raymond doesn’t disappoint. It starts well but losses its way towards the end. The casting is perfect, particularly Steve Coogan as Raymond.The Look Of Love

Iron Man 3 is probably the best film of the month, Oblivion was certainly the most pleasantly surprising but the movie of the month has to go to the one that is being talked about most and will probably have the most lasting impact. Surprisingly, the movie of the month is:spring-breakers-posters-slicespring-breakers

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