Thursday, October 1, 2009

Drag Me to Hell ****

You know, I feel bad for Alison Lohman. She gets put through hell (pun intended) in this movie and all because she wanted to better her life with a promotion.

Lohman plays a loan officer who has to deal with a tough call: either give an old lady an extension on her loan and risk losing her promotion or kick the lady to the curb and get the promotion. No prizes on who guessed the latter.

Lohman denies the old lady the extension. The woman gets down on her knees and begs, but Lohman doesn't let up. That night the old lady attacks Lohman in the parking garage and curses her. This is where I would have given up and just given the lady her extension, but then we wouldn't have a movie called Drag Me to Hell, would we?

The rest of the movie is about Lohman being tormented by, well, everything. She has nightmares and visions. Her boyfriend takes her to a Shaman who tells her that if she doesn't pass the curse off to someone else then she will, everyone, be dragged to hell.

This is the movie that sees the return to form for director Sam Raimi. Raimi started his carrer making horror movies, but in the last decade he has been making Spider-Man movies. Fans have been waiting for Raimi to return to horror and they won't be disappointed.

The Spider-Man movies never really felt like Sam Raimi movies. Well, Spider-Man 2 had some scenes that were pure Raimi, but the other ones definately didn't feel like Raimi movies. Now we have Drag Me to Hell and for this movie Raimi has pulled out all the stops. This is what a Sam Raimi movie should look and feel like.

Being a Sam Raimi movie, you would come to expect things to be a little off center. Well, with this movie everything is off center. Nothing is as it seems. Scares that should come at the right moment come a few seconds afterwards, just to keep you off guard. I loved this because I never knew what was coming next, especially the seance scene. That one you will have to discover for yourself.

Drag Me to Hell is one of the best movies of 2009. I know that isn't saying much, as this year has been pretty bad for movies, but if this movie had been released any other year it still would have been in the top ten. This movie is filled with jumps, scares, and anything else you can find in a good horror movie. Oh yeah, there's a talking goat in the movie as well. I rest my case.

Chopping Mall ** 1/2

Even though this movie is incredibly stupid, it's got that 80s cheesy fun. The movie takes place at a mall where they have introduced robot guards that will keep intruders or what will you out of the mall. They are made to stop these people simply by keeping them there until the police arrive. Well, as usual, teenagers want to stay at the mall at night and have sex. Why not? Anyway, the robots come up to these people but unlike how it was described at the beginning of the movie, the robots do not recognize the employees, but they start killing the people. So it's a survival story at it's best.

This movie is just a fun movie to watch. I do believe that the director (who is famous in the soft core porn business) knew very well what he was doing and deliberately made it cheesy. There are some funny lines that delivered seriously like "I'm just not used to being chased by killer robots in a mall at night". There is a classic head explosion in the movie, that I believe was shown in the trailer. The effect is just very well done, especially for a low budget 80s horror movie.

The ending is a bit odd, only because I don't know why none of the other characters figured something like that out. Barbara Crampton, from "Re-Animator" fame, is in this movie. My question is how did she get so ugly in one year? She was so cute and adorable in "Re-Animator" in 1985, and this came out in 1986 and she was terribly ugly in this movie. I didn't even know it was her until maybe the 3rd of 4th viewing of this movie because I looked it up on IMDb.

Honestly, this movie is a good time. Just watch it to have a good time, it's not by any means a good movie, but it's an enjoyable movie for what it is.

Big Man Japan ***1/2

Big Man Japan has put me at a roadblock. Here is a movie that is almost unexplainable, meaning that if I were to explain to you what this movie is about all the fun you would have had will go out the window. This is a movie that has to be seen to be believed.

But as a reviewer, it is my duty to tell you, only whether I liked the movie or not, but to give you some idea of what the movie is. I have chosen to give you my thoughts and leave the rest up to you.

Big Man Japan is a spoof on giant monster movies. But it is not exactly the type of spoof that you are used to. Yes, there are a lot of gags, but the movie works up to them. It doesn't take the cheap road and throw fifty gags at you, hoping that one or two of them stick. It takes one gag and nurtures it until it is really funny and then moves on to the next one.

That's not to say that this movie doesn't have cheap gags. There are plenty of cheap gags, but the truly funny ones are the ones that are earned, not given away.

This is why I find Big Man Japan so hard to review. I could give away a few gags, but the fun is discovering them for yourself. I can tell, though, that I really liked Big Man Japan. It is a very funny movie and if you give it it's due then I think that you'll like it too