Cinema Dispatch: Evil Dead Rise

Evil Dead Rise and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Lee Cronin

Not to toot my own horn but I’m of the last generation to actually rent movies from video stores, and while I never had a cool indie place to find obscure classics, my local Blockbuster had a decent collection that included the first Evil Dead movie.  Needless to say that taking it home without any understanding of what I was getting myself into turned out to be a formative experience and I’ve had a soft spot for the franchise ever since.  Still, we’re over forty years removed from that first movie, and with sequels, remakes, video games, and even that TV show from a few years ago, it’s fair to say that you’ll need to do something quite different to crawl out from under the shadow of the original trilogy.  Can this latest take on the material hope to fill those massive shoes, or has it long since run its course, and are we left with the undead facsimile of what we once loved?  Let’s find out!!

Unlike the previous films which kept the action to either a cabin in the woods or a medieval kingdom, our story begins in the city of Los Angeles where Beth (Lily Sullivan) visits her sister Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and her three kids, Danny, Bridget, and Kassie (Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols, and Nell Fisher) who are trying to make ends meet despite being kicked out of their apartment building in the coming days.  Fortune seems to favor this family however as an earthquake hits that rips open a secret bank vault beneath the building and Danny goes in to find a mysterious old book and some old records that they may be able to sell for a few bucks.  I mean if he had a chance to get it on eBay I’m sure he’d make a mint given how obsessive Evil Dead fans are, but sadly the book has other plans as the record contains the ancient incantation to summon the Deadites which finds a nice comfy home in Ellie and starts making things awkward for everyone.  Can this family survive the night and escape the clutches of this rampaging Deadite?  Does the book contain any clues on how to stop this, and are there chapters within it that we’ve never seen before?  Is anyone else a little perplexed at how much of a downer this seems like?  I don’t know; maybe there was a reason these movies were more about Ash than the lore?

“Give me some sugar, Baby!”     “Uh… maybe later?”
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Cinema Dispatch: Mortal Engines


Mortal Engines and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Christian Rivers

There are always WAY too many movies coming out this time of year which means that I can fall a bit behind or forget to see movies altogether.  HOPEFULLY that won’t be a big issue this year; especially if I can still find time to go out and see THIS film!  Yes, it’s another movie adapted from a Young Adult novel that’s the first in a series, but unlike recent attempts like The Darkest Minds (ugh…), it looks like someone put some real effort into this thing with just how absurd the premise is and how much money looks to have been spent trying to realize it!  Can this big budgeted world saving extravaganza be the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games, or is this yet another example of Hollywood having no idea how to adapt these kinds of books to the big screen?  Let’s find out!!

In the far off future, after the bombs dropped and presumably after the Fallout games, humanity has decided that the best way to live in the ravaged hellscape of post-apocalypse Europe is to build cities on top of their cars and race them around looking for resources.  I’m not quite sure how this is more efficient than say using airplanes and smaller vehicles to find stuff and bring it back to stationary cities, but then I guess I’m from the BOMBED INTO OBLIVION part of history, so what do I know?  The biggest and baddest of these cities is London (which STILL waves the Union Jack a thousand years later) run by the nefarious Thaddeus Valentine who you KNOW is bad because he’s played by Hugo Weaving, and when they capture one of the smaller roaming cities he learns that there’s at least one person out there who’s quite cross with him.  Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) was one of the captured city’s refugees, but it was all a ploy to get her that much closer to Valentine who she takes a stab at but only causes minor damage because some dude named Tom (Robert Sheehan) sees the attack coming and stops her from finishing the job.  Through an elaborate chase scene, Tom chases her down to… I guess the city’s trash hole where she tells him that Valentine killed her mother before escaping the city through said trash hole.  Valentine, realizing that one of his loyal peons has heard the ravings of an attempted murder decides that the rational thing to do here is not to convince him that she was lying or even to outright murder him, rather he throws him down the trash hole as well; very much alive and at least a little bit peeved by the whole experience.  From there he finds Hester again and they tentatively team up to find a new city for him and a new assassination plot for her.  Along the way they’ll run into raiders, slavers, some robot dude named Shrike (Stephen Lang), and even an Anti-London resistance movement head up by Anna Fang (Jihae) of which Hester is apparently the key to their success and not just one of many people who have a legitimate grievance against Valentine.  Speaking of whom, he also has some sort of plan to make a Doomsday Weapon out of old technology which he will use to… conquer the world I guess?  In any case, will Hester and Tom learn to become friends over the course of their ridiculously convoluted journey?  Why DID Valentine kill Hester’s mother, and what other secrets is she hiding from everyone around her?  For all the stuff these cities have scavenged, did any of them manage to find the plot?

“Where do we go now?”     “I don’t know, wait for something to explode.”

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