And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


The Quick and the Dead (1995)
Now there's a halo legend...

Now there’s a halo legend…

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



Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Lara keeps a look out for falling plot contrivances.

As Tomb Raider opens, we find Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie, of course) hanging suspended from a rope. Not even her intricately woven braid stirs. Then of course, she runs-jumps-flips-climbs her way through an ancient looking caver of faux-ruins and blows the holy hell out of her ultra advanced robot assassin/“sparing partner.” All in a flash-bang opening action sequence designed to drive home a singular point: that Lara Croft is a Badass Chick. Needless to say, it accomplishes its goal…so, I asked myself, what the hell is the rest of the movie supposed to do?

Spiral ever downward, apparently. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Angelina Jolie is Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider, only child to “legendary” archeologist Lord Croft (Jon—AnacondaVoight). When she’s not destroying her own robots or lounging about the eighty-plus rooms of her ancestral home, Lara likes to gallivant around the globe and engage in a spot of grave robbing, stealing priceless artifacts and…doing…something…with them. If you don’t live under a rock, you already knew this. {More}