A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

May 29, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Drag Me to Hell

In Theatres: May 29

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: A loan officer ordered to evict an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse, which turns her life into a living hell. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.

Review: Although director Sam Raimi is best known for the uber-popular Spiderman trilogy, hipsters will tell you that his real street cred lies in his earlier work on such campy delights as Darkman and the Evil Dead series - which admittedly I haven't seen...I know! (Ducking hipster-thrown rotten avocados and bacon...get it, because they're too hip for tomatoes...oh never mind.) Drag Me to Hell marks a return to his early roots, and what a triumphant comeback it is. (Think more George Foreman and not Brett Favre.)

Put simply, Drag Me to Hell was the most fun I've had at the movie theatre this year.

While the plot and story won't be winning any awards for originality, the film contains more laughs (both intentional ones and knowingly unintentional ones), scares and gross out moments then any horror movie I've seen in years.* Normally horror films seem to fall into one of three categories: your standard 'scary guy who walks at a medium pace and chases teens with a sharp weapon', torture porn (Saw, Hostel) and remakes of Japanese supernatural horror films (The Ring) that take themselves way too seriously.

DMTH exits outside of this realm and is all the better for it. If blood and guts isn't your bag, have no fear; besides a classic scene involving a bloody nose, there isn't a drop in sight. Conversely, for those of you leery of the PG-13 rating, let me also put your fears to ease. There is plenty of stuff to gross you out (think gooey, slimy and icky) and it really pushes it's rating; the fact that it didn't get an R probably stems solely from the lack of swearing, which I didn't even notice until after the fact.

Much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this movie is best scene in a packed theatre, where the screams, groans and laughs of the audience only add to overall sense of camp and fun. This Movie City News piece sums up the audience effect better than I ever could, but let me just say that you shouldn't have to be dragged to see this movie. It's cool as hell.

*I'm not even a big horror movie guy and I loved this. Let me go on record as saying it contains the best 'parking garage fight scene' ever. Ever.

Thunder Matt Rating: 4.5 Pairs of Dentures out of 5


Release Date: May 29

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn't alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.

Review: Having only really jumped aboard the Pixar bandwagon starting with Ratatouille, I'm probably not qualified to say, "Pixar's done it again". But I will. "Pixar's done it again."

Up is a charming, heartfelt and brilliantly illustrated tale about a widowed (and cantankerous) old man and the friendship he develops with a neighbor boy and the adventures they encounter while flying his balloon-powered house to South America.

Again, citing my Pixar history ignorance, I am going to have to assume that his is one of the more random, esoteric and original films in the Pixar canon, certainly moreso than Ratatouille or Wall E. You never really know where the film is going next and it doesn't follow any Screenwriting 101 format, which is certainly to it's credit. A random island filled with dogs that talk via their collars? Sure, why not? Fights atop a blimp filled with the skeletal remains of dinosaurs? Oh, don't worry, they didn't forget to include a scene like that.

Once again proving that Pixar movies are for all ages and not just kiddies, the first 15 minutes of the film are more honest and touching than anything you'll probably see on the screen all year. It's pretty dang hard not to get a little choked up (at the beginning of the movie no less) while watching a montage of a younger Walter and his wife Ellie go through life only to have Ellie get sick. Parents should fear not; the sad parts are an exercise in subtlety and good taste...Old Yeller it ain't.

I saw this in 3D, with real glasses and not those cheapo red and white kind you remember from the cereal boxes. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you see it in this format. It really works in way that adds depth and texture, as opposed to the 'things coming at you' way. It serves to add an extra layer of depth to the experience of an already great film.

Thunder Matt Rating: 4 Balloons Out of 5