Jacob, Author at Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Hellraiser Halloween Marathon / Masochistic Episode / Cry for Help


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Halloween may been a distant memory for most of you, but not for me! While Andrew was tackling the Halloween franchise, I was re-subjecting myself to another long-running horror franchise: Hellraiser. Hellraiser is a series I both loved for many years and tried, mostly in vain, to defend to my roommate, friend and co-contributor Danny Reid. Last year I sat down with him and watched nearly all nine installments. I had planned on doing a retrospective on each film last year in time for Halloween, but time and life intervened. Well, here I am a year later with another chance, and better late than never, right? But enough babbling, let's open this box!


Evil Dead (2013)

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Evil Dead 2013 is one of those films I've been waiting for with equal parts excitement and dread since sometime in early 2000s when rumors of a remake started circulating. Excitement because I've been a fan of the Evil Dead series and Sam Raimi since I first saw Army of Darkness twenty-some years ago. Dread because when's the last time you remember a good horror remake?

For those of you going in completely blind, Evil Dead is a story of five kids spending a weekend in the woods and getting murdered horribly by demons. That's pretty much it. Like the original, it's light on plot and heavy on gore. Mia (Jane Levy) is trying to kick her drug addiction, so she's gather a few of her college friends and her brother (Shiloh Fernandez) to take her out into a secluded cabin for the week so she can detox. Things go as well as they can in that situation, at least until one of the kids decides to read the scary book wrapped in barbed wire that has “DO NOT READ THIS” crudely scrawled on every page. Cue demons, destruction and about 100 gallons of fake blood.


Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

handg5Jacob // INDIFFERENT BannerHansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is yet another "grim-dark" reboots of a children's classic. Abandoning much of the former's themes of trust and betrayal, it focuses more on the "witch" aspect of the original story and tries to amp up the "sex appeal" and "witty one-liners." The films starts out with a quick retelling of Hansel and Gretel escaping from the gingerbread house as children, then rockets forward using the magic of a "several years later" spell and finds Gretel and Hansel (Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner, respectively), trying to save a town's missing children from the evil Muriel (Famke Janssen trying to pay-off her mortgage), who when she isn't rounding up kids for a super-secret witch ritual, likes to constantly monolog about Gretel and Hansel's mysterious past. Oh, and Pihla Viitala as Mina, who is totally not a witch at all how could you even suggest that? Sorry I almost forgot to mention her, but it seemed like writer/director Tommy Wirkola forgot about her most of the time, too.


Silent Hill Revelations 3D (2012)

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I remember when the first Silent Hill film was released in 2006. I remember nerds pitching a fit because Roger Ebert gave it an unforgivably mediocre review and sparking off yet another internet-wide debate about video games and art and blah blah blah fuck you dad. To Mr. Ebert's credit, Silent Hill was a mess of a film. It tried to be a little more introspective than most horror, then realized that it'd probably lose the mainstream horror-fans and threw some blood and guts in there. But it didn't stop there. Then they must have realized that they waited too much time being gory and half-assed artsy and turned the last 10 minutes into an exposition dump and a horrific barbed-wire rape scene for some inexplicable reason (seriously). It was a resoundingly poor movie, which is a shame because I always felt that the direction, cinematography and (some) of the acting was quite good; where it really fell apart was the script.

Given the poor reception, from fans and critics alike, I figured the Silent Hill film franchise was effectively dead. Guess I forgot the cardinal rule of video game movies: No matter how bad it is, it'll get a sequel. Cut to six years later and I'm staring down the barrel of Silent Hill: Revelations 3D. You'd think I would have learned not to get my hopes up by now. I mean, a sequel that no one asked for, six years after people stopped caring about the original, and it features tacked-on, flavor-of-the-month cheap 3D effects? No, somehow these along couldn't dissuade me. I mean, at least Roger Avery wasn't attached to this one, so it can't be worse, right?

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The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)

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Anyone with a passing knowledge of the RZA's career knew that The Man with the Iron Fists was an inevitability. When you spend the better part of your discography extolling the virtues of Tiger Style and pondering whether Toad Style's near-invulnerability could indeed defend against the Wu-Tang Sword, the only thing surprising about making the jump to film is that he didn't do it sooner.

Of course in this post-Kill Bill world, the bar for pseudo-grindhouse kung-fu deconstructions has been raised. So how does a man with iron fists fare against such competition? The answer is a resounding... maybe.

The RZA (in an acting, directing, writing, and scoring quadruple threat) is the titular iron fisted man who works as a blacksmith, building weapons for the various gangs that vie for control of Jungle Village. When news gets out that a shipment of gold will soon be passing through the village, every killer, mercenary and lowlife wants a piece of it. What unfolds is a story of revenge, betrayal and schemes within schemes. As the clans meet in Jungle Village and the body count rises, the blacksmith tries to flee with the woman he loves, but can he ever truly escape the cycle of violence?