Highlighting a movie from a horror icon’s filmography that was generally well received isn’t exactly a reach, but somehow I still feel as if Sam Raimi‘s Drag Me to Hell doesn’t get the praise it deserves. The 2009 release stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long in a simple tale of a bank loan officer who is cursed by an elderly woman after denying her an extension on a mortgage payment. The conceit may be straightforward, but Lohman’s stellar performance in the physically demanding role paired with Raimi’s knack for perfectly balancing horror and camp elevate the pic to something special. Perhaps the best thing I can say about Drag Me to Hell is that I have a great time seeing it, every time I see it. The blend of scares and laughs, of the hilarious and the grotesque, make it incredibly watchable even when your instinct is to look away. It isn’t just worth a spot on your horror watch list but should be counted among the best horror films of the last decade.
Scary movie recommendation aside, this week’s Top 5 features the first trailer for Brad Bird and Disney’s Tomorrowland, interviews for and our review of The Judge, confirmation of the Ghostbusters reboot, interviews for and our review(s) of Whiplash, and Adam’s editorial on why more and more filmmakers are making the transition to creating for television. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.
1. First Trailer for Brad Bird’s TOMORROWLAND
This week brought us the first trailer for Disney’s sci-fi film Tomorrowland. Directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney & Britt Robertson, the 2015 pic has been mostly shrouded in mystery throughout development. That in mind, this first look does a near perfect job of teasing the film’s wondrous tone while keeping most of said mystery intact. This is definitely one of my most anticipated for 2015.
2. THE JUDGE Interviews and Review
It may seem hard to believe given the career defining role it has become, but Robert Downey Jr. is actually quite gifted at playing characters other than Tony Stark. Add in Oscar winner Robert Duvall & Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and David Dobkin’s drama The Judge becomes a film I’m interested in if for no other reason than its cast. Whether you’re compelled by the premise or sold on the talent like yours truly, you’ll do well to check out Matt’s review, Steve’s video interviews with Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Duvall, Dax Shepard & Vera Farmiga, and director David Dobkin, and Christina’s press conference transcript with Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Duvall.
3. GHOSTBUSTERS Reboot Confirmed with Paul Feig & Female Cast
This week brought us the welcomed confirmation that Paul Feig will helm a Ghostbusters reboot with a female ensemble and co-write with The Heat‘s Katie Dippold. As a fan who was exhausted of fruitless Ghostbusters 3 talks, this is honestly the best news I could have hoped for. Not only do we get a reprieve from countless stories of Dan Aykroyd thinking the movie could happen at any time but we also get what I believe will be a fresh take on a franchise that I hold near and dear.
4. WHIPLASH Interviews and Review
Arriving in limited U.S. theaters this weekend is writer/director Damien Chazelle’s jazz ensemble drama Whiplash. I noted the film as one of my most anticipated for the rest of the year a few weeks back and I stand by that statement today. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons look spectacular and the all-encompassing demands required to become a world-class musician have drama/conflict written all over them. For more on the pic, check out Matt’s review, Phil’s review, Steve’s video interviews with Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, and Damien Chazelle, and Sheila’s text interview with Teller, Simmons, Chazelle, and Melissa Benoist.
5. The TRUE DETECTIVE Effect: Why Filmmakers Are Flocking to Television
It’s status as an award-winning series that I’ve yet to hear a single person say they disliked is one thing. The fact that HBO’s True Detective was so successful that it’s helping fundamentally change the way television series’ are made is an entirely different achievement all together. For more, check out Adam’s editorial The True Detective Effect where he credits the series as a primary reason for why major filmmakers like David Fincher, David Lynch, and Steven Soderbergh are trying their hand at long-form storytelling on the tube.