April 5, 2013 |
THE ORIGINAL "Evil Dead" is a bit like the "Big Lebowski" of horror movies - exalted by dedicated websites and fan clubs, celebrated at festivals. Fans love its unique blend of horror and slapstick, the latter either intentional or a product of the movie's extreme low budget - the movie was a true independent that Sam Raimi, then 20, produced, directed and financed (via friends) himself. The 1982 movie is regarded today with a cheerful fondness, augmented by fans' love of the sequels, including the overtly comic "Army of Darkness" ten years later.
August 31, 2012 |
WE'VE HAD zombies, demons, vampires and ghosts. Why shouldn't a dybbuk - the Judaic version of the possessing spirit - have a chance to finally shine again on the big screen? Representing a sort of equal opportunity religious variation on an all-too-familiar theme, "The Possession" is a Jewish-themed "Exorcist" that, if nothing else, should discourage the practice of buying antique wooden boxes at flea markets. Such a box, carved with Hebrew inscriptions, causes no end of havoc in this low-rent horror film receiving a typical dog-days, end-of-summer release.
May 27, 2011 |
The critical success of the Leo Tolstoy biopic The Last Station awakened in some moviegoers a yen for all things Russian. Based on the Jay Parini novel, the 2009 pic offered a delicious, tragicomic look at Tolstoy's last months. Another Russian man of letters, Anton Chekhov, serves as the inspiration for the acerbic social satire Anton Chekhov's The Duel , released this week by Music Box Films ( www.musicboxfilms.com/ ; $29.95 DVD; $38.94 Blu-ray; not rated). A breathtaking, richly textured drama from Georgian-born Israeli director Dover Kosashvili, the film is about two men who clash violently - to the point of fighting a duel - over a beautiful woman.
January 28, 2011 |
Lit as if doom itself were around the corner (even the daytime street scenes are bedimmed), The Rite is a supernatural thriller about God and the Devil and the demonic possession of our souls. It begins in a small town near Chicago, where Rutger Hauer, sallow and sober, is an undertaker busy with the embalming of the dead. It ends in a howling conflagration not far from the Vatican, where a young priest is witness to the wild expulsion of a satanic terror. In between: crises of faith, a plague of frogs, a red-eyed mule, and "the devil's foot soldiers" hard at work on the innocent men, women, and children of Rome.
November 20, 2009 |
I FOUND myself smiling when I heard the usual suspects criticizing the Conference of Catholic Bishops for poking its nose into the health-care debate. Actually, it was more like a smirk. When word got out that the mitered ones had lobbied for the Stupak Amendment barring tax subsidies for abortion, which I wrote about last week, pro-choice groups and civil libertarians erupted in anger at this blatant scaling of the barricade separating Church from State. That was to be expected.
February 18, 2005 |
What if I told you that God and the devil made a wager, a kind of standing bet for the souls of all mankind?" Sure, we'll buy that. In Constantine, which takes its name from its chain-smoking, exorcism-performing antihero, Keanu Reeves offers his worldview to a policewoman played by Rachel Weisz. She's not in good spirits: Her twin sister has committed suicide, or at least it looks like a suicide. And demons are walking the streets of L.A., but, hey, what else is new? John Constantine, who combines the surly cynicism of a Hammett detective with the surly cynicism of a Chandler detective with the surly cynicism of Harrison Ford in Blade Runner, knows about God and the devil firsthand: He has the power to recognize the "half-breed" angels and demons who inhabit our world, and he has seen hell itself, back when he took his own life, and it looks like one giant Bosch pit. Then Constantine was returned to the living, and he's been scowling ever since.
December 24, 2001 |
"EXORCIST" DIRECTOR William Friedkin is suing Warner Bros., accusing the studio of copyright violations and fraud in last year's release of a version of his 1973 horror classic. Screenwriter Peter Blatty joined Friedkin in the federal court lawsuit, which claims that Warner Bros. made false statements, including identifying the studio as the movie's author. Friedkin and Blatty say the studio didn't pay them for the 2000 version of "The Exorcist" (which earned more than $40 million)
November 19, 2000 |
For those who remember the shrieks that greeted The Exorcist in movie theaters in 1973, the biggest shock registered by the rerelease of William Friedkin's horror landmark wasn't on the screen. In the darkness of the multiplexes, there was a good deal of snickering among younger moviegoers raised on satanic legions of Exorcist clones, a bloody tide of slasher movies, and the sly, self-referential horror pictures and parodies of the '90s. They were plainly not disposed to cower at the sight of Linda Blair launching salvos of pea soup at the priests attempting to snatch her from the devil's grip.
October 13, 2000 |
Dark and murky, grainy and grim, Lost Souls has a look that will chill you to the bone. Happily, perhaps, this hokey Satan-is-among-us thriller - with its histrionic exorcisms, worried priests and unwitting human vessels (Ben Chaplin, as a best-selling writer with a devilish personality) - will warm you up with its unintentionally silly satanic symbolism, creaky dialogue, and Winona Ryder's curious wig. Despite its spooky, color-desaturated visuals, guffaws, not screams, are more in order.
October 3, 2000 |
The re-issue of "The Exorcist," 27 years after it became a hit, is proving more profitable than some first-run Hollywood movies. Last week, "The Exorcist" made $8 million and just missed nipping "Urban Legends: Final Cut" as the top movie of the week. It surely would have if Warner Bros. had released it in more than 664 theaters. This week, expanded to a run of 1,150, "The Exorcist" made another $7 million, again finishing No. 2, but easily beating the debuts of "Beautiful" and "Girlfight.