Sam Raimi (born 23.10.1959) Sam Raimi is an American film director who was first known for his cult horror films, such as The Evil Dead and rose to prominence when he took on the directorship of the modern Spider-Man film adaptations.
Childhood: Sam Raimi was born to Celia Barbara and Leonard Ronald Raimi, in the Royal Oak area of Michigan. His mother ran lingerie shops, whilst his father ran home furnishing stores. The family are Conservative Jews and are descended from Russian and Hungarian stock.
Sam was the fourth of five children, though his eldest brother, Sander, was killed in a swimming accident at the age of 15. Another brother, Ivan, sometimes works with Sam as a screenwriter, as well as being an emergency room doctor. His brother Ted is an actor and played Hoffman in the Spider-Man series. His sister Andrea is a stenographer.
When Sam Raimi graduated from Wylie E. Groves High School in Michigan, he majored in English at Michigan State University. However, he only attended for three semesters, after which, he left to film The Evil Dead.
Career: Sam Raimi's fascination with film began when his father bought a Super-8 camera. He and his friend Bruce Campbell (star of Bubba Ho-tep and My Name Is Bruce) teamed up to make a number of low budget movies. One of the first that they made was Within the Woods, in 1978. The 32 minute horror film made $350,000 and they went on to film a comedy short entitled It's Murder!
With the help of investors, family and friends, Raimi financed the production of The Evil Dead in 1981. The film became a cult hit amongst fans of horror and gore movies.
In 1985, Raimi's second film, Crimewave was released. The film was not as successful as its predecessor, something that Raimi blames in part on unwanted meddling from the studio.
With Evil Dead II, Raimi returned to making horror films, though this installment played down the gore and played up the comic element.
Raimi was keen, early on in his career to show his love of comic books and graphic novels and for a long time, wanted to adapt 'The Shadow' into a film. However, when he was unable to obtain the rights, he developed his own super hero film, Darkman, in 1990. This was the first film that he made for a major studio and it received a mixed reception. It was enough to ensure that he gained funding for Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness, which leaned even further toward the comic, rather than the horror genre.
During the 1990s, Sam Raimi worked on a range of genres, such as the Western movie The Quick and the Dead. In 1998, he directed Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton in A Simple Plan, a well-received crime thriller. This was followed by a romantic drama led by Kevin Costner, entitled For the Love of the Game in 1999.
Sam Raimi's big break came in 2002 with the release of Spider-Man. The big budget adaptation of the comic book starred Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Two sequels were made, entitled Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 an all films have grossed over $800 million each at the box office. Prior to landing the Spider-Man job, Raimi vied for the directorial position on Batman Forever, once it became known that Tim Burton had been pushed out. However, Raimi's campaign was unsuccessful and the job went instead to Joel Schumacher. Similarly, Raimi expressed an interest in directing the film version of The Hobbit (the prequel to The Lord of The Rings) but lost out to Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson.
Sam Raimi has collaborated on a number of occasions with the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen (the pair are responsible for films such as Burn After Reading and O, Brother, Where Art Thou?). In the 1980s, Raimi co-wrote The Hudsucker Proxy with the brothers, though the film was not made for nearly 10 years after it had been written. Raimi also made a number of cameo film appearances, including a brief role as a gas station attendant in John Carpenter's Body Bags.
Personal Life: In 1993, Sam Raimi married Gillian Dania Greene. The couple have five children together, three of whom have had cameos in Spider-Man and Drag Me To Hell.
Ignoring everything that made the 1982 ghost-horror classic so iconic, this remake merely feels like yet another Insidious movie, using the same bag of tricks to try to frighten the audience. It's very well made, and the story still sends chills down the spine, but without even a hint of originality the film never develops any real suspense, relying instead on cheap tricks to cause the audience to jump at things that aren't actually scary.
The story opens as the recently laid-off Steve (Sam Rockwell) moves his family into a cheaper home in a dodgy part of town next to some buzzing high-power lines. His wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) is determined to make the best of it, while their teen daughter Kendra (Saxon Sharbino) moans about having to move, their nervous preteen son Griffin (T.S. Spivet's Kyle Catlett) is afraid of every new sound, and 6-year-old daughter Maddy (Kennedi Clements) discovers some new imaginary friends. As strange things start happening in the house, Maddy disappears on a stormy night. So Steve hires paranormal expert Brooke (Jane Adams) to rescue her from what is clearly an angry spirit. And when the nastiness escalates, Brooke calls in reality TV ghostbuster Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris).
What made the original version so memorable was the way Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper reinvented the haunted-house genre, finding new ways to scare us silly. This remake's director is Gil Kenan, who so ingeniously terrified audiences with his animated Monster House but allows this movie to look like pretty much every other horror out there at the moment. It's all so familiar that we brace ourselves for each loud blare of noise. Each set-piece has a rather bland sheen about it, playing so predictably to the most obvious fear factor that nothing catches us by surprise.
Continue reading: Poltergeist Review
The third outing of Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man was panned by critics back in 2007.
Director Sam Raimi has admitted he “messed up plenty”, with 2007’s Spider-Man 3 movie, saying that people still hate him for the slated superhero flick. Starring Tobey Maguire, the film let down many fans of the masked superhero, and became the last outing for Raimi with the franchise.
Sam Raimi says he "messed up" with Spider-Man 3
Speaking to the Nerdist podcast on Monday (December 30th) the director said, "Each and every one of those Spider-Man movies were pretty damn challenging.”
Campbell and director Sam Raimi will be back for more deadite fun in a new series to air on Starz.
Bruce Campbell will soon be back in action again as Ash Williams, in a new tv series based on the Evil Dead franchise.
Bruce Campbell will return to his role as Ash Williams
Over 30 years since the release of the first Evil Dead film, the horror classic is now being resurrected for a new series airing on the Starz channel. Campbell played the role of Ash in three Evil Dead movies, the last being 1992’s Army of Darkness.
'The Last of Us' is already a huge hit as a video game, but can it do the same as a movie?
The Last of Us was only released on PlayStation 3 a year ago. After winning nearly 200 "Game of the Year" awards and re-releasing the game for PlayStation 4, the plans to adapt it into a feature full-length movie may just turn The Last of Us into one of the biggest things in entertainment.
'The Last of Us' is kind of a big deal
Granted, video game movies certainly don't have the greatest track records. The Resident Evil film franchise is flawed, Prince of Persia was a disgrace, and let's not even talk about the Super Mario Bros. movie. So, does this make The Last of Us doomed for the same fate? The movie has a lot to live up to: the version released on PS3 in June 2013 has a 95 Metacritic rating, and the re-tuned and re-mastered version released for PS4 last week has the same rating, as well. The Last of Us strives in its story telling, cinematics, and character development, so it's pretty easy: nail all of that, and you've probably got a great movie. If it were only that simple! But, so far, things are looking good.
Continue reading: Why 'The Last Of Us' Movie Will Succeed
The film has been warmly received, but the solo outing from the Avenger comes nowhere near the quality of some earlier Marvel releases. Is this a sign of declining quality?
Thor 2: The Dark World has been entertaining audiences to a variable degree since it was released this week in the US, and even earlier in some overseas markets. The film already looks on course to be a big hitter at the box office and earn Disney and Marvel even more in their already record breaking annual revenue. Still, the film has not been universally acclaimed and is a shadow of the quality on offer in some of Marvel's most beloved outings. With no end in sight to the ongoing force of the superhero movie realm, does Thor's limited quality indicate a continuing drop in quality?
Chris Hemsworth stands tall as Thor - but does he stand tall enough?
The film has had a considerable amount of negative press to go with the good reviews and positive box office gross and forced one critic to describe it as "a superhero movie that feels like it might have been made by anyone and no one at the same time, simply space-filler before the next big team-up movie."
Remaking an iconic classic is dangerous business, even if the original filmmakers are on board as producers, but at least Uruguayan writer-director Alvarez has a few clever ideas up his sleeve. And a willingness to go gleefully over-the-top with the grisliness. But aside from a few gimmicky jolts, the film is never actually scary.
There are essentially only five characters in the story, which gives the actors a chance to find entertaining details along the way. Mia (Levy) is a drug addict whose three best friends (Lucas, Pucci and Blackmore) take her to her family's creaky old cabin in the woods to go cold turkey. They're joined by Mia's aloof brother David (Fernandez). But none of them know that locals have used the basement for a sinister ritual, and they left a creepy book behind that supposedly has the power to summon a vicious demon who wants to possess them all. So is Mia's freaky behaviour because of her withdrawal, or has something evil got hold of her?
This twist is rather clever, as it adds a level of mordant wit to the film, giving texture to the relationships between these five young people who we fully expect will begin to die horribly nasty deaths one by one. Indeed, what follows is an escalating series of blood-soaked set-pieces involving dismemberment and death at the sharp edge of any implement on hand.
Continue reading: Evil Dead Review
Sam Raimi, Oliver Stone and Guillermo Del Toro - Filmmaker's Roundtable and Luncheon at the 2013 CinemaCon at Caesars Palace Resort and Casino - Las Vegas, Nevada, United States - Wednesday 17th April 2013
The Evil Dead remake faces off against Scary Movie 5 this weekend.
Horror remake Evil Dead will attempt to retain the top spot at the US box office this weekend, after its strong showing on debut. The movie, directed by Fede Alvarez and produced by Sam Raimi, tells the story of a group of five twenty-something friends who are possessed by demons during a trip to... you guessed it... a cabin in the woods. Produced on a modest budget of $17 million, Evil Dead took $26 million on its opening weekend.
Last week, G.I. Joe Retaliation tied with animated comedy Croods for second place, taking $21 million, while a 3D version of Steven Spielberg's 1993 classic Jurassic Park took $18 million. However, the horror flick faces far sterner competition this weekend, with Scary Movie 5 likely to make a serious assault on the top of the box-office. There's also Harrison Ford's baseball movie 42, which could perform well. "When you have a record box-office year like we did in 2012, every weekend in 2013 is becoming a challenge to best or even equal what we did the year before," said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
"It's one crazy ride, that movie. I have to think Sam Raimi is so proud in remaking this film that it turned out so well,"' said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. "It's such a visceral ride, where you're holding on to your seat or holding on to the person next to you," he added, of Evil Dead. The original movie - produced and directed by Raimi - is still considered one of the most violent films of its time. It caused huge controversy upon its release in 1981, receiving an X-rating and being dubbed a "video nasty." However, it' levels of gore and violence helped it become a cult classic.
Continue reading: Is 'Evil Dead' Scary Enough To Retain Box Office No.1 Spot?
It's been a rough week for Justin Bieber, though arguably a tougher couple of days for Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z and company, who found their bank details leaked all over the internet.
Bieber Blues: What is happening to Justin Bieber? The former loveable scamp appears to have become a target for the tabloids, especially the British ones. He endured a torrid time in London before cancelling a show in Portugal, apparently owing to poor ticket sales. Is this a crisis?
Credit Check: Ever wondered how much Ashton Kutcher has in the bank? How about Jay-Z, Mel Gibson, Hillary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger or even Joe Biden. Well, one hacker - seemingly based in Russia - has posted the financial details of the world's biggest stars onto a hastily made website. Some of the numbers are big. Huge, in fact.
James Franco jumped at the chance to work with Sam Raimi again.
Oz: Great and Powerful overcame mixed reviews to take the top spot at the U.S. box office over the weekend, earning $80.3 million and an additional $69.9 million worldwide, according to studio estimates. Cynical industry insiders had claimed Sam Raimi's new movie had flop written all over it, though despite a $200 million budget, the prequel to The Wizard of Oz looks in a fine position to make big bucks.
We caught up with its lead star, the chameleon like actor James Franco, to talk why he signed on for the project. "First of all, I heard Sam [Raimi] was directing this movie. I did the three Spider-man films with him, and I've known him over 10 years. Not only is he one of my favourite directors to work with, but I'm a fan of his films. So I jumped at the opportunity to do this", he explained. Franco, who has dedicated much of time to the weird and wonderful scripts of Hollywood in recent years, revealed he'd been a massive fan of Oz since he was a child, "I read all the L Frank Baum books when I was a kid, so I was excited because I'd be able to step into that world of my childhood imagination. And when I read the script I saw that they were going to be loyal and respectful of everything we lovers of Oz expect, and that there would be familiar things that you need for it to be the land of Oz," he added.
The new movie sees Franco star as the wizard, with Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz playing the trio of witches he encounters after crashing in the magical world of Oz. Though it could retain it's No.1 position this weekend, it faces competition from Jim Carrey and Steve Carell's new comedy 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' and another of Franco's movies, Spring Breakers.
Read our full interview with James Franco.
Continue reading: Oz Fan-Boy James Franco On Why He Signed On For 'Great and Powerful'
New Sam Raimi-directed movie tops US Box office charts
Oz really is great and powerful, when it comes to raking in the box office cash, it seems. BBC News reports that Oz the Great And Powerful claimed $80.3 million (£53.7 million) in box office sales over its opening weekend – making it the highest-earning debut so far this year. No mean feat for a movie that could easily have found enemies amongst die hard fans of the original Wizard of Oz movie.
Director Sam Raimi, of course, is no stranger to tackling beloved movie concepts and developing them for new audiences. Not only did he take on the Spider-Man franchise but he’s also been treading the fine line between genius and heresy for many horror fans, with his new adaptation of Evil Dead. The gamble has paid off with Oz The Great And Powerful, though, leaving its movie theatre competition choking on its dust. Starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, the movie found no contest from its rivals. Jack the Giant Slayer, which topped the charts the previous week, languished in second place with just $28 million (£18.7 million). Melissa McCarthy’s Identity Thief slipped to third, with $6.3 million (£4.2 million), in its fifth week in US cinemas.
Continue reading: Weekend Box Office Glory For Sam Raimi's Oz The Great And Powerful
Mila Kunis, the star of Oz: Great and Powerful, says she will not star in Fifty Shades of Grey.
Mila Kunis became everyone's favorite Hollywood actress this week, after helping a clearly terrified rookie journalist through an interview for BBC Radio 1. The down-to-earth star was pretty much everyone's favorite Hollywood actress anyway, but, well, this just sealed it didn't it.
Kunis is coming to the end of a long promotional campaign for Sam Raimi's big-budget 3-D movie 'Oz: Great and Powerful' which hits cinemas worldwide today (March 8, 2013). The movie, a prequel to the classic 'Wizard of Oz', follows the story of a small-time magician, played by James Franco, who arrives in an enchanted land and is forced to decide if he will be a good man, or a great one. Kunis plays the wicked witch Theodora in one of her most high profile roles to date, though the former That 70's Show actress has been linked with the hottest part in Hollywood for the past 12 months.
Kunis is the bookmaker's second-favorite for the part of Anastasia Steele in the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' movie. Though all signs point towards Gilmore Girls actress Alexis Bledel, Mila appears to be the people's choice, though she insists audiences will not see her in the raunchy drama, an adaptation of E.L. James' bestselling novel. "You will not see me in 50 Shades of Grey. I'm so sorry!" she told Contactmusic.com, adding, "I will not be in 50 Shades of Grey. I promise." Well, that's that then.
Joe Roth, Sam Raimi, Joey King, David Briem, Seth Rogen and Leron G - James Franco is honoured with a Hollywood Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 7th March 2013
Mila Kunis says she's already signed on for a sequel to 'Oz: Great and Powerful'
Hmm, looks like the studio heads have really got one over on Mila Kunis and the 'Oz: Great and Powerful' gang here. The movie doesn't hit theaters until tomorrow (March 8, 2013) though Disney has already persuaded the Hollywood actress to sign up for a sequel. The problem is, nobody else seems to known about the potential of a franchise, especially Sam Raimi who outright denied signing on the dotted line.
With lukewarm reviews at best, the prequel to 'The Wizard of Oz' isn't going to be among the critics' best movie lists of 2013, though Disney will be hoping it smashes the competition at the box-office and recoups some of its reported $200 million budget. Mila Kunis will also be praying for big numbers after telling E! Online's Marc Malkin, "We're all signed on for sequels." Hmm, that's not what Rachel Weisz, or Michelle Williams, or Sam Raimi says.
Weisz wasn't as concrete on the possibility of playing evil witch Evanora, saying, "I hope so," before adding, "If there is one, I'd love to be in it." Maybe she should have words with Mila.
'Oz: Great and Powerful' is being touted as one of the finest 3-D movies yet.
Disney's fantastical adventure 'Oz: The Great and Powerful' hit theaters worldwide this weekend on the back of lukewarm support at best. A prequel to the much-loved 1939 classic starring Judy Garland, Sam Raimi's 3-D film stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics who comes across the magical Land of Oz. Alongside Franco, Hollywood actresses Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams play the three witches.
Though the critics - deflated after the end of a long awards' season - were only too happy to disregard Raimi's movie as unmemorable, 'Oz: Great and Powerful' could prove to be more than relevant for the younger generation. The advent of 3-D cinema has placed more emphasis on the movie going experience and - just like with Life of Pi - audiences are in for a thrilling two hour ride with 'Oz', whether they remember much of the story afterwards is a side matter. "The 3-D effects are plentiful - hats, lions, and baboons jump off the screen and into your lap - but the characters rarely lodge in the moviegoer's heart," said Richard Corliss, while William Bibbiani of CraveOnline said, "The best 3D movie, period. So far, anyway." High praise, given the huge success of Ang Lee at the recent Academy Awards. Scott Foundas of the Village Voice appeared to miss the point entirely, writing, "Throughout, I longed for the Raimi of old-or even of 2009's deliciously gross throwback Drag Me to Hell." Matthew Turner of View London was another to praise the director's use of the new technology, writing, "Sam Raimi's colourful Oz prequel is nicely acted, visually spectacular and makes terrific use of 3D ..."
Continue reading: Is There Genius In Sam Raimi's 'Oz: Great and Powerful'?