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As 'Thor: The Dark World' Fails To Overwhelm Critics, Are Marvel Losing Their Touch?


Chris Hemsworth Tom Hiddleston Disney Hugh Jackman Sam Raimi

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?

ThorChris 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."

Continue reading: As 'Thor: The Dark World' Fails To Overwhelm Critics, Are Marvel Losing Their Touch?

Is 'Evil Dead' Scary Enough To Retain Box Office No.1 Spot?


Sam Raimi Harrison Ford

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?

Oz Fan-Boy James Franco On Why He Signed On For 'Great And Powerful'


James Franco Sam Raimi Michelle Williams Rachel Weisz Mila Kunis

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'

Weekend Box Office Glory For Sam Raimi's Oz The Great And Powerful


James Franco Sam Raimi

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.

Watch the trailer for Oz the Great and Powerful

Continue reading: Weekend Box Office Glory For Sam Raimi's Oz The Great And Powerful

"I'm So Sorry!" Oz: Great And Powerful's Mila Kunis Not In 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'


Mila Kunis James Franco Sam Raimi

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.

Continue reading: "I'm So Sorry!" Oz: Great And Powerful's Mila Kunis Not In 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'

Mila Kunis Signs Up For 'Oz: Great And Powerful' Sequel, Nobody Else Does


Mila Kunis Sam Raimi James Franco Michelle Williams

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.

Continue reading: Mila Kunis Signs Up For 'Oz: Great And Powerful' Sequel, Nobody Else Does

Oz The Great And Powerful Will Be Different From Wizard Of Oz, Insists Sam Raimi


Sam Raimi

The Land of Oz might be familiar to almost everyone who watches Oz The Great And Powerful for the first time, but director Sam Raimi and star Michelle Williams have been at pains to express that this prequel to the all-time great musical of 1939 won’t be too similar to the Judy Garland-tale of old.

Raimi is a man who knows how to work on stories that have already been hugely successful in the past – he was the man who directed the Toby Maguire starring Spider-Man trilogy after all. Yet even he was wary of taking on this film, which has a huge billing to live up to, aiming as it does, to tell a story before one of the greatest fantasy films ever committed to movie reel. “The original is my favorite film of all time,” the director told Entertainment Weekly. ” I didn’t want it sullied. I didn’t want to be involved in a production that might trade off the goodwill of that film, so I didn’t even want to read the script at first. Luckily I did. And then I realized that it wasn’t at all what I thought.”

Michelle Williams echoed Raimi’s sentiments when discussing how they worked on her character, Glinda The Good Witch. “We tried to think of what made Glinda in the original film, but we didn’t want to lean too heavy-handedly on that,” she insisted. The story itself will tell of how Oz Diggs – played by James Franco – arrived to the Land of Oz and eventually became its chief wizard. Only time will tell how the critics will receive it.

Continue reading: Oz The Great And Powerful Will Be Different From Wizard Of Oz, Insists Sam Raimi

New Evil Dead Trailer Proffers Little More Than Half-Decent Halloween Costume (Trailer)


Sam Raimi

‘Everyone likes a re-make’ so goes the mantra of horror movie producers the world over, so with that in mind, it’s no surprise that we’re all readying ourselves for another instalment of the Evil Dead, with some of the original producers back on board to resurrect the 1981 Bruce Campbell-starring tale of evil being unleashed in the woods.

Check out the new trailer

Continue reading: New Evil Dead Trailer Proffers Little More Than Half-Decent Halloween Costume (Trailer)

Star Studded Oz: The Great And Powerful New Trailer!


James Franco Mila Kunis Rachel Weisz Michelle Williams Sam Raimi

Judy Garland's 1939 The Wizard of Oz was a Technicolor work of monumental cinematic genius. It somehow captured the spirit and imagination of children and adults alike, providing the right balance of wonder and terror, with a believable and endearing heroine, as well us a truly horrifying villain and her evil flying monkey minions. Oz: The Great and Powerful has just released it's theatrical trailer and in many ways it's a far cry from the original, but equally, the essence seems to remain.

Oz: The Great and Powerful stars James Franco as the eponymous accidental hero, a 'magician' from Kansas who is swept up, in a hot air balloon, in a terrible tornado and transported to the Land of Oz, where he is thought to be their fated hero. Things don't go to plan. The three good witches are played by Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz, and it is only these four main characters that appear as humans, all the rest are animated, in the vibrancy that pays homage to the original's Technicolor. The trailer gives clues and pointers that let the audience know that the movie is going to be touching and terrifying, much like the original. 

The general look of the film, as it appears in the trailer, resembles the OTT Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland. However, where Burton massacred the original which didn't really need a remake (and saying massacred really is an exaggeration), Sam Raimi's Oz has the advantage of an entirely different story with almost entirely different characters. Because of this the movie has a real chance of being a gem, and we hope it is. 

Continue reading: Star Studded Oz: The Great And Powerful New Trailer!

Are Fancy Visuals Enough To Save Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great And Powerful?


Sam Raimi James Franco Mila Kunis Michelle Williams Rachel Weisz

A new trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful has been released online, ahead of its March release date.

This second trailer takes a more in-depth look at the story than the original cinematic trailer unveiled at ComicCon, despite the fact that it begins in almost exactly the same way as the first. The Evil Dead director has been taking his time over this movie. It started production back in July 2011, according to the Indiewire blog and Raimi will be hoping that all of the time and money spent on the movie has paid off. Not only is he toying with cinematic legend, by creating a spin off of The Wizard of Oz, but he’s doing so with some of the hottest names in Hollywood. James Franco stars as Oscar Diggs, whilst the witches are played by Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz.

The response to the new trailer has been mixed so far. Indiewire are full of praise for Raimi’s efforts, going so far as to say that he could even put Tim Burton to shame. They’re impressed by the visuals, though that seems to extend to the ‘visual display’ provided by the three witches, as much as anything else, it has to be said.

Continue reading: Are Fancy Visuals Enough To Save Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great And Powerful?

Priest Review


Bad
Bettany reteams with Legion director Stewart for another loud religious-themed action movie. But the po-faced filmmaking and acting only highlights how unoriginal it is, from production design to music to action sequences.

In the distant future, vampires have been vanquished to reservations by fierce warrior priests, whose order was then disbanded. But with rumours of a new attack, one priest (Bettany) returns to action, violating the direct order of his monsignor bosses (Plummer and Dale). Teaming up with a rural sheriff (Gigandet), he heads into the dystopic landscape to rescue his niece (Collins), who was kidnapped by an old colleague (Urban) who's now fanged and evil. As they catch up with him, they're joined by another rogue priestess (Maggie Q).

Continue reading: Priest Review

Drag Me To Hell Review


Excellent
With the Spider-Man films sitting out there like tarted-up, tawdry trophy wives, it's easy to forget how good a filmmaker Sam Raimi really is. If it weren't for the commercial strictures of the comic book movie, mandates which tend to stifle outright creativity, he might still be churning out the quality spine-tinglers. Instead, he's been lost in a sea of sparkle and spectacle, forgetting us fright fans who propped him up and suggested he might sell to a strict Tinseltown demo. Now, he's back crafting the kind of spook shows that made us all fall in love with him in the first place -- and Drag Me to Hell is quite an act of crazed contrition.

Loan Officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) wants the available assistant manager position in her bank. She hopes it will impress the parents of her psychology professor boyfriend Clay Dalton (Justin Long). But when a need for cutthroat tactics causes her to deny a geriatric gypsy woman (Lorna Raver) a third extension on her mortgage, there is literally hell to pay. Seems the old lady places a curse on Christine, guaranteeing that, in three days, a demon will arrive to drag her down to Satan's dominion. Hoping to avoid such a horrible fate, she seeks the aid of psychic Rham Jas (Dileep Rao). He suggests a medium (Adriana Barraza) who had a run in with the same spirit several years before. Unfortunately, it seems Christine's soul is condemned, and nothing can save her.

Continue reading: Drag Me To Hell Review

Drag Me To Hell Trailer


Watch the trailer for Drag me To Hell

Continue: Drag Me To Hell Trailer

Sam Raimi - Tuesday 16th October 2007 at Grauman's Chinese Theatre Los Angeles, California

Sam Raimi
Sam Raimi
Sam Raimi

The Messengers Review


Bad
While the marketing may seem enticing, The Messengers is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill haunted house movie, and a poorly made one at that. Columbia/Screen Gems would have you believe it's all about gifted children with supernatural visions (a la The Sixth Sense), but this slow-mover is aimed squarely at teens that get their chills from the Grudge movies -- American or Japanese, either will do.

A murdered family sadly haunts the home in which they met their demise, wreaking havoc on the life and mental state of a teenage girl, as she and her baby brother are the only ones that can see these not-so-grisly apparitions. Why can't their parents (Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller) catch a glimpse? That's not explained -- if it were, there might have been more meat on these bare bones.

Continue reading: The Messengers Review

The Evil Dead Review


Excellent
Along with vaunted classics like Night of the Living Dead, Dead Alive, Re-Animator, and now The Blair Witch Project, The Evil Dead stands as one of the most highly regarded low-budget horror films put to celluloid -- a veritable cult classic.

Now reissued on DVD for a second time (including one version bound to look like the human flesh covering the film's Book of the Dead), The Evil Dead proves why it's such a classic: Because it's so much damn fun.

Continue reading: The Evil Dead Review

Evil Dead II Review


Extraordinary
10 minutes into Evil Dead II and Ash's girlfriend is dead, decapited, and buried out back. Less a sequel than a remake, Sam Raimi traps Bruce Campbell in the woods once again to fend off a pile of marauding zombies (including his own zombified hand) with the aid of axes, kitchen tools, and one infamous chainsaw. This time the laughs come as fast as the gore -- it's hard to pick whether this or the original Evil Dead is the better film, but Raimi's bigger budget and matured talent pushes the nod toward the sequel, one of the biggest horror cult films known to man. The kegs of jet-propelled blood alone make this an absolute must-see for any fan of the genre... not to mention any self-respecting moviegoer.

Continue reading: Evil Dead II Review

Army Of Darkness Review


Very Good
Part three of the Evil Dead series, Army of Darkness may very well be the only fantasy/horror movie ever made. Picking up right where Evil Dead 2 left off, Army of Darkness tracks Ash through the 14th century as he attempts to return home to the present -- and destroys the titular skeleton army along the way. Not the best in terms of gore and action, but it has Campbell's best one-liners.

The Grudge Review


Good
Sarah Michelle Gellar and the supernatural go together like peas and carrots, to borrow a phrase from our friend Forrest Gump. The starlet's signature role had her slaying vampires as Buffy Summers. We all know what Gellar Did Last Summer, but did you recall she also enjoyed a bit part in Wes Craven's Scream 2 and appeared in both Scooby-Doo movies?

By this roundabout logic, Gellar seems a natural fit for The Grudge, Takashi Shimizu's sufficiently creepy remake of his own cult Japanese horror flick Ju-on, a film he's made versions of a shocking five times now. Americanized and aimed squarely at the people who turned The Ring into a surprise hit, Grudge should satisfy audiences seeking a few cheap jolts for their dollar this Halloween season.

Continue reading: The Grudge Review

Hard Target Review


Bad
Hard target my ass.

Of all of the dumb action flicks that I have seen, Hard Target is perhaps the easiest target of all to hit. It sits there, a bloated animal on the silver screen, waiting for some nasty critic to take pen to paper and kick it until it stops moving... and I suppose that job would fall upon yours truly.

Continue reading: Hard Target Review

The Hudsucker Proxy Review


Excellent

Uber-quirky but strangely satisfying Coen escapade, skewering the world of big business (at least as it existed in the 1950s), as a company schemes to drive the price of the stock down by installing an imbecile (Tim Robbins) as president. This isn't Fargo, not by a longshot, but it's not meant to be. This is one of those fun little flicks that really, really grows on you, featuring amazing performances by Robbins, Paul Newman, and Charles Durning, and even a memorable (if rote) appearance by Jennifer Jason Leigh. But what really sticks with you is the ultra-clever dialogue... "You know, for kids!"

Sam Raimi

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Sam Raimi

Date of birth

23rd October, 1959

Occupation

Filmmaker

Sex

Male

Height

1.80


Sam Raimi Movies

Poltergeist Movie Review

Poltergeist Movie Review

Ignoring everything that made the 1982 ghost-horror classic so iconic, this remake merely feels like...

Evil Dead Movie Review

Evil Dead Movie Review

Remaking an iconic classic is dangerous business, even if the original filmmakers are on board...

Oz: The Great And Powerful Trailer

Oz: The Great And Powerful Trailer

Oscar Diggs is a magician in a circus in Kansas who has about as much...

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Priest Movie Review

Priest Movie Review

Bettany reteams with Legion director Stewart for another loud religious-themed action movie. But the po-faced...

Drag Me To Hell Trailer

Drag Me To Hell Trailer

Watch the trailer for Drag me To HellChristine Brown has a very good life, she's...

Rise: Blood Hunter Movie Review

Rise: Blood Hunter Movie Review

I suppose, if anything, the fact that there is a new vampire flick out every...

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Spider-Man 3 Movie Review

Spider-Man 3 Movie Review

Did Batman & Robin teach us nothing?Universally considered the worst superhero sequel ever, Joel Schumacher's...

The Messengers Movie Review

The Messengers Movie Review

While the marketing may seem enticing, The Messengers is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill haunted...

Spiderman 3 - Alternative Trailer

Spiderman 3 - Alternative Trailer

Columbia Pictures' Spider-ManT 3 reunites the cast and filmmakers from the first two blockbuster adventures...

Spider-Man 3 Trailer

Spider-Man 3 Trailer

With the first two Sam Rami directed Spiderman movies having put Spiderman, one of Marvel...

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