Life is full of ups and downs, good times and bad. Some days you're nailing the prom queen, other days you're heartbroken and getting a swab test. You win some, you lose some, but you live, you live to fight another day.
And then you die, and the ups and downs continue. If you're lucky you go up to Heaven, or you get dragged down to Hell. And if you've got twenty-five bucks in your pocket, this week at the Village 8, you can do both.
UP , while not about heaven, is an animated film about a really old man named Carl Fredrickson, age 78, who one day decides to escape the everyday drag of being bitter and old and decides to take things on the road, or more accurately, to the sky.
Carl ties a few thousand bucks worth of helium balloons to his house and flies off to discover a lost land of adventure. Problem is, he accidentally takes an super-keen eight-year-old cub scout named Russell along for the ride
On the journey this odd couple provide probably the best animated feature we'll see this year. Beautifully animated with a strong, simple, cartoony style, Up hits all the right themes to keep adults engaged while their kids trip out on the colours and the talking dogs. Plus it's in 3D (if you watch it in the city) and not gimmicky at all. So far it's the best film of the recent digital 3D revival. Even in 2D, Pixar Studio's Up is a full 90 minutes of excellent filmmaking that actually gets better as it progresses. That's rare.
Pixar, if you're keeping count, holds nine spots in the top-25 money-making movies of all time. Not bad considering they've only made nine films (including Wall-E, Monsters In.c, The Incredibles, Toy Story, and the list goes on - Cars was their weakest film and it still made a shitload). If success is heaven, these cats are in it.
For me, heaven is stocked with horror movies and if I make it there I'll certainly want this next flick to be on the shelf. Drag Me to Hell is the latest from Sam Raimi, the guy who made Evil Dead 1 & 2 , Army of Darkness and the first three Spider-Man flicks. After that much Spider-Man no doubt Raimi was ready to get back to his roots. He does so with a vengeance, delivering a slick, well crafted horror flick with B-Movie sensibilities, and visual puns and humour to match the frights and gore.
Raimi sets his film amidst a current social climate of greed and financial crisis. Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a generally good-hearted loans officer looking to impress on her boss that she is capable of making the "hard decisions," so she denies an evil-eyed old gypsy woman an extension on her mortgage. Bad idea, as everyone knows gypsy crones are ever only one bad day away from casting an ancient curse on you. Christine is soon hagridden and plagued by terrible visions. She has three days to reverse the curse before a demon drags her down to hell.
Even though it's only rated PG-13 Drag Me To Hell is a horrorific treat and fans that like a few laughs mixed in with startles and projectile vomit won't be disappointed. Evil Dead Director of Photography Peter Fleming is back as well, with all his signature camera zooms and swinging shots. Together, he and Raimi knock one out of the park. It's a hell of a good week to be a horror fan.