Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: Dileep Rao

Halloween Horror Movie Month: Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Basically just don’t eff with gypsies.

After denying a woman the extension she needs to keep her home, loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) sees her once-promising life take a startling turn for the worse. Christine is convinced she’s been cursed by a Gypsy, but her boyfriend (Justin Long) is skeptical. Her only hope seems to lie in a psychic (Dileep Rao) who claims he can help her lift the curse and keep her soul from being dragged straight to hell.

Writer/director Sam Raimi took a break from making horror films for awhile and actually went on to make the Spider-Man films. Although I haven’t really checked out all of his horror films yet, I still get the urge to after seeing a crazy film like this.

The one thing about Raimi and horror films is that they aren’t necessarily scary as much as they are just totally freaky thrill rides. He doesn’t really go for scaring the pants off of the audience, and he just more or less focuses on a way to keep an audience entertained, while giving them some freaky happenings on screen.

I have to say that this is what Raimi does incredibly well here because he seems like he is just having a ball putting this good-looking girl through all of this torture, and adding a nice little funny moment to top it all off. You get a lot of goofy stuff in this film and for other directors it would seem forced and totally unnecessary but the way Raimi uses it to his advantage, works for him because the whole tone of this film is playful rather than being way too serious for somebody to actually chuckle at intentionally.

There’s some pretty disgusting things in this film that may turn some people away like random bugs, rancid meat, and eyeballs but it’s all toned down for at least a safer Pg-13 rating. A lot of those disgusting things that I saw on-screen too had me laughing but I kind of wish they pushed the boundaries when it came to sickening parts of this film. Raimi is a man about gore when it comes to horror (I’m a poet and didn’t even know it) so when I just saw him put little disgusting things here and there, I kind of got disappointed because I knew he could have really thrown it in our faces, but still went with that Pg-13 rating probably because nobody would see an R-rated film from the director of ‘Spider-Man‘. Stupid, but true.

Another problem I had with this film was how it seemed like Raimi kind of focused too much on the whole moral of this story. Well, not really the moral, but the reason all of this crazy stuff is happening to this girl. I mean we get it, it was her decision to not let this old lady have her house back, stop hitting me over the head with this big moral story and just show me this girl getting terrorized by evil demons again.

The acting front of this film isn’t really anything special, but it will hold you over for the whole hour and 40 minutes. Alison Lohman is good as Christine Brown because she just gets tortured the whole film but by the end you see a transition in her that’s really cool and pretty believable. She’s never really been one of my favorite actresses but she does good here. Justin Long isn’t his usual comedic-self as Clay, but plays the loving boyfriend role pretty well although his parents are assholes. Dileep Rao is also pretty funny as Rham Jas, the fortune-teller who seems like he’s out of a comedy.

Consensus: Drag Me to Hell is too toned-down and has problems with its script but when it comes to Sam Raimi’s direction this horror flick is fun, creepy, dumb, and very much what people should expect from him.



Inception (2010)

I don’t mind to sound corny or anything, but this movie really is a dream come true.

Inception deals with the concept of sharing dreams with Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb, a conman who enters the dreams of others and steals ideas from their subconscious (known as “extraction”) for unknown employers. After a lengthy career in dream thefts and being away from his family, Cobb is offered a job of the seemingly-impossible task of “inception,” the crime of implanting an idea instead of stealing one, and he assembles a crew (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Wantanbe, Ellen Page, and Dileep Rao) to pull off the perfect crime with hopes of being able to return home.

Christopher Nolan, would probably be known to your everyday person, as the guy who directed The Dark Knight. That is true, but he is also the director of plenty of other movies, that the everyday person may not know about, that totally mess with your mind. Films like: Following, Memento, The Prestige, and Insomnia. In this, he combines both of his different styles together, and gets my favorite film of 2010 thus far.

The script itself has all the elements of The Matrix. There’s a lot of talk about life, and how we are living a dream-world, and our minds create illusions for ourselves, and all that other hickory-doo. However, it comes out in such a good way, that it’s too hard to ignore. It never shows us the “What if…” side, but always brings up the side about dreams, and our illusions, and how we make things up in our world, just to make ourselves feel better with the life we have, and what would we do if someone was to take them away from us. It makes you think a lot, almost too much for a damn summer blockbuster, and I might just think twice about my dreams when I wake up the next morning.

The plot, at first, may confuse the crap out of so many people, hell, it confused me, but after awhile you start to get a whole feel for the film, and you understand what’s going on, how everything happens the way it does, and although the answers may never be fully explained to you through words, you kind of make assumptions as the film goes along.  It doesn’t hold your hand the whole time, but yet, it doesn’t let you go, and fall behind, creating a wall between the material, and the audience, which is hard for any psychological thrillers in today’s film world.

But any film can have a good script, and cool plot, but still boring as shit. This is where this film is different from all others of the same kind. The action scenes were also very good. They were more stylized and tense than bombastic, something along the lines of James Bond, where Nolan obviously draws inspiration from, and I thought that it worked perfectly well for a film with this kind of concept. The tense situations the characters get into toy with the minds of the audiences without throwing them out of the film, and when bullets and fists start flying, you get treated to some of the most unique action scenes. But it’s not just the fight sequences that make this film fun, it’s the visuals, and all the tricks Nolan has up his sleeve to make things unique. The visual aspects in this film will take your breath away. I liked how Nolan, in a world where 3-D is on every the big screen every damn weekend, he sticks it straight, with the original 2-D visuals, which I think I loved more than any 3-D film I’ve ever seen. He uses a lot of CGI, but it doesn’t look like it at all, it really does look these people are walking around in a world, that they have created themselves, and as they start to change it around, it looks even cooler, cause your wondering, just how they made this seem all realistic. My favorite scene that rightfully shows how great of a director Christopher Nolan can be with the setting, and many tricks, is the fight scene in the hall-way. If you saw the first trailer, you have seen what some of it looks like, but the whole scene with that makes you think: “How in the hell did they do this?”. It is literally the greatest film sequence I have seen in awhile, probably one of my favorite Top 5.

The whole ensemble cast is what really lifts this too. Leonardo DiCaprio, is well, what you would expect him to be, is great as usual. He plays that sort of troubled, straight-forward guy in almost all of his movies, but it’s never really seem to have worn out. The film may be advertised as the Leo show, when in reality, its the rest of the cast, that keeps us in. Ellen Page ditches her smart-ass teen days, and actually shows some good acting skills, giving us a look at the potential she has, as a serious actress, although she will always be remembered as Juno. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is one my favorites, is showing up in more stuff, and is good to see on-screen cause he handles a lot of the big dramatic scenes, really well, almost showing up Leo. Yes! I said it! Gordon-Levitt vs. DiCaprio on PPV. That’s something I would always pay to see. Tom Hardy is good here, bringing a lot of funny moments to the film, but not without showing he is still a bad-ass, and can whoop some booty. Ken Watanabe is also good, however, I couldn’t understand him a lot, he still doesn’t lose his composure while on-screen. Cillian Murphy, another one of my favorites, shows up and gives some more good scenes, with an American accent, that actually seems real. It was also good to see Marion Cotillard, playing a different type of role, than the strong female lead. She is playing a crazy chick, and is shown in some pretty dramatic scenes, but she still holds her own, and I have to give her props for that, cause I could see plenty of actresses messing that up. I was disappointed to see Lukas Haas, Michael Caine, and Tom Berenger, get little bitch roles, but it’s whatever, I was glad with the cast they got.

The film is not perfect, the film doesn’t show us a glimpse into these characters lives. They don’t have enough in their roles to show how great they are or how great they can really be. But despite that, I still had a good time watching these actors perform all together.

Consensus: Inception is the rare summer blockbuster that has almost everything you could want in a film: fun action, interesting plot, original screenplay, unique and stylish visuals, inspired direction, and wonderful performances from an ensemble cast. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn sure as hell close to it.

9.5/10=Full Pricee!!!