Diana Vacc Sees ASH VS. EVIL DEAD

ash-vs-evil-dead-bloodby Diana Vaccarelli

Starz Network does it again with their great original programming. First came SPARTACUS, then OUTLANDER, and now ASH VS. EVIL DEAD. The series follows Bruce Campbell as the chainsaw-armed character of Ash 30 years after he was last seen in the film ARMY OF DARKNESS. Ash has been living a quiet life in a small town, but now the evil dead are back and it’s up to him to save the world…again.

THE GOOD:

• This is funny and scary at the same time. I both laughed out loud and jumped in shock at various moments. Sometimes at the same time.

• Creators Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell bring back a cult classic that many enjoyed and don’t disappoint. The writing and dialogue are better than ever, and the story line is fantastic in every way. Case in point: Ash is now a middle-aged slacker. At last – something I haven’t seen before!

THE BAD:

• The special effects were awful and extremely unrealistic. In this type of genre I want to see blood and guts in full, gritty, practical effects or CGI reality, not cheesy tomato sauce poured all over my screen.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Cult fans of the films who are looking for an update without a special effects upgrade will be extremely satisfied with Ash’s return to our lives. Others may be a tad disappointed, but I know I’m going to do my best to be grateful for these dead.

Enjoy, and happy TV watching!


Diana Vacc is TVWriter™’s Critic-At-Large. Find out more about her HERE

Diana Vacc Sees BONE TOMAHAWK

 

bone-tomahawk-530x302

by Diana Vaccarelli

A film of mixed genres, BONE TOMAHAWK is simultaneously a western, horror film, and a classic love story. What else would you expect from a production that can best be synopsized as, “This film follows four men as they set out to save loved ones who have been captured by Cannibals?”

The Good:

  • The best thing about this film is its writing by S. Craig Zahler, whose screenplay was nominated for the Independent Spirit Best Screenplay award.
  • The dialogue is fascinating and clever and, most importantly, gets to the heart of each character, making them some of the most interesting characters I’ve seen in recent film. The best of this fine lot – because acting – is  Back Up Deputy Chicory, played brilliantly by Richard Jenkins, who steals the show from veteran star Kurt Russell.
  • The film not only has dark elements but also laugh out loud humor.

The Bad:

  • The gore of the Cannibals was very gruesome. Such visual ugliness (Zahler also directed) is, to me, totally unnecessary since our heroes are so well written that their fates hold our interest, and then some, all the way through. It’s a shame – and a sad commentary on our devolving times – that these days filmmakers feel that the only way to please an audience is to shock it.

Conclusion:

BONE TOMAHAWK is far from perfect, but considering the competition, I think this film deserved a much wider release then it got. Recommended for those who are not too faint of heart!


Diana Vacc is TVWriter™’s Critic-At-Large. Find out more about her HERE

Diana Vacc Sees HUNGER GAMES – MOCKINGJAY, PART 2

by Diana Vaccarelli

hbt11-198x300The finale of the Hunger Games Franchise starts right where we left off. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is the leader of the rebellion against the oppressive Capitol of Panam. She has sustained major injuries at the hand of an ally the Capitol has corrupted. The rebellion is building and she has to lead in her persona of the Mockingjay, with everything Katniss loves hanging in the balance.

Gosh, it doesn’t get any more exciting than that, does it, revolution fans?

The Good:

  • The performances are superb. Watching this film you feel as though you are experiencing everything through these characters. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, who portray Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, have great chemistry. In one great scene Lawrence gives us all the emotion this whole series has been building up to. And Hutcherson kills it as he shows us what it absolutely must be like to suffer from PTSD. Then there’s Donald Sutherland, who gives us an evil yet charismatically charming President Snow. And the rest of the cast is right up there with them.
  • The writing is fantastic. Screenwriters Danny Strong and Peter Craig adapt this novel with great integrity. As a reader of these books, I’m in awe of how they bring this dystopian society and its core to life. And how they give us a Katniss who is exactly as I have always pictured her as I read – a true heroine always wanting to help and never failing to do what she feels is right.

The Bad:

  • The dramatization of the epilogue of the novel is pretty cheesy. Strong and Craig take what in the book is an inner monologue and have the character (see how I’m not saying which character because “spoilers?”) speak it all out loud, as he might in a stageplay. But this is film, and visually there simply isn’t any reason for the character to say anything.

The Bottom Line:

  • Overall, this film is fantastic at its core. It has everything. Whether you’re into politics, futuristic worlds, or love stories, this is the movie for you.

Diana Vacc is TVWriter™’s Critic-At-Large. Find out more about her HERE

Diana Vacc Sees Wicked City

Nope, this isn't a pic from the TV series. It's from a review of an anime by the same name we found at Brandon's Cult Movie Reviews.
Nope, this isn’t a pic from the TV series. It’s from a review of an anime by the same name we found at Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews.

by Diana Vaccarelli

Wicked City is a classic story of a man looking for love…or it is it? The thriller opens up with Kent Galloway (Ed Westwick) hooking up with a young girl on the Sunset Strip in the 1980’s.  

When Kent can’t perform sexually, he pulls out a knife and stabs the woman to death, at which point enter Detective Jack Roth (Jeremy Sisto) to investigate the murder. From there on you get a classic cat and mouse game, but, sadly not one nearly as interesting as in, say, Criminal Minds.

The Good:

  • The chemistry between Jeremy Sisto and his partner, played by Gabriel Luna. They make the absolute best of their familiar characters, playing the hell out of their roles as rival Cops.

The Bad:

  • Creator and writer Steven Baigelman writes a pilot so offensive to women that it made me cringe. Right before each murder Kent commits, the female victim is down on her knees giving him, well, you know.  And then there’s the fact that Kent himself is so predictable that no matter how hard Ed Westwick, who plays him, tries, there’s no way he can breathe life into the character.
  • We’ve seen all of this before, and most of the time, sadly, we’ve seen it done better.

Conclusion:

The one thing keeping me watching this show is Jeremy Sisto. I want to see his Jack Roth character win and keep the bad guy from ever having a chance to bore me again. Sisto is a fantastic actor, who plays the part in a way that saves it from being a typical detective, but not even he can keep this going for an entire series.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As surprising as this may seem to more cynical TV viewers, Diana’s words in her conclusion have proved prophetic. ABC demonstrated a modicum of good sense and cancelled WICKED CITY shortly after we received her review. 


Diana Vacc is TVWriter™’s Critic-At-Large. Find out more about her HERE

Diana Vacc Sees VACATION

vaca movie poster number 1by Diana Vaccarelli

The Good:

  1. The chemistry between Ed Helms and Christina Applegate was fantastic and laugh out loud funny. Everything overall about this film was fantastic and nostalgic.
  2. Although this is a sequel of sorts to NATIONAL LAMPOON’S SUMMER VACATION, there’s absolutely no sign of Chevy Chase in it anywhere.

The Bad:

  1. There was nothing at all bad about this film.
  2. Really, there wasn’t.
  3. I mean it.

Conclusion:

VACATION really has it all. Fresh new humor and nostalgia for the original. It will have you laughing from beginning to end. Get your viewing on with VACATION.

In other words, I highly recommend it…unless dystopias are your thing. Although, come to think of it, this could be viewed as a comic dystopia. So, yeah, I’m recommending this for everybody.


Diana Vacc is TVWriter™’s Critic-At-Large. Find out more about her HERE