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Added by johanlefourbe on 14 Jan 2016 12:11
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A Complete Review of Sam Raimi's work

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People who added this item 1045 Average listal rating (618 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.3


Cast : James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Bruce Campbell

What was it about?
A small-time magician is swept away to an enchanted land and is forced into a power struggle between three witches.

My two cents:
To be honest, even though I thought that 'The Wizard of Oz' was quite enjoyable, I have never been a huge fan but since I always had a weak spot for Sam Raimi's work, I was quite eager to check this prequel. Well, at least, you have to admit that it was visually quite impressive, maybe a little too much like Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland', but still pretty to look at, and even though the story was not really amazing, it was still fairly entertaining. The main issue, in my opinion, is that even though it might have seemed like a good idea to focus on the Wizard, the guy was and still is pretty much a douche-bag which made it rather difficult to care about what he was going through. The other thing that bothered me was the time they spent on who was actually a good witch and who was actually wicked. Finally, with a prequel like this one, since you already know pretty much how it will end, it is rather tricky to keep the audience interested and they only partially succeeded.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 1588 Average listal rating (1060 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6


Cast : Alison Lohman, Justin Long

What was it about?
A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.

My two cents:
After making 3 huge super-hero blockbusters, Sam Raimi came back here to a more familiar genre, the horror flick with some dark humor. Obviously, most of his fans were glad he came back with something like this and it was fairly well received when it was released. And, indeed, what a horror feast! I mean, I have seen many horror flicks but this one kept surprising me, I was sometimes shocked, scared, laughing and amazed by the scenes they built up. The story was rather standard but still entertaining and I thought that Alison Lohman was convincing enough. On the other hand, Justin Long was not, in my opinion, very suitable for this part as he belongs more in comedies with his goofy face. Coming back to Alison Lohman, even though she seemed to have a bright future, this movie would surprisingly be her last leading part. Anyway, even though, this movie was nothing revolutionary, I thought it was very entertaining.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 5229 Average listal rating (3255 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.2
Spider-Man 3 (2007)


Cast : Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, J.K. Simmons, James Cromwell, Theresa Russell, Bruce Campbell, Elizabeth Banks, Willem Dafoe

What was it about?
A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.

My two cents:
When this movie was released, it didn't get much love and it was added to the long list of disappointing 2nd sequels such as 'Alien 3' or'The Godfather 3'. To be honest, I don't think it was actually so bad. To begin with, I wasn't really a fan of the previous 'Spider-Man' flicks. I mean, they were entertaining, that's for sure, but they were enough elements such as the terribly cheesy dialogues that really bothered me. So, I didn't watch this movie with the highest expectations like some others did. Anyway, in my opinion, the whole thing was pretty spectacular and Venom was sure a really bad-ass villain even if, indeed, he was rather poorly developed. I do agree that 3 bad guys was just way too much to handle, just like the two love interests. In my opinion, Sam Raimi was actually pretty much done with Spidey, he didn't even want to use Venom in the first place but gave in under pressure.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 6875 Average listal rating (4479 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Spider-Man 2 (2004)


Cast : Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, J.K. Simmons, Bruce Campbell, Elizabeth Banks, Willem Dafoe, Vanessa Ferlito, Emily Deschanel, Joy Bryant

What was it about?
Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.

My two cents:
It is rather funny think that, at some point, this movie was considered the best super-hero movie ever made. I mean, since then, we have had the Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan, and from Marvel, ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, so even though it is difficult to believe it now, at the time, this movie was a massive game-changer and, of course, a big success at the box-office. Personally, I always had some rather mixed feelings about the whole thing. I mean, I agree that it was better than its predecessor, the story was definitely more compelling (I really dig the fact that Peter Parker got fed up with his life as a crime-fighter at some point), it was visually quite impressive and Doc Ock was a really cool villain but, to be honest, I wasn’t completely impressed by this flick. Basically, pretty much like the first installment, I was turned off by how cheesy the whole thing was. Seriously, some of the dialogues were really ridiculous and sometimes even rather pathetic.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 8279 Average listal rating (5257 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3
Spider-Man (2002)


Cast : Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, James Franco, J.K. Simmons, Bruce Campbell, Elizabeth Banks

What was it about?
When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

My two cents:
In my opinion, I do believe that this movie grew old very well. Sure, the CGI seems a little bit outdated if you compare it with that they can do today, the special effects still look pretty neat. Above all, it is really obvious that the MCU owes a lot to this movie. Indeed, this movie basically proved 3 things. First, the technology was finally advanced enough to create something visually appealing and believable. Second, comic-book movies could be a lot of fun, not only for the fans but also for the casual viewers. And, finally, there was a lot of money to be made from this genre, a huge amount of money. Coming back to our main feature, I have noticed that many complained about the casting choices but I thought that they all did a fine job and Dafoe was just perfect to play the Green Goblin. What I enjoyed the most is how they managed to add some fun into this tale, especially when Peter discovers his new skills. It was just great and I wish they kept this tone throughout the whole thing because, as soon as the whole thing tried to become dark and serious, it pretty much fell apart, I'm afraid. Indeed, unfortunately, every time there was a dramatic moment, it was seriously not convincing, cheesy and rather cringe-inducing and that would be something that they would unfortunately never manage to fix in this franchise.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 903 Average listal rating (529 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.7
The Gift (2000)


Cast : Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank, J.K. Simmons

What was it about?
A woman with extrasensory perception is asked to help find a young woman who has disappeared.

My two cents:
It is interesting to point out that Billy Bob Thornton did actually write this movie. Anyway, there were many things to enjoy here. First of all, Raimi knows how to direct a thriller and the whole thing was really a nice moody affair. Then, there was a very nice cast and they all delivered some solid performances. It was above all pretty neat to see actors such as Keanu Reeves, Hilary Swank or even Katie Holmes to play against type. Still, even though the whole thing was rather entertaining, I was still disappointed by the plot. Basically, it was one of those typical thrillers with a pedestrian plot and some obligatory and annoying twist at the end. It is quite a shame because, the director was good, the actors were good, the whole thing looked terrific, it's just too bad they didn't make sure they had a really terrific story to start with.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 200 Average listal rating (116 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.5


Cast : Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston, John C. Reilly, Jena Malone, Brian Cox, J.K. Simmons

What was it about?
A washed up pitcher flashes through his career.

My two cents:
Basically, after finishing the Evil Dead trilogy and before starting the Spider-man trilogy, Sam Raimi directed this baseball flick which seemed to be a rather odd choice for such a director. Seriously, I wonder how Raimi actually ended up getting this directing gig. On the other hand, Kevin Costner was rather familiar with this genre as it was already his third baseball flick. Unfortunately, I must say it was the least entertaining one. I mean, the whole thing was just way too cheesy and predictable for my taste. The final baseball game at the end was not bad and mildly entertaining but it was nothing I hadn't seen 100 times before. Honestly, I praise Sam Raimi for trying something drastically different but it is easily one of his most boring movies.

My rating: 05/10

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People who added this item 477 Average listal rating (293 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
A Simple Plan (1998)


Cast : Bill Paxton, Bridget Fonda, Billy Bob Thornton

What was it about?
When three blue collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash they make a plan to keep their find from the authorities but find complications and mistrust weaving its way into their plan.

My two cents:
From all the movies directed by Sam Raimi, it is probably the best one he has delivered if you put aside the Evil Dead trilogy. In fact, it was hardly a personal project as Raimi was not even the first director involved (in fact, Ben Stiller, John Dhal and finally John Boorman all dropped out at some point before Sam Raimi finally took over) and, yet, the end-result turned out to be even more than satisfying. I mean, sure, it is a really straightforward story (which such a title, should you expect anything else?) , preventing the whole thing from becoming really amazing, but there was definitely something appealing about its simplicity and the whole thing was sure damned entertaining. Indeed, we all wondered at some point about ‘What would I do if I would find a bag full of money?’ and this movie basically shows one bleak but also very plausible scenario. Back in those days, I didn't know who the hell Billy Bob Thornton was (he had his breakthrough with 'Sling Blade' just a couple of years before) but he was certainly the best actor involved here.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 845 Average listal rating (588 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.4


Cast : Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lance Henriksen, Gary Sinise

What was it about?
Lady avenger returns to western town owned by a ruthless gunslinger hosting an elimination tournament.

My two cents:
Nowadays, we don’t hear much from Sharon Stone but after her breakthrough with ‘Basic Instinct’, she was a big star and for the following decade she was really in demand. She was therefore the main force behind this movie and chose not only the director but also two of the main actors, Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio, who were both quite unknown to the mainstream audience at the time. Eventually, I thought it was a decent Western but nothing really ground-breaking. The point is that if you compare it to the other movies involving Sharon Stone in the last 20 years, it is probably one of the best flicks she has done but if you compare it to the best Westerns (old or new), it was just too pedestrian and predictable. It is also the issue with the whole duel thing, on one hand, it was a pretty cool concept but, on the other hand, it is still remains a gimmick after all. Concerning Sharon Stone, she looked quite terrific back in those days but I’m not sure if she was really convincing, especially compared to Gene Hackman, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.

My rating: 06/10

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People who added this item 1580 Average listal rating (1083 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6


Cast : Bruce Campbell, Bridget Fonda, Embeth Davidtz

What was it about?
A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home.

My two cents:
Of course, I already saw this movie, in fact, I even saw the damned thing in the movie theater when it was released but I never saw it again afterwards so I was really eager to check it out again. The most interesting thing about this 2nd sequel is that it stands out so much from its predecessors. Indeed, while the previous movies were some horror comedies, this movie was some kind of daft time-travel adventure, actually pretty similar to 'Back to the Future Part III', and in fact, I believe that this movie can be quite enjoyable for kids around 12 years old while the rest of the Evil Dead franchise could be hardly considered as some family viewing material. I think it was a really nice move from Sam Raimi to go with something completely different because most sequels keep endlessly repeating the same formula every time again with some usually rather disappointing results. Still, even though Ash was fun with a solid Bruce Campbell, at the end of the day, it remains a really silly movie. Furthermore, even if I must have loved the climatic fight scene against the army of darkness when I first watched it as a kid many many years ago, this time around, I thought it took much of the running time and it became rather boring and repetitive at some point. At least, Embeth Davidtz was easily the best love interest in this franchise, by far.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 733 Average listal rating (478 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
Darkman (1990)


Cast : Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Bruce Campbell

What was it about?
A brilliant scientist left for dead returns to exact revenge on the people who burned him alive.

My two cents:
More than 10 years before directing ‘Spider-Man’, Sam Raimi actually already directed a super-hero flick. It was actually his first studio feature and, apparently, it was far from being a really pleasant experience. I mean, it was his 4th movie and the movies he made before were more like independent productions but, suddenly, he had to make compromises with studio bosses and there were apparently some intense post-production battles. At the time, Sam Raimi was already eager to adapt a famous super-hero character, either Batman or the Shadow, but since he coulnd’t secure the rights, he decided to create his own super-hero. Personally, I thought it was a pretty neat flick and it was interesting to see a new super-hero which wasn’t an adaptation from some already existing material. Furthermore, Liam Neeson, who was still rather unknown at the time, was a really good choice for the part. Still, at the end of the day, it is not really a great movie though. Indeed, even though they went for a realistic plot, the whole thing was still rather preposterous and there were some major plot holes that didn’t really work. Still, in spite of its flaws, I thought it was a really decent watch.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 1539 Average listal rating (1015 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Evil Dead II (1987)


Cast : Bruce Campbell

What was it about?
The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holds up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.

My two cents:
Obviously, I already saw this movie but since it was such a long time ago, maybe 20 years ago, I was really eager to check it out again. Eventually, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and I think it is one of the rare sequels to be better than its predecessor. Indeed, they took pretty much the same elements, the horror and the comedy, but they really pushed the formula to the next level this time around. Above all, their masterstroke was to focus on Ash. Indeed, in the first movie, Ash was just some random and boring guy who just somehow survived at the end but it is with this sequel that he finally became this iconic character and easily one of the best protagonists ever displayed in a horror franchise. Seriously, the first 20-30 minutes were just so damned entertaining thanks to a pitch-perfect performance by Bruce Campbell and the look on his face thoughout his ordeal was just priceless. Unfortunately, as soon as some other random characters showed up, it became much more generic and, from that point, the story went on auto-pilot which was too bad. I mean, it was still quite entertaining but it was much stronger when Ash was all alone. Anyway, Sam Raimi delivered here a really strong sequel.

My rating: 07/10

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People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (42 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.8
Crimewave (1985)


Cast : Bruce Campbell, Frances McDormand

What was it about?
A pair of whacked-out cartoon-like exterminator/hitmen kill the owner of a burglar-alarm company, and stalk the partner who hired them, his wife, and a nerd framed for the murder, who tells the story in flashback from the electric chair.

My two cents:
I have been warned by quite a lot of people that the whole thing was really worthless but since it was the last movie directed by Sam Raimi that I hadn’t seen yet, I was still eager to check it out. I mean, a movie directed by Sam Raimi and written by the Coen brothers did sound amazing on paper but the end-result was just awful and, unsurprisingly, Raimi has disowned the whole thing. Basically, it was some kind of weird manic black comedy but it was never funny or entertaining at any moment, in fact, it was rather even really annoying to watch. I mean, seriously, it is one of those movies that provides a cartoon noise each time there is a lame joke which is probably one of the most useless gimmicks ever used in a film.

My rating: 04/10

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People who added this item 1975 Average listal rating (1303 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Evil Dead (1981)


Cast : Bruce Campbell

What was it about?
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

My two cents:
As I mentionned before, for some reasons, I actually saw this one as the last in the trilogy. Obviously, it has become since then a major cult-classic but, to be honest, even though I did like it, I have never been a really huge fan. I mean, sure, it was a fun horror-comedy, no doubt about it, but, at the end of the day, I think it is just a cheap flick that Sam Raimi made to start up his career. Eventually, after all these years, if you look back at his legacy, it still is pretty much his most acclaimed directing effort which is at the same time pretty neat but also pretty sad, when you think about it. Anyway, the fact that I saw it after the sequel which was made years later, when they all had more experience and a much bigger budget, didn’t help either, I guess. Still, I remains a classic and one of the rare movies which really manages to mix horror and comedy.

My rating: 07/10

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Since I have finally managed to watch all the movies directed by Sam Raimi, I was really eager to make one of these lists for this director as well.

Enjoy!


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A Complete Review of various directors' work (45 lists)
list by johanlefourbe
Published 5 years, 2 months ago 7 comments



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