Sunday, September 30, 2007

"The Dead Next Door"

Bruce does voice over for the main character "Raimi". I'm learning that Bruce does a lot of production work on movies and will frequently fill in (sometimes uncredited) for voice work. I thought he did a bang-up job syncing his voice with the acting on screen.

This movie was supposedly the most expensive 16 mm film made. It's a zombie-movie. I'm not a fan of the gore, but once again the commentary (not by Bruce, but still) helped me appreciate the hard work that went into this B-movie.

Knots Landing

That's right! Bruce was in one episode in 1987 called "Say Uncle". I'm still looking for it.

"Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn"

A remake of the original that shows how far the gang has come. Bruce reprises his role as Ash who now knows how to handle the Evil Dead...but I think he's still a coward at heart.

There's lots of gems in this one: the "Laughing Room", Jake the hick, the "blood flood" (or was that in the first?) and many, many more.

I was impressed by the scene in which Ash's hand is possessed and tries to kill him. Bruce did a phenomenal job which I'm sure left him banged up and bruised--breaking plates over his own head, the self-induced back-flip and, my favorite, dragging his own unconscious body across the floor with the possessed hand.


"Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except" aka "Stryker's War"

15 seconds of Bruce doing the voice of a newscaster in this independent war/horror film about a group of marines from "the 'Nam" who come across a Manson-family style cult.

Am I committed to this game or what?

Bruce does an excellent commentary along with director Josh Becker. I highly recommend any commentary by Bruce. He's educational, intelligent and hi-larious.

Sam Raimi reportedly won a newly created award for "Worst Acting by a Director". He was definitely out there. His brother, Ted, appears twice but there's no way to know one of these appearances without the help of the commentary. 20 points if you spot him once, 50 if you spot him in both roles.

"Evil Dead" fans should notice an important prop that is reused in the main character's cabin. 35 points if you spot that.

"Crimewave" aka "The XYZ Murders"

Brought to you by the Cohen brothers(writers) and Sam Raimi (director) with Bruce as "Renaldo the Heel", I'd say this is a charming movie full of slapstick, Three Stooges references, and some excellent camera work.

I had some trouble with the sound quality, so I recommend using the subtitles. In my case, this added extra humor as I don't think the subtitles were written by a native English speaker.

Don't forget to watch the background, especially in the home of the burglar alarm company owner (whose name escapes me). What's that on a shelf near the door? A set-up? Could be!

Bruce plays a cheap womanizer complete with slicked-back hair. 10 points to the first person to spot Ted Raimi (Sam's brother) in his 5 second role.

Next time: "Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except"

"Going Back"

NOT a horror movie. I know.....I don't know what to make of that either but I am quite curious: Bruce plays Brice (nice) who, with a high school friend, spends the summer in the country where he finds the father-figure he's been missing and (I'm cribbing from Amazon's editorial review found here.) Yes, Bruce does more than scream....he can do drama!

It's not available on Netflix yet but IS through Amazon. And now I ask myself, how committed am I to this game I'm playing? $20 + shipping & handling committed? We'll see.

psst: If my family is reading this, it's on my Amazon wishlist!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

From "Oedipus Rex" to "The Evil Dead":

The first movie in Bruce's (can I call you Bruce?) repertoire that I was able to get was "The Evil Dead", but there were a few shorts made before that one. I should point out that I rely heavily on IMDB for movie listings. Bruce Campbell's website does provide an alphabetical listing of his movies but I am...well..."too lazy" to manually search for movies by date.

So.....according to IMDB, Bruce's first movie is listed as "Oedipus Rex" a student film directed by Josh Becker. Next is "It's Murder", a short directed by Sam Raimi. This was followed by "Within the Woods" which, if I remember correctly, was filmed to help raise money for the making of "The Evil Dead". Then there's "Shemp Eats the Moon" and "Torro. Torro. Torro!" If anyone knows where I can get these, please let me know.

I actually did not start this particular edition of "The Collected Works..." with "The Evil Dead" as I had already seen it numerous times, own a copy and have watched all the extras including the commentary, so I gave myself a pass. This movie gained after reading "The Evil Dead Companion" and learning the great amount of work that went into this movie. I learned a great deal (though I'm still no expert and barely qualify as an amateur) about sound, cameras, lighting, etc.

Synopsis: Bruce places "Ash" a timid man who, with his friends, unleashes the powers of darkness on the world. Everyone dies but him. Do I smell a sequel?

The Story So Far...

Years ago, I met someone who had developed an interesting game: he would pick an artist he admired and then spend the year studying everything he could about them. By the end of the year, he was an amateur expert.

Three years ago, while on a Christian Bale movie binge, a friend pointed out that his first movie was Empire of the Sun, filmed when he was very young. That was when I had the idea to create my own game: to study how an actor develops by watching all their films in chronological order.

Watching all of Bale's movies that I could find took me 9 months. I started with "Empire of the Sun" in September of 2005 and ended with "Batman Begins" in May of 2006 watching everything in between that I could find. In September of 2006, I followed Emily Thompson (who had appeared in 2 films with Bale), starting with "Breaking the Waves" (from which I learned about the "Dogma 95" school of film-making) through to "Separate Lies".

At some point, I hope to give a brief review of those movies here. That's what this blog is intended for, really---to help me remember all the movies I've seen with a brief blurb about them.

This year, I chose Bruce Campbell, a B-movie actor I have come to admire for his intelligence, humor and dedication to his craft. Reading his books and listening to his commentaries have increased my appreciation for the work that goes into movies of all qualities. I get a lot more out of movies because of him. Thanks!

I make up the rules to this game as I go along. For example, I fast forwarded through most of "Pocahontas", pausing only for the scenes Bale voiced. (I just couldn't take it.) However, I did make myself watch some uggos---just for the continuity. Some films I loved so much I had already seen 4 or 5 times, not counting watching the commentary (e.g. "Equilibrium") so I gave them a pass in the interest of time.