Film review: The Raven

posted at 8:01 am on April 28, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Edgar Allan Poe has reached the end of his literary and artistic rope — broke, alcoholic, and unable to sell even his literary criticisms any longer. The only hope he has in his life is his beloved, Emily Hamilton, who wants to marry him. When an evil lunatic begins re-enacting his most macabre stories in a series of murders and then abducts Emily, can Poe rise to the challenge, both as an investigator and a writer?

The Raven should really click.  Poe was an American literary pioneer of the macabre, and his death was almost as mysterious as his fiction, some of which plays into the film.  John Cusack is a capable leading man who gives a credible — if at times over-the-top — performance as Poe, as does Alice Eve as Emily and Brendan Gleeson as Emily’s wealthy father Captain Hamilton, who hates Poe.  And yet one leaves the theater thinking that The Raven tries and fails to occupy the same space as Sherlock Holmes in the macabre, perhaps because it tries so hard to succeed.

It’s not a bad film, but it’s not terribly good, either.  The resolution of the elaborate mystery doesn’t make a lot of sense in the end, nor do the interactions between some of the characters throughout.  Captain Hamilton goes from wanting to kill Poe (and not for entirely incomprehensible reasons) to practically embracing him without the audience given much reason for the transformation over just a day or two.  Luke Evans’ portrayal of Detective Fields seems pretty quick to discount the disreputable Poe as a suspect, and Evans himself gives an uncanny Clint Eastwood impersonation through most of the film, and that’s not a compliment.  For all of the brain power between Poe and Fields, it never really occurs to either to try to get ahead of the murderer’s plan to leave clues through serial killings — only to dutifully trudge from murder to murder in order to find the clues that will lead to Emily, before she gets killed last.

The Raven does give audiences a medley of Poe’s better-known works, or better put, a brief taste of several.  Perhaps it will be enough to convince moviegoers to purchase a Poe collection, or a worthy biography.  (One of the victims in the film, with whom Poe had a bitter rivalry, actually outlived Poe in real life and wrote a horribly libelous but popular biography that concocted his supposed drug addictions.)  Otherwise, The Raven might work for Cusack fans, but otherwise probably makes a better Netflix choice.

The Raven has an R rating from the MPAA for graphic violence and “grisly images,” according to its IMDB listing.  It easily earns that rating.  It isn’t appropriate for children or teens, or for adults who get squeamish at such scenes.


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Cusack is the most overated actor of our time. Without his family connections, he probably wouldn’t have even broke into the business.

He can’t act.

hawkdriver on April 28, 2012 at 8:08 AM

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary

repvoter on April 28, 2012 at 8:11 AM

The bar for “capable Leading men” must be laying on the ground.
John Cusack= major dealbreaker

rik on April 28, 2012 at 8:11 AM

John Cusack is on my “do not watch” list. He shot his mouth off about politics one too many times. A shame, really, because I would have gone to see the film. I just hate the idea of my hard earned money going into his pocket.

doublezero12 on April 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Edgar Allan Poe has reached the end of his literary and artistic rope — broke, alcoholic, and unable to sell even his literary criticisms any longer.

I don’t mean to belabor the point (and this is a review of a film based on Edgar Allen Poe which I will not see, ’cause I hate horror films) but the rival who wrote Poe’s obituary and biography should be publicly shamed and discredited.

Two days after Poe’s death, a slanderous obituary written by Rufus Wilmot Griswold’s Poe was published in the New York Tribune. Griswold, Poe’s nemesis, became Poe’s literary executor and worked to tarnish his enemy’s reputation.

Griswold’s interpretation of Poe – as insane, addicted to drugs, and constantly drunk – worked itself deeply into the public consciousness and sparked a fierce debate over Poe’s character which continues today.

Poe’s medical records indicated he had not had a drink of alcohol for six months:

“No one can say conclusively that Poe died of rabies, since there was no autopsy after his death,” says Dr. Benitez, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “But the historical accounts of Poe’s condition in the hospital a few days before his death point to a strong possibility that he had rabies.”

Fallon on April 28, 2012 at 8:26 AM

John Cusack is on my “do not watch” list. He shot his mouth off about politics one too many times.

doublezero12 on April 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Same here. My list has gotten soooo long.

jan3 on April 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM

John Cusack is on my “do not watch” list. He shot his mouth off about politics one too many times. A shame, really, because I would have gone to see the film. I just hate the idea of my hard earned money going into his pocket.

doublezero12 on April 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM

This is his first film since he wished publicly for Fox News & Republicans to die on Twitter a year & a half ago. Hopefully his career will die instead.

22044 on April 28, 2012 at 8:31 AM

I hear the car chase, shootout and helicopter rescue are impressive.

/s

Poe was a master with the Pit and the Pendulum and Telltale Heart being prime examples. Putting such a wordsmith to film likely is beyond what passes for contemporary Hollyweird talent.

viking01 on April 28, 2012 at 8:43 AM

John Cusack is on my “do not watch” list. He shot his mouth off about politics one too many times. A shame, really, because I would have gone to see the film. I just hate the idea of my hard earned money going into his pocket.

doublezero12 on April 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Ditto – Too bad he made it out of room 1408.

50sGuy on April 28, 2012 at 8:52 AM

That picture… Dude’s got a 5-head

LtGenRob on April 28, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Where Poe is now. This the tradition of the Poe toast nevermore. Very sad indeed. Perhaps someone will pick up the glass oncemore. Clink!

Bmore on April 28, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Interesting review, though I think almost all modern trailers are gawd-awful. Will have to give this a look-see when it’s available om Netflix.

But Ed, if you enjoy film interpretations of Poe’s work and classic film, check out “The Raven” (1935). Good watchin’.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 9:04 AM

John Cusack is on my “do not watch” list. He shot his mouth off about politics one too many times. A shame, really, because I would have gone to see the film. I just hate the idea of my hard earned money going into his pocket.

doublezero12 on April 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM

He was on my “do not watch” list before I learned about his politics. I don’t get his appeal…at ALL.

thebrokenrattle on April 28, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Where Poe is now. This the tradition of the Poe toast nevermore. Very sad indeed. Perhaps someone will pick up the glass oncemore. Clink!

Bmore on April 28, 2012 at 8:56 AM

That is the coolest thing. I’m sure someone else will take up the tradition.

thebrokenrattle on April 28, 2012 at 9:12 AM

And yet one leaves the theater thinking that The Raven tries and fails to occupy the same space as Sherlock Holmes in the macabre, perhaps because it tries so hard to succeed.

Poe invented the detective story with his character C. Auguste Dupin. Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is actually the (much more popular) derivative, right down to the bungling police investigator and earnest but pedestrian crime-solving partner.

I have read all of both Poe and Doyle and very much enjoyed both.

Blacksheep on April 28, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Film reviews? I give it a finger up.

Wade on April 28, 2012 at 9:16 AM

“HOT AIR” is now a movie review website. So much for politics and conseravtive thought. Pretty soon we’ll be giving tomato ratings.

LOL

gerry-mittbot-now movie critic-who knew

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM

I’ll stick with the original books and NOT see another Hollywood attempt to make up in gore what it lacks in content…

Khun Joe on April 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM

I hear the car chase, shootout and helicopter rescue are impressive.
/s

Heh. That’s actually the reason why, with most of today’s films that may seem to be of interest, I wait til their on my “all you can watch” Netflix account. Easier then walking out of a theater when you realize a movie is mighty sucky.

Poe was a master with the Pit and the Pendulum and Telltale Heart being prime examples. Putting such a wordsmith to film likely is beyond what passes for contemporary Hollyweird talent.
viking01 on April 28, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Yup. For the love of God, Montresor!

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 9:20 AM

“HOT AIR” is now a movie review website. So much for politics and conseravtive thought. Pretty soon we’ll be giving tomato ratings.
LOL
gerry-mittbot-now movie critic-who knew
gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM

That really needs a sarc tag. Or, alternatively, you might wanna consider a stick-ectomy.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 9:22 AM

doublezero12 on April 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM jan3 on April 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Apparently he’s an equal opportunity basher, he’s been going after The Won lately. I guess I will chalk it up to no clear opinion, just the craving of publicity for his movie.

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Sorry Ed, John Cusack regularly belittles conservatives. I can do without his movies. He doesn’t care about that, so why should I bother making an effort to see any of his movies?

Dongemaharu on April 28, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Film reviews? I give it a finger up.

Wade on April 28, 2012 at 9:16 AM

“HOT AIR” is now a movie review website. So much for politics and conseravtive thought. Pretty soon we’ll be giving tomato ratings.

LOL

gerry-mittbot-now movie critic-who knew

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Yes, I’m sorry you fell into my clever trap of tricking you into reading a movie review when you didn’t intend to do so. It looks like my fiendish plan of headlining such posts “Film Review” succeeded in overcoming your dizzying intellects. Truly, this is one of my crowning moments as a writer!

Ed Morrissey on April 28, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Meh, aside from Better Off Dead and Con Air he hasn’t been in much worth watching.

Rip Ford on April 28, 2012 at 9:54 AM

I have no interest in providing a luntic liberal like John Cusack with additional income so I will pass on the movie.

zoyclem on April 28, 2012 at 9:56 AM

I enjoy Ed’s reviews. Sure Hot Air deals with politics, but also culture. Movies can reflect culture.

Poe is cool all the time. John Cusack, not so much, and only when he’s portraying Poe.

shades_of_gasden on April 28, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Probably would have been better with RD Jr playing Poe. Of course, we already know Ed is decidedly biased against anything having to do with Ravens ;-)

Courtney Upshaw, meet Big Ben.

(Come on, it’s Draft weekend. You know you miss football.)

BKeyser on April 28, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Ed Morrissey on April 28, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Sssnnnaaarrrkyyyyy.

Me likey.

trigon on April 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Yes, I’m sorry you fell into my clever trap of tricking you into reading a movie review when you didn’t intend to do so. It looks like my fiendish plan of headlining such posts “Film Review” succeeded in overcoming your dizzying intellects. Truly, this is one of my crowning moments as a writer!

You said it Ed not me.

lol

gerry-mittbot-dizzying intellect

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Meh, aside from Better Off Dead and Con Air he hasn’t been in much worth watching.

Rip Ford on April 28, 2012 at 9:54 AM

I don’t care what anybody says, I like ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’. Beyond that, Cusack is an idiot.

trigon on April 28, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Meh, aside from Better Off Dead and Con Air he hasn’t been in much worth watching.
Rip Ford on April 28, 2012 at 9:54 AM

I don’t care what anybody says, I like ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’. Beyond that, Cusack is an idiot.
trigon on April 28, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Being the uber-film snob that I am, I take pride in having never seen “any of the above”.
:D

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 10:06 AM

John Cusacks been in some good movies and some bad movies.
Just about every actor has some of each.

Ed, I expect-No I demand-a review of the upcoming Dark Shadows.
The trailer looks hilarious.

gerry-mittbot-WILL see Marvel’s The Avengers

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Yes, I’m sorry you fell into my clever trap of tricking you into reading a movie review when you didn’t intend to do so. It looks like my fiendish plan of headlining such posts “Film Review” succeeded in overcoming your dizzying intellects. Truly, this is one of my crowning moments as a writer!
Ed Morrissey on April 28, 2012 at 9:46 AM

They’re on to your plan to be the right-of-center Roger Ebert.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Ed Morrissey on April 28, 2012 at 9:46 AM

These reviews are a nice change of pace, pretty much like the Sunday football thread. This is better than hearing the msm giving Obuma credit for actually firing the bullet to take bin laden out–I joke about that, but just alittle…

Static21 on April 28, 2012 at 10:09 AM

gerry-mittbot-dizzying intellect

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Dude, if you think we only need to seriously debate pure political topics here, how about you drop the sophormoric third person schtick?

hawkdriver-candidate-non-affiliated-but-sick-of-the-schtick and arrogant condescension.

hawkdriver on April 28, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Dude, if you think we only need to seriously debate pure political topics here, how about you drop the sophormoric third person schtick?

You know the strangest thing. I THOUGHT I was being funny.

Just like on Bill O’reilly when he reads e-mails and 2 consecutive posters have totally different opinions about what he did.

Oh. Well.

C’est la vie

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 10:16 AM

All I need to see are the words “Starring” and “John Cusack,” “Matt Damon,” “George Clooney” or “Sean Penn” to scratch a movie off my list.

Crusty on April 28, 2012 at 10:18 AM

I’m disappointed. I thought this movie would be about Ray Lewis.

Jeff A on April 28, 2012 at 10:23 AM

John Cusack is on my “do not watch” list. He shot his mouth off about politics one too many times.

doublezero12 on April 28, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Same here. My list has gotten soooo long.

The problem is that if you stop going to see films based on actors’ (nearly always leftist) political affiliations, you miss out on some excellent films and performances. True, Sean Penn stinks no matter what he’s in, but Depp and Sarandon can be effective, and I enjoyed Clooney in Up in the Air.

In any case, I don’t think it’s worse than in the 1930s and 1940s, when Hollywood had strong leftist influences and Communism was a clear and present danger. And remember, actors’ political opinions can change over time: James Cagney, once accused of being in a Communist-front organization, wound up supporting Reagan in 1980.

bobs1196 on April 28, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Will do less business than “Hot Tub Time Machine”.

BHO Jonestown on April 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Where Poe is now. This the tradition of the Poe toast nevermore. Very sad indeed. Perhaps someone will pick up the glass oncemore. Clink!

Bmore on April 28, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Yes?

Clink on April 28, 2012 at 9:05 AM

lol

cicerone on April 28, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Meh, aside from Better Off Dead and Con Air he hasn’t been in much worth watching.

Rip Ford on April 28, 2012 at 9:54 AM

“I want my two dollars!!” Better of Dead, one of my favorites and one of the few Cusack movies worth seeing.

Yes, I’m sorry you fell into my clever trap of tricking you into reading a movie review when you didn’t intend to do so.

Ed Morrissey on April 28, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Heh Ed, nice comeback! Being one of the original commenter’s on HA I have always appreciated these posts to lighten the mood…everyone needs some levity…could you imagine what gerrym51 would of said about a “humpbot” post!

Liberty or Death on April 28, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Yes, I’m sorry you fell into my clever trap of tricking you into reading a movie review when you didn’t intend to do so. It looks like my fiendish plan of headlining such posts “Film Review” succeeded in overcoming your dizzying intellects. Truly, this is one of my crowning moments as a writer!

Ed Morrissey on April 28, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Ouch. Beatdown.

msupertas on April 28, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Heh Ed, nice comeback! Being one of the original commenter’s on HA I have always appreciated these posts to lighten the mood…everyone needs some levity…could you imagine what gerrym51 would of said about a “humpbot” post!

I have to admit I have no idea what a hupbot post is

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 10:46 AM

May Cusack go away to be seen nevermore, nevermore.

msupertas on April 28, 2012 at 10:49 AM

I have to admit I have no idea what a hupbot post is

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 10:46 AM

It’s ok, most current commenter’s on HA probably don’t know about the infamous “humpbot” posts.

Ed, if you’re still lurking on this post, do you have a link to any vintage humpbot posts for those on HA that haven’t had the pleasure?

Liberty or Death on April 28, 2012 at 10:59 AM

I saw it and, right, it’s not for everyone.

However, I liked that those doing the filming were able to hold the cameras steady.

TimBuk3 on April 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM

I give GerryM kudos for having a sense of humor…

We don’t have a link to a collection of Humpbot posts, but here’s the link to a search result for “humpbot.”

Ed Morrissey on April 28, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Here’s a link to a humpbot video, thanks Ed…good times…good times!

Liberty or Death on April 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM

The plot sounds like a travesty. Why not just a straight-up, fairly factual biopic of Poe? I suspect it’s because writing the script would take more literary talent than our Hollywood hacks have at their disposal.

ddrintn on April 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I’ve loathed Cusack since before he started shooting his mouth off about conservatives. He, along with the equally egregious (and 100X more pretentious) Edward Norton are my least favorite “name” actors. Norton, to give credit where credit is due, has given a few decent performances; Cusack, on the other hand, is always bland cheese.

That being said, The Raven looks interesting. It is obvious to me that Cusack only got the role when Robert Downey Jr. turned it down. I suspect the script was written with RDJ in mind; that marvelous actor’s well-documented troubles with drugs and alcohol would have added an extra dimension to the performance. Downey probably didn’t want to repeat himself after the Sherlock Holmes reboot.

Based on the trailer, The Raven looks to have great Gothic/Victorian atmosphere that avoids parody or cartoonishness. Cusack actually seems to be acting, which is a new approach for him.

One usually can’t go wrong with Poe. The Roger Corman/Vincent Price Poe films from the 60′s still hold up beautifully; I own them all on DVD and give them a watch every year or so.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 9:04 AM

The 1935 The Raven is fantastic! Karloff and Lugosi also starred together in The Black Cat during that same period; it is phenomenal, and must be seen to be believed. Really creepy and shocking, especially for the era.

In 1990, horror mavens Dario Argento and George Romero collaborated on the film Two Evil Eyes, in which each directed an hour-long adaptation of a Poe story. Romero’s segment, Facts in the Case of M. Valedemar, is worthless, but Argento’s The Black cat, while extremely violent, is stylish and clever. Starring Harvey Keitel as an alcoholic crime scene photographer, the Black Cat weaves together several strands from Poe’s stories in a perverse narrative of obsession, violence, and death. Worth checking out.

Love the movie reviews; looking forward to more.

Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Sorry Ed, John Cusack regularly belittles conservatives. I can do without his movies. He doesn’t care about that, so why should I bother making an effort to see any of his movies?

Dongemaharu on April 28, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Amen. Him, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, Sam Jackson, Morgan Freeman… I really don’t need Hollywood in my life.

beatcanvas on April 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Ill watch this just because John Cusack is in it but on Netflix like recommended.

If anyone has not seen Hot tub Time machine or The Grifters yet both available on Netflix and there are excellent.

boogaleesnots on April 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Edgar Allan Poe.

yeah!!! get me some friggin’ tickets!!

Yep….when I was a kid we played “Poe and Indians” and “Poe vs. Killer Robots”.

Dare I say – NEVER has an American Icon so deserved a movie.

Not.

(you’ve got to be friggin’ kidding me)

Tim_CA on April 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 9:04 AM

The 1935 The Raven is fantastic! Karloff and Lugosi also starred together in The Black Cat during that same period; it is phenomenal, and must be seen to be believed. Really creepy and shocking, especially for the era.
Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Yes, they make a great double bill! And, if you like some Old Dark House-type fun with Lugosi from the same era, check out Night of Terror (1933).

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:43 AM

The 1935 The Raven is fantastic! Karloff and Lugosi also starred together in The Black Cat during that same period; it is phenomenal, and must be seen to be believed. Really creepy and shocking, especially for the era.
Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I love Roger Corman’s comedy “The Raven” with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Jack Nicholson. What a cast! Price and Lorre are hilarious together.

Gelsomina on April 28, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Yea! There is no way Vincent Price and Peter Lorre can be topped.
I won’t go see this remake. It will be the Hollywood 2012 redo and will not be worth one thin dime to see.

Delsa on April 28, 2012 at 12:17 PM

“HOT AIR” is now a movie review website. So much for politics and conseravtive thought. Pretty soon we’ll be giving tomato ratings.

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM

GAL

CW on April 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Yes, they make a great double bill! And, if you like some Old Dark House-type fun with Lugosi from the same era, check out Night of Terror (1933).

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Haven’t seen it; I’ll have to give it a watch; Lugosi is always worth watching, even in the Bowery Boys movies!

I love Roger Corman’s comedy “The Raven” with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Jack Nicholson. What a cast! Price and Lorre are hilarious together.

Gelsomina on April 28, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Check out The Terror, with Karloff and Nicholson, directed by Roger Corman in about four days on sets left over from The Raven. Francis Ford Coppola directed a big chunk of it. It makes no sense, but is really good.

Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM

I think this movie is a thinly veiled rip-off of a book I read quite a few years ago called “Poe Must Die”.

Now that plotline would have made a great movie and it wove the real Poe into the fictional story very well.

Here’s a trailer for that book. Which would you rather see?

Greyledge Gal on April 28, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Great posts.

Dementia 13 was Coppola’s first “legit” film, which he also wrote and directed for Corman. Astonishing number of actors, directors, writers, and producers got their start with The King of B’s, especially during the 70s. Film school students called it “The Corman Film School” or “Corman’s finishing school for film grads.”

At least, we’ve been spared the Sylvester Stallone Edgar Allen Poe biopic starring Aragorn/Strider as Poe.

de rigueur on April 28, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Can wait for streaming. Glad to see Poe treated in any way, even if it’s your basic we-make-these-in-our-sleep Hollywood thriller. Cusack oversold as the actOR of his generation but he looks kinda like Poe so, whatevs. If it does well they make it a franchise and in two years we can look for The Raven 2. The ghost of Poe tracks a killer of women reenacting the crimes from the movie The Raven. Ho hum.

curved space on April 28, 2012 at 2:12 PM

The plot sounds like a travesty. Why not just a straight-up, fairly factual biopic of Poe? I suspect it’s because writing the script would take more literary talent than our Hollywood hacks have at their disposal.

ddrintn on April 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I’ve read at least 3 Poe bio scripts (“I personally know 3 Poe biopic screenwriters”… lol), including Stallone’s. Poe’s life certainly was interesting enough in its own right to merit the biopic treatment– interlarded with chunks of his literary work, of course, as they’ve done with “The Raven” (wonder if Brandon Lee fans will stumble into the theater thinking it’s got something to do with “The Crow”?). But straightforward bio pics are just a very tough sell to the studios. Look how they had to handle Margaret Thatcher to get something resembling a biopic of her on the screen? Anyway, right now, mashups are all the thing, and one could do worse than star the Creator of Detective Fiction in a murder mystery. If that’s how the general public is re-acquainted with one of America’s greatest and most original authors, I’m not complaining.

de rigueur on April 28, 2012 at 2:37 PM

One of these days I’ll use the “close link” button. Last link in the above post is a reference to “mashups” only.

de rigueur on April 28, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Yes, I’m sorry you fell into my clever trap of tricking you into reading a movie review when you didn’t intend to do so. It looks like my fiendish plan of headlining such posts “Film Review” succeeded in overcoming your dizzying intellects. Truly, this is one of my crowning moments as a writer!

Ed Morrissey on April 28, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Yeah forget that guy, I look forward to your reviews because not only do you have good taste, but I can trust to warn me if a movie gets all preachy with the Hollywood values.

Daemonocracy on April 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM

I thought this movie was based off of the novel The Pale Blue Eye, but it doesn’t look like it. If you haven’t read it I say check it out, it’s pretty good.

Daemonocracy on April 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM

The plot sounds like a travesty. Why not just a straight-up, fairly factual biopic

They’re making Friday night date flicks. How many of those kids ac couple weeks ago didn’t know that the Titanic disaster was a real event? So you can’t expect some dude to ask a dudette out on a date by saying, “Hey let’s go see that flick about one of the most interesting Americans in history. You know, the author of “A Cask of Amontillado” and that poem I texted you last week, “Eulalie.” Remember? ‘I dwelt alone; In a world of moan; And my soul was a stagnant tide…’”

No they have to template their standard killer-of-women thriller over a Poe premise. Standard stuff.

It looks at least, for what it’s worth, they didn’t engage in nearly as much literary vandalism as they did with that kung fu Holmes mess, or their worst offense to date, Jack Black as Gulliver. Ugh. Double ugh.

curved space on April 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM

John Cusack is a way overrated actor. In fact, he is a no more than a mediocre actor on his best days in his ‘best’ films. This movie sucked the moment it cast him in the lead. No way I’ll pay actual money to see it.

Also, John Cusack is yet another Hollywood limousine Liberal reprobate lapdog mouthpiece every chance he gets and I will not pay one red cent to see any of his movies in a theater no matter what anyway.

I AM FOR A SATANIC DEATH CULT CENTER AT FOX NEWS HQ AND OUTSIDE THE OFFICES ORDICK ARMEYAND NEWT GINGRICH-and all the GOP WELFARE FREAKS,” Cusack tweeted.

My list of actors I will always and forever refuse to help enrich via movie theater ticket purchases is kind of long, but I stick to it very faithfully, and I have for many many years. It means nothing to them, and it means nothing to anyone else as far as I know, but it means something to me — and I am a man of my word.

FlatFoot on April 28, 2012 at 3:09 PM

I guess it could have been worse. You could have reviewed “The Five Year Engagement.” I don’t think there are any boycottable actors in that one, though. :)

22044 on April 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Oh. Yeah.


John Cusack is also a “big fan” of Kieth Olbermann’s show
. Er… WAS a big fan of Kieth Olbermann’s show before Kieth got fired. Twice.

Ha.

FlatFoot on April 28, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Check out The Terror, with Karloff and Nicholson, directed by Roger Corman in about four days on sets left over from The Raven. Francis Ford Coppola directed a big chunk of it. It makes no sense, but is really good.

Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM

I will. Sounds great. I like this line from the Wikipedia article about the movie:

Corman shot footage of star Boris Karloff and other actors walking across the sets and downstairs with the belief that he would be able to make sense of them later.

It reminds me of Larry Cohen who made some great, strange movies. My favorite is “Q”.

Gelsomina on April 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Ed sure wastes a lot of time and money on stupid movies. John Cusack has been good in one movie “Gross Point Blank”. He is also a piece of trash, (Cusack not Ed). You know you can just check Rotten Tomatoes, you don’t actually have to watch it.

Rusty Allen on April 28, 2012 at 3:32 PM

de rigueur on April 28, 2012 at 2:12 PM

You sound like you know your movies! Dementia 13 is an excellent debut feature, and far better than Coppola’s One From the Heart or Bram Stoker’s Dracula, IMHO.

You are right, it is amazing the names that crop up in early Corman/AIP/New World movies. Young Stallone has a major role in the original Death Race 2000; Robert Towne, who wrote Chinatown, wrote Tomb of Ligeia; Robert De Niro plays one of Ma Barker’s brood in Bloody Mama; Nicholson is everywhere. Not to mention directors like Joe Dante, James Cameron, Jonathan Demme, Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, and Ron Howard.

Corman himself played one of the senators grilling Michael Corleone in Godfather 2.

All of the Corman Poe adaptations are available for streaming on Netflix.

Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Ed sure wastes a lot of time and money on stupid movies. John Cusack has been good in one movie “Gross Point Blank”. He is also a piece of trash, (Cusack not Ed). You know you can just check Rotten Tomatoes, you don’t actually have to watch it.

see a movie. write a review. deductible as business expense. Natch.

gerry-mittbot-starting to wish I never did original post

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Gelsomina on April 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Larry Cohen is awesome! Q is also my favorite, followed closely by The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, with the late great Broderick Crawford as the Director. Much better than the Eastwood mess, and made for peanuts. Crawford later hosted SNL (he was drunk as a skunk but hilarious nonetheless) and did a great parody of his performance. Yes, SNL used to be funny.

Broderick Crawford played Willie Stark in the original All The King’s Men, for which he won an Academy Award for best actor. Compare his performance to Sean Penn’s in the atrocious remake to see what a real actor looks like next to a punk.

The Terror is available as a streaming download on Netflix.

Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Ed, looking forward to your review of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

… which at first I thought was sacrilegious but am liking the trailer more and more.

shades_of_gasden on April 28, 2012 at 4:19 PM

see a movie. write a review. deductible as business expense. Natch.

gerry-mittbot-starting to wish I never did original post

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Exactly, Hot Air probably paid for it.

If the movie’s really bad, watching & reviewing it is like a community favor. Kind of like writing about the trash served up on MSNBC.

22044 on April 28, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Broderick Crawford played Willie Stark in the original All The King’s Men, for which he won an Academy Award for best actor. Compare his performance to Sean Penn’s in the atrocious remake to see what a real actor looks like next to a punk.

The Terror is available as a streaming download on Netflix.

Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 3:54 PM

I saw both versions of “All The King’s Men”, loved the first one, hated the remake. For me, Sean Penn is like fingernails on a chalkboard. And Anthony Hopkins is such a great actor, what is he doing in such a movie?

I’ll definitely watch The Terror.

Gelsomina on April 28, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Gelsomina on April 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 3:54 PM

So you two may be the only ones who’ve ever seen my Cohen favorite, The Stuff (1985). Terrific horror-satire. Great “I can’t tell if he’s doing it tongue in cheek or not, but he’s good!” performance by Michael Moriarty.

de rigueur on April 28, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Yes, they make a great double bill! And, if you like some Old Dark House-type fun with Lugosi from the same era, check out Night of Terror (1933).
whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Haven’t seen it; I’ll have to give it a watch; Lugosi is always worth watching, even in the Bowery Boys movies!
Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM

It’s hard for me to take Bela in comedy flicks, though I did grow up a BB fan. But I think I have seen all of his films, at least the US-made ones. “Night Of Terror” may be hard to find as an official release, but if you look around you should be able to view it online somewhere. Lugosi’s part isn’t a big one, but it’s a fun film. Here’s the “epilogue” – it really doesn’t give anything away, but it’s great hokey fun.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 7:21 PM

“HOT AIR” is now a movie review website. So much for politics and conseravtive thought. Pretty soon we’ll be giving tomato ratings.

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM

GAL

CW on April 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Well, the thing is, I’m not sure what to do with this review. This is a movie with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 22. Most Top Critics didn’t like it.

So ordinarily I wouldn’t even consider it for my Netflix queue. Should I trust Ed’s opinion instead? He seems to know everything from the obscurities of unemployment stats to the science of nuclear reactors. But is there any reason to read his movie reviews, other than he’s always a lucid writer?

On the other hand, I might have neglected “Cabin in the Woods” as just another horror movie without his imprimatur.

bobs1196 on April 28, 2012 at 7:27 PM

de rigueur on April 28, 2012 at 6:11 PM

It’s been 20 years or so since I’ve seen The Stuff, but I remember liking it a lot. Lo and behold, it is on Netflix streaming, so thank you, I’ll be watching it again soon. Garrett Morris, from the original SNL cast is in it, I believe.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Larry Cohen flick I haven’t enjoyed immensely. Some are dicier than others due to budgetary constraints, but all are original, intelligent, and entertaining. He writes his own stuff, which helps. Having Michael Moriarty in most of them helps too.

Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

When I first heard of this movie I was hoping for something in between Holmes and Sleepy Hollow… it sounds like it’s trying to be too serious and falls outside either movie’s range. Considering the premise, it should probably recognize its own quirkiness.

I’ll probably catch it as a rental, I stopped viewing movies in NYC (especially after being shocked at the recent price increase when I went to see Hunger Games)… or maybe if I make it upstate to see some family I’ll catch it at a much cheaper by comparison theater.

Ukiah on April 28, 2012 at 9:36 PM

GAL

If i had a life I wouldn’t have time to post on HOT AIR

gerrym51 on April 28, 2012 at 11:11 PM

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Larry Cohen flick I haven’t enjoyed immensely. Some are dicier than others due to budgetary constraints, but all are original, intelligent, and entertaining. He writes his own stuff, which helps. Having Michael Moriarty in most of them helps too.

Mr. Arkadin on April 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Another under-appreciated, low-budget auteur whom I’d always watch was Curtis Harrington. I don’t know why my friend’s mom thought we’d be entertained by Night Tide when she took us to the movies, but even as first or second grader I was mesmerized. Only later came to appreciate the very young Dennis Hopper’s performance, the moody score by David Raksin, and even the seedy, shabby spookiness of Santa Monica Pier and Venice, CA of the late 50s.

But you’d know about Venice in the fifties. Setting for one of my top 5 faves of all time, Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil. (I actually prefer the opening shot underscored with Mancini’s portentous but ultra-cool title music, but it got “restored” away, alas.) Welles wasn’t exactly a shabby auteur, either, as I suspect you’d agree, having named yourself after the eponymous character he plays in one of his lesser-known films.

See you on the next film thread.

de rigueur on April 29, 2012 at 11:15 AM

My list of actors I will always and forever refuse to help enrich via movie theater ticket purchases is kind of long, but I stick to it very faithfully, and I have for many many years. It means nothing to them, and it means nothing to anyone else as far as I know, but it means something to me — and I am a man of my word.

FlatFoot on April 28, 2012 at 3:09 PM

I’m in your corner on that well-stated point. I love movies, but having a fairly-clean conscience is far more important. I am painfully aware of the liberal biases of many actors & actresses who claim to understand Reality when their job is in the Land of Make-Believe.

Which makes me selective in what I will pay to see in the theater. I always base my selections on the story; I never see a movie “starring such-and-such”. If Tea-Party-loathing Morgan Freeman is frontlining some run-of-the-mill release, I’ll pass. But I will forgive his presence in the “Batman” trilogy. Same goes for Leonardo DiCaprio; he tells us miscreants to live in huts whilst he jets around the world, spooning with Al Gore. But “Inception” remains a Top-Ten favorite with me.

Does that make me a hypocrite? Perhaps to some people, but movies are made by a LOT of talented people, many of whom are closet-conservatives just trying to survive Obamanomics. I’m sure it’s even more difficult for them to hold their nose when they have to put up with the likes of Cusack, Norton, Sarandon, Damon, Affleck, etc.

Bottom-line, I try to put as few dollars as possible into these vain 1 percent-ers. But I do appreciate them using their First Amendment right, so I know who to avoid whenever possible.

SnarkySam on April 30, 2012 at 1:32 AM