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The two Sams

I chatted with Sam Mendes (Away We Go) and Sam Raimi (Drag Me To Hell) via telephone on Friday on behalf of their respective upcoming movies.

First I told Mendes his movie, about a couple (John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph) expecting their first child, was driving me crazy - in a good way - because it was imbued with a particularly haunting quality I can't quite put into words.

Away 

"I know exactly what you mean, because I can't find the word either," Mendes said. "It's a mixture of tones: There is a wistful, lyrical something coursing through the film that is difficult to hold in your hands."

The filmmaker said he first read the screenplay, written by the real-life couple of Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, because he was a huge fan of Eggers' literary endeavors such as McSweeney's and The Believer.

Sam_mendes "They wrote it during her pregnancy, especially the last month, when she was confined to their home. They wrote it on the sofa to make each other laugh, basically. They started off with scenes, and then the scenes became a story. It was written at that stage when you're about to become a parent for the first time, and you're on the edge of the precipice, and it's a wonderful feeling to be made vulnerable again. Maybe that's the quality we were talking about earlier."

Later I spoke with Raimi, whose Drag Me to Hell is a breathless, knockabout, slam-bang horror extravaganza that returns him to his Evil Dead roots. The movie, about a bank loan officer (Alison Lohman) cursed by an old lady she evicts, offers a wild and uproarious ride that makes you laugh as often as it scares you (I must have jumped in my seat at least five or six times when I saw it, and I don't scare easy.) Pay that sissy PG-13 rating no heed: This thing delivers.

Drag-Me-To-Hell  

I asked Raimi why he decided to go back to his over-the-top, low-budget horror days now that he's such a big shot. "The whole idea was to get back to the basics and entertain the audience with a lot less, without all the wonderful equipment and toys the Spider-Man movies afford me. I went back to thinking about the audience as my partners. What can I throw at them? What are they expecting? They think they're going to be scared when she opens that door at the end of the long hallway, so I'm going to give them a joke instead.

Sam-raimi "Making this movie was like playing a chess game with the audience, trying to anticipate what they were expecting and giving them something else - not just to fool them, but to scare them and make them laugh."

I'm spending the bulk of the day at a triple-feature of screenings: The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Terminator Salvation. Very psyched for Terminator, and curious to see what Tony Scott has done with Pelham, which I must have seen a dozen times on late-night TV while growing up in the pre-cable era.

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Guido

Great to hear that about Drag Me To Hell. I was feeling a little antsy after the disaster that Spider-Man 3 was.

Rene Rodriguez

I talked to Raimi about the reaction to "Spider-Man 3" (which I really liked, but no one else in the civilized world seems to have enjoyed). He had some interesting things to say. I'll try to squeeze them into my "Drag Me To Hell" story running Sunday.

Juan

Wow Drag Me to hell is that good? The trailers make it look like crap. If it's really Evil Dead style, then i'll check it out.

By the way, did you get to ask Mendes any questions regarding Preacher?

Connie

I guess I am going to have to suck it up and pay to see Drag Me To Hell...it will be perfect if it's playing when Jill is here that first week of June...

Rene Rodriguez

Juan: Alas, they yanked Mendes off the phone before I could get to "Preacher."

Wawaweewa

This kid Rene Rodriguez is a messy fibber. Who in the world is going to swallow up that big lie that he "supposedly" spoke to Sam Mendes and Sam Raimi via telephone? Those guys maintain a very hectic and busy lifestyle schedule, the least on their minds is to actually seat around and yap it up with a not so very respective "film critic" from Miami, which clearly fails to provide adequate and professionalism in his reviews. Come on! I can't believe you guys are actually eating this up.

Wawaweewa

Bingo! Here's a great example on this guys true touch on not being a very reliable so-called film critic, and I quote:

"....the reaction to "Spider-Man 3" (which I really liked, but no one else in the civilized world seems to have enjoyed)"

Leaves him as the true example of minority in criticism. The major top acclaimed critics all agreed the third installment in the Spider-Man franchise was a debacle and a doomed experience on all the right places. In regards to that, lets just leave it to the Pros! I'm coughing, Roger Ebert.

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