Movie Review – Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, William Levy, Rola, Ever Anderson, and more.

Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson Cinematography by: Glen MacPherson Music by: Paul Haslinger

Premise: Having survived a trap in Washington, D.C. Alice gets contacted by the Red Queen – Umbrella’s AI Computer. She warns that in 48 hours the three thousand plus humans left on the surface of the planet will be exterminated. Their only hope is for Alice to come back to the Hive to retrieve the antidote for the T-virus. One the Umbrella Corporation has kept hidden from the world. The ultimate secrets are about to be revealed. (Rated  R)

Review:

1) Acting – Thumbs Up: Familiar and new characters fill the cast. Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, and Shawn Roberts reprise their previous roles in the Resident Evil universe. A couple of them get to play more than one. 🙂 Milla Jovovich continues to give Alice some nice layers with what little she’s given to work with. Iain Glen looks to have had a lot of most fun playing multiple roles in this one.

2) Special Effects – Thumbs Up: It’s hard to say if it was due to budget cuts or the direction the group was ordered to follow, but some of the filming choices made a lot of the special effects look cheap or mediocre. Which is a shame, because there were some neat effects in there.

The first creature that attacks Alice is filmed in such a way the audience can’t get a sense of what it look like. All you see is a blurred, giant blob of flesh. Between all the shaky cam and giggling, weaving viewpoints. They did slightly better with the next creature, but even that one the good glimpses seemed doled out rather than consistent.

Great work on the zombies. The ones hung from a bridge and only reacting when the trucks drove beneath them were an awesome detail. There’s one that shows up in the Hive that gave it all he had despite being hung to dry, poor thing. He looked great!

The Hive itself was fab. The recreations of several familiar places and the transformation of others were well done. The evil laser corridor makes a comeback. Bwahaha! The bridge/walkway coming up out of the water was awesome.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Down: Hubby has loved this franchise since day one. I’ve gone and seen all of the films with him. Some have been better than others, yet you don’t tend to expect too much in that department. The action and special effects are what people truly come for, and they usually deliver quite well on that aspect of things.  This time, though, they failed at both. 🙁

The plot was awful. Too much of it was contrived for convenience. No real surprises.

It was bad enough that the audience gets thrown into the deep end with little explanation. (And with information that doesn’t match info previously given in other films!) Then we’re “told” Alice survived a trap in D.C. but got to see none of it. New characters are thrown at us, but the audience is given no time to get to know them. Yet we’re expected to care when they die…

Alice has 48 hours to get the antidote and save humanity. Yet the story has the characters waste hours upon hours preparing for a coming attack on the human “stronghold” rather than just go to the Hive to save what little of the human race is left. Instead, Alice leaves herself two measly hours to break into and infiltrate a giant underground facility and find the elusive antidote. One that could be locked up anywhere in the facility and not easily accessible. Right…

Wesker’s job is to keep people out of the Hive. He knows Alice is coming. He and Isaacs keep talking about doing lockdowns and having all the security primed. So what does he do? He keeps the giant door leading into the hive WIDE OPEN! Even taking into account the supposed “power grid issues” he still had plenty of time to close the thing but doesn’t. (What’s hilarious about the super convenient “power grid issues” is that if they truly had rolling power outages, all of the people in the cryo tubes would be DEAD!)

Don’t get me started on how the “power grid issues” get used to make convenient problems for the infiltrators. Ugh.

As if the plot issues weren’t bad enough, they ruined most of the action shots with shaky cam, blinking lights, wobbly angles and any excuse to not get a good clear shot of the action. Made no sense. You’d get one impressive bit of fighting, then a ton of jerky crap you couldn’t keep track of. *sigh*

4) Stunts – Thumbs Up: Lots of stunts and neatly choreographed battle scenes. But they too suffered from the horrible shaky cam, wobbly angles, and strobe light effects. Boo! It was frustrating to get something super cool and then something almost unrecognizable. Double boo!

5) Music – Total Thumbs Up: The one bright spot of the movie was the music. Paul Haslinger’s “A Force so Evil” track which is used as the film opens got the blood flowing and built a growing sense of excitement. Too bad the plot and bad filming couldn’t follow through on what he created with the score.

Conclusion: The final installment in the “Resident Evil” saga will not leave a good impression overall. Bad plots might be expected in films like these, but when they muck with the action, they’ve drained what little fun could be had at all.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Better for Matinee.)

Movie Review – Zoolander 2

Zoolander 2

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Milla Jovovich, Billy Zane, Cyrus Arnold, Justin Bieber, Sting, Kiefer Sutherland, and many more.

Directed by: Ben Stiller Written by: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, and John Hamburg Based on Characters Created by: Drake Sather and Ben Stiller Cinematography by: Daniel Mindel Music by: Theodore Shapiro

Premise: After the death of his wife and loss of custody of his son, Derek Zoolander hid himself away from modeling and life. He’s brought back into the modeling scene after Billy Zane delivers an invitation from the current fashion diva, Alexanya Atoz, to come to Rome. Dealing with his own issues of a scarred face and the possibility of his being a father, Hansel receives the same invitation. Yet all is not as it would appear, as a rash of deaths in the music industry and cryptic photos by the murdered victims lead interpol fashion police officer Valentina straight into Zoolander’s path. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: I’ve yet to see the original Zoolander (my bad), but it was obvious from the start that everyone, from the main leads to the zillion cameos, that everyone had a ball being a part of this film. And while I heard there was some unhappiness from fans with regards to Benedict Cumberbatch playing All, I am not sure why they were displeased. He was fabulous in the role! And looked to have enjoyed every moment of it. He was perfect for the character. And his sweeping in to whip two Mork from Ork clones with vengeful fashion wrath was hilarious! (Wished they’d let him do more! :P)

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: They did some very 80’s and also some cool futuristic looking effects in the film. Interpol was super high tech – loved the screens. There was also a lovely chase scene with some Matrix like hijinxs to grab our attention from the very beginning that were nicely done.

The jail for the criminally fashion insane was a giant thimble and needle – genius! And the prison cell holding Mugato was outstanding.  Several of the locations got spruced up with special effects magic so you got a combination James Bond and 80’s MTV video effects here and there. 🙂

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: I’d heard of Zoolander and learned about the Blue Steel look when all the celebs were doing it. But I’d not gotten around to seeing the first film. That being said, anyone who hasn’t seen it doesn’t need to worry about not knowing what’s going on as they do a nice quick recap and even fill in the intervening years to throw wrenches for the upcoming plot.

Zoolander and Hansel go on a true trip of discovery – one to help them find out who they are and also what others mean to them. Rolled up in this are the themes of family, connecting, and acceptance. And of course ‘looking cool’ and what that really means.

No real surprises on the plot, but with the lack of mental capacity from the heroes, they couldn’t make it too hard on them. lol. My two favorite spots were the beginning James Bond like sequence and the scenes with All. And Keifer Sutherland is pregnant?

There are all sorts of in-jokes thrown all over the place as well. Trying to catch them is rather fun. 🙂 Oh, and the whole serving tea with the feet scene? Awesome! 😛

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Some physical and some CGI stunts. This is a comedy so some bits go beyond human boundaries, but that’s part of the fun. (Who knew Will Ferrell was so flexible?) And one of the longest car rolls EVER!

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: From the desert outside Malibu to the Northern reaches of New Jersey, they really picked some great locations for the film. All the spots in Rome were fantastic. And the views!

Heck, even the weird locations like the dolled up medicine factory/toxic waste dump/fashion party were nicely done. Lovely cinematography.

6) Costuming/Makeup – Total Thumbs Up: Loved loved loved the Dr. Strange look they gave Zoolander when we find him in his hermitage in the cold north! Hansel’s quarter mask was also adorable. Make note of his scar after the first look and see what/who it reminds you of. 🙂

And the amazing (and horrifying) things they did to Kristen Wiig! OMG! Creepiest looking character ever! lol. I swear there were several characters from some old movies squished together to make her up. (Dug back up?) 😛

And since the film is about models, there are costume changes for just about every scene! Having to come up with all these clothes must have driven the wardrobe people crazy. Using tattoos as part of Hansel’s costumes was a great move.

7) Music – Total Thumbs Up: I have to say half of my enjoyment of the film was from the great background score by Theodore Shapiro. A very spy/thriller type sound with lovely changes for different areas that set the perfect mood from the start. 🙂

Conclusion: Can’t say if it is better or not than the original Zoolander, but Zoolander 2 was fun. Everyone looked to be having a ball. So if you’re looking for something silly, light, and very well done with cool locations, look no further. Zoolander 2 will take you there. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Better for Matinee)