Friday, 21 September 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution Review

Resident Evil: Retribution Review

Year: 2012
Stars: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez
Directed: Paul W S Anderson
Running Time: 84 Mins Approx.




Hurray another offering from the increasing bad world of Paul W S Anderson’s version of resident evil. When are people going to get fed up of this bad movie cash cow that Anderson has stumbled upon?
Seriously puzzles me how these can just be spurted out every year or so, stemming from a very mediocre original film that impress much. The second film nemesis was an improvement of course so pushing for the creation of that and the better success it had is probably what these films can thank for their birth.
Again we get a semi-nude Milla at the beginning of this film reminiscent of the second film, though that’s not till after a very confusing, seeming dream sequence.
That’s all after a small recap of everything that’s gone on in the past films, seriously though was it needed? I mean surely 90% of the people watching this series by now are people who’ve seen most if not all of the last films in hopes of seeing something new and thoughtful.

No its not in fact you can tell that Anderson is just writing these in his sleep now, he must wake up one day and just go Milla new RE idea! And splurge his mess over the keyboard.
This like most of Andersons works suffers from poor dialogue and over the top flashy stuff to detract from the poor story writing. This unfortunately works for a lot of people show them something shiny and they go ah!
Anyway Alice finally wakes clad in two towels held by string at the sides barraged by questions and squealing noises by a now red queen controlled Jill Valentine. Yes the red queen from part 1 has taken over umbrella.
Alice escapes the room with the help of a mystery person. After a while she escapes some zombies and enters a corridor much like the lobby in the matrix, can’t we tell what Paul likes!
So we have a panel lit lobby sequence as a human Alice though some things she does still seem superhuman mashes in about fourteen zombies heads with some lovely slow-mo padlock on chain to the jaw action.
She finds out she was rescued by combined efforts of Ada Wong (Anderson using the vast RE character repertoire) and a strangely (after the last movie) not dead Wesker.
Anyway long story short Red queen wants Alice alive, red queen decides to snuff Alice, red queen wants to snuff human race, and Wesker for some unknown reason wants to stop this?
So this is basically escape an underground facility again before boom, the acting is as with other RE films medium to poor with some strangely familiar faces popping up which I won’t spoil for you as its part of the main storyline.
Also another thing in this film it suffers from is the old infinite bullet syndrome most of the time Alice has 2 giant machine pistols that never seem to need reloading, or for that matter do much damage to anything she hits with them.
More RE characters introduced are Barry Burton and Leon Kennedy, not played by anyone amazingly famous not that would help much with the poor writing of this film, I’m quite glad there’s not a lot of dialogue in this film most conversations are started and ended with guns.
So as this film ends naughty old wesker inject Alice giving her superhuman abilities back yay! with the open ending of yet ANOTHER RE film to come as well oh joy. I do love the resident evil game series so down to that this series will string me along just to see what Anderson fucks over in the world of RE next.

In conclusion IF you like the other films and you like bright flashy lights and wiz bangs with no substance then give it a try if not one to miss I’m afraid but its certainly worth 2 stars.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Dredd Review

Dredd Review

Year: 2012

Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey

Directed: Pete Travis

Running Time:  95 mins approx.


Dredd he is the law, now I’m setting this in stone FORGET the Stallone one although I enjoy it as a tongue in cheek romp in a comic book universe I’m not 100% familiar with. I’ve only read the judge death arcs. I do have though a bunch of big finish audio stories that are wrote by the people who created the comic though.

Well I don’t know where to start with this I enjoyed it so much so here goes firstly Karl Urban was great, I’m not a massive fan of his. Doom scarred me against him for a long time Star Trek redeemed him a little this film has given me faith in the guy.

He pulled off Dredd to a T who is stoic and before all else puts the law, with the smallest of small streaks of niceness for fellow rookie judge Anderson.

The story in a nut shell is not taken from any source material in the comics as far as I know. I think this is to ease people into the universe of Dredd and they can then expand into the stuff more diehard fans know in a sequel which I’m almost 100% sure is going to happen. The main bad-woman is Mama who is played nicely and robotically by Lena Headey whose acting always seems to be very straight in whatever she’s in, I think the woman must find conveying emotion hard at least it seems that way to me.

She’s usually eye candy in most things she’s in, not so in here as she has a frickin big scar down her face that’s elegantly explained later on in the film.

Anderson was also pulled off fantastically by Olivia Thirlby who has been in other things inbetween this and Juno I haven’t seen her in since. She plays her well as Anderson doesn’t wear a helmet (helmets huh I’ll get to them) as it interferes with her psychic abilities she’s about the only judge that refuses to play by the judges rule book in the comics. May I add to that not a in a bad way she just disagrees with some things.

Now her psychic powers are portrayed in a believable realistic way in this film there’s a brilliant head fuck scene between her and a perp later in the film. For some people who dislike fantasy/sci-fi even in the small doses I think it’s easily acceptable in here as they dont give an over the top explanation about it.

There’s a drug in mega city one (a massive city housing billions in massive blocks it’s a walled city safe from the outside barren wastes of a long past war that ravaged most of the world) SLOMO it makes the mind think time is passing only fraction of what it actually is.

This here is one of my three gripes about the film every SLOMO part is made specifically for 3D now if you’re like me which lets face a lot of adults are (and Dredd is an 18 so adults will be the only ones watching this hopefully *laughs*) you won’t have perfect 20/20 vision which is needed in a 3D movie or you won’t see it properly simply put.

Also 3D because of a filter they use is darker in comparison and Dredd is a dark film I’m sure you’d miss things.

Changes for film are there in this film but you have to for the masses as a lot of people’s experience of Dredd is the old Stallone one they don’t realise it’s a comic book as well. Armour in the comics has much bigger shoulder plates and that’s pretty much all it consists of as well. Here in Dredd it’s been toned down but still has all the hallmarks the eagle on the shoulder but it’s been made into a full body flak jacket which I actually liked.

The helmets oh my, helmets were much too big for my liking even bigger than the comic book versions, though not by much. That was my second gripe I didn’t like about the movie little I know but it’s something you constantly see as Dredd true to the comic also and not like the Stallone film NEVER takes his helmet off.

This film is bloody and quite a few of those scenes again are made for the 3D element but work well despite that. There are a few scenes they really could have shown more of even. As they didn’t need to hold back at all on this I feel it was an 18 anyway, just a few things happening off camera that they could have done on screen.

Anyway few the modestly low budget they made this film on $45mill which trust me isn’t a lot compared to a lot of films these days they did well.

I have one more gripe in judge Dredd there’s corrupt judges but in this film the inclusion of 4 is a bit of over kill 2 maybe 3 would have worked and been more believable over all.

So in conclusion this film is well worth the watch and a great return of the 18 rated movie reign hopefully it’ll make some directors not as scared to put that scene that would make a film in rather than remove it to get more bums on seats.

Go watch Dredd it’s a tour de force and well deserves the 5 stars I’m giving it here

Friday, 14 September 2012

Extinction: The G.M.O Chronicles Review

Extinction: The G.M.O Chronicles

Year: 2011

Stars: Daniel Buder, Luise Bähr and Jerry Coyle

Directed: Niki Drozdowski

Running Time: 115mins approx.


This is a European offering into the ever increasing giant pit that is zombie genre market that we the living folks seem to eat up.

Oh yes we do love an apocalyptic film grounded in the zombie universe. This one is by director Niki Drozdowski and for me I have to say a reasonably enjoyable trip to zombie town this time round.

So we start off with a lone survivor of a lovely viral Z Apoc one of my favourite ways to start an undead army!

This guy (played by Daniel Buder a small time German TV series/TV Movie actor nothing of which I could tell you about that you’d recognise) is making a video log on a laptop chronicling his situation. Quite rightly he’s pissed off lonely and thinks he’s the last human being left alive, we see him about to blow his brain out when the scene cuts to 3 days before this.

He’s driving back to his home when strange things start happening around him people running from others or being attacked, this he doesn’t initially notice.

He runs over a person and gets out seeing what he’s done, to find he’s smashed into a zombie looking perplexed at the corpse it suddenly spins around at him. Now I’m not sure on the budget of this film but I’m guessing it wasn’t amazing. I’ve seen some small budget films do VERY BAD effects from just some make up like green tinting skin and some black around the eyes.

I’m talking about recent zombie/horror films as well not oldies. This film has some pretty decent make up effects they look decaying and infected and dead very effective this for a small budget is done so well so commendation points there.

Anyway a bit ensues and we join him back in *present day* at the laptop saying he couldn’t kill himself, though he will keep one bullet on the night stand if he ever feel he wants to for real.

These zombies hibernate at night for some reason, it is explained in the film but I won’t spoil it

So choosing to go foraging for food at night time he does come across some new survivors who join him at a disused military base he’s holed himself up in.

He finds and loses a few more people along the way due to deaths etc.

Over all apart from some dodgy line delivery and I mean even though the majority of the cast is German or other European nationalities and the script is so obviously written by a non-English speaker. The one actual British speaking guy (an American) has one of the worst line deliveries of the film.

Sure the other cast members don’t deliver perfect but I’m almost 100% sure you can put that down to English not being their primary language. This can lead to some situations not being put across properly due to the actors not knowing how to react to the words as their concentrating on their pronunciation I would say this for me is worst part of the film.
One more bad part would be the power plant explosion where some debris get strewn about but nothing on the scale you'd think and the nice cars aren't damage as the budget wouldn't allow it.

Packed full of clichés to the rafters, secrets love triangles awkwardness and more just adds to the cheesy likability of this film. One thing I’ll say in its defence is they really tried to make a decent movie with some good ideas there with this one.

A suitable ending to zombie film of this type that I won’t spoil *cough* Mutant *Cough* either I actually really enjoyed this, that made a nice change from the usual in this genre so I will say give it a go if you’re a fan of zombie films which I am you’ll probably find you haven’t wasted your time.

If you aren’t a fan?

Well try it you might just find you like it anyway. I definitely think it’s worth a watch and adding to the reasonably good zombie movie pile when compared to some of nonsense drivel that’s out there at the moment.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Insidious Review



Year: 2010

Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins

Directed: James Wan

Running Time: 103mins approx.




Yes, we all cringed through that excitable trailer as it repeatedly drummed it's knackered cliché's into our tired, tormented skulls.  All garnered the knowledge every ad break that it was not actually their house that was haunted, but in fact their son.  We had the very unoriginal, convention rehashing elements of 'Insidious' flung in our face to such an extent that when we finally got around to watching it, it was almost a mild relief to discover that the films story and style were not as boorishly derivative as its advertising campaign would have us believe.


Insidious brings together the two famous/infamous creators of the Saw and Paranormal Activity franchises, another titbit that trailer saw fit to repeatedly howl into our eardrums.  Directed by James Wan (That'll be Saw) and produced by Oren Peli (you do the math), they're attention grabbing credentials but whether they endow a label of quality or not is a less simple matter.  Both their respective franchises were kick-started with films of genuine merit but said franchises reputations swiftly nose-dived after a relentless barrage of money hoovering sequels harbouring quality that sparsely reared its head above the level of utter gash.


But it's their presence here that seems to bring a sprinkle of gravitas and conviction to the film. Revering in a kind of over egged 70's violin thrashing silliness but crossed with the more quiet, atmospheric haunted house tradition, the film is certainly a unique and intriguing mix.  It's a mix that carries an essence of boldness yet it's stark contrast eventually contributes to 'Insidious undoubtable failure.


The film starts off in the usual way; a family moves into an old house and soon begins to encounter the strange noises and unusual occurrences you would expect from a haunted house film.  It's not long before their eldest son Dalton mysteriously falls asleep one night and doesn't wake up, lapsing into a coma the doctors can't explain.  The family soldier on, father Josh (Patrick Wilson) goes to work every day, leaving his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) to potter about the house investigating strange noises.   It's all nothing new but the story is handled well enough, travelling in a direction that keeps things captivating and reasonably taut.


The first glaring problem however, other than the blatant over familiarity, is the frequency of it's creepy phenomena.  Often barely a few seconds transpire in between doors creaking open, books being mysteriously moved about, children laughing from obscure corners of the house and countless other spooky episodes.  It's the overuse of these tropes that mean we're quickly desensitized to any building fear and find it difficult to take the film seriously.


It's not all bad, there are occasions when the film is chillingly effective, Wan atmospherically handling a couple of sequences with genuine skill and understanding of the genre.  Most of the acting is of a higher level than you would expect from people cast in such simple traditional roles.  Patrick Wilson especially.  The man has established himself as a very natural performer, able to imbue the general loving family man with a bit of life and here is no exception, but he really should be aiming higher at this point in his career.


But the film's few graces go to wolves in the second half when any pretence to subtlety is completely thrown by the wayside in favour of ghost ride ridiculousness, thrusting so much colour, smoke and silly looking demons in our face and shaking it all about until we're thrown out of the film and can never really get back in.  This Joy(less) ride leads us up to a fun last minute twist but by that point we're beyond caring.  Granted, it's all bold and unique and the film certainly seems to be having a good time, which is great, because we certainly are not.



Review by affiliate Justin Abbott