Monday, September 24, 2007

Resident Evil: Extinction

YES! There have been times these past few years where I worried that there wouldn’t be a third Resident Evil movie and I will admit that I wept at the thought that the franchise had ended. But here we are and Resident Evil: Extinction is out for the whole world to see. And thankfully it is exactly what the original and Apocalypse was, pure enjoyable trash. The big change this time around is that we are now firmly within the world of Mad Max and Alice is now Jean Grey. How sweet is that?

There were so many unanswered questions at the end of Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Wait you don’t care? But she killed the security guard with her mind? Dude, her mind made that guy’s eyes bleed! And how was this all explained in Extinction? Um, it wasn’t explained so I will assume Umbrella turned her into Jean Grey. Telekinesis rules. So Milla Jovovich starts off with her new mutant power along with riding a bike through the desert like freaking Mad Max. I cannot be more excited to write that sentence. But I can’t say that it is all great for Alice this time around. Although she was nude during many scenes in Extinction, they went with the whole strategic covering of the naughty bits. That’s not the Resident Evil I came to know and love. Give me a moment to get over this loss.

They brought back lots of other survivors from the second movie. Which was better than how Apocalypse only brought back Alice and I’ll stretch to include the flashback to the guy who became Nemesis. Extinction brought back the evil doctor, the STARS dude, and for whatever sick twisted reason Mike Epps. Don’t ask why the 2 most important other non-Alice survivors, Jill and the little girl, were ignored because I don’t have an answer for you. Seems like that shouldn't have been left hanging. The two additions to the cast that left any sort of a mark were Ali Larter and Ashanti. Well truthfully I just wanted to mention that Ashanti was in the damn movie because do you remember when Ashanti was relevant? Ali was completely acceptable as Claire. It is amusing to see her act badass but Heroes has made that seem less ridiculous. You won’t confuse her with Michelle Rodriguez but this isn’t exactly Denise Richards as nuclear scientist. No one else matters because they are just all cannon fodder. Introduce them, give them an obvious character trait, then kill them violently, and the more the better. I almost forgot; the head of Umbrella is a badass because he wears sunglasses to major company meetings. Sunglasses! Indoors! In a professional setting!

Do you really care about the story? All that matters is zombies appear and get killed in massive numbers. Birds have been infected, swarm, and peck people to death. Umbrella’s plans don’t even make sense. And the ending leaves multiple plotlines for the hopefully 4th Resident Evil. Man, I can only dream.

Lets get this straight. I do not recommend Resident Evil: Extinction. While the franchise is not awful, it sure as hell wouldn’t be confused with quality. What can I say? I am a sucker for the continuing adventures of Alice vs. the Umbrella corporation. This is just more of the same.

5 out of 10

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up

One of the great things about seeing so many movies is that sometimes I am glad to see just a so-so movie. Shoot ‘Em Up can settle itself in a nice spot right in the middle of the list. You know … spread itself out and share stories with the rest of the mediocre movies of 2007. The highest praise I can possible give for this movie is that it will definitely improve when you watch it 10 minutes at a time on cable. Conversely, watching Shoot ‘Em Up straight through in one sitting does not leave you feeling like you just saw anything worth remembering or even spending a single brain cell on.

Clive Owen may have become the go-to actor when the role calls for weathered, shadowy, long coat wearing, disgruntled anti-hero, but Smith in Shoot ‘Em Up was a Xerox of a Xerox. It was closer to a Clive Owen impression rather than anything else. Still who doesn't like Clive Owen? Seriously? Your opinion is now worthless to me. On the other hand, Paul Giamatti gets to play the most un-Paul Giamatti character he has ever had the chance to portray. That is probably the reason why he ended up in this. He saw the opportunity to be a crazed lunatic instead of downtrodden guy, or some guys best friend. Not the best performance of his career but at least its memorable with his wacky one-liners and manic facial expressions. The only other person worth mentioning is Monica Bellucci and I have now mentioned her. That wasn't nice. She is great in her role as hooker. Sorry, lactating hooker. Yeah don't look at me, I didn't

Since the actors weren’t the problem with Shoot ‘Em Up, I’d place the blame on the story since this movie felt more like an excuse to create elaborate gunfights. Then someone went back and backfilled all the reasons why these crazy action scenes were occurring. And by backfill I mean Madlibs. Don’t get me wrong; when I'm watching this for the 47th time on one of the six Cinemaxes the shoot-outs will still be fun. My assumption is that the writer/director, Michael Davis, played a helluvalot of video games while imagining this movie. Actually the use of a carrot as a murder weapon in multiple scenes couldn’t have originated from a video game so maybe Mr. Davis is just insane. Hmm lactating hookers, using a bullet to severe an umbilical cord, yes crazy is an acceptable explanation. There really isn’t much more to be said about the story. It seems to exist in the fabulous alternate reality where massive levels of violence take place around every corner. Fully trained assassins and mercenaries are available in large quantities. If only it were true. If only…

You would think Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, gunfights, Monica Bellucci hooker, what could go wrong. Yeah well don't get your hopes up kid The gunfights weren't even good enough to make the whole thing worthwhile. Off you go Shoot 'Em Up straight into the mediocre basket.

5 out of 10

Thursday, September 13, 2007

3:10 to Yuma

Man, so freaking close to being that first 10 out of 10 flick for 2007. That means 3:10 to Yuma is another great movie that falls just short of hitting every note. But those 2 sentences will be the extent of my whining in this review. I will take some time to explain why the ending misplaced its logic along the way but it will be written in the form of a critique and not the words of a petulant child. Anywho Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in a rare legit Western, that alone brings me through the door.

I never list Russell Crowe as one of my favorite actors, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the best actors working today. The man is completely in his prime and performs on a level that few can reach. His work in 3:10 to Yuma may not best Gladiator but it sure as hell is better than Virtuosity. Yes I am bashing Virtuosity again and yes this will not be the last time it is mentioned this year. You just wait for American Gangster when the dream team of Crowe and Denzel reunite on the 12-year anniversary of that masterpiece. Man, I cannot believe that has been 12 years since Virtuosity stole Christmas for the entirety of Whoville. So … back to 3:10 to Yuma, Crowe is able to make Ben Wade just the right amount of evil while still having the intelligence to be in control of nearly every situation he faces. Even when he spends nearly 2/3rds of the movie in shackles, you still feel that he is the one calling the shots. You see him working the angles with every single one of his captors, you see him pocket the fork during dinner, you see how even when he kills it is fast and serves a purpose, and even though it strained credibility in the end, Crowe is able to show the growing changes in his relationship with Christian Bale’s Dan Evans. This is definitely one of the best performances that will show up this year. Even though I spent a large chunk of space on Crowe that is not to say that Bale did not hold up his end of the bargain. Christian Bale is like a character actor who has somehow been able to not get stuck with that tag and become a headliner. He is always solid. Bale has definitely become the go-to actor if you need to cast a one-legged Civil War veteran who can no longer support his family. I enjoyed the desperation that is constantly beneath the surface for Bale throughout 3:10 to Yuma. Because once again when the climax of the film shows up, you better be attached to the characters since the storyline is not going to hold up to intense scrutiny.

There are 2 more actors that I need to highlight. It is always nice to see Peter Fonda. Even better when he gets to play a bastard Pinkerton hired to take down Ben Wade. Like the great Al Sweargen would say “Pinkerton cocksucker”. Fonda meets a worthy end to his character. "Even bad men love their mamas." Great line. The other name that needs to be mentioned is Ben Foster. I don’t know where he has been hiding this performance, but 3:10 to Yuma is easily the best thing I have ever seen him in. If Ben Wade is evil, Charlie Prince is downright psychotic. And this isn’t just because of the body count; there were always bad intentions behind Foster’s eyes. Plus he killed Luke Wilson, which was sad because Luke seemed to be having a good time messing around in the Old West. There were multiple actors performing at the top of their games here.

Screw it, I held it together long enough. Why the hell was Crowe following Bale through town once the bullets started flying? I can understand a growing respect that leads to not wanting to see the man killed, but actively helping your captor? Was it that difficult to end this story? Damnit, the ending is so important to get right and it fouled up what could have been a classic.

Now that I get that out of my system, 3:10 to Yuma kicked a large quantity of ass. I have always been partial to Westerns, mainly because when they are done right they are so damn awesome, so I was already excited before the trailers ended. Then throw in some great performances headlined by Crowe and I have no real complaints. Don’t take my bitching about the ending seriously, 3:10 to Yuma is worthy of paying for admission and a great start to the home stretch of 2007.

9 out of 10

Monday, September 3, 2007

Second Act Over the Last 5 Years

Now its time to judge the Summer movies of this year to the previous 5 years. Get ready for some badass lists.

  1. Talk to Me (9)
  2. The Bourne Ultimatum (9)
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (9)
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (8)
  5. Stardust (8)
  6. Rescue Dawn (8)
  7. Superbad (8)
  8. Ocean's Thirteen (8)
  9. Hairspray (8)
  10. Live Free or Die Hard (7)
  11. The Simpsons Movie (7)
  12. Spider-Man 3 (6)
  13. Mr. Brooks (6)
  14. DOA: Dead or Alive (6)
  15. Transformers (6)
  16. 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (5)
  17. Halloween (5)

Average Rating: 7.24


  1. A Scanner Darkly (9)
  2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (8)
  3. Miami Vice (8)
  4. Little Miss Sunshine (8)
  5. The Descent (8)
  6. An Inconvenient Truth (8)
  7. Mission: Impossible III (7)
  8. Superman Returns (7)
  9. Clerks II (7)
  10. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (7)
  11. The Da Vinci Code (6)
  12. The Break-Up (6)
  13. X-Men: The Last Stand (6)
  14. Waist Deep (5)
  15. Click (5)
  16. The Omen (5)
  17. Snakes on a Plane (5)
  18. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (4)
  19. Poseidon (4)
  20. Idlewild (4)
  21. Lady in the Water (4)

Average Rating: 6.24


  1. Batman Begins (10)
  2. Layer Cake (9)
  3. Cinderella Man (9)
  4. Hustle & Flow (8)
  5. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (8)
  6. Wedding Crashers (8)
  7. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (8)
  8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (8)
  9. Broken Flowers (8)
  10. 2046 (8)
  11. Unleashed (8)
  12. Four Brothers (8)
  13. Kingdom of Heaven (7)
  14. The Devil's Rejects (7)
  15. War of the Worlds (6)
  16. The Brothers Grimm (6)
  17. The 40 Year Old Virgin (6)
  18. The Longest Yard (6)
  19. The Dukes of Hazzard (6)
  20. Kicking & Screaming (6)
  21. The Island (6)
  22. Fantastic Four (5)
  23. Sky High (5)

Average Rating: 7.22


  1. Spider-Man 2 (10)
  2. The Bourne Supremacy (9)
  3. Collateral (9)
  4. Crash (9)
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (9)
  6. Garden State (8)
  7. The Manchurian Candidate (8)
  8. Maria Full of Grace (8)
  9. I, Robot (7)
  10. Anchorman: The Legend of the Ron Burgundy (7)
  11. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (7)
  12. Super Size Me (7)
  13. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (7)
  14. The Terminal (7)
  15. Troy (7)
  16. Coffee and Cigarettes (6)
  17. King Arthur (6)
  18. Van Helsing (6)
  19. Without a Paddle (6)
  20. The Chronicles of Riddick (5)
  21. The Day After Tomorrow (5)
  22. Fahrenheit 9/11 (5)
  23. Napolean Dynamite (5)
  24. AVP: Alien vs. Predator (4)
  25. The Village (3)
  26. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2)
  27. Catwoman (2)

Average Rating: 6.44


  1. X2 (10)
  2. Whale Rider (10)
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (9)
  4. 28 Days Later... (8)
  5. Bend It Like Beckham (8)
  6. Open Range (8)
  7. The Italian Job (8)
  8. The Matrix Reloaded (7)
  9. Swimming Pool (7)
  10. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (7)
  11. S.W.A.T. (7)
  12. Seabiscuit (6)
  13. Hulk (6)
  14. Bruce Almighty (6)
  15. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (6)
  16. 2 Fast 2 Furious (5)
  17. American Wedding (5)
  18. Hollywood Homicide (5)
  19. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (4)
  20. Bad Boys II (2)
  21. The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (1)

Average Rating: 6.43


  1. Hero (10)
  2. Road to Perdition (9)
  3. Signs (9)
  4. Spider-Man (8)
  5. The Sum of All Fears (8)
  6. K-19: The Widowmaker (8)
  7. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (8)
  8. Insomnia (7)
  9. Minority Report (7)
  10. Undercover Brother (7)
  11. Austin Powers in Goldmember (6)
  12. Men in Black II (5)
  13. Mr. Deeds (5)
  14. Scooby-Doo (4)
  15. xXx (3)
  16. Enough (2)
  17. Bad Company (1)

Average Rating: 6.30

First thing I noticed is that I am about 5ish movies behind and that is influencing the average rating. Due to cable and whatnot I will end up seeing a bunch of crap that came out this summer and it will probably lower the average. But that hasn't happened yet so I can only judge what I have seen so far. An that judgment lands 2007 in first place by a hair over 2005. They are very similar years although I would take 2005 since it has Batman Begins and Layer Cake which are both better than anything I saw in 2007. And wow last year was just awful with only a handful of great movies and an endless supply of mediocre. Looking back 2004 might have the best selection at the top (Spider-Man 2, The Bourne Supremacy, Collateral, my favorite Harry Potter, and Garden State which I have probably seen 100 times) yet since I have seen 27 movies released between May and August of that year and that is just too many flicks to keep a high average.

I don't like all these numbers telling me how great 2007 is, yet the best movie I have seen is Zodiac and the best blockbuster was The Bourne Ultimatum neither of which I would be comfortable with being #1 for the year.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The 2007 List (10)

  1. Zodiac
  2. The Lookout
  3. Talk to Me
  4. The Bourne Ultimatum
  5. Grindhouse
  6. Breach
  7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  8. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
  9. Hot Fuzz
  10. Stardust
  11. Reign Over Me
  12. Rescue Dawn
  13. 300
  14. Black Snake Moan
  15. Superbad
  16. Hairspray
  17. Ocean's Thirteen
  18. Live Free or Die Hard
  19. The Simpsons Movie
  20. Spider-Man 3
  21. Mr. Brooks
  22. Smokin' Aces
  23. Transformers
  24. DOA
  25. Shooter
  26. Halloween
  27. Blades of Glory
  28. Reno 911!: Miami
  29. 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  30. The Condemned
  31. Ghost Rider
  32. Pathfinder

So August was a damn decent follow-up to the great month of July. What started off as a sketchy summer, ended up being strong showing. Another month has passed and I still don't have a signature film for all of 2007 and I highly doubt that September will provide me with what I am looking for. Then again maybe 3:10 to Yuma, The Brave One, or much needed third Resident Evil flick will take the ball and run with it. Well I'll know soon enough.


I never claimed that all my decisions were worthwhile. For a minute there, I was legitimately excited for Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween. Looking back on it, I can’t give you a really good reason for my anticipation. The Devil’s Rejects was a good time but it didn’t exactly change my life. Well, it did show me how not to be a deranged serial killer. That was helpful. Sadly Zombie’s version of Halloween never really made it to that next level. In the end it was just another body count flick with Sabretooth running around in a mask.

The original Halloween was more psychological drama than blood-soaked slasher. I never saw the rest of the god-awful franchise but since the remake was based on the first movie everything else is irrelevant. Zombie definitely played homage to original, he just added in details that weren’t there 30 years ago. Of course everything he created was a bit more twisted than anything John Carpenter filmed. Now Michael Myers’s mother is a stripper (of course played by his wife Sheri Moon), prior to being arrested and locked up Michael adds 3 more to the body count besides his naked sister, then there was about 5 more bodies while he was in the insane asylum, and there is another murder at a truck stop, but once Michael returns to Haddonfield Zombie doesn’t alter the story all that much. My main problem with Zombie’s version is that he removed what I felt was the best part of the original Halloween. Carpenter kept Myers in the shadows until about the last third of the film. With the excessive violence that occurred with the 10 year-old Michael and then all the killings within asylum, there wasn’t the same build-up of tension once he started stalking the soon to be naked teenagers. You know what he can and will eventually do to everyone left alive. I will admit that Mr. Zombie has a flare for visualizing brutality. So even though it may have hurt the overall film, watching Michael beat the school bully to death or his stalking of all the people he hates in his house were all shot from interesting angles. In fact all of the violence looks good even though there is just too damn much of it.

I will give credit to the remake for recreating many of the scenes from the original. It is still Laurie Strode and her 2 friends being stalked at the end, Myers does show up in the many of the same places, one of the boyfriends is still stabbed through the chest and hung on the wall, Myers still dresses like a ghost before killing one of the girls, many of the famous lines are repeated, Zombie doesn't screw with music too much (well except for having Love Hurts playing in the scene when 10 year-old Michael decides to kill everyone in the house because his Halloween was ruined), and thankfully there is still tons of nudity. There were also 2 great casting choices. Malcolm McDowell takes on the role of the Dr. Loomis and goes from hippy doctor to silver haired hollow man who spent his professional career studying Myers. And I was even more excited that Doc from Deadwood was the Sheriff. I cannot think of a situation where Deadwood actors show up and not immediately improve my spirits. Still Doc’s appearance could only help so much; in the end Halloween was just another slasher flick.

Although Halloween has no chance of even cracking the top half of 2007, there will be much worse films beneath it. This was a completely acceptable body count movie. Michael Myers brutalized and mutilates a mess load of people. Zombie has a way with violence so it never gets boring. In the end Halloween is just dragged down because the original was just plain better. Still everyone loves a good stabbing so this will not hurt for an audience.

5 out of 10