Tuesday, January 22

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Alleyways - Movie Review: Frozen River
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A French film of ‘magicians’
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Carell, Get Smart pay homage to the past
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Want meager plot and redeemimgly mindless action? Look no further.
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"Mongol" soars above the sands of history
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Clooney fails to score with Leatherheads
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Rambo Redux – Sylvester Stallone attacks Asia.
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Resident Evil: Extinction
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Michael Clayton
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The Resident Evil movie franchise features Mila Jovovich as Alice (above). Alice doesn't appear in the game but Ada Wong (top) does.


Evil lurks, and it lurks
just about everywhere


Movie review
By Christopher Parks

The new Resident Evil film shows that if there's one thing an  "apocalypse”  can't stop, it's a sequel to an over-the-top videogame movie franchise. Resident Evil: Extinction, directed by Russell Mulcahy (a former music video director whose best-known feature film is 1986’s Highlander), takes what's already a dry concept for an action movie and wrings it out like some sort of overused cinematic sponge.

From the outset, with the token brandishing of star Milla Jovovich's breasts in the obligatory nude scene, you can tell that this film sticks to its guns and retreads old territory, which is to be expected of this genre.

When I say "this genre," I'm referring to game-to-film adaptations. Typically these movies borrow concepts from their parent games and run wild with them (all the while mounting their attractive female leads on pedestals), namely House of the Dead, Silent Hill, Bloodrayne, Tomb Raider and the rest of an ever-growing list of movies that can't quite measure up to their videogame counterparts.

The Resident Evil movie franchise makes use of the old formula for a third time, showing us that putting a semi-automatic in the hands of a gorgeous female protagonist begats box office smashery (almost $50 million in its first month of release).

One thing that bugs me is how poorly it represents the videogame franchise.  I remember at 9 years old being enthralled with the original (and woefully gory) RE game in 1996. This phenomenon continues 11 games and 11 years later, as I'm still singing the series' praises. But this movie would probably do just as well at the box office if marketed under an entirely different name – maybe something catchy, like Alice's Areolae: Redux.

This new movie is big on flair and small on substance. How many times can you watch Jovovich run up walls and perform "wire-fu” on the walking dead before you stop buying tickets to these movies? The story is the same as always – “evil corporation trying to make super-bio-weapons is foiled by gun-toting pretty girl in exceedingly inappropriate attire” and I cannot over-emphasize the prominence of the protagonist's nipples in this flick.

Aside from the shallowness of it all (not that RE was ever big on substance in the first place) is the ongoing fight to categorize this movie as either an action flick or a horror flick. The movie doesn't "scare" in the traditional sense of the word. The audience is frequently startled by zombies that pop up on the screen almost arbitrarily throughout the 95 minutes. So don't expect to be too deeply disturbed by the time the credits roll. As I said earlier, this is series all about Alice kicking the crap out of genetically-modified freaks of nature and looking good while doing it.

But the one thing that killed it for me was ***spoiler alert***  the addition of telekinesis to Alice's arsenal. You could tell that the film’s writer, Paul W.S. Anderson, (who also wrote the two previous RE movies, directed the first one and has been romantically linked  to Ms. Jovavich for years) was grabbing for straws with this one.

The verdict: The movie is visually enjoyable, but don't go into theatres expecting an epic. It’s fun, but unfulfilling, so the RE movies and the games do have something in common after all.

I give Resident Evil: Extinction a ‘B-,’ thanks to the added bonus of getting to see R&B diva  Ashanti  eaten alive by crows  - something for which I've prayed for years.


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