Saturday, September 15, 2012

Movie Review: Resident Evil Retribution

In an annual entry, Resident Evil has released another movie and it adds to the already rich tapestry from the games.  In this latest entry, Alice is once again being hounded by zombies, but not Wesker, the former head of Umbrella, and the usual villain in the series.  Noticeably missing from the line-up of characters are the Redfields, but it was nice to see game favourites Leon Kennedy, Ada Wong and Jill Valentine.  While I have my own view of how they should act and look, the actors somehow made it work, though it won’t ever be the same.  I thought Ada Wong was the most accurate, but that might just be me.

Alice, played purposefully by Milla Jovovich, cruises through throng after throng of enemies, less zombies and more of the ‘other’ enemies seen in the RE games.  Seeing the reappearance of a Licker is something I still don’t care for, but I’m waiting for the Steel Maiden to show up.  While the plot is no less convoluted than any other RE movie, the story flows smoothly as Leon leads a group to find and save Alice and rescue her from within the Umbrella testing facility.  The concept of clones and copies of people crop up throughout the story and fan favourites like Rain Ocampo and Carlos Olivera reappear.  Alice makes her way through the facility, and once she gets out, is confronted by Rain and Jill, the latter having Scarab Appliance forcing her to fight Alice.  After a heated battle, presumably leaving another fan favourite dead, Alice confronts Wesker and sees what has happened to the world.  The ending leaves the assumption of a sequel.

Though I love the games, the movies have an aura about them that make them a totally separate experience.  While I’m not usually a fan of an episodic format for movies, this one stands on its own and the special effects, IMAX and 3D are just stunning.  The story continues to delve into the characters, and their relationships to Alice, and the reappearance of past characters makes it fit into the mythology well. What I felt lacking was the movie was truly a part, a piece of the series.  It certainly could stand on its own, but felt very much like we’re waiting on the next entry to continue the journey.  Whether you’re a fan of Resident Evil or not, this movie is well worth seeing, but don’t expect to feel any sort of closure once the ending credits begin to run.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Movie Review: The Possession

Movies about possession aren’t new, and this movie doesn’t bring anything new to the genre.  Despite that, I still found myself in a state of fear throughout the movie.  One might argue that I’m just the scared type, but I see a lot of horror movies and am usually not forced to cover my eyes for fear of seeing something that might follow me home.

In The Possession, the story is based, loosely, of off a true story, a story which was featured in Entertainment Weekly about a month ago.  In it, the story was revealed that the chest of which the story is based, was found at an estate sale, the seller unwilling to take it back after several attempts.  The buyer bought it and left it in the basement of their establishment, having to rush back to the place after the workers reported troubling sounds coming from the basement.  What followed was a series of strange incidents that could never be substantiated, but led to poor health to any who encountered the box.  The scary aspect of this story is that the ‘curse’ was never truly explained, there was no warning prior to anything happening, and this could occur to anyone.

The movie follows the story of a divorced couple, Jeffery Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick, who are taking care of their children at regular intervals.  On one weekend with the father, the kids happen upon a yard sale, where the youngest of his kids finds and asks to buy a box with no hinges.  The father obliges and the girl is troubled by it within twenty-four hours.  The parents are utterly baffled by the behaviour of their daughter, things becoming stranger and stranger.

The story ends as most of these stories do, with no lives truly lost, but the series of jump-inducing scenes increasing as the movie draws to a close.  While Morgan and Sedgwick are believable parents, there is nothing that compels you to be drawn in by their performance.  If anything, I felt the camaraderie from the two sisters, played wonderfully by Madison Davenport (Hannah) and Natasha Calis (Em) are what drew me further into the story.  The relationship never took centre stage, but the few instances they were featured, their mental state and concern for one another was palpable.  The Rabbi who helps them is played by Matisyahu and was likable, but also funny at times where he perhaps shouldn’t have been.

I wanted to really like this movie, especially given the glut of horror movie, but I found it forgettable soon after seeing it.  The movie delivers great scares, but I can’t imagine any movie, or story, building off of what The Exorcist did so many years ago.  Whether it is Christianity or Judaism that is the focus of the exorcism, the plot seems to be the same in every movie and it becomes tiresome.  I would love to see a ‘new’ possession story, but I doubt we’d ever see it on the big screen, because Hollywood sticks to what is tried, tired and true.