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December 31st, 2016 Movie – Anatomy Of A Psycho

anatomy-of-a-psycho

Another successful Pre-New Years in the bag and a lot of fun was had. Now to get ready for the end of the year and some more fun with friends tonight. However, first I have to get through today’s movie. Now today I am watching a movie from the Pure Terror collection, yet another box set of movies from Mills Creek Entertainment. Now these sets have not always been the best of viewing pleasures for me but we can always give them another chance, and another, and several hundred more when it is all said and done with. For now though, I need to focus on the matter at hand, which is the review today’s movie, Anatomy Of A Psycho.

The plot: When his brother Duke is sentenced to death for murder, Chet goes to the prison to pick up his brother’s belongings. As he returns home, he is confronted by three men, and one of them taunts Chet about Duke being a murderer and after Chet attacks him, the man cuts Chet with a broken bottle and the three men run off. Chet returns home and his sister tends to his injury but they wind up arguing about Chet’s going to see Duke and Chet ends up walking out. Meanwhile, Mickey, the son of the man who testified against Duke, argues with his dad about his testimony and then says he doesn’t want to live in the town anymore. Chet goes to his friend’s house, where he proceeds to start drinking, and when he hears a news report that the execution will proceed on time, he starts to go on a rampage and begins tearing up the house before his friends knock him out. The next day, Chet has his friends help him grab the district attorney’s son and Chet proceeds to beat him up before they run off when they hear someone coming. Meanwhile, Mickey talks to Patty between class, and she asks if he is ashamed of her since her brother was a convicted killer but Mickey assures her that he loves her. That night, Chet goes to see his girlfriend Sandy, who tells him that she is breaking up with him but he kisses her and drags her around the back of her trailer. The next day Patty tries talking to Chet about getting back into school instead of following in Duke’s footsteps of being a hoodlum but Chet yells at her, calling her a hypocrite for letting Duke take care of her but questioning Chet for doing the same. At Moe’s house, Chet and the others are talking about their attack making the front page when Mickey shows up to talk to Chet. Mickey invites Chet to a party, but Chet refuses to go if his friends aren’t invited and Mickey, who gets mad at Moe for remarking about Patty, leaves just as Lt. Mac shows up. Mac is wearing one of the masks that Chet and the others used when they beat the D.A.’s son and questions Chet and the others but since he can’t prove they did it, ends up leaving. Mickey and Patty go to Mickey’s house so he can introduce Patty to his dad, who is friendly to Patty at first until he learns who she is and though he questions Mickey about it, he lets him do what he wants. At the party, Mickey tells Patty about his dad being the witness to Duke’s crime and when she says she understands what he did, Mickey asks her to marry him and she agrees. Meanwhile, Chet shows up to the party and wanders around but when he sees Sandy there with Arthur, the host of the party, he waits until she is alone to try and talk to her and they start making out. Arthur catches them and tries fighting with Chet but ends up smashing into a mirror and cutting his face. Arthur runs from the room with Sandy chasing after him and Chet lights a cigarette and then, after moving a trashcan next to some curtains, throws the cigarette away, which starts a fire and burns the house down. Later that night, Mac questions Chet about the party and warns him to not let the hate consume him but Chet tells him to mind his own business. Chet returns to Moe’s house and gets a gun, then tells Bobby, one of the younger gang members, to stay away from him. Mickey shows up and tells Chet about his father, and Chet snaps and attacks Mickey but Mickey knocks him down. Moe happily confronts Mickey and the two start fighting but as Mickey grabs a knife to defend himself, Moe charges at him and Mickey accidentally stabs Moe. Realizing what had happened, Mickey panics and runs out of the shack. Chet approaches Moe, who begs Chet to get a doctor, but instead Chet pushes the knife even further into Moe, killing him, then grabs Bobby and tells him not to say anything about what Chet did. Mickey is arrested and charged with Moe’s murder and during the trial, Bobby and Chet both lie about what happened when Moe died, while Patty and Mac’s testimony is twisted to make Mickey guilty and the Jury finds him guilty. After the trial, Mac confronts Chet at Moe’s old house and says that he knows Chet lied and that he will be keeping an eye on him. The next day, Mac takes Patty to see Mickey and afterwards, they go to see Chet. Mac plans on going in alone but Patty tells him to let her talk to him first. Patty goes inside and talks with Chet and Bobby but Chet yells at her to leave. Mickey’s father shows up and confront’s Chet and starts attacking him and Patty goes to get Mac to break up the fight and get Mickey’s father out of there. While they are outside, Bobby tells Chet to admit that he killed Moe but when he refuses, Bobby goes outside and admits to Mac that Chet killed Moe. Chet goes running outside and runs around the back of the house and Mac goes after him, after promising Patty he won’t hurt him. Mac catches up to Chet as he is climbing up a electrical tower and convinces Chet that he won’t hurt him and to climb down and when he does, Chet collapses into Mac’s arms and asks Mac to help him.

This was a very bad and very boring movie. The acting was totally bland and so uninspired, that it was kind of a chore to pay attention to the movie. The plot sounded like it could have been interesting but the bad performances did it a lot of harm and did nothing to help move the story or get the audience involved in it. There wasn’t much in the way of action or special effects and even the little bit of drama that was in the movie couldn’t keep this from being a snooze fest. Not a great start for this collection of movies.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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December 30th, 2016 Movie -Alien Hunter

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The year is coming to a close and for me, and my friends, this is really the beginning of the end of the year. See, today is my annual Pre-New Years Party so I need to crank out today’s movie review and finish cleaning house for that. So continuing the reviews of multitude of movies that were picked up over Christmas, this one comes from a collection of movies starring James Spader that my friend Mark gave me. Now I recall seeing this movie once on TV years ago but don’t really remember much about it. So let’s see exactly what it is I am getting into with today’s movie, Alien Hunter.

The plot: In 1947 New Mexico, a ham radio operator is talking with a fellow radio operator when he gets a strange signal coming from Roswell and decides to check it out. When he gets to where the signal seems to be coming from, his dog starts barking and a bright light engulfs them. In present day Antarctica, a research team discovers an unidentified mass via satellite imaging and the decision is made to dig it up. At the University of California in Berkley, Julian Rome, a cryptology professor, is teaching a class and afterwards, called in to his department head, Dr. John Bachman. The department head tells him about the expedition and hands him a disk containing the strange signal that is coming from the object. Julian studies the signal and convinces John to let him head down to Antarctica to see the object in person and John reluctantly agrees, but warns Julian not to embarrass the school due to his former involvement with SETI. Meanwhile, the signal is picked up by the Falkland Islands and is sent to a station in Arizona for study, who forward it to NASA when they can’t figure out what it is. Back in Antarctica, Julian manages to make it to the research station and is happy to see a friend of his, Dr. Alexi Gierach, but shocked to learn that his ex, Dr. Kate Bercher, is in charge of the place. Alexi shows him the object, which is still encased in ice but thought the temperature in the room is well below freezing, the ice is somehow still melting. Julian touches the ice and experiences flashes of moments of his life before he pulls away and sees Kate, who shows him to his quarters. That night, Julian has a strange dream, seeing images of deep space, before he is woken up and brought to the corn fields, where he sees Kate and some of the other team members working on genetically modified corn field, which they are testing to see if they can grow everywhere. Meanwhile, two government officials are talking about Julian’s past, and how he was working on his doctorate at Stanford when he was caught having an affair with one of his students, who happened to be Kate. Later they talk about the signals coming from the object match the signals received in 1947 and one of them realizes that Julian might be able to figure out what is going on and asks that John be brought in. Back in Antarctica, Julian is introduced to some of the other team members and one of them, Dr. Michael Straub, mocks him for his work with SETI. When a glacier shift causes the base to shake, one of the supports for the object comes loose and part of it crashes to the ground, where the ice breaks and reveals a strange pod-like object. Everyone heads for where the object is being held and they discover that the object is putting out a strong static field that violently knocks people away from the object. One of the team members notices what looks like a seal along the edge of the object and believes it can be opened. A discussion is held and Julian believes the object is extra terrestrial, as does Alexi, and says they should study it more before trying to do anything but Michael belittles Julian and orders the team to get the pod open. They manage to short out the field surrounding the object and some of them start working on opening the pod, while Kate, Michael, Alexi, and some others wait behind the control room. Kate starts having second thoughts on what they are doing but Michael scoffs and says she is only doubting him because of Julian, and heads out to work in the corn field, claiming that is where the real work is. Meanwhile, Julian is working on figuring out the signal, discovering that there are two separate signals. He believes one of the signals is merely a location beacon, similar to a distress buoy, and is working on figuring out the second one when Nyla, one of the assistants, gives him an idea on figuring it out. He deciphers the message and is shocked to learn that it says “Do Not Open”, then races down the corridor with Nyla to warn them to stop. They get there just as the pod is opened, resulting in an explosion, causing the station generators to go offline and they are forced to use the station’s back-up batteries. As they get a count on the injured, they manage to look inside the pod and find a cocoon like object inside. One of the team pokes the cocoon with a broken broom handle, causing a strange gas to exit as the cocoon evaporates and reveals an alien body inside. Michael shows up, demanding to know what is going on, just as 4 of the team members, including Nyla, suddenly begin to dissolve from the inside out. Back in Washington, Bachman is told what is happening and that the contingency plan for this event is a nuclear strike so a Russian sub is contacted and moved to within firing range of the station. Back at the station, the surviving members of the team (Julian, Kate, Alexi, Michael, Shelly, Grisham, and the pilot)  are trying to figure out what happened and how they are still alive and they figure they might all be infected but that it might be moving slower through them for some reason. Julian notices through the monitors that the alien has left the pod, so they split into teams, with Michael and Kate going to turn off unnecessary areas of the base to conserve power while the others look for the alien. Julian manages to find the alien and attempts to speak with it but the pilot sees the alien and, thinking it is attacking Julian, shoots it and it ends up dissolving as it dies. The station gets a signal from Washington and John starts talking with Julian. When Julian tells them that the pod was opened and 4 of the team died from the infection, the Secretary of Defense says that they can’t be allowed to leave and orders the nuclear strike, and John reluctantly tells them the news. Michael refuses to believe they are infected and wants to leave while they have a chance but Julian says that if they leave, they could spread the plague across the entire planet and kill everyone. When Michael starts to panic and demand to leave, Julian knocks him out, then goes with Kate to reprogram the exit hatches so they can’t leave. While they are gone, Michael speaks with the pilot, who also thinks they should try to leave, and tells him there is another way out. They try to grab the gun from Grisham, with Michael stabbing him in the throat with a fork, and Alexi and Kate are injured by stray bullets during the scuffle. The two men try escaping through the corn fields but the pilot notices that the corn is withering and realizes that they are infected and refuses to leave. Michael wants to keep going and when the pilot tries to stop him, he shoots him, then tries shooting Julian as well. Michael makes his way up through the irrigation tunnels and manages to make it outside, with Julian following, but when they are outside, they find the station encases in a strange energy field cause by a hovering alien ship. Julian tells Michael to stay calm and move/breathe slowly but Michael panics and ends up being killed by electrical surges from the field. Julian quickly heads back down to get the others and leads them outside, telling them to not panic and move slowly towards the center of the field, where they end up being taken aboard the ship just before the missiles blow up the station. As part of the cover-up, the government releases a story that the explosion at the station was caused by the meltdown of an experimental nuclear reactor, which killed everyone in the station while the alien ship is shown to be leaving the solar system.

I know it will be practically impossible at this point, but just once I would like to watch a movie and have it be entirely original. This movie was ok at best but honestly, a little boring. James Spader was decent but this was not one of his better performances. I did think it was interesting to find Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis in the movie but he didn’t really have much of a part in the movie. The basic plot was interesting but the competing elements of the alien virus and the actual alien were a little at odds at times. The movies title was also very misleading, as they group was “hunting” the alien for all of about 10 minutes. The main focus was the infection, which felt like something from The Andromeda Strain or The Alpha Incident. The special effects were pretty bad to be honest and even for a low budget movie, looked really cheap at times. There are several Sci-Fi movies out there involving alien infections that you should probably watch before this one.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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December 29th, 2016 Movie – Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

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Now this should be a fun episode to watch. I remember watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents every now and then on Nick At Night years ago but I did not watch it every single night or see every episode. So in preparing for today’s movie/episode, I decided to do a little research on it. Apparently, this particular episode never aired on NBC during the show’s initial run because the finale was deemed too gruesome by Revlon, who sponsored the show. However, since the show’s initial run, it has become the most widely distributed episode of the series. After reading all this, I guess I should see if all the hype is deserving as I watch today’s movie/episode, Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

The plot: At a carnival, Sadini, a stage magician working there, steps out of his trailer to smoke a cigarette when he notices a young man passed out on the ground next to the hot dog vendor. Sadini tries to rouse the kid but when he is unable to do so, he gets Milt, the hot dog vendor, to help him carry the kid to his trailer. As Milt leaves, Sadini’s wife Irene enters and, seeing the man on the couch, begins to argue with Sadini about what to do with him. When the man wakes up, he thinks Irene is an Angel and Sadini, due to his appearance, is the devil. As Sadini and Irene talks to him, the man says his name is Hugo and he ran away from a home and Sadini decides to keep Hugo around. Some time later, Hugo is wandering around the carnival and catches Irene in a lover’s embrace with George Morris, the high-wire artist, and when Irene leaves to go take part in her act, George and Hugo go to watch it. For the act’s finale, Hugo gets upset when he sees Sadini using a giant power saw to cut Irene in half but George tries to calm him down by telling him it is an act, pointing out that she is still smiling. As Sadini uses his wand to “put Irene back together”, Hugo smiles when Irene steps out of the box unharmed. Later, Irene is complaining to George about Sadini and George suggests they run off together but Irene says they don’t have a penny to their name. Catching Hugo outside their trailer, Irene decides to use Hugo to get rid of Sadini, taking advantage of his fixation on her and his simple mind to make him believe Sadini was using real magic to keep her against her will but if Hugo were to kill Sadini, he would inherit the wand and the magic. That night, Hugo is sitting in the trailer when Sadini enters and after talking with Sadini for a few minutes, Hugo grabs a knife off the table and kills him. Suddenly, he hears a knock on the door and when he opens it, he finds a drunken George there. George tells Hugo he knows Irene’s plan and that she plans to betray Hugo and have him take the blame for the murder. George warns Hugo to stay out of it but then passes out and Hugo leaves him there, then heads to George’s trailer. Irene is woken up by Hugo, who tells her he has the wand and the magic now and will be even greater than Sadini. When she hears that he killed Hugo and left George in the trailer, Irene gets worried and tries to leave but trips and hits her head on the corner of a trunk, knocking her unconscious. Hugo picks up Irene and takes her to the tent and places her inside the box. As she starts to come too, Hugo starts up the saw and begins using it on the box and while Irene starts screaming, Hugo yells out “Smile, Irene! Smile! Smile!” as the screen fades out. In his closing monologue, Hitchcock explains, “I don’t quite know how to put this, however, I must tell you the truth. The saw worked excellently, but the wand didn’t. Hugo was terribly upset, and Irene was beside herself. As for the police, they misunderstood the whole thing and arrested Hugo for murder.”

Now this is exactly what I expected to get out of an Alfred Hitchcock episode and it was a fantastic episode to watch. The acting was really good, with Brandon De Wilde doing a great job as the simple minded and gullible Hugo and Diana Dors doing equally good as the scheming Irene. The story was exactly what you would want for a 30 minute TV show, keeping things basic and simple but using a lot of suspense to keep things from being boring. I have seen full length movies with the plot of a woman trying to kill her husband so she can run off with her lover do a much worse job than what Hitchcock accomplished in just a little over 20 minutes. The suspense and drama were top notch and truly fitting with Hitchcock’s standard motif and the way the screen faded to black as Hugo was yelling out for Irene to smile is a little disturbing even by today’s standards. The closing monologue was a great example of Hitchcock’s dark sense of humor, especially the joke about Irene being beside herself because the wand didn’t work. A great episode to watch that really showcases some of Hitchcock’s genius.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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December 28th, 2016 Movie – Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Cheney Vase

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Man, talk about a disappointment. I bought two more of the Mill Creek box sets because I knew that those would be the best chance of getting a lot of new movies to help in the grand scheme. One of the sets that I bought is the Legends Of Horror collection, and I was pretty happy about it because I noticed to two of the movies listed were by Alfred Hitchcock. Now I love Hitchcock movies so I thought that they might have put two of his lesser known movies on here but alas, the joke would be on me. What I got was instead, two episodes of the show Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Oh well, I will deal with the disappointment and go ahead and watch today’s “movie”, Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Cheney Vase.

The plot: Lyle Endicott is in the office of Herbert Koether, his boss and the head curator at the Manhattan Art Museum, but despite his best arguments, Lyle ends up being fired. As he is leaving the museum, he runs into Martha Cheney, one of the museum’s patrons who happens to be confined to a wheelchair. After the two talk for a few minutes, Herbert comes out and, after dismissing Lyle, speaks with Martha alone, telling her that he is leaving for the coast and tries to convince her to sell the Cheney vase, which her father left her. Martha refuses, saying she plans on keeping it until she dies, and the two continue talking, unaware that Lyle is listening to their conversation. Later, Lyle is talking to his girlfriend Pamela Waring, who is also Herbert’s secretary, and has her write up a fake letter of recommendation, which he takes to Martha as a way to get into her life. When he goes to see Martha, she initially refuses, but Lyle manages to convince her to let him stay on. As Martha heads upstairs, she hands Lyle some mail to put up and he notices a letter from another broker asking to buy the vase from her and he realizes that he can make some money off of it. After some time living in the house, Lyle promotes some instances that cause Martha to question Bella, her long standing maid and Bella decides to leave, after which Martha apologizes for what Lyle witnessed. Lyle asks Martha about the vase but she gets very quiet and refuses to talk about it. Some time later, Martha is talking with Lyle and says she doesn’t care for the new maid, Ruby Boyenton, and wonders when Bella will return from vacation but Lyle tells her that Bella had written her saying she won’t be back. Pamela is not to happy about what Lyle is doing but Lyle convinces her that the money he can get from the vase is worth the risk. Back at Martha’s house, Martha asks Ruby to get a note out, saying that Lyle keeps her trapped there and won’t let her leave but Ruby gives the note to Lyle, who confronts Martha about it. Lyle finally sees where the vase is kept, but lies to Pamela and says that it is being held in a safe deposit box. When Lyle returns to Pamela’s apartment, she confronts him about his lies, as he had used the museum’s address for his passport information and he admits he lied because her morality was becoming a problem. Suddenly, Herbert calls and tells Pamela he will be back in 6 hours and Pamela tells him to head to Martha’s house but Lyle quickly hangs up the phone and slaps her. Realizing he is short on time, Lyle heads to Martha’s house to get the vase, only to find Martha has made several copies of the vase and mocks him by saying she is an mad old woman and doesn’t remember which one is the real vase.

I will be honest, this wasn’t quite what I expected but it was still entertaining. The acting was pretty good, with Darren McGavin (Lyle) and Patricia Collinge (Martha) doing a good job with their respective roles. The story was interesting, and I liked the ending but I was a little surprised because there really wasn’t much in the way of “terror” in this episode. This definitely felt more like a crime drama more than anything else but I feel like there could have been better episodes that they could have used. There was a decent attempt to build up some suspense but they could only do so much with 25 minutes. A decent half hour but I think it could have been better.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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December 27th, 2016 Movie – The 27th Day

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Ahhh, Cold War era sci-fi movies are always interesting to watch. I mean, you have all the basic elements of a sci-fi movie, with aliens or monsters or futuristic technology, but you get the nice “free world vs evil communism” plot line to go with it. Now I honestly never heard of today’s movie before today. It is simply one of several movies that are in a Vintage Sci-Fi collection I got for Christmas. Now to see just how good of a movie The 27th Day really is.

The plot: Englishwoman Evelyn “Eve” Wingate is coming back onto the beach after a swim and talks with her friend, who is painting his interpretation of the coastline. As she prepares to go for a walk, she is approached by a figure, who asks her to come with him, and as she shrinks back in fear, a strange light envelops her. In Los Angeles, a reporter named Jonathan Clark is typing a story when he is also approached by the strange figure and asked to come with him. The figure also grabs a Chinese villager named Su Tan, whose village was being attacked by Chinese soldiers, a German physicist named Professor Klaus Bechner, who was preparing for a trip to America, and a Soviet soldier named Ivan Godofsky. The 5 people find themselves on board an alien ship and wondering how they got there when they are approached by an alien, who says to refer to him as The Alien. The Alien explains that they will be returned to Earth unharmed and as if no time has passed, but they were chosen to act as representatives of Earth. The Alien explains that humanity, as it now stands, has the power to destroy itself, but will also destroy the Earth as well, and The Alien’s race cannot permit that. He says that his planet will be destroyed in 35 days and his people hope to relocate to the Earth, but they do not believe in invasion. He then gives each of the a container with three capsules inside, saying that the capsules have the power to wipe out all of mankind, and only humans will be harmed, leaving everything else intact. Only the 5 of them can open their specific containers but once opened, anyone can use the weapons, which will be active for 27 days. If the 27th day has passed, or the person dies, then the weapons will become inert and humanity will be spared, while The Alien’s race will die and after explaining everything, The Alien sends the humans back to Earth, with Eve asking Jonathan his last name and where he lives before they leave. Eve comes too at the beach and, finding the container in her hand, she quickly rushes to a nearby cliff and throws it into the sea. Su Tan is returned to the wreckage of her village and she heads back inside her house and, after saying a quick prayer to Budha, proceeds to commit suicide. Eve calls Jonathan and tells him that she is flying out to Los Angeles, despite his protests that she stay where she is. Later, as Jonathan is getting coffee, The Alien commandeers radio and television broadcasts around the world and announces to the world about the 5 people and the weapons they possess. Jonathan quickly leaves the diner and goes into hiding, then picks up Eve when she arrives at the airport. Klaus is struck by a car as he is crossing the street and taken to a nearby hospital. After the doctor examines him, he tells a waiting scientist that Klaus won’t be able to talk for a few days and the scientist tries to figure out the container Klaus was carrying. In Russia, Ivan is captured while trying to escape his superiors and brought before a general, who begins questioning him about the container. Ivan only gives vague answers concerning the container and the general dismisses him, but orders a subordinate to begin interrogating him. Jonathan and Eve hide out at a race track that isn’t in use, getting news from a radio as to what is going on. Klaus is questioned about The Alien and the box but he tells the authorities that he doesn’t believe that The Alien actually intended harm to the human race. Two Soviet agents attempt to kidnap Klaus and the container but they are shot and killed by the agents protecting Klaus. When the report comes out on the attempt on Klaus’s life, as well as a report of someone looking like Jonathan being killed by a mob, Jonathan decides to turn himself in to the government. Meanwhile, Ivan had gone into shock through the interrogation methods so the general chooses to give him sodium pentothal to coax Ivan into telling him the truth about the container. When the Soviets spread word that the know how the weapons work, Jonathan, Eve, and Klaus are brought to the Pentagon to answer some questions and they admit the truth about them. Klaus wants to study the pills, believing that there was something that the Alien had said that indicated they could be used to help mankind instead of destroying it, but the officials refuse and decide to test one of them in an isolated part of the ocean. Meanwhile, the Soviet general tells his council that he is issuing a demand for the withdraw of all United States military forces from Europe or else he will use the capsules to kill everyone in North America. When they get the ultimatum, the generals, along with Jonathan, Eve, and Klaus, are told that the military has decided to make a test to see if the weapons work and Dr. Newhouse reveals that he gave himself a lethal dose of radiation, so that he could be used as a test subject. The group head out to sea, where the conduct the test and Newhouse is disintegrated, while the animals on the raft with him where left unharmed. As the US troops begin their withdraw, Jonathan and Klaus believe that the Soviets will use the weapon at the last second to attack North America and then take it over when there is nobody to defend it. Klaus asks to study his remaining capsules, and when he finds a mathematical equation on the capsules, he asks to see Jonathan’s so that he can have the complete equation. In the Soviet Union, the general receives word that his men are in position and starts reading out the coordinates in North America but Ivan, coming out of his stupor, rushes him and knocks the container out of his hands, where it falls to the street below, but is shot in the process. The general yells at his men and says to keep Ivan alive while he goes to the street to retrieve the pills. Back on the ship, Klaus deciphers the message and begins using the 5 pills in the room, as the others hear him and try to stop him. When he finishes, he opens the door and Jonathan asks him where the pills are and Klaus says he used them to save the world. At the same time, the Soviet general reaches the street and grabs the pills but a high pitched sound causes him intense pain before killing him. Radio reports come in from around the world that a high pitched sound wave has blanketed the Earth and killed anyone that was a known enemy of human freedom. Klaus explains that the Alien had said the pills contained the power of life and death, meaning they could be used to save mankind. With Earth in a new time of world peace, radio messages are sent out to the Alien’s race, inviting them to live on Earth in peace with mankind and The Alien accepts, saying the pills were a test to judge the character of mankind and that there are thousands of planets waiting to welcome the Earth.

I have to admit that this is actually a pretty good movie and definitely one that makes you think after watching it. The acting was pretty good, with the Gene Berry (Jonathan), Valerie French (Eve), and George Voskovec (Klaus) doing a good job in their roles. The plot was pretty good, with the story of 5 different people being given weapons capable of destroying all of mankind and what they do with it. I also liked the varying actions that the people took with the weapons; with Jonathan and Ivan choosing to keep them from being used, Klaus wanting to study them, while Eve and Su Tan chose to remove the temptation to use the weapon, Eve by throwing her container in the sea and Su Tan by killing herself and rendering the weapon useless. The Cold War effect on the movie was also well utilized, with the Soviet and US forces both rushing to find the weapons when they learn about them, and trying to figure out how to use them when they do. There really wasn’t much in the way of special effects as this movie relied more on suspense and drama to really move the plot along. The best thing about this movie is the fact that it makes the audience wonder what they would do if they were placed in such a situation. A really good movie that is worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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December 26th, 2016 Movie – 12 To The Moon

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So I wound up getting a lot of DVD’s as presents this year, some of them from friends and family and some of them as gifts to myself using gift cards. Now to be honest, I have been doing my best to cut back on the number of DVD’s I have been buying, which is kind of hard to do to be honest. However, there is a specific goal that some of my friends and I have and to do that, I needed to own a lot more movies than I did at the time. Thus, movies, movies, and more movies were bought which brings us to today’s movie, 12 To The Moon.

The plot: The Secretary General of the International Space Order is speaking to the world via live international broadcast and telling them about the mission to claim the moon as international territory. As he announces the 12 members of the team, led by Capt. John Anderson, they are shown making their way through security towards the elevator that will take them to the rocket ship. After a rough ride out of the atmosphere, the crew are able to leave their seats and the two medical doctors begin checking on the team, while everyone starts discussing their chances of returning to the Earth. As they continue heading for the moon, the ship is buffeted by a meteor shower, then passes through a magnetic field before they finally make it to the moon. After landing on the moon’s surface, they start to explore the surface when they are bombarded by small meteors, but their magnetic deflectors keep them from getting hurt. After planting the International Space Order’s flag on the moon’s surface, the team begins to explore the moon’s surface but find themselves constantly bombarded by falling rocks as more meteors strike the surface. Two members of the team, Dr. Sigrid Bomark and Dr. Selim Hamid, are sent off to see if they can find any evidence of air. The two end up exploring a cave, where they find some strange plants that combust when picked, and Selim realizes that there is air inside so they take off their helmets and share a kiss before continuing further in the cave, unaware that a strange force appears and seals the cavern behind them. Outside, the crew are looking through the mineral samples and find a strange rock which fascinates them, but Dr. Asmara Markonen is wary of it and calls it evil. Using an explosive on a nearby rock face to try and find more stones, the explosion causes a liquid to start pouring from the rocks. Dr. Feodor Orloff goes to examine the liquid but when he touches it, he cries out in pain as it burns his hands and he is quickly treated and taken back to the ship by Dr. Hideko Murata. When they realize that Sigrid and Selim have not returned, John decides they should go look for them as their oxygen supply will soon run out. Following their footprints, they come to the cave and find their helmets but are unable to go further due to the wall of ice at the back of the cave. As they are leaving, Dr. William Rochester steps into some quicksand and despite their efforts to save him, sinks from view in the sand. Heading back to the ship, they are forced to put off any further search for the missing members as the temperature has become too cold. Dr. David Ruskin is finishes dictating his report on William’s death and talks with Asmara for a few minutes before John has everyone report to the main deck. When they all arrive, John tells them that they have lost contact with Earth and as they try to reestablish contact, strange symbols begin appearing on the monitor. Hideko attempts to translate and says it is a warning for them to leave the moon alone and to leave. The message says that they are keeping Selim and Sigrid, so they can observe the emotion called love, and also demands that they leave the cats behind, as they have a bizarre fascination with the animals. After Dr. Erich Heinrich suffers a mild heart attack, John realizes that they don’t have much choice if they want to live so they place the cats in the cave and leave, with an unseen presence taking the cage after they leave. As the rocket takes off for Earth, they are able to establish contact with Earth briefly before they end up losing contact again. Suddenly, a dog on board starts barking and John and David head down and discover the strange rock has begun to catch fire so they quickly work to put it out, then through the rock into a vacuum chamber, so that it will not be able to catch fire anymore. After passing through another meteor shower, they get close to Earth but discover that the Earth is in the midst of massive freezing, with all contact from North America being lost while the other world leaders try to come up with a solution. With their own engines threatening to fail, the team decides to come up with their own way to stop the big freeze. Feodor and the others come up with the plan of fashioning an atomic bomb and using the space taxi to transport it to a volcano and dropping it inside, causing an eruption that will heat the atmosphere and stop the big freeze. However, the chances of those piloting the taxi surviving are slim so he suggests drawing lots to see who will go. John gives the ok for the bomb, and they work to build it but as it is being finished, Dr. Etienne Martel disconnects the bomb so it won’t work. Feodor catches him and Etienne tries to convince him to let him continue, as their biggest rivals would be dead and they could rule the west but Feodor refuses, saying he is a human being, not a murderer. Etienne attacks him and Feodor calls out for help, and John shows up and stops Etienne from killing them. With Etienne restrained, the remaining members draw lots and Erich and David are the ones to pilot the taxi. They set off and successfully deliver the bomb but the explosion is not big enough and they are caught in the freeze effect. As they begin to crash, Erich pilots them towards the volcano and the crash into it but there is still no effect. As the remaining crew watch helplessly, the freeze effect reaches the rocket and as it becomes engulfed in ice, they all huddle together for warmth. Suddenly, the alien symbols appear on the monitor and Hideko begins to translate. The alien writing says that now they know the power the possess, but the Aliens also learned of the power of human spirit and self sacrifice, as well as love from Selim and Sidrig, so they are freeing humanity from the suspended animation they placed it in and say that next time they come to the moon, they will be more welcome. As the ship starts to thaw, they are contacted by the Earth, and the Secretary General starts to tell them about what happened over the last few hours.

I love watching classic sci-fi movies because it is always fun to see if they can still hold up watching them down the road. Today’s movie is one that does not really hold up. The acting was ok but because they had so many characters to try and focus on, that for the most part, they would only have one or two scenes, maybe 2 minutes tops, to try and create any sort of character development, which meant they all felt kinda of lame. The story was ok but some of the random plot points, like Etienne suddenly going homicidal, were never explained and then completely ignored afterwards. The special effects were kind of laughable and there were several goof in the movie that just made this funny to watch. Not a great sci-fi movie but kind of funny to watch at least once.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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December 25th, 2016 Movie – Resident Evil: Retribution

resident-evil-retribution

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Festivus, or whatever holiday you happen to celebrate. Hopefully everyone is having or did have a great day with family or friends. Well, today I will be finishing up the Resident Evil series with the latest movie available on DVD, with the newest one in the series due in theaters next month. Down the road, the only question there will be is whether or not I will see the last movie in theaters but for now, the question is how well do I like today’s movie, Resident Evil: Retribution.

The plot: Picking up where the last movie ended, the Arcadia is attacked by a fleet of aircraft, led by a mind controlled Jill Valentine, with the survivors either being killed or captured and Alice is flung from the deck of the ship by an explosion, while Claire, Chris, and K-Mart’s fates are left unknown. When Alice regains consciousness, she finds herself married to a man named Todd (who looks like Carlos Olivera) and they have a daughter named Becky. Choosing to believe that everything had been a dream, Alice quickly accepts the new reality and her family when suddenly, zombies attack and kill Todd. Alice grabs Becky and they escape the house, where they find the entire neighborhood in chaos. As they start to run, they are almost run over by a woman, who tells them to get in and they drive off but when the car is struck by a bus, Alice and Becky leave the car and continue running. Taking shelter inside a house, Alice hides Becky and manages to kill a zombie that followed them but when she turns around, she sees a zombie Todd standing there and he suddenly attacks her. Alice suddenly wakes up inside an Umbrella testing facility, where Jill Valentine repeatedly questions and tortures her. Some time later, the main computer is shut down, allowing Alice to escape her cell and make it outside before the system reboots and she is killed by the laser grid. Outside, she is shocked to find herself in Tokyo and uses a bike chain lock to smash a police cars window and grab the gun from inside. Suddenly, she hears a voice saying to begin Tokyo simulation and people suddenly appear as Alice witnesses the zombie infection hitting Tokyo. When the zombies start chasing after her, Alice runs into a new corridor and kills some of the zombies but finding herself about to be overwhelmed, she rushes to a door at the back of the corridor and makes it inside before it closes. Alice finds herself inside a control room, where everyone inside has been killed. As a weapons panel opens up, Alice starts to arm herself when a woman approaches her. The two briefly fight before they end up at a standoff and the woman starts to introduce herself but Alice stops her, saying she knows that she is Ada Wong, an Umbrella Corp agent from Tokyo who works for Albert Wesker. Wesker suddenly appears on a communication screen and starts talking to Alice, saying that humanity faces extinction and that they have to work together to save it. Wesker tells Alice that she is in Umbrella Prime, the testing facility where they used clones to show simulated zombie outbreaks to countries in order to sell the weapon. The base is located in an old Russian naval yard and Wesker says he has hired a team to help them escape to the surface. On the surface, the team is led by Leon S. Kennedy and contains Luther West, Alice’s ally that survived the prison in Los Angeles. Wesker explains that the Red Queen has taken control of Umbrella and is sending Jill Valentine and her team after her and says she has to escape before he is kicked out of the computer system and the Red Queen appears on the screen, telling Alice and Ada to stay where they are but when they choose to leave, says they will all die there. Alice and Ada enter the New York testing room, where the Red Queen sends two of the giant Axemen to kill them but they manage to evade the monsters then kill them by blowing up a taxi that their axes got stuck in. The two make their way to the Suburbia test site and enter one of the houses, where Alice sees a clone of herself that was used in the simulation. After killing a zombie cop, Alice encounters Becky, who believes Alice is her mom from the simulation. Ada explains about the clones and how they are essentially grown to be used for simulations but Alice decides to take Becky with them. As they go to leave the house, they encounter Jill and her security team, which also includes clones of Rain Ocampo, James “One” Shade, and Carlos Olivera, which forces Alice to tell Becky that it is not her father. Alice and Ada begin shooting at the security team and before they are overwhelmed, Ada gives Alice a pair of glasses that will help them find the exit, telling her to escape while she holds the team off before making her own escape. As they head into the subway tunnels connecting to the Moscow area, and encounter the clone of Rain, who was driving the car that Becky and her mom was in. Becky tells Alice that she is a friend and, as they hear explosions nearby, Alice gives the clone one of her guns and has her watch Becky while she goes to investigate. Meanwhile, the extraction team is making their way through the Moscow simulation area when they come under attack by zombie soldiers, who begin shooting at them. One of the team is killed with a chainsaw but the others manage to escape only to encounter a giant Licker, which kills the team’s computer expert. As the Licker moves to attack the rest of the team, Alice hits it with a car and rescues the surviving members; Leon, Luther, and Barry. As they make their escape, they are forced to deal with more of the zombies as well as the Licker but Alice manages to drive the car back into the subway tunnel, knocking out several support columns during the crash which buries the Licker in a cave in. Reconnecting with Becky and Rain, Alice uses her glasses to lead the group to the submarine pens but when they reach the elevator, the Red Queen cuts the power to the area. As Leon, Luther, and Alice work on getting the power restored, the giant Licker shows up, injuring Barry and killing the Rain clone while grabbing Becky and dragging her up the elevator shaft. Alice moves to go after it and Leon argues against it but decides to stand aside and let her go. Suddenly, they are attacked by Jill and the security team and Luther is shot in the arm but tells Alice to keep going while he, Leon, and Barry hold off the security team. Alice climbs up the shaft to the level the Licker took Beck and after finding them, manages to kill the Licker, then frees Becky from the pod she was trapped in, as well as grabbing the explosives from Leon’s team member that the Licker had killed earlier. As they make their way back to the others, the pass through a room filled with various clones and when she sees all of the clones of Alice, Becky asks if Alice is her real mommy and Alice says she is now, then sets the explosives just as the Licker returns, then uses Ada’s grappling gun to escape the explosion, which kills the Licker and destroys the clones. Back in the sub pen, Barry tells Leon and Luther to head for the elevator while he holds off the security team and manages to kill the clone of Shade before he is killed. When the explosives the team planted earlier explode, water comes flooding into killing the security team, including the clone of Carlos, while Luther and Leon make it out on the elevator, meeting up with Alice and Becky as they head up the shaft. Reaching the surface, they get into the snowmobile and head for their rendezvous when they are knocked over by a surfacing sub, containing Jill, a captive Ada, and the evil Rain clone, who injects herself with the Las Plagas parasite which gives her super strength and renders her practically immortal. As Alice and Jill begin to fight, Leon and Luther take on Rain but she easily overpowers them and manages to kill Luther by punching him in the chest hard enough to stop his heart. Jill manages to overpower Alice and receives orders from the Red Queen to kill her but Alice manages to rip of the spider robot and destroy it, freeing Jill from the Red Queen’s control. As Rain goes to kill Leon, Alice shoots her and starts to fight her but realizing she is outmatched, she shoots the ice under Rain’s feet, sending her plunging into the water, where the zombies escaping from the lab are seen swimming up and the quickly grab Rain and kill her. Alice passes out as the helicopter arrives but comes too while on board to find Becky sitting next to her and Jill approaching and the two friends are glad to see each other. Reaching the White House, Alice is lead into the Oval Office where she finds Wesker sitting behind the desk. Wesker quickly injects her with the T-virus, explaining that he needed her full powers to help the last remaining humans survive, then takes Alice, Leon, Jill, and Ada outside, where they see a heavily fortified wall around the White House, with Umbrella Corp and military troops working together to guard it as a horde of infected and mutated creatures come bearing down on the stronghold.

While Resident Evil: Retribution did meet with negative reviews from the critics, it did have the highest rating out of all of the sequels, with it’s 31% rating on Rotten Tomatoes being just 3% off from the original movie. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Resident Evil: Retribution offers everything one might reasonably expect from the fifth installment in a heavily action-dependent franchise — which means very little beyond stylishly hollow CGI-enhanced set pieces.” Aside from using several influences from the 4th and 5th video games in the series, such as the Las Pargas parasite and Alice and Ada’s first meeting, the film was also influenced by several science fiction movies, while the fight scenes were influenced with Asian martial arts films, especially Thai movies. The movie would be a box office hit, earning $240.2 million off of a $65 million budget.

As far as an open ended finale, this would have been pretty good but as yet another in a series, it’s only decent. The acting was ok, with Milla Jovovich doing a good job as the serious Alice but also as the suburban clone version of herself, but, with the exception of Boris Kodjoe (Luther), I was honestly disappointed with most of the people that had come back to reprise roles in this movie, especially Michelle Rodriguez. The story was interesting, mixing elements of a prison break into the typical zombie movie. The special effects were actually pretty good in this movie, a lot better than some of the previous entries and even the times that they slowed things down to help exaggerate the 3D elements really weren’t that bad. A fun movie to watch that actually makes you interested in what they will do for a finale.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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December 24th, 2016 Movie – Resident Evil: Afterlife

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My apologies for the lateness of this post but some priorities came up today. First off, some of my friends and I decided to continue a trend of watching the newest Star Wars movie on an early showing Christmas Eve morning. Then, since I got out in time, I went and watched the Falcon’s game with my friends Charles and Paula, which Atlanta won. So now, almost 9 hours after I finished watching it, I am able to finish writing the review for today’s movie, Resident Evil: Afterlife.

The plot: 4 years after Tokyo fell to the zombie biohazard, Umbrella Corporation’s underground Tokyo facility comes under attack by Alice and her clones. The army makes it’s way through Umbrella’s security forces and heads towards the command room, where Alice confront’s Albert Wesker, the head of Umbrella, who manages to shoot her but when he turns her over, she releases the grenade she was holding. Managing to survive the explosion and seeing more clones coming towards him, Wesker heads for a tiltrotor plane and escapes, then activates a bomb which destroys the lab, and all of the clones, leaving a massive sinkhole behind. As he flies away, the real Alice had managed to board the plane beforehand and confronts him, only for Wesker to jab a syringe into her neck. The injection removed the T-virus from Alice’s body, taking away her powers and rendering her human again. Wesker then proceeds to beat down Alice but before he kills her, the plane crashes and Alice manages to survive and walk away. 6 months later, Alice heads up to Alaska in search of Arcadia, the supposed safe haven that Claire and the other survivors had gone to. Landing the small plane she flew at the coordinates, Alice finds a field full of abandoned aircraft and heads towards the nearby shore, where the Umbrella helicopter is sitting. Exploring the helicopter, she finds the journal that she gave K-Mart before the survivors flew off but no sign of any life. As Alice begins making an entry in her video journal, someone runs off behind her and she chases the figure back to the airfield. The figure attacks Alice but she manages to knock the person out and discovers that it is Claire Redfield with some sort of robotic spider-like device on her chest. Alice removes the device but though it pacifies her, it also gives Claire amnesia. Taking Claire with her, Alice decides to fly down along the coast until they reach Los Angeles. Seeing signs of survivors on the roof of a prison, Alice flies in for a closer look to find the place completely surrounded by zombies. As the survivors look on, Alice buzzes the roof, indicating she is attempting to land on it, and the survivors clear the roof so she can land, then keep the plane from tilting off of the roof’s edge. When Alice and Claire exit the plane, Luther West, the leader of the survivors, and the others ask if she is there to take them to Arcadia and when Alice asks what they know about Arcadia, she learns that it isn’t a town in Alaska, but a ship that sails along the coast. When Alice mentions this to Claire, Claire says she remembers people coming to the beach from Arcadia to help them but doesn’t remember much else. Alice is introduced to the rest of the survivors (Crystal, Bennett, Angel, Kim Yong) as well as Wendell, who is in the basement guarding a man locked in a special cell. As Luther and Wendell investigate some noises coming from the walls, the prisoner introduces himself to Alice, saying his name is Chris and that he is not a prisoner. He tells Claire that he knows a way out of the prison so they can get to Arcadia but Luther returns and says not to trust him. Later, Claire is going to take a shower but hears a noise and finds Wendell attempting to watch her. As she forces him to leave, some strange zombies attack, having dug a tunnel up through the sewers, and Alice manages to kill two of them but Wendell is dragged back down the tunnel by a third one. When the others come down to investigate, Bennett says they should take Alice’s plane and fly people one at a time to Arcadia but Alice refuse to leave unless they all leave at once. With no choice left, they decide to free Chris and uses his way out of the prison. When he sees Claire, Chris approaches her, saying he is her brother but Claire has no memory of him and Alice explains about her amnesia. Heading outside, Chris directs them to a large door, where he says an Urban Pacification Vehicle is stored and says that they can use it to ride out over the zombies. Realizing that they will need more weapons once they get outside, Chris suggests raiding the armory when suddenly, there is a pounding at the gate and they see a massive zombie carrying an axe/sledgehammer attacking the gate. Chris, Alice, and Crystal head to the armory while Luther and Claire try to reinforce the gate and Angel cuts the lock off the door for the UPV. With the lower levels flooded, Claire and the others are forced to swim down to the armory but when they get there, Crystal is attacked and killed by some zombies and Alice and Chris are forced to hide inside the armory. Angel manages to open the door but when they see the engine for the UPV has been disassembled, Bennett shoots Angel and decides to fly off in Alice’s plane. Claire and Luther do their best to brace the gate and Luther tries shooting the giant in the head but it doesn’t die and continues attacking until it eventually knocks the gate down. Alice and Chris escape the armory through the airducts and hear the plane starting up so they quickly head for the roof. The see Bennett aboard the plane but he shoots at them as they try to stop him and takes off, nearly crashing before he pulls the plane up and heads for Arcadia. As the zombies swarm the rooftop, Alice has the others get into the cargo elevator and head to the shower room, setting off an explosive to send the elevator to the lower levels, then she rapells down after them while leaving another charge to kill the zombies. Heading for the shower room, Alice plans to use the tunnel the zombies made to reach the sewers, and then the sea. Chris and Luther go first to make sure the tunnel is safe and Alice and Claire try to get Kim Yong to go next but he is too scared to go. Suddenly, the giant appears and chops Kim Yong in half, then attacks Alice and Claire. Alice attacks the creature but is knocked unconscious and Claire attacks the creature to keep it away from Alice, seemingly killing it but when it gets back on it’s feet and throws it’s axe at the two women, they duck and Alice blows it’s head off with a shotgun. They head down the tunnel and reach the sewer but before Luther can jump down, he is attacked by some zombies and dragged back up the tunnel. Unable to help him, Alice, Claire, and Chris make their way through the sewer towards the coast and grab a boat to head to Arcadia. On board, they find the wreckage of the plane, indicating that Bennett made it there but find no signs of life. On the bridge, the log indicates the crew abandoned ship 3 days ago but that there are over 2000 survivors on board and Claire regains her memory of what happened on the beach. Heading into the cargo hold, they locate the survivors, who are held in stasis pods for experimentation, and free K-Mart. Alice keeps looking around and finds another cargo hold, where she discovers Wesker has managed to survive. She goes to shoot him when Bennett appears, now working for Wesker, and he has her drop her guns. Wesker explains that the T-virus kept him alive but it is too strong and fighting him for control. He thought that if he ate fresh human DNA it would balance things out but it failed. Since Alice is the only person that successfully bonded with the T-virus, he figures eating her will cure him. However, Claire and Chris show up and begin fighting with Wesker, while Alice deals with two infected dogs and Bennett. Bennett manages to stab Alice but K-mart appears and knocks him out, then throws Alice her shotgun, which she uses to shoot Wesker, then Claire and Chris empty their clips into him in order to keep him down. Alice and the others lock Bennett in the hold with Wesker’s body while they free the others but Wesker revives and eats Bennett, then escapes in another tiltrotor plane. As he leaves, he triggers a purge bomb aboard the ship but Alice had placed the bomb on board the plane beforehand so the plane explodes instead but Wesker manages to parachute to safety. Seeing all the survivors on board, Alice decides to make Arcadia a true safe haven, broadcasting a new message over the radio. Luther, makes it out of the sewers, having survived the zombies that attacked him but as he stares at Arcadia, he sees a fleet of Umbrella planes heading towards the ship, with a mind-controlled Jill Valentine leading an armed Umbrella team and telling them to shoot to kill.

Much like it’s predecessors, Resident Evil: Afterlife met with poor results from the critics, holding a 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “As dim-witted and lifeless as its undead antagonists, Resident Evil: Afterlife is a wholly unnecessary addition to the franchise.” While initially announced to open in August of 2010, the release date would be changed several times before it was finally released in September of 2010. IT was released on 4700 theaters, over 2000 of which were 3D capable, making it one of the biggest 3D releases at the time. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $296.2 million off of a $60 million budget, which made this the highest grossing movie in the franchise, but most of this is attributed to the higher cost of 3D tickets as it would actually have the lowest opening weekend attendance of the series at the time.

I know that in late 2009/early 2010, 3D movies were the new big thing, but this is a movie that didn’t really need to go that route. Actually, I kind of wished that they had not made this movie because this was one of the worst of the bunch. The acting was really decent from some characters, but incredibly bad from others. Milla Jovovich (Alice) and Ali Larter (Claire) did a good job in their roles and actually pulled off better performances than they did in the previous movie. I also liked Wentworth Miller (Chris), Boris Kodjoe (Luther), and Kim Coates (Bennett) in their roles but I thought Shawn Roberts (Wesker) was absolutely terrible, especially because he came across as a poor man’s Agent Smith from The Matrix. The story was interesting, especially the idea of the safe haven being a ship, as well as it being a setup for Umbrella to capture people for experimenting. The special effects were pretty good as far as the zombies go, but the thing that I honestly hated was the majority of the 3D effects. Now some of the subtle scenes were actually really good, especially the scene of the burnt out Los Angeles, with the ash drifting up on the screen making for a really haunting visual. But all of the action scenes that the used them on were slowed down so you could REALLY see the 3D effect, which completely killed the flow of the movie almost every time. I like the new 3D technology in movies but this is definitely a case where less would have been better. So kudos to the movie making a lot of money, but it would have been better if the movie had been a lot better.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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December 23rd, 2016 Movie – Resident Evil: Extinction

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I have noticed a slight pattern with this series of movies. Even though I enjoy watching the movies, I ave yet to see one in the theaters. I can honestly attribute this to a number of factors. Monetary reasons are one, as going to the movies tends to be more and more expensive and for a while, money was kind of tight. The other reason is that there have been a lot of movies coming out and I would probably go see something else that I was more interested in seeing. Regardless, the movies get their money from me so it is all good in the end. So let’s get right into today’s movie, Resident Evil: Extinction.

The plot: A naked Alice wakes up in the shower in the mansion above the Hive in Raccoon City. After getting dressed, she starts to explore and suddenly finds herself in the corridor in front of the Red Queen’s chamber. When the laser defense activates, Alice manages to avoid it by climbing up into the air ducts, where she keeps moving forward to the next grate. Dropping down, she finds herself in a white, hospital like hallway and, grabbing a gurney, she begins running towards a nearby window when a hidden guillotine cuts the gurney in two. Alice continues exploring but triggers another booby trap, which activates a “Bouncing Betty” style device that fires a circular volley of bullets, catching her in the stomach. As Alice lies dying, Dr. Sam Isaacs, the head of Program Alice, orders the two men with him to take a sample of her blood, then dump the body so they can start again. Later, the two men carry the body up to the surface, with the entrance hidden inside a shack, and dump her in a ditch with dozens of other Alice’s, revealing that the body was a clone, as a large fence keeps the horde of zombies from entering the area. In a voice-over, Alice explains that the infection was not contained in Raccoon City and within a month, the infection spread across the world and the Earth ended up becoming a barren wasteland. What few survivors that remain tend to keep moving and stay out of large cities. Alice (the real one) shows up at a abandoned radio station outside of Salt Lake City, responding to a distress call from someone trapped inside. When she enters the building, she discovers that it was a trap set up by a group of bandits that issue the fake distress call to kill and steal from people. Alice kills one of the men that attempts to rape her but she is knocked unconscious and dropped down a hole into the basement. Regaining consciousness, she sees the rest of the bandits mocking her as they release infected dogs to attack her. Alice kills some of the dogs, then uses the others to take out a support beam, dropping part of the ceiling which allows her to make her escape, as well as letting the dogs attack the bandits. Back at the underground Umbrella lab, Isaacs attends a meeting with holographic images of the various leaders of Umbrella facilities as well as Albert Wesker, the head of the Umbrella Corporation. Isaacs explains that he believes he can “domesticate and train” the zombies but they would need the real Alice to be able to develop a cure but Wesker tells him that until the know exactly where Alice is, they can’t waste the resources to find her and to keep using the clones instead. Meanwhile, Carlos Olivera and LJ have managed to hook up with a group of survivors led by Claire Redfield and are in the region close to Alice. Seeing a hotel nearby where they can make camp and look for supplies, Carlos and LJ go check it out but while they are there, LJ is attacked by some zombies and kills one of them while Carlos kills the other. Signaling the others that it is all clear, the rest of the convoy comes down to look for supplies. Nurse Betty, who is romantically linked with LJ, tends to a cut on his head but after she leaves, LJ lifts his shirt to reveal that he was bit when he was attacked. After the group sets up a perimeter with motion sensors, they settle in for the night, broadcasting their location on the radio, which Alice overhears. As Alice settles down for the night, she has dreams/images of herself being experimented on and accidentally uses her telekinetic powers in her sleep, destroying her bike. The signals are picked up by Umbrella’s AI, the White Queen, who alerts Isaacs to them. The next morning, Claire and her group notice a large murder of crows surrounding them and realize the crows are infected from feeding on the zombie’s bodies. Claire decides to try and leave but when the crows cause the bus to wreck, they head back to rescue the people inside. One of the men uses a flamethrower mounted on a truck to try and fight off the crows while they people are loaded into the other vehicles but the man is killed, as are Nurse Betty, Otto (the bus driver) and some other people. When Carlos tries to save a girl from the flamethrower, the flames suddenly stop and he sees Alice telekinetically controlling them to kill the crows. When the White Queen notices the signal again, Isaacs reprograms a satellite and uses it to locate Alice. He tells Wesker, who refuses to authorize an attempt to recapture him unless there is 100% proof, but Isaacs disobeys his orders and heads to Las Vegas to set a trap for Alice. Alice tells Carlos and Claire about her belief that there is a safe haven in Alaska and Claire puts it to a vote for the rest of the convoy, who choose to take the chance. The group heads to Las Vegas to get gas for the trip and find the city is practically deserted and half buried in sand. As they find a place to get gas, Alice investigates a steel container when it suddenly opens to reveal a horde of zombies that Isaacs had infused with Alice’s blood in order to create a super zombie. As the group attempt to fight off or run from the zombies, several of them are killed and LJ finally turns into and is killed by Carlos, but not before LJ bites him. During the fight, Isaac manages to take control of Alice and cause her to stop moving but Alice manages to fight back against the program and regain movement. As Isaac tries to get control again, Alice races to where Isaacs was observing and kills the security team inside the tent. Isaacs escapes and heads for the helicopter but is bit by one of the super zombies and tells the pilot to head back to the lab so he can get the anti-virus. When he gets to the lab, he begins dosing himself with massive amounts of the anti-virus, claiming he needs it, but Wesker’s second in command, Slater, shoots Isaacs but instead of killing him, it triggers the mutation and Wesker quickly kills Slater and the two guards with him. Alice uses the computers to find where the helicopter went, the surviving members of the convoy head towards the lab, intending to steal the helicopter to make the trip to Alaska. Carlos chooses to sacrifice himself to allow the other to make it past the zombie horde by driving the gas tank at the gate and blowing it up. Heading inside, Alice helps Claire and K-Mart get the survivors inside, then tells them to leave as she chooses to stay behind. After they leave, Alice discovers the grave filled with clones and heads inside the shack and down to the lab. In the lab, Alice meets the White Queen, who tells Alice that her blood holds the key to stopping the biohazard, which is why she is choosing to help Alice but tells her that Isaacs is trapped in the lower levels and must be stopped first. Heading down to kill Isaacs, Alice discovers another clone of herself when Isaacs attacks. Alice manages to chase him off but the clones is set free from her containment and as Alice holds it, the clone appears to die. Alice chases after Isaacs and the two begin fighting, even using telekinesis on each other. The eventually end up in the Red Queen’s corridor and Isaacs moves to kill Alice but the clone recovered and uses the laser grid to kill Isaacs and save Alice. Some time later, Wesker is holding a meeting with the other heads of Umbrella facilities when Alice appears via hologram and tells them that she is coming for them and bringing some friends. Alice then closes the connection and stands next to the clone as she looks out at the containers filled with more clones of Alice.

Resident Evil: Extinction met with poor reviews from the critics, as shown by the 22% rating it shows on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Resident Evil: Extinction is more of the same; its few impressive action sequences unable to compensate for the pedestrian plot.” The movie was originally titled Resident Evil: Afterlife but for some reason, the movie’s title was changed to Extinction and Afterlife would be used for the fourth movie. The movie was a box office success, earning $147.7 million off of a $45 million budget.

I will be honest, this movie felt a little flat to me. The acting was ok but you don’t really get much character development and even Milla Jovovich (Alice), Oded Fehr (Carlos), and Mike Epps (LJ) seemed somewhat disinterested in their performances. The story had some good elements, although I personally had to laugh at the theme of taking blood samples from the dead clones to make new ones, thereby making a slightly better clone each time. The reason I laughed is because, while I am sure this idea was possibly used in other stories, I just remember that this was how Doomsday, the creature that killed Superman, was created in the comics. The special effects were pretty good, with the scene involving the crows being one of my favorites. It’s a decent movie but could have been a lot better.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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December 22nd, 2016 Movie – Resident Evil: Apocalpse

resident-evil-afterlife

Back in the day, I used to get the movie novelizations for certain movies as they would usually come out before the movie did and I could read what happens in the movie. Usually, I would still go watch the movie but sometimes, I would buy the books and then not see the movie. Regarding today’s movie, this is one that I didn’t see in theaters, for the same reason as the original movie, but I wound up renting both of them one night when I was bored. Needless to say, I decided to go ahead and pick it up on DVD, which is how I come to be watching today’s movie, Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

The plot: After the incident at the Hive, and Alice and Matt’s capture, a team of Umbrella scientists open the Hive’s blast doors to find out what happened but are overrun by the zombie staff inside. A fleet of cars are sent to Raccoon City to evacuate some key personnel, including Dr. Charles Ashford and his daughter Angie but the car carrying Angie gets in a wreck. 13 hours later, Jill Valentine, a disgraced member of Raccoon City’s S.T.A.R.S. police squad, is watching the news at her home and after hearing a call come in on the police scanner for all available officers to come in, she heads to her precinct and proceeds to shoot all of the infected inside, freeing a man named LJ in the process, before telling her captain she is leaving town and suggesting he do the same. All of the ways out of the city are sealed off except for the bridge, which Umbrella security forces are in control of and screening anyone that tries to leave. Jill gets there and tries talking to her friend, Sgt. Peyton Wells, when a man collapses from a heart attack, then reanimates and bites Peyton. Major Timothy Cain, the man in charge of Raccoon City’s contamination operation, orders the bridge sealed and authorizes his men to fire on anyone trying to escape. He then argues with Dr. Ashford, who refuses to leave without his daughter, and after he walks off, Ashford hacks into the computer system to locate Angie, then begins looking through the CCTV feeds to find someone to rescue her and sees Alice walking around the deserted city. Alice, still in her hospital gown, makes her way into an Army Surplus store but collapses in pain, and begins to remember what happened after Matt was taken away and realizes that she was experimented on. Meanwhile, Jill, Peyton, and a reporter named Terri Morales make their way to a church, where they find a scared man hiding inside. Jill goes to investigate a noise and finds a priest has been feeding people to his infected sister but when she escapes her bonds and attacks the priest, Jill shoots them both. Meanwhile, Peyton, Terri, and the man see a Licker running across the ceiling but when the man runs, he is killed by another Licker. Jill rejoins the others and learns that there are three Lickers stalking them in the church but when they try to attack them, Jill and Peyton quickly run out of ammo. As a Licker approaches them, Alice suddenly rides a motorcycle through a stained glass window and proceeds to kill the three creatures. Elsewhere, Umbrella security team members Carlos Olivera, Yuri, and Nicholai are helping the Raccoon City police deal with the zombies but when their position is overrun, the three make their escape, though Yuri is bit before they leave. Cain, learning that the infection has reached critical stage, activates the Nemesis Program to kill all of the remaining people in the city and a helicopter drops off some weapons crates in the hospital for it to use. Carlos, Nicholai, and Yuri see the helicopter but when they enter the hospital, they find the crates empty, just as Yuri turns and bites Carlos before he is shot. Elsewhere, LJ heads to a building that is being held by several members of the S.T.A.R.S. unit when Nemesis, a gigantic mutated creature, arrives and attacks the building and kills all of the S.T.A.R.S. but lets LJ live when LJ drops his weapons. Alice, Jill, Peyton, and Terri are making their way through a cemetery when they are attacked by some reanimated corpses and are forced to run. As they walk down the street, payphones near them start ringing and Alice eventually picks one up and Ashford, who is watching them on the CCTV, makes a deal with them to get them out of the city in exchange for their finding Angie. Peyton thinks that they should simply find a building and barricade themselves inside until help comes but Alice tells him that a nuclear missile will be fired into the city to destroy all signs of the infection, with a cover up in place to blame a nearby nuclear power plant. As they head for the school, Nemesis attacks them, killing Peyton, and Alice yells at Jill and Terri to find Angie while she deals with Nemesis. Alice begins fighting with Nemesis but it easily overpowers her and forces her to run before it eventually disengages. Jill and Terri hotwire a car, killing a reanimated Peyton after it starts, then head to the school to pick up Angie. Inside, the three split up and LJ runs into Carlos, who had also been contacted by Ashford and given the deal. Terri enters a classroom and sees a girl huddled in the corner and approaches her only to realize that she is an infected child and as more infected children surround her, she is attacked and killed, with her camera catching the entire thing on film. Jill enters the classroom and finds Terri’s camera, and Angie, and they start to leave through the cafeteria when they are attacked by an infected dog. Nicholai saves them but when he is attacked and killed, Jill heads into the kitchen and turns on all the gas to create an explosion. As Jill and Angie run, the matches Jill threw go out before they reach the gas but Alice shows up and tosses a lit cigarette into the room, then shields Angie with a fireproof blanket as the gas ignites and kills the zombie dogs. Alice and Angie stare at each other and realize they are both infected with the T-Virus and Angie explains that her father created the virus to help her walk, but she has to have regulas shots of the anti-virus to keep her from mutating. They meet up with LJ and Carlos and leave the building, with Ashford making contact with them to tell them where their escape route is. As they head to City Hall, Alice gives Carlos an injection of the anti-virus and Jill hands her Terri’s camera, telling her to film her story so they can make sure the truth gets out there, and Alice begins telling what happened to the camera. Reaching City Hall, they take out the Umbrella security guards but when they reach the helicopter, Alice realizes that it is there to evacuate Nemesis. She tells the pilot to take off but Cain shows up, holding Angie hostage. Restraining Carlos, Jill, and LJ, Cain orders Alice to fight Nemesis, killing Ashford when she refuses. When he threatens to kill the others, Alice reluctantly agrees and begins fighting with Nemesis, eventually managing to impale it on a piece of metal. As she looks in it’s eyes, she realizes that Nemesis is Matt and starts crying and begs his forgiveness. Cain orders her to kill Nemesis but she refuses so Cain orders Nemesis to kill her but, regaining his own memories after Alice spared him, Nemesis begins attacking the Umbrella soldiers and Alice helps him. Carlos, Jill, and LJ manage to free themselves and join the fight, preventing Cain from leaving in the helicopter. When two more helicopters show up and start firing at Alice, Nemesis uses it’s rocket launcher to take them out but is killed by the falling debris. Alice and the others get to the helicopter, where Alice grabs Cain and shoves him out as they start to take off, where he injures his leg in the fall. As zombies make their way towards him, he starts shooting them but runs out of bullets when he tries to shoot himself and ends up being attacked by several zombies, including Ashford. The helicopter manages to get out of the city just as the nuke explodes, and the shockwave causes the helicopter to crash and a piece of metal is sent flying towards Angie but Alice shields her and is impaled instead. When an Umbrella search team finds the wreckage, the only thing they find inside is Alice’s charred corpse. Terri’s tape was released showing what happened in Raccoon City but Umbrella’s cover-up works and the tape is blasted as being a fake, with Jill and Carlos being wanted for questioning by the police. 3 weeks later, a group of scientists are examining a fully healed and revived Alice and she says that she remembers everything and proceeds to attack the scientist and escape. As she walks down a hallway, a security guard spots her on the monitors and alerts some more agents but suddenly every monitor shows Alice’s face and as she stares into the camera, the guard starts bleeding from his eyes and nose before he collapses. As she walks outside, she is surrounded by soldiers but a car pulls up and Carlos, Jill, and LJ, disguised as Umbrella officials show up and convince the soldiers to let them leave with her. As they get in the car, Angie pops up from the back and asks if Alice is ok, and Jill asks Alice what they did to her. As they approach a gate, the lead scientist, who was the one experimenting on Alice, calls the gate and orders them to let them go, then says “Alice Program Activated”, and unseen by the others, Alice’s eyes briefly flash with the Umbrella logo, then her view is transmitted back to the scientist’s computers.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse met with poor reviews from the critics, holding a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse has lots of action, but not much in terms of plot or creativity.” The film borrowed elements from the 2nd and 3rd games, especially the characters of Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, Carlos Olivera, and Nemesis but when the actresses playing Claire Redfield dropped out of the picture, the character would be scrapped and brought back for the third movie. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $129.3 million off of a $45 million budget.

Personally, I like this movie because it’s mixture of rather over-the-top scenarios made it feel like a video game. The acting was pretty decent, with Milla Jovovich (Alice), Sienna Guillory (Jill), and Thomas Kretschmann (Cain) doing good jobs in their roles, and Mike Epps (LJ) made for some funny comedic relief but Oded Fehr (Carlos) was pretty boring. The story was good in the sense of it’s taking over from right when the first movie ended but the plot in general felt a little weak. The special effects regarding the zombie make-up were really good and I liked what they did in creating Nemesis, choosing to use an actor in a suit to make it more lifelike and limit the special effects used. A lot of the over-the-top scenes, such as Alice’s running down the side of the building, made this especially entertaining. A fun movie to watch, even if you didn’t play the games.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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