I've been watching way too many awesome movies of late, so I decided I needed to remind myself what a bad movie's like. And in order to find a movie bad enough, I decided to follow an unwritten rule in Cinema: any movie with Paul W. S. Anderson's name, anywhere in the credits, is going to suck hairy sweaty balls. In this case, he's the writer and producer, which is a guarantee the movie is, at least, terrible.
I'm told the story (?) of this film doesn't connect with the story (?) of the previous film, but I can't complain, because I don't remember the previous film. In fact, I've tried to forget it about two minutes after the ending credits and didn't have any difficulties at all. But even as a film on its own, "Resident Evil 3: Extinction" has immense plotholes. For example, this movie happens in a post-apocalyptic world in which very few people remain. Wait, wait, wait: after FIVE years? FIVE? That's how long it lasted until extinction? Almost seven billion people? What's so hard about killing drooling, staggering zombies? How stupid can seven billion people be? How did every single country in the world manage to fall, one after the other? And how, in the middle of all this, a family of stupid rednecks managed to survive, capture zombie dogs and catch strangers in their traps?
Because Paul W. S. Anderson wanted a road movie, that's how. So, during most of the film, you'll see about seven hundred helicopter shots of a convoy travelling across the desert, then another seven hundred of Alice travelling on her bike while wearing her super-cool overcoat. Oh, and now she has telekinesis. When I saw that, I realized this movie couldn't get any worse. I was wrong, Iain Glen plays the villain.
Director Russell Mulcahy has a little trouble understanding that audiences are composed of human beings with brains (mostly) and, therefore, memory, so every time he changes the location of a scene, he does about three helicopter shots of a convoy or Alice's bike to help us understand the very complicated concept of driving from one location to the other. Also, at a certain moment, he zooms in the face of a character to show how worried he is. Apparently, the character's gaping eyes and open mouth wasn't enough. And news to the zombie genre: now zombies can be killed by cutting their throats. Write that down, George Romero.
The movie fails completely at making us worry for the characters. I couldn't give half a wooden glass of liquid shit if anyone lived or died. And the cast doesn't help. Milla Jovovich is on automatic pilot and I couldn't care less. Oded Fehr, that arab guy from The Mummy, plays the good-looking guy the protagonist falls in love with. Ali Larter, from Heroes, does as good a job as possible, and has the only character you can relate a bit too. Iain Glen embarasses himself, with his "I'm an elegant bastard" acting that turns the villain into a walking cliche. Speaking of cliches, YES, there's the cliche of the guy being bitten by a zombie and not telling anyone.
And finally, the final scene is a sad boss fight that - oh God - ends with a cliffhanger. Yeah. There'll be more Resident Evils, more money in Anderson's pockets so he can keep making films, and to make things worse the cliffhanger is absolutely fucking stupid and will result in a ridiculous next film, worse than this one. I'm sure of it. Trust me.
So, now that I've reminded myself how bad a movie can be, I can appreciate the good movies better. There's a good side to everything, I guess.
Here you go. Just like the upcoming american remake of "Oldboy", this sounds as unecessary as possible. Why? The animation was perfectly magnificent, why do they need to remake it in live-action or 3-D? I'm a fan of Steven Spielberg and I consider him one of the greatest living filmmakers, but if he loves "Ghost in the Shell" so much, as he says in the link, he should leave it alone, or create a different film that deals with the same theme... oops, wait, he did already: "A.I. Artificial Intelligence". So he should just leave it alone.
UPDATE: It gets worse. One of the producers of this film is Avi Arad, the same guy responsible for movies based on Marvel comic books. Just take a look at how bad most of them are and start praying for this remake to never happen.
There's many filmmakers whose movies I have yet to watch... and Werner Herzog was, until Rescue Dawn, one of them. Never watched any of his documentaries, even having been told they're excellent. And upon hearing he directed a movie about a pilot who's shot down in Laos and needs to survive in the hands of Pathet Lao troops - two great genres, Vietnam and survival, rolled into one - I decided to start watching Herzog with this film, which is a real story.
The pilot in question is Dieter Dengler, a German pilot naturalized American who, as already mentioned, is shot down in Laos and is captured by Pathet Lao troops. After several days of torture, he's taken to a camp where he meets other POWs, including Duane Martin and Eugene DeBruin. With their help, he starts engineering a bold escape.
This is a fantastic story, but unfortunately Herzog's abilities as director aren't up to it. Using a ridiculously wide angle of view (something I like calling "counter-zoom" or "anti-zoom") that distorts too much the frames and that is used way too often, he fails to create tension - in a certain moment Eugene threatens to scream if they try escaping, only to never mention this again later - and the action scenes are nothing short of terrible. Dengler's plane being shot down is a sloppy, badly-cut scene that pales even more when I think about the plane crash in The Aviator. And the shootout in a certain point of the movie has some ridiculous moments, like a man being shot and falling in slow-motion as if this is a wannabe John Woo film.
But Herzog scores with one of the cinematographic techniques I like the most: long takes with no cuts. There's a good number of scenes in which all the POWs talk to each other for minutes without a single cut, which makes everything more believable and natural. Unfortunately, that's not enough to make up for the amateurish action scenes, lack of tension and that fucking terrible ending, which will be discussed later.
I think the whole cast of this movie has voodoo dolls of Herzog for what he made them go through in this film, especially Christian Bale, who has an ant nest strapped to his face, is submerged in a tight well, hanged upside-down, eats a very disgusting thing at a certain point of the film and lost 55 pounds for his role. Christian Bale, by the way, once again proves his talent as a method actor, but as an actor this movie doesn't demand much of him. If his portrayal of Dengler is to be believed, Dengler was fucking nuts, screaming at a guy who holds an assault rifle (the outcome of this almost makes him deaf), always enthusiasmed for some reason and smiling constantly. I praise Bale for embracing such a complicated character, but in this film, what amazes me is what Bale got himself through, since all the tortures and experiences I mentioned above were done by HIM and not some stunt double. And once again, Bale loses weight as if that's the easiest thing in the world, the bastard - I've been trying, without success.
Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies shine, especially the latter. They play Duane and Eugene, respectively. While Zahn manages to portray a still sane but very shaken man, Davies plays a person who had already lost his sanity, repeated himself constantly but wasn't an actual threat to nobody, and he does this with a naturality that completely convinced me. All the other cast members are not as good as those main three, but they definitely do a good job.
Finally, when the movie was finally getting better, the ending comes and destroys it. The last fifteen minutes are artificial and over-the-top, and the freeze frame that ends the film is simply laughable, reducing this movie to "decent", and I'm being generous. Rescue Dawn could have been a great film, but it feels dry and stretched, with nothing amazing save the actors.
Good science fiction is the mirror of society. It tells us about what we want, what we need and how the ground under our feet quakes with societal revolution.
Science Fiction is not about aliens and spaceships, that is simply not how you identify it. And that’s important because I am not here to talk Science Fiction…let’s talk Horror.
Good Horror is the mirror of our fears. The shadows of our personal long darks are played out behind monster masks tailored to the times. When all is good we see shadowy conspiracies moving behind the scenes. When our leaders are corrupt we see dystopia and blasted landscapes. When we don’t know who to trust and are uncertain who to fear we ask “Who Goes There?” In 1938 John W. Campbell Jr., one of the hands behind the golden age of science fiction and then editor wrote this seminal short story where an alien buried in the ice woke and terrorized a group of isolated scientists. How? It becomes them. It hides within them.
In the late 1930s during the Spanish Civil War Emilio Mola introduced the term “The Fifth Column” implying a fifth column of troops was hidden already within city limits. Your neighbors, your friends even your family could be the enemy. The term gained further ground underpinning fears about the Nazis. In the dark of night, shaking flashlight in hand, and the fear of U-boats off the shore Campbell asked “Who Goes There?”
In 1951, during communist witch hunts, the story was first loosely adapted as The Thing From Another World.
In 1982, during the latter, or second, Cold War, as anti-communist aggressions ramped up once again, Carpenter adapted it faithfully and famously as The Thing.
“Who Goes There?” Can I trust you…..?
But I am here to talk Superheroes aren’t I? Huh.
Aliens and space ships do not make Science Fiction. They are props and tools. Science Fiction is about society changing. Horror is about society’s fears. Horror is buildings falling down and explosions in the night. Horror is your leaders and heroes betraying you. Horror is the monster hiding in plain sight and smiling like a friend…
today is disappointing. it's my own doing, and i'm generally okay with it, except for the possibly awful ramifications for someone else's career plans based on my own laziness.
been lurking about from conversation to blog to image thread to facebook, and then the music from the union came blaring through my open office window, accompanied by the musical stylings of the clocktower bells.
i have heard the Beatles, the Nebraska fight song, Cole Porter, Mariah Carey and, most recently, a disturbing rendition of "Up, Up and Away, in my beautiful, my beautiful bal-loo-oon".
it is an experience that most, thankfully, don't seem to notice.
someone in the plaza by the student union has decided to commit that age-old (since the 60's) college event - the outdoor acoustic guitar not actually playing a concert, just randomly strumming songs for all the world to hear whether they want to or not. mostly i approve, it doesn't really bother me and i like it when the appliqued sweatshirt mob gets all in a tizzy. frankly, i kind of wish they would organize around some strummer or another. at least it would be something to do. and while i am generally not at a loss, it's nice to be able to point at Events when the lazy around me start complaining that they are bored and say "yeah, but This Happened" ad nauseum until they finally admit that the only thing that counts as an Event ends up with them getting laid by the hottest person in the room (gender appropriate as they will).
and now there's some kind of percussion happening. i don't think it's on purpose, it sounds like a metallic thunking, and UNL students are usually not that resourceful.
tomorrow, perhaps, i will get on the phone before the fucking monopolistic asswipe testing service decides that they don't really need to be available and convince them to do what i ask. 'twill be good.
I am being prodded to get off my ass, which is a friend is currently trying to drive me crazy. This cunning trick went right to my guilt at dropping this blog.
Evil friend. That’s a movie isn’t it?
Hmm. This is not interesting, not at all.
So here is a plan of things I am supposed to talk about, saying it in public so I will have to write about them, or be yelled at.
1) Chess - Go over the politics of Checkmate. This is what fizzled out and jammed for me. So slight delay. When? After issue 25 comes out, since I will re-read the whole thing. What issue 26? There is no issue 26 planned that I know of. 2) Archetypes of the American Political Radical – Now with Guns - Looking at how the 7 Guns seem to match up to classical political protest positions both historically and currently. And saying that in a place where I can really look like an idiot. 3). Secrets and Lies – Might do this one, might not. I want to go touch on the politics of “Who Goes There?” and other fifth column science fiction from then and now, and explain the noble history of Secret Invasion. 4). Reviews – Sit down each week and say what I think about 3-4 books.
This is in addition to whatever strikes me as funny.
I notice all the examples above are in the vein of coming soon. So I need to brain storm for something to write in a more “now-ish” fashion. I think I will make the friend in question brainstorm with me. I will be cross-posting anything I write, both here and at my also currently inert my blog proper. It has the better name. Looks at friend, yes I know this one does not count.
Working on portfolio type pieces; and generally trying to get decent work. Here's a bit from what I did today over coffee; pen/ink (okay, Microns. Massive amounts of micron dots). I hate stippling. But I can't deny the effects of it are nice.