James Stewart Weekend – Rear Window (1954)

rearDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: John Michael Hayes (Screenplay) Cornell Wollrich (Short Story)

Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr, Judith Evelyn

 

Plot: A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Vintage Suspense Thriller

 

Story: Rear Window starts as L.B. Jeff Jefferies (Stewart) stuck in his apartment with a broken leg who has been spending his time watching his neighbours waiting to heel up. Jeff gets daily visits from his nurse Stella (Ritter) who offers him life advice when it comes to Jeff’s love life with the beautiful and in his words perfect Lisa (Kelly) who wants to settle down but Jeff just can’t see it happening.

When one of his neighbours goes missing and Jeff sees the husband leave 3 times during the night he becomes suspicious that something much more foul has come into play. Jeff brings in Lisa to help look for clues but what can they find out?

 

Thoughts on Rear Window

 

StoryWe have seen films that have overcomplicated stories and become a mess this film here keeps everything very simple as one man is trying to solve a potential murder from his apartment. The story follows how he must figure out what has happened without being able to go and see himself which is all good too keep us on edge.

Mystery/Thriller When you look for a good mystery film this one does keep you guessing throughout the film as you are kept on edge wondering how the truth can come out.

Characters/PerformanceJeff is an interesting character that finds himself having to play detective from his own room, he builds a new dimension for the hero character who is unable to go and solve the crime. Lisa does feel out of place in this film because she comes off way to high class for be involved in the story.

James Stewart does single handily carry this film with his performance while Grace Kelly adds the beauty to it all.

SettingsThe whole film is shot from the room that Jeff is stuck in as he is watching his neighbours but when he sees the murder we see how he can’t do anything because of his broken leg but still wants to play detective, this all adds another dimension to the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most influenced and important thrillers you will ever see.

 

Overall: A must watch for all the fans of Hitchcock, thriller or mystery fans.

Rating90

 

 

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

resDirector: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, William Levy

 

Plot: Alice returns to where the nightmare began: The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion

 

Story: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter starts with the real origin of the T-Virus as it was created to save the life of its creator’s daughter Alicia, but the side effects gave us deadly outcome of the zombie outbreak, with the creator’s partner Dr Isaacs (Glen) killing him. We continue the narration for 5 minutes before picking up in Washington DC in the aftermath of a trap with Alice (Jovovich).

We start the main story with Alice taking on a dragon like zombie because why the hell not, right? Alice gets a visit from the Red Queen who offers her a chance to end the zombie outbreak for good and revenge on Wesker (Roberts) who led Alice and her friends into the trap. The mission is to head back to Racoon City and back into the Hive where it all began to release an airborne cure. Along the road Alive finds an old enemy in Dr Isaacs who has been controlling things in what he calls a cleansing mission, leading an army of the undead back to Racoon City. Arriving back in Racoon City Alice finds a new pocket of survivors who Claire Redfield (Larter) has joined as the remaining humans go to war against Isaacs and his army of zombies before looking to finally put an end to zombie apocalypse.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

 

StoryThere are two ways I am looking at the story, the first is in all the positives and that is this does come back to tie everything together in the series and deliver a final instalment the fans can enjoy with plenty of throw backs to the previous instalments of the franchise. On the negative side of the story we don’t have the most original story because it is the same core Alice joins resistance group, ends up leading them in the battle before most die and she must fight an ‘unkillable’ enemy that she can kill. Yay that is the core story which is all fine when you switch you brain off but offers very little new.

Action/HorrorThe action is wildly over the top just like we know, we have bigger action set pieces while the horror side of the film is almost forgotten now in the series.

Characters/Performanceslooking at the characters we all know the Alice story by now, Dr Isaacs and Wesker are both franchise favourite villains and the returning Claire Redfield is all good. It is the new ‘disposable’ character which are mostly all forgettable as we have the tough chick, the one who hates Alice only to grow respect and the tough guy who you can replace with almost anybody.

The performances are all on a par with anything we have seen before with Jovovich showing she is the true star of the show, Gen adding the class in the villainous role with Roberts impressing once again as the emotionless villain. Looking deeper into the cast I felt Fraser James was doing his best Idris Elba impression throughout the film and it is getting worrying to see Ruby Rose continuing to look like she is take the role Michelle Rodriguez is best known for the bad ass chick which she is good at but this is the second time this year.

SettingsBringing all the action back to Racoon City I feel is a good thing, we get plenty of nods to the previous instalments along the way with the use of the settings, I feel this is a good way to end the franchise by respecting each location we have seen Alice must fight through.

Special EffectsWhen we look at the special effects we always find ourselves getting plenty of over the top sequences that all look good throughout as the film sometimes focuses on the effects over the story.

Final ThoughtsThis franchise will always end up going down as one of my guilty pleasures watches, I do like switching my brain off at time and Resident Evil is always going to offer that for me. This isn’t the most original but the action is pure madness so I am happy to enjoy that and paying respect to the previous films I am happy to see too, but I would have liked some of the other characters who were stood ready for war at the end of the last film with Alice appearing in the film.

 

Overall: Good mindless action film you can fully switch off and enjoy.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Completion Weekend – Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

resDirector: Russell Mulcahy

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke

 

Plot: Survivors of the Raccoon City catastrophe travel across the Nevada desert, hoping to make it to Alaska. Alice joins the caravan and their fight against the evil Umbrella Corp.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sequel

 

Story: Resident Evil: Extinction starts with Dr Isaacs (Glen) performing tests on Alice (Jovovich) only to learn he has a clone army of Alice’s looking for one that can meet the abilities of the original Alice.

We jump forward years now with the world destroyed left in a desert like state and Alice a lone traveller in this wasteland. Also, travelling the wasteland Carlos (Fehr) and Claire (Larter) lead a convoy of survivors around staying one step ahead of the undead using the safety in numbers idea.

When the two collide, they find themselves on the run from Umbrella as Dr Isaacs is searching to the original Alice to help complete his research in the hunt for a cure for the T-Virus.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil Extinction

 

StoryThe story continues the adventures of Alice and shows how Umbrella are still experimenting within this world. My issue with this story is the major jump in time, the first two are almost over two days but this jumps forward in years to the full destruction of the Earth that is covered with infected. This other problem with this story is that you can’t go back to fill in the gaps so the sequels after this must work around the world being in this condition which isn’t where the games are. For this franchise of films this is slightly out of character as a story but like the first two it is just a group of survivors trying to survive waves of the undead before Alice faces a big boss like enemy, not the most original but a tried and tested formula.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is bigger once again, the horror is weaker once again but overall this is all you need from this video game adaption.

Characters/PerformanceAlice continues to show off her character’s true abilities which continue to get unlocked through the film. Carlos also returns but offers nothing new and we get another video game favourite Claire Redfield joining the survival, but she is written as a leader but isn’t as strong as Jill. We also have a new primary villain in Dr Isaacs who is working on Umbrella research and is mostly the same as we had last time.

As performances go Jovovich continues to make herself the icon of the series and she is good at this. Glen adds the class in the villainous role without excelling and Ali Larter does well but the character isn’t written well enough for my liking. The rest of the supporting cast are all fine and good for the few scenes they are in.

SettingsHaving the film set in the desert leaves me feeling slightly mixed because I do feel that is needed to be a slow improvement in size rather than going almost worldwide, but I also like the big environment because it offers the film a chance to go in a different direction.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all good but not the best they could be, because of the film you are willing to let things go in places too.

Final ThoughtsWhen you watch the whole franchise through this one does feel like the longest but is also does help take the series to a larger scale.

 

Overall: Opens the door for the franchise to become bigger.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Completion Weekend – Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

resDirector: Alexander Witt

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Razaaq Adoti, Jared Harris

 

Plot: Alice awakes in Raccoon City, only to find it has become infested with zombies and monsters. With the help of Jill Valentine and Carlos Olivera, Alice must find a way out of the city before it is destroyed by a nuclear missile.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big, Bloodier Sequel

 

Story: Resident Evil: Apocalypse starts above ground in Racoon City going on with their normal days like nothing has happened but below ground the Hive is reopened and the infected are released upon the city with the important members of the Racoon City board evacuated including Dr Ashford (Harris) but his daughter Angie (Vavasseur) gets lost in the panic.

13 hours later the dead running riot in the city as we meet Jill Valentine (Guillory) the tough and sexy cop with a near perfect shot looking to follow the rest of the city in their evacuation. Here we continue to get introduction to characters including picking up Alice (Jovovich) right where we left her last time, we also get to see rescue team member Carlos Olivera (Fehr) in his example rescue methods and Major Cain (Kretschmann) who is leading the evacuation.

When the infection reaches the gate, Major Cain closes the gates forcing the people stuck inside Racoon City to fend for themselves against the infected. Joining forces Alice, Jill, Carlos and other survivors must locate Angie to rescue her from what is coming to Racoon City, with time counting down the infection spreading this is a race against time for Alice and the survivors with the Nemesis program activated.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: Apocalypse

 

StoryJust continuing the story is all this franchise needed, because the first film we get the introduction to the virus now we get the full outbreak starting City wide. We have the same basic story going on though, a group of survivors trying to survive all be it in a bigger world from a deadly infection of zombies that continue to track down enemies. We are left to see our heroes take on bigger enemies as we learn how deep the corruption in Umbrella really is which opens the doors to bigger sequels.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is bigger while over the top with bullets flying everywhere which is similar to how some people would be playing the game, the horror is based on the zombies and is main survival horror again all good. Both works well for what this film is trying to be.

Characters/PerformanceAlice returns with all the fighting skills learnt from the first film and more as the true icon if the franchise. The inclusion of Jill Valentine is big for the fans of the games as it marks the first character from the source material to join the franchise. The rest of the characters are good even though they are generic with the main villain becoming something we will get used to through the series of films.

The performances are all good with Jovovich showing her action skills throughout the film as she makes this her own franchise. I do think the rest of the cast all do a good job throughout the film even if some of the smaller roles are slightly over the top.

SettingsHaving the film set in Racoon City works because we slowly build to a bigger infected world and get to have bigger action spectacles.

Special EffectsYou can’t fault the special effects in this film, bigger, bloodier but more realistic than first time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a bigger sequel that is an proper easy to watch film for all that enjoy switching their mind off while watching films.

 

Overall: Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Ratingcard

 

 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan Weekend – Red Dawn (2012)

redDirector: Dan Bradley

Writer: Carl Ellsworth, Jeremy Passmore (Screenplay) Kevin Reynolds, John Milius (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise, Edwin Hodge, Brett Cullen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Will Yun Lee

 

Plot: A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Remake

 

Story: Red Dawn starts as we get filled on how North Korea has risen in power and threatens to take on America in battle. We move to meet our characters with returning marine Jed Eckert (Hemsworth) his high school quarterback brother Matt (Peck) and fellow high schoolers Robert Kitner (Hutcherson), Toni Walsh (Palicki) and Erica Martin (Lucas).

When their quiet town awakens one morning they find themselves under attack by North Korea as we see Jed, Matt, Robert, Danny (Hodge) and other students escape to safety of the cabin. With Jed leading the students they prepare to go up against the army to free their families as they join forces with ex-marines Tanner (Morgan), Smith (Choi) and Hodges (Gerald).

Red Dawn is a remake of one of the iconic 80s movies and to be fair this isn’t as bad as you were thinking it would be. First the war scenario looks like it could have been realistic with the rising tensions between the nations. I will go into a few negatives where Matt is very annoying with his decision making process which causes us to roll our eyes at what he is doing. It does feel more rushed and you do think the Korean army would be able to handle a few rebellious teenagers though. If you watch this with just relaxed style you could see how this would be enjoyed but just don’t expect the emotional level it should have.

 

Overall: Solid remake that is an easy watch.

Rating60