Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Resident Evil Tribute (Trailer)

Avatar [2009] (sci-fi)

Studio: 20th Century Fox,
Director: James Cameron,
Screenplay: James Cameron,
Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Adventure,
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver

Jake Sully was a space marine serving under the RDA company. His brother was died in a robberyh on the street so Jake decided to go to planet Pandora instead of him, beacuse he as his twin brothor. He was also a paraplegic in a wheelchair, but they let him fly anyway. Cernal Qouartich warns eveybody that THERE ARE HOSTILE LOCALSD ONT HE PLANET

But Jake was plugged in to the avatar that looks like na'vi but itis human and Ellen Ripley has decided to give him a test runm so they flew away and he was lost in the jungle of Pandora to meet those 'hostile' loaclas so there was fg girl named NMaytiri - she lookslike a cat only bluyr. Actually all the Na'vi look like cats.

So he learns their culture but the EVLI GUMENS try to burn the forest to recover the powerful mineral they called Unobtanium, abut of course Jake cannot alowthis, so the Na'Vi rebel and drive the humans of the planet. Theend.

Jake is played by Sam Worthington whois very convincing ttin the role.I espeaicllay like his curious face when he and Neytiri are wansering atround the planet, becaus iam sure that even the most badsas and brutal goy and girl will havwe the same face walking around a planet so beautiful. Infact, the enviromment is so rich and breathing that I still dont quites believe it's cG. And also the Na'Vi and the animals on the planet are so photorealistic that they really leap across the uncanny valley and do not stick out from the real sctors. I also kiled that there is not 'blood and hrit' trend so popular nowadays whenm all the charactes are running around covered in blod and shit (though the battels themselves are totally bloodless). The movie feels so pure and innocent!Iy's like yh e sci0gi sotries from mu chldhood an i love it!!!11

My Rating: 9 / 10

P.S. Thanks to Perter Chimaera!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Outbreak [1995] (sci-fi, action, thriller, disaster movie)

Studio: Warner Bros.,
Director: Wolfgang Petersen,
Screenplay: Laurence Dworet, Robert Roy Pool,
Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Thriller, Disaster Movie
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland

Some time ago I've read a sneak preview of this flick in the 'Video-ASU Premiere' (Rus. "Видео-АСС Премьер") magazine. Then, sometime later Michelle had a chance to watch it and gave her highest recommendations. Some aeons later, in fact, 6 days before this writing takes place, I've finally checked it out. I'm not gonna lie - I was blown away. It was very refreshing to see how Wolfgang Petersen, of 'Das Boot' and 'The Neverending Story' fame, handled an action-disaster movie of such scale.

The dead village in Zaire

The plot begins in 1967, at the mercenary camp located in Zaire, stricken by an unknown and terminally dangerous virus. After the distress call, American military superiors arrive there and handle the crisis in the most radical way imaginable, seemingly localizing and halting the epidemic spread. Then our main story ark picks up in 1995, and we are introduced to out main character - Colonel Sam Daniels from USAMRIID (U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases), perfectly portrayed by Dustin Hoffman. It's a bit unusual to see him as an action hero, as likeable and charismatic he is, but this can be traced back to his similar roles on Straw Dogs and The Marathon Man. Right from the start, his character's main problem is settling the divorce with his wife, who's working at CDC (a Center for Disease Control and Prevention) to deliver some important plot points later on. She is played by Rene Russo - a strong and determined female lead, an image not unfamiliar to her after Lethal Weapon 3. And when their long and gloomy goodbye is on the brink of being said, a phone call emerges. Sam is ordered to travel to Zaire to investigate a local viral disaster, caused by the infection that was supposed to be wiped out in 1967. Upon arrival, he and his crew (Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding, Jr.) find the village, stricken by an unidentified (for them) disease, to be practically extinct. Sam and his reliable and devoted sidekicks - always ready to help their commander even when he's on the opposite side of the globe, or at least spare some vital advice - acquire some viral samples and get back to USA for research, when suddenly two unexpected things happen.

Maj. Schuler (Spacey), Maj. Salt (Gooding, Jr.) and Col. Daniels (Hoffman)

First, Sam's commanding officer, General Ford (Morgan Freeman) starts demanding to cease their work in progress. Freeman is consistent and believable as a villain who questions his own motifs, just as his superior, Major General Donald McClintock (Donald Sutherland) in exaggerating his. Second, a group of trespassers in Zaire capture a monkey near the dead village (not sure how did they get past the possible military outposts or surviving villagers, though) and transport it across the ocean to sell to a pet store in USA.

Gen. Ford (Freeman) and Maj. Gen. McClintock (Sutherland)

Everything goes wrong when the animal becomes responsible for several lethal infection strikes, which in turn lead to a titular outbreak spreading across a small town in California. As the town falls to its doom, the virus mutates, beginning to spread via droplet nuclei transmission. The military instantly reacts, putting the town under quarantine and martial law, but not announcing any further plans. Engulfed in suspicion and risking their lives, our heroes break out from the military arrest and rush to the viral zone to see the situation for themselves; meanwhile, Sam's now ex-wife is en route there too, driven by similar reasons. Will they be able to contain the outbreak and foil the authorities' plan, and after being separated in peace, will an ex-husband and his still beloved ex-wife reunite in the time of crisis?

Dr. Keough (Russo)

The movie is immediately gripping, from the intense prologue to the open finale, with its logical and mostly plothole-free screenplay, crafted according to all the principles and canons of both the disaster and thrilling action movies. There are little to no useless details, not counting the Zairian witch doctor who appears onscreen for a couple of minutes in the first act, but is unheard of ever since. Aside from this, the atmosphere is more suspenseful than scary, despite countless death scenes and the nerve-racking environment of the infected city. All the decisions and actions undertaken by both the main and supporting characters, are driven by courage, resistance to imminent danger, and humanity. The events unfold at a faster pace, following each other in a logical order without any slowdowns or filler. Being it a big blockbuster, this is definitely a pro - the writer decided not to go the same road as Sylvester Stallone went recently with Rocky Balboa, where the protagonist is solving all his problems solely by long dramatic monologues. In Outbreak, no boredom is allowed! The action scenes, accompanied by intense Hans Zimmer-style musical score, are top notch - the prologue, the 'moving helicopter to moving vessel' jump without any belay, the tranquilizer shot scene - this alone is a great tense moment that makes even some of John Woo's offerings (especially the later ones) slowly walk for their money. In the same time, there's no overabundance of special effects, not counting the authentic military gear, colorful makeup for the viral victims or pyrotechnics - no penny from the decent budget (for the time) was wasted, and the cinematography is brilliant.

The incredible helicopter chase scene

Overall, this is a masterpiece of action, kinda obscure nowadays, but a smash hit at the time of release. Nevertheless, if you're in a mood for a decent heroic blockbuster taking you back to the good old days of 90s action cinema, where (and when) the heroes weren't dark and depressed, and the villains were calm and intelligent, it's a real treat, but also a brilliant movie in its own right!

Prepare for descent...

My Rating: 9 / 10
Michelle's Rating: 10 / 10

P.S. Thanks to my beloved fiancee, Michelle, for co-writing this review!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Prometheus [2012] (sci-fi, horror, thriller)

Studio: Scott Free Productions, Brandywine Productions,
Director: Ridley Scott,
Screenplay: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof,
Genre: Sci-fi, Horror, Thriller, Wasted Potential, Metroid Rip-Off
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron

Uhh, where do I begin. Prometheus is one of the most hyped movies out there now (sans The Avengers), and for all good reasons: 33 years after the survival horror classic Alien, the same production crew - Ridley Scott, David Giler and Walter Hill - decide to release a prequel to the beloved xenophobic franchise. They even got H.R. Giger to develop the creature and set designs again! And finally, in 2012 the cinematic magnum opus was released. Me and Michelle went to the theater, we saw it, we analyzed it, so here I will provide our impressions.

First of all, the most important part: this movie is meh. Mediocre. Could be better. Lots of potential, but no substance. Didn't tell me anything I cared to know. So, to properly evaluate it, I'm gonna do mainly two things here - spoil everything and reference the Metroid series a lot. Sorry.

Let's start with the good things though, shall we?

We really dug the opening scene with the ship interior and only one active character in frame - David the replicant. Wearing a helmet that looks suspiciously like the one in the Marathon trilogy, he's wading between the empty and lonely crew quarters, movie theater, recreation deck all shrouded in darkness, with the camera flying across the rooms - it's great, not to mention it's a nice throwback to the first Alien, where we were introduced to the ship interior before we saw the main characters. And the ship Prometheus itself is pretty cool-looking, as well as the Space Jockey vessels. Each 3D model has weight, physical model, it's all volumetric and doesn't look like a videogame. The CG is really good and solid-looking.

Somewhere in the heavens...
He is waiting...

Another highlight is the surgery scene, where the main character climbs onto a System Shock-style operating table and gives herself an automated abortion, complete with the close-ups of cuts and guts. That was really intense and badass! I dig it.

And the last thing we kinda liked is the ending (one of many - see below), but not thanks to the screenplay writers or Mr. Scott himself. See, this movie's 'Get away from her, you bitch!'-type scene was accurately ripped off a little videogame called Super Metroid. Add in the holographic screens looking a lot like Dead Space, and we can conclude that Ridley Scott does have a good taste in videogames, but could he even bother to make a decent movie? Let's take a look at the flaws.

First and foremost, the immediately noticeable: little to no 3D. Seriously, with glasses the movie seemed like 2D, and without them - like blurry 2D. What the..? The 3D effect is not even there - never during the movie we felt like being emerged into it, instead the glasses gave only dark shade on the screen, nothing else. So, the 3D is present in this movie mostly within the ticket price.

Now let's get back to the start - the opening scene. What's the deal with that Jockey drinking the xenomorph larvae and collapsing? OK, besides the necessity to show the title screen inside his blood particles. This is never explained or referenced anywhere later in the movie. He just stands on the cliff, drinks that shit, cries in agony, falls apart, and bam! - the logo appears. What was that?

After this glimpse of pointlessness we are introduced to our main character - Dr. Shaw, played by Noomi Rapace. And I give her credit by saying 'played'. Her acting is beyond hilarious, even Winona Rider in Alien: Resurrection wasn't as funny. All these constant scared looks on her face, bug eyes that say 'you see, I'm the world's greatest actress! Tomorrow I'll partake in a photo shoot for Victoria's Secret!', and the unforgettable 'I WANTED A HORSE, NOT A PONY!!!1'-style dialogue (sorry Nostalgia Critic, it is your joke)... and that's what we get for our leading lady? Was Milla Jovovich busy making another lingerie ad, 'cause it's clearly her profile - at least she has some experience in kicking the extraterrestrial and undead asses!

Charlize Theron... We saw a lot of evil chicks who want to spoil everything for no reason before, and I'm sure we'll see much more in the future. But this one has an attitude. She looks like Samus Aran.

The last of Charlize Theron's dignity is in captivity. The Galaxy is not at peace.

Only unlike Ms. Aran, this chick wanders around with a stupid expression on her face, says stupid lines and dies a stupid death during what is supposed to be a thrilling action scene, but looks like an Angry Beavers gag - 'they ran... and they ran... and they ran a little more...'

Then we have the male characters. Dr. Shaw's love interest is boring and pointless, Mr Weyland is another old man who wants to live forever (Blade Runner what? Who directed this?), and the silly Mohawk geologist is silly. Not only he looks like Barry Burton from Resident Evil (minus the coolness and character development), he's also craptacularly hilarious when shouting 'I AM A GEOLOGIST!!! I LOVE ROCKS!!!' Guys, give him a gun - yeah, one of the impressive arsenal of 1 flamethrower and 3 pistols stored on your gigantic space vessel - we all clearly see how he's longing for one! But no, he's disarmed like the rest of the crew, and again dies a stupid and pointless death, because surely the scientific personnel on a mission light-aeons away from the Earth don't need any of these stupid space marines to back them up and cover, because in the Alien franchise, the disgustingly easy to reach alien ruins are deserted and contain no hostile lifeforms at all!


Why are we looking at those people at all?! They're all horrible miscast stupid incompetent characters who serve just as alien menu, nothing else!

A menu for the onslaught of useless custom aliens, to be exact. Yeah, Mr Scott though that it would be an awesome idea to stray away from the Alien canon and show the creatures that look barely like the Facehuggers, Chestbursters, Runners, Guardians and all the familiar fellas. Instead, we get a snake-like facehugger, rubber-looking Space Jockeys (oh by the way, why don't they look exactly like humans if we share the same DNA?), an Unidentified Fucking Shit (English for 'Неведомая Ё...ая Х...ня') with tentacles that looks like the final boss from Dead Space (sigh), and the xenomorph is shown only during the last 15 seconds, and he doesn't even look like the xenomorphs that we grew up with! What, the prequel's subject matter was added as an afterthought?! Then what is this movie is all about? We've seen a lot more decent pictures dedicated to the slaughter of stupid underdeveloped characters (say, Friday The 13th).

Oh well, back to the xenomorphs. The Chozo have created the Metroids (which means 'Ultimate Warrior' in Chozo'ish) as the means of defense, but later the creatures turned on them and wiped out most of their race... oh, that's another franchise... but you get the idea.

So... how does this plot hole feast end after all? First, there occurs the Angry Beavers action scene mentioned above, then the Super Metroid suspense scene mentioned above, then a dozen of other pointless endings - why did she fly away and where? Will this ever be explained? Because the Jockeys' home planet was not featured in either of the Alien movies! If this is a sequel setup, didn't Ridley Scott himself confirm there will be no sequel? Who knows... and who cares, the movie is finally over!

Guys, don't get me wrong - it's definitely not the worst movie imaginable, there are much more that deserve their bad reputation. But unfortunately, Prometheus doesn't even fit to the 'so bad it's good' category. It had great potential and possibilities for some stunning revelations for all us Alien fans, but what we got in the end is a grand videogame ripoff that dares to be original and groundbreaking. The visuals are nice and convincing, but the characters are crap, the action is cliche, and as I've said in the opening, we haven't seen anything we actually cared to see.

My Rating: 4 / 10

Michelle's Rating: 6 / 10

P.S. Special thanks to Michelle Mayfair for providing 50% of the criticism expressed above. You're my angel, come and save me tonight! :*

P.P.S. Here's Sigourney Weaver with a cat: