Cinema Dispatch: Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Johannes Roberts

Say what you will about the Paul WS Anderson Resident Evil movies, they were popular, there were at least a few good entries in it, and Milla Jovovich carried them; an impressive feat as I believe she was the first woman to be the lead of a billion-dollar film franchise.  It was kind of the MCU before the MCU was really a thing; a series that came out almost every year and made a boatload of cash based on a property that most in the mainstream had dismissed as juvenile and (cheap?).  Now that Jovovich has finished her run as Alice and Anderson is stepping back to a producing role, it’s time to see if the franchise can be brought back to life so that Sony doesn’t have to rely on Spider-Man movies to stay profitable!  Does this capture the essence of the games in a way the Anderson films never quite did, or will we be begging him to come back to the series by the time someone does a Jill Sandwich joke? Let’s find out!!

Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) left Raccoon City a long time ago and it’s the last place she ever wanted to return to, but she has some information from the INTER-WEB that is compelling her to return and see her brother.  Of course, since this is a more faithful adaptation, the whole thing is set in the nineties which means she can’t just text him to get out of the city; instead he has to hitch a ride there and show him a VHS tape of someone who claims that the Umbrella Corporation has poisoned the city’s water supply and that something big is going to happen very soon!  Her brother Chris (Robbie Amell) is not impressed and has to go to work on the dreariest and rainiest night imaginable which of course is also the night that all heck breaks loose in the city!  There are officers at the nearby Spencer Mansion who haven’t reported in so Chris, Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen), Albert Wesker (Tom Hooper), and a guy who ISN’T Barry (Chad Rook) head there to find out what’s going on, which leaves the new guy Leon Kennedy (Avan Jogia) alone to watch the police station with the crotchety captain (Donald Logue).  It probably doesn’t come as a shock to you that both groups find zombies roaming around, and the city is put on lockdown by Umbrella soldiers who intend to keep this all a secret while one of their scientists (Neal McDonough) collects whatever research he can before extracting him and his family from this nightmare.  Will the Redfields and all their buddies find a way to escape the city that is slowly rotting away around them?  How does Umbrella plan to sweep this catastrophe under the rug, and is there someone among the survivors who knows more than they’re letting on?  They set the movie in the nineties, but can they truly recreate the feeling of playing the original game for the first time all over again?  Well not if they’re shooting this with HD cameras!

“It looks a lot smaller than I remember.” “That’s nostalgia goggles for you!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Crawl

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Crawl and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Alexandre Aja

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an alligator (or crocodile movie) before.  Heck, we can probably throw snakes in there too now that I think about it.  Not even Snakes on a plane!  It’s an entire sub genre of horror that just kind of passed me by, but I guess now is as good a time as any; especially considering how lackluster my year for horror has been.  What; were expecting a review from ANOTHER film by the guy who made Hereditary?  Yeah, I’m good actually!  Don’t need any more of… whatever that is in my life, but you all enjoy!  I’ve got a movie about a crocodile in a basement to watch instead!  Does this horror film manage to bring the scares and the fun with its nifty little premise while ALSO giving me a valid excuse to avoid Midsommar?  Let’s find out!!

Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a swimmer in college who’s been having trouble outperforming here peers which is bad news for her scholarship, but even WORSE is the fact that she now has to drive to the south of Florida to check on her dad (Barry Pepper) who for whatever reason isn’t answering his phone and is right in the path of a category 5 hurricane.  She just barely manages to get to her childhood home before the storm kicks into high gear and also manages to find her father, but it turns out that he’s stuck in the basement with a bite mark on his leg and at least one alligator that’s feeling rather smug about it.  So now they’re BOTH stuck in the basement in a small area where the pipes make it impossible for the gators to get to them, but the rain keeps on pouring and the basement keeps on filling which means they have to find a way out before they both drown; and even THEN they’re in the middle of a hurricane that could knock the house over given enough time so they have to find a way to make it through that as well!  Can Haley save her dad and use her amazing swimming skills to outsmart these vicious predators who seem particularly cross with them for some reason?  Why are there alligators in the basement in the first place, and could this basement situation just be the tip of the ice burg?  Is this all just an elaborate adaptation of that app game Where’s My Water!?

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Darn you, Swampy!  You have all the water now, what more do you want!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

Here’s the thing about the Pirates movies.  Other than MAYBE the DCCU, it’s probably the most frustratingly simple conceit imaginable that they keep managing to screw up over and over again, so while some people may have a seething hatred for them (I wouldn’t blame you if you did), I find myself disappointed more than anything.  Now credit to where it’s due.  The first movie is still good, I like a lot of what they were doing with the second film, and I even think the fourth film was a marked improvement over the nadir that was At World’s End.  In fact, the fourth film is the closest since the first film of what this franchise SHOULD be which is the cinematic equivalent of pulp adventure books like the Conan stories or John Carter of Mars; a universe comprised of interesting and diverse characters but with stories that can be enjoyed individually.  Where Pirates started to screw up (and then self-imploded with the third one) was in trying to focus too much on continuity, MacGuffins, and character motivations that spanned MULTIPLE films; all of which made it almost impossible to enjoy the second and third ones on their own and why the fourth one felt like an okay start to a new direction for this franchise.  Will they continue that trend with this new one?  Well… probably not considering that Will and Elizabeth are returning to the series which presumably means a whole lot baggage is coming along with them, but let’s find out!!

The movie picks up several years after the events of On Stranger Tides, though more importantly for the purposes of this story, after the events of At World’s End as we have the son of Will and Elizabeth Turner (Orland Bloom and Keira Knightley) named Henry (Brenton Thwaites) trying desperately to break the curse on his father that has imprisoned him as the Captain of the Flying Dutchman.  While working for the British Navy, the ship he’s training on crashes face first into THE DEVIL’S TRIANGLE (wouldn’t you want to AVOID something named that?) and he’s left as the sole survivor of an attack by the ghostly crew of Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem).  Now Henry has been looking for Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) for some time to see if he has some insight into saving his father and Captain Salazar manages to suss this out, so on top of leaving him as the sole survivor in order to spread his legend, he ALSO want him to give Jack a lesson when he finds him; mainly that he plans on killing that guy the first chance he gets.  Now after that prologue, we jump to the Island of Massive Coincidences where Jack just so happens to be wasting his days away drinking rum and there also JUST SO HAPPENS to be a woman named Cariana Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) who may have the answer to finding the GREATEST TREASURE OF THEM ALL and exactly what Henry needs to break his father’s curse.  Oh, and Henry JUST SO HAPPENS to be sent to this island after he’s found by the British Navy because why not.  I won’t spoil much more at this point (mostly to keep this mercifully short) but by the start of the second act, Jack, Henry, Carina, and a few salty sea dogs (including Joshamee Gibbs played by Kevin McNally who’s been a staple of this series since the beginning), are sailing towards this mysterious treasure known as The Trident of Poseidon which can possibly break Will’s curse.  They aren’t the only ones headed in that direction however as Captain Salazar is after Jack, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is KIND OF after Jack, and some dude from the British Navy (David Wenham) is after all of them so he can throw them in jail.  Will Jack Sparrow manage to find this treasure and also avoid the wrath of Salazar who just so happens to have a grudge against him?  What exactly did Jack do to Salazar in order to gain his ire, and how far will he go for revenge?  Do these movies REALLY need to be this complicated every single freaking time!?

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Oh look!  The series is literally jumping the shark!

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