Saturday, September 15, 2012

Just Awesome Cinema: Tidbits- 9/15/12

Its been a while here at the Dusty Video Box since I've last posted. Mainly, its because of my work as a genre author; I've been trying to actually single out which project I'm going to tackle over the next few months. Anywho, as I've mentioned beforehand, I'm finally published in "Aliens Among Us" from Pulp Empire..."Blackout '77" by Melvin .L. Hadley(that's me, baby).

But enough bragging. I'm still hitting the cinemas as usual, on the prowl for celloid goodness. I've also recently...ahem...checked out Redbox. Yes, I checked it out. I'm desperate for my fix of straight-to-video slashers, and since there is no Blockbuster and Hollywood Video to get them, I have to settle for some automated dispenser. Whatever. So expect a return of "A Big Sack" soon, a look at straight-to-video horrors.

Alright, here is what I've watched over the last few weeks:

The Dark Knight Rises: I never liked the name, but I adored the movie. Five Stars. A tour de force unlike no other, and I'm not parroting critics. Its the ultimate cinematic crafting of a superhero legend; while Avengers gave us the ultimate superhero fantasy, I will argue that Christopher Nolan and his team gave us the ultimate crimefighter story(at least, so far). Telling the end of Bruce Wayne's(Christian Bale) journey from his start in that muck-filled alley, standing over the body of his dead parents, the film picks up eight years after the last film, with a practically crimeless Gotham celebrating their martyred "White Knight" Harvey Dent, who had essentially locked up the bulk of the criminals. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, seen as eccentric by his fellow billionnaires. However, a chance encounter with cat burgular Selina Kyle(Ann "Impressive" Hathaway) sets off a chain reaction that results in the return of the Dark Knight and an encounter with his ultimate opponent, the malevolent Bane(Tom Hardy). A+++++ is the grade for this wonderful masterpiece, superceding its genre trappings.

The Possession: It is funny to watch this film and realize that the main protagonist is the Comedian from Watchmen(Jeffery Dean Morgan). Here, he is a high school coach, and more importantly, the father of two girls, teenager Hannah(Madison Davenport) and ten-year-old Em(Natasha Calis). He is also recently divorced from their mother, Stephanie(Kyra Sedgwick), who seems to be a hippie of sorts...demanding Clyde(Morgan) to remove his shoes when he enters the house for example. Already on the edge from the divorce, Clyde and his daughters are soon taken to the next level of anxiety when Em finds and purchases a mysterious box at a yard sale...which turns out to not be filled with Playboy mags. Soon, Hannah is beseiged by moths, and Em is hearing haunting voices, experiencing violent mood swings, and becoming extremely obessesive with the box. And no, our hero doesn't think it is simply hyperactivity. The film takes its time to build atmosphere, and it has okay scares. However, never been a big fan of possession films; I'm more of a slasher geek. Grade: B

The Expendables 2: Chris Hemsworth seems to get quite the demotion...from the godly member of the Big 3 of the Avengers to the sort of kid sidekick for the all-star action crew, the Expendables. And yes, it is all an action movie fan can ask for. Bringing back the cast from the original, including Gunner(Dolph Lundgren), Stallone leads his merry men this time against rival merc Jean Vilian(Jean Claude-Van Damme) for vengence. Besides Hemsworth's energetic sniper Billy The Kid, our heroes are also joined by easy on the eyes Maggie Chan(Yu Nan), originally to retrieve a device for government agent Mr. Church(Bruce Willis). However, when the mission goes south, Chan joins the pack. Other gems include a return of Mr. Trench(Arnold "I'll be back" S), and the introduction of "lone wolf" Booker(Chuck "Ultimate Badass" Norris). The first and last action sequences are the greatest. There are only two detriments for me: Jet Li was not in it as much...and I expected more from the final fight between Van Damme and Stallone. Don't get me wrong, it was not bad...just that my expectations were extremely high. Grade: A.

Resident Evil: Retribution: I f******* love this film series, and while it has its detriments, you can't deny that it is a fun-filled adventure to enjoy. And let me say it here: Resident Evil fans(of the games) are truly justified in the hatred of the films, as they do not resemble their source material at all. I always make the joke that if Alice were in any of the games, they would simply be Devil May Cry, because Alice shares similiarities of Dante, the games' protagonist...including the need to dispense asswhuppings stylistically. Anyway, this film, which wonderfully resurrects characters from the first entry (Michelle Rodriquiez's Rain Ocampo), sees Milla Jovovich's Alice captured by the everpresent Umbrella Corp in an huge underwater base, and having to escape with the help of sexy former Wesker operative Ada Wong(Li "Hotdamn" Bingbing). They track through spacious weapon testing enviornments, each a copy of world famous cities(and one cliche "Surburbia"), along an escape route. Meanwhile, rushing to meet them in a group of soldiers, led by Leon S. Kennedy(Johann Urb) and Luther West(Boris Kodjoe, from the last installment). Various enemies from the game series appear, including the Las Plagas soldiers from Resident Evil 4. As a fan, I truly enjoyed the film, and had no problems with it. Sure, its more popcorn than cerebral, but the films(and the games that inspired them) are also all-genre inclusive: we have zombies and zombie outbreaks, but also an evil, omnipresent corporation with their own faceless soldiers, and a evil computer(The Red Queen), trying to wipe out humanity. Grade: A.

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