"Sorry if my snoring bothered you."
Those are not the first words I'd expect out of the mouth of someone who got up on a Friday morning to catch the 10:30 AM screening of a new movie but that is more or less what the fellow who'd been sitting behind me said as I passed him on my way out. I'd heard him snoring over the constant rat-a-tat-tat of bullets and butt-kicking being doled out by Milla Jovovich et al in this latest iteration of the never-ending Resident Evil series (this time in IMAX 3D) but I figured maybe I was hearing things. Nope he was asleep.
I used to play Resident Evil on my ancient PlayStation when it first came out. It scared the crap out of me. I enjoyed the first two movies — hey they included the skinless zombie dogs! — but I lost interest soon after that. How many times can you make the zombie apocalypse exciting? How many different skintight outfits can Jovovich wear while killing grotesque creatures who shoot evil grasping tentacles out of their mouths? Why should we care about all the blood and guts when we know the people we're supposed to be emotionally invested in will never die? We don't.
Try as he might there are only so many ways for writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson to give the Resident Evil series fresh new layers for each new movie. The Umbrella Corporation is the big bad. They were playing with biological weapons and somehow there was an accident that let one of the viruses loose... and boom you've got a zombie apocalypse on your hands. Our heroine is Alice played by Milla Jovovich and there is a rotating cast of characters who help her fight the good fight against the hordes of brain-eaters and whatever is left of the Umbrella Corporation that's now after her. There are some parallels to the video game series but Paul W.S. Anderson (a gamer himself) has taken lots of liberties with the basic plot over the years. While Anderson's flashy style is especially suited to these types of movies there's not enough plot to make it work.
We don't go to video game movies for plot of course but there has to be something to hold onto; otherwise why would we care if our protagonist were in danger? Anderson tries some neat tricks to snap us back to attention like bringing back characters that were killed in previous movies and throwing in a cloning subplot that calls into question some of the characters' true identities but it's still hard to get worked up about anything onscreen. However it ultimately sidesteps any deeper ideas that might take our attention away from all the guns. And there are so many guns and explosions and elegant butt-kickings doled out by Milla and her pals (or former pals in the case of Michelle Rodriguez's character Rain) that they blend together.
It is especially difficult to work up any interest in the story because it's a franchise and no matter how many times the stars or director might say they're not that interested in doing another everyone is just waiting to see how much money this will make before deciding to go forward. There is no question how franchise movies will end; there will be no derring-do on the part of the writer or director to actually kill off a beloved character permanently. At one point it seemed like Anderson was going to pull the old "And then she woke up!" trick which would have been bold both because it's such a hackneyed idea that it would make writing professors' heads explode all over the world but also because it would have required Anderson to play in a different universe and expand his repertoire a bit. Alas like Alice and Anderson himself we just can't seem to escape this rabbit hole.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
Paris Hilton missed Club Paris opening
Hotel heiress Paris Hilton missed out on the opening ceremony of her Florida nightspot Club Paris, after turning up six hours late. The Simple Life reality TV star had previously been holidaying in Switzerland's Alps and blames late-running planes for holding her back from the launch of her $3 million Orlando, Florida, venue. Her sister Nicky Hilton was forced to step in and cut the pink ribbon to open the club Thursday. Paris apologized when she turned up later that night, saying, "I was in the Swiss Alps skiing and I got caught out at the airport with all the holiday travel so I've been trying to fly for the past 24 hours. I'm so sorry I'm late."
Diana Ross drops cosmetic deal
Soul superstar Diana Ross has pulled out of a deal to launch a range of MAC cosmetics in her name. The "Upside Down" singer reportedly hated the names of the colors picked out for her collection, so dropped the deal. A source tells Scottish newspaper the Sunday Mail, "There is tons of publicity planned--parties, events and television. They are trying to convince her to be part of it again." But a spokeswoman for MAC--which famously launched a make-up range with singer Liza Minnelli--insists the company will sell the Diana Ross range as planned, at the end of the month. She says, "We are launching worldwide with products and photos." Ross's management refused to comment.
Stiller teams up with Coogan
Movie funnyman Ben Stiller will team up with British comedian Steve Coogan in the film version of TV classic The Persuaders. The Meet the Fockers actor, is a massive fan of Coogan's comic creation Alan Partridge so agreed to co-star in the movie remake of the 70s cult show as sleuth Brett Sinclair, while Coogan will play his detective partner Danny Wilde. Coogan says, "Ben is a somebody and I'm a nobody, so I'm very grateful for the relationship. He's a fan of Alan Partridge and I'm a fan of his."
Beckinsale to take driving lessons
British actress Kate Beckinsale's New Year's resolution is to learn to drive, because she's finding it difficult to get around Los Angeles. The Aviator star moved to Hollywood after marrying director Len Wiseman, but was unprepared for life in the big city and has been forced to rely on lifts, taxis and the occasional limousine for transport. She admits, "It would be really helpful if I could learn to drive. I had a slot in my schedule here I could have taken lessons last May--but I chose to get married instead."
Moss snubs ex-boyfriend at New Year's Eve bash
Supermodel Kate Moss has dashed hopes for a reunion with her former lover Jefferson Hack--by refusing to invite him to her lavish New Year's Eve party. The catwalk beauty sparked rumours she was returning to media mogul, Hack by spending Christmas Day with him and their two-year-old daughter Lila Grace in England's Cotswolds. But she made it clear she will not rekindle the romance, when she left him off the guest list to her $38,000 end of year celebrations in Innerleithan, Scotland, reports British newspaper the News of the World. An insider says, "Kate and Jefferson are not together. They're still on speaking terms for the sake of Lila Grace, but there's no other relationship. Christmas was lovely. Lila Grace was showered with gifts and the pair did their best to make it a real family Christmas. But it was all for Lila. Kate and Jefferson are not seeing each other any more."
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