Tag Archives: Milla Jovovich

“Resident Evil – Retribution” set pics. And some rambling digressions.

Regular viewers of this blog will be wearily aware of my unaccountable love for the “Resident Evil” movies and the undeniable awesomeness of their star, Milla Jovovich.

I know that this series of films is not great, in the great pantheon of cinematic achievement.  You probably know that they’re not great, with that feeling of dismissal very possibly increasing in direct proportion to your love of Capcom’s originating sequence of Survival Horror video games.

Ah, the good old days - when polygons were pronounced and DLC didn't exist...

 

Other than a brief and – as I recall – terrifying sojourn with the first game on the original PlayStation, I’ve not filled my boots with a “Resi” game and I’ll be honest by telling you that I don’t think that I’ve been missing anything other than the distinct knowledge that “Resident Evil 4” is supposed to be the (Zombie) Dog’s Bobbins.

So, the new “Resident Evil: Retribution” set pictures that this post so teasingly promises?

Is there some kind of uniform policy for heroines of this mid-budget, Sci-Fi actioners?

There’s also this one – which is more in line with what you might expect from this franchise, what with Jovovich’s heroine Alice toting a gun larger than her head…

PVC, goth boots, heavy weapons - why Judi Dench doesn't do one of these movies is anyone's guess...

One thing which has been bemusing me lately is the uniform fashion choices offered to the heroines of movies like the “Resi” series, the “Underworld” movies and this year’s “Priest”.

Yep, not a pic from the new "Resi". But you could be forgiven for making that mistake.

If you happen to find yourself front-and-centre in one of these SF/Horror/Action hybrids, it appears that your character will have a wholly limited and really quite predictable wardrobe of neo-warrior fashions to choose from – you can’t beat the snot out of the undead in a mid-budget, genre film for a studio diffusion brand like Screen Gems unless you’re a petite brunette in PVC with a choppy bob.

It’s like there’s a law, or something.

Maggie Q in "Priest". Not an image from a "Resident Evil" movie. Trust me on this.

(I’m aware that this post, in some small way, actually perpetuates this gender divide by dint of employing the pictures that I have done – this is a ‘have your cake and eat it’ kind of blog entry and no mistake).

It’s as though the movie establishment gives and then extracts those small freedoms in the same gesture.  Yes, you can have your own, reasonably lucrative film franchise, with a signature character and do your bit to provide a vaguely positive, post-“Buffy”, post-Sarah Connor pop cultural role model for young women who don’t really get that many to choose from.

No, you can’t wear anything vaguely sensible to mop the floor with beasties, ghouls and daemons.  It’s impractical PVC, absurd latex fetish wear or leather-look attire all the way:  No baggy hoodies, flat shoes or flattering denim for you, Modern Missy.  There’s probably some half-hearted justification here about the garb in these movies being body armour or the like, but I’m not buying that and I doubt that you are either.

You can see if “Underworld: Awakening” does anything to advance the cause of the sisterhood in January 2012, “Resident Evil: Retribution” is out in September 2012 and you can rent “Priest” on DVD and Blu-Ray now.

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A geeky round-up (because I’m ill)…

The dreaded lurgyMan-flu.  An outbreak of contagious yuck – call it what you will, I’m afflicted by it.  If I were you, I’d wear an anti-germ mask and disinfect yourself thoroughly before reading this post.

Mr Germ, yesterday.

Accordingly, my brain is working on about 40% effectiveness and I think it best for all concerned if I point in the direction of a few points of interest on the internet, before you catch something from me via Teh Interwebz.

An interesting round-up of a recent Femme-friendly Sci-Fi event, GirlGeekCon in Seattle, from those nice folks at the Tor Books blog.

 

Super Punch have an unboxing video for the collector’s edition of “Star Wars: The Old Republic”.

Milla Jovovich isn’t very happy about the US marketing campaign for “The Three Musketeers”…, via I Watch Stuff.

Ben Affleck may be directing the long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Stand”, per Rope of Silicon.

Some reviews of  the “Captain America: The First Avenger” blu-ray disc at Blu-Ray.com and Crave Online.  I loved it – possibly a little more than I enjoyed “Thor” – and can’t wait to see it in glorious HD in December when it releases in the UK.

A sneaky clip from the “Ghost Rider” sequel is currently available over at ShockTillYouDrop – from last week’s Spike TV Scream awards ceremony.

Finally, Deadline.com reports that “Paranormal Activity 3” opened in the US this weekend to $55 million, making it the highest-debuting box office result ever for a horror movie.  I haven’t seen the first one, I stopped watching “Saw” movies after the first one and have seen two minutes of “Hostel”.  I freely confess that the last decade in horror cinema has completely passed me by.

 

 

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Why “The Three Musketeers” isn’t as bad as you probably think it is.

Yes, it’s another apology post for Paul W.S. Anderson‘s career – feel free to tune out if you think of him as only slightly less reviled than Uwe Boll and only marginally less hateful to cinephiles than Michael Bay.

See, he looks really nice - how bad could he be? Photo by Albert Ortega.

If I’m writing one of these posts, that must mean that he has a new film out, yes?  Indeed, and it isn’t a new “Resident Evil” installment – this year’s chip off the Anderson block is “The Three Musketeers”, an adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel which takes a remarkable number of liberties with the source material – a more accurate title might be “Jules Verne’s Steampunk Remix – The Three Musketeers” as the film gleefully dispenses with any real sense of historical veracity as soon as it can.

I half expected D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) to rock up in Paris in a Hybrid SUV and arrange his initial duel with the disgraced Athos (Matthew McFadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) via Blackberry Messenger.  In terms of blithely gleeful anachronism, such absurdity would have fitted nicely with D’Artagnan’s Californian accent and shaggy, classic rock tresses.

Two Musketeers, One D'Artagnan and the back of Porthos' head

This is churlish, of course.  Anderson is making a popcorn, multiplex-pleasing adventure romp and any resemblance to historical time periods, events or people would be wholly accidental.

Witness the awesome:

I flippin' love Paul Anderson. Fanboys whine, he gets on with it and goes home to Milla J - Like a boss...

Yes, that just happened. In this movie and all up in your face.  If you go to see this film you should expect duelling airships.  This is where the steampunk or Verne-ian angle comes in – whenever the script finds a problem to resolve, it does so not with the expected horses, swashbuckling or period technology.  Oh no.  We get airships, all manner of automated cannons and elaborate, multi-barrelled pistols, costumes which look like they’ve just been borrowed from Lady Gaga’s dressing room and Da Vinci-inspired security systems which perhaps pay homage to the lethal Umbrella Corporation from Anderson’s previous “Resi” films.

There’s fighting, duelling, honour, guff about France, Cardinal Richelieu and the intrigue in the Royal Court to satisfy Dumas’ fans but suffice is to say that if you value the novel at all, you probably shouldn’t go to see this film – it uses the books as a jumping-off point and the plot sweeps ahead with little if any regard for 17th Century veracity. Even the dialogue, manners and characterisation seem to be drawn very much from our time, not always to bad effect.

As Anderson and his wife Milla Jovovich are involved in this iteration of Dumas story, the role of Milady is invested with rather more action than we are perhaps used to seeing.   Think “Mission: Impossible”-style incursions, abseiling, multi-dude sword take-downs and a distinct sense that Milady could quite happily and easily kick the bejesus out of most of the Musketeers if only (A) she could be bothered to and (B) it wouldn’t mess up her frocks.

No Zombies for Milla this time, but plenty of faceless Royal Guards in need of a shoeing...

I was particularly taken with one Anderson composition in the film – it’s in the scene where (spoilers) Milady is breaking into the French Queen’s dressing room to steal her diamond necklace (spoilers end) and is posed elegantly atop a tower before abseiling from a great height.  I feel sure that it must reference a painting of the period and is the kind of iconic, stylish moment of diversion which I sometimes feel that Anderson might want to interject into his work.  He’s got the eye and works with great directors of photography – I can’t quite get behind the notion that he’s a hack without talent, as he’s displayed his visual acuity in his previous films.  Serving the story and getting out-of-the-way of the movie is one thing – giving ammunition to the more blinkered critics is quite another.

You probably know after watching the trailer whether this is your thing or not – I really enjoyed it (and the blatant set-up for a sequel which follows the initial credit title card seems like it would get rid of much of the problem inherent in adapting a classic by being bat-shizz insane from the get-go).

The acting’s serviceable (although Christophe Waltz and Mads Mikkelsen as the bad guys are gloriously nasty buggers) and the script is frequently guilty of not knowing whether to fully embrace anachronism or make a late-in-the-game effort at authenticity.  The technical credits are excellent – photography, visual effects and sound mixing are top-notch.  I was quite fond, too, of the transitions between scenes – we follow a map between locations a-la forties cinema and Anderson’s found a way to do this in 3D, which I found really nifty and which also recalled Richelieu’s oversized war game pieces in his office.  It’s like the people who make films think about stuff like this – remarkable!

I would like to talk a little about what Anderson did with the 3D in this new adaptation, as he was using the Cameron/Pace camera system to shoot with – but, unfortunately, I can’t.  Although I paid for a ticket to the 3D screening of the film – I’ve made a point of only going to see 3D films shot ‘natively’ with proper hardware and composition, not the post-converted Marvel flicks – my branch of Cineworld didn’t programme their projection set-up correctly this morning and I ended up seeing a pristine, digitally projected presentation without any 3D lens in the projection chain.

This wouldn’t be a problem but for the fact that any cinema-goer seeing a 3D movie pays a price hike for the privilege.  I made sure that I got a refund, but it makes me wonder if any less astute film fans have ever found themselves getting a headache at the cinema because the theatre hasn’t properly projected the film in the first place?

The verdict? Not a classic, but a whole heap of silly, dressed-up, swash-buckling, steam-punk fun.

 

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Why I don’t like 3D (but will be seeing “Resident Evil: Afterlife” regardless)

German one-sheet

Renaissance woman and geek icon, Milla Jovovich whups Zomboid booty

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you love something, and it gives you moments of joy in an otherwise difficult existance, it’s long been my belief that you shouldn’t have to defend it against those self-appointed, self-important culture cops who would prefer you to watch, read, listen or play something more enriching and ‘worthwhile’.

You love “The X Factor”? That’s fine – I don’t. In fact, I’ve barely watched a full episode of it, but I would never try and diminish somebody’s enjoyment of it by disparaging the singers and bands entering the competition, or the people who enjoy it (Full disclosure: thanks to my wife’s love of the show, I’m more a “Project Runway” man).

Equally, when it comes to films, I’m quite happy to defend the next movie that I’ll be venturing out to see (and let’s be absolutely clear, here – it’s a movie, not a film).

Clinical white room? Check.  Milla toting dual gats? Check. It's an Anderson film, alright...

Clinical white room? Check. Milla toting dual gats? Check. It's an Anderson film, alright...

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” is the fourth in the series of avowedly unpretentious B-movies adapted from the long-running Capcom series of “Resident Evil” survival horror video games and the latest iteration arrives with that most modish (and divisive) of technical additions – 3-D presentation (indeed, the first teaser trailer proudly boasts of using the same James Cameron /Vince Pace camera system used to shoot “Avatar”).

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, who returns to the helm after producing the second and third films, “Afterlife” apparently continues to appeal to nobody. Critics have consistently deplored the series’ video game aesthetics and ‘level-boss-level-boss’ construction of the screenplays and are united in their condemnation with gamers who would only be happy once the series has gone back to the drawing board, rebooted and the foul stench of the Anderson years has been once and forever expunged.

This, as you may or may not be unsurprised to learn, is where I take my leave of fanboys and hacks and publicly proclaim my unironic, whole-hearted love of this film series (isn’t the word ‘series’ nicer than ‘franchise’? I do get the assertion that this is a movie sequence which has more in common with Fast Food that Fellini, but I do feel that the ‘F’ word, in connection with films, has reached a point of some over-use).

I’ve enjoyed every film in the series to date – and this is possibly due to my misgivings about the Capcom games and their hackneyed insistance on prioritising ancient notions of game design over player logic – if Visceral Games/EA’s Sci-Fi horror mash-up, “Dead Space” can achieve the insurmountable task of balancing simultaneous player movement and looser, intuitive combat against your mutant foes on their first go-round, why can’t Capcom eschew the antiquated, player-hobbling mechanics ingrained in the series and move forward?

That I’m not a fan of the games perhaps affords me the opportunity to enjoy the films for what they are – wilfully absurd, B-grade pictures with no ambition higher than cranking up the sound mix and scaring the crap out a weekend theatrical audience.

I don’t have the problem that many fans have with the films’ insistance on recontextualising characters from different games into a mix-and-match continuity all of their own – that Alice doesn’t appear in the games, or Chris Redfield doesn’t look like a steroid-crazed, 90’s boy band escapee is not my primary concern.

Chris Redfield, pictured here with splendid hair

Resident Evil 5's Chris Redfield, pictured here with big guns and more hair gel than any human could safely employ...

I anticipate only solid, B-movie thrills from “Afterlife” – series mainstay Milla Jovovich glowering and dispatching Zombies with the dispassionate economy one would extend to removing stray lint from a sweater cuff, crunching electro-metallic scoring from neo-industrial noise mongers Tomandandy, the steely metallic set design and clinical look indicative of director Anderson’s involvement and which was perhaps missing from 2007’s entry in the series, “Resident Evil: Extinction” and – drum roll, please – the proper and overdue arrival of game series Big Bad, Albert Wesker.

The film has enjoyed the biggest debut of any entry in the series yet – due, perhaps, to the hilariously overpriced premium being charged by cinemas for 3-D presentation – and shows no sign of slowing down (indeed, initial reviews indicate that Anderson goes for the bold, post-credits gambit of referencing the next installment before the movie that you’re watching has actually finished).

The 3-D aspect is something of an issue to me, as I have suggested in the title of this post. Simply, I’ve yet to see a film which has been honestly and truly enhanced by the 3-D process currently so fashionable with studios and spectacle-minded producers (the less said of the cack-handed, post-processing model beloved of tight-fisted Hollywood power-brokers, the better).

Even “Avatar” couldn’t convince me – I saw it first in 2-D presentation and couldn’t truly tell you that stereoscopic presentation gave me anything more or enhanced my enjoyment over the ‘flat’ viewing I initially took in. The best part of $2 billion at the box office isn’t to be sniffed at, but the technique seems at best to be an enhanced value proposition for the studios – at worst, and in my view, 3-D is a case of the Emperor’s New Pseudo-Raybans.

I hope to report back with good news – I do feel that we need fewer ponderous blockbusters and more unpretentious B-movies filling cinemas, if only to preserve the idea of (comparitively) economic, genre-aware film making – and will do my best to convince you that this latest return to Alice, Raccoon City and Global Saturation is worth your hard-won moolah.

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