Author: Diego Crespo

Evolving Evils & Identities In Resident Evil

Back in 2002, post-Matrix black leather and slo-mo aesthetics were the defining traits of the next wannabe blockbusters. One of these, Resident Evil was a relatively tame video game adaptation, borrowing ideas more so than plot (something that has never been a strong suit for the series in any iteration): A group of soldiers enter a facility run by the Umbrella corporation called The Hive. It’s a simple premise that grows in scale with each entry, propelling itself through ever-evolving scenarios. Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson’s score influences the techno-horror vibe writer Paul W.S. Anderson is going for. Resident Evil...

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Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Is Exactly What You’d Expect

Overview: Alice must race back to The Hive to stop Umbrella and The Red Queen once and for all. Screen Gems; 2017; Rated R; 106 minutes. Evil Comes Home: If you’re into the Resident Evil film series, at this point nothing should stop you from watching Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. If you’re not into the Resident Evil film series, you have no reason to watch Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. There’s no game-changing stylization or experimental approach like was found in the relentlessly weird and borderline vignette storytelling of Resident Evil: Retribution (please watch the incredible opening sequence of Retribution immediately). Director Paul W....

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Smokin’ Aces: 10 Years of Dead Reckoning, Sleazy Action, and Messy Clarity

To call Smokin’ Aces sleazy is an understatement. It’s a shotgun blast of nihilism with the bullets made out of compact flesh from a rusty meat-grinder. Once the trigger is pulled, the shrapnel propels itself into a block of cheese that will not be satisfactory to everyone’s tastes. But Joe Carnahan isn’t interested in taste here. The focus is on watching a menagerie of degenerates and people in way over their heads get lost in the shuffle of what we can refer to as a “gaggle-fuck” of bad decisions and worse combatants. It also stars an assortment of fantastic...

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Monster Trucks is Harmless Children’s Entertainment

Overview: A subterranean creature befriends a high school senior and gives his truck the upgrade of a lifetime. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated PG; 104 minutes. For Kids: When it comes to children entertainment, the “it’s for kids” claim shouldn’t be an excuse for poor filmmaking qualities. That’s not to say movies with inherently silly sensibilities should also be tossed aside for not being serious enough (good luck convincing me Gremlins 2 is anything short of a masterpiece). Monster Trucks falls somewhere in the upper echelons of January entertainment. Mind you, that grading scale is on a major curve here, but...

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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is A Competent Disappointment

Overview: Jack Reacher is back, in spite of his paradoxical sequel title, wrapped in further espionage and a sever lack of Werner Herzog. Paramount Pictures; 2016; Rated PG-13; 118 minutes. Never Go Back (Again): In the pantheon of Tom Cruise action films, the first Jack Reacher flies surprisingly under the radar. It’s brisk, efficiently cut action with an abruptly entertaining Jai Courtney performance pre-Suicide Squad. The best part is when Werner Herzog pops up as a villain who forces someone to chew his own fingers off. It’s a riveting villain for Cruise to go up against. While not quite...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #79: Stretch

Stretch Director: Joe Carnahan Genre: Comedy Universal Pictures Synopsis: When news first broke of Joe Carnahan writing and directing Bad Boys 3, the sequel to Bad Boys 2 (aka the most fascinatingly ugly film I’ve ever seen), my uncertainty about the series was immediately replaced with unrestrained excitement. Movies like Stretch are the reason why. Overview: Stretch was perhaps best described to me by Cam Carpenter (WHY IS CINEMA) as “if Bad Boys 2 got punched in the face by Holy Motors.” The story follows a down on his luck limo driver named Stretch through one night in Los Angeles. The city rarely looks both...

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Mechanic: Resurrection is Technically a Movie

Overview: Jason Statham returns in a movie that is supposedly a sequel to a movie that existed. Tommy Lee Jones cameos. Summit Entertainment; 2016; Rated R; 98 minutes. Resurrection: Is there any better action star stuck in a rut of crummy action movies than Jason Statham? It’s hard to say but Statham is a action star who deserves our attention. The reason to watch high-budget direct-to-video quality is because Statham himself is such a charismatic leading man. He’s a performer who consistently elevates material. Not every one of his movies can be as magnetic as the Crank series but watching...

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Blood Father is Gritty, Grindhouse Fun

Overview: Ex-con John Link protects his daughter from gangs of criminals. SND Films; 2016; Rated R; 88 minutes. Dadcore: The latest in the long, ever-growing line of dadcore action movies, Blood Father sports classic B-movie grindhouse aesthetics. Where something like Non-Stop is a sleek, efficiently directed Hitchcockian action-thriller, Blood Father collects remnants of Mad Max and throws the character into a garden of grit and filth. When John Link (Mel Gibson) finds daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty) on his doorstep,  embroiled in a criminal enterprise, the recovering ex-convict upends his lifestyle to face down the drug dealers seeking to do her...

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Kubo and the Two Strings Is A Triumph

Overview: A young boy, joined by a talking monkey and beetle samurai, embarks on a quest to discover the ending to his story. Focus Features; 2016; Rated PG; 102 minutes. Kubo: Kubo and the Two Strings  tells the tale of a young boy from a small village with one great aspiration in life — he wants to tell stories. It’s practically a superpower for him. Kubo’s mother tells him stories of his father, the great warrior Hanzo. Kubo constructs origami creations to tell the story of Hanzo and his quest to gather a mystical set of armor to vanquish the...

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Talking The Little Prince & April and The Extraordinary World On InSession Film

As always, it’s an honor and pleasure to join the In Session Film podcast whenever they’ll allow me to come on. We’ve already established I’m booked for the eventual Bad Boys 3 episode so they must keep me around for something. This week I spoke with them about two recently released animated movies: The Little Prince and April and the Extraordinary World. I had been looking forward to The Little Prince for a while and found myself feeling lukewarm to it. Then April and the Extraordinary World comes out of nowhere and now I can’t stop thinking about it. The biggest flaw for both movies was how I...

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Beyond Star Trek Beyond: Where Does The Film Franchise Boldly Go Now?

Star Trek Beyond isn’t doing well at the box office. It’s a crowded summer, but I wouldn’t worry about the series moving forward – although we should also note it’s the lowest grossing franchise entry since Nemesis. Regardless, the series will have lasted 50 years come September and will last another 50. So where does the series go from here? What I personally loved so much about Star Trek Beyond was how it felt like a big budget episode of The Original Series. The NuTrek finally blended in the original optimistic utopia found in Gene Roddenberry’s original vision with...

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Miami Vice On Its 10th Anniversary

In the original series, Miami Vice carried the same traits as its film reboot. Mood and atmosphere were favored over conventional plotting to justify a meditative state. Instead of Crockett sitting on his boat, overlooking a sunset with a heavy synth score illuminating isolation, Moby’s “One of These Mornings” plays as Crockett and business partner/soon-to-be-lover drive a speedboat towards a seemingly endless horizon. It’s not a disregard for the original stylings of the series as much as it is an update. The pastiche of ’80s fashion trends have been forgone in favor of sleek blacks, whites, and blues. The...

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