“Raccoons” Everywhere In the Underground

Resident Evil (2002)

Let me think about it. I was 7 years old when this came out. As a straightforward horror film, I always enjoyed this kind of entertainment but lately it’s kind of grown out on me. You look at 2002’s “Resident Evil” and you think what an amazing job it must have been to base the movie on elements of the video game series. I’ve played the games too when I was little and was creeped out enough to say the least.


My title by the way, refers to the city itself which isn’t necessarily featured prominently until later in the film series. I loved the concept of being trapped underground in a top secret laboratory with a bunch of flesh-eating zombies. Throw in an array of advanced technology as a defense mechanism and you’ve got a terrifying isolated place as your main setting. Characterization is pretty limited which is something I didn’t always like that this film excluded. Everyone is just thrown into this horrific setting with barely any noted background or story.

There were some other things that I never truly enjoyed about this film. The first would have to be the acting. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Mila Jovovich as well as Michelle Rodriguez. It’s just that the amnesia-clueless Alice never really got me over, but I suppose it was meant to serve as an excuse so that the other characters could explain to all of us, the audience, what the situation is in the film. Jovovich did a solid job in that sense, but I just never looked at it in an Oscar-winning performance kind of way.

That brings me to my next point. With zombies thrown into the mix, it’s obvious that these characters needed to have some fighting skills to defend themselves and in that theory I was correct. “Resident Evil” throws in a solid punch with non-stop martial arts and butt-kicking, mostly delivered from our lovely blond, Alice. That was a bit of a distraction when it came to following the story. A virus is let loose in the Hive and thus the Red Queen goes 187 on everyone’s ass, even once our commando team of characters decide to investigate the dilemma.

From there we even get a science fiction aspect. Lasers and lickers all around are enough to make much of a challenge for our team, which by the way begins to die off one by one as the film progresses. Well we really only get to see one licker and the effects kind of looked below average but I’m not going to bash against the production team for this. They did a better job with the lickers in “Apocalypse,” but that’s another story… I have to say though, I always loved Michelle Rodriguez in any role that she is in and I was never ok with the fact that they killed her off. Oh well at least she got a kick-ass dramatic death and we even got to see her as a zombie.

All jokes aside I’ve always remembered this installment of the horror series for two reasons. One is because of the beginning, where Alice awakens in her shower. Since then, it’s become a noteworthy scene that’s actually been replicated in the film series itself later on. The other reason is because of it’s cliffhanger ending. Since the majority of the film takes place in the Hive, we never really get to see what Raccoon City looks like in detail though it is mentioned throughout the film. Once we get to the ending however, the first shot we get, is that of a deserted apocalyptic-like city that’s basically been demolished by the undead while our main character had been isolated away by Umbrella. I’m not sure why, but that scene of the camera zooming out on Alice to showing what the city has become, has always been one of the creepiest scenes I’ve ever gazed upon.

You can see it for yourselves here if you want…


A Dynamic Five-O

End of Watch

In case some of you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not really a big fan of action films anymore. At least not since my childhood came to an exaggerated ending due to college and work. But every now and then, its good to watch a little energetic scene to escape the troubles of everyday life. With some humor in between, 2012’s “End of Watch” took me almost completely by surprise and I do have a bit to say about it.


First of all, let me put it into some perspective. Two LA cops. They’re basically besties. They work in South Central which is pretty much even worse than Harlem. With an abundance of disturbance calls and fast-paced crime response, we get to see how these two police officers live on a daily basis through the eyes of first-person camera shooting.

The concept right there seemed a little different to me and I think in a sense, it actually worked. With first-person viewing, the “energy” of the film, or whatever you want to call it, actually works with full fortitude. Even then, we get a lot of character as well as strong hilarious humor through our main characters, Brian and Miguel.

Through its progressive story, we also get a serious thriller side of how these two become engaged in an investigation of crime, gangs and drugs. I definitely don’t want to give away too much here so that’s pretty much all of the movie’s plot that you’re gonna see coming out of my post.

If you’ve watched “Cops,” you’ll notice a sheer amount of similarity. If you’ve watched first-person films, you’ll notice a similarity there too. That’s why I think this film worked perfectly as an action film or a thriller film or whatever you want to classify it as. In my view it honestly has the full package of emotion, story-telling, humor, etc, etc, blah blah blah…

The point I’m trying to get at here, is that if you’ve never seen or heard about this film, then that would be with good reason, due to the fact that this was an independent production that barely got any mainstream recognition from what I remember. I only happened to stumble upon this film with my friends by complete accident when it came out 2 years ago. Regardless, I usually don’t “recommend” films for people in general, but in the cases of exceptions, I will officially nag you all to watch this if you’ve even bothered to read.

To show you how serious I am, I’ll put the trailer here, in the hopes that at least SOMEONE will have watched this film, thanks to me…

Groundbreaking “Effect(s)”

Avatar (2009)

From the Na’vi themselves to the dozens of species that exist on Pandora as well as the geography of the entire landmass, “Avatar” can almost immediately be summed up as a groundbreaking film in terms of special effects. Released in 2009, this one looked like James Cameron hit a home run on certain levels.


To me, the story of “Avatar” seemed pretty cliched. A main character (Sully) thrust into the wild by the majority; he/she encounters the unknown or less-advanced population (Na’vi), forms an unlikely alliance and together, they take on the stronger majority, and thus a “new hero” is born out of it. Even so it’s still an emotional investment that can keep you wanting to know what follows after every sequence. Apart from that, the acting is decent enough, but not the main aspect of the film.

What really was the stand-out aspect, and I’m sure almost everyone will agree with me, is the utilization of special effects. I’m not always a fan of CGI sometimes because it can divert the audience’s attention from the plot, but in this case, James Cameron really made it work. Since this film takes place on the fictional Pandora setting, it’s pretty obvious that visual effects would come into play and I really enjoyed it, and I’m sure most of you did too.

With all that said, “Avatar” to me really is that special film that seems ahead of its time. Definitely not the best film ever made, but a groundbreaking one for sure. If you still haven’t seen it, I most certainly encourage you too. It’s long, but it’s visually stunning as a big payoff.


Pineapple Express (2008)

I’m a fan of Seth Rogen. Or should I say I’m a fan of his movies. From the ones I’ve seen so far, he always brings “IT,” one way or another in order to make people laugh whether it’s by himself or with his co-star(s). Whether it be the hilarious bromance we see or the insatiable desire for drugs, “Pineapple Express” delivers comedy altogether.

I don’t do drugs myself, but that does’t mean I have to in order to be able to laugh at the jokes and humor that even James Franco brings to the table. James for me was the real stand-out aspect of the film. Up until the time this film came out, I only used to remember him as the 2nd “Green Goblin,” but upon watching this I thought, “Wow, this guy is actually really funny.”


No matter how stoned or clueless Franco’s character Saul is, you can’t help but love the guy. The way he bounces off of the supposed bromance that he shares with Dale (Rogen), to inadvertently getting him into trouble with Ted and the police and ironically being the one to get him out of it, Franco pretty much stole the show. That’s why this movie seemed different for me; because Franco actually made me laugh more than Rogen did. Surprisingly the film also seemed well shot from a director’s standpoint. It made every scene look all the more dramatic than it probably should’ve since this is a comedy we’re talking about.

The title itself is more of a laugh too since every scene that involves use of the titular drug either has something hilarious in it or ends up getting Dale and Saul into even more “misadventures,” if we can even call it that. From Dale panicking after witnessing Ted commit murder, to the cat and mouse game involving Craig Robinson and Kevin Corrigan, to the hilarious fight scene involving Danny McBride, to a disastrous car chase scene, to the final shoot-out act, “Pineapple Express” should deliver enough entertainment if you want to enjoy a comedy without having to do drugs in order to laugh.

Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?

Rush Hour (1998)

Most buddy cop films these days are too cliched. They either lack in an interesting or an original kind of plot with uncommon characters. Still I want to take a look back at one of my favorite childhood films that could always make me laugh. With Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in the lead roles, the first installment of “Rush Hour” proved to me how 2 very different people can have a unique chemistry at making people laugh.


While the focal point of the film focuses on Lee and Carter chasing down the kidnappers of the little girl, the majority of the film also showcases the amusing misadventures that they go through along the way. A lot of the humor is also drawn from the misunderstandings that both cops have towards each but their eventual pasts and present problems tend to bring them closer as they eventually open up and begin to trust one another. Another thing I noted about this film is the use of martial arts even though it’s set in the United States, but given the presence of Jackie Chan and Chinese characters in the film, it was bound to contain some of these elements.

Overall I’ll say this was a movie entertaining enough to deliver some laughs and enjoyment. From action scenes to cop chases to Lee’s seriousness with Carter’s insincerity, this is definitely not an Oscar picture, but still worth the ride to watch for your own amusement.

Pixar’s Shining

The Incredibles (2004)
I’ve always been a fan of Pixar. Their films from the moment I was born have always been a memory for me to cherish and continue to enjoy as Pixar continues to give us an enjoyable spawn of CGI animated films yearly. It’s no secret either that Pixar has yet to spawn an unfavorable film in the general public. This one released in 2005, was no different from the rest. While “The Incredibles” seemed to have a cliched formula of superheroes, and obvious characters, I really enjoyed certain aspects of the film. The most notable for me would have to be its somewhat darker take on the lives of superheroes as well as the superhero genre in general, even while this is obviously a children’s film. Regardless Pixar made it work with more adult themes and comedy as opposed to just a fart-joke film.