Horror News: Hellboy reboot Poster Released


Hellboy The Wild Hunt

The Hellboy reboot has been a tad polarizing with fans of the films pretty much wanting the film to fail because it’s not Guillermo Del Toro and Ron Perlman doing Hellboy 3. Then there are fans of the source material who have faith that this reboot will skew more towards the horror origins that it’s creator had in mind when he created Hellboy and the BPRD.

In fact, the reboot will take ideas from two of the character’s later trip down horror lane with the story arcs from Hellboy: The Wild Hunt and Hellboy: The Storm and The Fury.

Hellboy The Storm and the Fury

While news came down that the release of the Neil Marshall-helmed Hellboy reboot has been pushed up by several months, there’s at least some very good news relating to the BPRD’s number agent.

A new poster for the film has been released courtesy of Entertainment Weekly and we see David Harbour in full Hellboy make-up with unbroken horns, flaming sword and the Right Hand of Doom very much present. This Hellboy also seem to be a bit more worn and scarred from previous fights with a much more demonic visage than the Guillermo Del Toro/Ron Perlman incarnation.

The film won’t be out in the theaters until April 12, 2019, but this cast and crew and this poster is just helping drive my interest in this reboot towards hype level.

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Horror Film Review: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (dir by Paul W. S. Anderson)


Resident Evil: The Final Chapter?

Yeah, right.

There’s a long tradition of venerable horror franchises claiming that their latest installment is “the final chapter.”  The Friday the 13th franchise declared that the fourth part would be the final chapter and then promptly announced that part five would be a new beginning.  As long as a franchise is still making a profit, nothing truly ends.  Resident Evil: The Final Chapter basically admits that at the end of its final chapter, when one of the surviving characters literally announces that the mission is not over.

Anyway, Resident Evil: The Not-So Final Chapter will probably seem totally incoherent to anyone who has not watched the previous film.  To be honest, even though I’ve seen the other Resident Evil films, I always have a hard time working my way through the franchise’s dense mythology.  There are times when I suspect that, much like the Underworld films, the Resident Evil films were specifically designed to mess with my ADD.  That said, the Resident Evil franchise has never made a secret about being more concerned with spectacle and action than with narrative coherence.  If you’re the type who obsesses of the lack of logic and plausibility in a horror-action film based on a video game, then you’re not the right audience for Resident Evil.

The Final Chapter finds Alice (Milla Jovovich) right where the previous Resident Evil film left her, in the ruins of the White House.  The world is still zombiefied and monsterfied, all as a result of the nefarious work of the Umbrella Corporation.  Alice is contacted by the Red Queen (Ever Gabo Anderson), who explains that Alice needs to return to Raccoon City and invade the Hive before Umbrella releases yet another virus.  Alice travels back the Hive, which leads to several of Resident Evil‘s trademark, over-the-top action sequences.  Along the way, a lot of familiar faces pop up.  Alice is reunited with Claire (Ali Larter).  Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) shows up, explaining that the Isaacs who Alice killed a few movies ago was actually just a clone.  (No one ever dies in Resident Evil.  Instead, they just get cloned.)

Of course, Albert Wesker returns as well.  Ever since Resident Evil: Afterlife, Wesker has been played by a Canadian actor named Shawn Roberts.  Watching The Final Chapter, it took me only a few seconds to realize that Shawn Roberts also played Dean the Rapist in five episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation.  That storyline, in which Dean raped Paige and it then took two years (and two seasons) for the case to go to trial just to end with Dean getting acquitted and smirking at Paige as he left the courtroom, remains one of Degrassi‘s most powerful storylines.  Roberts uses that same smirk while playing Wesker.

Paul W. S. Anderson returns to direct The Final Chapter.  Though Anderson seems to be destined to be best known as “that other director named Paul Anderson,” he’s actually pretty good when it comes to directing nonstop action.  (For the record, I thought Anderson’s Pompeii was a sadly underrated film.)  The Final Chapter is fun and silly as long as you don’t waste any time to thinking about it and Anderson keeps the action coming so quickly that you literally don’t have time to worry about whether or not the movie makes any sense.  The film’s prologue, in which a boy gets zombiefied on a cable car, was actually pretty exciting and a reminder of the visceral horror that it is at the heart of all zombie films.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter was released in January and, despite some decidedly mixed review, it became the highest grossing film in the franchise.  In other words, this is definitely not the final chapter…

Cleaning Out The DVR Yet Again #16: Zoolander 2 (dir by Ben Stiller)


(Lisa recently discovered that she only has about 8 hours of space left on her DVR!  It turns out that she’s been recording movies from July and she just hasn’t gotten around to watching and reviewing them yet.  So, once again, Lisa is cleaning out her DVR!  She is going to try to watch and review 52 movies by Wednesday, November 30th!  Will she make it?  Keep checking the site to find out!)

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On October 14th, I recorded Zoolander 2 off of Epix.

A sequel to the 2001 cult hit, Zoolander 2 came out earlier this year and got absolutely terrible reviews and quickly vanished from theaters.  Watching the film last night, I could understand why it got such terrible reviews.  Zoolander 2 is not only a terrible movie but it’s also a rather bland one.  Somehow, the blandness is even more offensive than the badness.

Zoolander 2 opens with Justin Bieber getting assassinated and Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) being forced to come out of retirement and discover why pop stars are being targeted.  And, of course, Zoolander can’t do it without the help of Hansel (Owen Wilson)!  Penelope Cruz is in the film as well, playing  Zoolander’s handler and essentially being wasted in a role that could have been played by anyone.

Oh!  And Will Ferrell returns as well.  Ferrell gives a performance that essentially shouts out to the world, “Fuck you, I’m Will Ferrell and no one is going to tell Will Ferrell to tone his shit down!”

Actually, I think everyone in the world is in Zoolander 2.  This is one of those films that is full of cameos from people who probably thought a silly comedy would be good for their image.  For instance, there’s a huge number of journalists who show up playing themselves.  Matt Lauer shows up and I get the feeling that we’re supposed to be happy about that.  There was a reason why people cheered when the sharks ate him in Sharknado 3.

You know who else shows up as himself?  Billy Zane!  And Billy Zane has exactly the right type of attitude for a film like this.  He shows up and he mocks the whole enterprise by giving the Billy Zaniest performance of Billy Zane’s career.  For that matter, Kiefer Sutherland also shows up as himself.  I’m not really sure what Kiefer was doing in the film but he makes sure to deliver all of his lines in that sexy growl of his.  Kiefer knows what we want to hear.

You may notice that I’m not talking about the plot of Zoolander 2.  That’s largely because I couldn’t follow the plot.  This is an incredibly complicated film but it’s not complicated in a funny way.  Instead, it’s complicated in a way that suggests that the film was made up on the spot.  It’s as if the cast said, “We’re all funny!  Just turn on the camera and we’ll make it work!”

The problem with Zoolander 2 is obvious.  The first film pretty much exhausted the comic possibilities of making a spy film about shallow and stupid models.  Don’t get me wrong — the first film did a good job but it’s not like it left any material untapped.  But I would ask you to indulge me as I imagine an alternate reality.

Consider this: Terrence Malick was reportedly a huge fun of Zoolander.

Let’s take just a minute to imagine a world in which Ben Stiller asked Terrence Malick to write and direct Zoolander 2.  And let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that Malick agreed!

Just think about it — 4 hours of Zoolander and Hansel staring up at the sky and thinking about nature.  “What is this thing that causes the heart of man to beat?” Zoolander asks.  “Are we nature or has nature become us?” Hansel replies.

That would have been a fun film!

Back to School #49: Dazed and Confused (dir by Richard Linklater)


Oh my God, I love this freaking movie.

First released in 1993, Dazed and Confused is a classic Texas film.  Taking place in 1976 and following a large and varied group of characters over the course of the last day of school, Dazed and Confused is like American Graffiti with a lot more weed.  In many ways, it’s a plotless film, though things do happen.  The students of Lee High School survive one final day of school before the start of summer.  (Interestingly enough, most of the characters here are incoming seniors and freshman, as opposed to the confused graduates who usually show up in films like this.  This may lower the stakes — none of the students are worrying about whether or not to go to college or anything like that — but it also gives the film a fun and laid back vibe.)  The incoming freshman are all hazed by the incoming seniors.  For the girls, this means being covered in ketchup and mustard and being forced to ask the seniors to marry them.  For the boys, the hazing is a lot more violent and disturbing as they are chased through the streets by paddle-wielding jocks.  A party is planned and then abruptly canceled when the kegs of beer are delivered before the parents leave town.  Another party is held out in the woods.  A high school quarterback tries to decide whether or not to sign an anti-drug pledge.

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No, not much happens but then again, plot is overrated.  Dazed and Confused is not about plot.  It’s about capturing a specific time and place and showing how different individuals define themselves within their environment.  It’s one of the best high school films ever made, perhaps the best.

Why do I so love Dazed and Confused?  Let me count the ways.

First off, it’s a true Texas film.  This isn’t just because it was directed by Texas’s greatest filmmaker, Richard Linklater.  It was also filmed in Texas, it’s full of Texas actors, and, as a native Texan, I can tell you that it’s one of the few films that gets my homestate right.  Even though the film takes place long before I was even born, there were still so many details that I recognized as being unique to Texas today.  I guess the more things change, the more they remain the same.

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Perhaps the most Texas scene in the entire film was when quarterback Randy Floyd (Jason London) was talking to the old couple at the minor league baseball game.  Both the old man’s obsessive interest in the high school football team (“We’re countin’ on you boys next year…”) and Randy’s patiently polite answers, were, to me, the epitome of Texas.  And, of course, we can’t forget the store clerk advising the pregnant woman to eat a lot of “green things” while selling her a pack of cigarettes and the guy who reacts to the destruction of his mailbox by running around with a gun.  I suspect I might live a few blocks away from both of those guys.

But, beyond that, just the entire film’s laid back atmosphere epitomized everything that I love about my state.

Secondly, Dazed and Confused is an amateur historian’s dream!  Richard Linklater went to high school in the 70s and he recreates the decade with a lot of obvious care and love.  (It’s also somewhat obvious that both the characters of Randy and incoming freshman Mitch (Wiley Wiggins) are meant to be autobiographical.)  Now, me, I’ve always been obsessive about history and I’ve always somewhat regretted that I was born long after the 70s ended.  Dazed and Confused is probably about as close as someone like me will ever get to having a time machine.

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I’m also something a political history junkie so how excited was I to see that, during one scene, all of the candidates for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination were listed on a bulletin board.  How many other movies have featured a reference to the Fred Harris presidential campaign?  Admittedly, I know nothing about that campaign.  I just think it’s neat that somebody with as common a name as Fred Harris once ran for President.

Finally, if you look really carefully, you’ll notice that Lee High School is located right next to a movie theater that, according to its marquee, is showing Family Plot, Alfred Hitchcock’s final film.  Just imagine the fun that I could have had going to Lee High.  I could have skipped school and gone to a movie!

Third, this film has a great soundtrack!  The low rider gets a little higher … hey, I think there’s a double meaning there…

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But, really, the main reason I love this film is because I love great ensemble work and Dazed and Confused has a wonderful cast.  Some members of the cast went on to become famous and some did not, but all of them give great performances.  In fact, the entire cast is so great that it’s difficult to know who to single out so I’m just going to name a few of my favorites.

First off, there’s the jocks.  Some of them, like Jason London’s Randy “Pink” Floyd are surprisingly sensitive.  Some of them, like Don Dawson (Sasha Jenson), remind me of the type of guys that I, despite my better judgment, would have totally been crushing on back in high school.  And then the others are just scary, running around with their cars full of beer and obsessively paddling freshman.  Benny (Cole Hauser), for instance, really does seem like he has some issues.  (Perhaps it’s because he lives in Texas but still has such a strong Boston accent…)

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However, the scariest of the jocks is, without a doubt, Fred O’Bannion (Ben Affleck). A complete and total moron who has actually managed to fail his senior year,  (“He’s a joke,” says Randy, “but he’s not a bad guy to have blocking for you…”)  O’Bannion is such a total idiot that, not only is it fun to see him eventually get humiliated, but it’s even more fun to watch him and think, “That’s Ben Affleck!”  And, it must be said, Affleck is totally convincing playing a complete and total dumbass.  That’s not meant to be an insult, by the way.  Future multiple-Oscar winner  Affleck does a really good job.

And then there’s the three self-styled intellectuals, Tony (Anthony Rapp), Mike (Adam Goldberg), and red-headed Cynthia (Marissa Ribisi), who spend the whole day driving around and discussing what it all means.  These are actually three of my favorite characters in the entire film, just because I’ve known (and, I must admit, loved) the type.  Plus, Cynthia has red hair and we redheads have to stay united!

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There’s the two incoming freshman who get to spend a night hanging out with the older kids — Mitch (Wiley Wiggins) and Sabrina (Christin Hinojosa).  Mitch is adorable while Sabrina gets to ask Tony to marry her.  Of course, Sabrina is covered in ketchup, mustard, and flour at the time.  (“She probably looks really good once you get all the shit off her,” Mike offers.)

And, of course, you can’t forget Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey).  In many ways, Wooderson is a truly creepy character.  He’s the older guy who still hangs out with the high school kids.  When he asks Mitch what the incoming freshman girls look like, you get the disturbing feeling that he’s not joking.  (“I get older but they stay the same age,” Wooderson says about his underage girlfriends, “yes, they do.”)  And yet McConaughey gives such a charismatic performance that Wooderson becomes the heart and soul of the entire film.  In the end, you’re happy that Randy has a friend like Wooderson.

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And there’s so many other characters that I love.  There’s the hilarious stoner Slater (Rory Cochrane).  There’s Mitch’s older sister, Jodi (Michelle Burke), who is the type of cool older sister that I would have liked to have been if I actually had a brother and wasn’t the youngest of four.  There’s Randy’s girlfriend, Simone (Joey Lauren Adams) and Don’s occasional girlfriend, Shavonne (Deena Martin) who, at one point, refers to Don as being “Mr. Premature Ejaculation.”  Even the characters that you’re supposed to hate are so well-played and so well-written that it’s a pleasure to see them.  Parker Posey is hilarious as head mean girl Darla.  In the role of car-obsessed Clint, Nicky Katt is dangerously hot — even if he does eventually end up kicking Mike’s ass.  (“You wouldn’t say I got my ass kicked, would you?” Mike says.  Sorry, sweetie, you did. But everyone watching the movie totally loved you!)

(And let’s not forget that future Oscar winner Renee Zellweger shows up for a split-second, walking past Wooderson during his “that’s why I love high school girls” monologue.)

Dazed and Confused is a great film.  If you haven’t seen it, see it.  And if you have seen it, see it again.

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Trailer: Resident Evil: Retribution


The Resident Evil film franchise seems to be the franchise that just keeps on going and going. Like the undead which forms the bulk of the danger to the characters in the film, this film series just won’t die. It’s success has both confounded critics and audiences alike. It’s turned Milla Jovovich into an action star whether we like it or not. It’s also a series that despite some major flaws continues because it makes it’s studios money.

We now have the first teaser trailer for the 5th film in the series, Resident Evil: Retribution, and just like the 4th film in the series it will be in 3D. It will also have several characters from past films who we saw die make appearances in the film. Whether they come back as themselves in the film’s present storyline or in flashbacks has yet to be determined. The trailer itself looks like a major advert for Sony smartphones, PS Vita and tablet products. In fact, I’d say that almost 40% of this teaser is all about pushing Sony products.

If that’s the case then this trailer does teach me one thing: Sony products will lead to a global zombie apocalypse. I think this event would never happen if people bought iPhones and iPads.

Resident Evil: Retribution is set for a September 14, 2012 release date.