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Oblivion (2013)

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It is perhaps not the best idea to star in two alien invasion films back to back within the span of a year.  Because almost every trailer seems the same these days, as does most of the big-budget sci-fi spectaculars, they tend to all jumble up in my brain unless something really stands out.  Edge of Tomorrowstood out because it started to get some serious attention after it was out of the theaters and people started to realize it was actually a pretty good movie.  Oblivion, on the other hand, didn't do too bad in theaters, but it also stars Tom Cruise, and I am quite sure that at least for a time I couldn't remember which film was which.

For the record, Edge of Tomorrow is definitely the better of the two, and it was helped to stand out more by the fact that its own confusing marketing (the tagline "Live, Die, Repeat" being bigger than the actual title, thus leading many to believe that was the title of the film) where there is nothing really that stood out about Ob…

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

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It should be of no surprise that maybe Paul W. S. Anderson's Resident Evil series isn't the most consistent with sticking to continuity.  Despite this he managed to produce a successful run of six films even if originally three were all that were planned.  He also may have wrote them, but the sequels got handed off to other directors, most notably Russell Mulcahy for Resident Evil: Extinction

When we last left Alice (Milla Jovovich) most of the world had been turned to uninhabitable desert.  She had run into a bunch of survivors in a caravan led by Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), and helped them escape to a town called Arcadia, located in Alaska and promising refuge.  Meanwhile, she infiltrated an Umbrella Corporation facility in the Mojave Desert, killing the evil doctor in charge of the place and gaining herself a clone army in the process.

As Resident Evil: Afterlife begins we see Alice making good on her promise from the end of the last movie, using her clones to attack t…

Thunderball (1965)

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The James Bond series was a bit of an anomaly when it came to British film making.  The UK movie industry, while not poverty row by any stretch of the imagination, still was like most film industries outside the United States: you got a budget, usually nowhere near that of a Hollywood film, and did what you could with it.  Often studios like Hammer did quite a bit, making their movies look much more expensive than they really were.  With its exotic Jamaica location and elaborate sets at Pinewood Studio, Dr. Nomanaged to do what it was designed to.  It was low budget, had so many elements that hid that fact.

It was such a hit that its sequels, From Russia with Loveand Goldfinger, received bigger budgets and became even more elaborate.  It was only fitting that Thunderball would be the biggest budgeted Bond movie yet, and after taking a break from Goldfinger, original director Terence Young was back. 

The problem is when someone hands you a bunch of money for a project like this you wa…

Bird Box (2018)

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At the time I saw this I have not yet seen A Quiet Place.  That is definitely on my list of movies to see, but I take it that Bird Box, at least for those who just know the premise and have not really paid too much attention to the movie itself, automatically got slagged as a copy.  We'll see on that, but when I first started hearing about it I was afraid it was going to be a remake of The Road with blindfolds.

Well, that's not entirely true.  I had not idea what this was when it popped up on Netflix.  I thought it was another series of some sort, and I eventually end up taking a chance on Netflix and Hulu series whenever I run out of my normal things I watch.  Then came the memes - something else I was unaware of but, always having to know what is going on, I found out that this was actually a post-apocalyptic story.  Still thought it would be The Road with blindfolds, as I was not really expecting a lot of backstory.  Really, I became curious about invisible monsters and tr…

The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967)

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Roy Orbison was an artist that passed away too early.  He died of a heart attack in 1989.  10 years prior he had largely given up the music business after failing to revive his career with the disco album Laminar Flow, an ill-fated idea from the beginning.  Still, his unique voice and many of his older songs were still held in esteem, and his career received a needed boost when David Lynch used the song "In Dreams" in key scenes of Blue Velvet

An album of re-recordings of his classic songs, a number of them produced by Lynch, followed quickly and sold decently.  What really revived him was his involvement with Traveling Wilburys, a supergroup that also included Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne.  Orbison contributed to vocals on almost all the tracks, and had his own solo song, "Not Alone Any More", included.  This led to Lynne producing Roy Orbison's comeback album, Mystery Girl, which itself produced his first top-10 hit since the 1960s …

Annihilation (2018)

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Alex Garland and Denis Villeneuve both seem bound and determined to change how science fiction movies are made.  The past has largely been big epics, like the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises.  However, on the fringe has always been more subtle movies, like Gattaca or Her, that was more than mythmaking and laser battles.  Science fiction fans, despite what some grumpy old English teachers used to think, are largely drawn to the ideas presented and where the author goes with the ideas rather than grand action scenes.  That is what made Gattaca such a breath of fresh air.  I just wonder why it took another 20 years for someone to get the point.

Garland's Ex Machina helped to set the tune, and it did reasonably well enough to let him adapt part of a series of books called the Southern Reach Trilogy, by Jeff VanderMeer.  I guess adaptation is the best word, because Garland stated he just used the parts he remembered.  The rest, intentional or not, plays out like a modern remake of …

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

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Watching Resident Evil: ApocalypseI found myself wondering why I had watched these movies previously.  I had some vague recollection of the series getting better after the first movie, but in vague memories are all I really have of most of them.  In this case the original was much better than I remembered.

The second movie, while having some good set pieces and an awesome monster at the end, was barely a movie, occupied by just the thinnest excuses of characters.  Things happened, but nothing really that couldn't have been dealt with by adding an extra half hour at the end of the original Resident Evil.  Other than the movies being something for me to watch when they came on cable and I was bored, I couldn't really see much reason why I stuck with it if the second was so shallow.

Resident Evil: Extinction is what redeems the series at this point, reminding me why I stuck with it.  Even the star of the film almost refused to come back to do a third after her disappointment with…