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Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

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Resident Evilends with Alice (Milla Jovovich) and her potential love interest Matt (Eric Mabius) being dragged away by the Umbrella Corporation for experiments.  He is mutating, so he is thrown into something called the Nemesis program, while Alice wakes up alone in a laboratory, escaping only to find Raccoon City virtually abandoned and left to the dead.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse picks up during the time that Alice is under, with a devastating heat wave hitting the city in addition to a wave of people succumbing to the T-Virus, changing into zombies and attacking their loved ones.  In response, Umbrella has a number of scientists evacuated, including the originator of the virus, the wheelchair-bound scientist Charles Ashford (Jared Harris).  While evacuating, his daughter Angie's (Sophie Vavasseur) transport is involved in an accident, leaving her trapped in the city after Major Cain (Thomas Kretschmann) walls the urban center in and prepares to cleanse it with a nuclear weapon.

T…

From Russia with Love (1963)

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Though low-budget and a bit controversial, Dr. Nohad been a bit o a box office success.  In the 1960s, as now, that meant a sequel was assured.  It wasn't that much of a surprise as producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman intended Dr. No to be the first in a franchise, and it turned out their plan worked out well.  With director Terence Young back on board and twice the budget, it was time to to film one of Ian Fleming's most popular James Bond novels.

SPECTRE is back, this time wanting to kill two birds with one stone: steal a coding machine from the Russians and get revenge on James Bond (Sean Connery).  Even though we don't see his face, we meat Ernst Stavro Blofeld (and his white cat) for the first time as he plots with defected Soviet intelligence agent Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) and chess champion Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal).  The idea is to convince a low-level agent at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul name Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) to pretend to fall in…

Halloween II (1981)

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Although the recent Halloweenhas has given us a more worthwhile sequel to the original movie, the first attempt at a sequel was both an attempt to earn John Carpenter a paycheck (he didn't see much of a return early on from his 1978 film) and to get rid of the chance of him being asked to right another script with Michael Meyers in it.  He once again wrote the script with Debra Hill and, according to interviews, some help from his old Buddy Weiser.

Halloween II begins immediately after the end of Halloween.  Michael (Dick Warlock) has been shot six times by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), but got up and walked away.  Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), severely injured in her encounter with Michael, is rushed to a hospital while Loomis and Shriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers) search for Myers.  The killer is first thought possibly dead after someone wearing a similar costume is killed in an accident, but it turns out Myers has tracked Laurie down to the almost deserted local hospital.  …

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

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There are not a lot of modern filmmakers that will be presented in film classes other than a case of what not to do.  In many ways the auteur director has given way to little more than spectacle, even with many independents.  I believe it is because too many don't get to build their independent credentials before being swept up into the various expanded universes that exist today, and that whatever style they have is compromised in order to make their latest film fit in with the bigger picture.

Wes Anderson has managed to remain independent and be successful.  Bottle Rocket may have owed quite a bit to the Cohen Brothers, but even as early as Rushmore he was exploring his own personal muse - something that came to bloom in full with The Royal Tenenbaums.

Not knowing much about The Grand Budapest Hotel, it struck me at first that it was going to be something quite similar.  I expect quirky characters and a bit of a detachment from reality in his films, but it had been awhile since…

Kick-Ass (2010)

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After years of superhero films stuck in in PG-13 epic sameness, Deadpoolmanaged to change things up.  It was violent, irreverent and proved that audiences were ready to accept a superhero that wasn't anywhere near perfect.  Iron Man had introduced that into the standard Marvel universe, but it was about time that a movie understood that those who went to see these movies were not just the comic book fans - something Bryan Singer had understood with his X-Men films.

Of course, this was not the first time this was attempted.  Watchmen managed to adapt Alan Moore's comic of the same name.  In many ways it was successful, but not at the box office.  Neither was Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, despite it's eventual cult status. 

Still, there was one movie that still proved that it could bridge that gap, and it was Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of Mark Millar's comic book Kick-Ass.  In many ways the movie version is a bit of a strange amalgam of all three movies I mentioned …

Resident Evil (2002)

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Video games have tried, more and more over the years, to break free from just being escapist entertainment to being interactive art.  Often inspired by, and containing many homages to movies themselves, it's no surprise that there have been a number of attempts to translate the more successful video game franchises into movies themselves. 

The problem has been that in most cases not much thought went into making the game beyond using its name to put butts in the seats.  Even if they were able to get a major star at the peak of popularity like Angelina Jolie for the Tomb Raider films, there was still nothing really there to recommend them.  It didn't help that when it came to video game adaptations that an overwhelming number went to Uwe Boll, who famously used the movies as a scheme to make money from a German tax loophole.

The only series that has been successful, both at bringing in money and managing to somewhat be entertaining is the Resident Evil series of films, largely…

Dr. No (1962)

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James Bond has become a genre all in itself, separate from (though influential on) other types of spy movies.  Ian Fleming created the character as a deadly, but dashing member of British Intelligence in the 1950s, and it was only a matter of time before Bond made it to the big screen.

Uniquely, though, it wasn't his first adventure, Casino Royale, that made it.  There was an American version of the story produced for television, but a movie version wouldn't show up until to the 2000s, and much of what the story was about had ceased to exist at that time.

Dr. No was the sixth book in the series, and the movie was produced and released during one of the tensest points of the Cold War.  Unintentional comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis aside (which was not anticipated when Dr. No went into production), the novel was chosen largely because it was the most cost-effective to film.  Keep in mind that this was the first Bond adventure; Sean Connery was not a major star, the Briti…