Tag Archives: Iain Glen

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016) Review

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Resident Evil The Final Chapter

Time: 106 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence & horror
Cast:
Milla Jovovich as Alice
Iain Glen as Dr. Alexander Isaacs
Ali Larter as Claire Redfield
Shawn Roberts as Albert Wesker
Eoin Macken as Doc
Fraser James as Razor
Ruby Rose as Abigail
William Levy as Christian
Rola as Cobalt
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began – The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.

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Aside from Apocalypse, I’ve generally been enjoying the Resident Evil movies, as silly as they were. At the same time though, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the last movie, I was hearing some particularly mixed things about the final instalment. Given that it was once again Paul W.S. Anderson directing, I was hoping to like it as much as Retribution, or even the original or Afterlife. Unfortunately, The Final Chapter doesn’t quite nail the landing, and although it has some enjoyable parts to it, there are just too many problems that are hard to overlook.

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There were some very questionable decisions for the plot from the get go. If you remember the end of Retribution, there was a cliffhanger of Alice, her new allies and Wesker at the White House about to take on hordes of zombies. Since it’s announced quickly in the movie I feel comfortable in saying this, but basically Wesker once against screwed Alice over unsurprisingly, but the worst part is that we don’t get to see any of that happen on screen. Retribution at least showed briefly what happened after the end of Afterlife. However in The Final Chapter it’s just briefly explained away in the film in the opening recap, almost like they didn’t have the budget to show everything that happened, either that or just couldn’t get the other Retribution actors to return. You’d think that this was a decision made by a different director who wanted to take the movie in a different direction as quickly as possible, but Anderson did both films, making the choice even more confusing. The tone unlike that in Retribution took itself very seriously, probably because it’s the last film in the series. Not that I’m not necessarily opposed to that, but doing that does expose some issues and makes it even worse to watch. For example, there’s a moment where a newer character who we don’t get to really learn anything about dies, and the scene is so dramatic and tries to be emotional. It’s mind boggling, made worse by the fact that no other character death in The Final Chapter really got that treatment. The Final Chapter goes all in with the plot twists and attempts to tie things up as it’s the grand conclusion, to some rather mixed results. Some of the reveals I’m not sure about, they seem a little too convenient. They might seem initially quite punchy and effective as twists, however I know for certain that a few of them are blatant retcons and contradictions of what was established in the previous movies. I’m sure that if I was to watch these movies all over again, I’d find plenty of things that doesn’t add up. As for the actual conclusion, I guess it was fine but it wasn’t really satisfying on any level really. It doesn’t quite end on a cliffhanger, but does end on a note where one could technically make another movie if they wanted to.

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Milla Jovovich is more than comfortable in the role of Alice, having played it for nearly a decade and a half, and her performance is generally reliable despite there not being much to the character. Ali Larter also returns as Claire Redfield, the only other non villain character from the movie series to return for the final film. Most of the other members of the main cast don’t really stand out, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose and William Levy are other survivors that Alice meets up with and they are just sort of there, you don’t remember any of them. We have Iain Glen returning as Alexander Isaacs as the main villain for this movie (and yes this is another retcon, he wasn’t really dead three movies ago), and if you enjoyed seeing him ham it up in Extinction, you’ll want to check out The Final Chapter to see him. He’s definitely one of the best parts of The Final Chapter, and every time he was on screen made the movie even more enjoyable. Shawn Roberts also returns as Albert Wesker as a minor villain, unfortunately he doesn’t really do all that much in his screentime instead of just standing there, at the same time I wouldn’t trade more Wesker for less of hammy Iain Glen.

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Paul W.S. Anderson returns to direct the final instalment, unfortunately his work here is a bit of a mixed bag. It seems Anderson did away with the 3D from the past two movies, so don’t expect anything flying at the camera. They’ve gone back to the very post apocalyptic look from Extinction, and everything looks in ruins, and I’m more than fine with that look. However, a lot of the movie is set in a lot of darkness and so it could be hard to see what was going on, especially during the action scenes. That brings me to probably the most disappointing aspect of the movie, the action. Some of the setups and sequences look about as entertaining as some of the previous movies’ but the editing is absolutely horrible and flat out ruins them. Now it isn’t quite some of the worst editing I’ve seen for an action movie, but after seeing the previous movies it’s such an incredible drop in quality watching The Final Chapter. Thankfully, the second half was at least somewhat better with the editing in the action scenes.

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As someone who enjoyed most of the movies in the series, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is rather disappointing. Although it’s not as bad as Apocalypse and I had fun in certain moments (mainly in the second half), the mix of horrendous editing and very questionable plot decisions make it a very mixed bag indeed. If you watched through the series to Retribution, you may as well watch the last movie as well. There have been talks of a Resident Evil movie reboot, and I while I enjoyed most of the movies in this series, I’d be open to an interpretation that has actual horror and is much more faithful to the games.

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) Review

Time: 94 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror Scenes & Violence
Cast:
Milla Jovovich as Alice
Ali Larter as Claire Redfield
Oded Fehr as Carlos Oliveira
Iain Glen as Dr. Alexander Isaacs
Ashanti as Nurse Betty
Mike Epps as Lloyd Jefferson “L.J.” Wade
Spencer Locke as K-Mart
Christopher Egan as Mikey
Jason O’Mara as Albert Wesker
Director: Russell Mulcahy

Captured by the Umbrella Corp., Alice (Milla Jovovich) receives genetic alterations that leave her with superhuman abilities. Hiding out in the Nevada desert, she joins forces with former cohorts Carlos (Oded Fehr) and L.J. (Mike Epps) as well as new survivors Claire (Ali Larter), K-Mart (Spencer Locke) and Nurse Betty (Ashanti) to eradicate the virus that threatens to turn every human on Earth into a zombie.

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Despite mixed to negative reactions to the previous two movies, the Resident Evil movie series continued with its third movie, Extinction. Extinction is quite the considerable improvement over its previous movie Apocalypse. It is one of the better Resident Evil movies, it has some good ideas and setups, and is quite enjoyable, albeit being yet another over the top and silly zombie action flick.

Resident Evil Extinction takes the setting from the city in Apocalypse to a desert environment, and that was rather refreshing and a lot more fun. Compared to the previous movies, it really does feel more like the end of the world. I haven’t seen many zombie movies set in a desert environment, and so while plotwise it’s very familiar, it nonetheless feels fresh. At this point in the series you should completely separate the movies from the games. In my review for Resident Evil Apocalypse, I mentioned how there was a part in the third act that I didn’t really like particularly. That aspect was the revelation that lead character Alice now has somehow supernatural powers, including telekinesis. Unfortunately, they didn’t retcon that in Extinction, her powers stay here too. There is really no explanation for them, nor are there any rules set in place as to what she can or can’t do, they are very vague on that aspect. It’s a part you just have to go with, but I really wish that this wasn’t in the movie and series in the first place. Otherwise it’s a dumb and silly zombie action movie that’s quite fun. It’s reasonably paced across its hour and a half runtime and from what I could recall it didn’t drag too often. It does end with one of those sequel bait endings, but I guess all of the Resident Evil movies do that.

Milla Jovovich has quite a handle on the role of Alice by this point. I think the character really needed a lot more characterisation and better writing than what has been provided to her, but Jovovich did well. Ali Larter is introduced as Claire Redfield, another character from the games, and she was pretty good here. The characters in general aren’t particularly deep and you don’t really care for them, but I guess they’re handled a little better than the previous movies. Iain Glen is one of the main antagonists of the movie, the character is rather generic, and he thankfully hams up the role. One character that I recognise from the games that made an appearance here was Albert Wesker, I haven’t played a game with him in it, but Wesker is the main human antagonist of the series from what I can tell. The problem with him here isn’t that he’s only in a couple scenes, no doubt they were just setting him up for the next movie. The problem was that Jason O’Mara is just so miscast in the role, coming across as a really boring businessman, who I guess is Albert Wesker because that’s what people call him and he’s blonde and always wears sunglasses. It hardly drags the movie down at all but it takes you out of it a bit. Thankfully he was recast in the next movie, and was… slightly better.

Russell Mulcahy is the director, and is considerably better than the last movie. Instead of the dark blue colour of the dark cities in Apocalypse, Extinction takes place in the deserts of Las Vegas, giving off a vibe of Mad Max but with zombies. Everything feels abandoned and wrecked, and it’s quite effective. Action scenes are considerably better too, they are at least more creative with the setups and you can see a lot more of what’s going on (especially compared to Apocalypse), however does have a little too many cuts at points. Some of the CGI is kind of messy, but it’s at least improved on from the previous two movies. I also quite liked Charlie Clouser’s score.

Resident Evil Extinction isn’t great by any means, nor would I call it good, but I enjoyed it for what it is. Along with the underdevelopment of characters, some leaps in logic and dumb moments, I think one of the biggest problems in both the movie and really the series was having Alice be a superpowered character. Even as a dumb action series, the omission of that aspect would’ve made these movies considerably better. Nonetheless, at this point I’d say that it’s my favourite in the series thus far, though it’s not saying a lot. If you were entertained by any of the previous two Resident Evil movies, I definitely think you’ll have some fun with this.

Game of Thrones Season 8 (2019) Spoiler Review

Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1]
Cast:
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
Kit Harington as Jon Snow
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth
Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei
Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy
John Bradley as Samwell Tarly
Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark
Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth
Conleth Hill as Varys
Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane
Jerome Flynn as Bronn
Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane
Joe Dempsie as Gendry
Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm
Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont
Hannah Murray as Gilly
Carice van Houten as Melisandre
Creator: David Benioff and D. B. Weiss

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I’m aware that my review of this season is quite late, but I wanted to post my thoughts about it, because it’s become quite the source of controversy and debate. Game of Thrones Season 8 was one of the most highly anticipated pieces of media to come out this year, I’m a fan of the show and so I was definitely looking forward to it. However, this season has divided its audience to say the least, particularly the back half of the season has caused a lot of conflicts and outrage. The season is disappointing for sure, and I get a lot of the criticisms, but I don’t dislike it.

This is the first time I’m doing a spoiler review for a TV show, I just don’t think I can go into much depth with how I felt without doing so, especially with it being the final season. HBO offered D&D (Game of Thrones showrunners and writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss) 10 episodes but they turned them down and settled on having 6 episodes instead, and I think everyone can agree that this was the biggest problem with the season. I’m not going to get very pointy and accusatory about it, but it is worth pointing out that after this show, their next project will be a Star Wars movie, and it did feel like they wanted to get this season over with pretty quickly. The biggest example of the rushed feeling is after the White Walkers are dealt with in the first half of the season. While I would’ve liked the direct conflict with the Walkers to be more than just one episode (the first two episodes of setup before the third don’t count), this shortage of episodes is evidence in Episode 4 “The Last of the Starks”. It’s a good episode on the whole, but it’s wrapping up the aftermath of the battle at Winterfell before suddenly going into Daenerys getting ready to take King’s Landing. Not to mention halfway through it cuts to them sailing to King’s Landing the same episode they started out at Winterfell. We are used to characters having to take more than an episode to get from one place to the other even when the recent seasons started reducing their episode numbers, so it was really jarring. Then there’s that buildup to Daenerys’s controversial turn, or lack thereof. I’m not going to be on that side of people who said that her rampage was completely out of character, nor will I be one of the people who says that it was foreshadowed and already set up perfectly. I’m in the middle on this and really I see both sides. It makes somewhat sense that she’d be going down that path, and I’m pretty sure that she’s always going to end up going there. However, it feels like there was some development missing before the massacre at King’s Landing. Granted Tyrion’s explanation to Jon in the cell in the finale does sort of put things in perspective. Nonetheless I really would’ve liked to see the development of it all, and an episode before Episode 5 “The Bells” at the very least would’ve at least somewhat set it up better.

Generally, the acting has been good in the show but this season really everyone brings their A game to their performances, no matter the handling of their characters. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister is as usual great and one of the standouts. His character ever since season 5 really hasn’t been as smart as he once was, yet this change in character is made work by Dinklage. He’s particularly great in the last two episodes of the season. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister is also really good as usual, he’s really gone on such a long journey and changes these past 8 seasons. With that said, much has been said about his choice in episode 4 to return back to Cersei, and yeah, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some mixed feelings about that, even if it seems to makes some sense. Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister unfortunately only appears in a few episodes, and I really would’ve liked to have seen her serve as more as a direct threat to Daenerys, instead of just waiting for half the season and being killed off a couple episodes later. Still, with the little that she’s given she does a lot. The character that was mistreated the most this season though was Jon Snow. Kit Harington tries his hardest and is good in a few moments, but he’s really let down by the writing. Almost half his dialogue is “You are my queen”, “She is my/our queen”, “The Night King is coming”. I get that he’s in love with Daenerys and all that, but with the exception of the last episode he really has no motivation outside of just doing what she wants. He basically has no drive throughout and much of who we saw in the previous 7 seasons aren’t here. He has two in character decisions this season, the first being to tell everyone about his heritage, the second being making the final decision to kill Daenerys, outside of that he just felt like a glorified extra. If we are talking about the character that really needed this season to work better though, it was of Bran Stark, especially considering the final episode. Actor Isaac Hempstead Wright definitely plays the role exactly as it was written, but again, it’s really the writing that’s the problem. Bran really just doesn’t come across as human. I get that he’s the Three Eyed Raven now but it would’ve worked better if we could even see a semblance of the old Bran, even if he was changed. I mean even Max von Sydow’s Three Eyed Raven seemed more human. It made Bran unlikable and no doubt made it very difficult to accept him becoming king at the end.

Characters I didn’t really have problems with included Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Rory McCain as Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane, Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, and Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth, and they played their roles well. Turner especially has come a long way since the first season. However, the standout performance of the entire season was Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen. When it comes to her acting the past seasons, some people have been a little mixed on her performances (even though I thought she was already pretty good). However, she really gave it her all here. Then the last half of the season when Daenerys seems to take that dramatic turn, Emilia genuinely sells that side to her, and without it I’m not entirely sure I’d be on board with her change without her work. It’s made even better considering how Emilia wasn’t exactly on board with how Daenerys would be acting, yet she brought everything into her performance.

The direction of the show has generally really good, and that still applies this season. Highlights were episodes 3 and 5. The Battle of Winterfell was big and bloody and among the best battle episodes in the series. However, I’ll be one of those people and say that they definitely needed to turn up the brightness (though it wasn’t that bad). As for episode 5, I’ll admit that I heard about what Daenerys does before I even got a chance to watch the episode. However, I didn’t know that it would be an utter massacre. It really places you right there as everything it happening, especially when it places you from the perspective from Arya, ‘Plot Armor’ (or whatever it is now) aside, it’s like a Children of Men esque scene where you see the horror of everything from someone right in the carnage. The score by Ramin Djawadi is the most consistently great thing in the show, it’s always been good but he’s really delivered here, with some of the best songs in the entire series being from this season.

As this is the last season, I’ll talk about the last episode of the whole show and my thoughts on it. I did read the ‘leaks’ about the last episode and I wasn’t even that surprised by what I saw. However I do like that The Iron Throne was destroyed, one of the things not in the leaks. The first half of the episode was great and fitting, slow building and showing the aftermath of the destruction. I know some people didn’t like it wasn’t bold and dramatic, with a bunch of conflict, but I loved that everything felt much more lowkey and personal. After Daenerys is killed by Jon however, it does a time jump and things felt weird. They wrap everything up really quickly, but it feels drawn out, like they are aware of the runtime and so try to make scenes longer than they have to be. Not sure how it’s possible to make a choosing of someone to be King to be a little drawn out and almost boring but this episode achieved it. Which brings me to another thing, Bran becomes King. Now the idea didn’t seem absurd (and it seems like it was George RR. Martin’s plan anyway), however it’s how Bran was shown these past episodes that made it really hard to accept. As I previously said, the problem is that he’s barely human, so I’m not even sure what the point was, even if he was intended to be just a figurehead while Tyrion and the council actually run the kingdom. I mean Bran seemed much more interested in finding the final dragon than actually being King. In the end, most of the plot decisions makes sense, and many of the characters were at fitting places in the end. Even Jon’s ending, which although presented as rejoining the Night’s Watch, seemed much more like him becoming The King Beyond the Wall. It just felt like something was missing. With that said, with every ‘improved fan ending’ that I come across, I just appreciate the ending we actually got. It’s underwhelming for sure, but it actually feels like an ending for the show and not just fanservice.

So yes, I will say that Season 8 of Game of Thrones is a bit of a disappointment for me. The fact that everything was rushed was the largest contributing factor to it. Both this and season 5 are probably the worst seasons (at least season 8 didn’t have that subplot in Dorne). Despite all of the problems in this season (and there are many), I can’t say that I’m entirely unhappy about how the show ended. There are some great parts, performances are great (Emilia Clarke the MVP), the direction and particularly the large scale battles are great, and while the execution and the lead up to it was rocky, I wasn’t against the direction the show went in at the end. If you haven’t watched the show and are still reading this review, I still say that the show is worth checking out. Even though the show has been slowly declining, the first 4 seasons are fantastic and even the ones following them are still pretty good as well. I don’t regret getting invested in this show and I’m looking forward to seeing the planned spin offs.

Eye in the Sky (2016) Review

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Time: 102 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language.
Cast:
Helen Mirren as Katherine Powell
Aaron Paul as Steve Watts
Alan Rickman as Frank Benson
Barkhad Abdi as Jama Farah
Jeremy Northam as Brian Woodale
Iain Glen as James Willett
Director: Gavin Hood

EYE IN THE SKY stars Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya. Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from “capture” to “kill.” But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of US and British government, over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare.

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Eye in the Sky is a movie that I was interested in ever since I heard about it, because of the talented cast and the premise, which sounded quite interesting to me. Unfortunately not enough people went to see this movie in the cinemas, I myself only saw it when it was released on DVD. After seeing it, I wished I saw it earlier. Eye in the Sky is a very solid tense and thrilling movie. The acting was great from its talented cast and the film jut overall was directed well. It’s not very special, but it is well worth a watch.

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This film is very effective at making things tense. Something that I really liked about this movie is that there are also a lot of moral dilemmas that these characters are experiencing. Also this movie doesn’t really take a side as to what the right decision is, it lets the audience think about it themselves, which is so much more effective. Even the ending doesn’t give a definitive answer as to what the right decision was. You should probably know before watching Eye in the Sky that this is not really an action movie, there’s like only one scene of action, but that’s it. Go into this movie expecting a tense thriller with moral and ethical dilemmas instead of an explosive action blockbuster film.

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The cast for Eye in the Sky is really talented with Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi, Alan Rickman (in his final film appearance, he was particularly great in this movie) and other actors part of the cast. All of these actors are truly great in their roles and they get to have great moments in the film. All these actors really embodied the viewpoints and stances that their characters have on their situation. The characters felt like real people and the actors helped convey that and a key part in that happening.

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Eye in the Sky is shot and directed pretty well overall. As I mentioned earlier, there aren’t many action scenes in this movie but the few action scenes that are actually there are directed very well. The film is quite tense and thrilling and part of the contributing factor was how this film was directed. Even the conversations between people were made to feel quite intense, the tension never stops.

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Eye in the Sky is a very tense and overall effective thriller that really works well at keeping the audience’s attention. The solid direction, and the great acting from the very talented cast was great and all combined to make an overall good movie. The film isn’t anything hugely monumental or special but it’s still quite a good and riveting thriller, that I personally enjoyed watching. Definitely check out Eye in the Sky when you get a chance. It’s an underappreciated and overlooked movie that needs more attention.