Tag Archives: Mike Epps

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.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

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.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) Review

Time: 94 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence, horror scenes, and offensive language
Cast:
Milla Jovovich as Alice
Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine
Oded Fehr as Carlos Oliveira
Thomas Kretschmann as Major Timothy Cain
Sophie Vavasseur as Angela “Angie” Ashford
Jared Harris as Dr. Charles Ashford
Mike Epps as Lloyd Jefferson “L.J.” Wade
Director: Alexander Witt

A deadly virus from a secret Umbrella Corporation laboratory underneath Raccoon City is exposed to the world. Umbrella seals off the city to contain the virus, creating a ghost town where everyone trapped inside turns into a mutant zombie. Alice (Milla Jovovich), a survivor from Umbrella’s secret lab, meets former Umbrella security officer Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and mercenary Carlos Oliviera (Oded Fehr). Together, they search for a scientist (Jared Harris) who might be able to help.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

The first Resident Evil movie didn’t receive the greatest critical response but it was a success upon its release, especially with it being loosely based on the video games of the same name. The Resident Evil movie started out smaller, but by the time the movie series ended in the 2010s it was a full on action series. The second movie Apocalypse was the escalation from horror action to full on action with some horror elements, to such a ridiculous level. If the first movie wasn’t already a major departure from the games, Apocalypse certainly was that. It’s really not good at all but if you know what you’re going in for, you can have some fun at certain parts.

I will be commenting on how they adapted the Resident Evil games to the big screen, but keep in mind that I’ve only played the remake of Resident Evil 2, so I don’t know a ton about the series and lore. Apocalypse actually starts off pretty well, right after the events of the first movie. The movie on the whole is a pretty simple action movie with a straightforward plot. Even though it wasn’t attempting to have scenes like those The Matrix just yet, despite the scale being seemingly small they still manage to make it feel overblown, especially with the action scenes. While it is definitely horror based with the movie involving zombies, any sort of true horror that the first movie had is missing here. There’s very little that’s surprising, I guess there is a twist in the third act but on the whole the movie is mildly predictable. Again, I’ve only played the remake of Resident Evil 2, but it seemed like they took aspects from the game but did them in a more action sense. They do throw in a bunch of characters and aspects from the games, but not all of it is handled the best. One character that is brought from the video games is, Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 who is an unstoppable force. He’s like a tyrant (a giant bioweapon super soldier created by the Umbrella Corporation), only he has weapons and he is very dangerous. They did a good job at making him powerful in this movie. However without giving anything away, they do make him very weak towards the third act, and around this time they do something with main character Alice which completely breaks away from the Resident Evil lore, which just does not work at all. While the first movie didn’t to have exactly what the video games had, it did try to replicate the structure and it kept within its own lore. With Apocalypse, it tries to have it both ways, and by the end it doesn’t really work.

Milla Jovovich is really the only returning member of the first movie as Alice. The character doesn’t have a lot to her, but Jovovich comes across probably the best in this movie (as she generally does for all the movies in the series it seems). The rest of the cast weren’t anything special and weren’t given nearly the amount of attention that Alice got. The one character name I recognised was that of Jill Valentine played by Sienna Guillory, as I heard that the character is in the games. She was pretty good and I heard she’s like a perfect representation of the character in live action, however like all the other characters suffer from being overshadowed by Alice. Thomas Kretschmann is a pretty generic villain, nothing really special about him at all. Mike Epps also is in this movie, and while I get that he was going to provide the comedic relief over everyone else, he just didn’t fit in at all. I guess in a way this actually made him unintentionally funny at points, especially one of his early scenes when he hits a zombie with a car with a good ol’ “GTA motherfucker! 10 points!”. It really was at that point where I stopped taking the movie seriously at all. There’s nothing to say about the rest of the cast.

The first movie had Paul W.S. Anderson directing, but he wouldn’t return for the series until Afterlife. This time it’s Alexander Witt directing, and while the movie certainly is bigger than the first, it’s not necessarily better. Parts of the action are entertaining, but the colours and lighting aren’t that great and the editing isn’t the best, leaving some of the scenes a bit of a mess. It can be pretty hard at times to see what’s going on. If you have a look at the colour pallet on the posters, that dark blue colour is pretty much what you’ll be seeing for most of the movie. The visual effects also haven’t aged very well, although they are definitely better than the previous movie. Some of the more practical effects are good though, like the aforementioned Nemesis or the zombies. At points, Apocalypse does well to create good atmosphere, however there isn’t nearly enough of it and they don’t last very long.

I don’t hate the movie like some do, but Resident Evil: Apocalypse is so far the weakest in the Resident Evil movie series, though that’s not really saying a lot. If you’re looking for an accurate depiction of the games in live action films, outside of some characters and aspects that you might recognise, it’s not this. If you don’t mind a dumb action movie and you liked the first movie, then you might enjoy this one. However if you weren’t a fan of the first Resident Evil movie, you probably won’t like this movie either.

 

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Cast:
Jimmie Fails as Jimmie Fails
Jonathan Majors as Montgomery “Mont” Allen
Danny Glover as Grandpa Allen
Tichina Arnold as Wanda Fails
Rob Morgan as James Sr.
Mike Epps as Bobby
Finn Wittrock as Clayton Newsom
Director: Joe Talbot

Jimmie (Jimmie Fails) and his best friend Mont (Jonathan Majors) try to reclaim the house built by Jimmie’s grandfather, launching them on a poignant odyssey that connects them to their past, even as it tests their friendship and sense of belonging in the place they call home.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I didn’t really know anything about The Last Black Man of San Francisco outside of it being distributed by A24, but the people who have seen it have mostly raved about it, and it’s even reached many peoples’ best films of the year lists. I’ve been meaning to get around to it for some time, and I finally did. I was going in blind and I found myself to be quite surprised by what I saw, it’s a really great movie that more people should be watching for sure.

First thing to note is that this is a semi biographical movie (partly based off Jimmie Fails’s own life), and it certainly feels that way, it’s very much a personal story. It’s incredibly well written by Rob Richert and director Joe Talbot, particularly with the dialogue. Throughout this movie it just felt so fresh and different, and it kept me interested throughout. There’s just one thing that sort of holds it back a little. It doesn’t seem like the story has a whole lot of focus, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, plenty of movies aren’t necessarily driven by something. However I wasn’t really sure where the movie was moving towards really, so it felt like it meanders a little bit and you’re just following along, seeing what this movie is really about. With that said, it still kept you invested throughout, and I get the feeling that the movie might now be better on a rewatch. Though I’m not sure many people will be revisiting it, as great as it is. It’s rather melancholic and emotional, but in a genuine way, none of the major emotional scenes feel forced or anything. It’s pretty hard selling what this movie is really about, so it’s one that you’ll have to see for yourself.

The acting is quite great, with the main leads being of Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Majors, and both are fantastic. Both performances feel real and have good chemistry, and you really believe that the two of them are best friends. Supporting actors like Danny Glover, Tichina Arnold, Rob Morgan, Mike Epps, and Finn Wittrock also work in their respective roles.

This is the directorial debut from Joe Talbot, and this is an incredible feature film to start his career with, he’s clearly a very talented filmmaker based off this movie alone. It’s an amazing looking movie (shot by Adam Newport-Berra), featuring some of the best cinematography of the year, and given some of the movies released this year, that’s saying a lot. The score by Emile Mosseri was also fantastic, one of the most memorable movie scores all year. All the music in general really stood out and perfectly fitted the movie., days later the music was still in my head. Pretty much everything on a technical level is handled spectacularly. While it’s not the only reason to watch the movie, it’s worth watching The Last Black Man in San Francisco for the direction alone.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is one of the biggest surprises from 2019, and it’s really great on the whole. The writing is solid, the acting is fantastic (especially Fails and Majors), and it’s directed spectacularly. It’s fresh, sincere and personal, and was a real stand out from 2019 movies. I’m looking forward to seeing Talbot direct more movies, because he’s shown himself to be a real talent here. Definitely check it out when you can, it deserves a lot more attention than it has been receiving.

Dolemite is My Name (2019) Review

Time: 117 minutes
Cast:
Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore
Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Lady Reed
Keegan-Michael Key as Jerry Jones
Mike Epps as Jimmy Lynch
Craig Robinson as Ben Taylor
Tituss Burgess as Theodore Toney
Wesley Snipes as D’Urville Martin
Director: Lulu Wang

Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I heard a lot about Dolemite is My Name more recently, with it receiving a lot of praise, especially for Eddie Murphy in the lead role. However I hadn’t heard much about what the movie was about, and I hadn’t even heard of Dolemite or Rudy Ray Moore beforehand, so I really didn’t know what I was getting into. Even going in completely blind, I was thoroughly impressive with Dolemite is My Name.

One of the biggest strengths of Dolemite is My Name was the writing. The script is fantastically written, with some great and witty dialogue and some genuine heart throughout. The first half is pretty good, it’s fun and it establishes Rudy Ray Moore and his rise in popularity and success with his character of Dolemite, and seeing people rise up is generally a nice thing to see in movie. However it is when the plot gets to him and others making the Dolemite movie where it really picks up. Any movie about people making a film is always going to be fun to me, but it also does it well here. Many of the people working on the Dolemite movie clearly didn’t know how to make a movie but they had a lot of fun doing it, and that was nice to see. Dolemite is My Name has been compared to Ed Wood and The Disaster Artist, but while those movies were about films that entertained people in the wrong way, Dolemite is My Name is about a movie that became a success and was celebrated by people who genuinely love it for what it is. Not to mention that throughout the movie, you can clearly feel the love for Moore and his work, so you can really tell that there was a strong desire to tell his story in a respectful and truthful way, and it comes across constantly. The only fault that I could really find with the movie isn’t really a problem as much as it was a missed opportunity. I do wish there was a little more depth when it came to Rudy, maybe explore who he is as a person more. Now that’s not to say that I want a full on dramedy or drama, after all I thoroughly enjoy it as a comedy, there’s nothing in the movie I’d remove. But at least a couple more scenes somewhat exploring Rudy as a person would’ve made this movie even better, it’s honestly the only thing that’s missing.

Now keep in mind I haven’t seen Eddie Murphy in a ton of movies, but many have said that his acting as Rudy Ray Moore is a career best performance from him. Watching the movie, I’d be really surprised if this wasn’t the case. Murphy absolutely owns this role, you might not know who Rudy Ray Moore is beforehand, but he seems to have embodied him perfectly. It’s Murphy’s show, but at the same time the movie also has a great and likable supporting cast, with Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson all providing some really good work, and adding quite a bit to the movie. A stand out among the supporting cast was also Wesley Snipes, and this is the best I’ve seen him in a while. There’s even some surprise appearances from the likes of Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock and more, which was nice to see.

I haven’t seen anything that Craig Brewer has directed till now, but he did a good job with this movie. They seemed to have captured the time period and setting quite well, the costumes were also a standout, especially the outfits that Rudy Ray Moore would often wear as Dolemite.

Dolemite is My Name was one of the most surprising and entertaining movies of the year. It’s very well written, consistently entertaining, hilarious, and the cast is great, especially a fantastic Eddie Murphy. It’s definitely worth watching, even if you have no idea what it’s about, you’re more than likely going to have a great time with it. So check it out on Netflix when you get the chance.