Milla Jovovich’s Alice is back for one final battle against Umbrella in next year’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Returning to Raccoon City, Alice takes on the zombie hordes and the sinister presences of Wesker (Shawn Roberts) and Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glenn) with some help from Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and some other surviving allies but, while it still looks completely bonkers, it doesn’t look like it’s quite at the insane, Matrix ripping off levels of the previous few entries, although Iain Glenn looks wonderfully game and insane for this final face off. Paul WS Anderson is back to direct and it’s arriving in January next year, check out the trailer below.
It’s been what seems like forever since Keanu Reeves was stylishly taking down swarms of goons but he’s back in prime form in John Wick.
Reeves is the title character, a former assassin who retired to live a quiet, normal wife with his wife (Bridget Moynahan) but she is stricken by an illness and dies. John is left with his classic car and a newly acquired beagle puppy left to him by his wife, both of which are stolen by the douchebag son of the local Russian crime boss, which puts John out of retirement and looking for revenge. What really makes the movie unique is the world it creates for the assassin/crime underworld of New York City. Everyone seems to know each other and are incredibly congenial until circumstances dictate otherwise. The hub of this little community is a hotel run by Ian McShane, where no “business” is allowed to be conducted on premises and offers such conveniences as a 24 hour on call doctor to patch up bullet and knife wounds. I was kind of reminded of Highlander a bit, which also featured a hidden world of deadly warriors with a familiarity and specific rules and codes of conduct. I would love to see some sort of novel or comic explore more of the quirks and characters of NYC’s assassin world. (John Wick is suprisingly not based on some sort of comic or book series, unlike something like, say, Jack Reacher).
Keanu slips right back into the role of impassive, precise killing machine in John Wick and is exceptional in the action sequences, using what can only be described as Gun Kata against the hordes of Russian mobsters between him and Alfie Allen’s Iosef. The action choregraphy is great, especially the big set piece sequence where John attacks a Russian nightclub and fights his way from the basement to the penthouse. There’s an incredible smoothness to the way John takes down and flows from one attacker to the next and there’s not a lot of movies I can think of that can match it (possibly Jason Statham in The Transporter). It also proves again that an R rating that allows you to show everything is preferable to a PG-13 that you have to try and obscure the violence in. The soundtrack adds to the intensity and flow of the action sequences as well, although some of the tracks get repeated multiple times, so they lose a little bit of impact the second time around. After appearing as the non-descript villain of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Michael Nyqvist seems to be having tons of fun as Russian crime boss, Viggo, who basically treats John Wick like an impending natural disaster and tries to figure out the best way to survive. There’s lots of familiar faces in side roles as well, like Willem Dafoe as Wick’s friend and fellow assassin Marcus, Lance Reddick as the concierge of the Continental assassin hotel, Adrianne Palicki as another assassin, Ms. Perkins, who learns the hard way what happens when you disrupt the rules of the Continental, David Patrick Kelly as a “cleaner” of crime scenes and John Leguizamo as the owner of a chop shop. You can tell that everyone has a deep history with John and this underworld community and it helps to build the world and add flavor.
If you’re a fan of Keanu and kick ass, stylish action, John Wick is definitely a must see. It’s one of the best action movies of the year and it’s unique world and characters definitely makes it stand out even more.
The first trailer since it was delayed from this summer, Jupiter Ascending still looks insane and visually awesome. Coming from The Wachowskis, Jupiter Ascending finds Channing Tatum being dispatched to Earth to protect Mila Kunis, who turns out to be secretly one of the heirs of a powerful galactic dynasty that seeded Earth with life. Sean Bean is her adopted father and protector and Eddie Redmayne plays a rival heir who wants to take over Earth and harvest it for minerals. Action wise and visually, it looks amazing but my worry is that it might collapse into a mess of lore gobbledygook like The Matrix sequels or John Carter. It’s now coming out in February of next year and you can check out the new trailer below.
New Matrix Trilogy coming?: Latino Review reports that Warner Bros. and the Wachowskis are talking about a possible new trilogy in the Matrix universe, with the first possibly hitting in 2017. A rumor is that the new movies might deal with the birth of the Matrix and possibly expand events from The Animatrix story “The Second Renaissance”
Director selected for The Birds remake: Although it’s hard to top Birdemic, the original killer birds movie is getting a remake from Platinum Dunes with Dutch director Diederik Van Rooijen behind the camera.
First Look at Grant Gustin as The Flash:
TMNT Creator and OG voice cast guesting on new Turtles: Kevin Eastman, one half of the duo who created the Turtles, will guest star on Nick’s version on March 2nd as Ice Cream Kitty, a mutant kitten that Mikey adopts. The original Turtle voice cast from the 80’s show will also guest star on the March 14th episode that will be kind of similar to the Turtles forever crossover.
Warner Bros. gets the rights to Minecraft movie: With the success of The Lego Movie, WB moved swiftly to get the other insanely popular brick based franchise, Minecraft. WB now has the rights to a movie based on the video game phenomenon, which will be live action.
Patrick Wilson joins Ant-Man: Taking a break from endangering his family in haunted houses, Patrick Wilson has joined Ant-Man in an undisclosed role. Michael Douglas is Hank Pym and Paul Rudd is Scott Lang, both of whom are Ant Man at one time or another.
Anchorman 3 not happening: The special R rated version of Anchorman 2 is out this weekend but director Adam McKay told Empire Magazine recently that that will probably be the last time we see Ron Burgandy and the team, as he and everyone are “totally satisfied” with how things worked out and want to work on new ideas.
True Detective Season 2 may feature female leads: The current “best show on TV”, True Detective, is wrapping up in two weeks but anticipation for season 2 is under way, with the fantastic Twitter hashtag #TrueDetectiveSeason2 making hilarious suggestions. Show creator Nic Pizzolatto made a vague reference to female characters but it’s not clear if he meant the detectives would both be female, one male one female, a stronger female supporting character or something else.
Fast & Furious 7 picking back up in April: On hiatus since the tragic death of Paul Walker, Fast & Furious 7 will be picking back up in April to finish shooting the movie. It’s still not clear how the movie has changed to reflect the loss of Walker.
Ruben Fleischer directing Overnight for Disney: Fleischer, director of Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less and Gangster Squad, will be directing “Overnight” for Disney. The movie is described as “Home Alone in a Toy Store” where a father and son win a chance to spend a night in an FAO Schwartz style store that gets broken into by a gang of thieves.
Karl Urban confirms Dredd 2 talks: Currently fighting crime in slightly less grim future on Almost Human, Karl Urban confirmed at a German convention this week that he’s been in talks with Lionsgate for Dredd 2, although nothing is officially confirmed yet. Despite a slow theatrical run, Dredd has been doing gangbusters on home video.
Disney unveils cloud movie service: Disney has launched their own digital movie service in the form of an IOS app that lets you buy and watch any of the 400 Disney movies anytime. If you sign up for the service right now, you’ll get a free copy of The Incredibles.
Director Cary Fukunaga not returning for True Detective Season 2: Part of what makes True Detective one of the best new shows on TV is the direction of Cary Fukunaga but unfortunately, he said he will not return for the second season. He’s set to direct a remake of Stephen King’s IT and also pitched a crime show to Fox.
Point Break casts it’s Johnny Utah: Gerard Butler is playing the Swayze role of Bodhi and now Luke Bracey, must recently playing Cobra Commander in GI Joe: Retaliation, will be playing FBI Agent, Johnny Utah, as made famous by Keanu Reeves.
We’re the Millers getting a sequel: The pot/family comedy will be getting a sequel from New Line, with the quartet of Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter and Emma Roberts expected to return.
Amanda Seyfried the love interest of Ted 2: Although things seemed solid between Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis at the end of Ted, apparently something drives a wedge between them as it was reported that Amanda Seyfried will be the new love interest in Ted 2.
RIP Harold Ramis: Comedy legend Harold Ramis passed away at age 69 due to heart related issues earlier this week. Ramis is probably best known for playing Egon in Ghostbusters but also wrote and directed such 80’s classics as Animal House, Caddyshack, Meatballs and Groundhog’s Day.
When it was first announced that there was going to be a LEGO movie, most of us rolled our eyes at such a blatant cash grab. Slowly though, as the cast and directors were announced, it seemed like it could actually be good and then the first trailer hit and it quickly became one of my most anticipated movies of this year. I’m happy to say that the movie blew away all my expectations. From the moment it starts, it’s non stop nerdy joy being injected directly into your eyeballs.
The movie follows Emmett, voiced by Chris Pratt, a boring, normal, non-descript LEGO construction worker who fully embraces the conformity enforced by the evil President Business (Will Ferrell). One night after work, Emmett sees a mysterious figure who turns out to be Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who is looking for “The Piece of Resistance”, an artifact that can stop President Business from destroying the world. Emmett stumbles on the Piece instead and is assumed to be “the special”, a master builder capable of creating amazing LEGO creations. Emmett is far from that but is open to training to possibly become one, but is now the target of President Business’ main henchman, Bad Cop (Liam Neeson). The movie follows the same structure as most “chosen one” adventures like Star Wars or The Matrix but since directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are huge nerds like us, they completely subvert all the tropes of the structure. The backstory and mythology is constantly being ignored by Emmett, his mentor, Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), is completely unhelpful and crazy and he gathers an incredibly motley group of allies that includes Batman (Will Arnett), Uni-Kitty, a My Little Ponyesque character with a hidden dark side voiced by Alison Brie, Benny, a 1980’s LEGO “space guy” voiced by Charlie Day and MetalBeard, a pirate who lost his body in a prior attack against President Business and assembled a new robotic body from various spare parts (voiced by Nick Offerman). There’s also tons of amazing cameos from characters ranging from Superman to Shaquille O’Neal. The cast is pretty much perfect and they all bring tons of energy and fun to their parts.
Lord and Miller completely embrace everything LEGO and it’s an absolute joy to see the world they created using the Dutch bricks. Literally everything in the universe is assembled by LEGOs, even elements like fire, water and smoke are built by bricks. They also reference or actually visit many of the themed sets like Wild West, Space, Medieval, City, etc. They also make the characters move in the limitations of the mini figure, which adds to the charm and makes it feel like a family friendly Robot Chicken. Those limitations don’t hamper the action sequences though, which are all incredibly fun and creative and usually involves the team assembling a vehicle while under an insane amount of fire from Bad Cop and his robotic minions and then usually there’s at least 1 transformation of that vehicle. There’s also a Toy Storyesque layer on top of the universe in that there’s a “guy upstairs” that everyone believes in and President Business has collected various “relics” that include a bandage, nail polish, a q-tip and more and this gets more fully realized during the climax of the movie.
If you’re a LEGO fan, especially of original generic sets, the movie has a kind of interesting stance and is advocating a return to the original, build anything, style of playing with LEGOs. With the newer kits, there are so many custom pieces, and they are so expensive, that it’s becoming more of a niche collector item that is built and then preserved, which is plan of President Business. The Master Builders of the movie embrace the philosophy of being creative and building anything and that’s kind of ultimately what saves the day.
Bottom line, I pretty much love The Lego Movie with every fiber of my being. Every new character introduced and every set piece is so much fun that if you don’t leave the theater with a gigantic grin, you are a souless, dead inside robot. You have to see this movie as soon as possible and, even though it’s incredibly early in the year, I can already see it being incredibly high on my Top 10 list.
The Wachowski Siblings are back after last year’s insanely ambitious, gender and race swapping, eon spanning Cloud Atlas with Jupiter Ascending. Mila Kunis stars as Jupiter Jones, who finds out that she has an intergalactic price on her head but a protector arrives in the form of the alien, Caine (Channing Tatum) and the duo goes on the run across Earth and beyond. Sean Bean c0-stars. The visuals look absolutely stunning but reading the plot summary and going off the trailer, it’s not clear if it’s going to gel into anything coherent but they managed to juggle the six or seven stories of Cloud Atlas without little issues, so I’m definitely excited. The movie is out in July next year and you can check out the trailer below.
It feels like all the movies up this point in Enter the Asylum have just been practice for this, the first true “mockbuster” of The Asylum, Transmorphers. Coming out about a week before Michael Bay’s first Transformers movie, Transmorphers also features transforming robots but that’s about where the similarities end.
Man, still no slumming B or C list actor?: Yeah, doesn’t it seem like there should be a Michael Ironside or Lance Henriksen as the grim general leading the human resistance? Instead there’s Eliza Swenson, who I believe was the crazy forest witch from Dragon and Matthew Wolf, who feels like the poor man’s Paul Blackthorne.
So what’s the plot of this thing?: It’s actually much more like The Matrix or Terminator than Transformers. Humanity sends out a message of peace into space and it’s answered by an evil race of robots who almost instantly destroy 90% of the population and changes the atmosphere and climate to perma dark and rainy (which is an important plot device and not an attempt to hide the terrible CG and lack of sets). 300 years later, humanity is living underground but they have a shot of finally taking out the robot overlords with a plan to upload a shutdown command into a captured “Z-Bot” and then having it go back to the central mainframe and upload the command to all the other bots.
That seems like a solid plan, why did it take 300 years to implement?: Because humanity was too busy stockpiling leather jackets and SNES super scopes and forming convoluted councils that run the various elements of society. They also arrested and cryofreeze anyone who suggested they fight the robots.
Wait, what?: Yeah, it makes no sense to me either, our main hero, Mitch, was court martialed and given the Demolition Man treatment for even suggesting they try to fight the robots but then, when the robots finally decide to attack the main human base, everyone is suddenly all gung ho about it but there’s also people like crazy flight team leader Xandria, who seems like she was always on board to fight the bots but for some reason was never arrested or frozen.
Worst catfight ever: Agreed and that’s just a small sampling about how incredibly awful the acting is in this movie. They went all out with the special effects but apparently had no money left for actors who could actually, you know, act.
So I take it those are the Transmorphers? Yup, or Zeta Bots as they are called in the movie. I will give The Asylum credit on this one, the bots are all over the movie as opposed to the last movie I watched, Dragon, where the titular dragon was in the movie for maybe five minutes. They also actually transform as well, which they could have easily copped out on. They are still super clunky and terrible looking, but you can tell that The Asylum at least put in some effort on this one and possibly all of their budget for the year into it.
What kind of things do they transform into?: Well some are jets but most of them are able to transform just their hands into buzz saws, which are never used in any hilariously gory fashion and some of the bigger bots transform into rocket launchers or tanks.
So does humanity actually beat them?: Yup, it turns out our main hero Mitch is actually a robot designed by a scientist who is trying to channel the Dean from Community and takes the fuel cell with the shutdown command into his body and leads an assault against “The Tower” command post of the bots. He puts himself in a weird tube and the command is sent out and the bots all shutdown, also instantly clearing up the clouds and rain as well. It’s a pretty low key ending for The Asylum, especially when one of their movies ended with a giant snake eating a train and then getting sucked into a magic tornado.
What if I want to learn more about complex mythology that has been built up? You’re in luck, because there’s a sequel called Transmorphers: Fall of Man that is a prequel detailing the initial attack by the bots.
Transmorphers is in a weird space because it’s kind of close to being a competent, low budget sci fi movie but it also doesn’t have enough ridiculous moments to be “so bad it’s good”. It just sits in the mediocre middle ground but might be worth checking out if you are properly lubricated (I’d recommend whiskey or scotch).
Next Time: Whoever wins, we lose when Alien takes on Hunter.