Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Resident Evil: Afterlife
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Based on: the video game series
Sequel to: Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Shawn Roberts, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Boris Kodjoe, Kim Coates, Spencer Locke, Sienna Guillory, Kacey Clarke, Norman Yeung, Fulvio Cecere
Seen on: 10.9.2022

Plot:
Alice (Milla Jovovich) is still on her mission against the Umbrella Corporation. When she has finally dealt them a harsh blow, she heads to Arcadia, supposed safe haven, to catch up with her friends. But instead of paradise, she finds Claire (Ali Larter) in a bad state and with some amnesia. Returning to LA, they receive a call for help from a group sheltering in place in an abandoned prison, surrounded by zombies. The group does have news about Arcadia, but no way out. Unless the mysterious prisoner Chris (Wentworth Miller) speaks the truth. But can they risk it?

Resident Evil: Afterlife is pretty much what I’ve come to expect from this movie series. That is: it’s okay, but not great, with some good action and some questionable narrative choices. But to really love the movies, you’ll probably have to have played the games and I didn’t.

The film poster showing Alice (Milla Jovovich, with two guns pointing upwards. It's raining.
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Punisher: War Zone (2008)

Punisher: War Zone
Director: Lexi Alexander
Writer: Nick Santora, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
Based on: Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru‘s comic character
Cast: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchison, Colin Salmon, Wayne Knight, Dash Mihok, Julie Benz, Stephanie Janusauskas
Seen on: 7.9.2022

Plot:
The Punisher (Ray Stevenson) has been haunting the city for six years now – six years where he killed the villains of New York. The police haven’t caught up with him, despite knowing that he is Frank Castle, but they are not entirely dissatisfied with his work, so their motivation is not very high. During yet another shoot-out with the mob, Frank not only maims heavy hitter Billy (Dominic West), but he also kills an undercover cop. This prompts renewed interest in the police investigation, and it makes Billy – who had prided himself on his looks so far – swear revenge on The Punisher.

Punisher: War Zone is an extremely gory and violent take on the Punisher that glorifies him a little too much for my taste.

The film poster showing Frank Castle aka The Punisher (Ray Stevenson) shooting his guns.
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The Gray Man (2022)

The Gray Man
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: Mark Greaney‘s novel
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, Jessica Henwick, Dhanush, Alfre Woodard, Regé-Jean Page, Wagner Moura, Julia Butters, Shea Whigham
Seen on: 1.9.2022

Plot:
Many years ago, Six (Ryan Gosling) was recruited by Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton): in exchange for release from life-long imprisonment, Six would be an assassin for the CIA. Off the books, of course, taking on the cases that the CIA needs to handle quietly. His latest assassination goes a little awry, though. Six does succeed in killing the target, but also ends up with an encrypted drive and some doubts about Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page) who was in charge of the operation. Rightly so, as Carmichael immediately hires the ruthlessly violent Lloyd (Chris Evans) to take Six down, triggering an international manhunt.

The Gray Man is completely what you’d expect which in this case is unfortunately more of a polite way to say that it is boring than satisfying. There are good moments and a whole lot of potential, but it just never goes anywhere.

The film poster showing Six (Ryan Gosling), looking over his shoulder, an eyebrow raised.
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Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Resident Evil: Extinction
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Based on: the video game series
Sequel to: Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke, Matthew Marsden, Linden Ashby, Jason O’Mara, Mike Epps
Seen on: 24.8.2022

Plot:
After basically the entire world was overrun by zombies, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is making her way through the desert, always looking for survivors that may need help, and simply surviving herself. Also making their way through the desert is Claire (Ali Larter) and her convoy that includes Carlos (Oded Fehr), looking for food and fuel wherever they can find it. Meanwhile, Dr Isaacs (Iain Glen) is experimenting at the Umbrella corporation, hoping for a way to capitalize on Alice and on the zombies. All of their paths are bound to cross.

Resident Evil: Extinction is, I think, my favorite of the Resident Evil movies so far (this is not an endorsement). That’s not because it is particularly good, but it is a decent, albeit uninspired genre exercise that plays nicely with what came in the series before it.

The film poster showing Alice (Milla Jovovich) walking in the desert, two automatic weapons in her hands.
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Bullet Train (2022)

Bullet Train
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Zak Olkewicz
Based on: Kōtarō Isaka‘s novel
Cast: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Sandra Bullock, Bad Bunny, Logan Lerman, Zazie Beetz, Masi Oka, Karen Fukuhara, Channing Tatum, Ryan Reynolds
Seen on: 12.8.2022

Content Note: whitewashing

Plot:
Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is an assassin who as recently taken some time off after a bit of an existential crisis because he is so unlucky. But after some therapy, he is ready to get back into the game. His first job seems simple enough: just snatch a suitcase from the high-speed bullet train and get off the next station. But it turns out that he is not the only assassin on the train. Duo Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) also have a mission to fulfill on the train. And there is The Prince (Joey King) who lured Kimura (Andrew Koji) on the train for her own plans. As all of their plans collide, things become chaotic. Ladybug may yet regret his return to work.

Bullet Train is a fast-paced, entertaining film despite some problems. If you like action comedies with a touch of gore, you’ll have a good time with this one.

The film poster showing the main characters arranged along a Japanese dragon.
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Blood Red Sky (2021)

Blood Red Sky
Director: Peter Thorwarth
Writer: Peter Thorwarth, Stefan Holtz
Cast: Peri Baumeister, Carl Anton Koch, Alexander Scheer, Kais Setti, Gordon Brown, Dominic Purcell, Graham McTavish
Seen on: 5.8.2022

Content Note: (critical treatmen of) racism against muslims

Plot:
Elias (Carl Anton Koch) and his mother Nadja (Peri Baumeister) are flying to the USA. Nadja is sick, and a doctor there has promised to be able to heal her. Everything seems to be going well until their plan is hijacked. As things turn more and more tense and outright bloody on board and Muslim passengers like Farid (Kais Setti) get singled out by the hijackers for some reason, Elias tries to hide. As the hijackers turn their attention to him and Nadja, it becomes apparent that there is more to Nadja’s illness than appeared at first.

My expectations for Blood Red Sky weren’t particularly high, but they were disappointed anyway as it is a vampire movie that is just no fun, despite the nice idea.

The film poster showing Nadja (Peri Baumeister) holding Elias (Carl Anton Koch) in an airplane seat. Her reflection in the plane window shows a creature with a bloody mouth.
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Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Director: Alexander Witt
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Based on: the video game series
Sequel to: Resident Evil
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Razaaq Adoti, Jared Harris, Mike Epps, Sandrine Holt, Matthew G. Taylor, Zack Ward, Iain Glen
Seen on: 4.8.2022

Plot:
Raccoon City seems to be just getting back to its feet after what happened at the Hive, when the next catastrophe strikes and the city is overrun by zombies. Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes in the hospital amidst the chaos as one of only a handful of people still in the city and not yet zombified. To contain the zombies, a bomb is supposed to be dropped in the city, and if Alice doesn’t find a way out by then, she will surely die. Teaming up with other survivors, they look for an escape. But zombies aren’t the only thing that the Umbrella Corporation experimented with – and there are more surprises to come.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is actually a little better than Resident Evil, not that that’s saying much. But there are some good action moments, the male gaze is dialled down a bit and the plot is a little more coherent.

The film poster showing Alice (Milla Jovovich) walking through a destroyed city wrapped in a towel and carrying a semi-automatic weapon.
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Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Thor: Love and Thunder
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Taika Waititi, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Based on: Stan Lee‘s, Larry Lieber‘s and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Sequel to: Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, Kieron L. Dyer, Jaimie Alexander, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Simon Russell Beale, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Matt Damon, Melissa McCarthy
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 15.7.2022

Plot:
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) hasn’t been doing too well after recent events, although he doesn’t look it. Traveling around with the Guardians of the Galaxy to help people, he finds some fulfillment in fighting for the weak. When he hears a cry for help from his old friend Sif (Jaimie Alexander) who tells him about the God Butcher Gorr (Christian Bale) who has been hunting gods all over the galaxy, Thor returns to New Asgard, where King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) leads the rest of the Asgardian refugees. And just in time to find not only Gorr attacking Asgard, but also his ex-girlfriend Jane (Natalie Portman) who has taken up Mjolnir and has also become Thor. Together, they go after Gorr while also trying to figure out where they stand with each other.

Thor: Love and Thunder is a really fun film that surreptitiously tackles some hard topics, ending with a positive message that is a breath of fresh air in the age of movie cynicism.

The film poster showing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a meditative pose wearing a mumu in front of a colorful galactical background. Behind him we can see Jane as Thor (Natalie Portman), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Taika Waititi), as well as a ship drawn by two giant goats. Gorr (Christian Bale) is smiling as a floating head above it all.
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Resident Evil (2002)

Resident Evil
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Based on: the video game series
Cast: Milla Jovovich, James Purefoy, Eric Mabius, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Salmon, Martin Crewes, Pasquale Aleardi, Heike Makatsch, Jaymes Butler, Jason Isaacs
Seen on: 14.7.2022

Plot:
The Umbrella Corporation runs a sophisticated laboratory where they do secret experiments. But something goes wrong. Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself just outside of the laboratory without her memories, but with a man, Spence (James Purefoy). Both are quickly picked up by a military unit who are trying to get into the research facility to stop whatever is happening there that seems to have to do with a supercomputer going rogue. Whether Alice and Spence want to or not, they are along for the ride.

I have never seen anything in the Resident Evil franchise, and I decided to give it a go. If I am correctly informed, the films get better after the first. It is hard to imagine that they can get worse in any case.

The film poster showing Alice (Milla Jovovich) with a giant gun and Rain (Michell Rodriguez) in a fighting pose.
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Jurassic World Dominion (2022)

Jurassic World Dominion
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Emily Carmichael, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
Based on: Michael Crichton‘s book (plus sequel)
Sequel to: Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Isabella Sermon, Campbell Scott, Omar Sy, BD Wong, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Scott Haze, Dichen Lachman, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Sam Neill
Seen on: 22.6.2022

Plot:
In a world where dinosaurs have started to roam the earth freely, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) live in a rather isolated location, and with good reason – they are hiding Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon). She is a clone and who knows what would be done to her if she was found. When Maisie is taken along with raptor Blue’s baby, Owen and Claire are desperate to get her back. Meanwhile, Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) enlists the help of Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to investigate strangely mutated locusts. Both Maisie’s disappearance and the locusts point back to the company BioSyn.

The last two Jurassic World films were already rather disappointing affairs, but I’m a sucker for dinosaurs, and when you throw Laura Dern on top, of course I couldn’t resist (despite Chris Pratt’s reactionary self). Was it worth it? I’m honestly not sure, but leaning towards no – Jurassic World Dominion is definitely not good.

The film poster showing the central characters grouped around the iconic Jurassic Park logo: a dinosaur skull against an amber background.
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