Archive | November 2021

Resident Evil Welcome To Raccoon City Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

The excitement was palpable for this movie. I have loved the world of Resident evil for as long as I can remember. When a new game drops it feels like and event. I even love the animated films and can have some fun with some of the Anderson films. So, it goes without saying after the trailer dropped, was counting down the days. So, lets take the trip back to Raccoon City and see how well they did, shall we.

Synopsis

The movie kicks us off showing Claire as a little girl, at the Raccoon City Orphanage. Being awaken in the middle of the night. Seeing someone hidden in the far end of the room. Someone she has seen before. Waking Chris in the process who tells her it is in her imagination and tells her to go back to bed, but she goes looking for her. Tracking her down in a tent. Learning her name is Lisa Trevor, when she reads the medical tag on her wrist and she lives below. When she crawls into the tent, Doctor Birkin pulls her out. Asking why she is up when Chris gets her out of trouble, with a sleepwalking excuse. Back in bed and she opens her eyes. Seeing the doll from the tent and a good look at Lisa. When she screams, we jump to her waking up as an adult. Getting a ride from a truck driver. Who lectures for screaming in her sleep and wanting to go to Raccoon City. Which is becoming a ghost town since Umbrella has been in the final process of moving out of town. Taking his eyes off the road to make a pass and grab her leg. Missing a woman stumbling out into the road and runs her down. Claire jumps out and rushes to her aide and while she is trying to calm the driver down to help move the body. She gets up and stumbles away. Not realizing she disappeared till the dog gets out and runs to the spot. Lapping at the blood. The driver pulls him back, telling Claire to either come or stay, but he is leaving. Cutting to Leon where he is just waking up and falls back to sleep at the diner. Where Wesker sets a ketchup bottle on his head for a bet with Jill to knock off, which she does and wakes him back up. Learning that he was transferred from his last job, thanks to his Dad, on the account of shooting him in the ass. Jill sticks around when everyone leaves to wish him luck and assure him it will get easier, and we see the Waitress has blood coming from her eye. Meanwhile, Claire gets dropped off, and while she is walking away., The dog starts turning and bites his hand. Back with Claire she arrives at Chris’s house. After the creepy neighbors staring and closes the blinds. Allowing her the freedom of breaking in. Seeing pictures of Chris as an adult standing next to Birkin. Chris comes down for a not so warm reunion. Seems Claire had runaway five years prior after spouting conspiracy theories about what Umbrella was doing. Getting worse when she tells him what happened with the woman and shows him a video of a reporter explaining that Umbrella is leaving because of years of polluting the water and now something worse had gotten out and what was left of the city was doomed. After a brief cutaway to Birkin getting a phone call and he gathered his family to leave. A siren goes off, telling the civilians to stay indoors. Chris gives her money, telling her to lock up when she leaves and goes off to the police station. When the neighbor woman appears at the back door. Writing out the words, Itchy, Tasty on the door and he kid comes through the front. Hiding under the table. Claire asks if they need help, but they say she is the one who needs help. Before Mom crashes through the door. Claire manages to fight her off. Getting to the bike outside and speeds off to find her brother, while the city erupts into chaos.

Review

I was a little worried when I heard they were mashing the events of the two games together. A lot of events to cover, but they really made it work for them. Never feeling like there was any wasted motion. Great pacing and always excited to see what was happening when they shifted from one character to the next. Escalating to a surprising conclussion.

While there was some excellent fan service, from Jill having lines like Jill sandwich and referencing the giant snake and spider. The truck Driver with his burger and brought the Mansion and Police Station to life in a beautiful way. They also made some changes to the lure and the story and for the most part, worked fantastically. The fan service bringing you to a familiar world, with slight changes that, for the most part (we will talk about a bad one later) but kept you surprised as to what may happen. Having the helicopter crash occur at the mansion and Sherry be found by Jill and Chris, instead of Claire. How they handled Wesker and Irons, but my favorite might have been with Lisa. One of the most tragic stories in the franchise and was nice to see her have a bit more. Could see Claire as a kid getting close enough to bond with the likes of Lisa and great scene of Lisa taking down a Licker and in the end, having the friend in Claire.

They had a really dark and gritty feeling that suited the world of Resident Evil. Loved they took the zombie transformation back to a more painful and twisted transformation instead of an abrupt one, with stuff like Itchy and tasty. Going heavy on the gore and mutations. All of which was a lot of fun and G-Birkin looked great.

The cast was spectacular. Kaya Scodelario had a fair amount of screen time and she killed it in her portrayal of Claire. Being my favorite character in the game, was excited over how well she did. Marina Mazepa was awesome as Lisa, with her hunched over movements and way she spoke. Robbie Amell not only channeled a lot of young Chris Redfield, but also looked a lot like him too. We didn’t get a lot of time with Neal McDonough’s Birkin, did excellent with bringing who Birkin is and I am really looking forward to see where Tom Hopper can take Wesker from where this ended. While, Avan Jogia did do a good job with what they had him doing with Leon, the problem being….

I hated what they did with Leon. He really was just a punching bag or the butt of the joke for most of this movie. It got to the point of where it was just sad, especially when he slept through the truck, flipping over and exploding in front of the police station while he is at the front desk. Great scene mind you, but expecting more from Leon S. Kennedy. Not expecting him to come off as action hero he would come across as later, but little better direction than this.

A bit more mixed, was the sound and it wasn’t just on me, but a friend I brought with me brought it up as well, where a times this sound gets to loud. It wasn’t throughout, but at certain points they could have dialed it back a few decibels a bit. Small nitpick, but when it happened, it got jarring.

So, what’s the final thoughts here? Floating between high B and low A. On one hand, I really didn’t like what they did with Leon. Could have been a better in between they could have gone with. On, the other, they did a lot of things right. You can tell they really do care about the world of Resident Evil. Entwinning fan service, with changes that did work, and most of them did work and it does far out weigh the negative. I want to see more come from this and hope the likes of Jill and Leon can get more in sequels. I do suggest going to check this out in theaters, for it has a lot to offer, especially for fans of the games. Final grade – A –

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As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Ghostbusters Afterlife Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**Spoiler Warning**

And here we are. The newest installment in the Ghostbusters Franchise. A series that may not be very high on my must watch list. Have always enjoyed them for the most part. The first one being a solid all around classic, the second having its moment and even the third has its dumb fun moments. So, I went in knowing that no matter what, should be at least entertained. Now, that I have watched, lets dive in and discuss shall we.

Synopsis

The movie kicks off with something going on in a mountain, and we see a shadowed Egon being chased. Making it to his farm. Attempting to lure the ghost into a trap, but it goes wrong. Managing to hide another trap before the ghost catches up and kills him and we make the jump to his family. We see his Daughter Callie, single Mother of Phoebe and Trevor. Trevor being typical 15 year old while Phoebe is 12 and tearing apart the apartment electrical wires. The landlord shows up and despite her best efforts. Explaining her Dad died and she can get him the rent shortly, is evicted. Leaving the only place to go is the farm. While they are looking through the house, Janine showed up. Not only saying there was no money, but massive amount of debit and the farm. After, going out to eat, where Trevor lied about his age to get a job… to be near a girl. Phoebe’s chess board is knocked over and when she wakes up the next day, a pawn had moved. Moving a knight she goes off to school. Meeting her teacher Gary Grooberson and fellow student, Podcast. After a jaunt with Trevor at work, we see Phoebe talking to Grooberson about the Earthquakes that had been happening. Since they are not on a fault line or volcano. There shouldn’t be any but they have been happening daily. After class, Podcast leads her up to the mountains when she says she doesn’t believe in ghosts. showing her the etches in the side of the mines. Of some very familiar figures. When she does make it back home, finds the opposing Knight had been moved. Moving another, sees a piece move on its own. Going back and forth, when the devise she found starts to go off. Following it and the lights turning on. Leading her to the Living Room and a spot on the floor. Where she uncovers the hidden Ghost Trap. Taking it to school where Gary sees and geeks out over it, especially, when he realizes that it is not a replica. Telling them the story of when the ghosts attacked Manhattan and how there hasn’t been a ghost sighting since. Showing them the video of the Ghostbusters and Phoebe learning that her Grandfather was Egon Spengler. Deciding to open it, they wire it to a School bus and when it opens, we see what appears to be one of Gozer’s demons launch itself out and flees into the Mountain. Leaving Phoebe to start digging into what is happening and why her Grandfather was really out here for and that is why it is out here.

Review

They did a great job putting this story together. Weaving a solid mystery story for the kids to unravel while discovering who their Grandfather was. Re-learning who the Ghostbusters were. They didn’t ignore the events of the first movie and people accepted that ghost were real, for the most part. Since there hasn’t been the sighting the memory just faded and no one cared. Which was a lot better then they had faked it. Along with a good enough reason to bring Gozer back, with this being the spot for their return and they were about to rise in New York since the metal used in the apartment, came from this mine.

I thought the way they handled Harold Ramis’s Egon was really special and woderfully. It was strange going with Egon’s family. I get why, but out of the four, would have bet that he wouldn’t have had one, but they did a tremendous job at channeling his energy through Phoebe. Could really believe that this would have been Egon at that age. Have Egon be this great guy at the end who sacrificed everything, including his family to try and save the world and the end fight can definitely hit you in the feels. They even cut top black at the perfect moment. Stellar dedication to the late great Harold Ramis.

Think they did a great job on the look and feel of this movie. Having a real feel of eighties nostalgia. Going with a little town in Oklahoma helped with that a lot. Going with practical effects when they could was the right call. Although the Cg looked really good too. You can say they had a bit too much fan service at times, but I don’t think that was a problem. Most of which got a chuckle or response out of me and most of the people in the theater I was in.

The cast ranged from solid to excellent. Mckenna Grace did an awesome job as Phobe. Like, I said, really channeling Egon into her role. A socially awkward child who was trying her best to fit or ease the tension with bad jokes. While showing her strengths by taking the fight to ghosts and standing up to the likes of Gozer. Logan Kim did a great job as her friend Podcast. Being a great supporting character who got behind her and strong enough to stand on his own at the same time. Making for a perfect team. Emma Portner killed it as Gozer. Bringing out the same motions and aura as Slavitza Jovan had. Interactions with Phoebe were really entertaining and loved when she interacted with the original cast. Carrie Coon put a lot of energy and passion into Callie. Could feel her trying her best to raise two kids who are each pulling in their own direction and doing her best. Along with her on pain of not having her dad and only knowing him as the guy who left. Paul Rudd is funny in just about everything he is in and this role was certainly not different. While I didn’t care too much about Trevor at first, Finn Wolfhard did a solid job as Trevor. Which is perfect Segway to….

My only mixed take and that was I really didn’t care about Trevor at the start of this movie. I really just wanted to by pass the Trevor and Lucky stuff at the start because all the fun stuff was happening with Phoebe, Podcast and Gary. It’s apart of the mixed because this could very well change after another watch, but could also stay the same. Which is why it’s mixed and could very well be more on me then the film.

In closing, this movie did so much right. Provided an interesting story, good character work, and good mystery. Serving as a great installment to the Ghostbusters franchise and with what the post credit scene showed. Looking for a potential follow up and would suggest going out and checking it out at the theater. Final grade – A +

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As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Army of Thieves Review

By Paul Anthony

2021 is a very interesting because not too many years have a film that is released and then its prequel just a few months later but that is exactly what happen. We had Army of the Dead but now we have it’s prequel Army of Thieves. Now much like the first film, this film was a Netflix film. Now this film wasn’t directed by Zach Snyder which to me made it seem like it would be a improvement. This film was directed and starred Matthias Schweighofer who reprises his role as Ludwig Dieter, now in this film it is revealed that his real name is Sebastian Schlencht- Wohnert. Filming took place in Germany and the Czech Republic from October of 2020 to December 2020. Which two months seems a bit short for a movie that is just over 2 hours long. Like always let’s talk about the plot.

The film begins with Sebastian and we learn that he lives a boring life as a bank teller. But before he starts his days at the bank, he makes YouTube videos on how to crack safes. However he doesn’t get a lot of views or comments. One day, he notices that he has one comment and that comment tells him about a meet up point which he goes to and learns that it is a safe cracking challenge. At first he seems over whelmed but by the end of the night he’s very cocky but wins the challenges and learns it was a scouting mission to join a team and the teams goals are to crack the three safes that are at three different banks that were created by the Legendary Locksmith Hans Wagner. As the movie goes on Ludwig does show off his skills and begins to fall in love with the leader Gwendoline who does fall for him as well but once the mission starts to fall apart Ludwig learns that the goal of the team was once they open all three safes, they were suppose to drop him from the team. After Ludwig out runs the police and learning of the betrayal he goes home but Gwendoline reveals she doesn’t want the money but the fame of finding the missing safe was more important than the money but also as the movie goes on Ludwig start to see zombies that aren’t there, however just as things seem to be right, they get caught but Gwendoline makes sure Ludwig escapes which he does and goes to California and the rest is history.

Okay, if your going go away from a zombie heist movie to just a heist movie then you are going to have to bring more to the table which this film does not. The comedy part was a bust as well because the jokes fell flat. Not every character should have a spin off and a character that barely had lines in the first film shouldn’t have gotten their own film. We had very little character development in my eyes, so in the end I am giving it just 60 percent or a D for rating, even if you did like the first film you wouldn’t like this film.

AEW Full Gear 2021 Predictions

By: Justin Hopkins

My hype for this Paper View has been steadily growing every week. From some excellent matches being made and some promos adding fuel to each of them. A stacked card with some match of the year candidates and a two plus year story of Hangman Adam Page. They have set the stage for Full Gear and I have no idea on several of these matches, but I am going to try my best to put on the booker hat and see f I can predict who walks away with the W. Lets dive in shall we.

Inner Circle vs American Top Team and Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky

So, lets get this one out of the way. I don’t really care to much about this rivalry. Built on cringe promos and would have seen a TNT Championship match. Although am a little excited to see what Junior Dos Santos can do in the ring. Really, just can’t wait for this one to end. Expect Inner Circle to get the last laugh over Lambert to close it out.

Winners – Inner Circle

Christian Cage and Jurassic Express vs Superkliq Falls Count Anywhere

Have we seen Jurassic Express vs The Kliq one too many times? Probably. Am I still excited? Absolutely. They have got so much great chemistry and with the addition of Falls Count Anywhere adds so much potential that they will take full advantage of and I have no real idea who walks away, cause they can really go anyway here, but going to work along the lies of, bad night for The Elite. Just hope this is the last time we see these two teams collide for a little bit.

Winners – Christian Cage and Jurassic Express

Darby Allin vs MJF

Oh the promos have been so nasty from MJF and I love it so much. These two really are two have such a bright future ahead of them and can be a rivalry that carries on for years to come and sure the AEW Heavyweight Championship will be involved down the line. Maybe down the line, the hero walks away victorious, but not on this day.

Winner – MJF

CM Punk vs Eddie Kingston

We knew the promo work between the two of them would have been incredible and they have not only not let us down, but blew it out of the water and made something incredible. The promo they had on Rampage was wonderful and made this a must watch. These two are going to make even more magic in the ring and could make the argument that may be the most anticipated match of the night by the time Saturday gets here. While I would love to see Eddie win this one, think we are saving Punk’s first lost for someone else.

Winner – CM Punk

Bryan Danielson Vs Miro

Before I get into this. I want to give a massive shout to Jon Moxley. From us at SmashWriting we send our support and love his way as he recovers from his addiction and gets healthy.

Miro has been a highlight of AEW this year. From his matches and especially, his promo videos, and now he is on the verge of full out war with his god it has some how gotten even better. Then you got Bryan Danielson. Who seems bent on taking up an entire top ten matches of the year list on his own. These two are going to put on a clinic that could go anyway, but I fear if I don’t pick Miro he will find me.

Winner – Miro

AEW Tag Team Championship Match – FTR vs Lucha Brothers (Champions)

This match is just going to rule. Two of the top Tag Teams in the world. Masters of different styles that blend so well together off the back of the talent of all four of them. With FTR beating them for the AAA Tag Team Championships though and we are still a bit too early into the tag run. Think the Champs are taking this one.

Winner and still Champions – Lucha Brothers

AEW Women’s Championship – Tay Conti vs Dr. Britt Baker (Champion)

So, the build up hasn’t been the best, but not taking anything away from these two women. Going to go out their and put on a clinic. Tay is going to look super strong, but don’t see the D.M.D train ending anytime soon.

AEW Heavyweight Championship Match – Hangman Adam Page vs Kenny Omega (Champion)

The feeling around this match is incredible. Telling the two plus year story of Hangman. Way he came out wanting that belt and the emotional toll it took when he failed. The story of friendship, rock bottom and finding new friends who helped him believe in himself again. I have reviewed movies that didn’t brother to have this much depth and emotion that this story arc has brought us and a reminder of why I love wrestling. At the end of the match, can’t see how Hangman doesn’t get his hand raised at the end, but the real prediction is…will he kick out of the One Winged angel and… I think he does.

Winner and new champion – Hangman Adam Page

As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

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