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Catch-Up Capsule Reviews for Films Screened the Week of 9/21/2007:

Resident Evil: Extinction



Rated R | 95 mins


     Resident Evil: Extinction is enough to make one hate what filmmaking has come to. Unlike the creators of the recent Across the Universe, a picture which used advancements in cinematic technologies to create an innovative final product, the minds behind this film employ impressive visual effects as an excuse for them to be lazy when it comes to creating a cohesive narrative. Unfortunately for them, the unequivocal truth that interesting visuals are only able to succeed when backed by a solid story still pertains to mindless video-game adaptations like this one. Resident Evil: Extinction is flashy, shallow, and derivative of nearly every picture about the Undead that has come before it. Its proponents—mainly stoned teenage boys—might argue that these are the only characteristics that it wants to embody, but doesn’t that just make the movie all the more depressing? Frankly, director Russell Mulcahy should be embarrassed that all protagonist Alice (Mila Jovovich) has to do in this third installment of the franchise is run around and wonder if the plot that she’s a part of makes a lick of sense. Not to mention, the aforementioned visuals that he tries to use to compensate for this aren’t unlike those already seen in the first and second Resident Evil films. An upcoming fourth picture in this rotten series seems to be inevitable given this entry’s already-impressive box office take; let’s pray that it somehow finds greater artistic success than its predecessors.


Good Luck Chuck



Rated R | 96 mins


     Good Luck Chuck is one of the most juvenile films made in years and, as a result, fails to engage the rational adult viewer on even the most basic of levels. For the movie, screenwriter Josh Stolberg drafted a crude, trite script that would only tickle the funny-bones of bawdy teenage audiences. Unfortunately for him, the abundance of immature sexual content present led to the movie being slapped with R-rating by the MPAA, barring the aforementioned target-demographic from seeing it. As a result, Good Luck Chuck has been marketed to more mature audiences as a comic love-story, a far cry from the truth. This is yet another painfully boring “raunch comedy” that finds the bulk of its humor in characters falling over and engaging in bizarre sexual positions, hoping desperately that its audiences are too inebriated to realize the lack of inspiration behind the material. Nearly as yucky as the script are leads Dane Cook and Jessica Alba, who come off as downright sleazy more than often than they do lovable losers. The movie’s only source of redemption is Dan Fogler as supporting character Stu, a superficial plastic surgeon whose fast-talking vulgarity actually achieves a sort of poetry because of the way the actor delivers it. On nearly every other count, Good Luck Chuck is an unfathomably puerile nightmare, a brainless and occasionally excruciating exercise in comedic inanity.


In the Shadow of the Moon



Rated PG | 100 mins


     Always informative, usually entertaining, and occasionally inspiring, In the Shadow of the Moon is yet another strong affirmation of the fact that the documentary is alive and well. The film chronicles America’s late-1960s quest to put a man on the face of the moon. The viewer is introduced to the initial goal as set forth by the Kennedy Administration, and then shown the completion of the seven Apollo missions later sent to land on the alien planet. For younger audience members like me, the experience functions as a highly informative look into a crucial piece of contemporary American history. Viewers who lived through the events documented in the picture will likely find it more involving on an emotional-level. All ticket-buyers will find the movie’s dazzlingly pro-American themes, conveyed first-hand by the astronauts and NASA-workers involved (primarily Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins), to be uplifting and entirely welcome. In a season of treasonous downers such as Paul Haggis’ In the Valley of Elah, In the Shadow of the Moon’s simple view of a united and hopeful America reminds one of the great things that the people of this country are able to accomplish when thrust into extraordinary circumstances.


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