Milla Jovovich

Scenes We Love: The Fifth Element

It sometimes seems like Luc Besson‘s name is attached to everything these days. Hardly a week goes by without seeing some new action flick- a Taken here, a Columbiana there- with Besson attached as a producer or writer, but as a director he’s far less prolific. He’s directed a slew of Arthur movies, based off a series of children’s books he also wrote himself, but besides that, the words “directed by Luc Besson” are scarcely seen. So this weekend, which sees the release of the Besson-directed The Family, is a happy occasion (unless you’re Jack Giroux, our own critic who didn’t particularly care for the film). There’s no better time to take a fond look back at one of Besson’s most ambitious and, not coincidentally, most bizarre films: 1997′s The Fifth Element.

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Milla Jovovich stars in Screen Gems

What is Casting Couch? It’s casting news the way you like it: short and to the point. Today Paul Thomas Anderson has decided who he wants as the female lead of his next project, Inherent Vice. Read on to find out who he chose. You can’t make a new Expendables movie without rounding up a new crop of old action stars to join the dream team, otherwise you’d just be making a dumb movie about a bunch of people who have already teamed up, and who wants to dream about that? So, who’s going to be joining Sylvester Stallone’s crew of gun-toting retirees for The Expendables 3? Over the past few months we’ve heard rumors that names like Wesley Snipes, Jackie Chan, and Nicolas Cage were being sought after, and a new report from The Wrap confirms that they are all indeed negotiating to join the film, along with Resident Evil veteran Milla Jovovich, who isn’t quite as old as everyone else in the crew, but who probably gets a pass because she’s a chick. Clearly only men are allowed to look old on camera, so any ladies from the 80s are out.

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The Resident Evil film series has always been a directly self-aware and reflexive property, an aspect that became all the more obvious with the fourth installment, which featured the most knowingly gratuitous 3D spectacle since the format’s digital resurgence began. Part five, the newly released Resident Evil: Retribution, is similarly in your face, both with its use of screen-popping 3D and with Paul W.S. Anderson’s typical straightforward exposition and an action style that’s so clear it’s cocky. Yet there also appears to be a subtext we tend not to expect from these movies, one involving a little girl who metaphorically represents the film itself. This child, Becky (played by 11-year-old Aryana Engineer), is found by series protagonist Alice (Milla Jovovich) in a suburbia simulation within an undersea Umbrella Corp. complex used for trial exercises in mass T-virus infection. Mistaken for the girl’s mother (who was a blonder clone of Alice), the heroine feels a need to protect and save the kid, even if this holds her and the rest of the mission back. And even if it would also seem the girl is barely a legitimate human being. On a superficial level, Becky simply seems to be Anderson’s latest homage to the Alien movies, specifically to the Newt character in Aliens. But unlike Newt, Becky has no significance to any movie centered on themes of motherhood. And why is she deaf? That’s a question I don’t think can be answered solely by the fact that the actress herself is partially […]

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Resident Evil: Retribution represents Paul W.S. Anderson‘s worst tendencies as a filmmaker. Empty, clunky, and ugly, this is Anderson’s most dull picture yet and the weakest installment in an already weak series. Retribution begins shortly after the events of the previous film, Resident Evil: Afterlife. Alice (Milla Jovovich) is shooting quarters off a shipping boat, standing still while simultaneously dodging countless amounts of bullets, and is finally knocked unconscious. When she wakes up — or when her “clone” awakens — she’s been captured and sits isolated in, of course, a very white room in an underground Umbrella Corporation lair. Once she escapes that white room, thanks to a traitor from the inside, Alice has to fight off hordes of the same zombies and beasts we’ve seen her battle far too many times before. However, this time all the battles are done within a virtual dome, which makes no difference whatsoever. She wanders through “New York City” to “Moscow,” and despite the changing environments, all the set pieces stay the same.

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Resident Evil

The Resident Evil series of movies has no special place in my heart and it’s slightly confusing how many there are compared to how many games there are, which characters are which in each installment, and why some characters have developed mental powers. That being said, they’re all pretty watchable in a bad/good battle way. On Friday at San Diego Comic-Con director Paul W.S. Anderson was joined by Milla Jovovich, Mika Nakashima, Boris Kodjoe, Oded Fehr, and Michelle Rodriguez, the latter two who are both returning from the dead for the franchise. What can we expect from what might be – but probably won’t be – the last installment?

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Hey, we’re as surprised as you, but apparently the Resident Evil franchise is still alive and well, and we’ve got an all-new trailer for the series’ eighty-ninth (approximately) entry. For whatever reason, the franchise is still hung up on expanding on Alice (Milla Jovovich) and her past, with the evil Umbrella Corporation continuing to wage mental warfare on our leather be-clothed heroine while the world burns. Here’s a tip – the Umbrella Corporation has totally destroyed Earth and turned most of its population into zombies, Alice doesn’t need to be pissed at them for playing Matrix-y mind games with her, because we’re all pissed off enough with them as is. But at least Resident Evil: Retribution also looks to have more explosions, more guns, and a big-ass monster thing, so that’s cool, too. Also, it’s in 3D, because of course. Check out the latest trailer for Resident Evil: Retribution after the break, and just imagine all that stuff flying at your face.

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Unfortunately for this year’s WonderCon, I was only able to spend one day at the convention. When busting your cherry, convention or otherwise, it is often best to go nice and slow. While I’d have loved to get a few more hours at the convention, which moved to Anaheim, California, this year, I did more than just get my toes wet. Because it was raining. I spent the better, longer part of Saturday sitting in the massive ballroom at the Anaheim Convention Center, just down the street from Disneyland, staring up at a gigantic screen projecting clear images of actors, actresses, writers, and directors which, to my naked eye, were tiny specks about a quarter of a mile away. The panels I managed to get into included Lockout, Battleship, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Resident Evil: Retribution, so let’s all take a look together at the joyous cinematic wonders they had to show!

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Drinking Games

There have literally been dozens of adaptations of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel The Three Musketeers… even more if you count sequels, adaptations of other Dumas books (like The Man in the Iron Mask) and even Peter Hyams’ whackety-schmackety The Musketeer with martial arts fight choreography. Forget Charlie Sheen and the Disney version. This new film features 3D, impossible sci-fi action elements and Orlando Bloom acting as a proper dandy. If that’s not an incentive to drink, I don’t know what is. Being a film about famous Frenchmen, I’d suggest a nice French wine for this movie. Of course, considering it has the flavor of a big, dumb American action film, you’d also do fine with a case of Schlitz.

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The inevitable has finally happened – I’ve confused Resident Evil with Underworld and somehow completely forgotten that there is yet another Resident Evil film on the way. My confusion might just be a mask for basic ennui, but it’s unclear at this point. In any case, look, there’s another Resident Evil film. According to its first teaser trailer, it appears to borrow (pretty loosely) from equal parts The Thing, its own mythology, Dawn of the Dead, and Independence Day, with a dash of The Fast and the Furious hat-tipping (you’ll know it when you see it). I can’t make heads or tails of it, and that’s likely due to two things: one, I haven’t watched an R.E. film all the way through since the first one, and two, this teaser trailer is essentially a Sony ad. No, not like, “oh, there’s a lot of product placement in this trailer!” more like “oh, there’s about 30 seconds of a film trailer in the middle of this Sony ad.” It’s a weird enough move already, and one that will likely be mocked for quite a bit, but what’s even weirder is that, if the trailer is taken literally, it means that the rest of the world in Resident Evil is having a super-fun, technology-connected good time while America smolders into monster-laced ash. So, you know, fun. Check out the first trailer (sort of?) for Resident Evil: Retribution after the break.

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In the new thriller Faces in the Crowd, Milla Jovovich plays the only woman to see the face of a serial killer who is murdering his way through the city. Unfortunately, she suffers from face-blindness, meaning that her ability to recognize her boyfriend is suspect, not to mention her skill at finding a killer in an urban haystack. In this exclusive clip, Jovovich’s character hits the police department after being attacked on a bridge by the madman, only to be received by a gruff detective played by 150% of Julian McMahon and a frazzled assistant who can’t seem to adlib a solid exit line. What’s funny is that you can either watch the clip right here and now, or simply watch the scene as part of the entire film which is available right now on Netflix streaming. Or you can do both:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a frilly lace cravat and some leather boots, grabs his sword and takes a trip to France to become a Musketeer. Unfortunately, he seems to be almost 400 years too late for those kinds of shenanigans. So he hops the English Channel to become a spy with MI-7. Of course, no one told him that MI-7 was actually nothing more than propaganda. So he heads back home for a good night’s sleep, and to make sure that happens, he videotapes himself throughout the house. While he doesn’t witness any paranormal activity, there are many unspeakable things that can be seen on them.

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Dirty Girl is a candy-coated collection of ’80s hairstyles, pop tunes and other sparkly flourishes. Despite the best efforts of Juno Temple, who perfects her standard character — the sullen oversexed young woman — it’s a forced, facile effort. The film takes a premise with promise, in which the titular “dirty girl” (Temple) searches for her long-lost father, and flushes it away in a haze of standard road-trip silliness. It’d be hard to conceive of a movie more painstakingly comprised of dramatic filler than this one, in which nothing of consequence happens until the climax. Danielle and her shy study buddy Clarke (Jeremy Dozier) take off from Oklahoma for California, in the hope of finding the absentee paterfamilias who knows not of her existence. Both misfits are escaping unfortunate home situations: Danielle’s mom Sue-Anne (Milla Jovovich), a former “dirty girl” herself, wants to settle down with the domineering Mormon Ray (William H. Macy). Clarke has it worse. His father Joseph (Dwight Yoakam) abuses him, sends him to therapy and threatens military school if his son can’t repress his homosexuality.

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After reading that headline, fans of J. Scott Campbell’s comic books series “Danger Girl” might have had their heads explode. And even people who don’t know what “Danger Girl” is are most likely now intrigued. Say what you will about the Underworld and Resident Evil series; they’re not great, but they managed to cast leading ladies so appealing that they just keep making money and getting more sequels produced anyways. And now this new action adventure tale looks to take both of those leads, Kate Beckinsale and Milla Jovovich, and have them running around in skin tight outfits together. Plus they’re going to throw in Modern Family’s buxom and charismatic Sofia Vergara for good measure. I’ve maybe never heard better news in my entire life. Does that sound misogynistic? Who cares… hot ladies shooting guns and doing high kicks! Yeah! For the uninitiated, Danger Girl takes the James Bond concept and turns it on its head. We still get the sultry Bond girls, but this time they are the secret operatives kicking all of the ass. Danger Girl Freelance Operations Limited is kind of like the A-Team, but with hot chicks instead of grizzly old dudes and a black guy with a Mohawk. They often run afoul of a group of neo-Nazis called the Hammer Empire, and there’s even an Indiana Jones type mystical relic hunting aspect to their ongoing adventures. Basically, Danger Girl has everything.

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Ambitious. Bold. Serious. Groundbreaking. None of these words can be sanely used to describe the vibe emanating from the trailer for Paul W.S. Anderson’s “adaptation” of The Three Musketeers. This a W.S. Anderson picture through and through. This trailer does a fantastic job at selling a future camp classic in the making, and I don’t even mean that in an ironic way, either.

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Criterion Files

When I write this column, I typically don’t get the opportunity to write about movies from my teen years. I, like many, came into a cinephilic love for art and foreign cinema during college, and in that process grew to appreciate The Criterion Collection. Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993), however, is a movie that’s followed me through various changes in my life for (I’m just now realizing as I write this) about half of my time thus far spent on Earth.

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It’s possible that Paul W.S. Anderson’s The Three Musketeers will be the smartest adaptation of the novel yet. This trailer doesn’t help the odds of that possibility. What it does show is plenty of fighting, some beautiful explosions, and Milla Jovovich awkwardly spinning with Shirley Temple curls in her hair. Hand-cranked flame thrower? Flying war ship? Buckled swash? These are all great things, and this trailer has them in spades and fleur de lis. Check it out:

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Fans rejoice!! Robert De Niro can still act. I know this because he’s been given his most complicated material in well over a decade.

Fans rejoice!! Edward Norton is still one of the most versatile actors we have. I know this because I never questioned his portrayal of a corn-row sporting arsonist with a colorfully street form of Detroit dialect.

Fans rejoice!! Milla Jovovich is more than a zombie killer. I know this because despite De Niro’s best work in years and Norton’s further solidification of top-tier performers Jovovich steals the camera’s attention from both with an impressively complex depiction of a conniving seductress with an innocent outer candy shell.

Stone, if you can’t already tell, is very much an actors film. Each character is given a prominent arc with each’s affective behavior causing changes, or an exposing of something already there under the surface, in each other. Jack Mabry (De Niro) is a parole officer a few weeks shy of retirement when he meets Gerald “Stone” Creeson (Edward Norton), a man serving time for setting the house of his grandparents on fire after they were murdered by one of his friends. Creeson is to be one of Mabry’s final cases before heading off into the sunset and it’s up to him to determine whether he feels Creeson has been rehabilitated and can rejoin society. Creeson, not feeling particularly confident in his relationship with Mabry decides to get his wife (Jovovich) to seduce Mabry to hopefully sway his decision to get him released. This leads to a sequence of emotional turmoil, religious enlightenment and regretful indulgences that are met with uncomfortable revelations.

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This past weekend saw the cinematic glory of Resident Evil: Afterlife pushing past security to get into your local theater even though it was moving slower than an instant replay in a curling match. The absolute atrocity of this film raises a lot of questions, but one of the first and foremost is whether or not directors should work with their spouses in a leading role. Paul W.S. Anderson, who thinks Milla Jovovich is as big an action star as Sigourney Weaver, is also married to Milla Jovovich, and while we can’t prove causation for the low marks in her performance here – we can certainly point to correlation. We can also point to 9 more husband and wife teams in order to find out if working with your legally bound significant other is really such a great idea.

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Resident Evil: Afterlife was awful. On no uncertain terms, it was slow (literally), boring, and had some of the worst action that an action film has put on the screen since Terminator Salvation. Which, of course, means that there will be another one. Not only did the film promise one in its closing moments, the box office take was strong, and Milla Jovovich is promising one. She’s also claiming that the production is talking to fans to get input – so now that you have their ear, what would you want? [Vulture]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr announces that he is quitting his career as a film critic and plans to start a new career crooning to the tunes of Zamphir and his pan flute. Frank Stallone, the less-famous brother of an A-list actor, will be shooting a documentary of the entire thing. However, as one last hurrah, Kevin cracks some knuckles with his ruler and grades the new films this week, Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D and I’m Still Here. (Yes, he is aware that it’s Bella Swan’s birthday this weekend, but haven’t we had enough Twilight for a while?)

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