Double Feature: Varsity Blues (1999) & A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits (2016)

It feels like quite a while since I did a double feature but that might be because I’ve been taking a little movie watching break and binging some more TV that I never happen to write about (but I will, I promise). A bit of a mixed bag here although you could call this a young adult/adolescent pairing? I don’t know when A Cinderella Story for this one takes place. Its usually around the high school phase as well.

Varsity Blues (1999)

varsity blues

Director: Brian Robbins

Cast: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Paul Walker, Ron Lester, Scott Caan, Amy Smart, Eliel Swinton, Ali Larter

A back-up quarterback is chosen to lead a Texas football team to victory after the star quarterback is injured. – IMDB

Those who know me know that I’m a huge fan of Paul Walker, as a human being and truly do miss his presence since he had done some fantastic work in Fast and the Furious as well as other movies. I’m sure that I’ll be doing something in the Sunday Lists very soon. With that said, I haven’t seen Varsity Blues before where he plays the supporting role of Lance Harbor, the injured star quarterback mentioned in the plot summary above. The main character here is played by James Van Der Beek. Going into Varsity Blues blind did give me quite the shock because it is quite an intense film especially in the sense, of how Jon Voight’s character as the coach of the team.

Varsity Blues is quite generic in the coming of age sports film but it shines in its performances and the cast member. The movie also has some pacing issues particularly in the beginning however the second half of the film does redeem itself quite a bit as that is where I was truly invested into the movies. It touches a lot on say the future of the dreams but also brings into other realities of say race and prejudices as well as unreasonable ambitions and doing/fighting for what is right and following your heart instead of what others perceive as your future or the path you should take.

I was a little underwhelmed by the film as its fairly average but the decent performances does make it worth a watch.

A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits (2016)

a cinderella story if the shoe fits

Director: Michelle Johnston

Cast: Sofia Carson, Jennifer Tilly, Amy Louise Wilson, Jazzara Jaslyn, Thomas Law, David Ury, Sven Ruygrok

A contemporary musical version of the classic Cinderella story in which the servant step daughter hope to compete in a musical competition for a famous pop star. – IMDB

I have no idea how these A Cinderella Story is still going on. I think I’m missing like the third one if this one is the fourth one. I do like the Hillary Duff one with Chad Michael Murray which started it all. Its one I watch every once in a while for the obvious reasons that the cast is spectacular with Jennifer Coolidge as the absurd mean stepmother role. The next one after that was Another Cinderella Story with Selena Gomez which I didn’t love but enjoyed since it had some cute moments and lovely dancing and singing moments. I didn’t bother with the third one since I figured this stuff wasn’t worth my spending money on it so to fill up some background noise and uninvested movie viewing, I put this on because I saw it on Netflix. I know no one in this one and its all quite rinse and repeat. There’s some dancing and the opening thing of singing and dancing seems like this female replica of Grease’s Grease Lightning part. However, this one is just bad. The humor is not funny. The acting is meh. The singing and dancing is okay. The story is generic.

It was something of a waste of time but then I mean, as background noise, I guess it fit the bill but I wouldn’t watch it again.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

Whether you are new here or not, I guess I’d like to make sure that before you start this review, you should know that the Resident Evil franchise (as low rated as it is) is one that holds a pretty special place in my heart. While I’m not a huge fan of the second movie in particular, I still think there’s a lot to like in all its cheesy dialogue and over the top action. Plus, Mila Jovovich has made an iconic badass lady with Alice.

Lets check it out!

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

resident evil: the final chapter

Director (and writer): Paul W.S. Anderson

Cast: Mila Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, Ever Anderson

Alice returns to where the nightmare began: The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse. – IMDB

The Resident Evil franchise has gone a long way and has really shed its skin from the survival horror genre that the first movie was about when it was based on the video game with the same name. In many ways, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter being released almost at the same time as the Resident Evil 7: Biohazard game being released seems like a really good movie. Although drastically different in story, both of them somehow turn back a little as they head back into their roots. We’re not here to talk about video games so I’ll put Resident Evil 7: biohazard aside and talk about Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the sixth movie in the franchise and also the wrap-up. If you’ve been following these movies like I have, Resident Evil was a survival horror. It introduced the AI at The Hive and Raccoon City, showed us Alice and her super soldier ways and a bit of her back story, it showed the effects of the airborne virus that attacked The Hive and turned everyone and the immediate aftermath. The wasteland that we see is fantastic. That was the events of ten years ago, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter makes the effort to cover whats happened over the years as it starts. One of the good moves to not only remind the audience of whats happened for those who have visited this franchise before but also help generally understand the situation they are all in and where this story is going in this final instalment.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter doesn’t only go back to its roots as a survival horror. In fact, maybe some might argue that it still is very much about action. I do agree with that but the balance of building the atmosphere of the movie itself and pulling it back towards the story it started in the first movie gives it a good wrap-up. We end things where we begin and in memory of many things. Whether you will find the finale surprising (in some ways, like I did) or predictable, the trip there is a good one. Going back through the familiar tunnels (for old viewers) or the dark tunnels (for the new) create a feeling of dread and danger. The cast emits that feeling and we know that the control isn’t really in their field because we get both sides of the story as Alice and the team she meets who Claire (Ali Larter) is with. Her team is a strong one fortified mostly by their reinforced tower from the undead especially as the main villain of the story approaches, a somehow alive Dr. Isaacs who is the partial owner of Umbrella Corporation who is the person responsible for the world apocalypse, comes with hordes of undead and big guns and giant tanks to put an end to Alice’s rebellion.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Before we talk about our villain, lets get back to our group here that assists Alice. Claire is a familiar face and she stays equally as competent. Her group that she’s with is made up of a few key characters that make it out to infiltrate The Hive. Their actual leader, Doc (Eoin Macken), Razor (Fraser James), Christian (William Levy), and Abigail (Ruby Rose). Ruby Rose seems to be hitting a ton of films in the beginning wave of movies and I’m pretty happy to see that. I’ve expressed how much I like her in both TV Binge of Orange is the New Black and the more recent xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. She is very unique, appearance-wise and gives off a really cool vibe. I liked her character quite a bit. In fact this team altogether is very competent in combat and coordination. One of the best scenes have to go to their tower defense moment against Dr. Isaacs.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

 The villain in The Final Chapter is no doubt Dr. Isaacs. Overcome with greed and whatever big ideas we have as we learn more about what happened, he is a villain that we thought had died but has come back to haunt us. However, nothing surprises us anymore in Resident Evil, especially when we’ve gone through stories of clones before. Faced with a restraint on the actual end of the world to wipe out even if the remaining few survivors, Alice fights to stop Dr. Isaacs. He is a strong villain who has actual fight in him and also a very deadly goal. Aside from him, there is another familiar face in Wesker, his minion in some ways who we face only behind his commands to the Red Queen in defense of The Hive. Then of course, we have the Red Queen, who was a huge part to what made the first Resident Evil rather eerie. What makes The Hive dangerous is not only the return of Red Queen but also the memories of the dangers lurking as protective measures. The Hive is a villain by itself. Of course, those familiar with the franchise also know to expect outrageous monster and creatures formed from the undead and the heavy results of the transformed T-Virus, making them huge and strong.

Overall, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter delivers a decent movie. After so many parts before it, Resident Evil has dropped to something of a guilty pleasure. This final instalment aims to wrap it up. In many ways, it does a good job by giving it a little more plot, balancing it with a good amount of action and adrenaline rush and keeping Alice as bad-ass as she always is. The villains, whether The Hive, Red Queen or Dr. Isaacs is always a threat. And they even try to add in a little something more. For that, I think its a great effort that works. I expected a guilty pleasure fun time with lots of action and bad-ass Alice and I came out getting more than that, plus a sense of the franchise finally having some answers. For me, this worked and probably for those still into the Resident Evil franchise, it’ll work. Whether it’ll end here, who knows, maybe if this does well, we’ll get more. For now, I’m happy with where this one went and the whole journey of it. And if it is the last one, I’ll miss watching Mila Jovovich’s Alice.

Are you fan of the Resident Evil franchise? Have you seen Resident Evil: The Final Chapter?