It’s a tough week to be a film fan. Friday’s three wide releases have all received a frosty reception from critics, and one may even pose something of an ethical dilemma. We have a pick of the week regardless, although admittedly it is heavily influenced by personal bias; did we mention that the Resident Evil movies are a guilty pleasure of ours?
A Dog’s Purpose
A Dog’s Purpose was a movie that no one cared about until a little over a week ago, when a video emerged courtesy of TMZ that seemed to show poor treatment of one of the film’s animal cast members. Hercules is a German Shepherd who appears in the movie and, in the filming of an action scene, is shown to be forcibly dragged into rushing water despite an obvious attempt to resist. The video goes on to show the dog submerged entirely under the water, as panicked crew members rush to assist him.
The video has sparked outrage from PETA who have called for a boycott of the movie, and the negative publicity led to the cancellation of the film’s planned premiere in Los Angeles. Producer Gavin Polone has expressed regret at the incident and attempted to minimize the damage to the film’s reputation, while production company Amblin Entertainment has called attention to the fact that Hercules is currently “happy and healthy”.
Still, the video has thrown the box office prospects of A Dog’s Purpose into uncertainty, as it remains unclear how many people will be put off by the footage. The film follows the story of a dog named Bailey (voiced by Frozen star, Josh Gad), who is reincarnated as a different breed every time he dies — and reunited with his original owner soon after. It’s a run-of-the-mill sentimental family film, but one struggling in the shadow of the disturbing leak.
Since his Oscar win in 2013 for Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey has had trouble finding a quality starring vehicle. His previous two live-action roles, The Sea of Trees and The Free State of Jones, were both released to little fanfare and this week’s Gold looks to follow suit.
The movie depicts the events of the Bre-X mining scandal of 1993; McConaughey plays an unsuccessful businessman named Kenny Wells, who teams up with a geologist to find a huge gold deposit in the jungles of Indonesia. Early reviews for Gold have varied between mediocre and outright negative, with McConaughey’s performance the only consistently praised element of the movie. The actor altered his physical appearance significantly for the role, a similar tactic to what gained him his Oscar win four years ago.
Hardcore McConaughey fans may find some entertainment here, but reviews advise any potential audience members to keep their expectations low.
Pick of the Week – Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
This weekend, the (supposedly) last entry in the long-running Resident Evil film series finally hits theaters. These movies have never been a favourite of critics, and it seems unlikely that this installment will change that. However, the films have acquired something of a cult fanbase over the years regardless, for their ridiculous action sequences and tongue-in-cheek stories. We here at Movies & Cool Stuff will admit to being shameless members of said fanbase, and that is why Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is our pick of the week.
For the sixth instalment, the action returns to where it all began: Raccoon City. Milla Jovovich is back in the role of Alice, to put an end to this catastrophic zombie outbreak once and for all. She has help in the form of a ragtag group of survivors, some of which are returning characters from previous entries in the series, although if the trailers are any indication Alice is doing most of the heavy lifting.
If nothing else, it will be fascinating to see Paul W.S. Anderson attempt to write his way out of the ridiculously wide-scale destruction of the previous movies. Our only looming concern about this entry is in regards to its high potential for a cliffhanger ending. Indeed, every film in the Resident Evil series thus far has had either a very open ending, or an outright action-packed cliffhanger. We can’t shake the feeling that Anderson could take the easy way out, and end the series with similar ambiguity. We’ll know soon enough.
What are you planning to see this weekend?