Posts Tagged ‘Virus’

MOVIE: Toxic Skies (2009)

September 12, 2010

By now, you have likely figured out that whenever movies with names like Toxic Skies start showing up in my review list, I’ve been down south to hang out with my parents, and my mom and I have rented up a big pile of silliness with which to entertain ourselves. Yep, you betcha, that’s what’s happened here, and you can expect a few more reviews like this one coming down the line shortly.  Hurrah!

Holy Moses, I love my mother.

This one we picked up for obvious reasons.  First of all, virus movies are irresistible to science geeks — at least to science geeks like us.  And even more importantly, we both have a serious thing for Ol’ Crinkly Eyes, better known to the world at large as James Tupper.  Nom nom, YUM!

Unfortunately, while this movie started off sort of intriguing, its attempt at being a bit unique (for a virus movie, anyway) eventually ended up getting in its way, culminating in a storyline about a jet fuel/governmental conspiracy that made little sense and an outbreak of the plague we mostly just found dull.

The conspiracy theory part involved the government’s attempts to get rid of nasty chemicals by putting them in jet fuel and letting airplanes burn them off high up in the skies.  Seems like a solid plan, except for the part where gravity brings the heavier-than-air fuel gases raining down on everyone below, wiping their immune systems out almost completely.

Tupper’s character, the one who brings the conspiracy to light for the doctor played by Anne Heche, says this is what explains the increases in autism, cancer, and other awful illnesses across the country over the last ten years.  And it’s why, all of a sudden, the city of Spokane, Washington, where the story is set, is suddenly dying from the plague, a disease that is completely treatable these days under normal circumstances.

The problem with this theory is that if the jet fuel were having this effect on the entire country, as Tupper suggests, wouldn’t there be gazillions of deadly outbreaks all the time?   Or at least at roughly the same time?  And wouldn’t it be far more likely that, if the chemicals were wiping people’s immune systems out, they’d all be dying of the flu/pneumonia long before anything as obscure as the Black Death got them?

Oh, heavens to Murgatroyd, it was just kind of dumb.  I’m sure you’re catching onto that.

Nevertheless, James Tupper is one helluva good-looking fella’ and even though he’s not, unfortunately, nearly as good at acting as he is at looking delicious, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for it.  Or for this stinker either.

I do miss Men in Trees, though.  Sigh.

[Netflix it (including Watch Now) | Buy it at Amazon]

Genre:  Disaster, Virus
Cast:  Anne Heche, James Tupper, Daniel Bacon, Barclay Hope

MOVIE: Doomsday (2009)

April 22, 2010

I saved this movie to my DVR about eighteen months ago, when we first got DirecTV and had three months of free HBO.  I kept meaning to watch it and never getting around to it, until last night when I decided enough was enough.  Turns out, never getting around to it was probably the way to go.

This movie, directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent and Dog Soldiers, the second another movie I keep meaning to watch and never getting around to; the first one I enjoyed overall but had some serious beefs with), is about a killer virus nicknamed  “Reaper” that, as the story opens, has infected most of Scotland.  There’s no cure, there’s no vaccine, there’s nothing that can be done except die.  And so, in an attempt to protect themselves and the rest of the world, England makes the decision to wall off the entirety of Scotland, using super-high steel-plated gates stretching the length of the land border between the two nations.  Anyone trying to cross the wall (or fly/boat out) is immediately killed, no questions asked.  Except for one — a little girl whose mother hands her off to some British soldiers about to leave Scotland for good (always one  ol’ softie on the chopper, huh?).  This little girl, it turns out, is about to become our movie’s heroine.

Cut to about thirty years later, and Scotland is a dead nation, still in isolation, while England, cut off from the rest of the world by disgust (their methods not having been globally approved of) has slipped into a recession so deep it’s led to massive ghettos, debilitating poverty, and urban over-population.  The little girl from the helicopter is now Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) of the Department of Domestic Security, a bad-ass with a computerized fake eye.  When an outbreak of the virus suddenly strikes London, the Prime Minister decides there are only two options:  wall off London and let everybody die, or send Sinclair and a team into Scotland to find survivors who might hold the key to a vaccine or cure.

They opt for the latter, naturally, and here’s where the movie goes from intriguing to (Mad Max + Riverworld) x (The Road – Viggo Mortensen).  The team crosses into Scotland and finds themselves immediately surrounded by a gang of survivors, dressed in rags, leather, and spikes with incongruously high-maintenance hair (Scotland suffered from dramatic shortages of food and cloth, apparently, but clearly no shortage of pomade and razors).  They end up killing most of Sinclair’s team, taking her hostage to find out what she’s up to and how she was planning to escape the wall back to civilization.

When Sinclair learns that one of Scotland’s most famous scientists is still alive on the inside — a man who had been working on a cure 30 years ago — she decides she has to find him.  He becomes the quest.  But before we get there, we must first sit through endless, repetitive scenes of shoot-outs and car chases with the mohawked rebels, lots of predictable political nonsense, and a whole mess of ridiculous dialogue.  Not to mention incessant doot-doot-bonk-bonk style synth music, which apparently Marshall thought would add dramatic suspense to (every single moment of!) his film.  But which instead primarily sounded like it had been scored by me at age 14 with my Casio.  That is no compliment, sir, even if I have been playing the piano since I was five.

Do the good guys win?  Oh, sort of.  I guess it depends on what you mean by “win.”  If you’ve read down this far, and you watch these sort of things, you already know how this one ends.  It ends with me rooting for the virus to win, and hoping there’s a sequel that features the H1N1 swine flu virus wiping the entire cast into oblivion.  Doomsday II:  Oi!NK. (Ha ha, get it?  Oi!, the British exclamation?  Shut up, that is HILARIOUS.)  Now THAT’D be a movie worth recording to the DVR.  Hop to it, SyFy Network.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Virus, Science Fiction
Cast: Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Caryn Peterson, David O’Hara