8:00 PM, 21st May, 2005
In the dying days of the Second World War, the top-secret occult branch of the SS conducted an experiment that could turn the tides of war back into the Nazi's favour. Grigori Rasputin, now a powerbroker within the SS, opened a gate to hell (The HP Lovecraft kind of hell with lots of tentacles and lightning as well as fire and brimstone), but before he could use the portal to his advantage allied forces intervened. One creature did make it through the portal - Hellboy - at the time, a young red creature with horns, a tail and a giant right hand. Rescued by Professor Bloom (Hurt) and raised to fight for the forces of good, alongside other freaks of nature at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence, an adult Hellboy is called to action when a Hellhound named Samael starts running loose through the city wreaking havoc.
Hellboy is one of the rare instances of the "pop culture in a blender" approach to storytelling really paying off. Nazi occult stories, HP Lovecraft, Rasputin, modern X Files meets the X-men and secret government organisations all get stirred into what, for my money, is the best comic book movie yet. The little touches, both background and foreground, that are truly faithful to the comics on which Hellboy is based make this a winner for geeks everywhere. Solid characterisations, great performances and an intelligent, but not convoluted, story make Hellboy a winner for everyone else.
10:00 PM, 21st May, 2005
The "Resident Evil" franchise revolves around the shonky doings of the astonishingly slapdash Umbrella Corporation, whose low OH&S standards mean their viral research always seems to go dramatically wrong, resulting in an outbreak of the walking dead. This time the dead-thing-reanimating virus (yes, the word "zombie" is carefully avoided, for no particularly good reason) has made it to Raccoon City, which is immediately sealed with a honking big fence. Umbrella decides that this is the perfect time to release a big hulking monster called Nemesis for field-testing. Our somewhat amnesic heroine, Alice (Jovovich), fresh from tangling with Umbrella in the last movie, joins up with Jill Valentine (Guillory) and Carlos Olivera (Fehr) to escape from Racoon City. Their only aid is an Umbrella scientist who needs their help to save his similarly endangered daughter before the entire city gets wiped out with a tactical nuclear strike. Yes, I know private corporations shouldn't own nuclear weapons, but just go with it.
Those who liked the look of Oded Fehr from The Mummy movies may be disappointed that he boasts an unfortunate haircut in this film, but those who have liked the look of Milla Jovovich will be pleased that she continues to kick arse in her usual, barely-clad way. In case you've read this far and are still wondering - no, this is not a profoundly intellectual exercise. But it's good fun, from the over-the-top introductions for each of the three leads to the just-as-sequel-ready-as-the-last-one ending.