Resident Evil: Retribution: To add to the Master confusion, if you walk up to the ticket counter and ask for a ticket to the new Paul Anderson movie, you might wind up seeing Resident Evil 5 instead (just kidding: if you walk up to the ticket counter and ask for a ticket to the new Paul Anderson movie, you will receive zero tickets and one blank stare). This is because, for the first time, the almost-identically named directors release movies on the same day, a perfect intersection of high and low culture that have the same name for some reason. I have seen every Resident Evil movie in the franchise's 10-year history (except this one, because obviously it wasn't screened for critics) and I could not pass a test on the events of any of them. Well, maybe if I was given a passing grade for a fragmented, impressionistic essay: Zombies. People get cut into cubes. Milla Jovovich, demurely naked. Then she runs down a wall, or maybe up. Clones, also demurely naked. A pile of Jovoviches. In the third one, a desert, and crows kill Ashanti. The crowd at 19th Street cheers, then gets into fights with each other. Ali Larter is there. Also Michelle Rodriguez. Not at the same time. Jovovich has two guns. Jovovich has two swords. Jovovich dodges things. Some rooms are all white and then some are grimy. Super zombies. More regular zombies. Umbrella corporation is bad.
At the same time, my imperfect memory of the previous Resident Evil movie (which usually ends with the promise of something cataclysmic in the next installment, only to more or less re-set to typical zombie-movie scale by the time said installment gets maid) does not really have an adverse effect on my enjoyment of whatever the newest Resident Evil movie happens to be at the time. They're always positioned in the off-season, lacking the big-ticket goods for a summer (or, and oh man now I want this to happen, holiday!) release, but I can virtually guarantee that Resident Evil: Retribution will be more enjoyable than Battleship, Snow White and the Huntsman, Total Recall, The Bourne Legacy, or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Not exactly high praise, granted, but I saw all of those movies at press screenings, and Resident Evil gets another Screen Gems mostly-cold open (a handful of reviews turned up on Rotten Tomatoes before Friday). Then again, maybe this just makes the series more fiscally responsible; it's almost certainly getting my 14 bucks this weekend.