Saturday, May 31, 2014

Movie Question Archives

Movie Question Archive
There are several questions pertaining to film that I want to ask my readers. This column is also another way to get my readers more involved in my blog. Whenever I can, I ask a movie question and wait for a response. These questions will vary and will be fun for my readers. Here are the archives for my Movie Questions.






Who Played It Best? Archives

Who Played It Best Archives
Since April, I have decided that I wanted to allow my readers to be more involved in my blog. To help that need, I created a weekly blog called "Who Played It Best." Each week, I put together a list of actors who played the same part, and my readers have all week to vote who played it best. A week later, a winner is announced. It has been really fun so far, and I hope it continues to be fun. Here are all the past polls for the column.







7. Who Played It Best? Willy Wonka (5/28/2014)

8. Who Played It Best? Catwoman (6/4/2014)

9. Who Played It Best? The Joker (6/11/2014)

10. Who Played It Best? Albus Dumbledore (6/18/2014)

11. Who Played It Best? Perseus (6/25/2014)

12. Who Played It Best? Wyatt Earp (7/2/2014)

13. Who Played It Best? Superman (7/9/2014)

14. Who Played It Best? The Karate Kid (7/16/2014)

15. Who Played It Best? Freddy Krueger (7/23/2014)

16. Who Played It Best? Rooster Cockburn (7/30/2014)

17. Who Played It Best? James Bond (8/6/2014)

18. Who Played It Best? Alfred Pennyworth (8/13/2014)

19. Who Played It Best? John Shaft (8/20/2014)

20. Who Played It Best? Vito Corleone (8/27/2014)

21. Who Played It Best? James Rhodes (9/3/2014)

22. Who Played It Best? The Punisher (9/10/2014)

23. Who Played It Best? Jean Valjean (9/17/2014)

24. Who Played It Best? Spock (9/24/2014)

25. Who Played It Best? Francis Dolarhyde (10/2/2014)

26. Who Played It Best? Michael Myers (10/8/2014)

27. Who Played It Best? Father Merrin (10/15/2014)

28. Who Played It Best? Jack Torrance (10/22/2014)

29. Who Played It Best? Norman Bates (10/29/2014)

30. Who Played It Best? Joe Douchett/ Oh Dae-Su (11/5/2014)

31. Who Played It Best? Conan The Barbarian (11/12/2014)

32. Who Played It Best? Magneto (11/19/2014)

33. Who Played It Best? Obi-Won Kenobi (12/3/2014)

34. Who Played It Best? Raiden (12/10/2014)

35. Who Played It Best? Carrie White (12/17/2014)

36. Who Played It Best? Danny Ocean (1/7/2015)

37. Who Played It Best? General Robert E. Lee (1/14/2015)

38. Who Played It Best? Harry Osborn (1/22/2015)

39. Who Played It Best? Sabretooth (1/28/2015)

40. Who Played It Best? Ren McCormick (2/4/2015)

41. Who Played It Best? Lisbeth Salander (2/11/2015)

42. Who Played It Best? Robert Neville (2/18/2015)

43. Who Played It Best? Douglas Quaid (3/4/2015)

44. Who Played It Best? Major Bennett Marco (3/11/2015)

45. Who Played It Best? Robocop (3/18/2015)

46. Who Played It Best? Paul Crewe (3/25/2015)

47. Who Played It Best? Annie (4/8/2015)

48. Who Played It Best? Daredevil (4/29/2015)

49. Who Played It Best? Jonathon E. (5/6/2015)

50. Who Played It Best? Quicksilver (5/21/2015)

51. Who Played It Best? Max Rockatansky (5/27/2015)

52. Who Played It Best? Hannibal Lecter (6/10/2015)

53. Who Played It Best? Agent K (6/25/2015)

54. Who Played It Best? B.A. Baracus (7/1/2015)

55. Who Played It Best? Jack Ryan (7/8/2015)

56. Who Played It Best? Two-Face (7/15/2015)

57. Who Played It Best? Ra's Al Ghul (7/22/2015)

58. Who Played It Best? The Fantastic Four (8/21/2015)

59. Who Played It Best? Kahn Noonien Singh (9/3/2015)

60. Who Played It Best? Jed Eckert (9/16/2015)

61. Who Played It Best? Steve Jobs (2/10/2016)

62. Who Played It Best? REMATCH! Batman (8/31/2016)

63. Who Played It Best? Lois Lane (9/8/2016)

Hall of Fame
Michael Keaton- Voted Best Batman

Chris Pine- Voted Best James T. Kirk

Mark Ruffalo- Voted Best Hulk

Margaret Hamilton- Voted Best Wicked Witch of the West

Andrew Garfield- Voted Best Spiderman

Charlize Theron- Voted Best Evil Queen

Gene Wilder- Voted Best Willy Wonka

Michelle Pfieffer- Voted Best Catwoman

Heath Ledger- Voted  Best Joker

Michael Gambon-Voted Best Albus Dumbledore

Harry Hamlin- Voted Best Perseus

Kurt Russell- Voted Best Wyatt Earp

Christopher Reeve- Voted Best Superman

Ralph Macchino- Voted Best Karate Kid

Robert Englund- Voted Best Freddy Krueger

John Wayne- Voted Best Rooster Cockburn

Roger Moore- Voted Best James Bond

Michael Caine- Voted Best Alfred Pennyworth

Richard Roundtree- Voted Best John Shaft

Marlon Brando- Voted Best Vito Corleone

Terrance Howard- Voted Best James Rhodes

Thomas Jane- Voted Best Punisher

Hugh Jackman- Voted Best Jean Valjean

Leonard Nimoy- Voted Best Spock

Tom Noonan- Voted Best Francis Dolarhyde

Tyler Mane- Voted Best Michael Myers

Max von Sydow- Voted Best Father Merrin

Jack Nicholson- Voted Best Jack Torrance

Anthony Perkins- Voted Best Norman Bates

Choi Min-sik- Voted Best Lead of "Oldboy"

Arnold Schwarzenegger- Voted Best Conan The Barbarian

Ian McKellen- Voted Best Magneto

Alec Guinness- Voted Best Ben Kenobi

Christopher Lambert- Voted Best Raiden

Sissy Spacek- Voted Best Carrie White

Frank Sinatra- Voted Best Danny Ocean

Martin Sheen- Voted Best General Robert E. Lee

Dane DeHaan- Voted Best Harry Osborn

Liev Shrieber- Voted Best Sabretooth

Kevin Bacon- Voted Best Ren McCormick

Noomi Rapace- Voted Best Lisbeth Salander

Will Smith- Voted Best Robert Neville

Arnold Schwarzenegger- Voted Best Douglas Quaid

Frank Sinatra- Voted Best Bennett Marco

Peter Weller- Voted Best Robocop

Burt Reynolds- Voted Best Paul Crewe

Aileen Quinn- Voted Best Annie

James Caan- Voted Best Jonathon E.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson- Voted Best Quicksilver

Mel Gibson- Voted Best Max Rockatansky

Mads Mikkelsen- Voted Best Hannibal Lecter

Tommy Lee Jones- Voted Best Agent K

Mr. T- Voted Best B.A. Baracus

Alec Baldwin- Voted Best Jack Ryan

Aaron Eckhart- Voted Best Two-Face

Liam Neeson- Voted Best Ra's Al Ghul

Ioan Gruffudd Voted Best Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara Voted Best Invisible Woman, Chris Evans Voted Best Human Torch, Jamie Bell Voted Best The Thing

Ricardo Montalban- Voted Best Kahn Noonien Singh

Patrick Swayze- Voted Best Jed Eckert

Michael Fassbender- Voted Best Steve Jobs

Michael Keaton- Voted Best Batman in REMATCH

Overlooked Film of the Week Archives

Overlooked Film of the Week Archives
The "Overlooked Film of the Week" is a weekly column centering around a particular type of movie.

Each year, movie fans are greeted by an avalanche of new movies a year, and yet those fans rarely see advertising or comments on 50% of those films. This column is dedicated to shining the light on films that do not receive the amount of advertising and attention as the Oscar-bait films and the studio blockbusters do. This column is committed to arthouse films, festival films, foreign films and films that just altogether slip under the radar for this reason or that reason. With so many new films getting released every year, there needs to be light shed on them, particularly the good films. Just because you haven't seen ten commercials for a particular film on television doesn't mean its not worth your time and attention. This is the archive for each of the Overlooked Films of the Week I have done for my blog. Each new film will be added here.









9. "Sound of Noise" (2010) (6/13/2013)

10. "I Melt With You" (2011) (6/23/2013)

11. "The Experiment" (2010) (6/28/2013)

12. "God Bless America" (2012) (7/6/2013)

13. "Take Shelter" (2011) (7/10/2013)

14. "The Bay" (2012) (7/15/2013)

15. "I Saw The Devil) (2010/2011) (7/24/2013)

16. "Moon" (2009) (8/1/2013)

17. "Pitch Perfect" (2012) (8/8/2013)

18. "Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil" (2010) (8/15/2013)

19. "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" (2001) (8/25/2013)

20. "High Fidelity" (2000) (8/29/2013)

21. "Four Lions" (2010) (9/4/2013)

22. "Another Earth" (2011) (9/15/2013)

23. "Detention" (2012) (9/18/2013)

24. "Bronson" (2008) (9/25/2013)

25. "Grave Encounters" (2011) (10/2/2013)

26. "The Pourkeepsie Tapes" (2007) (10/10/2013)

27. "V/H/S" (2012) (10/19/2013)

28. "Audition" (1999) (10/27/2013)

29. "Hanna" (2011) (11/2/2013)

30. "V For Vendetta" (2006) (11/5/2013)

31. "Miami Vice" (2006) (11/15/2013)

32. "Gone Baby Gone" (2007) (11/24/2013)

33. "The Raid: Redemption" (2012) (11/30/2013)

34. "Sideways" (2004) (12/4/2013)

35. "The Wackness" (2008) (12/15/2013)

36. "Man On Fire" (2004) (12/22/2013)

37. "Traffic" (2000) (12/29/2013)

38. "Where The Wild Things Are" (2009) (1/5/2014)

39. "Catfish" (2010) (1/12/2014)

40. "The Punisher" (2004) (1/15/2014)

41. "Safety Not Guaranteed" (2012) (1/26/2014)

42. "Searching For Sugar Man" (2012) (2/1/2014)

43. "Mulholland Drive" (2001) (2/10/2014)

44. "Short Term 12" (2013) (2/14/2014)

45. I took a second look at "High Fidelity." Silly me, I wrote about some films twice (2/23/2014)

46. "Red State" (2011) (3/2/2014)

47. "The Kingdom" (2007) (3/9/2014)

48. "10 Years" (2011) (3/13/2014)

49. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" (2005) (3/30/2014)

50. "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" (2008) (3/30/2014)

51. "The Silence" (2010) (4/1/2014)

52. "Memento" (2001) (4/13/2014)

53. "Lawless" (2012) (4/20/2014)

54. "Silent House" (2012) (4/27/2014)

55. "The Dirties" (2013) (5/5/2014)

56. "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" (2010) (5/11/2014)

57. "Grindhouse" (2007) (5/18/2014)

58. "Watchmen" (2009) (5/26/2014)

59. "Team America: World Police" (2004) (6/1/2014)

60. Insidious (2010) (6/8/2014)

61. Drowning Mona (2000) (6/15/2014)

62. Cloverfield (2008) (6/28/2014)

63. Boiler Room (2000) (6/29/2014)

64. Public Enemies (7/6/2014)

65. Smashed (2012) (7/13/2014)

66. Unbreakable (2000) (7/21/2014)

67. Miss Bala (2011) (8/3/2014)

68. The Town (2010) (8/3/2014)

69. Runaway (2010) (8/10/2014)

70. Clerks II (2006) (8/17/2014)

71. The Intouchables (2011) (8/25/2014)

72. Escape From Tomorrow (2013) (8/31/2014)

73. Somewhere (2010) (9/7/2014)

74. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) (9/14/2014)

75. American Psycho (2000) (8/21/2014)

76. Quantum of Solace (2008) (9/28/2014)

77. The Conspiracy (2012) (10/5/2014)

78. Paranormal Activity (2009) (10/12/2014)

79. Toy Story of Terror (2013) (10/19/2014)

80. Sinister (2012) (10/26/2014)

Look here every week for new "Overlooked Film of the Week" reviews!

Devil's Knot Review

Devil's Knot Review
The Memphis Three case of 1993 was disastrous event in the early 1990’s. If you are unfamiliar with the event, it went like this. In 1993 in West Memphis, Arkansas, three eight-year-old boys were mysteriously abducted. The boys were found dead the next day, from brutal sexual violence. The town’s religious community and police department were convinced that the boys victims of a satanic cult due to the manner of their murder. A month later, three teenagers named Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley Jr. were arrested and charged with the crime. Misskelley, who was mentally handicapped, confessed the murder after four hours of interrogation. The three boys were quickly charged with the crime, despite vowing their innocence. The boys hired top forensic workers to prove their innocence, but the judge found them all guilty anyway, Baldwin and Misskelley were both sentenced to life, and Echols was sentenced to death. It wasn’t until 2011 when their case was re-opened and a new judge examined the evidence, and the boys were allowed to walk free.

“Devil’s Knot” focuses on the story of the Memphis Three. It has a great cast, which includes Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Dane DeHaan, Mireille Enos, Bruce Greenwood and Kevin Durand. Sadly, despite the great cast and interesting storyline, there is absolutely nothing that sticks with “Devil’s Knot.” This is a criminally straightforward movie that takes away all the tension, confusion and overall emotional drive out the movie entirely. Instead of looking at a professional, Hollywood movie, this is a community theater interpretation at best. The actors all seem determined to give good impersonations of characters, instead of becoming the characters themselves. The script by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson is a wallow. It is completely devoid of the tension and excitement required to make a movie like this special. The direction Atom Egoyan is completely misguided and without merit.

Witherspoon plays Pamela Hobbs, one of the mother’s of the missing children. While I have liked Witherspoon’s work in the past, she was totally wasted here. It seems Witherspoon is just going through the motions of a “concerned mother” instead of becoming a real character; nothing about her performance is unique, nothing raising the bar on characters similar to hers in the past. It seems Firth is trying to be equally boring as Ron Lax, a private investigator brought into the crime. I have also liked Firth quite a bit in the past, but he is also very much wasted in this movie and seems completely lost in the film at times. Both Greenwood and Enos give some of the best performances of the movie, but their characters are so pedestrian, so straightforward, so boring that it is hard to register with them. Greenwood plays the judge handed the case while Enos plays a West Memphis resident who plays a big part in getting the teenagers convicted. Their actions are so self-aware that Egoyan should have given them mustaches to twirl. They both feel like cartoon villains more than actual characters.

If you like movies like this, then I suggest checking out “Conviction” from 2010 starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell or “Zodiac” from 2007 starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. Both films also have to do with true stories about wrongful incarceration and unsolved mysteries and both are much better in their efforts. It is possible for directors to still milk suspicion, tension and excitement from a story that could easily be research online or at the local library. That skill is obviously missing from Egoyan. If you want something about The Memphis Three check out the documentaries “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills” from 1996 or “West of Memphis” from 2012. Both do a much better job of bringing the story to life and are much more insightful to this movie. That is another big problem with the film, it doesn’t bring anything worthwhile to table. It is just a lazy, straightforward adaption, featuring nothing concrete and nothing I would return to again for pleasure.

FINAL GRADE: D

Friday, May 30, 2014

Blue Ruin Review

Blue Ruin Review
I always love a good revenge flick. I don’t know what it is about the average revenge movie that punches my clock every single time I sit down to watch one, but I do enjoy them mostly. It always depends on how well they are made, but the great revenge movies of our time are great. I have always been drawn to people who stand up for what is right, when they try to catch the bad guys with dignity, but that dignity doesn't work, so they must turn to their dark side for satisfaction. I believe in an “eye-for-an-eye” world. I certainly don’t believe in killing and I always have faith in our justice system, but if somebody tried to hurt my family, or my girlfriend or anybody particularly close to me, there would be a crater in the Earth after I was done with them. I always find it intriguing when a character is left up to nothing but what is inside themselves and that has always been cool.

Most revenge movies put their characters in extraordinary situations and sometimes those situations are so extraordinary that the film comes off hokey. Sometimes I can get taken out of a movie when an ordinary person becomes a superhuman person at the drop of a dime. I think that is part of the reason why “Blue Ruin” so much. This is a movie that takes the revenge genre and completely smashes the audience in the face with it. This is the grittiest revenge movie I have seen in quite awhile, full of atmosphere and tension and a sense of realism. The film treats its characters with respect and really creates an engrossing situation out of its story. I especially liked how the main character never becomes ungodly after falling so deep into the situation revolving the film. The film plays true and tense throughout, which made the film stick out compared to other films of its kind in recent years.

The film follows Dwight (Macon Blair), and when we meet him he’s a dirty mess. He’s hair and beard are both overgrown, he lives in cars, he has unkempt clothes and appearances. Whatever has happened to him, it has truly taken affect over his entire life. When a police officer picks him up, they tell him that somebody has been released from prison. Whoever has been released from prison, Dwight is immediately fascinated by them, and he goes on a mission to find the man being released. The man Dwight has been looking for is named Wade (a mystery man, I can’t find a name for the actor anywhere), and Dwight finds Wade at a homecoming party at a bar. It is at Wade’s homecoming party when Dwight brutally murders Wade.
Think I just ruined the film for you? Hardly.

Dwight soon realizes that he is completely and utterly in over his head. Wade’s family is full of crazies and they go after Dwight after what he has done. So Dwight must hide his loved ones and prepare for the war that he has brought on himself. The movie is full of twists and turns and even though we have seen similar twists in movies like this, it feels fresh and absolutely parallel to the film’s context. The work done by Macon Blair is riveting, and he gives the “man on the mission” character new life. Blair spends the first half of this film not talking, but investigating and lurking, planning for his attack. Its great work and I hope to see more of Blair in the future. I also liked his small stretch of film with Ben (Devin Ratray) who helps Dwight at a crucial time in the movie. Ratray does equally strong work in the movie.

If I have anything against the movie, it’s that it takes WAY too long to get going. There is quite a bit of build-up to the large finale at the end, but I am sure the entire journey to the end-point was fully necessary. Still, I love the energy of the film; I love the yearning to be something else, to take the genre to the next level. If this movie reminds you of anything, it will surely be The Coen Brothers’ “No Country For Old Men” from 2007, lots of the same tension and atmosphere was captured in both films and I think they both work in their own way. For that reason, “Blue Ruin” is absolutely worth your time.

FINAL GRADE: B

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Equalizer trailer

The Equalizer trailer
I always love Denzel Washington the most he's an amoral sonofabitch. Sure, the guy is highly charismatic and he is capable of alarming range, but when he's an evil mode, that's when he's the most fun to watch. Director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington collaborated on "Training Day" back in 2001 and that is still one of my favorite cop movies. Yes, its gritty and dark but its still absolutely effective as a movie. I am hoping for something similar when Fuqua and Washington regroup for "The Equalizer" out in theaters this September.

The film looks like a shameless rip-off of 1994's "The Professional" but oh well. The atmosphere of the trailer is captivating and Denzel is punishing with his actions and his words. That is motivation enough to go out and buy a ticket on opening weekend.


Visit that website above to check out the trailer because Youtube is being a poopy pants. Trust me, it is well worth your time.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This Is Where I Leave You trailer

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU TRAILER
Shaun Levy has made some bad movies over the span of his career, and when somebody has so much bad in their career, they inevitably form a  bad reputation. Director Shaun Levy definitely has a not-so-good reputation. I mean look at "Just Married" or "The Internship" or "Cheaper By The Dozen" not exactly the examples that spring to mind when I discuss good, modern comedy. These are not the examples I use when I suggest comedy. No matter whose reputation is on the line, I have committed myself to giving every director the benefit of the doubt, no matter how bleak their career looks. "Real Steel" felt like a big left turn in Levy's career and I think Levy definitely benefited from it.

The first look at "This Is Where I Leave You" hit the internet today and it already doesn't look like the typical Levy comedy, which is definitely a good thing. I also like that he is working with greats like Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Adam Driver, and Corey Stoll. He's got a great cast and I hope this movie ends up being as good as it looks. We shall find out in September.


Who Played It Best? Willy Wonka

Who Played It Best? Willy Wonka
"Who Played It Best?" will be a weekly poll on my blog. Each Wednesday, I will collect a group of actors known for playing the same character in the movies. You will have the entire week to vote for who you felt played the character the best. I will announce the winner next Wednesday.

One of my earliest, fondest memories is watching "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory" for the very first time. I don't think I can name one thing that didn't draw me into that film as a kid. I loved the song numbers, I loved the characters, I loved the sets, I loved the effects, I loved the props and costumes, the oompa-loompas, everything you can imagined I loved, and I still love it today. My most favorite piece of that film and my most beloved memory of that movie is the work by Gene Wilder. He was the best comic actor of his generation, by none. No matter what movie he's in, whether its gracious or terrible, he gives it his all. What was interesting was how he stretched himself in the role without coming off phony. He is reserved in some parts and not completely slapstick-happy. Even though he paints Willy Wonka with broad strokes at times, he is also shockingly human at moments. Willy Wonka is easily the biggest slam-dunk of Wilder's career. It was so good that I had hoped that nobody would ever touch it again. I never came out and declared that it shouldn't happen, but I had hope.

In 2005, Tim Burton made a remake of the movie, called "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I guess I shouldn't call it a remake. Both "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory" in 1971 and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in 2005 were both based on the book by Roal Dahl. In a modern age, if anybody could give Dahl's book a pleasant redo, it was Tim Burton. Burton has always been about bringing the weird and the strange onscreen, and that's exactly what Dahl's book was, weird and strange. Bringing his old pal Johnny Depp onboard as Willy Wonka. Willy Wonka is a strange character and I think both Depp and Wilder both portrayed that strange-ness well. But I wonder who played the role better, Johnny Depp or Gene Wilder.

My Two Cents
This will be another decision that boils down to what you like most and what type of film speaks louder to you. Do you like the ultra-strange landscape of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, or do you like the weird yet family fable landscape that Gene Wilder created. Even though both films came from the same book, the film's couldn't be more different from each other. The 1971 film is easily a movie for families, something inspiring and uplifting. The 2005 film is slightly more faithful to the book and is a typical Burton film. The performances by Depp and Wilder are different because they both fit into a different context. I felt both films worked in their own contexts, but they are very different from each other. I personally prefer Gene Wilder's performance, I like how controlled Wilder's performance is, I like how he able to display several different emotions at once, I also liked how he was able to show lots of range within two hours of screen-time. I feel Depp's performance is a typical Depp performance for the most part. There are some nice beats true to Dahl's vision, but its also a typical Depp. I felt the role made more of a challenge for Wilder and I think Wilder really ran with it, and I feel Depp was too comfortable in the role and it doesn't take off like it should.

Which version of the character do you prefer? Do you like the dark-edged, strange humor of Depp or do you like the overwhelming, ranged-filled Wilder performance? Let me know by next Wednesday. You can start voting today. You can email me (bloggershawn@gmail.com) or just simply leave a name in my comments section below.

LAST WEEK: WHO PLAYED IT BEST? THE EVIL QUEEN
Last week, I took a look at 2012 and the two Snow White movies which came out that year. Two of the biggest names in Hollywood took on the Evil Queen. Much like the Willy Wonka movies, these two portrayals of the Evil Queen were different from each other, but a winner was crowned. The best Evil Queen is...
Charlize Theron!

GET YOUR VOTES IN BY NEXT WEDNESDAY SO WE CAN DECIDE WHO THE BEST WILLY WONKA WILL BE!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jurassic World Image

The production of a fourth "Jurassic Park" has been on the table at Universal for quite some time now. I remember reading script reviews for a fourth film idea back in 2005. I remember a very early idea for it was that group of humanoid dinosaurs would form a mercenary team and going around kicking ass and taking names. As crazy as it sounds, that was the forming idea and there is proof everywhere on the net. I do not know how much "Jurassic World" will resemble that crazy script, but I hope this movie can entertain and show us something different.

"Jurassic World" is being tightly kept underwraps, but a photo from the set has been released today. Its not much of anything, just a little tease.

We do kind of know that "Jurassic World" will entail a brand new theme park opened to the public. So I suppose it would be fitting for a veterinary service to be at hand at a theme park full of dinosaurs. We don't know what any of this means yet, but it will be fun to realize.

Jurassic World hits theaters June 12, 2015.

Sources:

Rant!



Tonight, I was originally going to drop a big rumor pertaining to the upcoming "Batman vs. Superman" movie, (or should I say "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" the official title?) but something else has caught my attention and I need to get this out. I need to say what I need to say. I think there are people that are becoming increasingly unreasonable. Some of you are not going to like what I have to say, and I will possibly get tons of heat for what I am about to say. But let it be known that I have never been a person to tow the line. I have my own mind and sometimes my opinion on certain things drives me away from the majority. That is part of the reason why I started this blog, so that my voice could be apart of a mix. With my voice I understand that it needs to be heard, even if I know I could burn myself, even if it means that people will reject what I have to say. I think I am bringing up something important, I wouldn't waste my time with it if I didn't think it was important.

Last night, I was reading some quick movie news before going to bed. I came across a dozy of a rumor. I read that there are faint rumors that Australian actor Callan Mulvey might be playing The Joker in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" in 2016. If you don't know Callan Mulvey, I am sure you will soon, he's had a hell of a year so far. From appearing in "300: Rise of an Empire" and "Captain America: The Winter Solider," he's already becoming a prominent supporting actor in big blockbusters, and it seemed fitting for him to join another one for 2016. Mulvey also had quite the career in Australia before appearing in American blockbusters. Even though Warner Brothers has made it clear that Mulvey is playing an original, made-up character for "Batman vs. Superman" the rumor mill is in overdrive, declaring Mulvey as the next Clown Prince of Crime. Mulvey is obviously not stating anything concrete as usual, but if he's playing a made-up character in the sequel, why all the secrecy?

Callan Mulvey

I was planning to write about this rumor tonight, and I already couldn't wait to put fingers to the keyboard. Then I scrolled down and read comments about the news, and I could hardly believe what I was reading. So tonight I am going full-on rant. I feel my feelings toward this issue have been brewing for years and listening to people talk about this issue has turned my stomach quite a bit. I really need to get my opinion out there. 

People on the comment section of the article I read were very vocal about not wanting to see The Joker appear in the upcoming sequel. Not because there are already too many characters in the sequel, not because they didn't like the idea of Mulvey playing The Joker, but because of Heath Ledger. I find the notion of never, ever seeing The Joker onscreen ever again because of Heath Ledger very disheartening and I want to take this opportunity to explain why.

First of all, we have absolutely no idea who Mulvey is playing. If the WB and Zak Snyder and Mulvey himself are saying he's playing an original creation, then perhaps he's playing an original creation. If this is just a rouse to keep people off of the scent, then I don't know why people are automatically pointing to The Joker, there are hundreds and hundreds of cool characters in the DC mythology that haven't received a big-screen treatment yet, so maybe there is a big character we are not even thinking about, someone out of left field that could make the film cooler. We just don't know, and that mystery is half the fun. I understand that it is fun to theorize, and I am not knocking the notion. But there could be big character we aren't thinking of that Mulvey could be playing and I think that option should remain open.

Second of all, the biggest consensus I read online was "Nobody should play The Joker ever again because Heath Ledger owns the role." To that I say no. Heath Ledger never bought the character from DC comics, therefore he does not own the character. I understand that the quote is code for "I think Heath Ledger played the part well." and I would agree with that. I think Ledger created the best Joker onscreen to date, but does that mean nobody should ever attempt to play the part? Why is the role so sacred to Ledger and Ledger only?

Oh, I see what happened. Ledger died abruptly in post-production and that was a big deal. I am still not convinced that Hollywood should create a hands-off policy for The Joker character. Ledger rocked the role no doubt. But Ledger isn't bigger than The Joker, The Joker is bigger than every actor in Hollywood. The Joker was around long before Ledger was born and The Joker will be around for years to come. If there is a stone-cold fact about life, its this: The grass is greener on the other side. Someday a basketball player will be better than Michael Jordan, someday a swimmer will win more gold medals in the Olympics than Michael Phelps. Its the way of the world, and we might as well get used to it. Batman is a cash cow in Hollywood and I firmly believe that there is plenty of mileage left for the character on-screen, and The Joker has always been a big part of Batman's story. So if there is a good story to tell in movie form about Batman and The Joker, then I believe it should be made. Regardless of who came before in the history of movies.

Third of all, the next big argument is "No matter who plays The Joker next, they will won't outdo Heath Ledger." To that, I say are you fucking kidding me? So does that mean you've seen every single actor in the world attempt the character, every actor of every age from every country in the world? Short answer, no you haven't, nobody has. So how can anybody know for sure that whomever plays The Joker next won't do something truly special with the role? That is gullibility at its best and I hate to sound like an asshole for saying it, but that's exactly what it is. I don't know if I watch movies wrong, but I watch movies to be entertained. If I took so much time comparing what somebody in the past did with a certain character to what somebody is doing now, I'd probably have a heart attack. I don't see any enjoyment in constantly comparing and contrasting what actors do in their roles, and I don't see how you can ever be happy with actors playing pop culture characters at all. If you are this uptight about an actor playing a cultural icon, then perhaps movies are not your thing and you should find something else to do with your time.

In closing, whether Callan Mulvey is or isn't playing The Joker, one thing is for certain, I feel bad about whoever puts on the clown make-up and purple suit next. Instead of people being intrigued and drawn to the next possible portrayal of the biggest pop culture villain of all time, people are meeting it with open scorn because its not Heath Ledger. Instead of rejecting the character altogether, why not tell ourselves "Hey, Heath Ledger was good. But let's see if anybody else can accept Ledger's dare. Let's see if anybody has the balls to try and raise the bar that Ledger set. Let's see what this actor can do with the role." Always remember that nobody on Earth is bigger than any character who has been around for several decades. So we shouldn't treat them like they are, I feel Ledger is rolling in his grave right now over all this banter. Also remember that Universal Studios hasn't stopped production on the "Fast and Furious" franchise because of Paul Walker and Lionsgate isn't halting "The Hunger Games" because of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Tragedies happen, people we love are lost, but the world keeps spinning. What happened to Heath Ledger was sad, I am not discrediting that one bit, but it doesn't mean The Joker should be affected in anyway because of his passing. If Callan Mulvey is The Joker, then I wish him the best of luck and I hope he can do something with the part that nobody expects and I hope he entertains us. Movies are entertainment, and they should not be seen as anything more.

If you want to read more about The Callan Mulvey rumor: click here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Overlooked Film of the Week- "Watchmen" (2009)

Overlooked Film of the Week- #58

Watchmen
The superhero genre has become second-nature to both film fans and the general audience alike. Back in the 1970’s, the 1980’s and even the 1990’s, seeing a superhero movie was an event. It was something that felt special, simply because we barely saw them. The only place to really see superheroes was in the pages of comic books. I certainly understand why, the visual effects needed to pull off some of the powers were not up to par with what we have today, plus they had to be really expensive. Since the 2000’s though, the genre has really took off and now not one year goes by without at least three superhero movies being released. Some say that is awesome, others say it is an over-saturation. My feelings toward the genre fall somewhere in the middle, these characters are our new fable figures, real icons of American pop culture. Since Westerns have gone down in popularity, a different genre had to take the charge of reminding us why our country and culture are so great, and it seems that the superhero genre has filled that void. Also since the 2000’s, Hollywood has decided to sellout on everything that sparks popularity. I don’t think it’s just superheroes that are over-saturated, but fantasy, fairy tales and the need to reboot everything that had a hint of cultural relevance gets tiresome. No matter how you look at it, superheroes on film are not going anywhere anytime soon, so let’s enjoy what we can for right now.

Watchmen by Alan Moore is the best graphic novel ever written. Lots of comic readers and comic lovers would tell you the exact same thing, because it is true. I do not usually through the big “B-word” out like that often, but I find it hard-pressed to find anything else as monumental as that story. I wrote a paper back in college about why I believe that graphic novels can and should be taught in English classes, and Watchmen was a story I drew lots of inspiration and example from for that paper. It is a story that changed the comic’s landscape forever, changed how we look at superheroes and their manners, their identities, their personalities and what it means to be a hero. Comic book stories have never looked the same since Alan Moore’s defining story and I think that really means something. Watchmen is utterly transcendent, dense with storyline, rich with imagination and detail. This is a story that not only comic lovers can appreciate; it’s a story that the average person could read and enjoy.

My personal feelings toward the story made me believe that Watchmen was “unfilmable” (Yep, I made up a word strictly for this review.) and Alan Moore himself thought so too. Moore also wrote V For Vendetta and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, both of which got adapted into films. No matter how hard to read through the credits of those movies, you won’t find Moore’s name anywhere. He doesn’t believe in his stories being adapted into films, he has always believed that some stories just do not transfer well to another medium and he has always been critical of his books and their film adaptations. Funny, since Warner Brothers had been trying to make a Watchmen movie since 1991. For the longest time, I thought Watchmen would not transfer to film very well. I also didn’t think that director Zak Snyder (director of “300,” “Sucker Punch,” “Man of Steel” and “Dawn of the Dead”) was the man for the job. I thought his need to over-stylized everything would be the film’s undoing. No matter how critical I was about the choices Warner Brothers made in order to get this movie on its feet by 2009, I was ready and willing to see the movie that year.

In 2014, I think “Watchmen” the movie is an interesting one. It’s full of great energy and captures wonderful atmosphere. I would not call it a great movie though, and that is mainly due to my feelings about the book. I am still not convinced that Watchmen can be successfully adapted into a movie. The story is just so dense with detail and those details are important, simply paving over them doesn’t quite work. Still, I think “Watchmen” the movie is worth seeing. In the superhero movie climate we are living in right now, it’s a fine example of going outside the box. The comic book version of this story did not follow the superhero norms established in the 1930’s and the movie certainly doesn’t either. I think Zak’s style works in some parts of the movie, but not in others. Because “Watchmen” doesn’t feature Spiderman or Iron Man or Superman or Batman or any of the other big guns, it can be easy for the movie to slip from memory. I think it is an important building block toward where the genre has been heading since 2009; I think it is important example of how a superhero movie can be different from the rest of the herd. For these reasons, I think it is worth checking out.

The story-line is simple. “Watchmen” takes place in an alternate universe where the existence of masked vigilantes has been known since the 1930’s. Also, some changes to our actual history are intact here, i.e. The USA winning the Vietnam War and President Nixon granting unlimited terms for presidents. Around the 1960’s, an act came into power outlawing masked vigilantes, some agreed and others did not. The movie picks up in 1986, and the USA is edging toward a third world war with the Soviet Union. The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), an ex-vigilante has been mysteriously murdered, and one of his old colleagues, Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) plans to find out who killed him and why. The Comedian was never your average hero though, and he garnered many enemies over his time as a hero. Regardless, Rorschach finds all of his old hero buddies to help solve the mystery. This includes The Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), Silk Spectre (Malin Ackerman), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), and Dr. Manhattan (Billy Cudrup) the only person with actual superpowers. The group soon finds out that something possibly more sinister is happening as more ex-vigilantes disappear, and they plan to find out what.

I love how Zak Snyder chose to cast this movie. It seems that he really went after the “right” actors instead of just filling the film full of A-listers. Going the popular route could have probably meant more money at the box office, but I think something would be missing that Snyder desperately needed for his movie. In fact, in both 1991 and 2005, the cast was supposed to be full of A-listers. Check out the picture below on how different the casts would have been:

See what I mean? I think Morgan, Haley, Ackerman, Goode, Wilson and Cudrup all do stellar work in their roles. These are not your average superheroes, they have specific human issues that are just never highlighted in standard comic books, I like how serious this cast took their characters. The actors who stick out are Jackie Earle Haley and Billy Cudrup. Rorschach is a Batman without morality or conscience, so you can probably understand why Haley was so perfect for the role. I love how Haley gleefully relishes the role and makes Rorschach a true presence like he was in the comic book. Billy Cudrup had a tough role to play as Dr. Manhattan. If you can imagine Superman with no kryptonite, that’s Dr. Manhattan, he is a nuclear God pretty much. Billy Cudrup showcases relenting power as Dr. Manhattan and really creates an awesome character. I can’t talk about the cast without mentioning Carla Gugino, who plays Sally Jupiter, Silk Spectre’s mom. She is deeply affected by The Comedian’s death (for reasons I won’t spoil) and Gugino sells every bit of her character. Gugino is an actress I have found underrated for years, and I hoped that this would be a big break for her. She is a rare talent, who really creates memorable characters and such is the case here.

I also liked how Zak used music in the movie. We span several decades in Watchmen and that means that there was a lot going on in those decades, including music. I think the songs Zak chooses and how he matches them to a scene is nearly-perfect. Take the opening credits scene for example; it’s one of the best opening credit sequences ever. We get a quick history of the world of Watchmen in the sequences, all the while Bob Dylan’s “The Times Are A-Changin’” plays in the background, there is a lot of information thrown at the audience in the scene and the song compliments it well. I also loved how Zak used “Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix or “99 Balloons” by Nena or the haunting scores by Philip Glass (the Philip Glass music used during the "history of Dr. Manhattan" scene still gives me chills). I like how Zak was able to capture entire decades through music and how much it elevated the scenes.

Like I envisioned, I think Zak’s over-stylized nature was a dud for the action scenes. If you pick up a copy of Watchmen and read it, there seems to be no style intended for the fight scenes. They are supposed to be realistic; they are supposed to be gritty and pulpy. They are not supposed to be exciting or stylized, which is what Zak did with them. We have to remember that the world of Watchmen is a world where all but one of the superheroes has superpowers. So to treat the fighting scenes as if they do is an odd creative choice. I also felt that, due to time restrictions, key information and key emotional beats were excluded. (The Comedian does not cast the shadow over the whole story like he does in the book, and that was disappointing.) Even in a three-hour movie, this film never felt like “Watchmen.” Had Zak Snyder taken this cast and made a mini-series out of it that could have probably been to remember. I feel Zak understands “Watchmen” but it never completely showed with his movie and I think he could have done better with a mini-series. There is probably a good reason why “Game of Thrones” is a television series and not a movie franchise, sometimes stories are so dense with story and detail that a three-hour movie doesn’t do them justice. I firmly believe that is the case with “Watchmen.”

Still, I believe “Watchmen” is still worth a look. I may warn how Zak could not fully translate this story to movie-form, but there is still so much he got right. The story is still vastly different from the average superhero movie and how the drama and performances affect you will be surprising. I still think the movie is an important milestone to how the superhero genre ended up where it is today, so for that, give this movie a look if you like the superhero genre at all. I think you’ll at least appreciate what Zak Snyder and company did with the classic comic book.

The Essentials- "Saving Private Ryan" (1998)

The Essentials-#58

Saving Private Ryan
I apologize for being absent from my blog for so long. I think you all will understand that we had a nice three day weekend. Even though I write on this blog for free and absolutely nothing but passion drives this blog, even I like a little vacation time. My girlfriend and I went back to my hometown and visited with my parents. It was good time to just chill and not do anything important for a few days. But now it is time to get back at it, as I am behind on my two weekly columns. I think it is quite fitting that I close this Memorial Day weekend with a review of the classic war movie, “Saving Private Ryan.”

I am seen quite a few war movies in my life, American history, world history, you name it. That is what happens when your father is a history buff; you become something of a history buff yourself. I am still awaiting my teaching license for the state of Illinois, and once I get it, I will be certified to teach American and world history to grades 5 through 12. Some people like to say that history means nothing and we could wipe it entirely from our education curriculum and nothing would change. I wholeheartedly disagree, history is important. I could write all night long discussing the merits of knowing history, but I promise to be brief. We wouldn’t know where we came from and we wouldn’t know how to shape this modern world without history. That is the biggest merit I could give without completely boring my audience. So by being a big history guy myself, I love it when Hollywood can blend a history lesson with entertainment. Such is the case with “Saving Private Ryan.”

On Wednesday, during the latest entry of “Who Played It Best?” I was discussing how Hollywood is notorious for releasing to movies, within months of each other, with the exact same premise. In 1998, both Steven Spielberg and Terrance Malick released two epic movies set during World War II. Both films featured ensembles featuring outstanding casts, both a murky cinematography that really enriched the visuals and each film told potent stories. Out of the two WWII films to come out that year, my personal favorite was Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan.” “Saving Private Ryan” is a grand highlight in Steven Spielberg’s career, coming from the guy that gave us “E.T.” and “Jaws” and “Jurassic Park,” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Schindler’s List” and “Minority Report” and “Indiana Jones” and “The Color Purple” and “The Adventures of Tintin” and “Amistad” and “Catch Me If You Can” and “Lincoln,” that says something. That really, truly says something. Steven Spielberg will go down in cinematic history as one of our greatest storytellers and he created a intoxicating experience with “Saving Private Ryan.”

“Saving Private Ryan” is not the typical World War II movie. Heck, it is not the typical war genre movie. That is as clear as day, especially within the opening moments of the film, the audience can definitely see how original and different Spielberg wanted to be. The film opens with the invasion of Normandy during D-Day, the big operation that won us the victory in Europe. We focus on Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and he prepares his men to rush the beach. Already, there is scenery that captivates us right from the beginning. The booming of the bombs, the splashing of the ocean water, the nervousness of the soldiers, the sea-sickness, it all draws us in right away and that is all before the bullets start flying toward the soldiers.
The D-Day invasion that Steven Spielberg created is a massive achievement all by itself. Yes, it is bloody and gory, but what would you expect from an accurate depiction of the Normandy invasion. It is clear that Steven Spielberg was not doing anything by half-measures when he chose to direct this movie. The invasion is tense, confusing, woozy, and quite harrowing. Not only is it a masterful way to open a war movie, but it captures the nightmare of war. Though so many lost their lives in the invasion, Miller and his men are successful. As the camera pans at all of the dead soldiers on the beach, it focuses on one dead man in particular, a man with the last name of Ryan.

The commanding group in charge of the American military catches wind that the Ryan family lost three of their four boys within something like two weeks and that the mother will be receiving all three telegrams on the same day. They also discover that the fourth boy may still be alive, and they send out a mission to rescue him and bring him home. The mission is given to Miller and he puts together a team that includes Sergeant Mike Horvath (Tom Sizemore), Private Reiben (Edward Burns), Private Jackson (Berry Pepper), Private Mellish (Adam Goldberg), Private Caparzo (Vin Diesel), Technician Irvin Wade (Giovanni Ribisi) and Technician Timothy Upham (Jeremy Davies). Together, they go as far behind enemy lines to find Private Ryan (Matt Damon) and bring him back home.

The genius behind “Saving Private Ryan” is how well this group of actors gel together. These are not actors reciting lines; these are actors who become a group of men that have been to Hell and back together. The way the group jokes, the way they have conversation and the way they argue with each other all feels natural and real. It is truly defining work for everybody that goes on the mission. What really seals the deal for me is the work done by Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore and Edward Burns. They are the three that really drive the group and their chemistry is undeniable. Hanks proves why he is one of the best actors in the history of the business, creating a somber yet sincere performance as the group’s leader. Tom Sizemore, who has been missing from film for way too long now, proves why he was the go-to guy for these roles in the 1990’s. How he never won an award for anything is astounding. Then there is Edward Burns, in some cases he is my favorite performance in the whole film. He’s one of the few in the group that doesn’t fully understand nor believe in the mission, but how he has so much respect for his brothers-in-arms and how willfully goes on the mission anyway is pitch-perfect. It’s a wonderful performance, easily one of the best of the whole decade. There are great actors all throughout the movie that make a brief but inspiring footnote in the film. These are  not just quick cameos, everybody means something, whether its Ted Danson, or Paul Giamatti, or Denis Farina, or Bryan Cranston, or Nathan Fillion, or Leland Orser, they are all important to the journey to Ryan.

How Steven Spielberg captures war on film is the main reason to see the movie. How he captured the dirtiness of war, the stench, the confusion, the horror of it all is completely shocking. I believe his movie will go down as one of the most accurate and rousing visions of war in the medium. He also successfully captures how these men were affected by the war and how almost none of them came back themselves afterward, not only that but Spielberg captures how our nation changed as a result of the war. The film is packed with symbolism, packed with realism, but it also inspired hope. It tells that even though WWII was dark, there was still hope; hope that one small mission could bring good back in the world. I think that is why the film is so important and so worth your time. If you don’t know what to watch as this Memorial Day weekend comes to a close, consider this gracious experience.

Friday, May 23, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review
I need to get this out of the way before I begin this review. What I am about to say will be very important if you have any desire to see “X-Men: Days of Future Past” this weekend. The “X-Men” franchise has been a roller coaster, to say the least, for 20th Century Fox. After almost fifteen years with the property, I think they are finally starting to find their footing and really starting to make something special. That specialty has come with a price though. Director Bryan Singer made X1 in 2000 and X2 in 2003 and despite being box office successes, the studio still want to reserve Singer’s creative control, had Singer made his full vision, the original X-Men franchise would have looked much different than it does today. This tension boiled over into 2006, which forced Singer to leave the franchise for X3. Then the franchise was painfully quiet for several years (give or take a few Wolverine movies), then it seemingly started fresh with “X-Men: First Class” in 2011. Lots of people thought “X-Men: First Class” was meant to be some kind of reboot, I even thought it was meant to be some kind of reboot. But, as proved tonight, it was not a reboot and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” connects the whole story to itself.

That may seem obvious, but if you re-watch the whole series of movies, trying to connect the dots on the franchise will seem rather odd. Professor Xavier says in X1 that he met Magneto when he was 17, but “First Class” proved otherwise. It also seems that they never built cerebro together at the X-Mansion. These are just a couple of continuity errors the series has made as a whole, and we could talk all night about them. So “X-Men: Days of Future Past” did nothing to fix the continuity problems and this franchise has been schizophrenic to say the least. What I am trying to say is if you have a problem with continuity problems, then you better not step foot in a theater this weekend. I decided halfway through “X-Men: Days of Future Past” that I was going to forget the franchise and focus on the new movie Singer made, along with the newbies and veterans of this franchise. I am just warning that there are no attempts to correct the errors and if you are squeamish about it, then this new X-Men movie is not for you.

Now, on to the review.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” the movie is not exactly the same story as the Days of Future Past story arc from the comics, but that is okay. Bryan Singer is back in the director’s chair for this new installment and he was able to make a harrowing adventure from the source material. You also have to remember that no superhero franchise is physically retelling all the stories from the comics, so I have got used to the fact that these movie franchises are not the comics, which is what it should be. The film opens with a somber view of the future. Mutants and humans alike are being hunted by Sentinels, which are mutant-seeking robots that claimed Earth for themselves. We reconnect with some familiar faces like Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore). We also meet new mutants like Bishop (Omar Sy), Sunspot (Adan Canto), Warpath (Booboo Stewart) and Blink (Fan Bingbing). These mutants are allied together to fight the Sentinels, and the opening battle between these mutants and the Sentinels is astounding, with everybody’s powers on full display. The fight does not go in the mutants favor and they retreat and meet back up with Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Storm (Halle Berry) and, of course, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Tons of characters are thrown at the audience in the opening moments of the film, but Singer seems have become much more loose and flexible about appearance and screen-time in this movie and we get to know everyone quickly and proficiently.

We learn that Xavier and Kitty have developed some kind of time-traveling technique and they want to use it to go back in time and stop Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinkage) from ever inventing the Sentinels in the first place. They plan to send Wolverine back to the past due to his healing factor. So Wolverine heads back to the 1970’s to seek the help of a young Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and a young Magneto (Michael Fassbender).

The rest of the movie focuses on young Professor X and Magneto coming together after the events of “First Class” and they also need to bring back Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) into the picture, as we learn that she is a big part of why the Sentinels are so dangerous in the first place and what forces Trask to get his product selling. Since the events of “First Class,” Mystique has beating to the sound of her own drum and we discover how she became the badass she was in the original trilogy. The tension and drama created by McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence and Jackman is very strong. Each of the four does an incredible job with their roles. As does Nicholas Hault as Hank McCoy/ Beast who has been very busy since “First Class.” Each of the characters creates a heart wrenching story and it is brought to life by these actors.

There are lots of new characters introduced into the movie and we also catch up with old characters. If you did not like how a character from the comics would show up abruptly in the original trilogy then abruptly leave, then you maybe a little annoyed by “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” There are some cool characters from the comics and characters we liked from past movies that show up, do a little scene then are off. It is really too bad that we don’t see more of Quicksilver (Evan Peters) after a fantastic break-in to free Magneto from prison. Quicksilver’s movements are awesome, shocking to watch. We may not know yet if Whedon’s version of the character appearing in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in 2015 is better, but Peters certainly made a statement with the role. I also hated how little of Bishop we saw in the movie, as his presence was huge in the comic version of this story. Still, if you like seeing a variety of mutants in one movie, this will certainly satisfy.

Easily my biggest problem with the film was the main villain and how he is handled. I think Peter Dinkage does a good job with the Trask role, but I just wish he had more of a character to play. All we really learn about Trask is that he is a human who hates mutants…really that’s it…because we haven’t met enough of those already in this franchise. We never learn his motivation to create Sentinels, or what led him to hate mutants so much. He seems to not like them because he’s the bad guy of the movie, would it really have hurt to give him more of personality? That is just too bad because I think Dinkage could have been much more dimensional with the right material.

So the villain may not be super exciting and they cram lots of characters into the movie, but there is no getting around the fact that this is a good movie. It also gets better and better if you are willing to open yourself up to it. Forget the franchise continuity issues and just enjoy this new adventure. McAvoy and Fassbender really sell the compelling story that plagues their characters and Hugh Jackman has pretty much become Wolverine at this point. Best of all, this movie feels like the closing of a circle, it seems by the end that Singer has reached a closing point with one part of this franchise and is ready to open another. I can only hope that the future of this franchise can continue to shine bright as we get further down the line. This is another good X-Men movie, thank goodness.


Oh, and stay after the credits. If you are a lifelong X-Men fan like me, you’ll be glad you did.

FINAL GRADE: B+