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Friday, May 30, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past




"You're going to have to do for me, what I once did for you."

    Back in the 90’s, the X-Men cartoon was watched faithfully each Saturday morning.  Accompanied with my little sister and sometimes my big sister, this was the ONLY source material we had on the matter of the X-Men universe because we all did not grow up with comic books.  The recent explosion of comic book movies serves us as a comic fountain of knowledge.  Characters and plights that we never knew about.  Each blockbuster diving deeper into each story, from the very “Origins” to the “Last Stand”.  With this newest addition to the X-Men movie catalogue, literally nothing will be the same… and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
    I love time travel movies.  Even more so the ones that are cognisant of the fragile space-time continuum effect.  Those are usually the smarter films and ultimately better made ones.  Films like LOOPER, The Source Code, and Back to the Future all use it as a part of the in-story conflict. Then there are the ones that use the STC [space-time continuum] as a means for the screenwriter/director/producer to freely pull away from the original source material and freelance their own ideas/agenda, more than likely under the watchful eye of the creator of original story… Which I don’t have a problem with.  In fact I applaud it, the new Star Trek movies benefited greatly from that.  So did Terminator…well, to a point. However, I can’t help but feel like this new way of story storytelling also feels like a ‘stunt’.  A way to resurrect old characters that may have died. A way to right wrongs; to extend ideas from sub-plots that worked… I dunno, I could be over thinking this thing and I admit it.  

     I really enjoyed X-Men: Days of Future Past but did not love it.  I’m the minority.  Everyone around me seems to have LOVED it.  Along with critics from IMDB(8.6/10) and (producing a whopping 92%).  I can understand why and I wouldn’t mind watching it again, there was a lot of material there.  Plus the action was just fantastic from the opening scene to the showcase of the newly introduced Quicksilver.   Michael Fassbender played the young Magneto to sheer perfection, again.  While Peter Dinklage’s mesmerizing confidence and stature grabs your attention with his convincing monologues... as usual.  Along with the rest of the cast everyone continues to do a remarkable job executing their respective characters.   

    This movie is definitely Worth Watching.  I saw it in 3D but I don’t think that you will need to.  Save the extra couple of dollars to up-size your drink and popcorn… considering how much popcorn will miss your mouth once the fun starts.

    letter grade: B     

Stay seated for bonus stuff after the rolling credits.

For those whom have viewed the bonus scene and didn't understand what your saw, here is a link from to help:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014





" That's a good man. "

For all of my audience with Attention Deficit [hyperactivity] Disorder, those who scurry past these words and look at the “Worth” and “letter grade” before deciding if your current situation permits time enough to read the “Viewing”... YOU, my mighty majority, may also notice the pictures.  Apparently with this post you’ve notice that all the stills and screenshots look exactly alike, well… That is what you are going to see for the majority of the whole film.  Ballsy of them huh?  You are not up for a directorial ‘stunt’ right?  Well, let me be the first to tell I’ll tell ya…  it worked but I hope this trend does not catch on.

       I believe LOCKE had the perfect storm, an incredible actor who is quickly rising into my top 5 favorite actors. Also a great script outlining three very compelling stories.  Lastly the enormous weight of each decision. It is near impossible to sit there in the theater and not care.
    The only problem I had is a consistent problem with films that have great stories embedded in them that don’t ultimately become great.  They are either missing a beginning, a middle or an end.  LOCKE is missing one of these and maybe overloaded in another area.  I won't say which ones because I wouldn’t want you looking for it.  It will take away from the suspense.

    Contrary to that one problem discussed above the place where the film succeeds more than any other film that I’ve seen in a while is plausibility.  The most realistic feel regarding cause and effect, right and wrong, even good and evil.  I steadily asked myself how I would of handled each situation throughout Ivan Locke’s drive.  I really dig films that make you subconsciously interact with them.  Thats a certain indication that you got your money's worth if you're on the fence wondering if this was a good film or not.

      I want a BMW. Product placement of their vehicle in this film is ingenious.  Through it all, it was the ONLY thing in the film that was reliable and not 'fragile', that and the in-panel phone. This film did for BMW what RONIN did for Audi. What The Italian Job did for the Mini Cooper... You get my 'drift'. 

      This film is definitely worth the buck.   I’m not sure that I would ever watch it again,  especially after the ending. What ending?  What ending indeed.

letter grade:

Monday, May 12, 2014





"Pete: Do you think maybe we've gone too far? I'm a child of divorce and I sympathize with them.
Teddy Sanders: My parents love each other, and I think it's hilarious."

Weed smoke, explicit nudity scenes, crude humor equipped with a plethora of penis jokes, Seth Rogen's deadpan style of comedy aaaand did I mention penis jokes? If you are uncomfortable only thinking about those characteristics in one movie, you won’t like this or any Seth Rogen directed/produced film.  If you are a fan of his comedy or you can handle his brand of comedy then The Neighbors is pretty funny.

     The whole concept of having to buy a house and deal with unknowns [neighbors] is scary enough, try mixing the experience of also raising your first born into the batter.  A Frat house right next door? Wow.  That’s something I would love to read about or watch, could be an awesome television series, but I would hate to have to go through that.  Although most Frat houses abide by the rules, I wonder about some of the start-up or carbon copy imposters… Could be a nightmare, Seth Rogen & company did a very good job explaining why.  

      The story was entertaining enough just from the main conflict.  There were a couple of subplots but no real ‘twists’. Twists were substituted by surprises, funny ones.  Seth and Rose Byrne had okay to weird chemistry on screen but the baby was probably the best actress on screen.

      A lot of the reason I liked the movie was because of relatability.  It seems as Seth ages more and more of his perspectives mirror my own and most guys for that matter.  Makes me wonder if he has even reached his peak yet.  The potential is there but its still a mystery how this career will pan out.

    Can’t emphasize crude humor enough, be warned.  The movie itself was worth the buck.  Big laughs being the main reason.  So many of these types of comedies hit and miss, This Is The End being an example of that, but where The Neighbors succeed is not only in the much funnier dialogue but the anecdotes in the main story having real plausibility.    

  letter grade: B-

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2




"You're Spider-Man, and I love that. But I love Peter Parker more."

         Like every Superhero movie, the main conflict, besides the one with his/her arch nemesis, is the one with their alter ego.  Peter Parker’s struggle to learn his past, get questions answered, while struggling to keep up with life is not a new predicament for most Superheroes.  However Peter’s plight to live a normal life with this super duper great ‘responsibility’ plays so closely or mirrors life to the audience more than any other alter ego character that I can think of in film.  That is what ultimately sets The Amazing SpiderMan franchise, and even the Spider-man pictures with Tobey Maguire apart from the out of control competition in Hollywood of who has the biggest budget.  

    Tobey was great as Spider-man but  Andrew Garfield has now fully morphed into Peter Parker with this last performance.  I know him by name now, he is no longer ‘that guy that played in the Facebook movie’.  His performance was awesome to watch.  Andrew was able to showcase his wide range of acting abilities as the script called for such a broad range of emotion.  Like Jordan hitting the last shot in Cleveland Garfield nailed it.  He was called upon to follow a very successful and popular role already filled by the accomplished Maguire and with this performance has now imprinted his own brand of Peter Parker.   I doubt if comic book/superhero movies/films will ever yield an Oscar because lets face it, they are comic book and superhero movies/films. 
 However if you could make an exception, this would definitely be one of them.  Sally Field playing Aunt May would be another.  There is no way I can write my review without giving Sally her just due.  In fact I could debate that she may have outshined Andrew but that’s a debate for another day.  Lastly, while giving kudos for acting…. Jamie Foxx.  His performance as Max /Electro was phenomenal, or as Stan Lee would say… “Amaaaazing!”
 I saw the trailer and thought this character Electro was going to be soooooo over the top and corny.  Wrong!  Jamie pulled it off with some help from the premium costume crew, sound mixing crew, and post-production CGI crew.  One more thing regarding the word ‘premium’, Hanz Zimmer was apart of the music in The Amazing Spiderman 2.  Being involved with the DC universe for so long I was surprised to see his name in the credits of a Marvel film.  Atlas, this is such a different world that we live in where the bottom line and common goal in Hollywood is money.   Like in sports and currently seeping through the movie industry, rivalries are becoming a thing of the past.  

       The Cinematography for a city setting was gorgeous.  Nice landscape shots including the ones of the famous Oscorp building. Oscorp would be a Michigan Health inspector’s dream!!  It’s literally an oven for baking super-villains and super-heroes.  I’ll admit to my fandom ultimately being the reason why I can forgive the conventional way to make good and bad guys…but again, sometimes you have to let go of reality to appreciate the fantasy.  I just ask that a narrative like this does not steadily insult my intelligence throughout the story…. so yes, I can live with mutant electric eels transforming a human into a super weapon.  Just don’t ask me to close my reasoning too many more times.

     Lastly, the love story in here was awesome.  It felt genuine.  The chemistry on screen was perfect…. and regardless of what you may have read or heard, I believe the film had a perfect balance to offset all the action!  I’m hyped… so maybe not “perfect” but as close to flawless as you can get!  Hows that!!??

         Worth your money doesn’t even sum it up correctly.  I’m ready to go see it again!  3D seems to be a money-grab for the industry now-a-days but I can’t imagine seeing it again without it… The 3D was a perfect attribute to a wonderful and in a lot of ways inspiring tale.

 letter grade: A