X-Men: Days of Future Past – Messing with my mind

Film

X-Men: Days of Future Past

It has been a very long time since I wrote down my thoughts on any film, long or short, here on my blog. Something I feel like I need to get into the habit of again. Admittedly, I’m no film critic – so far from it. But … I think I miss regurgitating my thoughts on films I’ve seen.

So here I am, starting it up again with the latest X-Men film – X-Men: Day of Future Past.

100 movies: Prometheus

100 movies of 2012

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

PrometheusPrometheus (03/06/12)

A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

There was just utter silence from the audience when the credits rolled for this film. You could and most definitely would have heard a pin drop. There wasn’t a single sound. Not even the scrunching of a sweet wrapper. Just silence. There were a few seconds where everyone just stayed sat in their seats in silence.

There’s good reason for this. Everyone was probably just trying to take everything they’ve just seen, in. Boy was there a lot to take in.

It feels like it’s been a very, very long time since we’ve had a straight up sci-fi film. It doesn’t disappoint. Prometheus is very much in the same vein as Alien, but at the same time, a completely different beast. If that makes any sense. You’ve got your Ripley-esque character in Noomi Rapace Shaw. I swear, as the film went on, she even began to look more and more like Ripley! Though, Prometheus is much less of a horror film. Much, much less.

It throws out there the biggest question for humankind – what the heck we’re all doing here. Interesting. I like where they went with it. It certainly gave my brain a bit of a work out.

Michael Fassbender’s David is creep-tastic. One of the creepiest/nicest androids to grace the big screen in a very long time. His mannerisms and speech were all so … robotic, yet laced with a hidden intent. Brilliant work from him.

Ridley Scott has succeeded in making one fantastic looking film. The sets are excellent and the world that’s created in it just looks beautiful.

While this wasn’t the film I was expecting. I left wanting more and being ever so slightly confused in some part. But I left asking questions and wanting to seek answers. Can’t remember the last time a film did that for me. Though, my all time favourite Ridley Scott film is still Gladiator, Prometheus is one of his better recent efforts.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: Haywire

100 movies of 2012, Annual Movie Challenge

HaywireHaywire (19/01/12)

A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.

The strongest thing about this film? The cast members attached to it. Aside from relative unknown Gina Carano, you’ve got some undeniably strong actors thrown into the mix. It’s a shame then that even with all of their amazing pedigree the film, for me, was just ok. Nothing more. Though happily, nothing less.

The film’s being touted as the female Bourne. Couldn’t be further from the truth. Aside from the minor plot detail of someone getting shafted by a governing body.

My main problems with the film were that it lacked any real suspense or tension. The fight and action sequences were brilliantly choreographed and filmed. There was Steven Soderbergh’s styling splashed all over it. But it just lacked anything to make me really care about any of the characters.

It’s a fairly short film and through it you’re zipped from one location to another and from one situation to another. Gina Carano’s actually a pretty good lead. She wasn’t one of the contributing factors that let the film down for me. She was convincing in the talky bits and, not surprisingly, in the fight sequences. Which looked like they really hurt. There’s no sound effects here, just the brutal sound of one man’s face getting pummelled by a very strong woman.

Not a bad film by any stretch, just wished it was less style and more substance. Or possibly keep the style and up the substance.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ Movies: Update!

120+ Movies of 2011

This post has taken me over a week to finally finish writing. Must not leave it this long in between updates!

I dread to think how much money I’ve spent going to the cinema this year….

X-Men: First ClassX-Men: First Class (01/06/11)

In 1962, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.

X-Men 1 and 2 are among my favourite comic book films. You’ve got to hand it to the first X-Men film, that effectively kicked off all of the current comic book movie adaptations we’ve got now. Well, you might or might not be grateful for that.

Last Stand had some good bits, but on the whole it was a mess. The less said about Wolverine, the better. So First Class had a lot of work to do. The terrible film posters before release didn’t help it.

Though am happy to say that it surpassed my expectations! Okay, so said expectations were probably quite low, but they were still surpassed.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender held the film together brilliantly. I loved James’ portrayal of a young Xavier. Michael’s Erik was excellent too. Even if his accent slipped all over the place a little bit.

Some of my favourite bits were the training montage of the new mutants. Love me a bit of split screen. The closing credits were beautiful! I just blocked out the song they were playing over it. Oh and the score has been one of my favourites of the summer blockbuster season.

The not so good were probably the villains. Not Kevin Bacon (who was rather good!), but the other villainous mutants. January Jones sucked the life right out of Emma Frost. Azazel and Riptide weren’t given the courtesy of actually having a character past their mutant abilities.

The cameos were brilliant and I may have snorted a little bit when I saw Michael Ironside appear in the film. He has that reaction for me when I see him in any film these days!

While Thor remains my favourite comic book movie adaptation of the summer so far, this is a close second. Glad to say the X-Men movie franchise has found it’s feet again.
Rating: 4/5

Electra LuxxElectra Luxx (04/06/11)

Life for porn actress Elektra Luxx gets turned upside down when she finds out she’s pregnant.

For the love of JGL. That’s the reason I watched this. It’s turning into a habit. First GI Joe and now Electra Luxx. However, unlike GI Joe, this was more of a better film! With the added bonus of Timothy Olyphant. I’m not a totally fickle film viewer, honest.

It’s a funny little film. Funny ha-ha, not funny odd. Well, maybe a little odd, but the good kind of odd.

Sadly, it’s been so long since I saw this film I can’t remember all too much about it save that I enjoyed it, laughed a little and at the end was rather happy that I decided to watch it.

Oh and the opening credits are among the best I have ever seen. Reminded me heavily of the Queens of the Stone Age music video for Go With the Flow. Just gorgeous to watch!
Rating: 3/5

The Usual SuspectsThe Usual Suspects (05/06/11)

A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.

Yes, it has taken ME this many years to see this film. Woops! Was the whole ending ruined for me? Not really. Somehow I’ve shielded myself from seeing the twist here from the never-ending lists on film sites about the ‘best film twist ending’. Probably my own subconscious knowing that some day I would finally see The Usual Suspects.

Loved it. From start to end. Very tense. Very cool. Questions at every turn, up until the ending. Not much more that needs to be said! I understand why this film is a modern classic. Though I think I need to see it again.
Rating: 5/5

SennaSenna (10/06/11)

A documentary on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34.

In 1994 I was 10 years old and I remember watching the Formula 1 race at Imola that Ayrton Senna had an un-spectacular crash that ultimately killed him. I also remember playing my F1 game on my Amiga and the only driver I wanted to play was Ayrton.

I’ve been looking forward to the release of this film since Jeremy Clarkson mentioned it way back on Top Gear. Though, this was not the documentary I was expecting.

What I got was an impressive documentary magically stitched together using footage from races and the behind-the-scenes of Ayrton’s life as a racer and a very proud Brazilian. No talking heads. Instead we’ve got Ayrton narrating his own life along with the people he worked with and his family.

The film charts his life from his go-karting career into F1 where he his the spotlight being a bit of a risk taking driver. No doubt about it, when he got into the cockpit and out onto the track, all he wanted to do was win. And why not? He was known for doing some insane things on the track and you get to see a few of them.

The portrayal of the ongoing battle between him and Alain Prost was amazing to see. I’m not sure how much of it was over-hyped for the documentary’s purpose. Or how the saga had been manipulated for the film’s purpose. It made for some good drama.

There were lots of emotional moments in the film. Seeing the aftermath of Martin Donnelly’s crash was tough to see. Equally emotional was watching Ayrton Senna’s career unfold.

But the bit that hit me hard was moments before Senna’s own crash. I knew it was coming. I remember, vaguely, watching that race. I think my heart was beating in my throat, then it happened. My memory made it look a lot more violent than it actually was! Strange to think that that was the accident that killed Senna. After that, my emotions were all over the place. Which made Senna’s funeral all the harder to watch with tears streaming down my face!

Right, this is a bit long already. I should end it now. Go watch Senna. Even if you’re not a driving/racing fan. I’m not an F1 fan. I was back then. I went with a non-petrol head person and he seemed to enjoy it! Senna is a brilliantly put together documentary with a very moving soundtrack about one of the best sportsmen of our time.
Rating: 5/5

The Human CentipedeThe Human Centipede (10/06/11)

A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to reassemble them into a new pet – a human centipede.

From Senna to this. And the less said about this the better. It’s a very bad film. Sure the subject matter is horrific, but in the execution of it, they’ve skipped the majority of the gross-ness.

Bad acting, bad dialogue, bad everything. Why did I watch this? Like a lot of people – I was curious!
Rating: 1/5

Green LanternGreen Lantern (17/06/11)

A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Considering how many comic book films there are already out, getting released and have all ready come and gone, there’s a bar up there which they all need to hit. Green Lantern just didn’t cut it.

As origin stories go, this was your average story. Childhood trauma leads to unstable adult who eventually overcomes his own shortcomings to become the hero he’s known to be. There was nothing along the way to attempt to change things in any way. Just to shake it up a little bit at least.

Ryan Reynolds made the film watchable and amusing at times. The rest of the cast weren’t all that engaging. The CG wasn’t all that fantastic. There just seemed to be so much of it. I understand the need for it, but if you’re going to throw that much CG at a film, at least make it good. Most of the time it looked like I was watching a digitally animated film. Yes, those moments on the Green Lanterns home planet.

The underlying notion of will vs. fear was an interesting one, though I don’t think they made full advantage of it. It was just used in passing to explain a few little things. Which is a shame – could have been what was needed to give the film some added depth.

Had I seen the film in 3D, I might have called it a waste of money. I was grateful that there was a 2D showing that I could see. Which might have given me the inclination to give this film one more point that maybe it’s worth. It’s light entertainment. Not a great comic book film. Not a terribly bad one either. Definitely not as bad as Wolverine. Just doesn’t match up to what has already come this summer with Thor and X-Men: First Class.

(I think I’ve been a tad harsh giving this film a 2/5, but I couldn’t justify a 3! Even though I did partly enjoy it.)
Rating: 2/5

PaulPaul (18/06/11)

Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.

I think Paul lived up to expectations. Funny, silly and full of Simon Pegg/Nick Frost bromance. With an added alien. Lots of fun cameos. Jason Bateman being pretty damn awesome. Tonnes of other sci-fi movie references. Made for a very entertaining film.

I didn’t find it hilariously funny. Just had a bit of a smile on my face throughout the film. The film rattled through to the end pretty swiftly. With one little surprise.

Paul himself I loved. I wouldn’t mind my own little Paul. He made me laugh! And surprisingly good CG on him.

Fantastic score too – thanks to David Arnold. Really made a big impact during the more action packed scenes. It’s not the kind of film I’d pair up with having a score on par with Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace. Wouldn’t have been possible without David Arnold.

A very silly but fun little film.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

100 movies: Inglorious Update

100 movies of 2010

Shocking. I only saw one movie this weekend. Well two. But only one was new to me. The other? District 9. I forgot how brutal that film got. Talking of brutal, here’s what I saw:

Inglorious Basterds (12/09/10)
Quentin Tarantino’s war film. From what I remember, it was pretty well hyped. One of those films that slipped through the cracks when it was first released, for me. Meant to see it but never got around to it.

Enjoyed the film, but couldn’t help but feeling that there was a little too much hype. It’s good, but it feels as if Quentin Tarantino can’t do anything but overly stylized and/or violent films. I love a bit of violence in a film, and this is a war film, so should be expected. But it’d be nice to see a Quentin Tarantino film where you’re surprised he made it.

Other than that little issue of mine, good film with good performances. Entertaining enough.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the movies I’ve seen so far this year.