Film Friday #182

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

In a dystopian near future the last few remaining X-Men fight off an army of shape-shifting robots called Sentinels, which are especially designed to destroy mutants. The Sentinels are virtually indestructible because they have been infused with Mystique’s (Jennifer Lawrence) DNA gained after her murder of their inventor, Bolliver Trask (Peter Dinklage) sparked off a human-mutant war. Reunited and working together once again, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magento (Ian McKellan) come up with the idea of using Kitty Pryde’s (Ellen Page) power of projecting consciousness into the past to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into his younger body to work with their younger selves stop Mystique. He arrives to find that after the events of the Cuban missile crisis and Erik’s (Michael Fassbender) betrayal, Charles (James McAvoy) is a broken man and Erik is locked up in a concrete prison under the Pentagon. First he’ll have to get Charles and Hank/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) to believe his story, then he’ll have to get Erik out of prison… and then he’ll have to stop them from killing each other and even if he gets that right there’s no guarantee he won’t just make things worse. With the franchise back in the hands of Bryan Singer Days of Future Past focuses again on the relationship between Charles and Erik and their fundamentally different ideals with Charles believing in the essential goodness of humanity and Erik convinced that human nature is to destroy anything different. With this as the central theme of the film, while the effects are pretty spectacular it’s more about making a connection with the characters, which is what makes Days of Future Past something that much better than the average superhero film. Stewart, McKellan, McAvoy, Jackman and Fassbender are all brilliant but as with First Class it is Fassbender who stands out and his mastery of McKellan’s mannerisms is exceptional. I also couldn’t possibly go without mentioning, Evan Peters who makes a brief yet film stealing appearance as Quicksilver. I really hope we get to see him in future outings because the scene where he rearranges a bunch of FBI security guards to prevent an attack is hilarious. Go now and see this film… maybe twice. 4.5/5

Sometimes Charles felt like he was a marked man

Sometimes Charles felt like he was a marked man

X-Men 2 (2003)

When a mysterious mutant assassin, Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) makes an attempt on the president’s life, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) sends Storm (Halle Berry) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) to track him down and find out what is going on. While Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) has returned to the school as he continues his quest to uncover his past. At the same time, military scientist William Stryker (Brian Cox) has discovered the location of the academy and launches an attack capturing the professor and some of the children. And if that wasn’t enough Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) is plotting to break Magento (Ian McKellan) out of prison. On the run with Bobby/Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Rogue (Anna Paquin) and John/Pyro (Aaron Stanford), Wolverine rendezvous with Storm and Jean Grey and they are forced to make an uneasy alliance with Magneto, when they discover just how Stryker has been controlling Nightcrawler. Now they are in a race against time to rescue the professor before he is forced to bring about the destruction of mutant-kind.Β  X-Men 2 is a fitting sequel to X-Men bringing together action, adventure and plenty of emotion. There are great fights, especially between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) and for the most part the performances are excellent, with Jackman being the standout, absolutely embodying the complexity of Wolverine. What makesΒ X-Men 2 stand out in the superhero genre is the way director Singer turns “mutantism” into an allegory for being gay, particularly in the scene where Bobby “comes out” to his parents, adding a layer of relevance. Definitely one of the best in the franchise. 4/5

When I said I wanted a "fierce" manicure this is not what I had in mind

When I said I wanted a “fierce” manicure this is not what I had in mind

The Bling Ring (2013)

When Marc (Israel Broussard) starts at a new school, he is thrilled to be befriended by Rebecca (Katie Chang) and her hot, fashion-obsessed gang of girls, which is probably why he decides to go along with it when the girls decide to break into Paris Hilton’s house and help herself to some of her stuff. As there are no repercussions the group starts to make their way from one celebs’ house to the next stealing, wearing and selling their possessions. But it’s not long before security footage emerges and the ring might just get the fame they’ve craved. Based on a true story, The Bling Ring takes an interesting look at celebrity culture, feelings of entitlement and the fickleness of fame but its not enough to make up for its shallowness, lack of character development or how annoying the main characters are, including Nicki played by Emma Watson – overacting as always. If you want to watch some kids out of control with oblivious parents you’d be better off with Thirteen or Bully.Β 1.5/5

Look at all my shit!

Look at all my shit!

Hysteria (2011)

After being fired from his latest job for daring to suggest that invisible germs might be the cause of a patient’s gangrene, Victorian Doctor Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) takes up a position with Doctor Robert Dalrympe (Bill Pryce). Doctor Dalrympe is a specialist practitioner dealing with wealthy women who suffer from something referred to as “hysteria”, which just seems to encompass any kind of anxiety or even just having a personality. Here he trains Mortimer up in the treatment, which involves massage of the, er, lady bits until the point of “paroxysm”. Yes, really, this was an actual medical treatment performed by doctors. Mortimer becomes an absolute whizz at the treatment and soon the women are queuing up. In the meantime Mortimer meets both of Dr Dalrympe’s daughters, sweet, virtuous Emily (Felicity Jones) and the altogether more interesting Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a suffragette, socialist who has opened a kind of community centre for the neighbourhood poor, much to her father’s disgust. It’s not too long before Mortimer is engaged to Emily but when he starts suffering terrible hand cramps due to overwork and can’t perform, Dr Dalrymple tosses him out on his ear. All is not lost though because when he puts his head together with his inventor friend, Edmund St. John-Smythe (Rupert Everett) they come up with an electric massager that can bring a “hysterical” woman to paroxysm in only five minutes… but is hysteria really a condition and Emily really the sister than Mortimer wants? Hysteria is funny and sweet but surprisingly sexless for a movie essentially about sex, which is probably its main flaw. There is never a sense that Mortimer becomes in any way aroused by his work, which is kind of hard to believe and the whole thing is imbued with a kind of naivete that isn’t entirely realistic, especially around Charlotte’s behaviour. It’s still a fun romp though and a great rainy afternoon film. 3/5

XXX

Alright, luv, let’s have a look under the old bonnet and see what’s troublin’ ya?

14 Comments

  1. Glad to hear you liked X Men, can’t wait to see it in cinema.

    1. Abbi

      I’m sure you’re going to love it. I haven’t read a single negative review!

  2. Bling Ring is quite horrible eh! It could have been so much more but they settled with a cheap effort….

    As for X-Men…I’m sure that you already know I loved it!!!

    1. Abbi

      It could have been really dark but it ended up like a music video and a crap one at that.

      I am loving all the X-Men love.

  3. Fassbender was absolutely brilliant in Days of Future Past! And I’m definitely seeing it again. πŸ™‚

    1. Abbi

      Me too! Instant classic!

  4. Great post! I really wanted to like Bling Ring more but I agree it did feel like they were overacting and yes the story and characters were underdeveloped.

    1. Abbi

      I find Sofia Coppola tends to be brilliant or terrible. In this case terrible. I can see what she was going for but it just didn’t work.

  5. Great FF! I loooooved X-Men: DFOP, but I have to disagree on Bling Ring, which I really, really liked.

    1. Abbi

      I read a few positive reviews but it just didn’t work for me.

      1. Yeah, it wasn’t very well-received, but I really liked it for some odd reason. Even included it in my top 20 of the year.

  6. YES to the two X-Men films! Glad to hear you enjoyed DoFP as much as I did! I think X2 is still my fave, but they’re both just awesome. Haven’t seen the other two, but I can say that I will actively avoid Bling Ring. Lol.

    1. Abbi

      The Bling Ring is a funny one. I thought it was terrible but there are people who loved it so it might be worth a watch.

      1. Eh. I think I’ll just keep staying away…hahaha.

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