Film Friday #279

X-Men Apocalypse (2016)

I have always been a big fan of the X-Men franchise. While I have limited patience with the never-ending superhero trend, it’s always felt like X-Men delivered even when it was a bit sub-par *cough” X-men 3 *cough*. So despite the less than stellar reviews for Apocalypse, I had quite high hopes. I was wrong and I am sad. This time we are back in the 80’s where Professor X’s (James McAvoy) school for mutants is up and running, Magento (Michael Fassbender) is living in a Polish forest with his wife and daughter and not mutanting at all and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is working on her own rescuing young mutants from bad circumstances, one such being Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Meanwhile in Egypt an ancient mutant (Oscar Isaac) is rising from his tomb with the intention of taking over the world and destroying it, which has been his hobby for millennia, hence the moniker of Apocalypse. In order to do this apparently he has to round up four powerful mutants to join him. Not sure why though because he is supposedly all-powerful but it does mean that once Magneto’s new life goes tits up he has somewhere to go. He also wants to get his hands on Professor X, which leaves him vulnerable and his young charges, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler to come to harness their powers and save their mentor. Throw in a weird unnecessary moment with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Quicksilver (Evan Peters) doing pretty much exactly what he did in Days of Future Past and what you have left is a confused, overly character-heavy, tedious mess that commits the worst possible sin a superhero movie can commit. It’s boring. The only character who I actually wanted to spend time with was Nightcrawler. Hopefully Oscar Isaac will be lucky and everyone will just forget this blip in his otherwise stellar career so far but Apocalypse was more like “Wet Blue Fart”. All in all… crap. 1.5/5

x-men-apocalypse

If he’d told Mystique once, he had told her 100 times… no talking during Game of Thrones!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Andy (Steve Carrell) is a nice guy. He works in an electronics store, collects action figures, hangs out with his elderly neighbours and mostly keeps himself to himself. But when his colleagues find out that he is a virgin at the grand old age of forty, they decide they must intervene in order to resolve the situation. Unfortunately for poor, naïve Andy his friends actually don’t really understand women at all. David (Paul Rudd) is still completely hung up on his ex, Jay (Romany Malco) constantly cheats on his girlfriend because he secretly thinks he isn’t good enough for her and Cal (Seth Rogen) is just straight up weird. The more they attempt to set him up with various “easy targets” the more things go wrong, until Andy meets single-mom, Trish (Catherine Keener). Here he finds someone he could truly fall in love with… if his friends don’t get in the way and if she doesn’t find out that he’s never actually been with a woman before. There are lots of things about The 40-Year-Old Virgin that are a bit questionable but most of its characters are hilarious and it has that signature Judd Apatow zaniness, mixed with some actual heartfelt sentiment that makes it work, while also poking fun at the modern dating “scene”… well the pre-dating apps scene anyway since it’s more than ten years old. Carell is excellent as the muddled up but sweet, Andy and there are some absolutely hilarious moments throughout. I’ve probably seen this at least ten times and it still makes me laugh. If you like Apatow’s other comedies you’ll love this too. 3.5/5

the-40-year-old-virgin-condom-trouble

CondomMan was finding his new super powers hard to channel

X-Men (2000)

In order to recover from my terrible Apocalypse experience and wash my eyes out with goodness from the past so Mr O and I decided to go back to where it all started and watch the first ever live action X-Men film. And boy was it a better experience. Here we pick up a point much later in the story where Professor X (Patrick Stewart) has been running his school for years alongside Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden) and Storm (Halle Berry). While things have been better for mutants there is a drive to force mutant registration, which puts all of mutant kind at risk of not only discrimination but also harm. While Professor X wants to work with the authorities and try to convince them that there are better ways to live together, Magneto (Ian McKellan) and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) are much more interested in the idea of taking over and putting mutants in power. He’s particularly interested in a new young student of Professor X’s named Rogue (Anna Paquin) who is able to absorb the powers of others along with their life force. As the two sides move towards an inevitable showdown we get to know the core players, including the mysterious Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and come to understand their motivations. What I love about the original X-Men is how morally ambiguous it all is. Yes, you’re obviously supposed to be rooting for Professor X and the X-Men but it’s very easy to understand where Magento is coming from… even if his methods are very dubious. There’s also a very strong symbolic connection to society’s treatment of “other” whether that be on the basis of gender, race, migration status or sexuality.  Both Stewart and McKellan are outstanding and Jackman is a complete scene stealer, which is why I think Wolverine has appeared in pretty much every X-Men film, even when he didn’t need to. Even the effects stand up pretty well sixteen years on. Still one of the best superhero movies of all time and proof that you can tell a good story in under two hours with less than 400 characters. 4/5

x-men

XXX

Natural Born Killers (1994)

Natural Born Killers tells the blood soaked tale of lovers Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) as they carve their way across the USA slaughtering everyone who gets in their way for their own amusement. Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Oliver Stone it’s a visual and narrative explosion of colours, genres, sounds and concepts that borders on being an assault on the senses and is packed with not only intensity but also more symbolic social commentary than you can shake a stick at. Mickey and Mallory are pursued by both the media in the form of sensationalist crime journalist, Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr, sporting an inexplicable, terrible Australian accent) but also sleazy detective Jack Scagnetti (Tom Sizemore) and the question is soon raised as to who is exploiting who? At the same time while Mickey and Mallory appear to love each other they are also hell bent on destroying each other so there are further questions around whether someone capable of such violence is even able to love. And if that wasn’t enough to ponder over the film takes time exploring both partners’ pasts to ask the question whether there is ever a justification for a lack of conventional morals. I absolutely love the surreal elements of this film and Harrelson, Lewis and Sizemore are all perfectly cast. I also think the fact that it’s hard not to find yourself willing Mickey and Mallory to make it out alive is further evident of the media’s ability to manipulate public opinion. One of my absolute all time favourites. 4.5/5

NBK

Wait… I am getting a message from my Great Aunt Matilda, she wants you to cut your hair!

21 Comments

  1. Ah, much better viewing for you this week, with the exception of Apocalypse. Sorry it was so bad for you 😦

    1. I think I just got so frustrated with it because it could have been really good but it disappeared up its own arse.

  2. theipc

    Happy fucking Friday!

    1. Or is it happy Friday fucking?

      1. theipc

        OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!

        #yes

  3. 40 Year Old Virgin makes me laugh, too.

    1. It’s just a good raunchy comedy with enough character development to make you care what happens.

  4. You’re right about Robert Downey Junior’s accent – I’ve never heard a single Australian sound like that. Nevertheless, I’m a fan of Natural Born Killers too. Great soundtrack as well.

    1. I’m just not sure what him being Australian added to the role so it seemed like a pointless distraction. Otherwise it is excellent.

  5. Natural Born Killers is one of my all time faves, too. And I’ve been putting off seeing the new X-Men…I guess now I know why.

    1. Okay. Just finished X-Men Apocalypse and well, I enjoyed it. The end was super cheesy, but I’d still give it 3.5/5. *shrug*

      1. I think I just had very high expectations and they were not met. I am glad you enjoyed it though.

  6. I haven’t seen the original X-Men in a while, maybe since it was released. I remember hearing some people say it hasn’t aged well and we just liked it because of the competition, but I think I need to watch it again.

    1. It might be that I enjoyed it more because Apocalypse pissed me off so much but I think the story and characters stand up and I felt genuinely sucked in.

  7. MIB

    Famke Janssen….. *swoons 😛

    1. She is stunning… but not unfortunately that good an actress…

  8. NBK is also one of my favourites 😀 Woody has never been so scary….

    Haven’t seen any X-men films tho

    1. Scary… but at the same time so sexy… and then you feel a bit dirty for finding him sexy. Lol!

      I would say the X-Men films are of the better ones in the superhero genre but if that’s not your thing I wouldn’t necessarily rush out.

      1. “Scary… but at the same time so sexy… and then you feel a bit dirty for finding him sexy”

        Haha! That’s great.

        I am trying to get into superhero films, as much as I hated Cap America this year, but x-men is a franchise I have never explored. I think I’ll change that

  9. Ben

    It’s cool going back and seeing Jackman’s Wolverine right in the beginning. Like you said, you can see why he is in so many movies from then.

abbiosbiston is listening...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s