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Showing posts from May, 2014

Movie Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Wow. I am speechless by the enormity of Bryan Singer's accomplishment. He crafted a tightly-plotted, well-paced, well-written, well-acted time travel film, and [SPOILER ALERT!] erased the poorly-executed X-Men: The Last Stand from movie canon. All the yays!

In brief: fifty years in the future, the war against mutants is taking its final toll. A robot army called the Sentinels, designed to adapt to mutant powers, have decimated mutants, and their human allies are also punished. The X-Men are rapidly running out of time and places to hide. Together with their former nemesis Magneto, they send one of their own back into the past to undo the events of that led to the creation of the Sentinels.

There's a lot to recommend about this film, and here are my top five:

1) The fights are spectacular -- Mutants versus sentinels, mutants versus mutants, one mutant versus multiple armed humans... it's all choreographed well, with the special effects blending seamlessly. The only excepti…

Movie Review: Godzilla (2014)

Director Gareth Edwards' sophomore feature-length debut is a reverent rumination of nature's unstoppable power. That central theme necessarily puts puny humans on the sidelines, from high-ranking military officials seeking to contain monsters to ordinary folks just trying to survive the onslaught. At its heart, Godzilla is about forces beyond our control, so slap on those 3D glasses and prepare to cheer for the baddest alpha predator to ever curb-stomp radioactive menaces.

The film opens with ominous music and footage: black-and-white clips of submaries, nuclear tests, and words being crossed out -- censored -- until only the cast names appear. Cut to a chopper in a gloriously beautiful location -- the Philippines, naturally -- and out comes Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and his colleague Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins), both employees of a company called Monarch. An accident has revealed an ancient cavern, with two enormous cocoon-like structures: one intact, the other.…

Movie Review: Elysium (2013)

Since our shiny new TV has 3D capability (ooooo), Fragrant Husband and I decided on a recent action movie to test it. With a running time of 109 minutes, last year's Elysium was a clear winner. On came the glasses, and we were off on a sci-fi adventure...

...that was scattered and unsatisfying.

Alas, Elysium could have benefited from tighter writing. The movie, written and directed by Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame, is about Max (Matt Damon), a former car thief trying to make a decent living in dirty, dystopian future L.A. (looks an awful lot like current developing nations). Max dreams of buying a ticket to Elysium, a "habitat" floating in orbit that boasts vastly superior technology, including med-bays that can heal pretty much anything. Defense Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) protects Elysium from poor people trying to breach this ultimate gated community in their desperate attempts to get near-miraculous medical treatment.

Max gets involved because of a catast…

Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure (live, 2014)

Eddie Izzard has reached his next stage of evolution: Action Transvestite. The previously Executive Transvestite is back on stage and sharing his bizarre thoughts with appreciative audiences. Topics range from human sacrifice, the Magna Carta, learning other languages, and a documentary called The Clash of the Titans.

Themes from previous acts persist: he riffs on Hitler, talks about his desire to join the military as a lad, mocks Caesar's legacy (this time as a salad--last time it was a brand of dog food), and does the God voice. As always, his physical comedy skills are beyond reproach: he mimes, makes sound effects, and runs back and forth across the stage pretending to be two people having a strange conversation.

Izzard's overtly anti-right wing stance is new and a bit surprising, but maybe he was just playing to his audience of liberal Bostonians? Anyway, he did an encore about the Lord of the Rings where he attempted to do mathematics, and it's as hilariously weird …