“Everything they’ve built will fall! And from the ashes of their world, we’ll build a better one!” – Apocalypse
SYNOPSIS: With the emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan. – via IMDB
Yes! I finally went to see this. My husband wasn’t thrilled (he loves going to the cinema), but he knew it is one of the few superhero movies I will insist on seeing in the cinema. Screw that, any new movie in this franchise will have me tripping out, no matter how many installments. I know, it sounds mad. I think the reviews have been unjustly harsh towards X-Men: Apocalypse, though it is by no means a perfect movie. It definitely doesn’t have the wow factor of Days of Future Past, and the plot is a little messy (okay, maybe a dash more than a little), and there were some holes, and the pacing was a bit off. The villain, Apocalypse, was also quite disappointing in the long run. As much as I like Oscar Isaac, this was really not good. There was so much more that could have been done with this character! His rising and the X-Men battling him was so rushed and quick, his true power and danger is never really realised, which is a pity. Besides that, the cast is, as is to be expected, excellent. McAvoy is a fantastic Charles, and Fassbender, of course, delivers as the tortured Erik. I wish that the two of them had been given more screen time, if I am being honest, but I loved them when they were there. Also, Nicholas Hoult could have done with more screen time, too. Okay, I think one of the large flaws of the film is that there are a ton of characters, and none are really done any real justice. Evan Peters returns and owns as Quicksilver, which I loved. I must say though, his hit scene from DOFP was recreated here, and as entertaining as it was, it wasn’t perfect like the last one, and didn’t thrill me as much. It also felt squished in, like it was expected. Fun, but a little off. Sophie Turner really impressed me as Jean Grey (and trust me, this was something I was extremely leery about), and Tye Sheridan’s Scott Summers didn’t manage to peeve me endlessly, which in and of itself is a feat. Last but not least, I want to talk about how awesome Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Nightcrawler is. I was so stoked to see the Nightcrawler return, and to see him get such a large role was fantastic. Happy as can be! Look, he is no Alan Cumming, but he was still wonderful, and I am hoping to see more of him in future movies. Also, a young Storm? Yay! Yes, I had a total ball with all these things. I actually think this film is going to appeal more to people who love the X-Men franchise, and not necessarily newcomers. That being said, I enjoyed the story, but didn’t love it, it was flawed, but a fun film, the effects were good, but there were issues, but I would definitely recommend it for a watch. I really am such a fan of going back to see how the X-Men formed, how the relationships were, how everything was before, and I really think a great job is being done with that. I am going to stop now, before this review gets excessively long.
“People don’t notice all the secrets around them. Even though they’re right in front of them, just hiding, waiting to be found.” – Ryan
SYNOPSIS: After moving with her mother to a small town, a teenager finds that an accident happened in the house at the end of the street. Things get more complicated when she befriends a boy who was the only survivor of the accident. – via IMDB
You know, I watched this as part of the box set that Natasha got me for Christmas. I initially thought that it was the remake for The Last House On The Left, and when we started watching I realised they were two totally different films, so it was new to me. I know that Cinema Parrot Disco raged about this – she is no fan. Me? I thought that it was a decent albeit stupid popcorn film. It’s not revolutionary and great, though it features some pretty decent performances, but I can think of a huge selection of other movies that are a bigger waste of time. House at the End of the Street suffers from being generic, bland, and silly. It isn’t necessarily boring, and there are aspects to it that had so much potential to scare and get under the skin, make you think a bit, and yet those golden opportunities were passed up. There were some twists to it, one that I didn’t quite expect, but very few of them were pulled off with the finesse that they deserved. The movie never really quite hits the highs it wishes to. I thought that Jennifer Lawrence and Max Thieriot worked very well together. I also enjoyed Thieriot’s performance, and think that he is an actor that performs quite well but doesn’t get noticed much. He has potential for certain things, so it’s always nice to see him in something. The characters here are a little annoying, like the way they go about things is quite illogical. I think the safest way to look at this movie is to see it as a horror movie for young teens… I think that is the only way that you won’t absolutely hate it. As for me? I thought it was alright and not the biggest waste of my time. While unoriginal and lacking in places, there are other aspects that redeem it somewhat, and hence I can live with it.
“Our lives were never ours, they belong to Snow and our deaths do too. But if you kill him, Katniss, all those deaths, they mean something.” – Peeta Mellark
SYNOPSIS: As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance. – via IMDB
I was excited for this, I really was. I was unhappy with the split of this book into two movies, and it seems that that was justified. I just don’t quite get it… you all know I was not really a fan of Mockingjay Part I. It felt unnecessary, though it was interesting to explore some of the political issues there. Then there is Mockingjay Part II, and it is uneven, and a mess, and somehow manages to feel so rushed. I don’t get it. There are also things that really irritated me. The main two offenders being SPOILERS that Finnick’s death was not done more justice – because it was really just glossed over in the book, and that Prim barely featured, so her death meant absolutely nothing here. The movie felt cluttered, and it was not nearly as smooth as Catching Fire, which remains the crowning moment for this franchise. I maintain that Jennifer Lawrence succeeded in making Katniss Everdeen far more likable than she ever was in the books (ask anyone – Everdeen is a total pet peeve of mine, ugh, whiny brat). This is not the worst way to end out the franchise, but really less oomph than I was expecting. Visually, of course, the movie was great to look at, but I was extremely disappointed in the pods at the outer edge of the city. Way less bang for my buck than I was expecting. The conclusion is also portrayed in a far more upbeat manner than the book, which is much better for me because the book made me want to throw it out of frustration because Katniss is such a selfish child. The trailer contained all the really good things, unfortunately, so there was spans of filler stuff (for me) while watching this. I feel that the cast again did a fantastic job with their characters, bringing all of them to life, though many characters were glossed over. Sam Claflin is still fantastic as Finnick Odair, Josh Hutcherson is precisely what you would expect Peeta to be, and Liam Hemsworth is a really good Gale, exactly what I pictured him to be (don’t know why he gets so much hate – but then I have only ever seen him in this franchise). That’s just glossing over the main cast, as it really is just too large to talk about them all, but just know that they all worked very well with what they were given. I liked this alright, but I did not love it – it just feels like it never really took off like it was supposed to. It felt unpolished, unfinished, and uneven. That being said, it is still a fun franchise, and I am totally looking forward to a nice box set to add to my collection!
“I never wanted any of this, I never wanted to be in the Games, I just wanted to save my sister and keep Peeta alive.” – Katniss Everdeen
SYNOPSIS:With the Games now destroyed and in pieces, Katniss Everdeen, along with Gale, Finnick and Beetee, now end up in the so thought “destroyed” District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her friends, Katniss becomes the “Mockingjay” and the symbol of rebellion for the people. – via IMDB
So we all know that the entire world has been waiting for this with bated breath and immense amounts of participation. The reviews came back, mixed. Very. Irrespective of, I had to go see this. Now that I am free of my exams, I could do this without stress and worrying about anything. Yay. Now, there are a lot of things this movie did right, and there were a lot of things that I was not fond of. There was a lot that they stuck to in the books, and other things that they certainly could have developed more that they just didn’t (big eyes here at the Gale and Finnick sections). I mean, Gale ended up looking like a jackass at a stage when he freaked about Peeta, simply because there was no proper build up. Haymitch was underused, and the fact that they dropped the Finnick in his underwear scene was criminal. I was not expecting a huge action film going in, knowing how they split the book into two films, I knew that Part I was going to be significantly slower (the first half of the book was, too). What I didn’t expect was it to feel like it was dragging, trying to fill up the runtime at the best of times. Pity, too. I don’t mind a slow burn or a drama or anything, but then those elements have to take over and keep you completely enthralled, which did not really happen here. I was not happy either when Finnick delivered his huge exposé speech either, because they kept punctuating it with the rescue scenes, which would have been fine (I mean I understood what they were going for), but they let those scenes drag on too long without Finnick talking or focused too much on the event punctuating his speech, so when he comes back and he’s saying something, you have forgotten what he has said already, and the OMG bit of all of it is underplayed, and it was an important bit. The performances from the cast were very good all round though. Julianne Moore was great as President Coin, Philip Seymour Hoffman was still a wonderful Plutarch, though I wish there had been more of him, Liam Hemsworth finally gets more screen time (though I still think they needed to do so much more with his character), and Sam Claflin was solid as Finnick as always, though I really wish we had seen more of him (the mistreatment of his character in here was criminal), and Elizabeth Banks was entertaining as always, though she was not really supposed to be such a big part of events. I liked her nonetheless. There were some logic issues that got under my skin (most of it having to do with the hiding in the bunker thing), and the shaky cam stuff annoyed me endlessly, too. I was happy that the reunions were done well (Finnick, Peeta, etc). I was worried they would manage to screw that up, but it worked wonders. Overall this is not a bad flick, it’s just that so much more could have been done.
“Mutation. It is the key to our evolution. It is how we have evolved from a single-cell organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few millennia evolution leaps forward.” – Professor Charles Xavier
In a concentration camp in Germany, 1944, young Erik Lehnsherr (Bill Milner) is separated from his Jewish family. In a panic state, he reaches out to them and through some force pulls down the metal gates. Naturally, this piques the interest of Dr Klaus Schmidt (Kevin Bacon), who brings Erik in to study him. Ordering Erik to move a coin, he expects results. When nothing happens, he orders Erik’s mother to be shot before him, which gets the powers going, and he kills the guards and wrecks the room. Erik is a changed man. Back in the states, a young telepathic boy named Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) makes the acquaintance of another mutant, a shapeshifter, named Raven Darkhome (Morgan Lily). She moves in with the family and becomes his foster sister.
In 1962, Erik (Michael Fassbender) has made it his life’s work to track down Schmidt and kill him for what he did to his mother. Charles (James McAvoy), on the other hand, has made quite the name for himself after having studied genetics. Raven is still with him, though the two seem to be slightly at odds about what mutation means to them. CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) is assigned to follow US Army Colonel Hendry (Glenn Morshower), where she sees him enter the Hellfire Club. There she sees him converse with Schmidt, now known as Sebastian Shaw. With Shaw are his partners, the telepathic Emma Frost (January Jones), teleporter Azazel (Jason Flemyng), and Riptide (Álex González), a mutant who can produce cyclones. He is teleported out of there, and advocates the deployment of nuclear missiles in Turkey. Nobody at the CIA believes Moira, and she decides to take matters into her own hands. She approaches Charles for his advice on mutation, and takes him and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with her to discuss matters with the CIA director John McCone (Matt Craven). It does not go the way that she was expecting, and he flips out. Another CIA agent (Oliver Platt), offers that they accompany him to “Division X”, a secret facility with mutants at the core. There they meet Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), a genius scientist.
Charles meets Erik when Shaw has been tracked down (Moira’s people have found him). It seems that Erik has also finally worked out the whereabouts of his nemesis. Charles manages to rescue Erik, who damn nears drowns when attempting to pull Shaw’s submarine out of the ocean. Together they head back to Division X, where Erik meets the team. Hank explains that he has developed a machine called Cerebro, one that cal locate other mutants. Charles uses this machine with his telepathic abilities and tracks down mutants. He and Erik set out across the country to recruit these mutants to join them. They discover Alex “Havok” Summers (Lucas Till), Sean “Banshee” Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones), Armando “Darwin” Muñoz (Edi Gathegi), Angel Salvadore (Zoë Kravitz). These kids all get together and seem to enjoy themselves, picking their mutant names and dubbing Charles “Professor X” and Erik “Magneto”. Erik sets out on a revenge mission to take down Shaw, with Charles and Moira coming along. However, Shaw is not at the designated meeting place in the USSR, and Erik flips out. Charles ultimately goes to help him, and there they capture Emma Frost. It seems that Shaw is intent on starting World War III. Returning to Division X, they find that the place has been wrecked, Riptide, Azazel, and Shaw had been there, killing everyone but the mutants. They were recruiting, and only Angel left with them. The kids are in shock. Erik gets them set on a path for vengeance, to avenge the death of Darwin, to make things right.
Shaw has managed to convince the USSR to install missiles in Cuba. Hank is sure that Raven’s DNA contains the cure for their appearances, and develops a cure. Erik, on the other hand, is advocating that they should be proud of being mutants, and encourages Raven to remain in her natural blue form. Charles has a mansion which he uses for them all to move to, somewhere where they can train, master their abilities. Will they be able to stop Shaw? Will Shaw succeed in starting World War III?
An 8/10 for X-Men: First Class. This is really a favourite of mine, something I have fun with all the time. I think it was incredibly well put together and that a wonderful cast was chosen to represent the younger mutants we have come to know and love over the years. James McAvoy is a phenomenal younger Charles Xavier, and I cannot fault his performance. I liked how he managed to bring it though (especially watching him with Raven), that he was preaching something but not necessarily always practising it in his youth. He talks about being proud of being a mutant, but is always encouraging Raven to hide herself. McAvoy is an incredibly talented actor, and this was just another place he shone. Then there is Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, and I thought that he was also just fantastic as a young, powerful and incredibly embittered man on a revenge mission of note. Kevin Bacon was entertaining as Shaw, and really was just an evil dude. I liked the effects of this movie, the back story for all the characters as well as who was cast to play them now. I liked the progression of the plot, it construed the story nicely and wasn’t too jumbled. I thoroughly enjoyed Hugh Jackman’s cameo as Wolverine in here, had me laughing. Watching Charles and Erik develop and begin their fantastic friendship was awesome. They were both at opposing ends in their beliefs, but friends down at the core of it all with an immense amount of respect for each other. Jennifer Lawrence is also a pretty cool younger Raven, and I thought she did that rather well, handling Raven’s confusion about being a mutant as well as where/how she fits in to society. A wonderful addition to the franchise, and definitely a much needed breath of fresh air.
“Nikki’s waiting for me to get in shape and get my life back together. Then we’re going to be together.”
– Pat Solitano Jr
Pat Solitano, Jr (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental hospital after serving eight months as was the minimum amount of time agreed upon by the courts. Pat was treated for bipolar disorder, something that was previously undiagnosed and something that irrevocably changed his life. He is released into the care of his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) and his father Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), and moves in with them. Pat has changed his life and is eager to reconcile with his wife, Nikki, who is a big reason he ended up in the hospital. She cheated on him with a colleague, causing Pat to give the guilty man a terrible beating. He will hear nothing of the fact that his marriage is over. Pat learns his parents seem to be struggling financially a bit and that his father has turned to illegal bookmarking to get money together to open a restaurant.
Pat is upset about the restraining order that Nikki had taken out against him and that it is still in effect, though he is sure that he is getting his life together and that she will take him back when she realises this. Pat is seeing his court-mandated therapist Dr Patel (Anupam Kher), who is doing his utmost to help Pat out so that he will not be hospitalised again. Pat is getting to a better place in his life, and Patel sees this, though there are still issues that need to be worked out. Pat shares a lot with his therapist, including his new positive outlook on life, enshrined by the term “excelsior”. Pat is invited to dinner one night at his friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) and his wife Veronica (Julia Stiles). At dinner he meets Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), Veronica’s widowed sister, whom he feels is completely socially stunted. The two seem to get along, especially when discussing medication, yet by the end of the night they are at extreme odds again, matters which are exacerbated by the fact that Pat turned down her offer of sex.
Soon, though, Tiffany starts popping up everywhere and is relentless. Pat gets over thinking of her as a slut and thinking of her as a useful tool to get in touch with Nikki again. Naturally, it is a quid pro quo relationship, and Tiffany has Pat promise that he will participate in an upcoming dance competition with her. As reluctant as he is, he finally agrees to do it. Pat is sure that the competition will be the thing to show Nikki that he is a changed man and that they have a chance. Pat Sr. on the other hand is angry that his son is always out and about with Tiffany. Pat Sr. wants Pat at home, he is convinced that Pat is his lucky charm to get the Philadelphia Eagles to win their games. Pat is torn in two directions, and soon discovers that he likes Tiffany more than he should, and she is most certainly interested in him, crushed that he cannot see her through his obsession with a cheating woman who does not deserve him.
Pat Sr. has Pat attend a Philadelphia Eagles game, meaning Pat will miss his dance practise with Tiffany, and being there will win his dad the game he bet basically all their money on. Instead Pat and his brother Jake (Shea Whigham) get into a fight along with Dr Patel, and the Eagles lose the game. Tiffany is outraged that Pat made a commitment and didn’t stick to it, and Pat Sr. is in a state over losing all his money. To even things out Randy (Paul Herman) and Pat Sr. make a parlay with one another: the Eagles will win and Tiffany and Pat will score at least a 5 in their upcoming dance competition. Will Pat Sr. win the money back that he needs for the restaurant? Will Tiffany and Pat be able to work through their silly drama? Will they be able to score the 5 to make the parlay a winner for Pat Sr.? Will Nikki and Pat be able to reconcile now that Pat has turned his whole life around? Will Pat ever fully be in control of his problems?
A 7/10 for Silver Linings Playbook. I have never actually just gotten to this movie, despite how popular it got, despite how much it is recommended to me, none of it. Eventually, though, as always, I got to it. I had a good time with this movie, it really had me smiling and laughing with it. For one, Jennifer Lawrence completely stole the show for me, and was certainly worth her Oscar win. She was absolutely crazy yet adorable at the same time. She was intelligent and funny but not even remotely normal, and it worked. Bradley Cooper was fantastic, and the chemistry that he and Lawrence shared was just brilliant, and they complemented each other so well. I know this sounds crazy, but I knew almost nothing about this movie going in, and I liked the fact that I was not really aware of what was to come. There was plenty to laugh at, and plenty that brought it down to a more serious tone. De Niro was very good here, and it was nice to see him with a better role than usual nowadays. Jacki Weaver was so well cast as Dolores Solitano, she just worked the mother well. She was timid yet supportive, shy yet loving; she managed to balance out her husband just well. Pat Solitano, Sr. was terribly entertaining, the way that his allegiances just flicked around. Chris Tucker provided some smiles with his strange personality and funny friendship with Pat. I must say that this was a good movie, a bit soppy at times but heartwarming nonetheless and flawed , no doubt, but definitely worth checking out, even if only for Lawrence’s performance.
“I agree she should die but in the right way. At the right time. Katniss Everdeen is a symbol. We don’t have to destroy her, just her image.” – Plutarch Heavensbee
SYNOPSIS: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. – via IMDB
So I strolled myself and my themed nails into this film, incredibly excited as well as wary over what it would hold. My biggest worry came in with Sam Claflin to play the ever detectable Finnick Odair. Was he up for it? Just oh my and wow yes. This movie worked on so many levels and completely thrilled me. It was also very loyal to the book. There were no boring moments that had me begging for the time to just hustle up already, and I was awed by the manner in which Francis Lawrence pulled this together. Philip Seymour Hoffman was fantastic in his role as Plutarch Heavensbee. Elizabeth Banks was finally given a lot more screen time, and built up Effie’s character a lot. Woody Harrelson is ever entertaining as the pisscat Haymitch, and played the drunken fool so well. The anger that burns within Gale is portrayed so well by Liam Hemsworth, and his whipping had me at the edge of my seat, even though I was expecting it. The relationship between the victors was shown and it captures the essence of their anger and betrayal at having to be sent back into their nightmares. Jennifer Lawrence remains a phenomenal cast for Katniss Everdeen, and the movies really manage to take away that totally annoying part of her character that the books brought in at the best of times. The arena was simply fantastic, and all the actors cast to play the victors and tributes from the various districts were so well done, and completely captured everything. Jena Malone is definitely someone to highlight from the lot. Sam Claflin gave Finnick the epic upper hand and I am pleased to say that he got me to believe in his abilities. He isn’t a bad actor; I was just so worried that he would not have the energy Finnick does. I am pleased to say that my worries were unfounded, Finnick remains my favourite character, and Claflin does him justice. Catching Fire far outstrips its predecessor, and is well worth the watch! I was so impressed with this movie, and if they can conclude the final two movies in this strain, this will be one of those absolutely great film series! (Can I just hem hem here at the Potter debacle…). Tom, let’s sound like gushing schoolgirls!
“Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. Spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.” – President Snow
Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) life is turned upside down when her sister Primrose (Willow Shields) is chosen as Tribute at the annual Reaping for the Hunger Games. Decades ago there was a war where the Capitol was damn near overthrown by the general population, and the leaders rose up with an idea: as punishment to the districts every year for their rebellion they would pay a price. The price was that one male and one female “tribute” between the ages of twelve and eighteen would be chosen to fight to the death. There are twelve districts. That is twenty three children led to their slaughter – with only one survivor.
Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place, and leaves her best friend Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) behind. Gale hates the Games, and wishes that they could do something about the awful predicament that the districts are in, but it is wishful thinking – nobody wants to rise up against their oppressors. Katniss goes to the Capitol with the male tribute of her district, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), where they undergo makeovers and training. Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) is their mentor, but a drunkard is hardly what they need when they have to know about survival. Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) is also useless, and typically from the Capitol, her attitude, clothing, etc. mimicking everything that causes Katniss her suffering. She relaxes somewhat around her stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who is very chilled, easy-going and calming.
Soon, however, Peeta declares his love for Katniss on television, making them the star-crossed lovers from District 12, a pair that the audience falls in love with after their daring entry into the competition. Gale is tasked with caring for Katniss’s family back home while she fights the Games to return home. Soon they are sent into the Arena, and all hell breaks loose. Katniss needs to survive more than ever, and her personality and resilience charms the Capitol of Panem, the people are crazy about her. Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley), the head Gamemaker, changes a lot of things in the arena against her purely for entertainment purposes. In the arena, Katniss is devastated to learn that Peeta is working with a group of tributes to hunt her down and kill her, and the pain she suffers is palpable that only one survivor can leave the arena. She later joins forces with a twelve year old girl named Rue (Amandla Stenberg) from District 11, and the two of them fight their way through the arena, desperate to stay alive.
The Gamemakers announce that this year two victors may be crowned as long as they are from the same district. Katniss now has an issue. Will she survive the 74th Hunger Games? What is Peeta playing at, professing his love for her to all the residents of Panem, and then turning against her when the time comes? Will they be able to reunite and bury the hatchet to be crowned the 74th Hunger Games victors? Will they go home to their families, or be slaughtered in the Caiptol?
Hunger Games earns a 7.5/10 for me. This was an incredibly good adaption of the book for me, which in theory should have been difficult seeing as the book was written first person, present tense. The one thing that Katniss Everdeen has going for her character in here that she never did in the book is that you don’t get such a look at her selfishness. Jennifer Lawrence was well cast as Katniss, and carries her well. Liam Hemsworth is simply fantastic as Gale, and I think he is great. Josh Hutcherson works fine for Peeta, and for the most part gets him right, but there are times where he sort of misses the plot a little in terms of character. Showing more of the Gamemakers and the setup of the Arena and how it was manipulated is essential to show the viewer what is going on seeing as it does not have that internal contemplation all the time that explains other people controlling the Hunger Games, hence Seneca Crane got a much bigger role. Stanley Tucci was excellent as Caesar Flickerman, and got the essence of the character well done. I just want to mention loving me some Woody Harrelson in here, the man really is fun. I would not say that this movie/book series is for everyone, as I know there are plenty of people that do not like it, but I enjoyed it.