X-Men: Apocalypse – Review

Image via foxmovies.com

Image via foxmovies.com

Previous thoughts on the weakening of the Marvel Universe may have some legs.

Its feels like they’ve been making X-Men movies for an eternity even though it has only been since 2000. There have been many spin-off and off-shoots of the core X-Men movies and it is starting to feel that some of those are better than the core movies themselves.

X-Men: Apocalypse picks up ten years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Professor Xavier is running his school, Magneto is living a secret life, and Mystique is out in the wild. Unbeknownst to most, a hidden group has been trying to resurrect what they believe to be a god under Egypt.  Turns out that they are really awakening the first mutant who is bent on world and universal domination.

The previous movies was both intriguing and entertaining. Whereas this movie abandoned those things in favor of grandeur. Instead of developing a cohesive plot and bringing the viewer into it in a meaningful way, the movie is crammed with characters and plot lines that don’t necessarily work together. It quickly becomes a confusing mess of who is on which side and what they may be fighting for. Magneto had the worst of it flipping and flopping on to every side of a cube throughout the movie.

Although the movie had good production value it was just too much. Some of the scenes get to be so elaborate and cluttered with effects that you lose track of what is going on in the scene much less in the movie. This also is one of those movies that could have been shorted for its own benefit if many of the scenes were either shortened or removed completely. Clocking in at about two and half hours is a lot of time to ask people to invest in just to give them eye candy but not much meaning. Sure the special effects were pretty but after the oh-ah feeling was gone they didn’t add much to the movie.

Was the movie good? Eh. Was the movie bad? No(?). The term underwhelming might be more accurate in this case. When the previous movie and some of the other more recent movies were better this movie fell short of expectations. Bringing back together the likes of McAvoy and Fassbender should have been an easy win especially when adding young talent like Sophie Turner, hot out of Game of Thrones.

When the movie was over I wasn’t disappointed with the movie. I was more disappointed that the amount of time I invested in it was not as well spent as it could have been. I’m not the biggest Marvel fan and would never claim to be anywhere near an expert but I just have the notion that film could have been a better entry in the Marvel Universe than it is.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Ali

aliI didn’t think that I would buy Will Smith as Ali…and I didn’t.

Follow the life and times of Muhammad Ali as he transforms from the fighter known as Cassius Clay into the greatest champion that has ever lived. The film begins as Clay has just been awarded his chance to win the title and become “The People’s Champion”. Mixed in with his fight for his title, he must battle his womanizing, friends, family, and even his own government.

On several fronts, the movie was very well done. The imagery and photography looked fantastic. This helped the movie tell much of its story with visual cues rather than dialogue. Even the soundtrack is matched to the imagery to set the mood and tone. With the movie being set in very specific period of time, it looks authentic. One of the best acting performances has to go to Jon Voight. I watched the entire movie with an eery feeling that I should know who was playing the role of Howard Cosell only to be shocked that it was Voight. Another point I will commend the film on was limiting its scope. Many times film-makers try to cover and entire person’s life inside of one two to three hour film and wind up watering the story down to nothing with any flavor. This film managed to keep its focus on Ali’s year at the top of his profession.

However, the movie did fault in several areas. The movie failed to carry itself too much if any dramatic moments of consequence. Long periods of time were filled with beautiful visuals that ultimately brought nothing to the story being told. Unfortunately, I do have to count Will Smith’s performance as a low point as well. Although I don’t completely fault him since it must be difficult to try to portray such a well-known figure.

The story of one of the century’s most memorable figures, at least in sports if not in his life, should have carried more drama and feeling that this movie was capable of pulling off. In the end it felt more like I was watching a documentary than a movie. The story could have been told in a more entertaining manner and still been as true to man it was about.

Bio Card PaulPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found over at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

jackryaA reboot that should have been given the boot.

Follow Jack Ryan as he goes from humble college student to honorable Marine and ultimately undercover agent. He never planned to work for the government but the events of 9/11/2001 changed the path of his entire life. When called to serve his country for the second time, Ryan answers the call to stop the Russians from destroying America.

This version of Jack Ryan tries to be true to Tom Clancy’s character but doesn’t have the same drive or ambition. If one were to sleep through the first thirty minutes or so of the movie nothing would be missed. This entire portion of the movie is used to set up the storyline and could have been handled much more eloquently and quickly. More disturbingly is that the attempts to be a psychological thriller fail from trying to be too highbrow and complicated.

If you want an action movie then this film doesn’t quite fit the bill either. Even after the slow start, action sequences are mere pop-ups throughout the movie. The mundane story telling will put you nearly to sleep before the next gunshot or explosion awakens you.

Perhaps it was the lackluster writing that doomed the acting performances but you won’t get much character depth either way. Keira Knightley delivers one of the most uninspired performances I’ve seen from her and leaves her completely replaceable for any  planned sequels. As much as I like Chris Pine as James T. Kirk I disliked him as Jack Ryan, putting him in a solid third place of people to have played the role. Then there is Kevin Costner. Pick ten actors his age and any one of them could have mailed in the same performance Costner gave.

Unfortunately, this reboot needs a reboot. If the writers and directors were the issue then it is already time to clean house and bring in new talent at the positions. Regretfully, I could have spent my time better than watching this movie for almost two hours.

Bio Card PaulPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found over at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

Lone Survivor

lonesurvivorPerhaps this is the best movie I’ve seen recently.

Lone Survivor is based on the true story of Marcus Luttrell and the failed SEAL team mission he was part of. Operation Red Wing was supposed to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan but quickly goes wrong when the team is discovered. The team is forced into a moral quandary and their decision ultimately costs them their lives.

Hollywood has a tendency to bend the truth of true stories and I hope that this movie did not get bent beyond the breaking point. This was one of the grittiest and most intense pictures I have seen of late. The opening sequences were slow but did well to establish the characters and their relationships to each other. After the slow start, the movie had me riveted until the very end. Even knowing the tittle of the movie implied Luttrell survives, I questioned through out the movie how it could be possible.

What I hope is that there wasn’t too much embellishment of the events. The events Luttrell was part of should be accurate if there was not too much artistic license applied. The back-end events are what I find questionable like when a solider pulled his service pistol out and pointed it at one of the chopper pilots. This seemed like a little too much for me to believe. Maybe it’s the little things that get me most and I should care about them the least but do SEAL’s really wear Mechanix gloves???

At the end of the movie, I felt a little heart strung but want to see it again. The gritty action and human drama absolutely captivated me. The true heroes of the film are those that gave their lives in defense of their country and this film is a small, humble tribute to them and their sacrifice.

Bio Card PaulPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found over at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

The Hunger Games: Catching Farce

catchingfireWell…I guess I’m still not a fan.

Katniss Everdeen may have won The Hunger Games but she did not win her freedom. If anything, Katniss is more trapped than ever as she must live on in a lie. Not only do these lies involve her and Peeta but they also involve a political eggshell that is becoming more and more fragile. An uprising is beginning to swell and Katniss has become its symbol.

I don’t even want to go on about this movie. It makes as little sense to me as the first one since there is just as much either left unexplained or that just doesn’t fit. Perhaps there is something that didn’t translate from the books to the movies that I missed. It appears that I’m going to keep missing it too because I’m not going to read the books to try and figure anything out.

For some reason, this movie reminds me of Dune. The struggle between classes of people and a subsequent uprising are the easy parallels but the overall weird and unexplained nature of the films is what makes them similar to me.

Bio Card PaulPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found over at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

Ech-lysium

elysiumOn the plus side, I don’t expect to see a sequel.

Max is pretty much an average guy with a day job and checkered past. He, and everyone else on Earth, lives in terrible conditions whilst the elite and rich live in a paradise in orbit above Earth named Elysium. Things go from bad to worse when Max is in an accident at work and now has only a few days to live. The only chance he has to survive is to get to Elysium where he can be healed. To do so, he must revert to his criminal past but along the way things get more complicated than he ever imaged.

Usually I look forward to seeing a Matt Damon movie and maybe my expectations were too high because of his past work. The story for Elysium was un-inventive to say the least. It came across as a formulaic story with little originality.  Certain elements never seemed to fit together, like why Max had to be outfitted with an exoskeleton but nobody else in his crew did. One would think that if you’re sending people to do a dangerous job, it would be best to have four people rather than one that are yielding an advantage. It also wasn’t clear why Max would be “the man” for the job and instantly knows how to handle the task at hand. A little bit more of a back story could have made this clearer. The generic attempt to add a love interest fell completely flat and seemed completely unnecessary.

I borrowed this movie, so at least I didn’t lose any money watching it – just my time. Even being a fan of sci-fi action movies, I found little if anything worth watching in this film. While I’m ok with having watched it once there is no reason to watch it again.

 

Bio Card PaulPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found over at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

RoboCopy

MV5BMjAyOTUzMTcxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjkyOTc1MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_This ain’t you father’s RoboCop, or mine.

Alex Murphy is good copy and a good man but in a city of corruption he won’t survive. His fellow cops are more crooked than a wall plumed with a whiskey bottle. Once he is betrayed there is little chance he will survive.

I don’t want to get into a lot of the movie as to avoid spoilers and such. Plus, I don’t want to set a bunch of expectations that won’t or can’t be met. The movie is what it is. When you make a remake of a “classic” you run the risk of running it into the ground. This movie avoids this problem fairly well by making itself definitive. Don’t mistake that as an endorsement of the film though, I much prefer the original but that may be biased since I am of an age to remember seeing the film in the theater.

The movie was well done on all fronts. If you like splashy effects then you will be well served and the acting is upon the same level.  Where it fails is in movement. The movie starts out slow and stumbles upon itself several times. This may have been the longest two-hour movie I’ve ever watched. The slow moments were like watching ice in slow motion, balanced against the fast times being shorter than a gun powder flash.

The movie was just fine and I would encourage you to see it. Like I said, I do have a bias to the original but I will say that the new movie is worth seeing. Be ready to deal with more flash than substance as is the way with current movies.

Bio Card PaulPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found over at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

Pain and Again

painandgainThis movie really made me like The Rock even more.

Follow Danny Lugo as he goes from a fitness freak to a wanted criminal. He is unhappy with his financial situation as he as always working but always broke. One day, he concocts a plan to make himself rich by taking everything from one of his clients. To do this, however, he will need help and decides to enlist the help of two of his body building co-workers. Unfortunately their plan does not start out well and finishes even more poorly.

This movie is supposed to be a true story and I don’t doubt that it is. I also didn’t do any fact checking to verify it, I just wanted to watch the movie. This one got put off the watch list for quite some time because I thought it was just going to be another idiotic muscle builder movie. Thankfully I was wrong and found this to be one of the most delightful dark comedies I’ve watched in a long time. The subject matter of what these men did and how they conducted themselves seems to be a harsh endorsement about our lack of humanity.

What really sold me on the movie was the comedy. I’ve never known The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, to be a terribly funny person, even though I find it impossible to take him seriously. Some of his lines and the way he pulls them off truly changed my opinion of this man’s acting ability. His role reminded me of a muscle-bound Forrest Gump.

Watch the movie and have a good laugh. Don’t forget to realize that these events really happened and it is horrible how we are wiling to cause each other so much pain for the sake of our own gain.

Author Line

dudewantshisrugPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found over at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

X-Men: Daze of Future Past

xmendaysHow much can they pack into one movie before it bursts? That’s like asking how much fits into a burrito.

The not so distant future is not a very bright place. The Sentinels that were once meant to protect humanity are now an ominous force that shows no mercy to human or mutant.The war has raged for years and the Sentinels clearly have the upper hand. Mutant kind and their human allies are barely surviving. Charles Xavier and Magneto have concluded that this war cannot be won, it must be stopped before it ever begins. Wolverine is sent into the past to prevent the war.

The X-men movies have been a favorite of mine since they started making them. This one is a very good addition to the series. It continues the prequel time line and plays with the future as well. I won’t give any spoilers away because I want you to go see this for yourself. Obviously money was not an object when making this movies. The special effects are of the highest caliber and absolutely amazing. The cast is a star-studded roll call to boot. Hugh Jackman heads up the cast but even with smaller roles, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan make their presence known. A huge tip of the hat goes to Peter Dinklage who steals the screen every time he is on it. Jennifer Lawrence running around in a blue body suit isn’t bad either.

The movie wasn’t perfect though. There were parts that didn’t quite fit together right in my mind. Mostly they were little things but they were enough to annoy me. The biggest problem I had with the movie was the fact that it was in 3D. I can’t hold that against the actual movie but I just don’t like watching 3D movies. Wearing the glasses for two or more hours is not fun and I always end up with a headache.

My personal complaints about the movie are well diminished by the entertainment value of the movie. Go see it and be excited about the sequels that are set to come from it.

Author Line

dudewantshisrugPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found over at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

Riddickulous

riddicThis movie was so boring I couldn’t fall asleep.

In his quest to get back to his home of Forya, Riddick is betrayed and finds himself stranded on an unknown planet. He comes upon a mercenary base and sends out a distress call. Full knowing that whomever responds is coming to collect the bounty on him. He has survived the harsh planet but now he must survive the bounty hunters coming to kill him.

To put it frankly, this movie was not good. I will say that the special effects were pretty good. I’ll even say the acting was well done. The only thing I did enjoy about the movie was seeing Katee Sackhoff. That just wasn’t enough though.

The big problem was the story. There were too many situations that just seemed too contrived. Early in the movie, Riddick is standing on a cliff edge at the moment he is betrayed. The sequence ends with the betrayer shooting the edge of the cliff and Riddick falling. Would he have really walked as far from his ship as he did and stand on this ledge? Why did they even land the ship on this peak to begin with? Then there was the silliness of every single person, except the religious guy, trying to be the galaxy’s biggest bad ass.

Maybe the worst part was just how boring the movie was. It was two hours long but if felt like it lasted forever. The movie starts out at a snails pace and is made even more dull by Vin Diesel’s narration. The film is plagued with scenes dragging out. Too much time is wasted trying to set things up. The back story took forever to explain and wasn’t even very compelling. Even after the set up is done, the payoff is lack luster to say the least. The movie comes of with the looks of an ‘A’ list movie but the plot of a ‘B’ list one.

Perhaps my hopes for this movie were just too high. Having enjoyed the other movies in the series, I wanted to enjoy this one as well. Alas, I did not. At least I didn’t pay much to not be entertained. Red Box had sent me a discount code to it only cost me fifty-three cents. That is about all I think this movie is worth.

Worst part? They have it all set up for the sequel. Damn, I hope they get better writers.