Glass

Surprise, its M. Night Shyamalan! He has been on a bit of an upswing lately. After he did The Visit, which was better than expected. And after he did Split, which was really great thanks to acting performances and of course, a surprise sequel.

Now, with Glass, we find ourselves with a trilogy no one would have expected a few years ago. Split works really well as a sequel to Unbreakable, maybe more so because no one expected it to be a sequel.

Unbreakable still holds up today, as a slow origin story and realizing that one might be something greater than everyone else around him. With Glass he has quite a task. Can he fully combine these two films, and bring about some sort of resolution? Because I don’t think anyone is expecting it to continue after Glass, into some just Shyamalan franchise of supers. An update is what we want, not a never ending story.

But hey, I am willing to change my mind should this be awesome.

Door
“Yo lady. Check that door. It’s glass, isn’t it?”

It turns out, that the more I talk about really what goes on in this movie, the more I might accidentally give away in terms of it its plot. As of now, Kevin Crumb and company (James McAvoy) have created the Beast and are causing havok, doing their own thing. Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) is returning to her regular life, and is in a better home situation.

Dunn (Bruce Willis) runs his own security business, while also spending time looking for people to help, and right now, The Beast. His son (Spencer Treat Clark) is now grown up, but still on his side and his “tech base guy”.

Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) has been in a mental hospital for some time, and his mom (Charlayne Woodard) is still alive! And we also have Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) as a psychiatrist, who has a very specific niche.

Also starring Luke Kirby and Adam David Thompson as workers.

Ceiling
What a climatic battle of super people! Wait

First of all, I think general audiences are going to HATE Glass. We have the potential ending of a franchise, two superhuman forces coming to collide. Is it going to be an epic game of cat and mouse? Is it going to be a huge brawl after huge brawl? How is he going to make it feel realistic like Unbreakable?

No, nothing like that. Instead, most of what I imagine people will suspect is going to happen really quickly, and the other 85% of the movie will be something you did not expect. I know I didn’t, but I didn’t see a trailer and so went in with my own regular expectations.

Now I am not saying where it went was bad, it was just extremely weird and unexpected. Specifically, Paulson’s character I really hated, and yet, we were supposed to hate her. There was just other things off with it. The situation she was in, her conversations, they didn’t feel natural so it took me out of the realism they were going for.

This is a lot more than anyone bargained for. And for a lot of the film, I was still sort of digging it. I didn’t think the direction was bad. But the ending. The ending is a mess of “twists” and what felt like a never ending movie. This movie at 129 minutes feels like its three hours. It is very slow paced, and feels like there are multiple regular ending spots.

McAvoy is still fan-fucking-tastic. What we wanted was to see more of his sides, and I lost count, but I think we get to see the rest of his many faces. We get a lot of long shots of him going between his voices, and it is great to see the many transformations.

Samuel L. Jackson is not utilized enough, Bruce Willis looks great (and old) but is too quiet and also under utilized. We need more updates, damn it. It was great to see Clark and Woodward back after so long, replacing them would have been lame.

And finally, I am pretty sure the timing is really off in the movie. It sounds like they said it took place only 3 weeks after Split. Did it? No idea. But if so, then all this talk of 19 years is bullshit, unless Split took place in the future compared to when it came out. And if Glass is only 3 weeks later, from a few years ago, some of the references made don’t make sense. Damn it, I hate it when timelines are confusing and characters can reference songs that aren’t out yet.

Let’s end the review on this note. Again, Glass is weird, it tries to do something different. It succeeded at being different. And I don’t think people will be happy with that difference.

2 out of 4.

Movie Roundup – Animated 2018

Welcome to a Movie Roundup! A movie roundup features a few films that I didn’t feel like making full reviews for, but needed to get basic reviews out there for completionist reasons. It also helps me deal with my backlog. It may have a theme, and today’s theme is Animated 2018! Basically, all of the animated movies of 2018 that didn’t get their own review.

Being on a movie round up doesn’t mean a movie is inherently bad, or good, or meh. I can feature any rating on here! So don’t assume the worst! I will also just post the reviews in alphabetical order.


Animated 2018

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

First up is the only third film in a franchise in the group, but there are a few unnecessary sequels as well. And in terms of unnecessary things, this is near the top. This film doesn’t relaly have any redeeming qualities. It is very clear right from the get go what a twist would be, so instead of milking it, they give it away early as well.

The real twist is tricking you to give money for this terrible, terrible movie. The ending features a several minute long dance battle, from various artists, and then an even longer Macarena dance party. Yes, that Macarena. Were they paid to have it featured so prominently, has it been too long outside of our pop culture sphere? It seriously had to milk this scene so hard, as each main character needed to be shown doing the dance, and then group shots, and then tons of tourists, and every person everywhere, with extreme body movements to highlight their awkward appearances. It was one of the worst endings of a movie this year, so well done Hotel Transylvania 3. Please stop now.

0 out of 4.

Group

If only Van Helsing was successful hundreds of years ago, none of this would be here today.

Incredibles 2

Next up is a sequel people have actually been wanting forever, and Brad Bird said only when he had a worthy script, and apparently that meant 14 years later. Real time, not the movie time, as it takes place right after the first movie. And I honestly thought he should have waited longer. This film just feels so uninspired by me. I really didn’t need to see moments after they finished the first film, leaving me at the same exact point except we have a baby with changing every power nonsense. I could have used years later, more developed.

This plot feels too similar to the first. Still people are afraid of supers, but instead of the man going out to fight, its now the lady. The plot twist was once again obvious, so it didn’t do much for me. In 2004, Superhero movies were shit, so The Incredibles stood out as a beacon of hope for things to come. Now Superhero films have been able to elevate their game, bring a whole lot more exciting things, and this film more or less stayed the same. My mind checked out by the end, and it felt like too little too late.

2 out of 4.

group

Babies are hard to care for. Hialrious!

Ralph Breaks The Internet

This sequel is a lot sooner after the first film, to maximize off of its success. However, this felt like a rushed piece of movie that relied on current style jokes only to work, which is going to doom it in the long run. This movie is by Disney, who wanted to flex their expansive collection and throw in all of the princesses and more in an internet hub world to make people giddy, almost as counter to Ready Player One , another nostalgia heavy film. Except this one combines nostolgia with extremely current, so we get memes, we get current popular websites, and it is going to do what many modern comedies do: fade into obscurity in a few years.

It is still nice to look at, and the ending is totally weird, but honestly, they made Ralph into such a shit in this movie. In the first film, he was tired of being a bad guy, who tried to do the right thing, but from his good intentions some bad still happened. In this film, he becomes selfish and straight up almost gaslighting Penelope into staying, and going out of his way to be a dick, whcih causes the problems. He felt like an extreme nice guy. “I did all of this for you, and now you want to leave!? Love me!” These are not the traits to be highlighting in our animated heroes, even if he learns his lesson. He still needed to not be such a dick.

2 out of 4.

group

Ha ha ha ha screaming goats ha ha manipulation ha ha ha free will.

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero

This movie is an awkward one, as it had a small release, not a big studio, and looked like absolute shit. Letting us know it is based on a true dog from World War I doesn’t make this feel any less uncomfortable the whole time. In highlighting what a dog did, with most likely extreme examples that might not have happened, we downplay the hell out of actual soldiers in the war who died. I don’t know if anyone is still alive from that war, but I know they would definitely not like this movie iteration.

It was a terrible war, and not saying we can’t make kid versions about the war. But it didn’t do a good job of really informing the details of the war, so it isn’t really educational. Instead, it is a super pup movie, who has a soldier friend, who saves everybody. It is so soft and basic it just feels like a waste of time. Cool, at least one dog in a war was given the title of sergeant. Please don’t trivialize the war at the same time.

1 out of 4.

group

Yo dawg, just no.

Sherlock Gnomes

For those of you who did not see Gnomeo and Juliet (which I will assume is everybody), it was lawn gnomes, but the Romeo and Juliet story line. And for whatever reason, they got Elton John on board with it, and a lot of his hits were either background, or the tune of his songs with different lyrics. It was uncomfortable. So yeah, let’s do a sequel. But a different story. Completely unrelated, except also being British in nature.

Now, if you are like me, you assumed okay, new story, new hero and will just be gnomes. But no, they think we really like the pair from the previous movie and it is still really about them, with also a mystery and extra characters. And despite the first being a big movie about their romance and getting together, this one is also about how Gnomeo is a shitbag who won’t let his woman do her own things, so he has to be insecure and they should not be a couple. More bad things for kids, really. Also, what the fuck is this Shelock plot line. I haven’t seen Homes & Watson yet, but this has got to be the worst year for that poor detective in hundreds of years. Straight up I will let you know, at some point, Watson is found to be part of the bad guy plot as well, because they want something new. Get out of here.

Oh yeah, and still, Elton John music.

0 out of 4.

group

Here are four characters no one ever has, or will, care about.

Smallfoot

This is one of those movies I had completely dismissed before watching it. It looked like an Illumination movie, and they are generally godawful always. But it isn’t that! It is Warner Bros, who is known for Lego Movies and Storks (and that’s it right now). Knowing Storks, I wasn’t excited either. But strangely enough, Smallfoot had a lot going on for it. It had pretty good lead acting and some fun characters. It dealt with a serious topic about dealing with religious doctrination, from many angles. It didn’t say blindly follow, or screw all of it and get rid of it. There were layers to the plot.

I didn’t know it had songs in it either, so when they started I was a bit turned off, but for the most part they are really great. Even when one had to take the riff from Under Pressure, it completely ran with the premise and made it into something wonderful. Shit, the music was dope. I laughed. Now the ending did have a lot of problems, it got clunky and a bit off. But for the most part, Smallfoot is a solid film and better than most of the animated films this year. I’m looking at you, Disney and Pixar.

3 out of 4.

group

Who really has the small feet in this situation, WB, Disney, or Pixar?

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies

And finally, we have a movie that came in a summer and I actually heard a lot of good things about. I heard it was hilarious. I heard I didn’t need to watch the show to like. I watched the first Teen Titans a few times, and it seemed quality. The Go version looked like, and maybe even smelled like trash. And it turns out, their movie seems to go with my preconceptions of the show.

Let’s make this clear. I didn’t laugh once. It had a few fart and potty jokes in it. It had a group of five people but it could not at all let them all be the stars, despite it being a team film. Clearly, a movie about Robin wanting a movie about himself will be more about him. Fine. But the other four are barely used. Cyborg is used a lot more, then Beast Boy, and our girls are rarely mentioned or get a line it seems. It is also a surprise musical, with some tunes being nice.

But what makes this movie insufferable is its over reliance on meta humor and current meme standards. We get it. Its a movie about making a super hero movies. We got superheroes in it, and they are hilarious. It just went all these terrible directions and never felt like something I would ever want to watch. It is like an idea someone made on an internet message board, and for whatever reason, a studio executive was drunk and actually listened to it. Yeah, a movie about making movies. But fart humor. And not showcasing all of the members of the team. And repeated jokes. Yes. God awful.

0 out of 4.

group

God awful.

Overall, I am not surprised that three of these films got the lowest rating. I am surprised at how much I disliked Teen Titans though, could never imagine that poor of a film. I figured Sgt. Stubb would have been worse. I am surprised at the mediocrity from our big studios and how good Smallfoot ended up being.

Some of these films will make the worst of the year list, none will make the best. If you wanted quality animated films from this year, from America, check out Isle of Dogs and Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse.

Atomic Blonde

Atomic! Blonde! Atomic Blonde! Two words that are powerful, in very different ways, and together make something…about the sum of their parts.

It is a new action mostly film, with promises of sleek designs and fights, with a banging sound and wall to wall fun. It is also being noted as female John Wick, or something like that.

I figured Atomic Blonde would be some cool agent nick name, but it isn’t mentioned at all in the film, so really the title is just…mostly random. Strange, but it wouldn’t be the first time it is done. Sort of a call back to 80’s action films in that regard.

Wall
What a big goddamn symbol of separation. And a wall, there is a wall also in this shot.

In November, 1989, the Berlin Wall was a literal and figurative collapse of the separation between East and West Germany, reuniting the country for the first time in decades. But in this world, it almost never happened.

An MI-6 British operative gained access to a file in a watch that had information on every hidden operative on both sides of the Cold War. It would be devastating for anyone to get their hands on it, as they would gain a big advantage over the others. It getting out might also prolong the Cold War, when it is so close to finishing for once.

And then that operative was killed before he could bring it home, putting it in the hands of a Soviet soldier, who didn’t run back to his country, but is trying to get paid the big bucks for the information. So the UK sends in a new agent, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), to find the file before it gets in the wrong hands. They also want her to find information on a double agent, who is secretly leaking information to the Soviets. And all of this quickly, before the Cold War heats up.

She is sent with information to trust no one, not even their pseudo informant, David Percival (James McAvoy), a man who has been working both sides of the wall to gain intel to gain power and prestige. But he is also her only hope to really starting to crack the case. They also need to find Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), a code name for an East German intelligence officer who helped make the list and is the only one really with that information.

The majority of the story is told after the events, with Lorraine retelling it back at headquarters, to a head British dude (Toby Jones) and a member of the CIA (John Goodman).

Other bodies in this film include James Faulkner, Roland Møller, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgård, Sam Hargrave, and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson.

Cover
Man, having a big head of hair and covering your face really helps input a stunt double.

Coming from a person who didn’t find John Wick or its sequel to be perfect films (although wonderful cinematography, and wonderful action), this did not feel up to the same quality that John Wick gave us. But I am not going to compare it to John Wick, that wouldn’t be fair.

Theron was fine as our lead. A very distant protagonist, she had a lot of secrets in her head, and they showed her definitely to be a bad ass. There was an incredible scene that maybe went on 10 minutes as a long take with several fights and sequences that just felt like it would never end. It was wonderful.

But it lacked a whole lot more in the story department. It should have tried a simpler plot, instead this movie gets tangled up in its own threads, and doesn’t give a completely sensible final product. Twists and turns are one thing, but if they end up at the finale and feel forced and a bit of a let down, then the movie just ends with a pitter.

The average review isn’t just for the ending, but mostly for how the story just failed to get me involved in anyway. There were secrets, but ones I rarely cared about. I didn’t try to look for hints, because I knew they would be mostly red herrings.

But the soundtrack was definitely banging. And again, some of the fight scenes were just extremely well choreographed, so if that is all you care about, you will have a good time. I just think who cares? Big deal, I want more.

2 out of 4.

Split

Guess what? I liked The Visit. It creeped me out a bit, had some humor, but overall was a good balance and a decent story. It had a twist, but didn’t really make or break the movie on the twist, so it didn’t get hated for it either.

And that is what M. Night needed to do. He needed to take the twists focus away from his film, because they lived and died by how good the twist became. He can still do twists, but he had to make sure he had a great film regardless of twist.

I was looking forward to see Split. I didn’t see any trailer, any synopsis, just a director and the main actor in a poster. I was excited because I wanted to believe.

I was excited to see M. Night finally kick some ass again.

Hedwig
I was basically as giddy as a school girl, like this little boy here!

Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy) is your regular, average, teenage girl. Well, except she has black hair, so that makes her moody. She goes to detention a lot, has unreliable parenting, has run away before and is a person who likes to keep to herself. But she was invited to a classmate’s party, because it would be weird to invite everyone BUT her. After everyone else had left, Casey’s ride isn’t there, so she gets a ride home with the birthday girl, (Haley Lu Richardson), her other friend (Jessica Sula), and the dad.

But the dad doesn’t get in the driver’s seat. Next thing the girls know, they wake up in a locked room underground, and this creepy guy, Dennis (James McAvoy) is talking strangely and threatening them. There is talk about…a beast?

Long story short, turns out that Dennis is more than Dennis. He is Patricia. He is Hedwig. He has 23 different personalities. He has been mostly non threatening, sees a shrink (Betty Buckley) and everything, but it looks like some of his personalities have taken over and have other plans. The girls are going to have to work with their kidnapper if they hope to escape their kidnapper.

Also featuring some flashbacks with young Casey (Izzie Coffey) and her dad (Sebastian Arcelus) and uncle (Brad William Henke) out hunting.

Dennis
Dennis is super cereal all the time, and also enjoys young girls dancing for him. Your average joe.

I ended up really enjoying Split. Like, like liking Split. It just shocked the hell out of me.

First of all, it is a very strange movie. I am not going to say that it is accurate scientifically or anything, but based on the universe M. Night created, it totally fits and is plausible. But it is still very weird, while keeping the aura of mystery and thrills, all wrapped up in a psychotic bow.

A lot of cool things happen along the way thanks to the story, but in all honesty it is just McAvoy and Taylor-Joy carrying it. The other two girls are forgettable characters because they are to the side. The psychiatrist is interesting, but not the best. The flashbacks serve a purpose, but don’t end too shockingly. But McAvoy playing the many different roles pulls it off flawlessly. He saw what Tom Hardy did in Legend and thought he would try and 22 up it.

I have now seen Taylor-Joy in only two films, The Witch being the other one, and it amazes me how well she plays a struggling but capable female victim lead. Her roles have not been screaming girl who somehow survives, they have depth to them, fears, and presence.

Split delivered something I hope to see in every movie I watch. It gave me something unique. It gave me a film full of its own mythos. It gave me performances I want to see again and again. And it gave me hope. Not hope for mankind or anything. But just hope in films, because when the credits rolled, I found myself even giddier than when I originally walked to my seat.

4 out of 4.

X-Men: Apocalypse

Here it folks, the big one. The Apocalypse is coming, despite everything Idris Elba did to cancel it.

The recent strange reboot of the X-Men franchise has been wildly successful. I enjoyed First Class and loved the crap out of Days of Future Past (which made my top of the year list), while also fixing some continuity issues that had been brought up. I used to like X2, but honestly, it hasn’t aged well with me, and I am tired as fuck of the Wolverine origin stories.

As a fan of the X-Men stories, Apocalypse has always felt like their biggest and greatest enemy. He is their Thanos or Darkseid. Not their main enemy, just their biggest threat. So to see it finally come to fruition on the big screen is both exciting and frightening. It is obvious why I am excited, but I am also frightened that I am over hyping the film. Days of Future Past did a lot of things right, so it will be hard for them to live up to that film. There are so many ways for X-Men: Apocalypse to go wrong.

But despite all this, I will do my best to not make fun of the way he looks.

Old
He looks a lot less like Ivan Ooze in the actual film!

Ten years after the events of the last film, the world has changed for Mutants. After Mystique’s (Jennifer Lawrence) speech, mutants are a bit more understood and not completely seen as threats. In America, they can look weird and walk around and most people seem to accept them. It helps that Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has gone into hiding in Poland to live a new life, and Xavier’s (James McAvoy) school is a rousing success!

Until shit starts hitting the fan. Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) discovers cults that are worshipping ancient beings believed to be the first mutants. Sure enough, bad events occur, and En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) is out and about after being trapped and asleep for almost 5700 years. Go fuck yourself, Rip Van Winkle. What’s an ancient deity gotta do to get some respect around here? Make a new team of individuals to help him gain more powers and enslave the world of course! That is why we get to see new people, like Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy), and Mowhawk Storm (Alexandra Shipp)!

Ah, the end of the world. The best time to introduce young new guys to the fold too. Like Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclopes (Tye Sheridan) who is of course Havok’s (Lucas Till) brother, Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Jubilee (Lana Condor).

Also returning: Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Evan Peters as Quicksilver, and Josh Helman as Col. William Stryker. And featuring Warren Scherer, Rochelle Okoye, Monique Ganderton, and Fraser Aitcheson as the original four horsemen.

New
Something new, something old (Apocalypse), and a whole lot of somethings blue.

With X-Men: Apocalypse, we now have our third 2.5 hour Superhero film of the year, which must the new normal. Please be different Dr. Strange. The timing felt good for Civil War, but it was too much of a run time for this film. Plenty could have been cut out to give a more straight forward and less clunky film.

Here is the good stuff though! I almost gave this a 3 out of 4, because what worked really worked. There is a scene that actually made me tear up in this film. It was then immediately when extra lives were somehow lost without making a whole lot of sense. I will say that Magneto’s reason for getting involved seem almost completely justifiable, and like normal, Fassbender and McAvoy basically carry the film. Lawrence isn’t bad in her role, although Mystique’s arc seems just a bit weaker. In terms of new characters, Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler does a fascinating job and Turner as Jean Grey grew on me over time. Quicksilver was a lot more involved in the plot and his moments were some of the highlights of the film again. It is great that they made him more integral to the plot and confirmed some of his backstory.

And finally (a vague spoiler) we have a film where characters can actually die from these extremely powerful individuals doing battle. Thank goodness.

For most of the other players, everyone else feels underutilized. Psylocke is only really used in one fight, we get a decent amount of Angel but it isn’t great, and Storm doesn’t have many great moments. And if you were one of the dozens excited to finally get Jubilee in film, then quickly suppress that excitement, because she does diddly squat. And of course we have the wonderful OSCAR ISAAC to play the big bad guy, but for half the film his voice is distorted and there is never really a moment where he can really display any great acting, which makes the casting feel a bit wasteful.

It could have been the 3D and theater settings, but the CGI felt weaker than Days of Future Past. Apparently Apocalypse’s powers involve turning items into sand and sand into items for the most part with the occasional cool purple thing. Add in Magneto’s electric field near the end and we just get a used over and over again ugly look to the whole film.

This movie is not as good as Days of Future Past, and maybe not even as good as First Class. It is still decently enjoyable though, but it features a clunky plot with a lot of underutilized characters. The good news is that for the parts that work, they work really damn well. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy some nice fan service?

2 out of 4.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him/Her/Them


Movies in 2014 brought us some incredibly new and wonderful experiences. Boyhood took 12 years to film, doing a little bit each year to watch the actors grow old. Birdman was edited in a fine way to make it seem like just one long continuous shot. Both fantastic films, my 1 and 2 from the year.

But there was another movie that was unique last year that interested me. The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby. On its own, it doesn’t seem like that innovative of a film. However, it is collectively three films in one.

On the surface it is just about a relationship. Specifically, the three versions are called Him, Her, and Them. Him is the plot from mainly the guy’s point of view and Her is the girl’s point of view. Them is a more typically told story, telling bits and pieces of their sides and is a much more standard film.

And I wanted to see it all of 2014. I wanted to watch it as soon as it hit Blu-Ray. It has been on Netflix for months, all three parts! Welcome to Day 3 of my Fucking Finally week.

Love
First comes love…

Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) have had a long relationship. They even married! Serious stuff. But no one would describe their lives as remarkable. Eleanor came from an academic family, but left her PhD program in Anthropology, when she got pregnant. Conor is the son of a restaurant God in NYC, who also has bad relationships, and is now attempting to run his own restaurant without his dad’s help.

But then one of the worst things happen. They lost their baby boy, really young. Their grief came in different ways, driving a wedge between them. After a few months, Eleanor wants to take a brake from their relationship, frustrated where things are going, and that is really where our story begins.

In Him, we mostly get to see Conor flailing about trying to deal with his emotions by repressing them like a motherfucker. They still come out in bursts, like when he has attacked unruly customers. His best friend and chef (Bill Hader) is even getting sick of his shit.

Conor sort of starts to stalk Eleanor a little bit as well, following her around but never having the courage to talk to her until he resorts back to a kid in middle school and passes her a note, quite creepily. His story also features Ciaran Hinds as his father, and Nina Arianda as an employee who has feelings for him.

Stalk
Then comes stalking after heartbreak and sadness…

In Her, we don’t even see Conor for the until the awkward scene above. James McAvoy is barely in this film and it is definitely all about Eleanor.

It starts with her injury and then her going on her own to the hospital. Eleanor decides to go home with her parents and sister. The mom (Isabelle Huppert) is French through and through, always seen with a glass of wine. Her dad (William Hurt) is still a psychologist at the local university, and her younger sister (Jess Weixler) has a little boy of her own, but no man or boyfriend in her life. She was already living with the parents still. Her family tries to get her help, but can’t seem to provide enough help on their own, the awkwardness of the whole situation. Some psychology degree, am I right?

So she does go to the local college to take a few classes. There she develops a nice bond with another psychology professor (Viola Davis), who is able to talk to her like a real person about normal things, since she knows nothing about Eleanor’s last few months. Her time alone allows Eleanor an attempt to find herself, and interact with Conor on her own terms in her own ways. Slowly, surely, and eventually full of hope.

In Them, it is the longest of the films at just over 2 hours. However, it is literally just everything you seen before. You still get the scenes between them, but this time you also get some of their individual scenes.

Them is packaged in a way so that it can be their complete story in a regular time frame for a regular movie. A movie about sadness and grief and how two different people cope. Technically, some of the scenes between them we see from a few different angles, but it is just a cram packed version with less individual detail on each character. Although, when watching it, it still felt like it featured a lot more of Her than Him.

Rekindling
Then comes alcohol to end all of the sadness!

Five hours, twelve minutes. That is how long watching these three movies took overall. That is if you want the full experience. The good news? You don’t have to see all three for the full experience!

In fact, you shouldn’t watch all three, and definitely not in the same week. You should only watch Him and Her, or Them, not all three. If you just watch the first two, you will get a very unique experience and you will get it in three hours, nine minutes. A much more reasonable amount of time. If you are feeling lazy or want a very regular saddish drama, then just go for Them. Its like a not very effective cliff notes.

Now, I watched them in Him, Her, and Them order because it just seemed to make sense. I knew the films were about the woman leaving, so it makes since to keep some mystery and watch Him before Her. Doing so allowed the film to answer questions are different times and felt like the best experience.

This only matters if you care about my recommendation of course. The best experience would just be Him and Her, no Them, because it is mostly repetitive. It sucks that I cannot wipe Him/Her from my memory before Them to give an unbiased review of it. But Them on its own didn’t feel like a great movie. Obviously I had the issues of it being full of scenes I had already seen (does that sound weird?), but it also cut out a lot of other scenes that I felt were necessary.

That’s right. Watching the condensed two hour version felt lacking. Shocking discovery, I know.

Them is Shit. Him and Her combined are a good experience. If you were going to watch just one of Him and Her, it won’t be good. It would just be odd and you don’t want to be odd.

Oh yeah, for whatever reason, the movies end differently. I have no idea why this happens, but Her has the best ending, in my ever so humble movie reviewer opinion.

Him and Her: 3 out of 4.

Them:1 out of 4.

Filth

James McAvoy is a fun Scottish man. He has risen pretty well into fame territory, but he doesn’t let that get to his head (I think). He still does the indie movies. In fact, it seems like half of his movies are big Hollywood numbers, and the other half are indie. He really loves that shit. He is a man who loves to get into a character, a man who will work with a low budget, just to tell a story.

Maybe he was just humbled after Wanted though, who is to say.

But despite his recent performance as Professor X, again, he has now given us Filth, which is a perfect name to describe this bat shit insane movie.

Face
How insane? Well, let’s just say you wouldn’t want to smell his finger anytime soon.

Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is a man who knows what he wants, and gets what he wants. He is a Detective Sergeant in the Edinburgh police force, but there is a new spot opening for Detective Inspector, a big promotion. There are quite a few people competing for the spot (Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Brian McCardie, Emun Elliott, Gary Lewis), but they all have faults. Exploitable faults. Faults that Bruce can use against them, playing a massively deceptive game to showcase their faults to his boss (John Sessions), making them all inept to fill the highest role.

The good news is he has been tasked with finding out who killed this Japanese student, who was beaten mercilessly on the streets. Great. Shouldn’t be too hard, and will allow him to set up his multiple schemes to destroy the lives of everyone around him.

Even his friend Clifford (Eddie Marsan), who he tends to bully. He has been calling his wife harassing her sexually, just to get a ruse out of them. What a guy right?

A lot of this can be “blamed” on the fact that his wife, Carole (Shauna Macdonald), took his daughter to visit families during the holidays. Because of course this is around Christmas time. If there wasn’t a lot of pressure for Bruce to solve the case and get promoted, he’d be able to take a vacation and all. Blamed is sarcasm here guys. Because he is a scumbag, he does scumbag things.

And Jim Broadbent is in here, so you know he has some sort of comical zany role.

Dr. Who?
No, nothing about this looks comical OR zany.

I am trying not to fill this review up with adjectives that all mean the same thing, so instead I will reiterate how insane this movie felt. The Bruce character seemed to have no rhyme or reason for most of his actions. He was rustling jimmies just for the heck of it. But this movie isn’t just some sick guys fantasy about hating his coworkers or something. No. There IS a point to the madness, and it was explained very well with hints throughout the end. I really enjoyed the ending. In fact, the ending actually has a similarity to Wanted, go figure.

It was hard to look away for most of the film, a definite plus, mostly because the viewer would have no real clue with where it was going. Thankfully, when it had to be dramatic, it did a decent job at those scenes as well.

Outside of McAvoy, I am a bit surprised at how well Eddie Marsan did. He is generally a side character in most movies, much like this one, but this performance of his was quite different from his other roles. He also had enough make up that it took me awhile to even recognize his (normally) very recognizable face.

Overall, Filth is definitely a unique movie, telling a unique story, but not something everyone may appreciate. Still not even sure if it is the type of film I could comfortably watch again. Well, maybe once. But no more after that.

3 out of 4.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past

X-Men, oh X-Men, where art thou X-Men?

This is the seventh film of the franchise. SEVENTH. X-Men: Days Of Future Past. When I first heard about this, I was excited. It was a very ambitions plot and storyline to go for, time travel tends to do that. Couple that with the fact that X-Men: First Class was actually decent meant the series might be headed off in a certain way.

But you know what was terrible? The advertisements for this movie. By having two time lines of cast, we have a shit ton of characters, and Fox decided the best way to advertise it was to give every character its own…thing, whatever. So, magazines would have 30 unique covers, or 30 individual character posters, or whatever. No giant cast pictures, no, just an overabundance of individual character shit.

Here is one of the real reasons this bugs me. Anna Paquin. It was stated a long time ago, in the year of 2013, that she was basically cut from the movie. Then it became a rumor. Then it became true and then changed to say that she would just be a cameo. Just a cameo? And still getting full ad treatment? Boo. That is almost worst than the 47 Ronin ad issues, because she is supposed to be a bigger character.

Finally, in the credits, her name was higher than many other people in the film. Because she is more famous? Than Ellen Page? Fuck that. She was in the original X-Men movies then a shitty TV show, while Page has had a big lucrative film career. It is just nonsensical, and most of this doesn’t matter for the actual movie.

Sentinels
No, but these robots matter. AW YEAH SENTINELS!

In the near future, everything is bad, lots are dead. Mutants. Humans who would give birth to future mutants. The sentinels have destroyed it all. Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) has an unexplained ability to also let people go back in time with their consciousness to their body and like, change the future. But only for a few days, maybe a week. This is long enough to help their band of mutants survive and run, but not long enough to fix it.

No, they’d have to go back to the 1970’s, before Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) (who’s actual mutant power seems to be very limber leg maneuvers) kills the creator of the Sentinels (Peter Dinklage). But the process to send back a consciousness would tear apart a brain. Unless of course, the brain can heal itself. Hmm.

Enter Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) ready to travel back in time, convince past Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and past Xavier (James McAvoy) to work together, change the future, and fix their stupidity.

Here is where I talk about everyone in the film, but in one giant paragraph. Maybe the new people first? Like, Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Toad (Evan Jonigkeit), Bishop (Omar Sy), Blink (Bingbing Fan), Sunspot (Adan Canto) and Warpath (Booboo Stewart).

Of course we have Old Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Old Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Storm (Halle Berry), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and of course ROGUE. Just kidding. Bullshit cameo.

Do we get Jean Gray (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), or Old Beast (Kelsey Grammar)? Well, maybe.

Magneto
I will only advertise one character per picture, as per movie tradition.

Yay Sentinels! Like a lot a folks in my age bracket, the Sentinels were one of the first X-Men plots I was exposed to, thanks to the first two episodes of the X-Men Animated TV Series on Fox. Shit, that is where I learned most of my basic plot lines, and why to fear the motherfucking Juggernaut. They were fascinating to see and I love the changes made to them. They were TERRIFYING and kept the viewers on the edge of the seat.

What else rocked? Most of the movie. Sure, some plot elements could have been explained better. But the Xavier/Magneto back story was great, a good continuation from First Class. Speaking of dickheads, Fassbender as Magneto is a huge one, and it was awesome to see. The best part is, you can easily relate to where he is coming from and he isn’t just a mindless villain.

Speaking of even more awesome, Fox’s adaption of Quicksilver was so entertaining. He didn’t have the bigger role in the movie, but whenever he was on screen, you paid attention to him and no one else. They really went all out to make him stand out, kind of a big middle finger to Marvel, daring them to raise the bar in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

To make this long review a bit shorter, here is the quicker analysis: So many characters, but outside of tiny cameos, they all were great and wonderful. Special effects and action was good. Story and plot was good. Holy shit, give me Apocalypse.

Did this 100% fit the continuity issues between a few of the movies? Heck no, but at least it gave it a good try and an entertaining one to boot.

4 out of 4.

Welcome To The Punch

Two James McAvoy movies in two days.

That is what I did with Trance and Welcome To The Punch, both which released on DVD/BR the same day. Pretty much a McAvoy festapalooza.

Alright, I have nothing to say as an introduction. I am just stalling. Let’s just say I got to go into this movie blind, knowing it had a silly title and James McAvoy.

Blue
And a really fucking weird blue hue throughout the film. Is that a halo?

Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) is a detective in London, and he is a bit of a hot shot. He is chasing after famed criminal, Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong), but things start to go awry. Jacob gets away, but not without first putting a bullet through Max’s leg. Shit.

Three years later, Max is now retired, and all sorts of pissed off. It is like his leg has never felt the same again. The good news is, Jacob’s son is now in the hospital! Okay, that is terrible news. But that news means that Jacob is most likely going to return from his Iceland hideout, in order to see his son. That is when Max can take him out. That is where he can get his revenge. So he gets all un-retired, a new partner in Sarah Hawks (Andrea Riseborough), and this time he will take him in for good.

Unless, things aren’t as clear as they appear to be. Maybe Jacob is secretly a good guy? Maybe. Just maybe.

Gangers
Oh god, it is so fucking blue. I bet he has a blue house too, with a blue little window. Maybe even a blue corvette…

Welcome To The Punch reminds me of Deadfall. Only in that it went from a great opening to “who gives a fuck” real real quick into it. The twist and secrets were seen miles ahead, without even trying to be remotely clever. Maybe the problem is that they told us that not everything was on the uppity up in the description. Why couldn’t it have been described as just a revenge cop story, because that on its own is relatively unique. A man driven to obsession over getting that one last criminal. Those movies tend to be fantastic.

Throw in corrupt cop angles? Well, I have seen that shit in every movie. It is boring now. Except when I rewatch The Shield. The Shield makes it sexy.

What, I spoiled the corrupt cop nature of it? That is a lie, you already guessed that was the secret. You were right.

The acting wasn’t bad or anything, McAvoy played the obsession angle really well I thought, and it wasn’t really something I’ve seen him do before.

The problem is the movie quickly becomes dull and never really picks itself up from that, so we are just left waiting for it to end. Oh yeah, the ending. That was bad too.

1 out of 4.

Trance

Trance came out in theaters in late March, but apparently never came close to my area, so I had to wait until the DVD Release.

You’d think a college town would be able to justify more indie and lesser known releases. But then again, you’d think a college town would also have trivia nights at their bars.

More importantly, Trance was directed by Danny Boyle. Surely the man who did 28 Days Later…, 127 Hours, and Slumdog Millionaire has earned post-indie status by now.

McAvoy Mind Raper
When he rubs his temple that way, my mind feels raped.
According to this movie, stealing art used to be easy. You kind of just pranced into a museum, took it and ran, then went home and hid. Shit gets stolen, and a museum gets fucked. Nowadays, it is way high tech and almost impossible without a huge plan to do it. Okay, that isn’t true. Just read the beginning of this Cracked article which states basically the opposite with facts.

But let’s say for this movie art is hard to steal. Simon (James McAvoy) works as a dude who protects art in case someone tries to steam them when they are getting stolen. Guess what. Some people try to steal a famous painting, Witches In The Air, valued at over $25 million.

Franck (Vincent Cassel) and his crew (including Danny Sapani) steal the shit out of that painting, while also knocking out Simon for trying to be a hero. But when they look at their new score, they find that the painting is gone. Shit. What did Simon do!?

Too bad Simon doesn’t remember what he did with the painting. The men who tried to steal it are pretty pissed off, and have tortured him and tore up all of his things. But still, he just does not remember.

So they get a hypnotist, Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson). However, when she begins to work her mind magic, she discovers secrets that none of the individuals thought possible.

Rosie Oh Rosie
Rosario Dawson shows a lot of her…acting talents in this movie.
First things first, for you fucking perverts out there. Rosario Dawson for the first time is completely nude in this movie. Like full frontal, lower and upper, multiple times, no body double nude. She is also shaved. Which is relevant to the plot of the movie. I feel dirty saying all of that, but not really.

There are only three main characters in this movie, but Danny Boyle makes sure you have to work to earn the story. There are twists, there are turns, there are mind fucks. If you stop paying attention, you might not be able to keep up, so it really rewards those people who don’t have short attention spans. It assumes the watcher is intelligent, and will take you on an (often really loud) journey.

I think by the end the story might have gotten a bit too ahead of itself, making too many leaps and bounds. Despite that, it was still a great story, another fantastic movie from Danny Boyle, and another reason why I hate the local theaters.

3 out of 4.

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