X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

Director: Simon Kinberg

Writer: John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum (Screenplay) Jack Kirby, Stan Lee (Comic Book)

Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee

 

Plot: Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.


Tagline – The Phoenix will rise.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Forgettable

 

Story: X-Men: Dark Phoenix starts in the world where Charles Xavier’s (McAvoy) group of X-Men, Mystique (Lawrence), Beast (Hoult), Jean Grey (Turner), Scott (Sheridan), Storm (Shipp), Quicksilver (Peters) and Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee) are celebrated around the world for their efforts to rescue people where normal humans can’t reach, with their latest mission taking them to space, where Jean Grey gets infected by an unknown lifeforce.

Back on Earth Jean struggles to control this new power which will lead to tragic consequences with her needing to turn to Erik (Fassbender) for advice before being visited by the mysterious Vuk (Chastain) that wants the power within her.

 

Thoughts on X-Men: Dark Phoenix

 

Characters – Jean Grey is our central character in this film, we see how she has a troubled childhood, before being welcomed to the school, she has learnt to control her powers which become enhanced with the incident, to a level she can’t control anymore. Jean is left wondering who she can trust, Charles, Erik or Vuk, just to find her place in the world. Charles Xavier has seen his school become the place the President turns to, this has made him reckless with the behaviour, willing to risk them when he doesn’t need to, he must face the reality that his school will always be looked at differently and that he hasn’t always done thing correctly. Erik has once again returned to a quiet life, this time helping mutants have a place away from the world, he will do the best to stop any conflict until he learns what has happened.  Mystique continues to have the ability to question what Charles is doing, she wants to keep everybody safe, even if it means going against everything Charles is thinking. Beast is still believing in Charles, until the tragedy hits home, forcing him to question what is best for the students in the school and mutants alike. Scott does play the only character that Jean loves, he can help at times when she starts to lose control, while being one of the few people she wants to protect from the danger she is becoming. Storm, Quicksilver and Nightcrawler complete the X-Men team which sees him just being extra members of the fight for the most part. Vuk is the mysterious being that is searching for the power that has taken over Jean, she is the leader of a group that want this power for their own destructive motivations.

PerformancesThis film has a mix of performances, Sophie Turner does continue to struggle in the leading role, she just never manages to convince with the unsure factor of how she is feeling through the film. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are usually the standouts in these films, but they both don’t get to make the impact they have in the past. Nicolas Hoult does have good moments, but we would have liked more from him. Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp and Kodi Smit-McPhee do everything asked in their roles, while Jessica Chastain seems to be wasted in the villainous role.

StoryThe story shows us a world where mutants are a welcome and used to help sav people around the world, when one of these missions goes wrong the mutants show the danger they can bring to the world, when one gets infected with an unknown power which makes them the most powerful person in the world, while a new group wants that power. It is nice to see the story continue to show how the world has changed from the events in the previous films, even if it does throw a lot of the timeline out the window. We do follow certain lines that we did follow in The Last Stand too, which didn’t feel fresh, the script does have some awful lines which doesn’t help either. Now on the positive side of the story, we do get to flip Charles’s characters showing that he isn’t the all positive figure, it does make him the focus of the story at times though, we do get to see some of the other X-Men unleash their powers is nice to see too. This could easily be one of the weakest stories in the X-Men universe and you can see just how difficult it was.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does have a couple of entertaining moments that do get to see just how powerful each mutant can be when unleashed to their full powers. We do hit new levels for the sci-fi elements as we see the new enemy and power.

SettingsThe film doesn’t give us the best looking settings, most action sequences actually feel like they are just on sets, never inside an environment.

Special EffectsThe effect in the film give us a weird look to the design of the power that is coming over Jean, which does work in places, though it doesn’t look overly interesting in when it comes to the wounds.


Scene of the Movie –
The train sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We should be called X-Women.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forgettable addition to the X-Men franchise, with simple acting and mostly safe actions.

 

Overall: Basic-Men

Rating

 

 

American Animals (2018)

Director: Bart Layton

Writer: Bart Layton (Screenplay)

Starring: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier

 

Plot: Four young men mistake their lives for a movie and attempt one of the most audacious heists in U.S. history.


Tagline – Nobody wants to be ordinary

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Way Too Slow

 

Story: American Animals starts as we see the heist about to take place, rewinding us 18 months where we meet Spencer Reinhardt (Keoghan) an art student in Transylvania University, struggling with his identity, turning to his streetwise friend Warren Lipka (Peters) the two discuss the potential of stealing rare expensive books from the library.

As the idea turns into a plan they bring in Chas Allen (Jenner) and Eric Borsuk (Abrahamson), can they make this plan come off, well the answer is no because as we see the planning we meet the real thieves now in their 30s discussing what they remember about the idea.

 

Thoughts on American Animals

 

Characters – Warren is the streetwise student on a scholarship, not living up to his potential, he will always get things down however illegal they might be. He is the one that brings the team together to make this happen even if he is also the one that gets them in the most problems. Spencer is the art student that comes up with the idea because he is sick of not standing out in the art world, looking for the pain be believes artist require. He is all in with the planning but when it comes to following through he thinks they will need to go too far. Chas is the getaway driver, he has the most money which helps with the planning of the heist. Eric becomes the brains learning where things could and would go wrong if they do it in certain directions. We do also meet the adult versions of these characters in the real version that are looking back on the crime they committed.

PerformancesEvan Peters is the clear highlight in this film, he always comes off unpredictable which seeing the older versions of the characters you completely understand too. Barry Keoghan does play the stranger member of the crew well, he is the one that is happy to plan not commit a crime, he needs to be straighter faced than Peters character. When it comes to the rest of the cast they are fine without needing to do that much.

StoryThe story here is based on the real story of four university students that robbed the rare book collection in the library of their university. The way the story is told is interesting because it does both help and hinder the film, having a mix of the actors playing the younger versions and the real men talking about the events does give the story a documentary feel. Where this does hinder the story is by telling us that they failed early on and are now just remembering what happen which takes away any excitement or edge of your set moments towards anything going on. There are moments in the story which are good to watch, for example the scene where they are watching heist movies to learn how to pull it off and seeing the pitch perfect plan in Warren’s head. If we are being honest, the story is about 20 minutes too long because the opening hour just drags you along, once the heist gets underway things get more exciting but by then you might see the audience lose interest.

CrimeThe crime follows a real heist that happened at the same university, we get to see how it was planned, how things went down and seeing the consequences the boys felt.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around the university, this helps for any heist film, we do get moments where we step away, but that is for the plan which does work when you see how the boys are out of their depth at times.


Scene of the Movie –
Selecting the names.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The first hour.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly long heist movie that drags along at a horribly slow pace, once things kick off we do get some interest, but the fact we have the real criminals involved in telling the story we know the outcome.

 

Overall: Just watch for Evan Peters being slightly crazy.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Director: David Gelb

Writer: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, Donald Glover, Ray Wise

 

Plot: A group of medical researchers discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Didn’t Click

 

Story: The Lazarus Effect starts as we meet our team Frank (Duplass), Zoe (Wilde), Eva (Bolger), Clay (Peters) and Niko (Glover) who have been working on bring animals back from the dead with the Lazarus serum with the latest attempt bringing Rocky the dog back to life.

When the research project is sudden closed down, all the data is taken by Mr Wallace (Wise) who works for a pharmaceutical company, the team break into the lab to perform the experiment one last time so they can take the credit the last few years of their lives have work towards.

When disaster strikes Zoe is killed in an accident but Frank not accepting losing her decides to perform the experiment on her, to bring her back from the grave. It starts by looking like a success but it soon turns strange when Zoe has gifts she didn’t used to possess including telepathic and foresight.

 

Thoughts on The Lazarus Effect

 

Characters/PerformanceFrank is the lead scientist leading the research team, he is engaged to Zoe and once she dies he goes uses his research to bring her back to life. Zoe is the partner of Frank and leading member of the research team, once she is killed in an accident she is bought back to life but this time he is different. Eva is the newest member of the team will Niko and Clay are the generic playful rest of the team.

Performance Wise, it would be fair to say the performance don’t use the talent available to their full abilities, Olivia Wilde isn’t up to her normal levels, but it is the underused Evan Peters and Donald Glover which disappoints most.

StoryScientists look to bring the dead back to life, I have heard this one before and sure we get a modernised tale on this that does feel more scientific but in the end it just falls into ‘what is in the afterlife’ style and you must be evil if you come back from the dead. It is generic, plain and we have seen it all before.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiShe comes back from the dead, well that is the horror cover nothing scary going on here we have lazy jump scares mostly. There are elements of a mystery we try to figure out what is happening but we don’t focus on that enough and the sci-fi side well we all know how bringing people back from the dead works.

SettingsOne of the few highlights in this film is keeping most of the action inside the lab because by doing this we see how they must use their intelligence to get around the problem they are facing.

Special EffectsEasy effects are used here with most being in the vision sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like a lazy horror that doesn’t click to the levels it should do even with a cast of well-respected stars.

 

Overall: Horror that doesn’t work to the levels needed.

Rating

 

 

Elvis & Nixon (2016)

elvisDirector: Liza Johnson

Writer: Joey Sagal, Hanala Sagal, Cary Elwes (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, Sky Ferreira, Tracy Letts, Tate Donovan

 

Plot: The untold true story behind the meeting between Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n Roll, and President Richard Nixon, resulting in this revealing, yet humorous moment immortalized in the most requested photograph in the National Archives.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Elvis & Nixon starts as we see Elvis Presley (Shannon) decide he wants to get a Federal Badge which leads him to bring his two closest associates Jerry (Pettyfer) and Sonny (Knoxville) to arrange a meeting with President Nixon (Spacey).

Going through the President’s associates Krogh (Hanks) and Chapin (Peters) to make the most unlikely meeting between the two different worlds to have a simple conversation between two of the most iconic men in American history.

Elvis & Nixon is a good comedy that has good moments to see how different the two men are. We get a brilliant performance from Shannon once again as we see him become the King and interact with different members of his fan base to get what he wants. The gun scenes are all the extra funny moments because we get to see how Elvis believes he is doing nothing wrong. This is an overall an enjoyable watch in a light hearted manner.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy that has moments of truth through it.

Rating70

 

 

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

casting cardDirector: Bryan Singer

Writer: Simon Kinberg (Screenplay) Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris (Story)

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Luca Till, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy

 

Plot: With the emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappoint Sequel

 

Story: X-Men: Apocalypse starts as we see a fail ritual to bring Apocalypse alive in ancient Egyptian, move forward to 1981 we get to meet our fresh set of mutants with Scott Summers/ Cyclops (Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee), Angel (Hardy), Jean Grey (Turner) and Storm (Shipp). Scott being the brother of Havok (Till) gets enrolled in Professor Xavier’s (McAvoy) school while Magneto (Fassbender) is living a normal life back in Poland.

It isn’t long until Apocalypse is being raised from the dead with the higher power mutants being able to sense him rising. With Magneto driven to the man he didn’t want to live anymore he unleashes his rage, while Professor Xavier seeks an old friend Moira Mactaggert (Byrne) for answers to the rising of Apocalypse.

Apocalypse builds himself an army of mutants with increased powers as he searches for the most powerful mutants to help him reclaim the Earth that was once his with Magneto, Storm, Angel and Psylocke (Munn) by his side. It is up to Professor Xavier to take his student into battle to stop the end of the world.

X-Men: Apocalypse is yet another restart timeline X-Men movie that for some reason tries to reference future outings but also erasing other moments. This just confuses the timelines but as for it being a solo story you do need to have seen the previous films to understand certain moments. The introducing of younger versions of the mutants we have known in previous films but they all seem suddenly powerful enough to handle themselves in a fight. We get the same odd Professor X and Magneto dealing with what they want without agreeing. In fairness this is just another wildly over the top X-Men movie that can be enjoy from a casual point of view but for story telling it’s just not up to the standard we are used to.

 

Actor Review

 

James McAvoy: Professor Charles Xavier is now just trying to just teach the young mutants to deal with their mutant powers trying to keep peace between the two kinds. He ends up having to come face to face with an enemy that is controlling his closest friend/enemy Magneto. James is solid but just doesn’t give us the character we fully enjoy.

Michael Fassbender: Magneto is now trying to live a normal life in Poland, he has started a family but when his identity becomes apparent tragedy strikes and we see Magneto want vengeance against the human race as he stands next to Apocalypse. This is the best and most tragic back story Magneto has ever had making him the best youngster version we have seen before. Michael is one of the stars of the show with his performance but the character does seem to get forgotten in the second half of the movie.

Jennifer Lawrence: Mystique is now a lone soldier trying to help mutants from around the world, she isn’t being bad just continuing to want to make sure all mutants get treated equal. Jennifer continues her paycheck franchise performances here never really being stand-out.

Oscar Isaac: Apocalypse is the first mutant and the all-powerful one at that, he has the ability to enhance the powers of other mutants. He wants to destroy the world bringing it back to the place where people respected and worshiped him, he puts together a team of what he sees as the strongest mutants to make this happen. Oscar is solid in this role but it could be fair to say anyone could have had this role.

Support Cast: X-Men: Apocalypse has a massive supporting cast with Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters and Kodi Smit-McPhee all gives us good performance but most of the rest struggle to make an impact with a lot playing the younger versions of the pre-existing characters and simply not hitting the levels of the previous outings.

Director Review: Bryan SingerBryan goes bigger yet again with this outing with more characters and more timelines to pull together but I do feel this goes one step too far.

 

Action: X-Men: Apocalypse has plenty of wild over the top action moments but the destruction just seems too much and unnecessary.

Adventure: X-Men: Apocalypse throws our characters into an adventure defend the world like we have seen before.

Sci-Fi: X-Men: Apocalypse has all of the different mutant powers to give us the fight we are sitting through.

Settings: X-Men: Apocalypse has the dam setting for one setting which is good connecting back to previous films but otherwise it is jut cities randomly being destroyed.
Special Effects
: X-Men: Apocalypse is filled with the special effects you would expect without being anything really fresh.

Suggestion: X-Men: Apocalypse is one for the fans of the series to watch, this isn’t one you can just pick up without knowing previous version of the film. (Franchise Fans)

 

Best Part: Quicksilver, give this guy his own movie.

Worst Part: Poor young casting of the popular characters.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Most likely.

Post Credits Scene: Yes

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 2 Hour 24 Minutes

Tagline: Only the strong will survive

 

Overall: One sequel too far that is just too much explosions and poor casting.

Ratingcard