Saturday, May 27, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

Review by Michael Jaffe

I am not homophobic but I hated Wolverine in X3. Not that everyman who cries is a woman, but in the course of a two hour movie, what is supposed to be a purely animal character filled with rage took out his rage not by using his unbreakable claws, but by crying. Twice. One of the manliest characters ever developed a feminine side. What the fuck? The sequel is gonna be X4: Gotta Dance where Wolverine goes to Broadway. As a fan and reader of the comics I know for a fact that Wolverine has testicles, so the movie is way off what it should be.
But the movie, other than the numerous differences from the comic that the previous two films didn’t make, this films was shoddily made with a terrible script. The writer, Zak Penn famed for X2 but also Elektra, Suspect Zeroand Inspector Gadget, shows that X2 might have been either a fluke or a testament to Bryan Singer’s genius. The characters have no real depth in this movie, even Jean Grey who has a lot of time devoted to her, appears just to be a confused teenager. The movie tells us Phoenix, her alter-ego is the most powerful mutant out there, but she has two tirades and a lot of walking around looking angry and confused. The plot of the movie takes the Dark Phoenix tale from the comics and combines it with the threat of a mutant cure, a great idea from Joss Whedon of Serenity. When a wealthy owner of a drug company develops a mutant cure drug, Magneto feels threatened and assembles a brotherhood to fight it. He is joined by the now evil Jean Grey who’s split personality broke out at the end of X2.
The direction on this film is big and bold but fails as continuity of the simplest kind is ignored (one second its mid day, the next its night) and the effects, while done by WETA (Peter Jackson’s effects team), vary from incredible to shoddy looking. While these mistakes could be overlooked, I wish Brett Ratner had been able to at least read the script before he started shooting or to work of figuring out some of the mutants. There are character mistakes from the comics and there is some terrible dialogue. Possible the greatest mistake is how Professor X’s character pulls a complete 180 turn from what he has been in the movies and books, and he becomes a condescending asshole. Really, I love Prof X but he acts like such a pompous dick in this movie, I started rooting for the Brotherhood.
The addition of Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut is brilliant as he was the funniest and most bad ass mutant in the entire film as he even gets the best line in the movie. And of course the addition of puffer boy lightens things up. The new mutants really made this film watchable. Patrick Stewart is good in his role as Prof X even thought the character is shoddy and Ian McKellen continues his run as a standout in crap films, continuing from Da Vinci Code. Mr. McKellen made me root for Magneto because he gave the character life, depth and some emotional base even though his lines where on occasion unintentionally funny.
That’s another thing about this movie that I hated. There were numerous times where lines that were supposed to be serious received a big laugh from the audience. The Juggernaut line was hysterical and some moments just got the audience laughing. I heard more laughs at this screening than I did when I saw Rush Hour 2, which was a funny movie that I liked! I really want Brett Ratner to making Rush Hour movies and leave the superhero stuff to either the professionals or people who have enough time to work on the script a little. My real highlight for this movie though was the Snakes on a Plane trailer which got a real big WHOOP from the audience. And also, don’t leave until after the credits because there is a little bit of X-trocity left. 4/10

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mission: Impossible III

Review by Michael Jaffe

Tom Cruise may be insane, but he still can run real fast. Matter of fact, I don’t think that I have seen a Tom Cruise movie where he didn’t run. In M:I III Cruise runs a whole lot and doesn’t really get anywhere. The plot of this mission has Ethan Hunt called back into the field to hunt an arms dealer named Owen Davian who is said to be selling something called “the rabbits foot.” After Ethan kidnaps Davian, Davian escapes and Ethan’s girlfriend is kidnapped and Ethan and his team goes AWOL to get her back.
Cruise plays Hunt more like the first M:I movie, more of a thinking man with a soul a little sense of humor. The back story about Hunt’s personal life adds more depth to the character and makes his action more believable. The supporting cast is what really stands out in this movie and makes the experience enjoyable. Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman makes his character sadistic and completely sociopathic. He takes these characteristics and makes his wealthy and intelligent character seem almost bored throughout the entire movie, yet when he is on screen, it is hard to look away. Ving Rhames seems to be having more fun this time around in his role as Luther the tech guy than he has before and it comes through as he and Cruise banter at random moments in the movie. Johnathon Rhys-Meyers is good as the young assistant/driver of the team and Maggie Q looks incredibly hot as she slinks through this movie. The best part of this movie though is definitely Simon Pegg, better known as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead, who has only two short scenes but it is impossible to look away or to stop laughing.
J.J. Abrams, who co-wrote and directed M:I III, doesn’t break down any barriers with his writing or his direction, but he makes the experience of watching M:I III so fun, that I can’t wait to see what he does next. For anyone who has seen his TV Shows, Lost and Alias, this films up beat dialogue and intense action scenes carry this film through with ease. He is obviously a good enough director to shoot an awesome helicopter chase through windmills in the beginning of the film.
While the plot is ridiculous/pointless at times, everything else about the film is funny and engaging enough and enough stuff blows up in awe inspiring fashion that I recommend this to anyone with a pulse. 8/10

The Reviews