A roundup of movies watched last month.
May was fun. I watched several classics by great directors, notched #3 of 10 to Watch in 2015 list, had a mini Karloff festival (more to come from him soon), a science fiction marathon and finally worked up the nerve to watch the latest installment of my favourite movie franchise. Here’s the list, with links to my review posts or quick thoughts here if I didn’t do a post.
Feel free to leave thoughts, quibbles and suggestions.
Speed Racer (2008). I’m a sucker for any kind of car movies, even better when those cars are doing impossible things. I normally don’t enjoy CGI overkill, but this is supposed to have a video game/anime feel so no complaints here about things looking fake. This is a surreal, artificial, colourful, cartoonish world of outrageous weaponized gladiator/Colosseum races watched by the whole world and a frantic, condensed presentation of backstory and action. In case you have no knowledge of the manga/anime, the gist is the adventures of a young racer with a vision, belief in himself, and a good family (and a chimp) behind him. The movie has some story problems and it did bore me when it wasn’t on the track but was so interesting visually I’m glad I checked it out.
Midnight Run (1988). Rewatch. This is such a great action-comedy, one of the best, a buddy picture with guys who initially hate but are stuck with each other and during a crazy trip across the country become friends. Robert De Niro plays the bounty hunter trying to get accountant Charles Grodin back to L.A. to the bail bondsman (Joe Pantoliano), while also trying to keep him out of the hands of the mafia (Dennis Farina), the F.B.I. (Yaphet Kotto) and a rival hunter (John Ashton). Grodin is perfect with his deadpan readings, sensitivity and personal questions set against De Niro’s constant swearing and anger. Like their friendship, it takes a while to get going but after the unpredictable events and the crazy comedy you’re attached.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). Regular readers probably
are sick of hearing know what a huge X fan I am, I love all the movies, even the bad ones. DOFP’s time travel plot, one of the comic run’s biggest storylines, was changed but still well told and easy to follow even with all the switches back and forth in time. It’s thrilling to see how effects have finally caught up to the possibilities of the comics and to Bryan Singer’s vision, the mismatch was a limit of the earlier installments. Now you get a blockbuster-sized kick out of seeing something as brief as Bobby riding an ice-slide that looks real. The future Sentinels were terrifying, they had weight, speed and intelligence, the set pieces like the stadium lift and drop, and, really, all the fights are great; this is some of the best superhero action ever. But better than all the CGI and huge FX is the human part of it, the presence of some welcome smaller characters and fan-service cameos; even though you see some of these people for a few minutes, they’re old friends and it’s brutal to watch how they get killed. Seeing (is this even a spoiler anymore?) Wolverine wake up in the school in pre-Last Stand days and talk to Scott and Jean will make any fan squeal with joy; the giant mistakes of THE LAST STAND have been set right. This cast is great, you can’t do better than James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as young Charles and Eric, here they get more layered characters to play than Stewart and McKellen ever did. The Quicksilver (Evan Peters) scenes are fabulous, without question one of the most fun movie sequences in the past few years, and overall the longish film zips by as fast as he does. I watched DOFP twice this month; the first time I was indifferent and not too excited about it and couldn’t figure out why. Second time I liked it better, and I guess in this post I just talked myself into really liking it. I’m really looking forward to the Apocalypse movie, that after-credits teaser was super. gifs: http://xmendaily.tumblr.com/