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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
If They Had Called It Something Else ...
...I would have bumped my score up a couple of notches, at least. While I do have problems with the script being unwilling to present the story that was laid-out pretty well in the comics, I feel that the production was a try at getting as many name stars of the franchise together in a "last ditch"-feeling effort to jump-start or revitalize this franchise. Get the big stars before they are too expensive. Highlight characters that aren't highlighted in the actual story that goes by the title used.
Still, there were moments in the movie that I actually enjoyed, the main one being the "Time In A Bottle" sequence. Evan Peters is a remarkable gent, when given the good stuff to play. Also, the fight in the present/future. The effects were fun to watch.
I think that my disappointment, even more than deviation from the source material, is that the movie I ended up watching was so very paint-by-numbers. Of course Plot Point 4v happened, that's how it always happens in these movies. If I wanted predictable, I would stay home, save the $12 of buying a ticket and concessions, and watch a classics station running older TV shows. I don't pay to see Sir Ian, Sir Patrick, Ms. Lawrence, Mr. Fassbinder, Mr. McAvoy, Ms. Page and Mr. Dinklage be predictable, not when they can be gloriously dynamic.
I am disappointed in the filmmakers, not the cast, but I am not wishing for that amount of time back. It entertained, the least I ask of something that I pay to see. That's why the rating of five. It did not outrage or enthrall. It was whelming.
First: Burt Reynolds is the king! :) Cool and cheesy like a Shatner marathon.
Secondly, there is enough eye candy for everyone.
I didn't think I'd find a hidden Oscar-worthy film, but I knew I might have a great time hootin' at bad lines of overwrought dialogue. I did, but I also found myself following a nice B movie story with various nits to argue with friends(Why the women are mostly wasted in their roles, another talky villain?, mostly dropped plots suddenly found, but only for fight scenes), but still? I'd recommend this for a weekend matinée or a dollar movie selection.
Dung fong tuk ying (1987)
As cool as THE DIRTY DOZEN
I rank THE DIRTY DOZEN and MAGNIFICENT SEVEN as a tie for my favorite overall movie; This Chinese offering is a very close second or third.
While Sammo is using a basic pattern from the DOZEN (military cons to do-good for their country for personal freedom), he added some elements that I absolutely fell for and love no matter what anyone says.
The three female resistance fighters have to be some of the toughest gals on film, period. Sammo's leaf weapon! A small bit by Dr. Haing S. Ngor! The eventual comradeship the growing and shrinking group had. It was corny and cheesy, but in this combination, it worked, at least for me.
I give it a 8 due to how much more it was than advertised. You go in thinking it's gonna be IL' Sammo giving us a bunch of great kung-fu, which he does, but the movie catches you up ,like TDD or TMS, and gets you to care about whether this group survives to the end.
And if Wah Yuen is the general I'm thinking of, why isn't he a legend here, in the US? The tiny, skinny man who can kick anyone's ass is an amazing guy to watch and I've enjoyed him in several films. He's equally wonderful as the villain in this film.
I first saw this on VHS bought at a "nice price" and low expectations. I have become a Sammo Hung convert as a result. This is very much worth at least one viewing, though it is very HK with the gore and realistic war injuries. This is totally not for those with weak stomachs.
The Right Hand Man (1987)
Two yummy men trying to win "the love" of the same gal
Okay, it's a bit more than that, but not by very much! The delectable Mr. Weaving and the too-good-to-be-real Mr. Everett star as a lower class working man and an idly rich scion of Autrailian society, respectively. There is a girl, of course, and a tragedy that places all three in awkward new dynamics.
It is a bit over-the-top with the melodrama, but I knew that going in. (I was on a Hugo Weaving video binge!) I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed Rupert Everett's Lord Harry, which could've been a tiresome guy to hang around with for the length of the movie. I believe this was the movie where I realized I would be a fan of his no matter the movie he was in.
Hugo Weaving's man of the people/salt of the earth/been there-done that role could have been tiresome as well. Actually, he sort of is, but this is a soapy vehicle, so everyone must change to a degree, and Ned Devine does.
Sadly, I wasn't fond of the female lead at all, the character not the actress. Catherine McClements was lovely and reminded me that I need to exercise more, but Sarah was not a lead female I liked very much. The sad thing is I can't figure out why. Was it due to the writing, the acting, or that the men were shown and written as more fun to hang about with? Still, it was advertised as soapy good guilty fun and it was!
Ling huan xian sheng (1987)
It's fun for a rainy afternoon!
I went into this picture unsure whether I would even get through it. I hate scary films for the most part, and my husband isn't a big fan of that style either. But we were both pleasantly surprised with this movie! It is a pretty basic formula- Master teaching students how to fight Evil- but there is a humor that is consistent and leavens the spooky parts and the Big Bads. The two "pet" ghosts were a hoot too! I know that I may have enjoyed it more if I knew more about the culture and/or the two previous movies, but it was a fun/spooky ride! If you have kids that regularly take in Halloween or Scream-type movies, this will either be a massive bore or a fun change of pace.
I had read a brief synopsis of this and went in hoping for some laughs, a couple of good scares and to be entertained. That is exactly what I got, which is not an everyday occurrence!
Dungeons & Dragons (2000)
Why can't folks who are going to make crap fantasy movies just leave the nice trademarked names alone? Why do they have to try to drag a 30-plus year franchise into the muck with them? You can see where someone, somewhere, had the class to try to dovetail the basics of the classic role-playing game to the fantasy genre movie. Yet the end product is a sad, goopy mess and lots of missed opportunities for what looked to be a solid, if not great, cast. I mean, really- did we NEED to see Jeremy Irons in yet another over-the-top villain role? With badly written dialog to boot? The folks who made this didn't use the conventions set down in the game. The dragons were used as mindless pawns, easily controlled and controllable, where in the game they are one of the deadliest creatures around precisely BECAUSE they are insanely brilliant and canny. There are "good" dragons and "bad" dragons and some are able to have magic used against them, yes, but the movie was very cavalier about that point.
The eye-rollingly tiresome stereotypes of dwarfs and elves showed such a lack of originality, that it was hard to give a flip if they were able to work together to stop...whatever they were along to stop. Not that the dwarven/elven sniping should stop, but it should make more sense than "You're a , therefore I must hate you blindly and blusteringly say I hate you even when I am grudgingly finding you not so awful." That's something you can't find in a TV sitcom, is it? *sigh* The ending made no sense, even when trying to leave "possibilities" for another movie. If the PTB had just read the sources (only about three 300 page books to look through, minimum), and respected the audience they tried to reel in, there could've been a minor hit. Instead, they TPTB poop on their cast and audience and are surprised at the reaction.
I just hope some bright filmmakers aren't scared off by how this was made and try their hands at a REAL D&D movie, unlike the folks who put this together.
Texas Rangers (2001)
If you want to know about Texas Rangers...
...save your cash for a Walker, Texas Ranger marathon; it'll have more "facts" than this pile of crap.
For a Western with pretty men, prettier ladies, and ugly sons of guns as the Bad Guys, this is okay at it's best. For this to try for the "based on" style? Uh-uh.
The dialog was sad, the situations as predictable as a TV-movie, and the biggest sin of all- it was draggy. Not slow paced, but deadly dull with talking heads you don't really care too much about.
As a Texan, I was upset for how the real Rangers were shown. While I know that not all early Rangers were men of sterling character, I sincerely hope that they were more than this group of navel-gazers.
Get Aboard! The Band Wagon (2005)
If you liked The Bandwagon...
... and you want to know a bit more about it, watch this doc. It's got as many of the surviving cast and crew talking about their experiences while making the film. It's a bit like an after-dinner mint after a funny, satisfying meal- I watched this after seeing the movie on DVD.
It's very cool to see Nanette Fabray, Cyd Charisse, James Mitchell, and Comden & Green speaking about the times they had before, during, and after the movie shoot. Nanette even divulges her special "escorts" to the premiere of the movie- let's just say, it was a dream date for sure! Also included is the commentary by the son of one of the songwriters, whose songs are the basis of The Bandwagon, not unlike the songs of Singin' In The Rain. He gives much credit to the man who arranged the music for the movie, which is a generous thing to do.
Liza Minnelli, who was about six during the shoot, reminisces about being around her dad while he directed, and a couple of other sweet stories.
It isn't the most expansive documentary on a classic musical, but it's like the movie it was about, a feel-good look behind the scenes.
I, Robot (2004)
...it was a super summer action movie. It just wasn't anywhere close to Dr. Asimov's stories, which I think would make a pretty fine movie.
(The following opinions may contain SPOILERISH ELEMENTS, so please DON'T READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE FILM. THANKS)
If the characters were given other names, the film titled something else, I might have given the movie a higher grade. I'm not a purist when it comes to adaptations. Still, You don't make Harry Potter movies with puppy familiars and Headmaster DJ Jazzy Jeff (though Hogwart's would be pretty rockin' if they did. *g*) You make a film of Asimov's robots, most folks familiar with the story expect a more mature( at least mentally) Dr. Susan Calvin and robots who aren't out to destroy humankind. This is the ANTI-Asimov adaptation, really.
Despite my massive disappointment, Will Smith is a charismatic actor I'll continue to follow and root for in the future. He's a good fit as a leading man.
Alan Tyduk? He does manage the tricky feat of just emotionless enough to seem benign. He then turns that benignness into a terrifying thing- the utter could-care-less-ness when the robots are attacking; the most polite of killers seen on-screen.
Shia LeBeouf is gonna break hearts and take names before things are over,career-wise, I am pretty sure. He's been great as sidekicks (see also CONSTANTINE), so I am hoping to see him just floor me in a movie someday.
Bridgette Moynahan did the best with the castrated version of Dr. Susan Calvin that she was given. I look forward to seeing her take on better roles.
If this film was called "Will Smith Saves the World Again. Some More.", I would've easily given it a 7. As it tried to dress a bear in a pink tutu and crappy party hat and make it dance as well? It gets that 3 for what I DID enjoy.
Wing Chun (1994)
Michelle? Great! Fiancé? Not So Much.
I watched this over the weekend and enjoyed it. It was indeed a light action/comedy and lived up to that.
Michelle Yeoh,Donnie Yen, and Norman Chu were very fun to watch in their fights (Wing Chun, Pok To, and Flying Monkey, respectively.)
King-Tan Yuen has won me over with her Abacus Fong, Wing Chun's aunt. Love her! The smart, canny businesswoman who finds who she wants to marry- yeah, a caricature, but carried off with fun acting chops and good writing for the character.
It was fun and a feather in the cast and crew's cap. Yet...
*SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! The Following Is A PLOT POINT That Angers Me!*
Yes, it's a period piece. Yes, women who work out get muscular. Yes, Wing Chun chose to dress in men's clothing. But her Fiancé couldn't tell who she was?!?
I know that the conventional idea is that Asian ladies seem to age slower, but for Pok to think that his fiancé would wear the exact same clothes for TEN YEARS, that she wouldn't age any in that time, and that the actual Wing was *a MAN!* is just angry-making. It was a movie produced in the mid90s, fer heaven's sake! I like mistaken identity comedies- ones that make sense and dovetail with what I see on-screen. That this guy, Pok, was the only one to *continually* believe that the real Wing Chun was a man is just insane- several other characters, had no real problem realizing that Wing was a female, just a freaky one (to their way of thinking.)
It was a point that made the movie lessen in my estimation of it. Pok is supposed to be "educated" as shorthanded by him studying martial arts for six years and a passing mention or two of him working for a city official in a Big City. Yeah, he's been busy and has gauzy, schmoopy memories of "his" Wing Chun, but his twigging to the truth in the las half hour was just.... let's just say disappointing. I was rooting for Bandit Warlord #1/Flying Monkey to win. At least he knew Wing Chun was a female and respected her prowess. *END OF SPOILER SECTION- END OF SPOILER SECTION-END OF SPOILER SECTION*
Overall, I recommend this movie, as it is fun. I just had to vent on that one bit. As for other Michelle Yeoh recommendations:
The Heroic Trio, and its sequel, The Executioners; Royal Warriors; Magnificent Warriors;The Soong Sisters (a period piece that's a biopic)