Monday, May 29, 2006
Movie Reviews: X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, THE NEW WORLD & BLOODRAYNE
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
In X-Men 3, a "cure" for the mutant X gene has been discovered, which threatens the very existence of mutants like Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart). The two leaders have opposing viewpoints on the situation: Magneto insists on a violent revolution to stop humans from exterminating their kind, while X prefers tolerance and working with the government on a compromise. But the balance is shifted by the shocking return of Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who appeared to die in a great flood at the end of X2: X-Men United. Now she's more powerful than ever as Dark Phoenix, and if Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) can't persuade her not to join Magneto's crew, a war could be at hand.
Cast Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Anna Paquin (more)
Director(s) Brett Ratner
Writer(s) Zak Penn, Simon Kinberg
Status In theaters (wide)
Genre(s) Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Action, Mutants, Superheroes, Good Vs. Evil
Release Date May 26, 2006
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for intense sequences of action violence, some sexual content and language
A general sense of dread washed over me when Brett Ratner was brought in to replace Brian Singer, who moved on to a little movie called Superman Returns. This sense of dread wasnt a result of Ratner being a horrible film maker, just not one without any distinctiveness to his style. Brian Singers main strength as a filmmaker was his ability show the audience a great sense depth to his characters which is why the first 2 X-men movies worked so well. Last Stand suffers from a couple of major flaws. The first 2 movies kept the character roster fairly small so we could get a better feel for who each character was; Last Stand expands the roster to such massive degree that the audience never gets to know any of the new faces. This issue is compounded by the fact that the characters weve come to know over the course of the last 2 movies are given very little to do. The script is woefully bad with some terrible dialogue. The regulars from the previous movies seem to flow easily back into there roles especially Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. Halle Berry on the other hand is terrible; her lines are delivered with no passion and lack the punch they required. There are a few major deaths in the movie but for some reason they just dont carry as much weight as they should. The action is decent but some of the big scenes dont quite achieve the wow factor they should. Overall, its a let down, not really the way I wanted to see the franchise end, if it does end.
THE NEW WORLD
In 1607, a crew of English explorers sponsored by the Virginia Company lands in North America. On board is John Smith (Farrell), a rebellious man sentenced to hang. As soon as they drop anchor, the crew discovers that the land is inhabited by a complex empire of native tribes, ruled by the chieftain Powhatan.
Cast August Schellenberg, Wes Studi, Raoul Trujillo, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale (more)
Director(s) Terrence Malick
Status On DVD
Genre(s) Dramas, Theatrical Release, Based On A True Story, Native Americans, American History
Release Date Dec. 25, 2005 New York/Los Angeles; Jan. 20, 2006 wide
DVD Release Date May 9, 2006
Running Time 150 minutes
MPAA Rating Not Rated
Terrence Malicks The New World is a wonderful piece of filmmaking. Malicks film wont be for everyone. If youve never seen a Malick film, then you need to be prepared for a movie which is beautifully shot but paced at a very slow rate, loaded with lots of internal dialogue and with a non traditional plot. The New World is visual poetry. There are certain shots Malick gives us that are so incredible and engrossing that the some could make the argument that nature is a major character in the movie. Its a quiet movie that takes its time so you can appreciate the experience. Dialogue is at a minimum and used only when necessary with about half of it being internal musings from the characters. The acting is top notch; both Colin Farrell and Christian Bale are in top form. Newcomer, Q'Orianka Kilcher, impresses, her performance perfectly balances the soulfulness, naivety, and frailty needed for the role of Pocahontas. This is bar none one of the best movies in recent memory.
BloodRayne, a sexy hybrid vampire-human, is a member of the Brimstone Society, which hunts down supernatural threats. She's given her deadliest assignment yet: kill Kagan (Kingsley), king of the vampires.
Cast Kristanna Loken, Michelle Rodriguez, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen
Director(s) Uwe Boll
Writer(s) Guinevere Turner
Status On DVD
Genre(s) Horror/Suspense, Vampires, Rape, Theatrical Release, Revenge
Release Date Jan. 6, 2006
DVD Release Date April 25, 2006
Running Time 94 minutes
MPAA Rating Unrated
Bloodrayne is bad, its bad in that kind of historic kind of way. Im not sure who keeps giving Uwe Boll, who is also responsible for House of Dead, money to make movies but someone needs to stop this, there are better filmmakers out there that deserve a chance. Im not sure how Rodriguez, Madsen and Kingsley got involved in this movie but they seem to be regretting it every single second they are on screen. The movies dialogue is delivered in a such a life less way that its almost like the actors want us to share in the pain they experienced making the movie. Loken seems to be the most interested party, probably because it was a starring vehicle for her. The few action sequences that are in the film make Kill Bill Vol. 1 seem tame, lots of squirting gushing blood and limbs flying all over the place. There might have been some sort of enjoyment if the movie wasnt just so boring. It barely clocks in at more than an hour and a half but for some reason it feels a lot longer. If you a masochist, watch this movie, if not save yourself the pain Ive inflicted on myself.