Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The winners of the Anonymous Theatre 3000 Awards

I haven't got enough votes yet, but at least 5 votes have been counted. So here are the winners (and all of the nominees has more than one winner if there are ties within the votes):

- The voter's choice
- My choice 
- Both choices 

Most Overrated Film... by Audiences

  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (RT Audience: 74%) (Your vote, my vote)
  • Iron Man 2 (RT Audience: 80%)
  • True Grit (RT Audience: 86%)
  • Alice In Wonderland (RT Audience: 72%)
  • Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows (RT Audience: 87%)
Most Overrated Film... by Critics
  • True Grit 
  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
  • Iron Man 2
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King's Speech
Best Film-Wrecking Moment
  • A character screws up pronouncing Aang - The Last Airbender
  • The ending in - The Tourist
  • The moment where a movie is announced it'll be shot in 3D - every movie made in 3D
  • The word 'Focker' in every line of dialogue - Little Fockers
  • When the whole movie turns into a fantasy flick about stalking - When In Rome
Worst nominations in an award show
  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - almost every nomination (People's Choice Awards, MTV Movie Awards)
  • The Tourist - Best Film: Musical Comedy, Best Actor: Musical or Comedy, Best Actress: Musical or Comedy (Golden Globes)
  • Burlesque -Best Film: Musical Comedy (Golden Globes)
Worst Snubs in an awards show
  • Christopher Nolan - Inception, Best Director (Academy Awards)
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - Best Film, Best Original Song, Best Original Score, Best Fight (MTV Movie Awards, Golden Globes, Academy Awards)
  • Andrew Garfield - The Social Network, Best Supporting Actor (Academy Awards)
Shyamalan-Bay Award for Worst Film
  • The Tourist
  • The Last Airbender
  • Grown Ups
  • Cop Out
  • Sex And The City 2
  • Vampires Suck
  • When In Rome
Most Underrated Film
  • Kick-Ass
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
  • Greenberg
  • Easy A
  • Animal Kingdom

Best Soundtrack

  • Black Swan - Clint Mansell
  • Inception - Hans Zimmer
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - Nigel Godrich, various artists
  • The Social Network - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
  • Tron: Legacy - Daft Punk 
Best Cinematography
  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit
Best Production Design/Art Direction
  • 127 Hours
  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Inception
  • The Social Network
  • Tron: Legacy
Best Editing
  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • Kick-Ass
  • The Social Network
Best Visual Effects
  • Inception
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
  • Tron: Legacy
Best Screenplay
  • 127 Hours - Simon Beaufoy
  • Inception - Christopher Nolan
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - Edgar Wright
  • Toy Story 3 - Michael Arndt
  • The Social Network - Aaron Sorkin
Hero of the Year
  • Christopher Nolan
  • James Franco
  • Roger Ebert
  • Aaron Sorkin
  • Natalie Portman
Villain of the Year
  • Jason Friedberg + Aaron Seltzer
  • Will Smith's kids
  • Harvey Weinstein
  • Miley Cyrus
  • M Night Shymalan
Best Scene-Stealer
  • Justin Timberlake - The Social Network
  • Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit
  • Chloe Moretz - Kick-Ass
  • Tom Hardy - Inception
  • Rock - 127 Hours
  • Kieran Culkin - Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
  • Christian Bale - The Fighter
Most Breakthrough Performance
  • Hailee Stenfeld - True Grit
  • Chloe Moretz - Kick-Ass
  • Tom Hardy - Inception
  • Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
  • Greta Girwig - Greenberg
Best Supporting Actor
  • Geoffery Rush - The King's Speech
  • Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
  • Jeremy Renner - The Town
  • Rock - 127 Hours 
  • Christian Bale - The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress
  • Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech
  • Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom
  • Chloe Moretz - Kick-Ass
  • Mila Kunis - Black Swan
  • Marion Cottilard - Inception
Best Movie Moment
  • Mark Zuckerberg's comeback towards the Winklevosses - The Social Network
  • Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis makes out - Black Swan
  • Gravity Fight Scene - Inception
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. Deadly Evel Exes - Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
  • The climax - Toy Story 3
  • James Franco cuts off his arm - 127 Hours
Best Actress 
  • Natalie Portman - Black Swan
  • Ellen Page - Inception
  • Jennifer Lawrence -Winter's Bone
  • Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine
Best Actor
  • Colin Firth - The King's Speech
  • James Franco - 127 Hours
  • Jesse Einseberg - The Social Network
  • Leonardo Dicaprio - Inception
  • Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine
Stanley Kubrick Award for Best Director
  • Darren Arronofsky - Black Swan
  • Danny Boyle - 127 Hours
  • David Fincher - The Social Network
  • Christopher Nolan - Inception
  • Edgar Wright - Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Best Picture
  • 127 Hours
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Black Swan
  • Greenberg
  • Inception
  • The King's Speech
  • Kick-Ass
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
I would congratulate any of these films out in 2010 nominated for these awards. These awards are crafted pieces of arts that holds deeply to its value rather than being a film in for the money. The winner of each category are self-aware that these are films made for entertainment passive and active and will define the year of 2010 that is something positive apart from the biggest downs we've been offered

Friday, June 24, 2011

My official Best List of 2010 (six months late)

If you want to see the list I've made for my Top 10 list for 2010, here it is.

Apparently I felt like that list meant I've seen less movies than I had this year. The reason is because I'd had final exams at school and that delayed my time to watch the movies I'm interested in or like to see. And also because most of the films released last year was already released in Australia this year. So here's my official Best/Worst list of 2010 counting the five best and the five very worst films.

Honourable mentions/ #6 movies
Greenberg, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, The King's Speech, Green Zone, Animal Kingdom, The Fighter, Toy Story 3 (it's not the best Pixar has to offer us but its tolerable), The Town, Black Swan

2010 Watchlist
Easy A, Get Him To The Greek, Exit Through The Gift Shop, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I Love You Phillip Morris, Blue Valentine

5. Kick Ass

It was a hard spot for me to decide. It was either Kick Ass or Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Scott Pilgrim was a visual wonderland hooking you into a the experience of comic books, indie music, 8 bit videogaming and clever pop culture references. Kick Ass gets 5th spot not because it doesn't have the distinct look of Scott Pilgrim, but because it's bloody hiliarious. Kick Ass is the story of a teenage comic book reader transforming himself into a DIY superhero whose only powers are wielding batons. But he'd faced deadly consequences and meets a daddy-daughter duo also a superhero vigilante and are better than him. What makes Kick Ass works is that this brings all of the great super films and mixed it with violent satire that's refreshing. With Aaron Johnson being this Peter Parker knockoff you should applaud, Chloe Moretz steals the show playing Hit-Girl a girl who takes an appetite for destruction for justice, you'll laugh until the film literally hurts. Moretz is a revelation and should be lauded for taking risks here, not panned because she's eleven. It's a graphic novel adaptation that should be graphic for the faint-hearted, but at the same time, poignant at heart.

4. Winter's Bone

Just a few days ago, I decided to pick this film up so I can finish all of the Best Picture nominees. Winter's Bone may be an average arthouse film that is only seen by few people, but for every film lover or person who loves critically acclaimed films, it's a must see. 

A tale of a young girl named Ree Dolly living in the Ozarks who's looking after her younger siblings because her mother is catatonic and her father's a methhead. When Ree discovers her dad hadn't shown up to his trial, she decides to search for him. During her journey she encounters ghastly people who brings mysteries surrounding her Dad including her uncle Teardrop and during that she face certain consequences from these people. 

This film is beautifully tragic and it's visually gritty considering the environment of the Ozarks malnourished with poverty and underground drug labs. Well-directed by Debra Granik who brings the importance of the themes of determination, poverty and family into this quiet yet richly detailed crime thriller. Winter's Bone is then lifted up by Jennifer Lawrence's powerful performance as the heroine of the story and more put forward is John Hawkes' fierce uncle.

3. 127 Hours

127 Hours brings in the greatest depth of a normal person I've ever seen. It's a kinetic and visual experience from Danny Boyle that is also beautifully edited. 127 Hours is the story of survival, a matter of life and death for real life adventurer Aron Ralston. As you should know, it's the biographical story of the guy while being stuck on a rock. It's James Franco bravuva and sensational performance that has me convinced it's one of the best performances I've ever seen in a film. He's brings a variety of emotions from cheerful to lonely. The climax (which should be obvious) brings tension that's gripping and determined. For those who assume this film is just seeing a guy cuts his arm off, please look at it further. It's a life story.

2. The Social Network

Many films are known for their subject matter just before and after they're nominated for bazillions of Oscars. Brokeback Mountain (a movie about a gay romance), Slumdog Millionaire (Indian guy on Millionaire), The Hurt Locker (movie about the Iraq War) and now we have The Social Network, a movie about Facebook. As much as people would assume that a Facebook movie is lame or boring, apparently it knocked the hell out of every professional critic. The subject matter doesn't deal with Facebook. More so, it matters on the human relationships regarding ordinary people who helped defined our time.

The Social Network focuses on Mark Zuckerberg, after being dumped by his girlfriend and from forming a revenge blog, decides to build Facebook, an online social network he thinks would refreshes the entire "social experience"to a new level. Since the inception of Facebook, he is brought to lawsuits and a loss of friendship with Eduardo Saverin.

The Social Network is a simple story of friendship, loyalty and betrayal according to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Through Sorkin's stylish, witty screenplay, David Fincher's cold yet visceral direction and Trent Reznor's mesmerising score, these aspects manage to pull you in and for the better, make this film work to a higher level. Kudos to Jesse Eisenberg who plays the ironic characterization of Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew Garfield as the possibly flawless Eduardo Saverin who get screwed the most. It should've been Best Picture at the Oscars, but sooner or later, it will be a classic. 

1. Inception

Here's proof that the summer of 2010 was not a bummer. Inception is a blockbuster that shows its artistic value over its need to make profit. Inception is almost every reason you go to movies for a good time. It's entertaining, make you think and believe you're in something that has never been seen before. It adds new meaning of science fiction. Enough said, if you want more click here

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon Preview

Preview review - 16/6

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the third and final instalment of the Transformers trilogy directed by Michael Bay. Now love it or hate it, you have to admit no matter how bad the reviews are for the previous films, they're makin' a shitload of money. These films grossed over $1 billion together at the box office and for me, I don't give a shit about these two films because a) Transformers has to be the most juvenile franchise I've ever seen and b) why should we care since the second film has to be the laziest, over-produced, racist sequel I've ever seen.

If you don't know the story, it's just the simple plot of transport and motor vehicles that can shape-shift into robot giants fighting each other over a cube that can put power upon each race... then a piece of the cube that unleash a pack of autobots in Egypt. These giants are the Autobots and the Deceptacons who are good and bad respectively. These are based on toys from Hasbro and the cartoons coinciding from the 80s.

Now I remember watching Transformers (I) twice and it was a mix bag. There were moments that had me laughing including one scene of a computer geek living with his grandma and Shia being first chased by the Decepticons but it was witless humor. Transformers had a great war in the end, a lot of robot porn and there was a great deal of product placement all over the place.

Seeing Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen and having to come out of it feels like coming out from a concert that featured the loudest music you've ever heard but it doesn't have vocals. People enjoyed it, came out and decide to buy the DJ's music which only features dubstep and raspberries as a way of saying "Fuck you, you've bought my songs and you call that bad taste" and yet the people buying don't care at all. That make you believe that we've becoming a tasteless society seeing and hearing the most pointless things in pop culture today.

I've gave the comparison because I don't know what to think about ROTF. It's overlong, crude and stupid with its humor, has an incomprehensible and illogical plot and Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox tries way too hard from a really horrible screenplay. To put in one simple phrase: intelligence-insulting.

At least Michael Bay and Shia Labeouf acknowledges that the sequel was shit and Bay promises to make Dark Of The Moon better. Megan Fox would not be in the film which is a relief for me since she is a bad actress and, you will be disappointed when I say this, she ain't that hot. But I have to keep my doubts perfectly balanced because we're introduced to two trailers that shows something that can be called a plot. In the trailers we're shown of Autobots on the moon discovered by Neil Armstrong on the moon landing in 1969. Now they're destroying a city.

There's hope, but there is pessimism. If DOTM would be the best of the trilogy, it would be just an ordinary monster movie where the monster is replaced by robots and destroying the city and the guy Shia has to rescue this love interest of her played by Rosie Huntington Whiteley who is somewhat kidnapped according to the trailers. I've seen it before and it's called War of the Worlds, remade by Steven Spielberg who is producing the whole trilogy.

Now here's the another factor of pessimism. Rosie Huntington Whiteley is a Victoria Secret Angel and I'm not quite sure if modelling and acting goes together because they're more well known for their bodies. Huntington, as hot as hell as she is, would be so boring in DOTM because all I get is her looking up and Bay is standing there telling her "open your jaws so we can get those big lips for the big perverts like me".

And I also forgot. Bay is shooting this entirely in 3D. It was his decision, not the studio's. I'm not quite sure what is worst. Shooting the whole thing in 3D would be a better way to show off to James Cameron that I'm the best. But remember what happened to Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender? When these films were converted into 3D after being shot in 2D, nobody had enjoyed it. Would Bay succeed by making this robot-bonanza a box-office booster by shooting it in 3D that we have to pay an extra $3 to cover the approximate $400 million budget? Or will we see the sad downfall of Hollywood and what they've changed into?

I'm going to see this film with friends so tune in when I say... hmm... no wonder.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Super 8 is super 8!

B+ (8.1)

JJ Abrams has to be the God of geeks today. He was the co-creator of the TV show Lost, earning a widespread fanbase through its first seasons but then when the ratings trumped the series finale renewed interest and debate. Abrams also earned respect from the Trekkies for rebooting Star Trek, a deeper and solid prequel counting the first days of the original TV series. Now his latest film Super 8 may well be a love letter to his longtime hero and influential filmmaker Steven Spielberg whose still stuck in producing movies now.

It's 1979 and has been four months since Joe Lamb (Joey Courtney) lost his mother in a car accident and is now living with his widowed father (Kyle Chandler) who's the Sheriff of a rural town. Joe set to help out his best friend Charles (Riley Griffiths) to make his zombie movie as an entry for a nearby film festival. The film also involves Alice (Elle Fanning) acting in his film. In spectacular fashion, a freight train derailed while the kids were in the middle of shooting a scene. Following the aftermath of the event, the military are all around the town, dogs evacuate since they know better such and residents suddenly disappear. I've told half of the plot summary because I don't want to place spoilers in particular 'The Thing'.

In a summer filled with a lack of originality, following sequels, prequels, remakes and movies based on comic books, Super 8 is the exception to that rule. It's almost the most original summer blockbuster since Inception. But saying that it's original is like saying a photograph had been taken but it's literally filled with tens of people you've previously took before. Super 8 is a collection of nostagia paying homage to Spielberg's greatest material from the past, directed and produced focusing on the themes, characters and the style Spielberg put into his films. These include Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, E.T., Jaws, The Goonies and even Saving Private Ryan (if you know what I mean). But it also pay tribute to Abram's previous film (he produced) Cloverfield, the monster movie which not a lot of people enjoyed.

Though the homages was executed well, for me, it somehow doesn't feel inventive or fresh as much as Inception was and it may have been a rehash as there's too much. If it had been directed by Spielberg himself, he would've gone back to his roots that had made him the greatest contempory filmmaker ever. Having said that, this is not the first time Spielberg's work was referenced so much. Earlier this year, we had Paul, the E.T. parody starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost also a love letter but to the science fiction genre cleverly satirising it.

Abrams' direction is visceral as he brings not only a high level of imagination and concept that will make this film a crowd-pleaser, but also bringing in an emotional poignancy to its heart. The cinematography is crisp as well as the production design capturing the year of 1979. The soundtrack from Michael Giannchano mesmerises you to the adventures.

As already mentioned, the heart of Super 8 is brought to an emotional rise that doesn't contain a bit of sediment. The heart of the film are the kids paralleling the characters of The Goonies and E.T. The casting of the children are perfect for this film and they are revelations. Joe Courtney who plays Joey reminds me of the boy from E.T. who experiences loss from his parents and the romance between him and Alice (a star-maker for Elle Fanning) to move away from these feelings seems equate to the relationship between E.T. and the boy. Riley Griffith who plays Joe's best friend and amateur filmmaker steals the show playing the role of comic relief in this film with his swearing and profanity. It's the first time I've seen a cast of kids do so well because of the realistic and witty dialogue from Abrams that is not dumbed down to a certain point. Kyle Chandler is fine as Joe's single father.

Where the film comes to the last 15 minutes, the film's final moments make it felt downright corny and tries too hard on Spielberg by copying his endings which feels so inconsistent to his films when Super 8 became immensely good. But if you have time to leave at the start of the end credits, don't. There's a special treat during that help pick up the film's tone.

Overall Super 8 is a crowd pleaser, whether you're a Spielberg afficionado bringing in the intense, sometimes scary, and emotionally compromised material he used to do. This may not be going for any Oscars, but it's the best blockbuster of the summer and may land a spot at my end-of-year best list

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

RANT: MTV Movie Awards and Twilight

Thanks for giving us the popcorn. We're put it beneath our toilet seat since there's two more to go
Last night, the MTV Movie Awards was held last night at whatever arena it's in. (I don't know so don't call me an idiot.) And you wouldn't be suprised when you hear the word Twilight around this awards show or any other populist awards show in existence.

For those of you who don't know, the MTV Movie Awards are only well known for awarding movies that are popular; most of the movies nominated are not even Oscar-worthy but are still entertaining. Some movies that were nominated for an Oscar but have won and have been nominated for an MTVMA were Pulp Fiction, Titanic, Gladiator, A Few Good Men and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Those that were nominated or won an MTVMA and were critically acclaimed films were Se7en, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and The Matrix.

But now it's official; the MTV Movie Awards would be the things we find bullshit this year when Twilight clean sweeped the awards winning 5 "popcorns". The "popcorns" were Best Fight, Best Kiss, Best Male and Female Performance and, you guessed it, Best Movie.

You know what? Good for them. Good for Summit Entertainment, a major independent studio producing these movies for winning these honours. If I would give Twilight credit for anything it would be the production design that makes the forests and mountains so realistic Roger Ebert would describe it as:
"like landscapes painted by that guy on TV who shows you how to paint stuff like that."
But overall, the MTVMAs are a travesty in cinema today. Gone were the films that are actually great popcorn fare and gone are the ethics and excitement of awards shows today. If there was any awards shows that were redeeming and are not related to Twilight, there's the Saturn Awards whose panel at least care which films were the best of its genre. Or the Empire Awards even though these awards are so niche to a minority of film buffs.

This whole show is so bad. But I can't even say it's James Franco bad because he wouldn't do this job. Talking positive about Twilight winning everything is like saying the water in our dams are poison.

MTV has gone so low maintenance now as it doesn't live up to its name. What used to be a TV channel revolutionising music today is not anymore. Instead we get this, the VMAs which are the only thing close to saying MTV is showing music and Jersey Shore. (BTW, I read the Wikipedia page of Jersey Shore and at the front tells us "it's a cultural phenomenon"[insert facepalm]). And now what used to be a celebration of film fans in Hollywood turns into a cult meeting for tween bastards. Didn't I mention there was a change in the voting system with everybody eligible to vote? Oh! Freedom of speech you're implying to put in.

Anyway, I'm joining the crowd here who will complain about the show days to come, but the total travesty is the show itself. If you noticed anything different is that there's two new categories: Jaw-Dropping Moment and Best Line. Hmmm. MTV trying to get a jab on screenplay.

With nothing else the winner for Best Jaw Dropping Moment was Justin Bieber winning for his own movie. So... what was the Jaw-Dropping moment? I don't FUCKING know? MTV PRODUCED HIS PROPAGANDA MOVIE! Winning over potential nominees James Franco cutting his arm up for 127 Hours, the city folding in Inception is outrageous.

Now for Best Line and two quotes from Aaron Sorkin's screenplay for The Social Network (not even the strongest of them all) are nominated. I would've prefered this instead given how this is the best moment of personally the best film of 2010.

But the two quotes lost over this?




Goddamn it. This film is an atrocious piece of garbage that I cannot tolerate. Seriously, if people read Sorkin's screenplay they would have been impressed before seeing The Social Network even if they're aren't into it. But you know what? Looking at Grown Ups over The Social Network seeing as they're both distributed by Columbia Pictures, then comparing it wouldn't be that difficult. But the line that won over a pitch-perfect screenplay from a modern screenwriter makes Grown Ups less bearable.

Now to Twilight and the film won over the best film moments of the last years are so plain stupid, with Best Fight winning over the hallway fight from Inception or Chloe Moretz against the drug dealers in Kick Ass and Best Kiss over Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis for Black Swan. 2 to 3 awards in the same category. When it comes to winning Best Male and Female Performance at the MTVMAs it's based on what the population think was the best performances. And what do you know? It went to Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart so their fans would become horny. Over the Oscar-nominated-winning performances from Jesse Eisenberg and Natalie Portman. The whole franchise is Harry Potter with a chasity ring.

Just minutes after being shown to us the first trailer for the next Twilight installment Breaking Dawn (Pt. 1), we've seen it before as Eclipse wins Best Film. OVER THESE FILMS?!?!


Seriously, has the world lost their minds? Or has the majority of the people voting have heard of these films knowing they used to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. I've seen these films. I've just bought them on DVD because they are a work of art. These three films are the best movies of the year. The Social Network was a film not about Facebook, but a character study of a social revolutionary and friendships. Black Swan was like looking at the painting 'The Scream" in motion with a captivating performance from a cute actress. And Inception as Mark Kermode used to describe: "proof that people are not stupid, that cinema is not trash, and that it is possible for blockbusters and art to be the same thing." And these films never got anything other than Inception winning for Best Scared-As-Shit Performance for Ellen Page over a film the story about beastiality and necrophilia. With Twilight ticking every category, this shows that we've become a tasteless society.

But the tragedy is that the show has its worst moments. A shot of Justin Timberlake groping over Mila Kunis, when they've both star in a movie that so similar to Natalie Portman's rom com and both present at the Oscars, is just uncomfortable. Even more uncomfortable was the fact that Robert Pattinson made out with Taylor Lautner in the audience and the fact that Steven Spielberg came up to present clips for Super 8 and told that the MTVMAs are made for film fans.

Maybe he doesn't know himself, but we as film fans, the people who are being addressed here, people who are in the audience (half of those were from the entertainment industry, half of those were teeny boppers) should have more respect to such an icon. I'm pretty sure he's paid to say that.

I pretty much had it with MTV and their Movie Awards seeing that, unless they do something with their voting system or banning Twilight from their next awards shows, I'll never hear of the MTVMAs again. But to appease myself that the show was not terrible. At least there was recognition to Chloe Moretz winning Best Breakout Star and Best Badass Star for playing Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass. And to be honest, the Movie Awards were not to be taken seriously, however they play a role in deciding what the movie-going public likes. But now, as many of the movies are shown to us every day, they make the movie outside of artistic value beneath profit, Twilight is a franchise so blatant fueled by majority of people who have an ever decreasing span, that it is made to a point that is pointless and is stupid

Unfortunately the band Gossip used to say "It's a cruel, cruel world to face on your own", it's true.

Bravo Twihards. Bravo. And go fuck yourself

Saturday, June 4, 2011

X-Men: First Class

B (7.0)

Warning_Spoiler ALERT!

From my understanding, the first two X-Men films directed by 'Usual Suspects' Bryan Singer were the catapult of not just the franchise, but the superhero genre. And from what I heard was that the last two films X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were dead in the water leaving the brand out of balance and just recently a proposed sequel for Wolverine (simply named The Wolverine) has been on the rocks when its director Darren Arronofsky left for personal issues. With that said, I haven't seen any of the X-Men films.

This is X-Men: First Class, the prequel to the first X-Men; before Professor X and Magneto were fighting over mutants they were friends. First Class begins when in 1944 Erik Lensherr/Magneto, imprisoned in a German Concentration camp see through his eyes the murder of his mother as a little boy. He then let out his magnetic powers and as an adult (Michael Fassbender) vowing revenge on those who killed her that happens to be Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). He heads a small group of mutants called The Hellfire Club consisting of Emma Frost/The White Queen (January Jones) who shapeshift into a diamond human and is a telepath, Azazel and Riptide. Shaw plans to provoke a nuclear war between the US and the USSR so that mutants can rule the world.

It's the 1960s Lensherr then meets Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) who runs a school of mutants. The mutants consist of Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) who is Xavier's best friend before moving with Magneto, Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Till) who shoots laser rings out of his body and Sean Cassidy/Banshee who beams out a supersonic wave. Along with Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Xavier aims to have mutants coexist with humans while Lensherr looks for Shaw and aim at wiping out all of humanity.

If I was a huge X-Men fan, I would say this is the best film out of the franchise. This is what X-Men Origins wanted to be but it couldn't because of the timelines relating to the characters and through its portrayal of these people we would want to believe from.

Moralistic and conflicting, there's something that adds more to the film than just being an X-Men film. Directed by Matthew Vaughn who gave us the marvellous superhero satire Kick-Ass and the stylish crime thriller Layer Cake, he incorporates the elements of these films to give us a superhero flick occuring in a period filled with class and cynicism added to the film's mise-en-scene. He also brought in the feeling of a James Bond movie with many of the characters and action paying homage to these movies.

Wow... Victoria does have a secret! 
The screenplay from Jane Goldman, it doesn't feel witty or boundary-bending like Kick-Ass, but compared with the last two films, the dialogue wasn't clunky. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon are standouts as their respective characters. It's not almost badass, but at some point there's a huge emphasis of who we really are. Fassbender is the best of the film as Magneto because we know of the inner-conflicts that cause him to become a person with dire destruction and revered opinions at the end. But I was never given enough detail between the friendship of Xavier and Lensherr and how it turns out for the worst for both of them. It's more of the scenarios the Mutants are facing through history rather than through themselves 
The supporting cast are mixed. Most of the cast gave us decent performances, but only half of the characters are underutilised or never met any development because there are too many characters here. Perhaps the most interesting character was Mystique, played fantasticly by Jennifer Lawrence, where she's something away from her antagonistic role in the series. But like all of the cast, she's never given any screentime and we never see her powers other than her turning and shapeshifting; and like many of the women cast, we feel like they're reduced to eye candy to the guys (in particular January Jones who wear a bra for the whole of the movie).

But what's put it down from being "the best of the series" to "the best of the series being momentarily awkward" was the last 30 minutes in where Professor X after the betrayal of Magneto is put under a wheelchair where he predicts their future and there was one line that say he's becoming bald. We get it already! Enough with the in-jokes.

Overall X-Men: First Class is not almost to the level of the first two films but at least it shows a big improvement from the last two films. So where does it leave Watchmen after this? Economy Class?