Currently browsing the "James McAvoy" tag.

Review: IT Chapter Two

And so – barring any future studio or literary shenanigans – IT ends.

IT Chapter Two is the creepy, edge-of-your-seat follow-up to the creepy, edge-of-your-seat horror film that hit the big screen in 2017. If you’ve read the book it’s based on (Stephen King’s second-longest, at 1138 pages), then you’re not only a glutton for punishment, you have a pretty good idea how it all plays out. I went in without a clue. I emerged a tad worse for wear psychologically, but generally satisfied with the film – and its ending.

Quickie Review: Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix is like a low-calorie, less-filling Endgame. It’s designed to bring closure to the X-Men franchise as we’ve come to know it, before a possible reboot under new (Disney) management. I think I’ve seen nine of the 12 films that Fox has released under the X-Men umbrella since 2000. I won’t attempt to rank them, but I can say with some confidence that Dark Phoenix isn’t the best or the worst of the bunch. It’s a must-see for devoted X-Men fans, a doesn’t-hurt-to-see for MCU fans, and a no-need-to-see for most everyone else.

Review: Glass

What exactly is a “comic book thriller”? I’m not exactly sure, but apparently Glass falls into that category. So Comic-Con types rejoice! This one’s primarily for you. It’s also a gift of sorts for fans of Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), two creepy yet engrossing movies written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. In Glass, Shyamalan merges the narrative of those two previous efforts to complete what turns out to be a trilogy nearly 20-years in the making, and possibly sets the origin story for a whole new series of comic-horror-thriller-superhero cinematic events.

Quickie Reviews: Atomic Blonde and Landline

Atomic Blonde is set against the backdrop of the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989. As the Cold War appears to be nearing its end, the spy game is hot as ever. British MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is sent to Berlin to retrieve a stolen list that threatens to expose the identity of all Western spies. It’s a familiar plot line in espionage thrillers, and in this case, the convoluted plot is a mere vehicle for launching a tangled web of deceit among Broughton’s contacts (including James McAvoy as embedded station chief David Percival) and triggering a whole lot of extended fight scenes. Lorraine’s weapons of choice include anything she can get her hands on – from guns and knives, to keys and high heels – all swung with lethal force. The film is like a hyper-violent Jason Bourne or Bond movie with a lead that happens to be a badass chick.

Cinema Clash: Split; xXx: Return of Xander Cage; The Founder

Mainstream Chick faces off with her cinematic nemesis Charlie over: M. Night Shyamalan’s creepy psychological thriller Split starring James McAvoy as a guy with 24 alternate personalities who kidnaps three teenage girls; xXx: Return of Xander Cage, an action movie starring Vin Diesel in the second sequel of a franchise I’d never heard of. It’s pure camp. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!; and The Founder, a not-so-feel-good biopic starring Michael Keaton as McDonald’s “founder” Ray Kroc.

X-men: Days of Future Past

I will admit up front, I haven’t seen any of the other X-men flicks. But the good news is that this one stands alone and begs me to watch the others to see what I was missing. In Days of Future Past, Wolverine is sent back in time to 1973, so the characters that populate this series are youngsters and their relationships with one another are not yet certain, which makes for a great introduction to the mutant clan. And it is a LOT of fun with a fabulously yummy cast too boot. Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy — what could be wrong with that? And Jennifer Lawrence proves once again that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Trance

Danny Boyle is one of those wonderful directors who isn’t satisfied in sticking with one genre, which is fine since he happens to be great at so many different kinds of films, though the common denominator is his audacious sense of visual style. Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, and now Trance would be on my “best of” list for him. Trance probably belongs more in the Trainspotting column than any other. It is a fantastic mind-bendy, crime thriller that keeps you off kilter through the whole ride.

The Conspirator

Seems I am destined to watch period movies centered on wronged women. My second of the weekend is Robert Redford’s The Conspirator, which tells the true story of Mary Surratt who was accused of helping plot Lincoln’s assassination. Robin Wright (formerly Penn) plays Surratt, the only woman charged in the conspiracy along with 6 men and the first woman executed by the US government. James McAvoy plays Frederick Aiken the young lawyer who reluctantly took her case.

X-Men: First Class

This movie is everything a prequel should be: entertaining in its own right and true to the characters we’ve come to know in the previous franchise films. For the uninitiated, the X-Men (and women) are a superhero team sprung from the pages of Marvel comic books. They are considered mutants because they have an extra “X” gene that gives them each a unique power or ability that normal humans lack.

The Last Station

This is a wonderful film! It should be on the expanded Academy Awards list for Best Picture, but sadly it isn’t. At least both Christopher Plummer as Tolstoy and Helen Mirren as his wife Sofya are nominated in their respective acting categories. The Last Station is the story of the last years of the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s life, his tempestuous relationship with this wife, his coterie of adoring sycophants who turned him into a cult figure, and a young man who became his personal secretary and family confidante.