– Posted by Alyssa
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hault, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters
It’s not often that a sequel (or in this case a super prequel/sequel) is able to live up to expectations and entertain its audience as much as its predecessor(s). But the mutant franchise defied expectations with great action sequences, a limit on cheesiness, and characters that still haven’t gotten stale. It’s only getting better with each edition.
It’s the future and Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) are past their prime, but hanging with a young band of mutants that includes: the cigar-smoking, self-healing Wolverine (Jackman), time hopper Kitty Pryde (Page), and controller of the elements Storm (Halle Berry). However, upon discovery that a lethal group of war machines called the Sentinels were created in the past by a mutant-fascinated genius named Dr. Bolivar Trask (Dinklage), Kitty uses her abilities to send Wolverine back into the past. Wolverine, a.k.a. James Logan, interacts with young Charles Xavier, (McAvoy) who is having trouble controlling his mind-reading abilities; the Beast, (Hoult) who is living with Charles, and young Quicksilver (Peters), who has both a quick foot and mouth. The group work together to help Magneto escape from the Pentagon, so they can all group together and stop Mystique (Lawrence) from assassinating Dr. Bolivar. What results is a battle between mutant and man that is on a grand scale, involving Richard Nixon and the White House.
The plot may sound like a lot, but everything is kept on a small scale so that the X universe never gets too overwhelming to follow. Fans of the comics have a lot to indulge in, and people less familiar have an enjoyable film that creates characters who are interesting, action sequences that are mesmerizing, and a talented, easy-to-watch cast. This is a franchise that gets better with time and seems to have an unlimited number of stories to tell. It’s the perfect summer blockbuster and a really fun time at the movie theaters.
– Posted by Alyssa
Yes, that’s the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo herself, Rooney Mara’s, older sister. And by the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I’m talking about David Fincher’s version, not the Swedish one, so relax… Anyway, Kate Mara is by no means a new face, but she’s going to get some well-deserved recognition in the near future with her upcoming role in the blockbuster update of The Fantastic Four, starring as the Invisible Woman, filling in Ms. Jessica Alba’s shoes. The new Fantastic Four also stars a young cast of fresh faces including: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell and is set for release June 19, 2015. In addition to her role in the Marvel reboot, Mara will also star in the sequel to the film and the drama Captive.
You may recognize Mara from her scene-stealing role in “American Horror Story” as Hayden, the mistress of Dylan McDermott’s Ben Harmon. She is also in the wildly-acclaimed Netflix series “House of Cards” alongside Kevin Spacey, has starred with James Franco in 127 Hours, and with Channing Tatum and Oscar Isaac in the underrated and entertaining reunion film 10 Years. With her role in The Fantastic Four and her versatility on the big and small screen in acclaimed series, blockbuster films, and indie gems, Mara is much more than Rooney’s older sister.
— Posted by Alyssa
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen
Not since the generational over-the-top partying of Project X have I been this excited about kegs, neon plastic shot glasses, and red solo cups. Neighbors is that rare comedy that has something to say while also knowing how to give its audience a good time.
Vacant, every-party douche, president of a fraternity (that sings Creed during their pledge to give more inkling of how douchey douche can be) Teddy Sanders (Efron) is caught up in the present and not thinking too hard about academics. Teddy’s grand ambition is to add to the wall of the “legends” before him that perfected the party staples all youngsters abide by like the toga party and beer pong. It’s not much of a legacy that Teddt is looking to leave, but in an age where partying is taken seriously, it makes sense. Meanwhile, the beta to Teddy’s Alpha is Pete (Franco), who is a little more caught up in the future and not all too worried about making a “name for himself,” although he’s not above photocopying his penis. These boys, along with their ragtag group of brethren, move next door to new parents Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) who are not really old, but no longer young and are trying to figure out how to balance parenthood with the carefree life they used to lead. What results between generations not too far apart, but plunging into adulthood, is a hilarious war between those who party and those who parent.
There is a lot of truth behind the marijuana smoke in this film. Young parents are not too unheard of and trying to let go of the parties of the past is as difficult as it is to move on into the prospective future of adulthood. Neither side of this war is made to be the bad guys… the frat boys aren’t painted as out of line in partying hard while they got their youth and the parents aren’t made to be the grouchy “man” who is trying to hold them down. Neighbors makes characters that are always funny and entertaining to watch and the cast takes a script that is good and makes it great.
As I work my way through IMDB’s top 250 movies, I came across this one. The name and picture on the cover of a family smiling and having fun kind of threw me off. I didn’t want some cheesy little romance. But then I read the description of it, about how a man makes up a little game to spare his young son from realizing the horrors of being in a Nazi internment camp. Oh my God. And what makes this movie even more insane is that it’s part drama and part slapstick comedy. You read that right: a slapstick comedy about the holocaust. Now who the hell could pull that off?!
Apparently Roberto Benigni can.
Start the camera. Main character Guido Orefice makes the best out of life and performs many stunts to get the attention of young Dora, the woman he is in love with. Hilarity ensues as he takes her away from her arrogant fiancé and mother. However humorous their antics, there are little sprits of anti-Semitism sprinkled throughout, but it’s nothing Guido can’t have a little fun with.
Then Dora and Guido get married and have a little boy. We feel happy for them. More anti-Semitism. More of Guido’s humor. When stores have signs outside saying “No Jews allowed” he jokes that he saw a sign one that said “No Chinese and no elephants” and decided he would put one up on his own bookshop saying “No spiders.” Laughs ensue. Then he and his son and his uncle are taken to the camps. You would think the humor ends there, and indeed it does become a more serious movie, but still keeps humor throughout. Even in extreme circumstances, Guido makes us laugh and makes his son feel safe, and for that we thank him, for it is people like him that truly do make life beautiful.