Monday, January 25, 2016

X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Next time I go to the barber, I'll ask for The Rogue Cut.  I'll laugh and laugh and the barber will kick me out because I'm an idiot.


X-Men:  Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut – 5 out of 5

I know, I know, loyal reader.  I already reviewed X-Men:  Days of Future Past when I saw it in the theater in the summer of 2014 and I sang its praises about how awesome it was and how cool it was to have Bryan Singer once again at the helm of an X-film.  However, recently I purchased The Rogue Cut on Blu-Ray and decided to watch it back-to-back with the Theatrical Cut of the film.  I wanted to see what was different and whether or not this is a more definitive version of the story—and then I decided to would review it because that’s just what I do.

                                                                                                                     20th Century Fox
It's on my bucket list to hug Ian McKellen.  Get ready, Ian, because it's going
to happen and it's going to be awesome!

                                                                                        20th Century Fox
Hey look!  It's Rogue!
In the future, mutant kind is at risk of extinction after deadly robot Sentinels run wild and hunt all mutants.  In a last ditch effort to save their kind, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) use the powers of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) to send the consciousness of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) into his younger body in the 70s.  In that time, he will seek out a younger Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and get them to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating the man who creates the Sentinels; Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage).  However, along the way Kitty is hurt and doesn’t have the strength to keep Wolverine in the past and the team must rescue the power-stealing mutant Rogue (Anna Paquin) to help finish the job before the Sentinels descend on them and kill them, preserving a world where mutants are hunted like animals.

                                                                                                                     20th Century Fox
Michael Fassbender contains a of level of cool that is impossible for a mortal like
me to ever achieve.

In this cut of the film, everything that makes Days of Future Past so awesome that I completely forget that Brett Ratner nearly killed this franchise with X-Men:  The Last Stand (although, I will always say how awesome Kelsey Grammar was as Beast) is still here.  It's all still here in this awesome adaptation of the classic comic book storyline:  The great acting, the killer special effects and, of course, Evan Peters stealing the film as Quicksilver and that endlessly amusing and fantastic scene in the Pentagon kitchen set to “Time in a Bottle.”  However, this cut of the film isn’t just a mad-dash for extra cash and something to convince fans to buy another copy of the film by adding a quick one-minute scene of Rogue—No, this is much more and it might actually be a better version of an already awesome film!

                                                                                                                      20th Century Fox
Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite moments in all of comic book movie history.

                                                                                        20th Century Fox
Blink must be really good at Portal.
Most notable about The Rogue Cut is how it changes the third act of the film with the inclusion of Rogue.  This results in a new and very exciting action sequence where they rescue Rogue from Charles Xavier’s school (which is now occupied by the Anti-Mutant agenda).  This scene is edited together with the scene from the Theatrical Cut of Magneto going to reclaim his helmet and it makes for a nice parallel to the rescue and makes the already cool scene of Erik getting his gear that much cooler.  This new cut may change when a certain character in the future dies but it also allows characters like Warpath (Booboo Stewart), Blink (Bingbing Fan), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Sunspot (Adan Canto) and Bishop (Omar Sy) get a few more lines of dialogue when they are coming up with the plan to send Wolvie back in time and that results in making the whole journey and adventure have a greater sense of weight to it and how truly important it is that they succeed…and also how deep the risks truly are.

                                                                                                                       20th Century Fox
I'm not going to make a joke here but rather talk about how cool Sunspot looks in the film.

The Rogue Cut also offers up some new gags—including a fun mid-credit sequence with Peter Dinklage— and some fun fan service by offering up a hint that Quicksilver’s sister; Scarlet Witch, was around the whole time but off-screen in her room upstairs in the Maximoff household.   Occasionally, these new or alternate scenes can slow the film down—like an additional scene where Mystique shows up at the X-mansion—but, even then, the slowdown isn’t that bad or distracting enough to harm the film.  There’s also times when edits in the Theatrical Cut can come off awkward but this is only noticeable if you watch The Rogue Cut first and know that the scene was originally meant to go longer.  This is ultimately balanced though because there are scenes that just feel stronger in TRC than in the original edit.

                                                                                         20th Century Fox
The movie did a great job of showing the unbridled passion that pretty much defined
the character of Beast in the comics.

Overall, The Rogue Cut of X-Men:  Days of Future Past is pretty freakin’ rad—yes, I just said “rad.”  The original film is already amazing as it not only helped bring back the X-films as a legitimate superhero franchise (something that was started by X-Men:  First Class—look, X3 did a lot of damage) but it also did something cool by combining the old films' cast with the prequel cast in a marriage of amazing (and plot holes and continuity errors—as good as this franchise is, there’s a lot of plot holes in it).  Is The Rogue Cut better?  That’s hard to say because that sort of thing is really just personal preference.  The Theatrical Cut is already amazing beyond amazing but, from a personal standpoint, The Rogue Cut is my preferred version of the film.

Entourage

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  The movie continuation that still would have been 5 years too late if it came out the day after the final episode.



Entourage – 2 out of 5

I started watching Entourage not long after I graduated college in 2005 and I really dug the show.  I thought it was ridiculous but amusing at the same time.  I pretty much stayed with it until the show ended in 2011 but, as the seasons passed, I became less and less interested in the repetitive nature of the seasons and the groups’ douche-y behavior became less and less endearing.  As time went on, I would catch up on seasons years after they ended and I think I only finished it up about two years ago.  I originally laughed at the idea of the series getting a movie but, I’m being honest here, the trailer did have me interested and I was curious to check it out.  Let’s just say it left me with about as much enthusiasm as the last seasons of the show gave me.

The boys are back...if anyone actually cares or not is something else.

So Vinnie Chase (Adrien Grenier) and his crew; Eric (Kevin Connolly), Drama (Kevin Dillion) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), are still together and still getting up to their usual shenanigans—basically put, they are dealing with movie-making difficulties and trying to have sex with as many women as they can.  In this douche-y adventure, Vinnie is directing and starring in his own film but they are going over budget and have to swallow their pride and ask the head of the studio—and Vinnie’s former agent; Ari Gold (Jeremy Pivon)—for more money.  Reluctantly, Ari agrees to speak with the film’s financier; Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton), and he’ll give more money if his son Travis (Haley Joel Osment) heads to L.A. to see a cut of the film.  That is, if Vinnie will let anyone actually see the film…

Yep, this movie is in no way full of itself.  No way whatsoever.

Ari used to be my favorite part of the show but now
I just don't care.
Overall, I was pretty unimpressed with Entourage.  While the cast still has their parts nailed down, this can’t save the film from the fact it feels like Entourage’s time has already passed.  Watching this film in 2016 (and remember it came out only last year), I started to realize that watching four self-indulgent, misogynistic and outright unlikable douche bags treat women like garbage and like their only point of existence is to be objects of sexual conquests for them is way passed its time.  I realized how far we’ve come as a society as I see these guys less as a comedic outlook of the excess that is the Hollywood lifestyle like in the early days of the show and now they’re more of a sad reflection of how our society views sexual promiscuity of male fictional characters.  What’s really sad is how the production isn’t aware of how sad it’s product really is as it acts like it did when its show was still on the air and acts like things are still the same.  It’s like when a middle-aged dude goes to a college house party and is completely oblivious to the fact that he is being laughed at behind his back the whole time.

Director:  Get me those things...um...what are they called?  We make the sex with them.
Assistant:  Um...women?
Director:  Yeah, that's them.  Let's get a bunch of them and start objectifying.

There was a point where it felt like the whole property was showing some maturity as it is hinted that one of the characters was going to learn that women aren’t just sexual playthings for them to wham, bam and then thank you ma’am but this scene is resolved in a very lazy way and, ultimately, in a way that the character doesn’t learn anything of significance and is, rather, just left wiping his brow and saying, “Whew, that was close.”  It could be argued that he learned his lesson but getting lucky and avoiding conflict isn’t really learning anything.  The story basically just reset the clock for this character to return to his debauchery-encrusted lifestyle and gravitate to a false belief that this behavior is amusing in some way.

Ronda Rousey isn't a trained actor but she's pretty good at playing Ronda Rousey.
It was the part she was born to play.

However, the worst thing about this film is the fact it feels no different than the show.  While this is a good thing when it comes to continuity with the series, it’s a bad thing when it feels like it is just as repetitive as the show.  For all intents and purposes, the movie is just a condensed version of every season ever done as its only focus is the guys trying to get laid and trying to solve whatever problem that is coming with whatever movie Vinnie is at the time.  This was the biggest reason I grew tired of the show as it basically was the same thing season after season and now, writer/director Doug Ellin (who also wrote and directed for the show), is taking that same formula and just shortening it from several episodes into a single feature length film.  It just feels lazy.

Come check out the Entourage movie where nearly nothing has changed with
the characters and they don't learn anything!

Finally, adding to the laziness of the whole feature, the film crams in way too many cameos.  At times, these cameos are fun but as more and more come in they start to feel extremely forced, they stop being fun and just come off as a desperate publicity stunt meant to hide the fact the film's story holds nothing special.  There’s even a whole sequence where Ari is literally running to cameo-to-cameo and it feels so utterly pointless.  It does nothing to enhance the story and it would have just been easier to have the director lean in and say, “Did you see that?  We got Liam Neeson, Jessica Alba, Warren Buffett and a whole shit load of other celebrities to be in this film and they’re helping us hide the fact that we are literally not trying anything new with this film!”

Hey, look!  A cameo!
Alright!  Another needless cameo!
Is that what I think it is?  Yes it is!  Another pointless cameo!
Holy shit on a shih tzu!  Another cameo!  It's the gift that doesn't realize you
want it to desperately stop giving!
Heavens to Betsy!  Armie Hammer?!?  They are really pulling out the star power
for these cameos!
Who needs a story when you have cameos?!?

 
So...did Haley's face just stop aging after The Sixth
Sense
?
Entourage has a moment here and there when it’s amusing and the performances from the main cast and from new members like Haley Joel Osment are great but I couldn’t escape the fact that the property already feels dated and that the film was made way passed its expiration date.  Add in the fact that the film is super lazy and feels literally no different than every single solitary season of the show and it made for a very forgettable and pretty pointless experience.  The production expressed hopes that they could turn the film into a trilogy but, considering the tract record, I don’t think I could watch the exact same movie done two more times because, let’s be realistic, it’s not like they are really going to do anything unique or new in the additional films.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Run All Night

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Since he ran all night, I guess he ran so far away...boy, I really pulled that Flock of Seagulls reference outta my ass, didn't I?



Run All Night – 3 out 5


Liam Neeson definitely has some star power behind him and it’s a power that completely influences some of the films I will see.  For example, I never would have paid to see Battleship in the theater if it wasn’t for him being in the film.  However, as badass as the guy is, his ability to convincingly be someone who has that special set of skills that involve bustin’ suckas in the face doesn’t always translate to the entire production of the film being good, decent or even watchable.  He’s been in some stinkers (for example, Battleship) but is Run All Night as awesome as Taken or is it as bad as the sequels to Taken?

I'd probably piss myself if Neeson gave me that look because it's clear an ass-kicking
is coming.


Jimmy “The Gravedigger” Conlon (Neeson) might sound like a name of a professional wrestler but he’s a former mob enforcer who has fallen on hard times and spends more time drinking than mob enforcing.  His life caused a schism between himself and his son Mike (Joel Kinnaman).  One night, Jimmy’s former boss Shawn Maquire (Ed Harris) rejects a deal his son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) set up and it results in Danny killing some men and Mike accidentally becoming a witness.  Jimmy comes to his son’s aid and kills Danny.  Shawn, rightfully upset, tells Jimmy that since the former enforcer killed his son, he will see Jimmy’s boy meet the same fate.  Now Jimmy must do everything he can to protect his son.

He can protect his son because he has a certain set of...guns to help kill people with.
What did you think I was going to say?


The trailer to this one looked pretty cool and seemed like it would have some killer, gritty action sequences.  However, as much as I like Liam Neeson, a lot of his movies aren’t as good as he is as an actor so I’m reluctant to shell out the cash to see it in the theaters.  This one definitely looked cool but it also, most certainly, was going to be a film I would wait to see when it hits the home market.  Overall, I’m glad I waited because it definitely wasn’t worth the cash for a theater visit BUT it’s not as bad as some of his other recent films have been.

*Pew Pew*


Common was so badass it was a crime
he wasn't in the film more.
My feeling that the film would have some killer action was definitely a dead-on prediction because the film does not disappoint in this department.  There’s a great car chase when Jimmy is trying to rescue his son from the cops (because, not surprisingly, the cops are dirty and in the pocket of Maquire), there’s a fantastic fight sequence between Jimmy and the hitman played by Common in a burning building and the final shootout during the last moments of the film makes sure the adrenaline rush doesn’t end before the credits hit.  This is really the best part of the film.

Ed Harris' performance is pretty intimidating.  Just this pic is making me ready to
surrender and give him whatever he wants so he won't hurt me.


Gun Cam!
Additionally, there’s some really great performances in it.  Liam Neeson’s character starts out a little silly as he’s sheepish and a vile drunk who says inappropriate things to women.  While these character elements work for the character, Neeson just couldn’t pull them off convincingly.  However, once his character gets into form as he returns to being a badass enforcer extraordinaire, this slippery start to the performance is easily overlooked.  Furthermore, Ed Harris is predictably amazing in his role as the antagonist and he provides an excellent antithesis to Liam Neeson and Joel Kinnaman is giving, quite possibly, the best performance I’ve ever seen him in.  Prior to this film, I haven’t been too impressed with his work.

The crazy eyes that bothered me in RoboCop are definitely under control now.


Let's be real:  Nolte probably got the role because he was
living on the set under a pile of rags.
Ultimately, however, Run All Night does have some flaws that stop it from being better than just an average feature.  For example, Nick Nolte is in the film and acts as a walking plot device in order to create more tension between father and son.  In theory, this isn’t a bad thing but the character just sorta appears in the story and is never seen from again, so he feels like his whole existence was just too lazily create drama.  Additionally, the actual moment when the antagonist is stopped by Jimmy feels a bit hollow and not as important as it should be.  Finally, Common plays a really cool hitman character that is hired to come in and take out Mike and there was endless potential to this character but he feels terribly underutilized.  While his moments are cool and provide some killer action sequences, his potential promised so much more and not enough was done with him.  This complaint also applies to the cop character played by Vincent D’Onofrio as this character has a past with Jimmy “The Gravedigger” Conlon but he just sorta comes and goes within the story.

Even though his character was underutilized, anytime D'Onofrio is in a movie is
a win in my book because that dude is talented!


Run All Night is a serviceable but not too memorable action film.  The cast is great and the action is definitely satisfying but the story doesn’t feel that unique and it’s is only hampered by some lazy moments in the plot.  It is definitely one of the better films that Neeson has starred in during the last few years but the film does fall short of the potential it has.