X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

x-men-dark-phoenix-2019-movie-reviewDirector: Simon Kinberg

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, Jessica Chastain, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee

Plot: During a mission to save some of NASA’s astronauts, Jean Gray obtains unimaginable powers that she can’t control, and they corrupt her. The remaining X-Men are left to decide whether she can be saved before she becomes too much of a threat to humanity.

My Thoughts: It’s not that I’ve been actively avoiding the X-Men movies, I’ve just never had that much of an interest in them. I’ve missed a few, and I know nothing about the timeline or most of the mutants powers, so when I watch one of the movies I feel like an elderly person who’s just been handed an iPad. Lost! That said, when the internet hails a movie as being awful, my morbid curiosity kicks in, so I had to find out for myself if Dark Phoenix is as bad as the critics say.

I’ll cut straight to the chase – it isn’t. It’s not a great movie, it has a lot of flaws, but it’s far from being a disaster. I mean, I was entertained the whole time and that’s all you can ask for sometimes. The trailer was quite misleading, I thought most of the movie would be filled with action scenes of the different mutants trying to take down Jean Gray while she kicked their asses, but those kind of scenes were far and few between.

What stood out the most to me was the dialogue. Who wrote it?! It felt like it had either been dumbed down for the audience or just lazily done…by a 10-year old. Regardless, I still enjoyed the movie, and I liked the ending. It felt like it wrapped up the story for these characters but set up an opportunity for some new movies. Hopefully, those ones will be received better!

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Best Bit: The best scene without a doubt was the fight outside Jean Gray’s family home. The slo-mo bits are just too cool. I really fell in love with Nightcrawler though – he’s adorable! Poor guy was nothing more than a mutant Uber during half the movie but he got his chance to kick some ass towards the end.

Worst Bit: Never did I ever think my complaints would include Michael Fassbender but…he pulled the subway train up out of the ground…and used it to make a fancy entrance into that house?! Is that honestly all he wanted to do with it?!

Fun Trivia: At the end of the movie, Professor Xavier and Magneto meet for a chess game at a Parisian cafe named “Les Vieux Copains” meaning “Old buddies”, apparently located on the “Rue de la Paix” literally the “street of Peace”.

My Rating: 3 ripe, juicy tomatoes, grown lovingly on Magneto’s farm.

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American Animals (2018)

american-animals-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Bart Layton

Genre: Crime, Drama

Runtime: 116 Minutes

Main Cast: Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd

Plot: This is the true story of 4 young men who, after watching many heist movies including Reservoir Dogs, plan a heist of their own to steal millions of dollars worth of art from their University’s library.

My Thoughts: I went into this movie completely blind. It was my local Odeon’s “Screen Unseen” screening, a special event where they show a secret movie not yet released in the UK. I didn’t have any kind of inkling what the movie might be, and I hadn’t even heard of American Animals until the BBFC rating screen appeared!

So with that in mind, maybe the excitement of it all, combined with a complete lack of expectation will skew my thoughts, but I had a brilliant time watching this. It’s told in partly a documentary format with the men of the story making an appearance to give their own accounts of what happened back in 2003. Personally I had no idea so the outcome was always going to be a surprise, but seeing how old the 4 men are now and knowing how much time has passed since the heist, it was easy to deduce that nothing too serious went down for them to be walking free in the present day.

That said, it was a wild ride! You could quite easily split the movie into 2 distinct halves, before the heist and after the heist. The before half was interesting and quite humorous in the way it was filmed, think I, Tonya but not quite as outrageous.

However, it was the second half that makes American Animals so memorable for me. If you’ve ever watched a heist movie and thought “pshht, I could do that” then this is a much watch. It turns serious, fast, and I was honestly frozen in place with my heart thumping in my chest through some moments.

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Best Bit: The conflicting accounts from the 4 men, and how the movie changes with it. It amused me!
“The guy was wearing a blue tie” – Guy in question on screen has a blue tie.
“He had a dark coat and red tie” – Guy in question on screen’s tie has suddenly changed colour.

Worst Bit: I say worst only because it made me feel so uneasy (as intended really) but the moment when the guys ‘take care of the librarian’.

Fun Trivia: During filming the actors were not allowed to meet their real life counterparts because the director feared they would sympathise and/or play them in a certain light.

My Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 red ties. Blue ties. Oh, I don’t even know anymore! Did he have a beard?!

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