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Showing posts from May, 2014

Review - X-Men: Days of Future Past

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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), PG-13, 131 minutes - X-Men: Days of Future Past represents the fifth film in the comic book franchise about mutants and their struggle for equality (seventh if you include the two solo Wolverine films).  It also marks the return of Bryan Singer as director on the franchise after having directed both X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), and contributing to the story of X-Men: First Class (2011).  Generally speaking, the first two X-Men films were fairly highly regarded as comic book films go, but after Singer's departure to direct Superman Returns (2006), X-Men: The Last Stand (again, generally) didn't live up to expectations.  This time around, Singer vowed to take an adaptation of a classic X-Men story line and use it to effectively 'fix' the issues that had been introduced by the earlier films.  After my initial viewing last night, I'd say that he was fairly successful in doing just that.
Days of Future Past begins, wait for it...in the fut…

Review - Godzilla (2014)

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Godzilla (2014), PG-13), 123 minutes - It seems that just about once a year, a movie comes out that really makes me wish that we had an IMAX theater here in Roanoke.  This year, that film is Godzilla.  I mean, the King of Monsters should be seen on as big of a screen as possible right?

There have been a number of Godzilla films produced since 1954, mostly by Japan's Toho Company, but also including a handful of American productions (the most recent of which was 1998's Roland Emmerich directed, Matthew Broderick starer which is not very highly regarded).  This latest attempt at rebooting and building a potential monster movie franchise capitalizes on a recognizable cast (Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche), today's advancements in CG effects, and a basic yet compelling story line to produce a very entertaining summer blockbuster.

The film begins in 1999 with scenes in both the Philipines and…

Review - The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), PG-13, 142 minutes - Somewhat surprisingly, this film didn't quite make my Most Anticipated Films of 2014 list.  It was however, a part of my honorable mention.  The second film of the Spidey reboot - which began with 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man - continues to build on elements introduced throughout that film and includes a good dose of action along with strong character development, making it a pretty entertaining kick-off for the official summer blockbuster season.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens much the same way its predecessor does, flashing back to Peter's youth and elaborating more on just what happened with his parents.  The film is brought into the present day by a typical Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) sort of problem: getting caught up fighting crime, causing him to miss his girlfriend Gwen Stacy's (Emma Stone) valedictorian speech, and almost miss graduation entirely.  It really is a great way to open the this new chapter i…

Rental Review - Chernobyl Diaries

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Chernobyl Diaries (2012), R, 86 minutes - The trailer for Chernobyl Diaries caught the eye of my wife and I a couple of years ago when the film was released. It stated that this film about a group of tourists and their 'extreme' guide venturing into the abandoned city of Pripyat (former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor) was co-written by Oren Peli (writer/director of Paranormal Activity and creator of television series The River) and since we've enjoyed most of his other work (guilty pleasure, sue me), we thought we'd give it a shot via NetFlix.

Chris (Jesse McCartney), his girlfriend Zoe (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), and her friend Amanda (Devin Kelley) are visiting Chris's brother Paul (Jonathan Sadowski) during a trip across Europe. Paul switches plans on the group and instead of a day trip to Moscow, they find themselves on their way towards the Chernobyl ruins along with fellow tourists Michael (Nathan Phillips) and Natalie (Olivia Taylor Dudley…

Rental Review - Frozen

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Frozen (2013), PG, 102 minutes - Although I really enjoy animated features, for a variety of reasons Frozen was not a film that I caught in theaters (despite its very lengthy theatrical run). This past week, my wife and I finally had the opportunity to see what all of the hubbub has been about. Aside from the original teaser trailer with Olaf (Josh Gad) the snowman and the reindeer, I somehow managed to know virtually nothing about the film other than its apparently having quite an infectious soundtrack.

For those late to the Frozen party like myself, it revolves around a pair of Princesses, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) who grow up in seclusion in their kingdom's castle after a childhood accident involving Elsa's magical freezing power nearly kills Anna and causes Elsa to ostracize herself for fear of losing control of her abilities again. When Elsa comes of age and is pronounced Queen of the Kingdom, the two girls get their first dose of social contact in y…