X-MEN (2000)

Directed By: Bryan Singer
Story By: Tom DeSanto & Bryan Singer
Written By: David Hayter 
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel
Editor: Kevin Stitt, John Wright & Steven Rosenblum 

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Bruce Davison, Tyler Mane, Ray Park, 

In a world where mutants (evolved super-powered humans) exist and are discriminated against, two groups form for an inevitable clash: the supremacist Brotherhood, and the pacifist X-Men.

While it was one of the first Marvel movies and one of the bigger superhero series of films to come to the big screen. It seems like it is more remembered as the arrival of -actor Hugh Jackman as a leading man. As in the role he was rebellious and full of charm And swagger. Which pretty much saves the film. As he is also our guide into the world of the film. Even after being introduced ways in.

The film has plenty of special effects which are expected, but strangely feels bland not only now but even when seeing it in the theater after its opening weekend.

At first, I was a bit put off by grown adults running around in costumes. Thinking it would look silly. Sort of like a professional wrestler dressing the same In Real life and that being their personality. Luckily here it is more modern, stylish and leather. So not as bad as one might think.

Other than Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart is good in the film. The other scene stealers are Rebecca Romijn and the always excellent Ian McKellen.

As one of the first of its kind before the superhero movie boom took effect. Which this film is responsible for. It was exciting watching this film. As there are some expectations but also the feeling that the sky’s The limit. So you are ready for whatever it wants to throw. Here it is fantasy but also a harsh dose of reality. 

Anna Paquin as Rogue is at the center of the film. Though other than the opening the character and performance go more into the background. More as a damsel in distress and comes off as boring (a fate that would last throughout the franchise of the movies she appeared in) 

She Is supposed to Have this grand peer that in later films makes better characters and even here the villains are after badly. Then turn her more into an afterthought. Especially in comparison to the other films.

This is why Hugh Jackman’s character introduction into the mutant world being also the audience works better. Also as he doesn’t seem to be as ashamed of himself.

The film seems like director Bryan Singer was a little bit over his head and out of his element. As he was trying to create this fantastic world and bring it into reality but also on a certain budget. That would be doubled if not tripled in today’s film market. So the film at times feels like there is some cost cutting. When certain scenes feel like they should be more open and extravagant. This might be why the film feels like it never achieves a grandiosity you hope for, the later films filled in and that was more what they were all about. 

Bryan Singer usually has a cold and distant directing style that is more clinical. Which doesn’t always match the material here. As it is more a comic book film comes to life. Made more for adults, but it also seems drained of much fun and humor. Not to mention cramming a lot into one film.

Look at the character of sabretooth wolverine’s nemesis in the comic books. He is dealt with and almost soon forgotten. Treated more like an ineffectual henchman.

Other than magneto and mystique goes for the rest of the villains. Who never comes across as any true threat. Just more like distractions.

The film isn’t as grand or spectacular as you would think a film of this magnitude should be.

It’s strange Director Bryan Singer when he started his career made vivid thrillers and dramas that were filled with good performances and creepy nature. That seems to have avoided those types of films. Which of anything tended to show his strengths.

Then he started more to make big budgeted special effects loaded fantasy films that while good to passable show more of his weaknesses

As a director, he brings a certain prestige to his films, and maybe as a director who is distant and ambiguous that works. Especially when your film is more about special effects than characters and acting. 

Here He seems to try and mix the two which ends up not working as elegantly as hoped for. As a director, you are required to have a much more sly hand. Which isn’t here. As he never builds the characters before the effects. Here it seems the reverse.

Not to mention all the personal controversy he has had more recently. 



Directed By: Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner & Simon Wells

Written By: Philip LaZebnik

Cast: (Voices) Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Helen Mirren, James Avery, Eden Reigel 

Egyptian Prince Moses learns of his identity as a Hebrew and his destiny to become the chosen deliverer of his people.

This movie really takes me back as I remember it being a big release at the time and a big holiday one at that. I was working at a movie theater at the time of my first job and remember the shows staying packed for weeks full. Almost every show. 

I also remember how messy yet warm and sweet-smelling the theaters would be afterward. Not only that but constantly hear the duet by Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey on the song BELIEVE.

This embezzled that song into my head and anytime I hear it now it reminds of this movie and takes me to a happy place. 

Shocked, it took me so long to see this last film. As one never watched it in theaters and can tell that was a lost opportunity. As this definitely works best on a big screen. As the story is epic, so is the film. Even for an animated movie, it feels majestic. 

It tells such a grand story in a short amount of time with plenty of impacts. 

Not usually a fan of biblical films but this doesn’t feel preachy. It just feels like a story from history with some supernatural elements. Though still is a story about the strength of character and faith.

Watching the film you might prefer fewer songs that make it feel more like a musical without song and dance numbers but montages and memories instead. 

Which also helps counter and explain its darkness in the second half. 

It allows for more stories to be told in a shorter time. As well as showcase their emotions in the moment and at the time of course most family animated films do have songs to keep kids and some adults from feeling restless though for this film. Not to mention it helps embed the movie into memories through those sing-along songs. This is impressive all-around yet more for adults, there could have been less. 

The animation is impressive and has stood the test of time. 

Even in one of the action scenes such as the final battle scenes and the sandstorm sequences and the miracles/plagues.

Grade: B+


Directed By: Richard Donner 
Written By: Brian Helgeland 
Cinematography By: John Schwartzman 
Editor: Kevin Stitt & Frank J. Urioste 

Cast: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart, Troy Garity, Sean Patrick Thomas, Peter Jacobson, Thomas McCarthy, Rick Hoffman 

Jerry Fletcher is a man in love with a woman he observes from afar. She works for the government. Fletcher is an outspoken critic of that government. He has conspiracy theories for everything, from aliens to political assassinations. But soon, one of his theories finds itself to be accurate. But which one? Some dangerous people want him dead and the only person he trusts is that woman he loves but does not know.

The film has a notable cast which is how the film will peak your interest and hook you. It also has a kind of underdog story at heart. Of course as expected by the title the film makes various references to popular conspiracies Such as assassinations, Lee Harvey Oswald

It has Mel Gibson Playing against type. He is more invested and Actually seems a bit more challenging for him. Though he still keeps his jokey tough demeanor.

It’s billed as an action thriller but ends up More like a comedy. As even the action sequences seem to end with some kind of joke or more humor than thrills necessarily.

The film’s Seems to fit into the Richard Donner funhouse. Where the film is entertaining above all else and beautiful to look at, Even though the film Tries to be gritty but always seems more like a typical Hollywood production. As Director Donner is one of the last of the studio directors who had to work his way up to directing by first working his way around every other department before getting the lucrative directing jobs. So he knows his way around way department having been vetted.

He is a director who constantly makes likeable movies that do ok but few would probably register as favorites of all time. But is a Consulate Hollywood director who deserves respect for making quite a few memorable films such as THE OMEN, The LETHAL WEAPON series of movies, 16 BLOCKS, MAVERICK.

The film is written by Brain Helgeland who also wrote and directed the Mel Gibson PAYBACK. Where you wonder if their working relationship was formed on this film.

One scene just seems so big even if it is minor. It’s a masterpiece of it’s own even if overblown. It’s After he buys the book. The scenes grand production that seems to set off just to try and capture him. Especially with a familiar sight involved. Just at the time seemed so amazing and was the epitome of Hollywood magic.

Even the thriller elements are entertaining. As they are just creepy enough to add some suspense and tries to throw you off. Even though you know how it will probably turn out.

It’s a film where every one seems to have secrets even the good guys. So that at every turn you don’t know who to really trust or believe.

Patrick Stewart is here truly chewing the scenery in his delicious turn as the main villain.

It’s a movie that keeps building so that even if it were done on a modest budget by the end it has grown so big it would have to need major stars for the size of production and for the audience to keep believing. Don’t know if this film would be made today As it is more driven by star power especially two very big names attached and mid budgeted so unless really a gamble or as someone’s passion project which this wouldn’t Really be or somehow it would have to be Sci-fi or superhero related or be an independent financed film.

The film is Disarming how enjoyable it is though somewhat predictable.

Though she is a major star of the movie they don’t leave Julia Roberts with much to do other then Be the brainy damsel in distress. She is only really here for star power. Which truly seem the only reason this film was made. As they try to market it as more a modern team-up of stars. Even though the characters are close there is no real romance beckoning though the film keeps trying to build up one.

This is pretty much a movie star movie. The story might actually be something ambitious for more than a mid-size budget, but in the end, it’s a movie for the audience to stare and gawk as two superstar movie stars share the screen. It’s actually not a stunt here as the stars do share a number of scenes and the movie doesn’t make you wait around for half the movie for it to happen. Though the film ends up being best for a Saturday afternoon a breezy affair with no real stakes. That you will mostly watch to see who is In it rather than what it is about. Sort of like those black and white movies starring a star of yesteryear that you watch only because you like the star. Not necessarily the story.

The film Won’t stick with you too long after but a crowd pleaser

You feel by the end like you got your money’s worth though keep in mind I saw this at the $2 theater. Back when there was one. This is where movies played second string after their major release, right before reaching hoe. Video at the time. Today think of that more as a digital release before the DVD/Blu-ray

Grade: C+



Written & Directed By: Elizabeth Banks
Story By: David Auburn & Evan Spiliotopoulos
Cinematography: Bill Pope
Editor: Alan Baumgarten & Mary Jo Markey

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Nat Faxon, Jonathan Tucker, Patrick Stewart, Noah Centineo 

Sabina Wilson, Elena Houghlin, and Jane Kano are working for the mysterious Charles Townsend, whose security and investigative agency has expanded internationally. With the world’s smartest, bravest, and most highly trained women all over the globe, there are now teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys taking on the toughest jobs everywhere.

Continue reading “CHARLIE’S ANGELS (2019)”