Movie review: “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)

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“You took the things that meant the most to me…”

“Maybe you should have fought harder for them.”

The clunky, under-heated climax of a trilogy that had breathed new life into its dormant genre and helped pave the way for the pummeling waves of superhero movies we’re enduring currently, 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, while a financial success, was a creative miscalculation on several fronts. It’s not even a bad movie per se, but it’s also not nearly the film it could’ve been. The project appeared fast-tracked for mediocrity once director Bryan Singer – who pushed the first two X-Men installments to increasing heights at a time when the requirements for a superior modern superhero movie were still being codified – exited in favor of shepherding Warner Brothers’ next to most recent Superman reboot, and was replaced by Brett Ratner, a high concept hired gun (Rush Hour, Red Dragon) known for neither spectacle nor character work. Continue reading “Movie review: “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)”

Movie review: “American Hustle” (2013)

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“Who’s the master? The painter, or the forger?”

The buildup of David O. Russell’s American Hustle is much more intriguing and satisfying than its payoff, which the film treats like an afterthought, even though the stakes are undeniably high – $2 million (in 1980 money, mind you) in federally-funded bait that may or may not have been, ahem, misplaced, the careers and reputations of ambitious FBI agents and several crooked congressmen, and the tenuous fates of the hustlers themselves. Everything pivots on the presumably predictable human behavior that occurs, late in the game, in a shady lawyer’s office. Continue reading “Movie review: “American Hustle” (2013)”