X-Men: Days of Future Past

(Bryan Singer, 2014)

alone, Union Square Regal, 5/26/14

7

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Somewhere above solid and below brilliant – there lies X-Men: Days of Future Past.  The setup is pretty clumsy, and most of the “future” stuff is weak and vague and confusing (visually and otherwise), but the movie wisely spends most of its time in the past (1973, to be exact), and the “past” stuff is pretty damn good.  Our nominal protagonist, Wolverine, is curiously passive; as a result, James McAvoy’s Professor X owns this movie the way Michael Fassbender’s Magneto owned X-Men: First Class.  McAvoy, who didn’t strike me as much above serviceable in his first turn as Charles Xavier, here pulls out all the emotional stops to paint a portrait of a tortured, haunted, conflicted savior.  Quicksilver’s brief appearance is the highlight of the movie fun-wise (and contains what may be the best slow-motion sequence of all time), but there’s real pathos in watching Xavier fight to save the soul of his adopted sister – and his own soul in the process.

Published in: on May 31, 2014 at 6:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Wind Rises

(Hayao Miyazaki, 2013)

with Tara from the Internet, Sunshine Cinema, 3/23/14

6

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What an odd movie this is.  It’s an ode to imagination, an ode to aviation, an ode to female devotion – maybe even a tragic/ironic ode to war.  It’s a curiously disjointed and free-associative movie, lacking any clear focus, yet filled with enchanting moments.  The dream sequences – in which our hero is playfully mentored by the great Italian aircraft designer Giovanni Caproni – are the movie’s freest, most spectacular, and most resonant passages.  The love story is more or less by-the-numbers, and at times the real-world segments feel like they’d have worked better in a live-action film.  Still, there’s no denying Miyazaki’s artistry, or his passion for the subject matter.  If this really is his last movie, he will be sorely missed.

Published in: on May 31, 2014 at 10:43 am  Leave a Comment