MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 ACTION/SCI-FI FLICKS FOR PRESIDENTS DAY!

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Donald Pleasence as the President of the U.S. in John Carpenter’s Escape From New York.

MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 ACTION/SCI-FI FLICKS FOR PRESIDENTS DAY!

It’s President’s Day and ole MonsterZero NJ has put together a bunch of action/sci-fi flicks where U.S. Presidents played a major part in the story, or took part in the action themselves. So, hail to the chiefs with MonsterZero NJ’s 10 Action/Sci-Fi Flicks for President’s Day!

Jack Nicholson as the beleaguered President Dale in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks!

 

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S SUMMER 2014 MOVIE FAVORITES AND FLOPS!

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I didn’t get to see every Summer release. Some, like the latest Transformers And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, are not flicks that interest me so, they will be curiosity rentals at some point. But here is a rundown of what I did see and thus what were favorites, surprises and, in turn, the disappointments for the Summer of 2014. Click on the poster for the full review!

THE FAVORITES

  1. guardians of the galaxy

    GUARDIAN’S OF THE GALAXY – Not at all familiar with the comic but, the movie was a lot of fun with a devious sense of humor and a lot of action to go along with the eccentric but, endearing characters. I had a blast! ***1/2expendables 3

  2. THE EXPENDABLES 3 – I don’t care what the box office results were, I had a rip roaring good time with this third installment and loved seeing the cast in action especially the return of Snipes. ***1/2
  3. godzilla-new-posterGODZILLA – I really enjoyed the true King Of The Monsters’ return to the big screen but, will admit I didn’t absolutely love it like I wanted to. I didn’t mind it taking over an hour for him to finally appear but, once he did, the annoying cut-aways got frustrating fast. At least the last act smack-down in San Francisco made up for a lot of that. ***1/2dawn_of_apes_teaser_poster
  4. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES – The second installment of this really good reboot series is an action packed epic from Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves and it is not only a very entertaining film but, takes the plot of the worst of the original Apes films, Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, and puts it to much better use. *** 1/2MALEFICENT-poster
  5. MALEFICENT – Angelina Jolie stars in one of the Summers biggest hits and for me a very pleasant surprise and a very entertaining fantasy adventure with lots of eye candy. Jolie gives an enchanting performance as the classic villainess with a new twist and knows when to go over the top and when to be subtle. Sure she should have been evil for a bit longer but, Jolie chews up the scenery masterfully and we are right there with her! ***1/2

HONORABLE MENTIONS

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  1. LUCY – Sure Lucy was a dumb movie with some very skewed science but, it was an audaciously fun popcorn flick with loads of over the top action and another good performance by Johansson and it pairs her with the ever endearing Morgan Freeman. Silly… yes… fun… hell, yea! ***deliver-us-from-evil
  2. DELIVER US FROM EVIL – Not a great movie but, an effective mix of cop thriller and supernatural horror, supposedly based on the true case files of NY detective Ralph Sarchie, that delivers some action and chills and manages to give us one of the more effective exorcism scenes in the very overplayed exorcism film sub-genre.  ***

THE FLOPS  (and NEAR MISSES)

  1. amazing-spider-man-2-posterTHE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2  – Avoids Spider-Man 3 territory but, still makes many of it’s same mistakes and even drags in a few from Batman And Robin. Thankfully saved from being a complete mess by some really fun action scenes and the great chemistry between Garfield and Stone that lights up the screen whenever they are together. I have lightened up on it a bit since revisiting it on Blu-Ray but, it’s still the second weakest of the combined Raimi/Webb films. **1/2xmen_DOFP-poster
  2. X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST  – Not a mess or anything, just not very involving and none of the action scenes really stayed with me or overly impressed me. It was never boring but, was far from the delightfully hip and entertaining First Class. The 70s nostalgia fell flat and that really irked me as First Class was so 60s! **1/2

Source: MonsterZero NJ

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REVIEW: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014)

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X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014)

I really liked X-Men: First Class, it was a great way to reboot a series that had stumbled a bit and put together a really solid cast in both familiar and new roles. I was actually a little disappointed when I heard Matthew Vaughn had passed on the next installment, but remained hopeful upon hearing original franchise director Bryan Singer would return to the director’s chair. But sadly all the fun and energy that Vaughn gave his retro entry and even the spark and intensity Singer gave his first two films is, for the most part, lacking in this overlong and somewhat tedious entry that takes until it’s final act to really get going and by then it’s too little too late.

The complicated Terminator-ish story takes place in a bleak and war-torn future where mutants and any human who may have the potential to give birth to a mutation, have been hunted down and almost completely destroyed by the ruling power and their army of robot Sentinels which detect the mutant gene and eliminate those with it. But there is a slight hope. Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) have devised a plan to used Kitty Pryde’s (Ellen Page) power to send Logan’s (Hugh Jackman) consciousness back to his pre-adamantium body in 1973 to contact their younger selves (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) and try to get them to work together and stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from murdering the Sentinel’s inventor Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and setting in motion events that will lead to the war that has ravaged the Earth and caused so many deaths. But at this point in history Xavier and Magneto are not allies and Mystique has gone rogue and Logan may only have hours to change the course of time before their time in the future is up… did you get all that?

Obviously, the film has a very complicated story that involves time travel which, always sets up it own set of difficulties, but considering that the film avoids being a mess, is more of a plus. The problem here is not the story details or the logistics of time travel and changing the course of history, but the deadpan tone with which the usually competent Singer directs this affair. Gone is the energy and fun of the first two X-Men films he directed and instead is a very by-the-numbers presentation of what should have been a fun and suspenseful tale. There are a few entertaining bits like Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters) speedy and clever way of getting our heroes out of a jam, but the film really has no spark until it reaches it’s climactic act and then we get a bit more of the movie we wanted to see, but it takes over 90 minutes of mostly ho-hum sequences to get there…sequences that should have been very tense and exciting but aren’t. The pace is also slow for a superhero film even one with a plot of such dire importance as this. And maybe that’s it. Singer just seems to take this story just a little too seriously and we rarely get those little witty character moments that made the previous film’s so fun. The camaraderie between the characters just isn’t there. Maybe it’s Simon Kinberg’s script based on a story by Kinberg, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn that simply was too bleak and left out a lot of the fun. Either way X-Men:DOFP just really lacks something till the final scenes and, to be honest, wasn’t very involving till then. I was never bored, but was never fully drawn in. For the most part I was along for the ride, but never really interested in where it was going… and I should have been.

Again Singer works with a very large and familiar cast, but unlike his previous X-Men adventures, the cast here seem to be going through the motions from Stewart to Lawrence to Jackman to McKellen and most of his principles. There is no real passion or energy in their performances despite having all played their roles before save Dinklage. They all seem like they are just performing by the numbers with the only person really giving his role some pop is the young Peters with his smart aleck Quicksilver and sadly his screen-time is limited. Even the usually excellent Fassbender seems like he’d rather be somewhere else. There are plentiful mutant cameos, some familiar and some new, but few of them really resonate other then the amusement of seeing that familiar face or someone intriguing and new. And the new characters, aside from Quicksilver, are really given very little attention, certainly not enough to endear to us to them. Is it possible that these actors have tired of their roles?

It’s not all bad. It is tedious though I never actually got to the point of being bored. The film really did pick up in the last half hour for a pretty decent finale in Washington D.C. that interweaves with the battle raging in the future, though it certainly can’t hold a candle to the Washington D.C. set finale of the Captain America sequel The Winter Soldier and could have had a little more suspense and intensity. The FX are top notch and the scale of the film seems fairly large especially when the action finally starts. Newton Thomas Sigel is back doing the cinematography though, since the film is set in the 70s, I did miss the retro look of John Mathieson’s cinematography on First Class. And maybe that is what one of the problems is, that the film is set in the 70s, but never really felt like it… like, say American Hustle did. John Ottman returns to score from X2 and also did the film editing…busy man…and his score is adequate but a bit uninspired.

So, overall, X-Men: Days Of Future Past may not be an outright disappointment, but it is a letdown and certainly could have been much livelier considering the importance of what was transpiring. Maybe the whole back in time to fix the future thing has run it’s course, or maybe Singer’s time away from Xavier and company has dulled his passion for the material…or maybe it’s still too familiar to elicit a stronger passion. Either way, it’s not the worst X-Men movie, but far from the best. Also stars Nicholas Hoult as Beast/Hank McCoy.

2 and 1/2 X-Men.

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