X-Men Proves That to Go Forward Sometimes You Have to Go Back

After several sequels dragged down the X-Men franchise, it is refreshing to see the latest movies prove that super hero movies can have deep themes and human context. Days of Future Past balances character development with action for an enjoyable movie.

The sequel begins in the future as viewers catch up with their favorite mutants and a host of new ones. Wolverine, Xavier, Magneto and Storm connect with Kitty Pride and her group of refugee mutants hiding from the giant machines meant to kill mutants. Hugh-Jackman-X-Men-Days-of-Future-PastThey need Kitty’s help to send Logan back in time to keep the Sentinels from destroying just not the mutant, but the human world.  Logan is transported into his body to the ‘70s and must keep a young mystique from killing Bolivar Trask the creator of the Sentinels. But to do so he will need the help of young Xavier who is at odds with his powers.

Like First Class, the film does well harking back to themes in the original X-men movie. The film delves into social norms and how we use our gifts when they are against those norms. Xavier and Mystique both fight with their powers and how to use them. It’s about accepting your differences and focusing on whether you express these differences with love or hate.

The film reverses the role of Xavier and Wolverine, and it’s interesting to see these characters outside pre-defined boundaries. The best moment? When Xavier throws Wolverine’s words in his own face.  But for everything we see these two overcome, viewers are still face with an inevitable end with Mystique and Magneto. Or are we?  The movie lags as Magneto rages out against the humans even though this becomes turning point for Mystique. Yes, he is full of rage and hate. We get that by now.  We know what becomes of these characters and of their predestined roles as villains.

But the ending proves we know nothing. The last few minutes of the movies make up for any mistakes made in the last X-Men movie and leaves viewers wondering how much of the X-Men cannon has changed now that the past has been altered. This makes the franchise ripe for the taking. Instead of a new Wolverine, the producers should focus on these changes within the X-Men world. There is so much room to expand whether in the present time or in the First Class world.

X-Men Days of Future Past is thrilling and fun. Though it has one lag, the last minutes of the film make up for any issues with the movie. This franchise can keep going and be successful.

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Endless Wonder Remains

Warehouse 13 closed its doors Monday night. Fans sadly said goodbye to Pete, Myka, Artie, Jinks, Claudia and Mrs. Frederic.  While the Warehouse respawns, their adventures are not. In the finale, because of past events, the Warehouse is moving to relocation with a new set of agents.  Before then, Warehouse 13 - Season 5each team member has to record their defining moment on the stone tablet that was the genesis for the King Arthur tales.  These scenes capture something new about each character and are not just a mash-up of past events. In fact, each of this moment could have been expanded to comic, well thought out hour long shows. These sequences captured the magic of the warehouse as well as the personality of the agents. This is a fantastic way to end the show: mini-stories showing viewers something new The writers have Pete become the emotional stand in for the viewers. Like us, he rails against any attempts made at peace. He can’t lose the Warehouse. He tries in vain to keep the Warehouse from moving even referring to the manual (a nice touch). Pete finally comes to the understanding that this ending will be ok. Pete realizes it is not the Warehouse that defines him, he does.  He does have something to keep him distracted though. This is the moment where the show goes wrong. Pete and Myka are thrown together in a whirlwind kiss and a promised of a future. It’s odd that this is the love connection. Fans had no interest in them being together and, in fact, there is a huge population that wanted Myka to be with H.G. I am personally upset because they worked so well together without a romantic relationship. Hollywood has a tendency of saying that men and women can’t be friends or work together without sleeping together. These two are perfect partners-work partners, that is. The only other mistake is the last minute reveal of Artie’s son. The reveal is used to convince Claudia that she has a say about being caretaker. It seems abrupt but I wonder if this was pulled from story idea the creative team had before the show was cancelled. Was each section a story that they would have told? Then Artie’s revelation wouldn’t seem so abrupt, but as it stands it’s more of an absurdity than a plot twist. Overall saying goodbye to the Warehouse was a happy occasion as we saw Jinks find peace and learned that Lena knew her fate and was ok with it. It was fun to see H.G. go against Jack the Ripper in her defining moment. Even the montage (when Pete touches the stone, all his memories go flooding through) seems less repetitive and more like a reunion of friends. Warehouse 13 left us wanting more and still at the top of its game. Bittersweet as that is, it’s good to see he Endless Wonder not grow stale. Besides there is always the hope of a TV movie.

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How Season 4 of Game of Thrones Season 4 is Angering Book Fans

Game of Thrones brought TV viewers into a rich world book lover had known for ages. As most adaptations, the show changes things to entertain book and TV audiences.  In the case of GoT, the changes have been minimal. But the creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have consulted with author George R.R. Martin (the show will end way before the books ever will) and know what Martin plans to happen.  Evidence of that is popping up in Season 4 as the TV show is starting to give spoilers to book readers.

Taking some liberties with the material is good for the show and to keep book readers on the toes. This is valuable to a point. A Song of Ice and Fire is MASSIVE. There is so much going on those things often have to be cut out or condensed to tell and meaningful story. But it becomes a problem when you add material that did not happen in the books. For example, the story with the return to Craster’s keep. These events did not happen inGoT-S4E4 the books and the writers created a new villain as if there were not a plethora of villains in the text. While giving time to the wildlings as they terrorizes Mole Town can really give a more rounded look for these characters, it doesn’t help to draw out certain stories of over characters (here’s looking at you Bran).

The TV show is pooling things for book readers and this s angering fans of the books. It is known that the creators know where the general story is going and to hint at it, but to outright say “so and so killed Jon Aryan” is news to the reader, a reader who has read through thousands and thousands of pages and, in two seconds, the mystery is solved.  The television viewers are lucky; all is resolves for them and the book fans have become annoyed when their loyalty is not rewarded. Yes, the book and TV readers are somewhat of even footing when it comes to The Others, but should they be?

It also seems that the writers are inherently changing our characters. Jamie’s rape scene never happens. In fact, book readers are so angry at Cerci’s treatment of Jaime, that when he finally (spoiler) breaks away from her, fans cheered. I wish I knew the logic behind this change and why they decided that Jaime is suddenly a rapist (this up there with the logic behind everyone’s love of Stannis). There is a flip side to this. TV’s Margeary is much more innocent and isn’t conniving until her grandmother gets ahold her. In fact, in the show, she is completely innocent in Joffery’s murder helping some fans to appreciate her better.

Season 4 has deviated from the books the most. Previous ones just moved the plot along quicker or consolidated some characters for cast budgeting. But as they reach their end came, they veer further away from the story fans know and love. Will this pay off? The book fans may say no but the TV fans are saying yes.

In Brick Mansions

Paul Walker was best known for his work on the Fast & Furious franchise. Most fans didn’t take the time to catch his dramatic work choosing to enjoy the fast paced and fun world of street racing. Brick Mansions is in this similar vein and is extra special because this was Walker’s last completed work before his tragic death last year.

Brick Mansion takes place in the near future after the worst part of Detroit has been bricked off from the rest of the city. The government thinks that violence and crime cannot be regulated and they leave the citizens to fend for themselves. These citizens include Lino an immigrant who best talent is jacking drugs and jumping through small spaces.  He is trying to bring some justice against Tremaine Alexander the drug-selling, gun0running “leader” of Brick Mansions but this lands him in jail after his girlfriend is kidnapped. Meanwhile, Damien (Walker), a cop with a chip on his shoulder, is eager to get into Brick Mansion to seek vengeance for his father’s death and jumps at a suicide mission that is aimed at taking down Tremaine. The only catch? He must pair up with Lino who can get him around the decrepit city.

Luc Besson wrote the script based on the screen play of his French film Banlieve 13. He also brings in other collaborators. Camille Delamarre, a long time editor for the producer/director, steps into the director’s chair orchestrating jumpy fight scenes. David Belle reprised his role from the original which explains the most obviously overdubbed dialogue since Jackie Chan’s first English films. Belle, actor and stunt man does well with the fighting sequences but not the emotional aspects of acting. Delamarre is m-112bbm4328rv1jpg-e32547opposite slowing the shots down to capture the emotional aspects of the characters.

Never the less, this movie is just plain fun. While there is some philosophical ideas of race, poverty, and government the movies doesn’t focus on these. Instead, it puts the hand to hand combat at the front and watching Belle and Walker work off each other is frantic fun. It’s similar to RZA’s The Man with the Iron Fist, it may not be a great movie but viewers enjoy it and are able to get out of their reality for a couple of hours.

Would I like this movie as much is someone else (say Jason Statham) was in it? Not really. The movie works because viewers believe Walker as the character and can tell he had so much fun in making it. And, yes; there is a bitter sweet happiness to watching his final completed film. Luckily, I didn’t cry until the dedication at the end.

Brick Mansions doesn’t get overly preachy and is much better than Besson’s Three Days to Kill. If you’re an action fan or a fan of the late Walker, this is a must see for a good time.