X-Men: The Last Stand

Movie review from The Movie Snob

X-Men: The Last Stand (B-). Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his merry band of mutants are, once again, the only thing standing between Magneto (Ian McKellan) and a massive war between mutants and normal human beings. The flashpoint this time is a “cure” for mutancy being developed by the United States government. Some mutants view this development as a godsend, while others (like Magneto, naturally) view it as normal humanity’s latest attempt to eradicate the mutants forever. Complicating matters, it appears that Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), last seen getting killed at the end of X2, may not be quite dead yet. Of the new mutants introduced in this installment, Kelsey Grammer (Down Periscope, TV’s Frasier) does a nice job as Beast. I thought this was a decent action pic, although frankly it does have sort of a been-there/done-that feel to it. We’ll see if it does well enough to justify a fourth installment.

P.S. I did not stay through the end of the closing credits, but I have since learned that there is one final scene that rolls after the credits are finished. It’s not going to make me see the movie again, but I kind of wish I had stayed….

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Perelandra

A new book review from The Movie Snob:

Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis. This is the second book in Lewis’s Space Trilogy. In Book One, Out of the Silent Planet, British professor Ransom was kidnapped by two other human beings and taken to Mars. There he encountered three alien races that had never experienced the Fall and thus lived in a state of natural grace and harmony. In this book, celestial powers solicit Ransom to go to Venus (called Perelandra by its inhabitants). There, in another vividly described alien landscape, he encounters a beautiful, basically human-looking woman who, like the Martians, has not suffered the Fall from grace. However, her Perelandrian paradise is soon invaded by a second human being from Earth. As the invader’s evil designs become clear, Ransom realizes that his mission is nothing less than to prevent the intrusion of original sin into this new Eden. Much more cerebral and overtly theological than Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra is not bad but not as good as the first book. Still, I look forward to seeing how it all comes out in Book Three, That Hideous Strength.

Mission: Impossible 3

The triumphant return of That Guy Named David:

Mission: Impossible 3 (C+)

From watching t.v. over the past year, I have come to the conclusion that Tom Cruise is crazy. Seriously, if you have seen the interviews with him, you can see he really should be institutionalized. Thus, it was with a degree of trepidation that I decided to pay my $6.50 matinee price (which is completely outrageous) to put money into Cruise’s pocket (and thus, the pocket of the rest of those crazy Scientologists) and see his latest endeavor. Yes, once again, special agent Ethan Hunt is out to save the world from almost certain destruction at the hands of [fill in the blank with the name of a really bad dude; this time played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman]. In MI 3, Hunt once again uses his considerable super human skills to dodge approximately 2.3 million bullets, leap from building to building in downtown Shanghai and over a crater on a bridge that has been shot with about 20 missiles but manages to stay intact (seriously), survive self-electrocution to short circuit a bomb inserted into his brain through his nose (my personal favorite), escape from his car seconds before it is shot with one of the afore-referenced missiles (which amazingly doesn’t affect Hunt who is about 6 feet from the car when it explodes), and still manage to save the world. Oh yeah… and he does all of this while saving the life of the hottest girl this side of the equator (who also happens to be his main squeeze in this movie). But, I guess it’s a winning equation because now there have been three of these, and people (including myself) keep coming back. I hate myself for lacking the self-control to avoid trekking to the theatre to see these types of movies. I give it a C+.

Closer, Zathura

New DVD reviews from Nick at Nite

Closer

A tightly wound drama following four individuals who have little moral fiber and few redeeming qualities. It feels like a play, with long exchanges of dialogue followed by often abrupt changes of scenery. It feels like a play because it was adapted from one. I was sucked in from the very start. The writing is sharp and the actors are great. It is not a feel-good movie. The focus is betrayal, trust, and infidelity. Some of the characters are sad. Some are mean. Some are downright distasteful. Regardless, the movie is very entertaining. I will admit that when these actors cry, and trust me they all cry, it felt real, too real. The movie has a couple of interesting plot twists. I won’t give them away here. It is an adult movie, with adult themes. The language is colorful and the acts described shocking. Princess Amidala, where have you gone? She has gone to a better place. This a good movie. I gave it an “A.” Just don’t let your kids watch it or go to see it with the in-laws.

Zathura

I liked this movie alot better when it was Jumanji. Zathura is a pseudo-sequel to Jumanji. Both Zathura and Jumanji were books before they became movies and were written by the same individual. The fact that they were written by the same person is the only explanation for why those associated with Jumanji have not brought a plagirism charge or copyright infringement claim against those associated with Zathura. They are the same movie except one is set in the jungle and the other is set in outer space. Basic plot: kids fight, one of them finds old game, they play old game, bad things happen because game is “real,” and kids win game and bad things stop happening. It is PG for a reason. The description for the PG rating was peril. I give it a “B.” I give it a “C” if you have seen Jumanji. Take your gradeschooler; it is appropriate for them to see.