X-Men Days of Future Past

Bill C’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

Things are looking bleak for the X-Men sometime in the future.  They are losing a Terminator like war as humans have come up with these killer machines.  So what are you going to do?   Time to send an X-Men (X-Man?) back in the past to try to unite the X-Men at a pivotal time in history and alter the key event that led to the present situation.

I didn’t think this was the best X-Men movie but I thought it was a pretty good one.  The action was good  and included some humorous action (although the first time travel sequence was sort of confusing to  me until they explained it).

At this point you know the key characters pretty well with Wolverine, Raven/Mystique, Charles and Magneto getting most of the screen time.   Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence stand out with most of the tension coming from the need to get Magneto to conform.  Jackman has been playing Wolverine for almost 15 years now and you wonder how much longer he can do that role but so far he can still handle it.    While a ton of X-Men are in the movie some just have cameos (Rogue/ Ann Pacquin being  probably on screen for about 5 seconds).   Peter Dinklage handles the evil non mutant role and they find a Richard Nixon impersonator for some of the scenes in the 70s towards  the end of the Vietnam war.

I did not see this in 3D although I heard that was pretty good.  If you’re a fan of the series you should definitely see this one.  If you have an extra 8 minutes stick around for the closing credits  and teaser for the next X-Men movie (and let me know what it means).

IMDB

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Locke

Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5

Locke is  pretty good for a movie that totally takes place during a 90 minute car ride.  Just the lead character (along with  occasional views of the dashboard and road)  is ever on screen as he juggles conversations with his wife, kids, boss, subordinate and others on the phone.

Locke has a great family and career that appear to be crashing down around him as he tries to step up and do what he views as the right  right thing in a tough personal situation.  During the course of the movie you learn about  events in his past and present that drive him as well as get to know the people he is dealing with.

The writing and acting are excellent.  Tom Hardy does a great job as Ivan Locke.  I never would have guessed he was the same actor that played Bane in the last Batman movie.

For a movie with such a simple premise and setting  this turned out to be a tension filled movie with a performance that was definitely worth watching.

IMDB

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Million Dollar Arm

Bill I’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

I loved it. Great story, based on real-life events, of a sports agent holding a nationwide contest in India to find a couple of cricket players who could throw a baseball with “juice” (i.e. fast and accurate), awarding them with a trip to the US to get professional training and a major league tryout. Jon Hamm is pretty perfect as the down on his luck agent, kind of like a 2008 version of Don Draper gone out on his own: arrogant, but with likable potential if he slows down from his fast track business focus enough to appreciate the people around him. The scenes in India give just enough local flavor to keep it interesting, while the secondary characters stand out, especially Alan Arkin as the jaded scout, Bill Paxton as the coach Tom House, and Pitobash as the volunteer translator and gofer who’s got big baseball ambitions but tiny stature. Lake Bell is good as the tenant neighbor love interest and wise voice of reason, while the two potential pitchers are realistically quiet and intimidated by the fish out of water experience, and end up doing a realistic version of pitching so it doesn’t look like typical Hollywood actors trying to be athletes. Finally, I must mention that the film was inspired by my college friend, Will Chang, who in real life funded the contest and helped initiate the film. The character that portrays “Mr. Chang” is quite harsh, which is very unlike Will in real life, so I assume they needed it for dramatic impact. Some critics have called the film corny and boring. I agree it’s no Jerry McGuire, and no Slumdog Millionaire, but it’s very enjoyable and I was never bored. Bring kids of all ages and you will have fun.

 

Chef

Bill C’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

I originally reviewed this  back in March when I saw this at SXSW.  It opens this weekend (at least in Austin).

Chef is a small indie effort written, directed and starring Jon Favreau.  It’s not up there with Swingers but is a  light hearted comedy about a high profile, stressed out chef who loses his job and goes back to discover the basics that made him happy by opening a food truck and reconnecting with his son and family.

The movie picks up and is more entertaining and touching  in the 2nd half when he, his son and friend go on a road trip in the food truck.  This had a great cast (Favreau,  Jon Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman,  Sofia Vergara, Oliver Platt, Robert Downey Jr. and more).   The kid who plays Favreau’s son did a great job and helps give the movie it’s heart.

About 10 minutes of the movie was shot in several spots in Austin (Franklin’s, SoCo and others).  If you’re looking for something other than Godzilla or X-Men give this one a try.

IMDB

Rotten Tomatoes

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