Mini Reviews: X-Men Days of Future Past & The Monuments Men

X-Men: Days of Future Past

x-men-days-of-future-pastI’ve discussed my feelings on X-Men in general before, but in case you don’t know, I don’t really love the franchise, but I keep up with it anyway. I thought 1 & 2 were pretty meh. I actually liked 3 OK, but everyone else hated it. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was OK. I did really enjoy X Men: First Class. The Wolverine was fine. X-Men: Days of Future Past was thankfully more in the First Class vein, and I enjoyed it.

First off, if you’re going to see this movie (and you haven’t already), you might want to brush up on your X-Men movies because I was confused a few times and had to ask my husband a few questions after the fact. Also, I somehow missed the memo that the first part of the movie was in the future, so that part confused me too. So just know, it’s in the future! Well, until it’s in the past. But that part is pretty obvious. 🙂

This movie is heavy on Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence as Wolverine and Mystique, which I wasn’t expecting, and of course on Charles Xavier and Eric/Magneto, mostly on the portrayals done by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. The whole cast is great, but if you’re looking for a lot of people from First Class, you’re not going to find many outside of those already mentioned. Most of this movie also takes place in the 70’s, and I thought the way they filmed much of the 70’s storyline was great with a grainy film look.

My two biggest reservations about this movie though are that the cast is so large that you don’t get as much of any one character as you’d really like (unless you’re a big Wolverine or Mystique fan), and that the story felt a bit convoluted to me. The idea of changing this one thing to change everything else and then not expect that it couldn’t go wrong another way seemed really naive, and then of course when that did happen, how they managed things didn’t feel like it would have actually worked well enough. And what happened to Magneto after the 70’s story? I’m dying to know!

You’ve probably heard a lot about the addition of Quicksilver in the movie, and that scene in the kitchen was a lot of fun, definitely a high point in the movie. His time was so brief though that it almost felt pointless. But not pointless enough for me to mind him being there, since it was entertaining.

x-men-days-of-future-past-quicksilverThis is a hard movie to only “mini-review,” yet at the same time I don’t want to go on and on about it. If you enjoyed First Class, then see this movie.

4stars2Also check out:

Funk House of Geekery’s The 10 Best and the 10 Worst of X-Men: Days of Future Past

Natalie’s (Natflix and Books) review

Reading and Running’s explanation of the X-Men franchise timeline

The Monuments Men

the-monuments-menSo imagine if Danny Ocean (Ocean’s 11) was into art and had a purer heart and lived during WWII, and you would kind of have an idea of the premise of The Monuments Men. This was an interesting sort of movie. It’s written and directed by George Clooney, and while it was beautifully filmed, it’s clear he doesn’t have much screenwriting experience (though I did look up his writing experience and he did also write the screenplay for Good Night and Good Luck, which was a snore of a movie for me when I really thought I’d like it). The first part of the movie has a very strange pace and it felt very disjointed. We’re “introduced” to the different Monuments Men, though not in a very coherent fashion, so it took me a while to remember who all these people were.

But once you realize who everyone really is and get into the story, it’s interesting. There was a really poignant scene where Bill Murray’s character gets a recorded message from home that really stood out for me in the movie. There are other little vignettes, just glimpses into these these men’s missions, that build up to the climax of them finding particular art that they have been seeking for much of the film after the death of one of their own.

The Cate Blanchett character was a disappointment for me since she’s a great actress and her character was so distant and not very interesting. She’s so cold for most of the movie, and then warms up to Matt Damon’s character after she realizes he and the other Monuments Men want to genuinely protect art, so much so that she’s coming onto him (even though she knows very well that he’s married), and it felt weird and unnatural. Thankfully Matt Damon’s character, James, didn’t give in, but it just felt a little odd. If all that really happened in real life, I’m sure it unfolded in a more natural way than the way the movie presented it.

To me, this movie felt like it was just scratching the surface of something larger, just trying to give me a glimpse into a much grander story. During the credits I Googled to see if there was a book and then proceeded to add it to Goodreads, because I wanted to know the whole story instead of just these little parts. This movie wasn’t enough, and some of the script was weak, but it gave me a craving for more and had some interesting elements to it.

3stars2If you’ve seen either of these movies, let me know what you thought of them!