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Nov 232016
 

The X-Men movie franchise has gone in several directions over the years. X-men: Days Of Future Past is a direct sequel to X-men: First Class, but delves into the old movie versions as well.

It starts in the future where the X-Men are at war with the Sentinels. The only survivors are Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Storm (Halle Berry), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), and several others. They believe that the only way to stop this war is through time travel. Kitty Pryde sends Wolverine back to the year 1973, but only consciously.

It turns out that Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) caused the war when she killed Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) the creator of the Sentinels and got caught shortly afterwards. It’s up to Wolverine to stop Mystique, but he can’t do it alone.

Image result for x-men days of future past

He seeks help from young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Beast (Nicholas Hault), and young Magneto (Michael Fassbender). It takes a while for them to come around, but Wolverine was able to get them to come together, in his own way.

Also helping out is a new mutant named Quicksilver (Evan Peters). He’s fast like lightning, but has a cocky attitude. It especially shows when Quicksilver goes around the prison kitchen to draw the guards’ fire, which makes him a very helpful ally. What I don’t understand is why the song Time in a Bottle was playing in the background. It totally changed the mood of the scene.

However, things do not run smoothly. The war in the future gets worse and Wolverine’s attempt to change the past goes haywire, especially with time not on anyone’s side.

I liked this film. It combines the entire movie franchise together so well, but that doesn’t mean it’s ending anytime soon. Especially since there’s always a post credits scene that indicates something new is about to happen. It just leaves you wanting more, no matter where the franchise will branch out next.

Aug 122015
 

The newest movie version of Wizard of Oz to date is Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, which takes place after the events of the original movie.

As a new evil threat occurs in Emerald City, Scarecrow (voice of Dan Aykroyd), Tin Man (voice of Kelsey Grammar), and Cowardly Lion (voice of Jim Belushi) try to bring Dorothy (voice of Lea Michelle) back to Oz with a contraption called a rainbow mover. Even though it’s been years since Dorothy’s last visit, in her world it’s been only a day.

Meanwhile, Dorothy wakes up in Kansas to the aftermath of the tornado. The damage was so terrible all over town that everyone is forcibly evicted from their homes. Dorothy is the only one that’s not willing to stand for it, but nobody seems to listen since she’s not a grownup. Can you believe it?

When Dorothy and Toto arrive in Oz, she ends up off course in a completely different area altogether. She could just follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City, but it’s in ruins. Even in Oz, there’s a problem of weeds growing between the bricks in the ground.

The new villain is simply called the Jester (voice of Martin Short). He’s the Wicked Witch of the West’s brother cursed to only be able to wear a jester outfit. When he tries to remove it, another appears in its place. Now with his sister gone, the Jester is in control of her flying monkey army and is intent on taking over Oz.

The Jester also has the magic broomstick and has used it to turn all of Oz’s leaders into marionettes, including Glinda (voice of Bernadette Peters). It’s a little creepy when the Jester makes the puppets talk. That just goes to show that you shouldn’t take this jester lightly.

As Dorothy heads for Emerald City, she meets some new friends along the way. First there’s Wiser the Owl (voice of Oliver Platt). He struggles to fly and tends to interrupt people. One thing I can’t help but notice is that Wiser’s chest has an imprint that looks like he’s wearing a brown sweater. It makes you wonder how he got it.

The next new ally Dorothy meets is Marshal Mellow (voice of Hugh Dancy) a lawman from Candy County that is made of marshmallows. In a way, he looks like a Nutcracker from the way he’s dressed. It looks pretty cool.

Last to join the group is the princess of Dainty China Country, who is simply known as China Princess (voice of Megan Hilty). She is spoiled and picky when it comes to choosing suitors. Dorothy volunteers Marshal Mellow to be a suitor. He’s against it at first, but does manage to win the princess’s heart. Together they all journey forward and even build a ship out of an old talking tree named Tugg (voice of Patrick Stewart).

This was certainly a good sequel to the Wizard of Oz franchise. However, the timeline is a bit confusing since I remember Return to Oz being the true sequel with a completely different story line, villains, and allies. So where does this feature chronologically fit in?

Sep 162011
 

I remember first hearing about the X-Men from the X-Men animated series (1992-1997). As much as I enjoy watching these assorted mutants in action, the story lines are still difficult for me to follow because the pacing is so different. That soon changed when I saw the first X-Men (Widescreen Edition) movie.

As it turns out, mutants live among the human race and are discriminated against just for being born differently. To help the mutants feel safe and learn to control their powers, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) the powerful psychic runs a mutant academy, teaching them all they need to know for the good of mankind.

The faculty includes Cyclops (James Marsden) who has optic lasers, Storm (Halle Berry) who can control the weather, and Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) the telekinetic psychic.

The newest mutants to join the school are Rouge (Anna Paquin), a young girl who can absorb energy from living things just by touching them, and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). He has sharp claws and can heal easily, which makes him a strong fighter. But never kick him in the groin, or he will take it personally.

As helpful as the academy is for the mutant community, it’s not enough for the humans to accept them as equals. That’s why there are also mutants that have turned renegade, led by Magneto (Ian McKellen) a very powerful mutant who can control anything made of metal. It’s a shame since Magneto and Professor Xavier used to be friends.

One of the main humans who is against mutants is Senator Kelly (Bruce Davidson) who only believes that all mutants are dangerous. Magneto captures Kelly and uses him as a guinea pig for an experiment he plans to use on the human race. Now Kelly is a mutant, but an unstable one. At least he now sees the error of his ways.

In order for Magneto’s master plan to work, he sets out to capture a powerful mutant to help him. For awhile Professor Xavier believes that Wolverine is the one, but he was wrong. Rouge is the primary target and Magneto successfully captures her.

With Senator Kelly’s help, Professor Xavier discovers that Magneto’s plan is to turn all humans into mutants and use Rouge to power the machine. Now it’s up to Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, and Jean Grey to go stop him and rescue Rouge. Together they are the X-Men.

After arriving, the X-Men must fight their way to Magneto by getting past some tough foes. They include Toad (Ray Park) a frog-like mutant with a whip tongue, Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) a roaring beast, and Mystique (Rebecca Romjin) a smooth model-esque shape shifter who can also copy any voice at will.

The battle scenes are real smooth. After getting past those tough mutants, the X-Men go to confront Magneto, but end up captured. As Rouge powers the machine with absorbed power from Magneto, it seems hopeless, but not if Wolverine has anything to say about it.

I liked this movie, not only for its smooth action, but also the gags with Wolverine. As for his relationship with Cyclops, it’s more than just the love triangle with Jean Grey. Cyclops also annoys him, but Wolverine gets even by always taking his motorcycle without permission.

The X-Men have also been featured among other Marvel superheroes in the Comic Book Land area at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Here are some photos of the characters.

 

Nov 262010
 

Vampires come from many different places, but did you ever think there were any from outer space? In the 80s film Lifeforce, a group of astronauts led by Colonel Carlson (Steve Railsback) investigate Haley’s Comet. Inside is a ship that’s 150 miles long and two miles high. That’s even bigger than the giant ship on Spaceballs!

There were many occupants of the ship, but Carlson and his team only find three survivors who are cryogenically frozen in crystals, a woman and two men completely nude. The astronauts decide to bring them back to Earth for further examination, but who are they? That’s the mystery.

Soon the woman wakes up. She has no name, but according to the end credits she is simply known as Space Girl (Mathilda May). Space Girl is also revealed to be a seductive vampire that uses electrical impulses from within to take the life essence from humans. You’d think a simple bite to the neck would suffice.

It’s creepy what happens to Space Girl’s victims. They literally turn to skin and bones before being reduced to dust. That is unless they feed within two hours after being attacked. At least when the victim explodes from starvation, it’s not gory. However, you will have to wear safety goggles.

Soon Space Girl escapes the space center and it’s now up to Scotland Yard Inspector Caine (Peter Firth) to recapture her. It won’t be easy though. Not only because she’s a vampire, but she can also jump from body to body easily. At least Space Girl is wearing clothes, considering that she didn’t mind walking around nude and on broken glass as if she didn’t notice.

To make matters worse, the two males break free and are also revealed to be vampires. The guards use machine guns and grenades, but no dice. Let’s face it, you can’t fight vampires that way.

As it turns out, Carlson survived but his crew did not. Space Girl was the one responsible, even though she was still asleep in her crystal. The reason Carlson survived was because Space Girl is obsessively in love with him. So much so that she made Carlson psychically connected to her. As torturing as it is for him, it was enough to help Caine track Space Girl down.

The trail soon ends at an asylum for the criminally insane. That’s where Carlson and Caine meet Dr. Armstrong (Patrick Stewart). Space Girl gets trapped inside Armstrong, but not for long. And if that weren’t bad enough, Space Girl’s vampire disease spreads like the plague. Luckily, Dr. Fallada (Frank Finlay) has found a way to kill the original three vampires. They’re highly allergic to leaded iron?

This was an interesting movie. I just don’t understand why Space Girl never revealed her name. She could be a queen vampire from Venus for all we know.