Eilis

Custom Search




tel:18003484095

banner3

banner3

banner2


X Men: Apocalypse

Love And Friendship

June 2, 2016

X Men: Apocalypse (**)

PG-13

It’s a funny thing about those X Men films. It always seems that when they hit the third installment things seem to go awry. This happened with the original X Men trilogy—witness X Men: The Last Stand—and now it’s happened with X Men: Apocalypse which is, coincidentally, the third installment in the series of prequels that began with X Men: First Class back in 2011. Apocalypse is a long and lumbering behemoth of a film (even by X Men standards and that’s saying something) that never seems to get off the ground. It contains one of the most mediocre villains in the franchise’s history and it spends too much time giving its great cast little or nothing of note to do. After awhile it just became an endurance contest and a struggle to keep my eyelids open during the film’s final hour.

The fact that X Men: Apocalypse is such a disappointment is a bit of a surprise considering that it was directed by Bryan Singer, who helmed the last installment (Days of Future Past) and the initial two films (X Men, X 2) in the series.

Jennifer Lawrence & Oscar Issac in X Men: Apocalypse

In terms of quality, these were all considered to be benchmarks in the series. Now Singer has done the unthinkable and unleashed what is sure to go down as one of the worst entries in the franchise yet. It’s something that I honestly don’t think fans of the series could have seen coming especially after the good will engendered by the largely successful last installment.

The plot, hinted at during a post-credits sequence on the last film, revolves around the villain of the film’s title, Apocalypse. He’s played in the film by the great Oscar Issacs but you wouldn’t know it since he’s disguised by the ton of makeup that is required to accurately portray the character as depicted in the comics. Beyond that, he’s just not an interesting enough villain to even bother taking note of nor for that matter, is Issacs' performance. At any rate, Apocalypse is a centuries-old mutant who enlists Magneto (Michael Fassbender), who’s reeling from a personal tragedy, to assist him in his plans to take over the world. It then falls into the hands of Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Professor X (James McAvoy) and the rest of X Men gang to save the universe.

There’re so many things wrong with the film it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is the chief problem. Mostly, I think the film’s biggest transgression is simply that it's dull and doesn’t give the characters anything of interest to do above the run of the mill comic book shenanigans we’ve come to expect from these kinds of things. Technically the film looks okay but on closer inspection it’s easy to see what a hollow and uninspired product it happens to be. This is far from an atrocity along the lines of last summer’s Fantastic Four, but it’s still pretty dull.

Love and Friendship

(***) PG

Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco, the trio of films that put filmmaker Whit Stillman on the map during the decade of the 90s, just never seemed like my cup of tea. I guess every critic has a list of several films that they know they should see but just can’t muster up the gumption to get the task accomplished and those three darlings of the nineties independent film circuit have certainly been lurking on my list.

Stillman vanished from filmmaking after 1998 and, with the exception of one effort back in 2012, he’s been MIA on the movie scene. He’s now returned with Love and Friendship, an adaptation of one of author Jane Austen’s lesser-known works and it’s a charming little film that is loads of fun at various times. I had a really good time with it and, if nothing else, perhaps Stillman’s latest effort has given me the courage to rethink my policy on the director’s earlier films.

Love and Friendship is the kind of talky period piece that certainly won’t play very well with the mainstream crowd but for those who enjoy this sort of thing—and you know exactly who you are—it’s bound to hit a bullseye. It’s funny, warm, and full of interesting observations on the subject of love and, particularly, marrying simply for the reasons of convenience.

Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship

The characters are well drawn and the dialogue crackles and pops.

Stillman definitely seems to be perfectly suited to the material he’s adapting and I really liked some of the visual flourishes he brings to the film. One of the smartest things he does, and this is something from which more period films could benefit, is to highlight all of the character names onscreen. It goes a long way in helping to keep straight all of the various people that populate the film.

A good selling point for the picture is certainly in the casting of Kate Beckinsdale in the lead. She is, of course, most well known for her appearances in the Underworld franchise and mainstream films of that ilk. It’s nice to see her appearing here in the lead role of Lady Susan, a scheming and conniving widow who wants nothing more than to secure financial freedom for herself and her daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark). Along the way she attracts multiple suitors; the dashing Reginald (Xavier Samuel), who’s quite taken with Lady Susan, the socially awkward but wealthy, Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett, who gets some of the film’s best lines) and Lord Manwarinng (Lochlann O’Mearain), who just happens to also be married. Chloë Sevigny also stars here.

The only problem to be found with the film is that is slight, but others who are more enamored of period films can easily forgive that transgression. There’s much to embrace about the film even if it does tend to evaporate once it’s over and done.

X Men: Apocalypse is playing everywhere. Love and Friendship is playing in Charlotte.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

ARCHIVES:

The Lobster & The Meddler

Money Monster • The Nice Guys Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Miles Ahead

Elvis And Nixon Green Room

Midnight Special Everybody Wants Some

The Jungle Book

I Saw The Light • The Boss

Hello My Name Is Doris & Krisha

Divergent: Allegiant & Batman v Superman

10 Cloverfield Lane & Brothers Grimsby

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot & London Has Fallen

Triple 9 & 45 Years

Eddie The Eagle• The Witch

Where To Invade Next & Son Of Saul

Deadpool • The Choice • How To Be Single

Hail Caesar & Fifty Shades Of Black

The Finest Hours & The 5th Wave

Mustang & The Lady In The Van

Anomalisa • 13 Hours: The & Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

The Revenant • Youth

Carol • Joy • The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens • The Big Short • Concussion

Daddy’s Home • Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip

In The Heart Of The Sea • Krampus

Creed • Brooklyn

Spotlight

‘Mockingjay Part 2’ • All Things Must Pass • The Night Before

Trumbo

Spectre & The Peanuts Movie

Steve Jobs & Our Brand Is Crisis

Crimson Peak & Room

Bridge Of Spies & Goosebumps

99 Homes

The Martian • Sicario & The Walk

The Intern • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials • Everest

The Visit & Black Mass

Mistress America

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl A Walk In The Woods

American Ultra • No Escape • Sinister 2

Straight Outta Compton, The End Of The Tour, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Irrational Man & Fantastic Four

Ricki And The Flash & The Gift

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation • Southpaw • Vacation

Ant-Man & Trainwreck

Self/Less

Amy • Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, Ted 2

Inside Out & Dope

Love and Mercy & Jurassic World

Insidious Chapter 3

San Andreas & Aloha

Poltergeist &
Tomorrowland

Mad Max: Fury Road

Hot Pursuit

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ex Machina

While We’re Young & Unfriended

The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

It Follows

Divergent

Cinderella

Chappie

Focus & The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jupiter Ascending

Still Alice

The Imitation Game A Most Violent Year

American Sniper Inherent Vice

Selma & Taken 3

Unbroken

Big Eyes • The Interview

Night At The Museum The Secret of the Tomb • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Top Five • Wild • Annie

Foxcatcher

Whiplash & The Theory Of Everything

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar

Nightcrawler

Ouija

Fury

The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy

Lucy

Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Noah

Divergent

The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now

Riddick

Getaway

The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies


 

 

 

BannerEventAd-01.jpg   fanjoylabrenz.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm | focusnews@centurylink.net

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2017 Tucker Productions, Inc.