Tag Archives: Halle Berry

Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men_Days_of_Future_Past_Poster2Sentinels, good, bad, future, past, who cares? This movie needs more Quicksilver!

The year is 2023 and the world is in ruins thanks to the mutant-hunting machines known as the Sentinels. You’d think Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Bishop (Omar Sy), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Blink (Bingbing Fan), Warpath (Booboo Stewart) and Sunspot (Adan Canto) would make an unbeatable team, but back in 1973, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) fit his Sentinels with Raven/Mystique’s (Jennifer Lawrence) DNA, so now they’re able to adapt to anything, essentially making them immune to mutant-powered attacks. With the Sentinels closing in fast, the only chance the surviving X-Men have is to send Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to stop Trask from ever getting his hands on Raven’s DNA in the first place.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” opens exceptionally well with the aforementioned team of mutants going head-to-head with a group of Sentinels. Not only does the sequence have the benefit of rocking the thrill that comes with bringing back X-Men favorites and uniting them with a few new players, but the action itself is remarkable. The fire, ice and purple portals pop right off the bleak background, the combat is tense, exhilarating and also builds character through mid-fight decisions and reactions before ultimately culminating in a string of moments that proves that in just a few minutes, you’ve come to care about all of these characters. Unfortunately, we don’t get much of that last element through the rest of the film.

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Review: The Call

The-Call-PosterDirector Brad Anderson and writer Richard D’Ovidio definitely have something here, but “The Call” falls into B-movie territory with a mix of notable highs, but also a handful of rock bottom lows.

Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) is an all-star 911 operator, but when her call with a home invasion victim ends poorly, she feels responsible and opts to step away from the call center. Six months later, Jordan is busy training an incoming class of operators when a call comes in from a young girl who’s been kidnapped. When the operator who receives the call panics, Jordan must put the past behind her, step in and do whatever she can to bring Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) home alive.

The life of a 911 operator is surprisingly thrilling. The day-to-day happenings as presented in “The Call” are likely far slicker than in reality, but it makes for an ideal central environment for film. We all know and have possibly used a 911 call center, but for those who don’t work in law enforcement, the inner workings of the facility are probably a mystery. D’Ovidio uses the unknown to his advantage, dishing out the bear minimum, satiating curiosity while keeping the information digestible. Anderson and editor Avi Youabian take it from there, turning what could easily have been a stagnant, dull presentation of that call center and giving it life through an appropriate amount of camera movement and some stellar editing. Anderson excels on the opposite end of the spectrum as well with solid action coverage and a number of memorable shots that highlight the true horror of the situation, too.

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Review: Movie 43

Movie_43_PosterStar power is no match for tasteless, offensive and unfunny comedy.

The “Movie 43” wraparound features Dennis Quaid as a lunatic with an abysmal script who forces Greg Kinnear’s movie producer to buy the piece at gunpoint. Coincidence? Probably not, as almost each and every sketch of this comedy anthology is so silly, nauseating and degrading it seems like the only plausible way the producers could manage to recruit so much top-notch talent.

Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet make it through better than most. Jackman will likely never live down having a pair of testicles dangle from his neck for the sake of this movie, but between the giggle-worthy visual and the duo’s charm, “The Catch” is easily “Movie 43’s” finest few minutes. Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber’s “Homeschooled” is another portion that at least respects its leads, but breaks down entirely when the scenario drivels on and right into a strange and unsatisfying conclusion.

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Review: Cloud Atlas

Usually when I catch a movie, I’m busy scribbling down notes, some of which pertain to the film’s plot, just so I’ve got the facts straight when writing the review. However, in the case of “Cloud Atlas,” not only did I want to save my hand all that stress, but thought it’d be interesting to see what stuck after the 164-minute multiple storyline epic without writing a single note or looking at the press notes. No book, no notes, no Googling. This is what I took from “Cloud Atlas.”

We’ve got quite a few characters and storylines in play here. There’s Tom Hanks’ Zachary, a man living in a village, fighting off a vicious enemy tribe while assisting Halle Berry’s space-age character in her quest to send a call for help to her home planet. In the 1800s, one of Jim Sturgess’ characters befriends an escaped slave while sailing home to his wife. In the early 1900s, Ben Whishaw’s Frobisher goes to work for a famous composer where he gets the inspiration to pen the Cloud Atlas Sextet. In the 1970s, Berry is a journalist who catches wind of a scandal and is chased by a corporation assassin trying to stop her from exposing the story. In the present we get Timothy Cavendish, a man who’s tricked into signing himself into an old age home by his brother. Finally, well into the future, we meet Sonmi, one of many identical robot-like humans who are made to staff a fast food restaurant. They’re designed to sleep in their boxes, wake and go to work, but one day, Sonmi can’t help, but to recognize that she’s got hopes, dreams and feelings.

I can’t believe it, but I think I actually managed to account for every “Cloud Atlas” scenario. Yes, they’re merely simplistic descriptions of the stories, but when you’ve got a total of six narratives within a single film that don’t connect on a literal level and are all playing out simultaneously, it’s a wonder how someone can keep track of them all after a single viewing. And perhaps that goes to show that writer-directors Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski did achieve a degree of success with their unusual methods.

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