Tag Archives: James McAvoy

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: Arthur Christmas

Want to put the odds in your movie’s favor? Make a Christmas movie. Unoriginality, cheesy humor, goofy characters? All is excused when it’s done in the name of holiday spirit. While Arthur Christmas does make use of that get out of jail free card quite often, there is enough solid filmmaking behind the Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation collaboration to label Arthur Christmas above average holiday fair.

It’s November 25th and little Gwen is placing her order in advance, sending Santa a letter requesting a pink twinkle bike this holiday season. A few days later, that very letter lands in the hands of Arthur Christmas (James McAvoy), son of the current Santa (Jim Broadbent). December 24th arrives and Santa and the massive elf squadron, led by Arthur’s brother, Steve (Hugh Laurie), from home base, take action, delivering presents swiftly and generally clandestinely, then boarding their souped up version of the classic sleigh, the S1, and zipping over to the next city to do it all again. Santa and the elves return to cheers and applause. Another perfect Christmas – that is until it’s discovered that a single child has been forgotten; Gwen never got her twinkle bike.

Hoping to soon succeed his father as the next Santa, Steve’s ready to just brush this one under the rug, but Arthur insists they cannot allow just one child to wake up and think Santa’s forgotten her. At Grandsanta’s (Bill Nighy) urging, Arthur dusts off the old classic sleigh, hops in the passenger seat and Grandsanta attempts to fly them to Gwen’s home in England.

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Review: X-Men: First Class

Don’t have the time or money to travel around the world? Just see X-Men: First Class. Within the first third of the film we jump from Poland to Switzerland to England to Vegas to Miami and more. But, of course, a little something is happening between jet setting. Well, actually, a lot of something.

After catching a glimpse of Erik Lehnsherr’s tortured childhood and Charles Xavier’s first run-in with Raven, ultimately Mystique, when he was just 12-years-old, we fast forward to 1962. Erik’s (Michael Fassbender) busy hunting down Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), the man responsible for murdering his mother in a Nazi concentration camp and turning Erik into the metal bending monster he is today while Charles is hard at work at Oxford pursuing his doctorate in genetic mutations. After a hefty dose of information involving Shaw’s hand in potentially kicking off a third world war, Erik and Xavier finally cross paths.

No, they don’t play chess in the sunlight. Oh, wait; they do. But they also join forces to train a group of young mutants in an effort to build an army to rival Shaw’s. With the help of CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), they teach Havok (Lucas Till) to harness his firepower, Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) to fly and both Mystique and Beast to embrace their, well, blue sides. As the US and Russia grow dangerously close to kicking off a nuclear war, Erik, Xavier and their new team are the only ones powerful enough to stop it.

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Interview: Gnomeo & Juliet Director Kelly Asbury

If you’re a fan of animated feature films, odds are, you’re familiar with the work of Kelly Asbury. Not only has he had a hand in a number of fantastic productions including The Nightmare Before Christmas and Kung Fu Panda, but both of the films he directed, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Shrek 2, were nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. Now, Asbury is out and about promoting his third directorial effort, Gnomeo & Juliet.

We’ve seen quite a few modern versions of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, but one featuring garden gnomes? You’ve got it. In Asbury’s film it’s the blue gnomes vs. the red gnomes of the gardens of the feuding Mrs. Montague and Mr. Capulet, respectively. Of course, Juliet (voiced by Emily Blunt) of the red gnomes meets and falls for the blue gnome, Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy), and that doesn’t go over well with the other residents of the garden.

With the help of his trusted team of producers, storyboard artists, animators and more, Ashbury tackled one of the most iconic stories in literary history using the most unusual characters. Not only did he recruit a top-notch cast of voice talent to bring his gnomes to life, but an impressive roster of recording artists to make the music particularly effective, too. So how do all these elements come together to make one movie? Asbury filled us in on the entire process from formulating the basic idea to getting his actors into the sound both all the way up to this very week when Gnomeo & Juliet finally hits theaters after four years of work. Check it all out in the interview below.

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