‘X-Men Apocalypse’ (2016) Review

X-Men Apocalypse (2016) Review: Uncannily Boring X-Men has never been my favourite superhero franchise. As action movies, they've had a few stand out moments here and there, and as superhero movies, there haven't really been characters to follow besides Wolverine who kind of ran his course. That is of course until they went the prequel route. What is typically the kiss of death for a franchise, 'X-Men: First Class' breathed new life into the X-Men. Watching Professor X and Magneto become life long frenemies was interesting and there was a bona fide anti-heroine story worth a damn in Mystique. That in mind, I went into 'X-Men: Apocalypse' optimistic, despite not expecting anything fantastic.  So was it fantastic? Well not really. In fact, 'X-Men: Apocalypse' is kind of boring. Set ten years after the events of 'Days of Future Past', the movie gives us a world in which mutants are now known to the public, Xavier's school is fully up and running, and Magneto is on the run from the law after dropping a football stadium outside the white house. That'll ruffle some feathers. As the status quo is set, the film also introduces the world's first, all powerful mutant, Apocalypse. After being asleep for 3,000 years, he wakes up to a world where mutants are oppressed and vows to destroy it to craft a new one in his image. To say he's got a God complex is a slight understatement.There are a few…

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‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’ (2016) Review

Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016) Review: Fresh & Sharp When I was a kid I used to watch shows that were created for the sole purpose of getting across some message. Don't raise your voice, read your bible, eat your vegetables. Back in the day, the message was always crystal clear, as in, completely spelled out for me. The best messages though were the ones that weren't put straight in my face but had subtlety about them. The problem with that is, you're never quite sure if the audience gets it, so the choice is either to talk down to them, or hope the message doesn't get lost. 'Barbershop: The Next Cut' is a movie that definitely has a message in mind, several messages, but finds a way to put it in your face, without talking down to you. The story goes that in the wake of intense gang violence in the south side of Chicago, Ice Cube's Calvin must decide if he can suffer the ills of a violent community, run a successful business, and raise his son. As the problem doesn't seem to be fixing itself, the crew of the barbershop propose a 48 hour period of non violence, to show that their home doesn't need to be the war-zone it currently is. The best part about this movie is the dialogue that surrounds it. Calvin's barbershop is home to conversation that feels purposeful, but at the same time completely common place…

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‘Mother’s Day’ (2016) Review

Mother's Day (2016) Review: Sorry, Moms. I can't fault a movie like 'Mother's Day' for existing. It's a two hour greeting card put to film that stuffs all the faces that mothers like seeing. Julia Roberts. Jennifer Aniston. All it's missing is a Sally Field or a Sandra Bullock and it would literally have everyone's mom's favourite actress. So why wouldn't you make it? It makes perfect sense. What doesn't make sense is that it would be this bad.Okay that's a lie. That makes sense. The reason that makes sense is that it's from director Garry Marshall, who's last two movies were 'Valentine's Day' and 'New Year's Eve'. Films that follow the same basic concept of 'Mother's Day'. Take a holiday, think of as many different situations you can think of that sort of apply to that holiday, and smush em all together 'Love Actually' style. The difference being that while 'Love Actually' organically wove its multiple story-lines into a compelling narrative with engaging dialogue, these films just kinda don't.Truly, the first act of the film seems to be ongoing, as if I've not yet left the theatre. I still feel like I'm being introduced to more and more characters, with so many story lines that you start to get the equivalent of cinematic whiplash. The different conflicts by themselves might make for their own mediocre, yet sweet films about a certain type of family dynamic. The problem is there's so little time devoted to each one that as they're being set up, you can see the resolution…

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‘The Jungle Book’ (2016) Review

The Jungle Book (2016) Review: New Old World. Remakes have always felt weird to me. They exist because of a desire to update an old story for a new audience, but only get made when the old audience still has nostalgia for the old story. Right there you run the risk of alienating the people who made it what it is, and most of the time striking indifference with the new generation. Most of the time it's to be given a facelift. A top to bottom revisualization using new technology, and sometimes an old tale can be applied to a new world issue. Either way, remakes, like prequels, inherently feel unnecessary. It can be hard to shake the cynicism that follows them. 'The Jungle Book' is such a remake, but it definitely doesn't feel like a waste of time. The story is essentially the same as the Disney animated classic. Mowgli is a human child who was raised by wolves, and is forced to run through the jungle as the evil tiger Shere Khan, voiced by Idris Elba, hunts him down. As he makes his escape with the ever so faithful panther Bagheera, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, Mowgli encounters more of the jungle than he's ever seen and along the way finds his place in the world. The changes in the film are almost entirely tonal. The story has a greater sense of dread than the original, and the world itself has a much more…

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‘Captain America: Civil War’ (2016) Review

Captain America: Civil War (2016) Review: If It Ain't Broke... It's the first weekend of May and while that might not actually be the beginning of summer, it is the start of the blockbuster summer season. Coming our way weekend after weekend are movies with big budgets that hope to have even bigger box offices. Question is, for all the money being thrown about, will they be any good? Maybe not, but with school out and the planet getting warmer every year, a mindless movie in a dark air conditioned theatre sounds just fine to me. The hope is that every time you step into that theatre, you get a little more than you bargained for.That's pretty much how I'd describe the first of the blockbusters, 'Captain America: Civil War'. A movie that bounces around a lot of ideas, but the main idea is the most enticing. After the disastrous calamities that have struck the world since the original 'Iron Man', the nations of the globe decide they're kind of tired of their buildings falling and citizens dying because of an Avengers scuffle. To make sure that doesn't happen, the United Nations develops 'The Sokovia Accords', a regulation that would control how and when the Avengers avenge.On one side you have Captain America, who opposes oversight of any sort. He's of the view that the freedom to choose when to act is what the Avengers are all about. On the other side,…

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