Tag Archives: Michael Fassbender

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014) – Review

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Director:  Bryan Singer

Writer:  Simon Kinberg

Stars:  Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James MacAvoy, Evan Peters, Peter Dinklage,  Nicholas Hoult, and Hugh Jackman

IMDb Logline:  The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Pros:

  1. Truly ensemble film
  2. Stand-out performances from Michael Fassbender (Erik/Magneto) and Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique)
  3. Glorious over-the-top 70s costume and set design
  4. Wolverine used as a MacGuffin
  5. Evan Peters scene stealing turn as Peter Maximoff (Quicksilver)
  6. Just the right number of Easter Eggs for both film and comics fans
  7. More than expected use of my favorite X-Man, Iceman (thank you “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends”), in the future scenes, as well as him being the last line of defence against the Sentinels

Cons:

  1. All the characters aged amazingly well in the future
  2. Magneto’s character motivation in Paris
  3. Magneto’s apparent never before heard of powers to see behind his head and immediately clot arterial bleeding
  4. 1973 Cerebro and underground X-Mansion set looked incredibly advanced and exactly the same as the 2000 set
  5. More a collection of set pieces than a complete and cohesive story

Review:  Though you know where the film is heading, you never know how you are going to get there and exactly what is going to happen.  Also, there were some surprisingly emotional deaths in the third act.  Overall a big surprise in terms of execution and how much I loved the film.

Grade = A-

Bonus material and comments after the poster/trailer link below.

Click on image to view trailer.

Click on image to view trailer.

Bonus Commentary 1: X-Men Cinematic Universe Continuity Issues (It really doesn’t matter) – Did you realize that both Professor X and Magneto are in their 90s in 2023–the year the future scenes in X-Men:  Days of Future Past occurs?  Both are pretty spry for older guys.  To be honest, the X-Men cinematic universe is closer in spirit to the comic universe–where continuity issues are the norm–than Marvel’s own Avengers Universe.  In comics the technology is always slightly more advanced than today, but time moves slower.  In a monthly series only a few days pass between issues, but in our time one month has passed.  Inevitably the comic writers revamp their series to catch the it up to current events, politicians, and introduced technologies.  This is why we all know Peter Parker got his powers in high school, accept him as currently being in his late 20s early 30s, and forget that he was created in the 60s.  Comic writers only run into serious  issues with characters whose origins are fixed by a historic event–Magneto being a Holocaust Survivor and Nick Fury leading the Howling Commandos in WWII.  To keep the characters fresh and relatable you have to play with history a little.  So long as the writer don’t take it too far, we happily go along for the ride.

By chosing the alternate reality route, Bryan Singer and company have broadened the choices of stories they can tell significantly while at the same time using the younger cast.  We can buy that Prof. X is alive in the future and Magneto has his power because we heard the Professor’s voice and maybe saw Magneto move a chess piece at the end of Last Stand.  We can accept that Jean Grey and Cyclops are alive at the end of Days because the past was changed so much that the events of the first X-Films probably did not happen exactly as we have seen.  But most of all, we accept all this because we want to keep seeing new stories with these same characters.

Bonus Commentary 2:  After Credit Scene – Worse one ever. First, based in the size of  material being moved around like tetris pieces, the pyramids took too long to build.  Second, that’s not even the power Apocalypse has.  And third, the character doe not even look remotely similar to the ancient Egypt depiction of Apocalypse.

Bonus Commentary 3:  Evan Peters appearing at Tampa Bay Comic Con in August 2014 – Why?  I usually view actors appearing and signing autographs at smaller comic cons as older, or who have nothing going on with their careers at the present time.  Evan Peters is young and is on a career high.  The guy appears on a hit cable TV series where he is not type cast, and is getting near universal praise for his scene stealing performance in X-Men:  Days of Future Past.  So again I ask why is he at the Tampa Bay Comic Con?  I don’t get it.

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“Prometheus” (2012) – Movie Review

Director:  Ridley Scott

Writers:  Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof

Stars:  Michael Fassbender, Noomi Repace, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Guy Pearce

In the beginning, “The Engineers” created man, and throughout our history they have visited us and left clues to their whereabouts.  Know now it is the year 2093; the Prometheus is a scientific research ship on a mission to LV-223.  While the ship is traveling through deep space, an android named David (Michael Fassbender) is maintaining ship systems, learning how to interpret many forms of written & spoken languages, and eerily watching the dreams of the crew during their cryosleep.  The mundane routine of the ship is ended once it is in proximity to LV-223, and the crew is awakened.

During the mission briefing, the holographic projection of Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) introduces Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Repace) & Dr. Charlie Halloway (Logan Marshall-Green) and the purpose of their journey:  to find those beings that created mankind.  Both the purpose of the mission and the evidence presented by the doctors are met with varying degrees of skepticism by the crew, but most especially by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron)–the company representative.  The skeptics to the search for alien life and/or civilizations are quickly silenced when structures are discovered on the planet surface.

Later in the domed structure the exploration team discovers passages, hieroglyphs, holographic recordings of “The Engineers”, and finally a long dead corpse of those same “Engineers”.  But their presence does not go unnoticed.  A long dead facility starts back to life, and things that have been dormant have now been awaken.  What follows is a tale of learning, greed, hubris, betrayal, horror, and wanting to touch the face of god.

The story of Prometheus aims high, but falls short.  There simply is not enough time in a feature film to take us in as many directions as the filmmakers want.  The scope of the story would have worked better as a television series.  The story leapt too quickly from plot point to plot point, leaving no chance for any character development.  If the story had focused solely on the Dr. Shaw storyline and completely excised the Vickers sub-plot, we would have been able to connect with the Shaw and Halloway characters better.  Also, if the goal of the story was to create a film in the Alien Universe but not necessarily a prequel to Alien, why spend so much time with the ancestor of the xenomorph?  All that time distracted from the high aspirations put forward by the purpose of the Prometheus’ mission.  Why not make this movie more about “The Engineers”?

Another flaw of the film is smart characters doing dumb things in fields they are purportedly an expert at.  If you are geologist/surveyor and the film establishes that you are leading the team through an ancient alien structure, then how do you get lost in that structure after you leave the team because you are too scared to follow–the same team that somehow manages to leave the structure in a full panic to avoid an oncoming storm without so much as making a wrong turn.  If you are a biologist brought on the trip to investigate new life forms, then why do you a) run away with the geologist/surveyor when the team discovers a dead alien body that poses no threat and b) attempt to communicate & pet–like a dog–a snake-like creature that flares its hood like a cobra in a menacing fashion.

Where the film does succeed is with Michael Fassbender’s performance as David.  Though David is a soulless android doing what he is programmed and ordered to do, there is something more.  Like his cinematic predecessor Roy Batty in Blade Runner, David kills his creator.  In quite possibly the most passive aggressive murder in movie history, David precisely carries out his instructions knowing full well his creator will not find the answers he is looking for and will be killed in the process; thereby setting David free.  And though Fassbender is completely emotionless, you know that is his goal and his need.

This being a Ridley Scott film, the visuals and art direction are superb.  To this day, there is still no better director that can bring an entire world to life as completely and believable as he.

Initially I was going to rate this film lower.  But there is something about the story that is nagging me–in a good way.  The film is still in my head.  I have a sneaky suspicion I will like it more on later viewings.

Grade = B-


“Shame” – Movie Review

Click on image to view trailer

Director:  Steve McQueen

Writers:  Abu Morgan and Steve McQueen

Stars:  Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan

Never has sex been depicted with such lack of emotion.  Brandon Sullivan (Michael Fassbender) is a sex addict.  And like other addicts he succumbs to his vice not out of pleasure but out of desperation.  The film begins with the depiction of his daily routine:  wake up, check messages, pee, go to work, find a nameless companion for the night, have sex, and repeat.  But in this daily routine we are introduced to the voice of Sissy (Carey Mulligan) on the answering machine.  Is she the voice of a past girlfriend, a spurned one-night stand hoping for more?  We don’t initially know.  Brandon’s work routine also becomes disrupted; his computer has become infected with a virus picked-up from a porn internet site he frequents while at the office.  And when he can’t find the pleasure of a person he pleasures himself to on-line sex chats at home.

But then chaos enters Brandon’s life when Sissy arrives, and we still don’t know who she is.  Their relationship is not easy to understand, it follows no norms that we can identify.  They are intimate & familiar with each other, and also cruel.  Eventually you realize Sissy is Brandon’s sister, and just as damaged as he is.  Never is this more apparent than her rendition of “New York, New York” at the lounge where she performs, and where Brandon has taken his boss.  Carey Mulligan gives perhaps the slowest and most emotionally painful version of this song I have ever heard.  The camera almost stays on her throughout; only cutting away to a crumbling Brandon.  And the reward for Sissy’s raw emotion?  Casual sex with Brandon’s boss.  Their relationship–already tenuous as is–cracks, and both their lives spiral out of control.

The film is shot in shades of blue & grey, with a lot of scenes at night and in the rain.  Steve McQueen, the director, fully realized Brandon’s world and the people who populate it.  He is also not afraid of showing us the raw and desperate side of addiction, and how low someone will go to feed it.  But like the characters in the story, the film feels empty.  I believe what the characters are going through, but I do not identify with them.  In the end, do they learn anything or grow?  No.

As for the acting, it is the film’s strength.  Fassbender and Mulligan do have a dangerous chemistry together.  From the first time they are in the same scene you feel the spark between them, and at the same time know it is wrong.  Fassbender excels as the man barely holding it together and eventually laid low.  Mulligan, though good, is not quite up to his league.

Overall the movie deserves the praise it has gotten for acting, but not for its story.  I left feeling ambivalent.  It neither moved or angered me.  It was just there.

Grade = B-


December – Yes, No, Maybe

A new month, a new “Yes, No, Maybe”–December is looking good.

YES – 12/09/11 – Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy

Click on Image to View Trailer

I’ve been waiting for this one for a while.

YES – 12/21/11 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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They moved the release date up from 12-25-11; and I obviously grabbed this poster image from  a foreign website.

YES – 12/30/11 – The Iron Lady

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They’re sneaking this one in just in time for the Oscar races.

NO – 12/16/11 – Mission Impossible:  Ghost Protocal

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Shouldn’t this series die already.

MAYBE – 12/02/11 – Shame

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Will this be our times Last Tango in Paris?

MAYBE – 12/21/11 – The Adventures of Tintin

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I’m not entirely sold on Tintin.  I’m not a fan of the comics, and the trailer is not exactly selling me.

MAYBE – 12-25-11 – War Horse

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Another film I’m not entirely sold on.  Interestingly enough, also directed by Steven Spielberg.