Frank (2014)

Directed By – Lenny Abrahamson

Screenplay By – Jon Ronson & Peter Straughan

Cinematography By – James Mather

Starring Jon Burroughs, Maggie Gyllenhaal & Michael Fassbender

95 min.

Frank the character is amazing. Frank the movie is depressing and unrewarding. This is because Frank is not about Frank, it is about the inadequacies of Jon Burroughs’ character, Domhnall Gleeson. And while Domhnall isn’t completely a useless character throughout the movie, he is ultimately untalented and therefore boring and sad. I’m not saying interesting characters cannot be boring or sad, but the reality is when there are two characters on screen and one is as idiosyncratic as they come (i.e. wearing a giant fake head) and the other is a character who never realizes any human potential for talent and the focus isn’t one the fucking guy with a giant head then you’re going to lose me.

The general story isn’t even the problem, it’s the focus. Frank focuses not on the great gift of uniqueness but on the fact that not all of us can be unique. I mean how shitty of a message is that? That not all of us are unique and creative and that some of us are doomed to reach out through social media as our only source of self worth. And the problem isn’t that this movie is saying that some of us do that but why make that the focus? Why make that the main message by choosing this fucking loser as your protagonist?

Think of it this way, if you have Frank be your protagonist, meaning that the story begins with him and ends with him rather than Mr. Domhnall Gleeson and you have Domhnall come into the group and ruin the group with his social media and his mediocrity and yet Frank goes for it because he longs for popularity but then loses his band and then realizes that having a giant head doesn’t matter but embracing his bizarreness and his friends bizarreness is what makes him great and Domhnall is doomed to be a social media modern-era lackey than I can support this movie. The fact of the matter is that that is not how Frank was done and I don’t see myself rewatching this movie even though it has several things going for it.

The acting is great by all three and major props to Michael Fassbender who is arguably the best actor of his generation right now and is in an amazing heavy weight acting battle with Maggie’s brother for the title.

God Bless America

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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Directed By – Bryan Singer

Screenplay By – Simon Kinberg

Cinematography By – Newton Thomas Sigel

Starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence & Peter Dinklage

131 min.

I don’t know but there’s something about the first sixty minutes of this movie that gets my engines going! It exciting and exhilarating, thrust into a world of death and segregation, where humans are killing mutants and human alike. Where sentinels have no weaknesses and will only settle for death. With an opening scene where more X-Men die onscreen than in all the other movie combined you quickly realize Days of Future Past isn’t playing around. But then you have Ellen Page with an awesome power to send someone’s consciousness back in the past, someone who can stop all the madness. Of course Logan is the only one who can survive the trip that far back in time and so the world’s last hope rests with Wolverine’s ability to reconcile battered friendships.

So basically the first hour of this movie is crazypants awesome, going 160 mph with death and destruction, a crazy (consciousness) time traveling scheme (which also allows for this to be a really cool period piece), and a totally awesome prison break scene. Of course few movies can maintain this type of momentum and Days of Future Past is no exception. However, the second half of the film builds upon the omnipresent X-Men theme of human compassion and understanding of others. And while the pacing might slow down in this second half the movie doesn’t go south, still giving us epic moments like Magneto raising an entire baseball stadium.

The beginning of X-Men: Days of Future Past is possibly my favorite hour in a superhero movie since The Dark Knight, and while it doesn’t sustain that level of entertainment it does give us a lot to think about and absorb with an awesome mastermind scientist in Dr. Bolivar Trask played by Peter Dinklage. I love this movie.

God Bless America

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Directed By – Matthew Vaughn

Screenplay By – Ashely Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn

Cinematography By – John Mathieson

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence & Kevin Bacon

132 min.

There’s no doubt about it, First Class is a first class film. There’s just so much going for this movie that it easily gave a much needed jump-start to a superhero franchise that was fading from public appeal. Let’s begin with the story.

The story is completely enthralling. In the past movies Professor X and Magneto are the leaders in terms of their respective groups, but there’s always a mystery as to who they are and how they relate to each other. We know that they are “old friends” but there’s always a lingering blockade between the audience and them. First Class reveals the men behind the curtain with these two as for the first time the two of them and their friendship are at the forefront of the storyline.

However while we learn who they are and how they met, we also find out how the X-men started. And, not only do we get the origin of the X-men we get a very cool villain in Sebastian Shaw who is trying to start an historical WWIII between the humans which ends in the notorious Cuban Missile Crisis. It all comes together to give the audience insight into esteemed characters, a very cool origin story, and a fascinating revision behind an historical event.

Now the story for First Class instantly attractive but the caliber of actors and acting in this movie is phonemail and definitely adds to the appeal of First Class. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender (MICHAEL FASSBENDER HOT-DAMN!) make for perfect perfect perfect younger versions of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (Magneto). Both these actors work perfectly off one another and almost have the identical rapport that Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen have which mightily adds to the authenticity that these two really are the young Prof. X and Magneto. Besides the two the cast is littered with talented actors including Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Bacon, not to mention even someone like Oliver Platt shows up to add weight to his small part or Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, and January Jones all doing their parts.

This is a terrific origin story and a much needed movie that adds humanity to a superhero genre overrun by emotionless blockbusters.

God Bless America