Movie Review: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac
May 2016 27

X-Men Apocalypse Movie PosterIt’s hard to believe that we are now nine films into the X-Men franchise, which kicked off in 2000 with X-Men and was the catalyst for the “serious” superhero films we know today. Although Blade came out two years earlier, it never had quite the commercial success of the original X movie – which brought in almost $300 million worldwide. That number now seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the billion dollar films that rule the box office today. 2014’s Days of Future Past brought in nearly $750 million – a number that this third entry into the decade-hopping prequels surely aims to best.

Like its predecessors, Apocalypse jumps forward 10 years – this time taking place in 1983 (First Class was set largely around the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and Days of Future Past took place in 1973). Charles Xavier’s (James McAvoy) School For Gifted Youngsters is much more established, and thriving with new students. It is here we are introduced to fan favorites Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) and Jubilee (Lana Condor). Charles and Hank (Nicholas Hoult) run the school, while Erik (Michael Fassbender) tries to live a normal life under a new identity with his wife and daughter. Meanwhile Raven is trying to free Angel (Ben Hardy) and Kurt Wagner (Kodi Smit-McPhee) from an underground mutant flight club in East Berlin.

The film opens in Ancient Egypt, where we eventually learn the first mutant En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) is worshiped as a god. In all of his incarnations he is joined by his “four horsemen,” who protect him from a betrayal by his followers in this specific flashback. He is protected and preserved there, until awoken by a series of events influenced by Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne), who is working there as a CIA operative. After his awakening into the modern world, En Sabah Nur (who will become known as Apocalypse) recruits his new horsemen: Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel – and eventually Erik after he suffers an emotional loss. It is up to the new team of young X-Men, aided by Raven (Mystique), to stop Apocalypse from cleansing Earth from humanity and rebuilding with only his mutant followers.

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Movie Review: ‘Keanu’ Starring Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key
Apr 2016 28

Keanu PosterAfter over a decade of killing it in TV sketch comedy, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key are finally on the big screen together in their first feature film.

In Keanu, the comedy duo delivers almost exactly what you’d expect from a bit on their brilliant Comedy Central show, Key and Peele. The movie picks up on a thread they started in a sketch on the show called A Cappella, featuring the two as rivals trying to join extracurricular groups full of the whitest white boys. In the film, they continue exploring variations of racial identity, supported by a healthy dose of slapstick and the absolutely absurd.

Written by Peele and a writer and co-producer of Key & Peele, Alex Rubens, the plot itself is really more of a parody of a plot, highlighted by the infeasible catalyst for the whole debacle: a bunch of hardened drug dealers and one recently dumped stoner fighting over possession of a wee little kitten.

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Movie Review: ‘Kilo Two Bravo’ Will Blow You Away
Mar 2016 31

KB2 posterNot since Saving Private Ryan have I seen a fact-based war movie more difficult to watch.

Kilo Two Bravo is one of those rare films, where the audience feels every uncomfortable move that the characters make.

Directed by Paul Katis, KTB tells the horrifying story of a squad of British paratroopers who unknowingly stumble into a section of Russian landmines during a 2006 mission to Afghanistan. The mines had been forgotten from decades earlier.

One soldier after another is horrifically wounded, as the tension is almost unbearable for viewers.

I found myself covering my eyes at times, wrenched in fear as I watched, waiting for the next explosive to detonate with each step the soldiers take.

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Movie Review: ‘Deadpool’ Starring Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin
Feb 2016 12

You’ve watched the trailers. You’ve seen the billboards. You downloaded the leaked footage. You read the tweets. You listened to the interviews.

Deadpool Movie PosterBy now, if you haven’t heard there is a Deadpool movie coming out, I’m not sure how you are reading an online review (unless your grandma printed it out at the library and sent it over via carrier pigeon). Yes, that Deadpool. The “Merc With a Mouth,” Wade Wilson. If you aren’t a huge comic book fan, but the name sounds familiar – that might be because you watched the horrifically terrible 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Although if you are saying, “wait, where was his iconic red costume, and didn’t that Deadpool have his mouth sown shut,” then you would be as puzzled as the rest of us who had to sit through that debacle. Yes, they sewed the mouth shut of a guy nicknamed “The Merc With a Mouth.” But I digress.

Luckily for hopeful comic book fans everywhere, THIS is the Deadpool we expected. Scratch that; this is the Deadpool that dreams are made of. That’s right. This movie gets it right, where so many failed attempts at bringing superheroes to life get it wrong. But as Deadpool himself says in the film, “you’re probably thinking, this is a superhero movie but that guy in the suit just turned that other guy into a f****ng kebab. Surprise, this is a different kind of superhero movie.” And he’s one hundred percent correct.

Deadpool is a HARD R. That means when the MPAA says it’s rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity – they aren’t messing around. Which means two things. One: if you are easily offended, this isn’t the movie for you. And two: it makes the movie extremely awesome, true to the source material, and one of the most fun times you’ll have at the theater.

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Movie Review: “Ip Man 3” starring Donnie Yen, Zhang Jin, and Mike Tyson
Feb 2016 05

ip-man-3-2It’s been five years since Hong Kong’s action superstar Donnie Yen and director Wilson Yip brought us the first installment of the Ip Man franchise, a story based on the creator of the Wing Chun style of martial arts and made famous by the legendary Bruce Lee (one of Ip Man’s students in real life).  The newest installment has some stand outs:  the addition of Zhang Jin (who stared in another Ip Man biopic called The Grandmaster) and the rather strange addition of Mike Tyson (yes, that Mike Tyson). This was probably the weakest entry into the series, but it was still a solid flick.

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