X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men Blues of Orange Past.
"His past. Our future."

Hello friends, neighbors and mutants from various eras that have time traveled to this moment so that they could read this post when it was first written! Today after an unexpected interruption in your movie commentary service, I will be offering my thoughts on the latest movie based on Marvel characters, though I am hesitant to say Marvel movie because really in this day and age that has a different meaning (and the production and distribution rights for X-Men movies are still both retained by 20th Century Fox). Anyway I am talking of course about X-Men: Days of Future Past, a film with a seriously huge cast, given that it takes place partially in two completely different time periods (or I guess three if you want to count the one at the end as a separate divergent timeline). This movie functions more or less as both a sequel to X-Men: First Class, and also to 2013's The Wolverine (in so much as this film also features Wolverine heavily). At the same time, this movie also functions as a sequel to X3, that blood soaked nightmare of movies past, because this franchise has steadfastly refused to actually just scrap everything and reboot. Somehow, despite the fumbling of X3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this franchise has managed to cobble back together something representing a coherent plotline, and now, with Days of Future Past it has perhaps done something even greater (I will get to that before the end of this post). First, perhaps appropriately, a little history lesson. In the comics, the Days of Future Past story arc involved Kitty Pryde going back in time from the dystopic future of 2013 (and let's be honest, it really is dystopic isn't it) and back to what was then the present day, of 1980, to prevent the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by Mystique and her recently reformed Brotherhood of Mutants. This action (the assassination) sparks off a chain of events that leads to the future Kitty came back from, where mutants are hunted and the human race is threatened with complete destruction at the hands of the man-made robotic Sentinels. The plot of the movie is very similar to this original storyline, with some substantial changes for badassitude. Instead of Kitty herself going back (Ellen Paige reprises her role from X3, thankfully we don't have to see too much of her, which might remind me of the terrible things that happened), in the movie Wolverine is sent, because he is the only one with a mind capable of withstanding the trip or something (because of his regeneration, see a montage of him being shot in the head over and over). His job is to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence Mystique that is) from assassinating Bolivar Trask (Who created the Sentinels so it's still pretty legit). Her assassinating him leads to his becoming a martyr, and catalyzes the creation of the Sentinels and ultimately the destruction of basically everyone, because after a while the Sentinels start getting less picky about who they're exploding. The other downside of the assassination involves the gummint capturing Mystique, and using her DNA to make the Sentinels better, and allow them to adapt to various mutant powers (we see them doing this to murder the X-Men at the beginning of the movie).


The Frozen Ground

Look at those heads starin'
"The hunter becomes the hunted."

Hello everyone, welcome back to another gripping, touching, murdering in the woods edition of The Tagline! Today, with the weather constantly warming up I figured that it would be nice to cool down, and take a trip up to the frosty north, where young girls go missing and wind up as frozen, desiccated corpses in the Alaskan tundra after being tortured and hunted for sport. If that sounds like your kind of thing, well then I have to please ask you to leave, and I'm calling the cops. If it sounds like the plot of a movie you might watch, well then congratulations, I'm bringing the goods today. Today I'm going to be talking about The Frozen Ground, a film released to limited theatrical and on-demand availability in August 2013, based on the real life hunt in the 1980s for Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen, who was a real life person, who killed other real life people, in Alaska. Unlike in real life, the guy who is desperately trying to find him despite little in the way of manpower and resources, is Nicholas Cage (his character's name is Jack Halcombe, because I guess that sounds cooler than the real investigator's name Glenn Flothe, which is admittedly not a super cool sounding name). Unfortunately the search becomes less of a police fueled manhunt and more of a Nicholas Cage fueled manhunt, as Jack has virtually no one offering help or leads, except for 17 year old prostitot Cindy Paulson, who is incidentally portrayed by Vanessa Hudgens. Was that weird? Yeah, it was pretty weird, we'll get a little more on that later, but anyway, I guess the question you have left about casting is who's playing Robert Hansen, the twisted killer extraordinaire? Why none other than JOHN CUSACK OH YEAH BABY. Bringing back the dream team from Con Air, this film pits Cusack against Cage in a WINNER TAKES ALL FIGHT TO VANESSA HUDGEN'S DEATH.


Godzilla (2014)

The biggest, lizardiest building of all.

Hey folks, hope your weekend was full of low altitude drops into extremely dangerous situations! I know mine certainly was, and it's all thanks to the arrogance of man, whose hubris knows no bounds. Welcome back to the Tagline, today I will be talking about the new Godzilla film that was just released, which I approached with a mixture of hope and deep fear. Much like any person who had endured a traumatic incident, I was fearful to approach something that was so reminiscent of the place where I had previously suffered. If you would like my complete thoughts on the matter, then please feel free to look over here. Anyway this film cuts a different path entirely, and is actually about a thing that you'd expect a Godzilla movie to be about, and not a bunch of assholes trying to blow up some weird looking Tyrannosaurus or something. This showed us that clearly the makers of 1998 Godzilla had no idea what the fuck they were doing. In addition to the 8 million other reasons why that movie was total shit, it was doomed from the start due to an inherent lack of understanding, about what people like about Godzilla. To wit, no one wants to watch a movie where Ferris Bueller and Leon the Professional team up to murder Godzilla and a bunch of Jurassic Park raptors. NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT MOVIE (okay someone might, but that's a totally different movie). It shows that the creators of that movie didn't know shit about Godzilla. Godzilla is not the bad guy. No one wants to see Godzilla get killed. We want to see him beat up OTHER MONSTERS and the city just sort of gets annihilated in the crossfire, because he's really big, and the other monsters are also big. Godzilla is the hero of the movie, make no mistake. Sure he maybe kills a lot of people, but he isn't TRYING to kill them. They're probably assholes anyway, why are they hanging around downtown with a 30 story tall lizard bearing down on them?


Blast From the Past

Look at this just... awful cover.
"She'd never met anyone like him. He's never met anyone... Period."

Hi everyone, we're rounding out into the back end of the week, and I couldn't be more full of hate. Naturally when I feel this way I feel the need to lash out at those around me, and that includes you, my fine readers. To that end, I thought I'd do something really hateful, which is to expose you to a Brendan Fraser movie, because that's just the worst I can come up with on short notice. I considered George of the Jungle, but in the end I settled on Blast from the Past, because George of the Jungle had that super cool gorilla and Leslie Mann, and that's not nearly as bad as being trapped in a film with ALICIA FUCKING SILVERSTONE. Yeah you heard me right, as in Clueless, or worse yet BATMAN AND ROBIN. Yeah, I'm going there. If you're hoping that the movie's premise will soften the blow well... maybe temper your expectations. Blast from the Past was a film released right on the bleeding edge of the millennium, but still steeped in the mysticism of the 90s. It stars Mr. Fraser as Adam, a 35 year old man who, thanks to his paranoid father (who was convinced like so many that communists would end the world by starting WWIII) has lived his whole life in a self-sustaining fallout shelter. As such, he is incredibly naive, despite being a sort of 1950s style renaissance man. After 35 years on lockdown, Adam's father Calvin (Christopher Walken) ventures into the outside world. He believes he has emerged into a post-apocalyptic warscape, filled with a degenerate brand of barbaric humanity, but actually he is just in a shitty part of Los Angeles, which does admittedly seem like it's trying to get ahead of the apocalyptic curve. Deciding they should stay underground forever, Calvin tries to venture out for supplies, but after suffering chest pains decides that Adam will need to brave the fearsome nightmare that is LA.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Is it his greatest battle? I'm not sure.
"His greatest battle begins."

Hi everyone, welcome back to The Tagline! It was a sunny warm weekend, which was just terrible for me, you know how much I just HATE that, but on the upside I finally saw The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TWOOO with returning star Andrew Garfield once again donning the Spideysuit to protect New York from crime in whatever form it chooses to take. Also returning as his smarter than him girlfriend is Emma Stone, as the always awesome Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are an item in real life, and I think their natural chemistry really carries through to the screen). In this particular outing Spiderman faces off against Electro, who if you couldn't deduce from his name is made out of electricity (well he's actually just like a living capacitor, but he is FULL OF electricity). Originally an overlooked and forgettable nerd who was downtrodden and abused at Oscorp, Max Dillon becomes a force of nature after a horrific incident involving some power lines and electric eels or something. Dillon is portrayed by Jamie Foxx, who does a credible job as an awkward weirdo power nerd, instead of a gunslinging badass. Added into this already complex situation (especially because of Peter Parker's conflicting emotions relating to how he promised Gwen's dead dad he'd leave her out of his shit, and then PROMPTLY DIDN'T) is Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, remember when he kissed Harry Potter, or when he was an insane proto-super villain?) who was Peter Parker's best bud, but now is rapidly spiraling down into crazy land because of a terminal condition he inherited from his asshole dad, who everyone hates anyway so let's all celebrate now that he's dead. As you may have already guessed if you're familiar with the comics, Harry is about to go goblin.


Adult World

Is this a real poster? I DON'T KNOW
"When life gets hard, rise to the occasion."

I like this tagline because it is a boner joke, and really that's the kind of class and general level of discourse I like to encourage here. Welcome back, its time for more of the very best that el cine has to provide, here at The Tagline. Today's offering really spoke to me, because it concerns a fleshed out version of a stock character in a story I like to tell. It is maybe a story that is forever retold, because I don't believe for second that my experiences in the matter were unique. Let me give some background. When I was a fledgling undergraduate, still filled with hopes and aspirations, my dreams not yet rent asunder by the jagged, merciless crags of reality, I thought that it would be super cool to take a creative writing class, and actually I ended up taking several, but this story is mostly about the introductory courses. A lot of higher level creative writing courses have a kind of try out, where you submit a piece to the teacher so they can attempt to verify that your primary interest isn't like Naruto/X-Files slash fiction or something. Intro creative writing classes, the 100 level stuff? It doesn't have any of that gate keeping. What that means is that you might meet some not truly awesome authors. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that I am the world's greatest gift to the written word or anything, but I mean, some writers redefine bad. Others just define it in the same way it has been defined before. I would think and proclaim suggesting that such a person could exist at all was offensive if I had not interacted with them on at least three separate occasions (you don't get to choose who you're peer reviewing folks). ANYWAY to bring the story back around, there are certain people who you will inevitably interact with in such a class, and one of them is poet girl (also poet guy but he tends to embody a different archetype, as he is trying to emulate different individual). Poetry girl is so deep and her writing always tends to favor verse, and abstract, stream of consciousness style stuff. Everything is a metaphor nested inside of a simile, inevitably about the deep well of anguish that resides in her tormented, maybe 19-year-old soul. Somehow almost everything is about a boy she broke up with. After all, as I've established in earlier posts growing up in upper-middle class suburbia is hard.


Red Dragon and Manhunter

So 80s man.
"Enter the mind of a serial killer... you may never come back."

"Before the Silence, there was the Dragon"

Hello everyone, welcome to a new week filled with creepy murderers and their half-eaten victims! Today I'm going to be doing something a little bit different, and instead of talking about a single movie I will be talking about two different movies that were both adaptations of the same novel. The first is Manhunter, released in 1986, and the second is Red Dragon, which was released in 2002, as the third and last film in which Anthony Hopkins portrayed Hannibal Lecter. While based on events from the same novel, the two present very different takes on the same plot, in terms of theme and overall tone. This is partially because they were made during very different time periods (the mid 80s have cinematically essentially nothing in common with 2002) but also due to the context in which they were released. Manhunter was released simply as an adaptation of the novel Red Dragon, whereas Red Dragon was released as the third "Hannibal Lecter" movie, and the cultural import of that character had a real impact on the way the movie's plot was framed and presented. Both concern special agent Will Graham as he is brought back on with the FBI in an attempt to stop a serial killer being called "The Tooth Fairy", due to the distinctive bite marks he leaves on his victims. To help him get into the mind of the killer and prevent further victims, Will seeks the insight of Hannibal Lecter, who was the killer behind Graham's last case, before he went into retirement, due to the strain of assuming the mindset of killers to deduce their motives. Lecter of course is a genius and a madman, and has his own motivations for assisting Graham. Now that the basics are established, let's compare and contrast!

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