X-Men: The Last Stand – Movie Review

This isn’t training anymore, guys. This is the real deal… You may never come back.          – Wolverine

X-Men 3

After the relative critical and commercial success of X-2: X-Men United, I suppose a third installment of the X-Men movie franchise was inevitable. This 2006 film dealt with the introduction of a mutant “cure” as well as the return of Jean Grey as the Dark Phoenix.

After Bryan Singer, director of the first two films in the franchise, decided to leave to take the helm on the new Superman Returns, Brent Ratner took over. Watching this movie, this shift becomes very apparent minutes into the film. The mature and involving tone of the second film is gone here; in exchange, this film offers some occasionally non-sensical writing and some incredibly cheesy lines. At some points, I actually felt that this film was more campy and awkward than the first. Other than the sudden shift in tone, several other errors plague this film. One such problem is the introduction of FAR too many characters, seemingly all at once. As a result, these new characters (such as Colossus, Kitty, The Juggernaut, and Psylocke)   receive very little development or backstory. As a direct result of this, I found it very difficult to care about these characters’ motivations over the course of this film. Speaking of character troubles, several main characters are anticlimactically neutralized early into the movie. If you are a fan of Cyclops, Mystique, or Professor Xavier, prepare to be extremely disappointed as these characters are severely underutilized to the point that their being in the movie is completely unnecessary. While some characters are underutilized, some are used far too often, namely, Storm and Rogue. After two movies of the Wolverine show, it seems Ratner tried to mix it up this time around by making Storm a more complex and interesting character. This simply does not work, largely due to poor writing as well as Halle Berry’s lack of talent as an actress. She definitely looks like she’s trying her hardest, but all of her plot points seem very forced. Rogue should have been cut from this movie, due to her doing absolutely nothing significant in this installment. In addition to that, it seems the writers of this film have decided to change Rogue’s personality from that of this film’s predecessors, so much so that Rogue is now completely unlikeable. Due to the lack of development of the central characters in this film and the removal of key players in the X-Men, only 6 members of the team remain for this final fight, only 3 of whom I was able to connect to and cared about. The final scene in this film is also a tease and, considering this movie is titled “THE LAST STAND,” a completely unnecessary nod toward a potential sequel to this film.

This movie isn’t all bad, however. This movie benefits from improved effects in almost all cases. The exception to this is Wolverine’s claws, which still look like animated toys. A special nod goes to the Phoenix effects, which for the most part look spectacular, considering this movie was released almost 7 years ago. Another nice addition to this movie is the character, Beast, who is, unfortunately, underdeveloped. With this being said, his scenes were entertaining, and he was a very interesting character. The final fight scene in this movie is also pretty well done, consisting of some great visuals and even a few neat match-ups.

THE VERDICT: Rental Worthy

This movie is by no means great and is easily the weakest in the series. For simply fun, however, this movie is passable as entertainment. If nothing else, this movie is worth watching once if you are an X-Men fan.

So, what did you think of X-Men: The Last Stand? Make sure to leave a comment letting me know your thoughts and feelings on the movie as well as on this review. If you liked reading this, make sure to like it and to follow this blog for updates on when new reviews come out. I should have more coming soon, so stay tuned!

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X2: X-Men United — Movie Review

Mutants. Since the discovery of their existence they have been regarded with fear, suspicion, often hatred. Across the planet, debate rages. Are mutants the next link in the evolutionary chain or simply a new species of humanity fighting for their share of the world? Either way it is a historical fact: Sharing the world has never been humanity’s defining attribute”                                                                                                                             – Professor Charles Xavier

ImageX2: X-Men United is the sequel to the 2000 commercial success, X-Men (click here to see my review for that). This takes place soon after the first ended with Xavier and the rest of his school falling back into a normal routine, just as a new threat emerges for Mutantkind when a Mutant assassin attacks the president, sending the nation into a panic that has serious ramifications that threaten to eliminate all Mutants.

As you’ll note in my previous review, my primary issue with this film’s predecessor was the poor writing at parts which gave the film a ‘cheesy’ feel. I’m happy to say that those involved with this film’s production must have picked up on that, since they have fixed it in X2. The dialogue is actually quite witty at times, making it feel like a more mature film than the first. This is probably the reason I HATED this movie when it was released; being in 3rd grade, I didn’t understand most of it. This is a movie geared more for a somewhat older audience than the first, which I found to be a very welcome change.

Another point I made with X-Men was that it never really felt like the ensemble film it was supposed to be, but focused on the main selling point of the film: Wolverine. While I’d be lying if I said that he didn’t feel like the star of this movie, other characters definitely get their chances. What I really liked about this movie was the different arcs that each character was given, making him or her feel more relevant. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) was looking into his past, Jean (Famke Janssen) was losing control of her powers, Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Rogue (Anna Paquin) were dating, and the list goes on. These arcs made me care about these characters, even when they weren’t on screen because they had their own stuff going on, unlike in the first movie where everyone except Wolverine and Rogue were focused on the same thing. In addition to having their own arcs, most main characters even get at least one fight sequence in which he or she shows off his or her power, with some characters getting multiple moments  This was another welcome improvement which made me appreciate the X-Men as a team rather than a crew that followed Wolverine around while watching him fight baddies.

A few new characters are introduced in this film, two of whom blew me away and are definitely worth mentioning. The first is Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), a Mutant with the ability to teleport. Cumming was great in the role and portrayed Nightcrawler as funny, powerful, and even a bit haunted. His segments with Storm (Halle Berry) were great and could even be considered highlights of the film. I only wish he could have stuck around for the next installment (more on that later). The other character worth mentioning is William Stryker (Brian Cox), who plays a more sadistic and chilling villain than Magneto (Ian McKellan). The man is methodical and his plan, while less preposterous than Magneto’s in the first film, is capable of causing lasting repercussions for everyone.

The fights in this movie are fantastic and one especially caught my eye. This is the fight between Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) and Wolverine. Without spoiling anything, I can say that it is easily my favorite fight in this trilogy, even though I wish I could have seen more of Deathstrike in action. The other fights are about what you’d expect after seeing the first film, which is great. The visuals in this film, like its predecessor, are a bit dated now, but since this was made in 2003, this is to be expected.

The only gripe I have with this movie is that, again, I hate the way Cyclops (James Marsden) is portrayed. I find him to be irritating i and he just seems to be there because he has to be.


Going into this movie, I didn’t think there was any way it could get higher than DVD Worthy from me, but it impressed me so much. I literally found so few flaws in this that I can’t deny that it might just be one of my favorite comic book movies ever. The writers improved what they could and gave us a more fulfilling movie than the last, which is saying a lot. I respect that, and I can promise you I will be watching X2 again soon.

What did you think of X2: X-Men United? About my review? Comment below or send me an email to let me know. As always thank you for reading and make sure to check out some of my other reviews and to come back soon for my review of X-Men: The Last Stand (AKA X-Men 3).

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X-Men — Movie Review

“Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.”                                                                                                            – Storm


X-Men is based on the popular Marvel comic book series in which human evolution has resulted in Mutants, people with unique abilities. Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) runs a school where Mutants can train and learn to control their powers. The X-Men, an elite fighting force of Charles’, must save the world from both humankind as well as The Brotherhood of Mutants, led by Magneto (Ian McKellen).

Since this film is entitled X-Menone would be led to believe that this is an ensemble movie, but I don’t feel like this is the case. In fact, if the movie’s title were completely honest, it would have been called, THE WOLVERINE Meets The X-Men, because the focus of this movie is not on the group itself; it is on Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).

Jackman, a relative unknown at the time, completely owns the role or Wolverine, from his voice to his appearance. His relationship with Rogue (Anna Paquin) is definitely the most believable in the film, which is bizarre considering there are other, supposedly stronger relationships in this movie (such as Cyclops/Jean Grey and even the often mentioned past of Xavier/Magneto).

While Jackman and Paquin both provide strong performances in this film, most other characters are very forgettable. This isn’t to say that the actors aren’t well-suited for their roles, but they are given so little screen time that you never feel any real connection to them. The only character I felt anything for was Cyclops (James Marsden), who I hated. I understand that for the Cyclops-Jean-Wolverine love triangle to work there must be tension between the two men, but I found Marsden to be irritating. In short, I felt that most of the cast was underutilized in this film, which is really a shame when you consider some of the talent involved (namely, McKellen and Stewart).

Since superhero movies are generally required to have some sweet action sequences, let’s address those. The fight scenes in X-Men were all pretty decent, with the best coming from the end of the movie when the X-Men throw down with the Brotherhood of Mutants. These fights hosted some pretty dated visuals, although for an almost thirteen year-old movie, I can’t really complain. These sequences have cool choreography and some pretty interesting locations that I think should keep you interested. The only complaint I would make about these is that most are (like the rest of the movie) focused on Wolverine.

The writing for this movie is where my main complaint comes. First off, Magneto’s master plan (which I won’t reveal for the sake of spoilers) is pretty silly and makes Magneto look crazy, which isn’t really the point of the character. This isn’t a huge gripe, however, since this is a comic book movie where over the top and ridiculous things do occasionally happen. The biggest issue with the writing isn’t in story but in dialogue. The characters in this movie are constantly cracking one-liners that are unbelievably cheesy (see quote before review). This is a problem from beginning to end, and it makes the movie feel more and more like a kid’s movie.


Despite the cheese, X-Men is still a really great movie that I think fans of the genre should definitely see. It is exciting, engaging, and I believe it is to thank for the modern superhero movie. Without X-Men, we might have been stuck in a world where the comic book movie was defined by Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin, so for that, X-Men deserves some credit. It is still fun to watch thirteen years later, showing just how special this one really is.

What do you think of X-Men? Did you like the review? Comment below or send me an email to let me know. As always, thank you for reading and make sure to stay tuned for more reviews.

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Full Metal Alchemist – Television Show Review

Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of equivalent exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world’s one and only truth.”     – Alphonse Elric

And so began my experience with anime; let’s talk about Full Metal Alchemist.


Full Metal Alchemist is an anime series that ran from 2003 to 2004 that follows the adventures of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse (Al) as they try to learn more about the secret art of alchemy in order to regain what they have lost. These two live in a world which has one key difference from ours: instead of advancements in scientific knowledge resulting in industrialization, alchemy has become a legitimate and powerful science.

Since this series was focused on the adventures of these two brothers, I knew that if the show couldn’t make me care about their relationship, it would lose me. Thankfully, the interactions between the brothers and the feelings they have for each other are incredibly believable and make for some very entertaining moments. Another great part about these two characters is the voice acting behind them. Edward’s voice actor captures his personality perfectly, both in moments of distress as well as in moments of happiness. Al’s voice is also done quite well, with a haunting and soft voice that comes from the suit of armor that he uses as a body.

There are also a number of memorable side characters that the Elric brothers run into during their journey and, while I can’t address each of them, I will discuss a few of the more prominent ones. First off, we have Colonel Roy Mustang, whose arrogant personality often clashes with Edward’s. While initially I didn’t care for Mustang, as the series goes on, his backstory is revealed and he becomes one of the most memorable characters in the show. Another memorable character in this series was Major Armstrong, who might be one of the most flamboyant characters I have ever seen in anything. He was absolutely hilarious, and he stole every scene he was in. The last character I will mention is Scar, who happens to be my favorite character in this series. Scar is a walking tornado of death with one of the coolest origins I’ve heard in a long time. His moments with Al later in the series are touching and made me love him even more.

Strong characters in a series count for nothing if they are not part of a bigger and more interesting plot. Not only does Full Metal Alchemist have an original and cool premise (alternate world that uses alchemy), but it also has an unpredictable plot, full of twists and turns that will keep you intrigued. As the main story arc is slowly revealed, so too are the true motivations of those involved as well as a few sudden and shocking deaths. This is simply one of the smartest written things I have ever seen, from beginning to end. A minor complaint I have with this show is that in the last few episodes, a small aspect of the plot is a bit strange and, honestly, a bit confusing to me. This aside, everything is wrapped up pretty well (they made a movie to finish it up), and I liked the way it ended.

Now, let’s talk a little about one of the best parts of anime: the violence. The fights in this show, ranging from sparring matches with other alchemists to epic episode-long battles with the Homunculi (the villains of the show), are all breath-taking. Battles are truly epic and should not disappoint you.

Memorable and convincing characters? Check. Cool and original premise? Check. Intense Action? Check. This alone would have made a great series. The creators of Full Metal didn’t stop there.

The thing that stands out as being so original about Full Metal Alchemist to me is the themes this show tackled. The series addressed things such as what it means to be human,  playing God, racism, and so much more. I’ll admit that this really surprised me when I first started watching the show, because I had always assumed that an anime series couldn’t be thought provoking. I was 100% wrong, and it could be said that watching this made me fall in love with anime.


This is not only my favorite anime but also one of my favorite shows. It has everything going right for it and it is definitely worth your time. Watch them now if you have Netflix, whether you are a fan of anime or not. You won’t be disappointed.

*It should be noted that I watched the English-dubbed version of this show. I can’t vouch for the quality of the voice acting of any other version.

What do you think of Full Metal Alchemist? What did you think of this review? Comment below or send me an email to let me know what you think. As always thanks for reading and don’t forget to check back soon for lots of new and exciting entries.

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Les Misérables – Movie Review

“I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving”                                                                                       – Fantine


Les Misérables is the film adaptation of the musical of the same name (which also happens to be adapted from Victor Hugo’s novel). It is the story of a man named Jean Valijean who, after being released from prison, is shown a random act of kindness which changes his life, leading him to skip out on his parole, making him a wanted man once again. Years later, Valijean has become an honest businessman but is haunted by his past when Inspecter Javert comes onto the scene and begins to suspect that Valijean isn’t quite what he claims to be. Set in Paris in the 1800’s, a lot more happens in this three-hour epic, like a desperate woman becoming a prostitute, young lovers meeting, a revolt involving barricades, suicide, a marriage, and so much more. What makes this especially unique is that this film is almost completely done in song, making it a total musical.

I was following this movie for quite awhile before it was released. Mainly this was for two reasons:

  1. The movie was receiving A TON of hype.     
  2. I consider myself to be a fan of musicals.

I mean, I love watching some Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or Sound of Music every now and then, so I was pretty excited. Then the first trailer came out, featuring Anne Hathaway singing, and I was dying to see it (if you haven’t seen that, go online and watch it now).

So, the question is, did this movie live up to the hype and meet my expectations?

Simply put: yes

To start talking about this movie, I feel like I should really start with the acting. Valijean was played by Hugh Jackman, who I had actually never heard sing prior to watching this. Jackman was a much better singer than I thought he would be, and I was very impressed with him overall. He did a nice job and I imagine he will at least be nominated for an Oscar for this performance. Russell Crowe plays the villain, Javert, in this film, and I was surprised by him as well. This was actually because, due to word of mouth and having peeked online at some other reviews, I was led to believe that he was a horrible singer. While I’ll admit that he didn’t sound as good as some of the other cast members, I didn’t think he did a bad job at all. I really liked his character, and he even sang one of my favorite songs in this movie (Stars) pretty well. Cosette, played by Amanda Seyfried, did fine but was not in the movie very much at all. Since she seemed to be such an important character (young Cosette is the little blonde-headed girl on the promotional material), I expected to see more of her than I did. Eddie Redmayne plays Marius, a young man who involves himself in the revolt. I’ll admit, I had never heard of Redmayne prior to watching this, but I thought the guy was talented, and I look forward to seeing his next project. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were also in this movie as filthy innkeepers who make various appearances in the film. Not surprisingly, they provided much of the comic relief but aren’t in the movie too much.

One actress in this movie I haven’t mentioned yet really blew me away, and that is Anne Hathaway as Fantine. She is in the movie for only part of this movie, but her moments were by far my favorites. Not only does Hathaway have a beautiful voice, but there is one sequence where she really shows off her acting, appearing to be as miserable and wretched as someone in her position would really be. To put her performance into perspective, I am a 19 year-old male and I like to think I can handle a lot, but during one sequence, I cried a little in the theater. Something powerful enough to make me feel that way should be commended, so I think Ms. Hathaway deserves all the praise that she will inevitably get for her performance.

Another thing about this movie I liked a lot was the songs, which is great because there are a lot of them. In my opinion, everyone in this movie is a good singer and actor/actress, so all the songs are believable and sound nice. 1800’s Paris has also never looked or felt more real; set design and makeup for some of the background characters in this movie are nothing short of astounding, making you feel as if you are truly looking into this troubled time that is so full of palpable tension.

I also have to give director Tom Hooper credit for having the courage to take this on. I think the reason this is the first film of Les Misérables as a musical is that it’s hard to do. You have to worry about all the regular troubles of making a movie, but you also must make sure that you can find men and women who are talented enough to sing LOADS of dialogue well and can also embody their characters. A ton of time must have been put into the casting for this movie, and it really shows when you see these performances.

The biggest gripe I have about this movie has to be its length. Going into this, I was expecting an easy to watch 3 hour movie with some singing, but I must admit that I felt the length of this movie quite often. At 157 minutes, this movie is certainly shorter than other movies I’ve seen this year, but it feels so much longer. With that being said I don’t think any of the scenes in this movie could have been cut, but the movie just felt longer than it should have. Another problem I could see some people having is, as I said, almost all of this movie is presented in song. While I personally didn’t mind this, if you don’t like musicals, you will be miserable watching this movie.

THE VERDICT: DVD WORTHY    (if you like musicals)

I was on the fence between Ticket and DVD worthy, but for me, this movie was worth purchasing. Solid performances, a rich story, and Anne Hathaway all made this movie a favorite of the year for me, but the film’s perceived length made me not want to rewatch it time after time. If you like musicals at all, go see this one.

So, what did you think of Les Misérables? Did you like my review? Comment below or send me an email to let me know. As always, thanks for reading and make sure to check out some of my other reviews and to follow me if you want to be notified when I post new ones.

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American Horror Story (Season 1) – Television Show Review

Ghosts, Murder, Sex, and Frankenbaby. What more could you want?

American Horror Story (S1)

In this entry, I’d like to talk about the first season of one of the most original shows I’ve ever seen: American Horror Story. Now, normally I will talk about TV shows as a whole, but, as some of you may know, AHS is an anthology series, meaning that each season is a completely separate story with its own unique characters and setting. As such, it makes sense that each season of this show warrants its own review. With that said, let’s start the review.

American Horror Story‘s first season follows the Harmon family as they move from Boston to a new home in Los Angeles. The home, known as “Murder House” by some, was the site of a murder-suicide, in addition to a number of other sick events. Without going into too many details, I can say that the house is haunted by many of its former inhabitants, which forces the Harmons to fight for their family – and for their lives.

So, first off, this show interested me because it was created by Ryan Murphy who many of you will recognize from his creation of the hit show Glee. However, I knew of him due to his involvement with Nip/Tuck, a show I watched for years. Due to this and a very cool viral ad campaign that built excitement for the show by providing brief (usually 25 seconds or less) and disturbing images, this show was a must-watch for me.

The central characters in this show are the Harmons: psychiatrist Ben (Dylan McDermott), his wife Vivien (Connie Britton), and their daughter, Violet (Taissa Farmiga). The most important supporting characters are the Harmon family’s neighbor, Constance (Jessica Lange), Tate (Evan Peters), a disturbed young man that Ben is helping, and their maid, Moira (played by both Frances Conroy and Alexandra Breckinridge). All of the characters in this show serve their purpose well and entertain consistently. McDermott is perfect as the adulterous husband who tries to find redemption, Farmiga does well as the daughter of a failing marriage, and even Conroy/Breckinridge play their part well, but I found Britton, Lange, and Peters’ performances most compelling. Britton, known for Friday Night Lightsis incredibly believable in the role and I hope to see her in more roles like it. Peters also shows off his acting prowess, especially as you learn more about his character; he is one REALLY messed-up guy, and his performance really reflects that. Lange has received universal praise for her role as Constance, and rightfully so. She is funny when she needs to be, often mean, and even has some touching moments with some of the other characters. Lange deserved the Emmy she won for this performance and, without her, the show might not have been as good.

One aspect of this show that I like is the way it creates tension. So many horror movies have tried to do this by using things like ‘jump scares,’ but with AHS, tension is built with genuinely chilling and creepy moments. I also felt like this show was unpredictable, and therefore more frightening than 99% of the horror movies I have seen. Another way this show really shines is in its mysteriousness. The first episode poses so many questions that you just can’t wait to come back for answers. This gives the show an addictive quality that I rarely feel when watching television. Big reveals in the show were also done well and at times when it wasn’t expected. The beginning of each episode flashes back to a previous owner of the home, a technique that I thought was used very well to provide backstory. I actually looked forward to these segments more than any others in the show because these moments were always rich in substance and were generally very entertaining.

With only 12 episodes, the story moves along rather quickly, which might lose some viewers, but engaged me even more. I never felt that there was an extraneous scene or moment; everything seemed to have some kind of purpose for moving the plot along. Every episode felt relevant, so I enjoyed it more. The main storyline is mostly resolved by the end of episode 11, a difficult feat when so much has been introduced. With that being said, the 12 episodes might not be quite enough to wrap up all of the subplots, as some things are introduced in an earlier episode and then dropped. The last episode also leaves a few unresolved cliffhangers, although I imagine this was doen intentionally to mimic the style of many horror movies.

This show has some really great writing, awesome acting, an amazing premise and good execution. All of these aspects work well together and make for a really great show that I feel everyone should give a chance.


American Horror Story‘s first season had just about everything going right for it. If Murphy and his team stick with this project, I could see this being a well-received show with a long life span. When I think of this show, I imagine that every season could be like one really fleshed-out episode of The Twilight Zone, which really excites me. So, do yourself a favor and check this one out.

What did you think about this review? Have you seen American Horror Story? Comment or send me an email to let me know. Thanks for reading and check out the rest of my blog now and in the future for more reviews about movies, television shows, and video games.

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My Ratings System for Television Shows

Hey guys,

For my next review, I plan on talking about a TV show, but to do so, I need to lay out how I’ll be judging it. Like my movie reviews, I don’t think assigning numbers to the shows is a great way for me to assess them, so I’ve come up with my own ratings system. There are a few similarities to my system for reviewing movies, so if you’ve already read the post describing that, don’t expect too many surprises.

Starting with the lowest rating and ending with the highest, we have:

1. Garbage. These shows should be canceled immediately. They normally have any combination of poor acting, a bad premise, or just flawed execution. These aren’t worth spending any time on and will just make you angry. Avoid these.

2. Pilot Worthy. These shows aren’t too great, but they might have a few cool things working for them. Shows like this could be worth checking out if one seems interesting to you or you are a fan of the genre, just don’t expect to want to get too invested into it.

3. Season Worthy. These shows are good enough to warrant watching at least a few episodes of them. You won’t feel cheated or disappointed, but they won’t become your favorite shows either. Tuning in every once in awhile shouldn’t feel like a chore, and if you are looking for something to watch while bored, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

4. Series Worthy. These shows are worth following from beginning to end. These are really great and will not disappoint most viewers. You might even feel compelled to buy the overpriced DVD boxsets of some of these so that you can rewatch your favorite episodes. These might not be talked about or watched by people several years in the future, but for now, they are just fine.

5. The CLASSIC Award. The best of the best. These shows hook you and never let go. These are the shows that you buy on DVD and force your friends to watch so that they can share your fascination. These will be talked about and remembered years after they go off the air and will be considered classics. Everyone should watch these.

This is my current ratings system for television shows, but it is definitely subject to change. As always, comment or send me an email to let me know what you think of the system so that I can know what you guys think works and what doesn’t. Thanks for reading and make sure to stick around for my next review!


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