Thursday, June 16, 2011

Three Reviews: X-Men, Super 8, and Midnight in Paris

I have had a real-life work project rolling along, so I apologize for my rather selfish use of the site over the past few weeks.

For instance, if you haven’t heard, this Saturday, June 18th, 2011, the Reel Rhino will make history. Well nothing so significant as to cause Encyclopedia Britannica to get their shorts in a bunch, but significant enough for me to tell you about it here.

This Saturday at AMC Barrywoods, I will be taking in my favorite hetero man-crush, Ryan Reynolds, as he joins the Lantern Corps in GREEN LANTERN, the latest comic book, summer block buster offering. For whatever reason, DC comics always seem to have a darker tone than its Marvel counterpart. If you have seen the extended cut of the trailer, you’ll have to agree that but for Reynolds trademark wise cracks, that this film seems like the real deal for genre buffs, which luckily, I happen to be. I think this film will exist nicely in the realm of sci-fi, adventure, and comic book fare.

So what have I seen lately? I offer to you my single paragraph review, whirlwind takes on X-Men: First Class, Super 8, and Midnight in Paris.

X-Men: First Class 4 of 5 Horns
What a great entry into the X-Men series! This was an exciting film with a dynamic cast and it painted a vivid picture of the formation of one of the most feared super teams of all time: The Avengers! Wait a minute...that’s next summer! Make no mistake, this is a well made film and Matthew Vaughn is a force to contend with in the realm of up and coming directors. Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, and now First Class…that is a quality resume. I think this entire cast performed with style, but super kudos go to James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles Xavier and Erik Lensher. First Class has style, but it also has a sense of self-awareness. Some of the scenes are so comedic, given the high quality of the rest of the film, I am assuming that the scenes dialogue or action was shot with the tongue firmly planted in the cheek. These scenes are not only forgiven, they are embraced easily by the movie goers and provided well placed laughs amidst the gasps at the sense of adventure. Kevin Bacon is hammy in less sensational roles; he absolutely chewed his way out of this world eating set pieces with ease. For additional, enjoyable Kevin Bacon, leave Footloose on the shelf and shoot for James Gunn’s SUPER, from earlier this year.  P.S. Greatest cameo of the year....I'm not telling who, but you will know when you see it.

Super 8 5 of 5 Horns
Lora, I sensed from your comment, that you have some issues with Super 8. You are a dear friend, but I must contest, I loved this movie. J.J. Abrams has existed as one of my favorite folks in the entertainment industry for some time now. He solidified that opinion with the wonderful reboot of the Star Trek series. I always have been a fan of Star Trek; not a full fledge Trekker, but a fan none the less. J.J. made Star Trek cool again (yes, folks, it was cool before as well…deal with it). I’d like to say J.J. is a wunderkind director, but he’s been in the biz for over 20 years. In the 1980’s Abrams helped Steven Spielberg repair home movies he had made as a kid. That’s a pretty good break for a young wannabe filmmaker and this was just the first of Abrams/Spielberg interactions that would ultimately lead to this project. While Abrams calls Spielberg the Grandfather of Super 8; Spielberg maintains that Abrams could have travelled this road on his own. Super 8 is something of a Goonies meets E.T. alien adventure film, that is surrounded by all the mystery that both directors love. For further reading, please see also, Abrams TED talk on the mystery of the box. Well Super 8 is loaded with mystery. For starters, the mystery of who the hell are these kid actors? If they were to remake the Goonies, I would vote these folks in. Elle Fanning is charming and a chip off the old family block. I was also happy to see Noah Emmerich and Ron Eldard back in the acting game. Emmerich was formerly married to a friends sister. At said friend’s wedding, we had a blast hanging with “Mo” from Beautiful Girls. Must see TV, if you’re in the game for a flick. Super 8 is pure adventure from start to finish. See this movie.

Midnight in Paris 4 of 5 Horns
This film has been out for some time and for many of the past few weeks, Woody Allen’s latest film has raked in the highest per screen average amongst all the summer blockbusters playing at your local theaters. Impressive as the comic book, sequel, superhero films have occupied most screens nationwide, it’s good to see Allen still has the magic. And this film does have some magic. SPOILER ALERT: Most critics have steered clear of sharing the secret of this movie, but I think in doing so, you may be more inclined to see it. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS IS A TIME-TRAVEL, SCI-FI WONDER! Yep, you heard it here first. Midnight in Paris as a title describes a magic moment in time in a magical city. As the clock strikes midnight, our hero, Gil (Owen Wilson) is transported to an earlier time. The 1920’s in Paris were a renaissance as Gil saw it. As a “Hollywood hack” as he puts it, Gil is trying to write a novel. He dreams of a bygone era and wonders how great the inspiration would have flowed, had he been born in a different generation. Gil is transported into the 1920’s ala a midnight ride he takes each night in an old-timey car that mysteriously erupts from a foggy Paris night. This cast is loaded with stars and they all earn their paychecks here. I won’t say anymore other than Woody Allen works wonders with the time travel genre, flipping it on its head. This was an extraordinarily fun movie and whether or not you like Allen or not, this is not your standard Woody. I experienced a funny moment after the film, as I was discussing the movie with two ushers. I was perhaps the youngest person in the theater by 10 years and when I was talking to these folks, the young lady I was describing the film to, asked me in a hushed tone: “Is this an old person movie?” as several silver haired movie goers passed us by. Well folks, Woody Allen has been around for years, by I argue that he still has the power to entertain people of all ages.

I hope to see you all on Saturday at AMC Barrywoods…it’s a big day for me and I look forward, just as much, to the next 1000.

Until later, take care!

Reel Rhino


  1. I didn't hate it, I was just disappointed! My original comment (that I backspaced over) said something like "I wish I would have saved $10 and stayed home watching ET and Goonies" So funny that you mentioned both!

    I wanted to be wowed by special effects, and totally scared by the monster but I wasn't. boo.

    I think it will be a fun movie nite at home movie when Jake gets a little older.

  2. the cameo in x-men is awesome. loved the first three, but wish this would have been the first to be made!!!! not the first series of movies to be made backwards....