Tag Archives: Michael Fassbender

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Review


Self-healing and generally cranky mutant Wolverine’s consciousness is sent back to his younger body in the 1970’s to avert disaster in a future that threatens both Mutants and Humans.

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Days of Future past fits snugly in with the rest of the X-Men franchise, even more snugly than a few of the other installments. Perhaps it is because Bryan Singer is back at the helm. Both the self-referential dialogue and the humour is jacked up to ninety as he deftly handles the new additions to the cast since his last outing in X-Men 2.

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This is an X-Men love in which deals both with a dystopian future filled with a new and more than agile threat to both Humans and Mutants in the form of Sentinels. Then we are thrown back to the 1970s where Wolverine has to re-unit the threesome of high ranking mutants, Charles Xavier (Professor X), Eric Lehnsherr (Magneto) and Raven Darkholme (Mystique) who are at each other’s throats in an attempt to change the future. Really beyond that there is very little else I can say about the plot without causing a rift in the space time continuum or at least spoiling the story for X-Men fans.

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Singer brings with him a true love of the X-Men characters as we see Xavier dealing with personal struggles (in a very 70s fashion) which James McEvoy portrays with an ease I felt was missing from X-Men: First Class. Michael Fassbender is utterly commanding as the vengeful and ice-cold Magneto, again his character has grown from the first film, while Jennifer Lawrence is magnificent as a hardened Mystique who is on a mission all of her own. Of course Wolverine remains as cranky as he is true of heart.

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The set pieces are put together at a mind bending pace and quality and as always there are a few new mutant powers thrown in for good effect. Last but not least there is one slow-mo scene with a teenage Quicksilver which threatens to steals the entire show!

Fans of X-Men will approve and as it is the 7th film in the series I don’t think the producers are too worried about what the others think.

8/10

Thanks to 20th Century Fox Ireland  for choosing me as one of their winners for their ticket competition!

X-Men: Days of Future Past in in Irish cinemas now.

Check your local Irish Cinema here

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Frank Directed by Lenny Abrahamson – Film Review


An aspiring songwriter,  Jon, stumbles into the position as a keyboard player of an experimental and unpronounceable band, Soronprfbs, led by the enigmatic papier-mâché head wearing Frank as they embark the recording of their first album.

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Lenny Abrahamson has doubled back to the tone of poignant humour he first delivered to us in Adam & Paul. Though Frank deals with mental instability and depression it covers it up with a lovely gentle humour, much as Frank (Michael Fassbender) covers up his own head with a cartoon visage.

Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) is the every-man character who is thrown into the world where Frank, who never takes off his mask, is revered as a genius by the rest of the dysfunctional band. Instead of meeting these deficiencies head on Jon is naively swept along with the rest of the members into believing Franks genius status. But the longer he stays the more he gets to know and tries to understand the human and troubled side of Frank.

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Domhnall Gleeson plays a very similar inexperienced character to the role in About Time even down to the English accented narration and he wears it with comfort. Though we do not see Michael Fassbender’s face he is convincing as the revered front man whose layers are slowly peeled away. Maggie Gyllenhaal is more than believable as the terrifyingly psychotic theremin player. While Scoot McNairy is Don the informal manager/Bass player of the band who get’s the lion’s share of the best lines and uses them naturally. All of the performances are great.

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Abrahamson has paced the movie in his usual easy going stride. The humour is dry and evenly scattered throughout the plot alongside heavier scenes dealing with the theme of depression which becomes more evident toward the end of the story.

I cannot say it is an overwhelming movie but I left with a sad but warm feeling in my heart.

7/10

Frank is now playing in Irish Cinemas

Check your local Irish Cinema here

12 Years A Slave – Film Review


In 1841 freeman Solomon Northrup is kidnapped from Washington, given a new identity and sold into the south as a slave.

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Director Steve McQueen has planted himself among the great contemporary film directors. He weaves the horrendous true-life-tale of Solomon Northrup’s forced enslavement with equal amounts of delicacy and brutality as the story demands. With the compassion of Roots and the violence of The Passion of the Christ it rises higher than the sum of the two. This is a story from the slaves point of view, where we see the extent that the less than animal-like treatment of the slaves has on the human psyche. Though it is not comfortable viewing neither is the recounting of  Northrup’s story.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor plays free man Solomon Northrup with an aching stoicism. He conveys both the struggles to find ways to return to his life and the heartbreak at being frustrated in the same direction with only subtle changes of his facial expression. On the other hand acting opposite him Adepero Oduye and Lupita Nyong’o (Eliza and Patsey) are equally heart breaking while being emotionally unrestrained.

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The rest of the cast, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt and Paul Dano represent the different types of attitudes to slavery that existed at the time. They have a wonderfully refined screenplay to deal with thanks to John Ridley. But it is Michael Fassbender who really proves here that he is an actor as opposed to a movie star. With each role Fassbender obliterates any trace of his previous roles and creates a new and memorable character. He deserves all the recent nominations he has been given and more

10/10

12 Years A Slave is in Irish Cinemas now.

Check your local Irish Cinema here

Alien vs Prometheus


I first saw Alien in a friend’s house on, what I later realised to be, an early illegal Beetamax copy. I was twelve and to be honest because the copy was so bad frankly I didn’t really know what was going on. The memory it left me with was an unimaginable monster with acid for blood. Even at twelve this was an exciting concept. When James Cameron took the helm in Aliens, as we know, the character of Ellen Ripley became a household name. She returned in the weakest member of the franchise Alien 3. It was a very messy affair. At one stage it was going to be set on a wooden planet inhabited by monks, an entire script was written until one of the producers asked “A wooden Planet?? Really?” Though it still had it’s moments, notably Charles Dances sudden exit and that final scene where Ripley effectively ended the run. Until, that is, when they decided to rebuild her for Alien: Resurrection where we saw the lighter side of the seemingly eternal battle of Ripley Vs. Alien or Xenomorph as it has come to be called.

In summary

But I loved them all even the crappy ones. I own the box set, Alien for the sheer terror and that first chest burst, Aliens for “Get away from her you bitch”, Aliens 3 for we ran out of ideas but we need to make another and Alien Resurrection for the fun.

Alien Universe Themes

Ships that had character, the “Synthetics” or “Artificial People”, becoming heavily armed or climbing into a body enhancer in a terrible hurry, cryogenic sleep, in fighting, very, very long space journeys, opening fire and hidden agendas.

Prometheus

From the Greek Legend about the immortal who first created man from water and clay and then proceeded to steal fire from Zeus and gave it to man, he was brother to Pandora of the box, they were a family of menaces. I digress.

First Half an Hour Plot

I sat with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Wanting to enjoy it but scared that it would not live up to the butterflies in my stomach. At least I hoped they were butterflies. The opening shot was Ridley Scott “Movie Magic”, nothing like you had ever seen in an Alien movie before. The camera flies over a landscape, mountains, rivers, an eerily still lake and over a gushing waterfall, you can imagine that each still of that opening is a picture in itself.

Then we happen upon the buffest albino the screen has seen since the Da Vinci Code except this albino is certainly not human. He drinks something that is about to disagree with him unpleasantly and we are given a rapid tour through his internal system and shown a crumbling strand of DNA.

Scott has our attention. The story moves rapidly from there to archaeological dig in 2089 where Archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) confirms she has found a constellation which claims to be the origin of life. So the Space Ship Prometheus with 17 crew aboard is sent to investigate.  All this takes place circa 30 years before the first Alien movie.

Back to the actual review

So the backstory to how it all began had begun. If you know the Aliens movies already you will see how Scott begins the strands that run through first two movies. If you don’t know the Alien foreground what you are watching is a fairly decent science fiction movie which succeeds where others like Sphere and Event Horizon and Mission to Mars failed to deliver.

All of the above elements from the other movies are present and so fans will not be disappointed. But the main themes here are the struggle between Science and Religion as well as an alarming number of the crew who seem to suffer from issues relating to their Fathers.

The Weyland Corporation gets some back history as well. One of the reasons this movie came into existence was the die-hard fans pre occupation with the massive being from the first movie (nick named Space Jockey). They finally get some sort of pay off.

The cast are more than adequate but still could have been better with the exception of Michael Fassbender who plays David, the artificial person, an android that could easily be the brain child of 2001’s HAL or a grown up and soulless version of his namesake David from A.I. Fassbender performance is particular, creepy and somewhat hypnotic. In a nice touch he delivers the most humour as he reflects and defends his position amongst humans. The other performance which caught my eye was Idrid Elba as Janek, Captain of the Prometheus, while the other characters are rushing around being astounded by their discoveries, he takes the piss and gets away with it until called upon to do his duty. Charlize Theron and an almost unrecognisable Guy Pearce also put in decent performances.

But still there were patches where I thought the filmmakers could have tried harder and even though we are talking about a film set in the Alien Universe (as there have already been four other films) on a purely human level there were some suspensions of disbelief that may come across as lazy.

On the other hand maybe they tried too hard to make it a stand-alone movie and still part of the franchise. Maybe they tried too hard to make it philosophical and an action movie.

Even though it may be flawed, it is still worth going to see in the cinema.

On a final note maybe, just maybe I missed Ellen Ripley a little bit too much.