The cure that angers some of the mutants has been developed by a man whose son is a mutant. The lad goes by the name of Angel and he sprouts wings that would make a guardian angel proud.
A raft of characters from the previous X-Men movies show up in the new edition, albeit some only briefly. For example, Rebecca Romijns blue Mystique (the shape-shifter) has a few scenes and then shes out of the film. Yes, there are X-Women, but quibbling wont get the titles changed. Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is a sort of Mutant King. Rogue (Anna Paquin), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) have varied roles. Jean Grey is a level 5 mutant, which makes her a sort of Mutant Queen. Shes all-powerful, especially in the kinetic department. Shes Carrie White on steroids.
But most of the heavy lifting goes to Sir Ian McKellen as Magneto, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and Halle Berry as Storm. McKellen chews the scenery, Jackman slashes it, but Berry isnt as stormy as we might want her to be. Lets face it, being able to control the weather gives Storm absolute power, but thats yet another plot hole. Magneto doesnt want the mutants to acquiesce to the humans; therefore, he leads them into war. Wolverine gets the role of mutant hero. Hes also the mutant lovemaking machine.
Visually, X-Men: The Last Stand offers basic stuff. Theres nothing too groundbreaking going on here. The crisp and vibrant battle scenes are filled with nifty special effects and are, for the most part, exciting, especially the Golden Gate Bridge extravaganza. The mutant landscape is definitely being altered.
Where the movie really falters is in the dialogue, which is simplistic to the point of being unnecessary. Director Brett Ratner has none of Bryan Singers style or understanding of the comic books upon which the film is based. Singer directed the first two movies in the series. And they are better films. Any sense of emotion or psychological turmoil is missing from this new entry. The characters are pawns in Ratners vision, which is get to the chases and fight scenes. Singer felt the isolation and darkness of the mutants and portrayed them as creatures about whom we should care. The airborne Angel, for example, has a few key moments but we never get to know him. He pops in and out of the picture like a family pet.
As for this being the final X-Men feature, dont you believe it! Stay through the credits and you will see a last scene. It runs about 30 seconds and reveals that someone who has gone to the great mutant villa in the sky is alive and almost well.
The Notorious Bettie Page is a very quirky movie that revels in nostalgia. I reviewed the film extensively in my Toronto Film Festival wrap-up in September 2005. I saw the Page bio-pic at the festival.
For moviegoers who have no idea that the 1950s existed (although it did break new ground in fashion: jeans and white T-shirts, music: good old rock and roll, and literature: The Beat Generation, anyone?), heres a movie that may well stun the uninitiated. Nudity was shocking. Paranoia wasnt; cold war and all that. Anyway, women who posed scantily-clad or nude (breasts only) were called Pin-up Girls. And the most famous was Miss Bettie Page.
Directed by Mary Harron and co-written by Harron and Guinevere Turner, The Notorious Bettie Page may not be perfect, but it has its moments and a wonderful performance by Gretchen Mol as Page.
The movie is best when it dwells on the world of photography and pin-up art. Pages black-lace and riding crops shocked some and delighted others. Harron (who directed the doubly underrated American Psycho and I Shot Andy Warhol) and Turner seem to want to exalt Page for her groundbreaking behavior. This isnt a bad thing, but somewhere along the line, Pages world fell apart. The last third of her life wasnt a pleasant experience. The movie tiptoes through the reasons or motivation, and prefers celebrating Page the beauty. I do grant the director and screenwriter creative license and applaud the film they chose to make. But if youre looking for a complete re-telling of Pages life, look elsewhere.
Briefly, but enthusiastically, I highly recommend Awesome, I Fucking Shot That. The movie is a documentary about a concert in Madison Square Garden in Manhattan that featured The Beastie Boys. Inching into their 40s, the boys careers needed a boost, and band member Adam Yauch decided to give 50 concert-goers Hi8 cameras to shoot anything they wanted to shoot at the Garden. They could document the bands music, the beer, the bathrooms, anything. The material from the 50 has been mixed by Yauch (using the name Nathanial Hornblower) with footage from professionals. Video trickery has been added, but theres a real sense of fun going on. As you watch the movie, you do gloam in on the work of one of two of the amateurs who have a keen visual sense. You recognize their camera work. The end result is an exuberant, enjoyable, and gratifying 90-minute film. If the future of cinema is giving everyone a camera, I just might be for it. By Michael Calleri ALT PRESS Online Movie Editor
Okay, Im ready. After seeing X-Men: The Last Stand, I can handle a mutant as President Of The United States. Chances are weve already had one, but lets not quarrel over spilt genes.
The cinematic fellow in question is known as Dr. Henry McCoy, but his mutant moniker is Beast. Hes big and blue and hairy. And actually sort of cuddly. In X-Men: The Last Stand, hes played by Kelsey Grammer and yes, he does sound like Grammers Frasier television character, which isnt really a good thing. Dr. McCoy heads the Mutant Affairs department in the presidents cabinet. Hes a good soldier for peace between mutants and humans