X-Men (2000) – 7/10 superhero action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Story Writer: Bryan Singer
Screenplay Writer: David Hayter
Story Writer: Tom DeSanto
Producer: Lauren Shuler-Donner
Producer: Ralph Winter
Executive Producer: Stan Lee
Charles Xavier: Patrick Stewart
Logan / Wolverine: Hugh Jackman
Eric Lensherr: Ian McKellen
Halle Berry: Storm
Famke Janssen: Jean Grey
James Marsden: Cyclops
Bruce Davison: Senator Kelly
Raven Darkholme / Mystique: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Ray Park: Toad
Tyler Mane: Sabretooth
Anna Paquin: Rogue

X-Men (2000)

In the not-too-distant future, mankind is on the brink of a new stage of evolution. More and more children are revealing themselves as "mutants", genetically-altered people with superhuman powers. While the US government considers passing the Mutant Registration Act, two powerful mutants consider different ways of dealing with their species’ problem. Professor Charles Xavier believes in training them – including superteam the X-Men – but his old colleague, Magneto, believes that old humankind should be eliminated.

7/10

Bryan Singer’s movie is great when dealing with the characters and slightly under-achieving when it comes to special effects spectacle. The actors and the story are the strong point. The casting of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen was a master stroke and everyone got lucky getting Australian unknown Hugh Jackman in as Wolverine. Every scene with any of these chatting is brilliant; their charisma is engrossing and their story thought-provoking. Singer messes up some critical stuff, principally in the finalé, as he doesn’t seem to have had any idea about how to make superheroes look heroic, let alone superheroic, or to make spectacle spectacular. Everywhere else, though, he does a great job. Of particular note is a superbly intense 1944 prologue and the scene in which absolutely everything comes together: the railway station stand-off. It features Stewart and McKellen in a psychological battle of wit and will, showcases some car-chucking spectacle (non-CG, tellingly) and fits perfectly with everything about the characters and story and universe. It’s an outstanding sequence and one you’ll want to remember instead of the weak finalé.

This movie contains

Breach (2006, Conspiracy Espionage Drama) – 8/10 movie review

Director: Billy Ray
Writer (Screenplay): Adam Mazer
Writer (Screenplay): William Rotko
Writer (Screenplay): Billy Ray
Writer (Story): Adam Mazer
Writer (Story): William Rotko
Producer: Bobby Newmyer
Producer: Scott Strauss
Producer: Scott Kroopf
Chris Cooper: Robert Hanssen
Ryan Phillippe: Eric O’Neill
Laura Linney: Kate Burroughs
Dennis Haysbert: Dean Plesac
Caroline Dhavernas: Juliana O’Neill
Gary Cole: Rich Garces
Bruce Davison: John O’Neill
Kathleen Quinlan: Bonnie Hanssen
Special Consultant: Eric O’Neill

Breach (2006)

2001: the traitorous activities of FBI man Robert Hanssen are about to come to end after 22 years of betraying his country. Eric O’Neill is assigned to be his assistant in a new department as they attempt to catch Hanssen in the act so that he can be arrested and prosecuted.

8/10

Conspiracy thriller that remains entirely compelling throughout and features an outstanding performance from Chris Cooper as the biggest traitor in US history. Laura Linney is also terrific but Ryan Phillippe is not in the same league. His big scenes feel the teensiest bit forced but it doesn’t undermine the movie. What does nearly undermine the movie is a scene where Chris Cooper’s car is disassembled and has to be quickly put back together. It’s far too reminiscent of the awesome gag in Police Squad (Testimony of Evil) where a massive American car is disassembled and hurriedly reassembled as a compact. Overall, it doesn’t matter as Cooper is so, so good that he makes it work and, with his star, co-writer / director Billy Ray (Shattered Glass) has made a high quality, beautifully-paced movie.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, adult dialogue and violence and brief sex scene on videotape.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Knight Rider 1.01 A Knight in Shining Armor (2008, TV) – 1/10

Justin Bruening: Mike Traceur
Deanna Russo: Sarah Graiman
Sydney Tamiia Poitier: Carrie Rivai
Paul Campbell: Billy Morgan
Yancey Arias: Alex Torres
Bruce Davison: Charles Graiman
Smith Cho: Zoe Chae
Paula Garces: Kelli Haddigan
Mark Adair Rios: Jay Hunt
Yorgo Constantine: Jackson
Executive Producer: Glen A. Larson
Executive Producer: Gary Scott Thompson
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Glen A. Larson
Writer: Gary Scott Thompson
Director: David Solomon

Knight Rider 1.01 Knight in Shining Armor, A (2008)

Knight Industries is brought into retrieve a package of great value but a team of mercenaries makes things difficult. Odd thing is, they are not after the package but Mike Traceur.

1/10

Insultingly poor and hateful start to the first full series of Knight Rider following the bland but acceptable pilot movie earlier this year. KITT’s been given horribly unconvincing and useless transforming powers, Justin Bruening has lost the little charisma he had and the whole show has been given an injection of dumb with a side-helping of stupid. Quite unbelievably inept.

This Knight Rider episode contains adult dialogue and inferred extremely unpleasant scene, strong violence and mild nudity.

Links

Knight Rider (2008, TV) – 5/10

Justin Bruening: Mike Traceur
Deanna Russo: Sarah Graiman
Sydney Tamiia Poitier: Carrie Rivai
Bruce Davison: Charles Graiman
David Hasselhoff: Michael Knight
Greg Ellis:
Supervising Producer: Dave Andron
Co-Executive Producer: Steven Shill
Writer: Dave Andron
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Glen A. Larson
Director: Steven Shill

Knight Rider Pilot Knight Rider (2008)

Charles Graiman dies protecting encrypted US military weapons technology leaving the only person alive capable of accessing it his daughter, Sarah. Fortunately, Graiman has a super-intelligent, super-car, the Knight Industries 3000 (presumably financed out of his own pocket in his spare time) which has been programmed to go and collect Sarah and a protector, Mike Traceur, in such an event.

5/10

Overlooking the somewhat massive plot hole that sees mega-brainy scientist Charles Graiman run out alone into a dark woods to go to a cabin which is one day (!) away on foot instead of escaping using the bullet-proof super-car he has built in the garage, this pilot movie is bland, at best. That makes it much better than any previous Knight Rider spin-off and it should be commended for keeping KITT’s abilities largely within the realm of reason. The direction is efficient and the cast fine. Nice to see the ‘Hoff make an appearance but, just like the original TV show, this never fulfils the promise of the premise.

This Knight Rider episode contains bad language and strong melee violence, brief graphic gun violence, mild gory and unpleasant scenes and ménage à trois sensuality, references to lesbian homosexuality.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 1.07 Demon Hand, The (2008, TV) – 7/10

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, The 1.07 Demon Hand, The (2008)

Sarah tries to track down the missing Terminator hand while Agent Ellison travels to see Dr Silberman. Derek still refuses to trust Cameron who has been tasked with discovering information about who bought The Turk. John learns about something Sarah did while inside the mental institution and struggles to deal with it.

7/10

Bruce Davison manages to be incredibly annoying in yet another entertainment enterprise though he does get punched in the face by Sarah Connor, soaked to the skin and locked in a mental hospital. Good. The episode is generally good but low-key but contains a sequence of terrific scenes in the third act. Cameron and a pair of informants is well contrasted with a scene with Lena Headey and Agent Ellison. This is followed by a very strong scene between mother and son Connor and that scene, together with the Dr Silberman stuff, directly ties this episode in brilliantly to James Cameron’s Terminator 2.

This Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, The episode contains brief extreme and not graphic violence, inferred gun violence.