Blu-Ray Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut

Director: Bryan Singer
Screenplay: Simon Kinberg
Based on a Graphic Novel by: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage
Country: USA/UK/Canda
Running Time: 142 min (Rogue Cut) 126 (Theatrical Cut)
Year: 2014
BBFC Certificate: 12 (although the commentary is rated 15)


I like to moan about super hero movies. There seems to be an endless stream of them nowadays with these extended universes and such, so I’ve grown very tired of hearing about them. 90% of online chatter seems to surround the latest super hero movie trailer or casting news. Personally I couldn’t give a s**t about most of it and become a snob hiding in the corner with my indie movies and classic re-releases. However, despite my grumbling, I’ve actually enjoyed most of the super hero films I’ve seen during this decade-and-a-half boom.

One of last year’s super hero movies that I liked quite a lot was X-Men: Days of Future Past. So when I was offered a chance to review the new Rogue Cut of the film, I decided to break away from my usual snooty high-brow/classic/cult posts to join the mainstream.

I won’t go into too much detail about the plot for X-Men: Days of Future Past as most of you will already have seen it. Basically, in the future, the world is a bleak and desolate place, particularly for mutants who are being hunted and killed by the all powerful Sentinels (big evil robots that can take on mutant powers). The X-Men have a plan though. They send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into the subconscious of his 1970’s self to change events surrounding Mystique/Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Charles Xavier (a.k.a. Professor X, played by James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (a.k.a. Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender) which led to the development of the Sentinel programme, spearheaded by Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage).

What The Rogue Cut adds in its 16 extra minutes, alongside a couple of minor changes here and there, is, as you might have guessed, a role for Rogue (Anna Paquin). She was a major character in the first couple of films, but was left on the cutting room floor when Days of Future Past hit cinemas. In these re-instated scenes she is saved from experimentation by Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Bobby/Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) so that she can help the wounded Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) keep Wolverine in his former subconscious.

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Trailer: Chappie

Comfortably nestling in the nougat centre between Robocop and Short Circuit, is Neill Blomkamp’s A.I. action flick Chappie. Clearly as a filmmaker, Blomkamp has found his niche and is more than happy to stay in it.

In the meantime, you’ve got Hugh Jackman as the villain of the piece along with his boss played by Sigourney Weaver. Dev Patel (tired of Best Exotic Marigold sequels) as the inventor, and a mo-capped Sharlto Copley as the title character, humanities first A.I. robot.

The entire package looks handsome and well put together, even if it feels we’ve been over this ground many times before. Check out the full trailer below.

Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Director: Bryan Singer (Valkyrie, Superman Returns, X-Men, X-Men 2: X-Men United)
Screenplay: Simon Kinberg
Producers: Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker, Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 131 min.


One would think that after successfully re-launching the X-Men with a new A-list cast a couple of years ago, the studio would stick to that cast but as is common with comic books, it seems that creators are always jumping around timelines, characters and stories, it’s only appropriate that a sequel that brings director Bryan Singer back into the fold would not only involve time travel but also include nearly every member, past and present, of the X-Men movie franchise. Looking on the surface, you’d think this is the movie to end the entire franchise rather than a next step.

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens somewhere in the 2020’s in a future that is dark, ugly, foreboding and just generally unpleasant. Kitty Pryde and her team of mutants are fighting apparently unstoppable robots who are able to adapt to the mutants they are fighting. Most of the mutants die. Except they don’t because jump forward a while and Pryde is now meeting up with Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine and Storm to explain her time-travel tactic. Everyone on screen seems to follow the explanation (though I still don’t really get it) and a plan is hatched to send Wolverine back to the 70s to change the past which will also change the future – they hope – for the better.

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Trailer: X-Men Days of Future Past

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Fan service, or does the X-Men crossover pic actually have something actually to say? Who knows, but the trailer company they hired to cut this should be fired for slapping two of the most over-used trailer background music (from the Sunshine soundtrack and The Thin Red Line soundtrack). Both pieces have been used in far better trailers (The Adjustment Bureau uses the former and both Pearl Harbor and 12 Years A Slave, use the latter).

As for X-Men: Days of Future Past, the cast he is positively loaded with talent, but the issue was always too many cast members, now they have practically doubled things by moving across time lines. Judging from what we are teased with here, the whole thing is consistent with the X-Men franchise (now back to its original director, Bryan Singer) but offers little to get excited from beyond the excessive fanboy factor (and timeline continuity splitting was also recently done with the Star Trek reboot). Time will certainly tell as they cut better trailers for this property.

From Wikipedia (on the comic-book source material which is impossible to tell if they radically rewrote the film or not, so take with a grain of salt):

The storyline alternates between present day of 1980, in which the X-Men fight Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and a future timeline, taking place in 2013, is caused by the X-Men’s failure to prevent the Brotherhood from assassinating Senator Robert Kelly. In this future universe, Sentinels rule the United States, and mutants live in internment camps. The present-day X-Men are forewarned of the possible future by a future version of their teammate Kitty Pryde, whose mind traveled back in time and possessed her younger self to warn the X-Men. She succeeds in her mission and returns to the future, but despite her success, the future timeline still exists as an alternative timeline rather than as the actual future.

Trailer: Prisoners (aka WHERE’S. MY. DAUGHTER.)

Ratcheting up tension of police procedural and parental vigilantism, the phrase “Where’s. My Daughter.” threatens to become an internet meme with Hugh Jackman’s delivery in Prisoners. Joking aside, I believe that this film is worth a look for it’s wonderful cast: Along with Jackman, there is Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo. More importantly, helming the picture is Denis Villeneuve, director of the exceptional Incendies, as well as a lengthy resume of challenging Canadian dramas (his school shooting flick Polytechnique is both haunting and experimental.) This being a larger studio picture (with Roger Deakins shooting it) the drama looks a tad bit over-baked. Couple that with with Gyllenhaal as lead investigator, this is a far cry from Zodiac 2; but that may just be the trailer talking. I cannot wait to see this one in September, expect it to play at TIFF in conjunction with its commercial release.

Cinecast Episode 275 – Flaming Zemeckis

Continuing with another week centered around an interesting title to talk about, Corey Pierce from CriticalMassCast joins us for a (SPOILER!) filled discussion on structure, themes and mouth-feel of Looper. Corey explains the ‘Rule of Awesome’ when it comes to these types of movies, and whether or not to nitpick. Kurt obsesses about the visual queues in the film and Andrew contemplates Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s adoption of Bruce Willis’ body language. We move on to grading homework, wherein Matt Gamble joins us for colour commentary and general merriment. The Watch List has Corey giving a mini-review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, while Kurt falls down the Kubrick rabbit hole with visual essays both good and bad. Micro-discussions on The Fountain, Christopher Guest, Electric Cars, The Game, Alan Rickman and Compliance ensue.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 



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Full show notes are under the seats…
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Steve Martin is Back to Hosting the Oscars… with Tag Team Partner Alec Baldwin!

News out of Variety a few moments ago is that Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin have accepted the honor of hosting the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Martin has hosted a couple of times before and this will be a first time role for Baldwin. I think the choice to revert to someone tried, true and trusted and stick him with the new guys who is on fire as of late in terms of comedy is a great choice. Hugh Jackman was fine last year – quite great actually – but I think these two together are going to be make for an infinitely more entertaining show than anything from the past several years.

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Bookmarks for November 3rd

What we’ve been reading – October 30th:

  • The Auteurs Daily: Debating Haneke (and Brecht)
    Ekkehard holds up Lars von Trier as an example of a filmmaker whose works – as opposed to Haneke’s, of course – live and breathe because they all but celebrate their inner contradictions. Haneke’s machines may be smart, but as Oscar Wilde put it, “The wise contradict themselves.”
  • The 10 Criterion Duds
    Bay’s end-of-times explosion porno, Armageddon, is … digitally remastered for all of posterity. Now you can appreciate the full scope of Bay’s inanity while partially losing your hearing—and your will to live—in ear-shattering Dolby surround sound. What’s more, Criterion’s Armageddon comes equipped with all those bonuses that cinephiles and academics have come to expect including previously unreleased footage, “Michael Bay’s gag reel,” and the Aerosmith music video “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Could there be more fitting a film than Armageddon to be bookended by Criterion’s #39 and #41, Tokyo Drifter and Henry V?
  • Hitchcock classics get a remake — in sticky tape.
    Philadelphia-based artist Mark Khaisman has proved you don’t need suitcases of cash for successful movie remakes — he simply raided the stationery cupboard. Using packing tape, he has recreated scenes from favorite Alfred Hitchcock thrillers “The 39 Steps,” and “Spellbound”, among others.
  • Who’s Going To Be The World Series MVP? Forget A-Rod or A. J. Burnett, Give Me Willie Mays Hayes!
    When I think about ballplayers these days, I tend to think about movies. Cinema has given us some of the best and silliest sluggers and hurlers imaginable, and it is these athletes I choose to honor in October, rather than anyone on the Yanks or the Phils.
  • Anderson Looks Up For New Movie
    Now that director Wes Anderson has explored the oceans in “The Life Aquatic” and the lands in “The Darjeeling Limited,” there is only one place left for him to go: Space.
  • Discuss: Which Actors Don’t Belong in Hollywood?
    While we like to try and remain positive around here, WorstPreviews asks the question, Which actor or actress (working today) do you think is so terrible that it makes you wonder how he/she ever made it in Hollywood? Join the discussion over there or leave your thoughts on the matter in our comments section below.
  • 21 Stars Who Should Host The 2010 Oscars
    With Hugh Jackman out this year, here are some great suggestion from readers about who should host the Academy Awards in 2010. Well, some of them are great suggestions. Others are simply suggestions.

Bookmarks for October 30th

What we’ve been reading – October 30th:

  • Doc Films and Social Impact: Outreach, Outreach, Outreach
    In a 2007 study titled Documentaries on a Mission, scholar Matt Nisbet suggests that the bulk of the documentary audiences are “the choir,” a group of people watching films that cater to their “pre-existing social views.” He offers that one way a film can get beyond the choir and on the public agenda is by providing a news hook: “Documentary films…have a strong influence as media agenda-setters. Films provide dramatic ‘news pegs’ for journalists seeking to either sustain or generate new coverage of an issue.”
  • How Mr Fox saved Wes Anderson
    Though we don’t like to admit it, Anderson has been on a bit of a slide lately. Something artful and still auteur from the director yet aimed more at the masses is exactly what he needed.
  • George Miller Has Found His Max
    Tom Hardy is currently in negotiations to play “Mad” Max Rockatansky in Fury Road, the fourth film in the post-apocalyptic franchise.
  • Evil Dead coming back to theaters!
    Sam Raimi’s classic horror film “The Evil Dead” will be making its way back to theaters. It’s being re-released for a special run by Grindhouse Releasing, though no official dates have been given.
  • Give Me The Best Fictional Baseball Teams In Movie History!
    Confronted with the choice to root for the Yankees or the Phillies in this year’s World Series – or even the option to watch the action – I plan to opt for nearly anything else. I’m going to pop in a DVD and take in some of the great fictional baseball teams in movie history to forget about this season. Here are my picks…
  • Jackman ditches Oscars
    According to Variety, sources close to Jackman confirmed he turned the gig down in order to keep his mind on his current Broadway run then get his head back into movies for a while. He might host it again, but isn’t keen on doing it 2 years in a row.
  • Adorable But Horrible: 26 Cute Critters You’ll Want to Avoid
    Horror isn’t always slimy and grotesque; some of the most frightening monsters come in the cutest packages. We list the fluffy, wide-eyed, and downright adorable critters that want to scare you, eat you, or enslave you for all time.

Cinecast Episode 113 – Hats, Canes and a Shiny New Penny

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Episode 113:
It’s the Academy Awards (almost) all the time. From the show itself to the winners; a complete recap. A new and interesting version of the top 5 and of course DVD picks.
Thanks for listening.

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Below the fold are the Show Notes…
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