Bruce Davison

Mystique in X-Men First Class

From the Troma library of films like The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke ‘Em High to the higher concept blockbuster science fiction movies like Total Recall and Godzilla, mutants have been almost entirely bad news. While some movies have an occasional mutant that puts it in a class of it’s own – like the character of the Rainmaker in Looper – Hollywood generally considers mutations really problematic. Except the X-Men, of course. In the X-Men universe, mutants are the not-so-meek that will inherit the Earth. Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) in X-Men tries to legally oppress them. Professor Charles Xavier provides a sanctuary for young mutants. There are constant battles brewing throughout these films between good mutants and bad ones. However, one thing remains the same in all of these scenarios: mutants have great powers bestowed upon them. As Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) states at the beginning of the first film: “Mutation. It is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow and normally taking thousands and thousands of years, but every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.” And that got me thinking… is the human race on the brink of astounding genetic changes? Are X-Men types of mutation the next step in human evolution?

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cc the lords of salem

Rob Zombie‘s latest film is a bit of a surprise. It’s horror, but it’s a completely different beast from his previous movies. There’s a real (and mostly intentional) sense of humor about it, too. And perhaps most surprising? It’s actually a pretty fun watch at times. (My review.) The Lords of Salem made the festival circuit for several months before getting a limited release this past April, and one of its stops was Austin’s SXSW Film Festival with both Zombie and his wife/the film’s star Sheri Moon Zombie in attendance. The audience response wasn’t quite what the couple had hoped for, leaving the director to tackle a post-screening Q&A solo when Sheri bolted for the exit. But rather than accept defeat, Zombie proved himself an incredibly entertaining speaker with a great sense of humor about himself and the business as well as an endless stream of anecdotes. His tale of witches in modern day Salem who try to bring Satan’s spawn into our world is a wacky one, but his vision remains clear. Granted, it’s clearer in the way he describes it than in the way it actually unfolds onscreen, but you’d be surprised how much good will a little dancing turkey demon can buy you.

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The Lords of Salem

Editor’s note: My review originally ran during SXSW earlier this year, but we’re posting it again as the film hits theaters this weekend. Some filmmakers, no matter how hard they may try to appeal to the masses, can never escape the label of acquired taste. Others don’t even try though instead preferring to speak to a smaller and more receptive core audience. Kevin Smith is a good example of the former. Rob Zombie is a better example of the latter. Zombie makes movies for himself, and he’ll be the first to tell you that not only will the majority of viewers hate his films but that he simply doesn’t care. That’s more than evident in his four previous features as they presented worlds filled with ugly and foul violence while being devoid of humor and joy. His new film, The Lords of Salem, continues that trend of not giving a damn, but something is visibly and unexpectedly amiss. Rob Zombie has discovered how to have fun…even if some of it is unintentional.

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Knight Rider: Journey to the End of the Knight

Mike and Sarah are on a cargo plane with KITT, returning to the SSC after a mission. A tech is killed at the SSC and KITT’s self-destruct program is activated.

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A Knight in Shining Armor

In the series premiere, Mike’s new mission brings him face to face with people from a past he does not remember.

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