X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Fast and Furious 7 PosterRelease Date: May 23, 2014

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Written by: Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage

Synopsis:

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

2014_review_action

There were some fantastically great action films released in 2014, but 2014 was not a great year for action films. The horror genre had no such shortage (as evidenced by the greatness occupying our list of the year’s best) and you can probably name several comedies that had you busting a gut in 2014, but action films? There weren’t very many, and what there was rarely impressed. But sometimes you find great action in less than great movies, and with that understanding I was able to find 14 movies that fit the bill as the Best Action Films of 2014. Well, almost.

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2014_review_comics

2014 was a banner year for the comic book. Those flimsy paper books have so thickly embedded themselves in Hollywood that a major piece of Marvel or DC news is dropping every week, to the extent that two full entries of this 14-part list burst onto the scene as recently as last week. Not every comic book movie was a masterpiece (one stunk so spectacularly that it may, along with a fair amount of cybercrime, threaten the very fate of Sony’s superhero output). But plenty of them were, and the general fervor around them has risen to a point where giggly anticipation of Avengers: Age of Ultron is practically as much fun as Age of Ultron undoubtedly will be. Because of that, this list isn’t just milestones we saw in comic book movies. It’s the 14 greatest moments — movie scenes, movie news, major studio announcements — from this ever-growing sect of comic book movie culture; a culture that will continue (barring any financial disasters or drastic changes in audience taste) to expand outward for the foreseeable future. When a comic book movie wins Best Picture (I’ll ballpark it and say, perhaps 2047 and Great Lakes Avengers 6: The Rebirth), we’ll know superheroes are here to stay. Next year and Age of Ultron will no doubt render all this obsolete, but for now let’s see what 2014 had to offer.

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2014_review_disappointments

Let me just say this right up front before you declare us legally insane and/or possessing of piss-poor taste in films — inclusion on this list doesn’t necessarily mean we think the movie is bad. Sure, that’s true of some of them (I’m looking at you Horns), but in most cases these are simply films we had reason to expect so much more from only to be let down — sometimes dramatically — in the end. 2014 was a spectacular year filled with great cinema, and there’s a lot that we absolutely loved (as evidenced by many of our other year-end lists posting this week), but these are the films that fell short. We walk into every movie hoping for the best, but sometimes our expectations get the best of us whether due to the talent involved or the power of a great trailer. We’re only human after all. So here are fourteen movies we had good reason to suspect we’d like more than we did.

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Avengers12

There was a while where I defended the majority of comic book movies as being fairly original works. Aside from the borrowed characters and origin stories and basic themes, it was still up to the production team to come up with a story and plot, cinematic characterization and dialogue. There was a lot of creativity required there. Far more than a lot of faithful adaptations of novels. But now more and more, perhaps because there are so many of these movies being made and not a lot of fresh ideas to go around, producers are mining from preexisting stories from the comics. Few of them have been too complete in their translation, but each time there’s a title directly lifted from a publication we have to wonder how much will be the same. The announcement that Marvel is tapping its 2006 “Civil War” crossover for Captain America 3 makes the studio seem like it’s getting lazier. Obviously name recognition goes a long way, and fans love to see movie versions of material they’ve already seen in one form — to watch the panels come alive, as it were. But this is Marvel. They’ve gotten away with so many risks that they can’t be thinking they need more familiarity in their adaptations. Even as far as fan service goes, it’s not like the comic geeks and the brand loyal aren’t going to show up anyway. Maybe Fox needs that with their X-Men franchise, especially after proving it could boost box office with such […]

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DONT BLINK discs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Don’t Blink A group of friends head to a remote cabin for a vacation, but before they can even get settled inside they begin to notice things are not as they seem. The surrounding woods are devoid of birds and wildlife, the lake has frozen over catching a fishing boat in its center and all of the nearby cabins are empty of people as well. Food is on tables, cars are still running and they even find a bottle of warm baby milk. The situation intensifies as they start disappearing too, one by one, whenever one of them is out of sight of the rest. You’d be forgiven for thinking this direct to DVD thriller was a slight affair not worth your time — after all, the names above the title are Brian Austin Green and Mena Suvari — but I’m here to say it’s actually a well acted/shot and frequently suspenseful mystery. It’s smartly constructed too with believable characters and reactions. It wobbles a bit at the end with something of a cheat, but it remains a satisfying experience. To be clear, its selection as the Pick of the Week doesn’t make it the best release of the week (that would be X-Men: Days of Future Past), but I think it’s a cool little movie deserving of a few more eyeballs. [DVD extras: None]

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Rogue in X-Men

This summer’s latest foray into the X-Men universe, X-Men: Days of Future Past, had a lot to unpack due to a handy (or confusing) time-travel plot line. It allowed the mutants to jump back and forth between two eras: the present day, which is just a terrible place to be a mutant, and the 1970s, which while a lot groovier than modern times, was still the period directly after the events of X-Men: First Class. Read: it wasn’t really a party back then, either. Is there any time when it’s okay to be a mutant? It would be nice to exercise those powers without repercussion at some point.

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Marvel Studios

2014’s summer movie season comes to an end in a week or so, but while some folks will be editorializing about the box office being down 15-20% compared to last summer and others express surprise that a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy could be days away from becoming the year’s highest grossing domestic hit, we here at FSR have a different agenda. Simply put, we saw a lot of great movies this summer, and we hope you did too. The year’s best “big” movie (per me anyway), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, missed the summer cutoff as it opened in early April, but there were still some fantastic blockbuster-type flicks that entertained the hell out of us over the past four months. Of course, there were also some brilliant smaller films too. An informal staff survey revealed a mix of both to be our favorites of the summer. Keep reading to see which movies moved us the most from May through August.

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Prometheus Weyland TED Talk

In film, we tend to focus on the underdogs and their struggles, but what about the big guys up at the top who make it so good to be bad? The largest, most evil corporations in film don’t give a damn about the little guys; they don’t really care about anything at all except money power, and staying successful no matter what it takes — or how many feet they need to trample. It’s time to celebrate that by featuring the best of the worst. Here are the most evil corporations in movies.

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Summer Movie Diaries

This February, Film School Rejects turned a gloriously unruly 8 years old. Which means for me that, including the time spent blogging elsewhere prior to starting FSR, I have been blogging the world of cinema for almost a decade. It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had. And as the years go by and the grey hairs continue to sprout, I continue to learn new things about my own taste. In film, in companions, in life experiences. It has all changed not always drastically with time. I’ve also experienced changes in behavior. In the beginning, I got into this business for the free movies (there is no such thing as the much mythicized “movie blogger groupie,” so movies it is). But as my work with the site has evolved, especially in recent years, I’ve found myself missing out on all the movie-related fun. It’s not about seeing movies. It’s about spreadsheets, advertisers, more spreadsheets and finding creative ways to make sure we find the best writers on the web and pay them somewhat appropriately. There are other distractions. Living in the New Golden Age of Television certainly isn’t helping solidify my commitment to seeing many movies. Between catching up on great shows like Orphan Black and Fargo and reading, watching, blogging and podcasting about all things Game of Thrones, television is a relentless distraction. It’s about time that I issue cinema an apology: I’m sorry, movies, I’ve been neglecting you lately. I feel like that guy, we all know him, who […]

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summermovieprediction_week5

Welcome to week five of our 2014 Summer Box-Office Challenge! Think of it as a summer-long contest for movie-lovers — you’ll make predictions and guesses as to which summer movies will rule the box-office each week, we award points and at the end of the contest the three top point-earners will each win a Blu-ray/DVD prize pack! First place will win ten (10) Blu-ray/DVD titles released throughout the coming summer, second place wins five (5) and third place wins two (2). We’ll have bonus questions each week as well to help bolster your point totals and keep you in the running. The box office estimates from this past weekend are a bit too close to call just yet — the rankings below will be updated this afternoon once the actuals come in — but the top two films won’t surprise anyone. Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past took first place with just over $90 million while Godzilla fell to second meaning everyone who played last week earns two points for the bonus question. Our player top five has finally gotten a bit of a shake-up too. Here are the current standings for our contest (with the understanding that they may chance once actuals come in later today). [UPDATE: The actuals show X-Men earning $90.8 million so these results are unchanged.] Chris B – 14 points Husain – 13 pts AKFilmfan – 11 pts Starkweather – 11 pts Spencer Connell – 8 pts And now it’s on to week five! Check out the challenge questions below and play along in the comments […]

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Days of Future Past Bishop

Obviously this post features a spoiler for the post-credits stinger following X-Men: Days of Future Past, so shield your eyes and don’t read further if you haven’t seen it or care. We’ve been down this road before. A superhero movie ends, the credits roll, a mysterious figure appears in a bonus scene and it’s a guy we’ve never seen before in this series. He has bluish or purplish skin and stands on a rock looking outward over what seems to be his domain. But this time it’s not Thanos — you learn about later in the car from your more comics-aware buddy, or by searching the Internet for a post such as this. At the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past, beyond the acknowledgments of clips from past X-Men movies and the note that it was filmed in Montreal and the info on Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle,” which you jotted down in order to later download that track, we get to meet…

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X-Men: Days of Future Past Time Travel

What if you could go back in time and set your favorite shark-jumping movie franchise back on the right course? Which would you choose? How would you do it? Would it require Hugh Jackman getting naked and standing in front of a window? We tackle all of these questions on this week’s show as we try to right some cinematic wrongs, review X-Men: Days of Future Past in depth and dissect a famous scene from Back to the Future (see below) to figure out why it works so damned well. We’ve got time travel and changing history on our minds, so let us use our mutant powers on your ear drums so we can all head back to the 1970s. You might feel a pinch. Follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. Please review us on iTunes Download Episode #59 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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20th Century Fox

When we last left our mutant friends (in X-Men: First Class) they had just averted a third world war off the coast of Cuba, Professor X was paralyzed from the waist down and Magneto and his posse had teleported off to continue their fight against a fearful and prejudiced human species. X-Men: Days of Future Past picks up some years into the future as the end product of that war is revealed to be the impending extinction of mutants worldwide at the “hands” of giant, adaptive robots called Sentinels. X-Men old and new are dropping dead, and a last ditch plan is formulated to send Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) consciousness into the past to prevent an assassination widely regarded as the trigger behind the Sentinels’ creation. Director Bryan Singer has been on a bit of a bumpy road with his last few films, from the underwhelming Superman Returns to the under-appreciated Valkyrie to the joke that is Jack the Giant Slayer, but after starting the X-Men film franchise fourteen years ago he’s finally returned to the mutant fold. And perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the best X-Men film since the last one he directed.

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batman-v-superman-logo

Bad titles aren’t a big deal. You can have a bad title and still be a great movie. Just look at Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Or The Shawshank Redemption, which appears on as many lists of the worst titles of all time as lists of the greatest movies of all time. Typically, though, a bad title is assigned to a bad movie. It’s not really a coincidence, either, as a bad title is a good sign of a bad production overall. It’s a first impression of a total failure on all creative levels. So, when we see a title like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there’s good reason to think there’s trouble brewing with that movie. It’s not just worthy of snark and parody (although I am proud of my “Dawn of Buford T. Justice” gag). Titles of franchise installments have been getting out of hand for years, and it’s always fun to ridicule something that’s basically a double colon title (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) or a name that doesn’t really make a lot of sense (Quantum of Solace and Star Trek Into Darkness). But this latest offender isn’t just bad. It’s a representation of all that’s wrong with comic book movies right now.

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Flash Gordon

On this week’s episode, in honor of the upcoming X-Men flick, Cargill and I mount our own exploration into alternate timelines as part of a new recurring series we’ve dubbed Movies of Future Past. For the inaugural foray, we imagine a universe in which George Lucas had actually acquired the rights to Flash Gordon and made that his 1977 sci-fi opus instead of Star Wars. It’s one of cinema’s most intriguing What If’s. Heck, as it stands, Lucas’ fascination with the Flash Gordon serials of the ’30s actually ended up informing so much of what Star Wars became. But that’s in this dimension, where history books have facts and whatnot. It’s far more entertaining to travel to other timelines where we’re confined only to the limits of our wild speculations!!! You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #12 Directly

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summermovieprediction_wk4

Welcome to week four of our 2014 Summer Box-Office Challenge! Think of it as a summer-long contest for movie-lovers — you’ll make predictions and guesses as to which summer movies will rule the box-office each week, we award points and at the end of the contest the three top point-earners will each win a Blu-ray/DVD prize pack! First place will win ten (10) Blu-ray/DVD titles released throughout the coming summer, second place wins five (5) and third place wins two (2). We’ll have bonus questions each week as well to help bolster your point totals and keep you in the running. The box office actuals from this past weekend unsurprisingly put Godzilla at #1, but his arrival hasn’t altered our own #1 and #2 as Husain and AKFilmfan retain their top spots. The remaining three positions have been shaken up a bit though by some newcomers. Godzilla took in $93.19 million this weekend while Million Dollar Arm failed to beat Trouble With the Curve taking in less than that film’s $12.2m opening weekend. Here are the current standings for our contest. Husain – 11 points AKFilmfan – 9 pts Starkweather – 9 pts Spencer Connell – 6 pts Thomas McCallum – 6 pts And now it’s on to week four! Check out the challenge questions below and play along in the comments section.

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James McAvoy in Filth

Don’t let the bland, bloated, and messy The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fool you, this May is chock full of quality releases to start the summer off right with. While one would be better off seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier again this weekend for  a comic book sequel done right, there’s plenty of movies following The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s release that promise a good season for movie-going. One of those movies may or may not be A Million Ways to Die in the West. That film likely won’t change anyone’s mind, for better or worse, on Seth MacFarlane. It will be interesting to see if his fans have any interest seeing him in his live-action work, though. He’s a talented vocal actor, but does he have the chops for a live-action performance? The trailers indicate not, but maybe this super expensive comedy will surprise us skeptics. Before we see those 2 hours of “isn’t the old west crazy?!” joke play out, there are 10 releases not to miss this May before MacFarlane’s film arrives at the end of the month. Here are the must see movies of May 2014:

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The Guardians of the Galaxy

The summer season may not be the best time of year for film, but it’s usually the most exciting. 2014’s blockbusting period starts this coming Friday with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Unsurprisingly, that will be the first and last mention of the film on this list of our most anticipated summer movies. We polled the staff and tallied the votes to determine the ten summer movies we’re most excited about this year, and while some of the results are expected one or two surprises made (or missed) the list, too. Some of the films that came close to making the list but not close enough include the long-awaited adaptation The Giver, the animated sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2, Disney’s Maleficent and Seth MacFarlane’s Ted follow-up A Million Ways to Die in the West. A title that not a single one us picked as one of most anticipated? Transformers: Age of Extinction. I mean seriously… someone even picked Sin City 2 over Michael Bay’s latest. Keep reading to see the ten films that we’re most looking forward to this summer.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

If the main creative issue with superhero movies is figuring out how to make them bigger and more bombastic, Bryan Singer and his mutant friends seem to have found solutions for X-Men: Days of Future Past. At the very least they’ve given sufficient ammo to the trailer editors, because the world they’re portraying is a massive one. Sentinel armies, time travelling jumps, Magneto’s famous hatred of baseball stadiums. Everything is offered a chance to be pumped full of BGH. Check it out for yourself:

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

Time and evolution are two perfect concepts for X-Men: Days of Future Past to explore, not only because we get to see how a franchise has shifted 14 years after its modern debut, but also because we’ve now spent half a century with these characters. On that first front, it’s especially important that Bryan Singer has returned to reclaim his directorial authority. A kind of full circle that promises to keep spinning . On the second front, it’s amazing to see how fresh and young these 50-year-old mutants really are. The second full trailer for the film seeks a balance of those characters — showing off all the major players and some incredibly tall, robot bad guys.

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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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