X-Men: Apocalypse

A Middle Aged Movie Blog. Being the periodic journal of a film loving middle aged independent science fiction writing father of two and his ongoing adventures in cinema and home video


Started the weekend with a viewing of X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and was surprised to find that though the film is off in terms of its pacing, the villain is a bit one dimensional and there’s an over reliance on computer generated effects to bulk out key action sequences, it isn’t the total and utter car crash I’d anticipated. My personal benchmark for rubbish will always be X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), a film I still haven’t forgiven for undoing all of the good work the first two X films did. In comparison, this one isn’t so awful. That said, on the strength of Apocalypse, not sure there’s much more the studio can do with the series moving forward. Very likely it’s run its course and that Logan (2017) was the high-water mark. Seems like the tide is going out and the series has run out of stories to tell. There will be a last gasp death rattle no doubt, but all the signs of franchise fatigue are there. Directed by Brian Singer. Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, and Sophie Turner.

Watched Us (2019) at the cinema over the weekend too. Took a bit of time to get my thoughts in order. Jotted a few notes down. Notes jotted are as follows:

Us = One-part home invasion doppelgänger horror, to two parts satire on the obscenity of privilege. Full on weird at times. Wonderful atmosphere of foreboding. Excellent and challenging for long periods. Some strong performances. Lupita Nyong’o is particular hypnotic in the dual lead. Some well-judged horror sequences though never unnecessarily excessive. Neat twists, or rather, some impressively orchestrated narrative misdirection. Uniquely creepy. Thought provoking. Well shot. Oddly discomforting. A marvellous sophomore feature from Jordan Peele whose genre chops at this point are well and truly established.

Note to self:
Scissors are way scarier than they have any right to be in this movie and I will never look at a pair the same way ever again.

Sat and watched The Outlaw Josey Wales (1977), Clint Eastwood’s revisionist post Civil War Western which is basically the story of the titular protagonist, a man whose family are murdered in war time, who finds himself fighting on the losing side, then on the run across a tumultuous American landscape scarred by conflict in which the disparate peoples of a nation coming to terms with a burgeoning National identity struggle to find purpose in the aftermath of war.

By turns an unflinching and rough-hewn account of one man’s Autumnal Odyssean journey toward redemption, as well as being a searing indictment of the futility of conflict, specifically the Vietnamese war, the film retains much of its power and humour 40 years on from its original release.

Philip Kaufman was originally slated to direct the picture, but Eastwood had a falling out with him and took over directing duties. The film is quintessential Eastwood as a result. Big themes of family, the west, violence and politics intermingle and fuse into a wonderfully judged whole. Starring Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George, Bill McKinney, John Vernon and Sam Bottoms.

Plumped for Hotel Artemis (2018) tonight, the debut feature from director Drew Pierce. The film is a sleazy John Wick style dystopian thriller, that takes place for the most part, in a rundown medical facility for injured criminals 10 years into the future.

The John Carpenter vibes are knowing enough to qualify as homage, whilst the smart photography, retro synth soundscape and faded Art Deco setting of a once glamorous hotel interior make up for the film’s lack of substance. Add to that a cool cast fronted by Jodie Foster’s alcoholic agoraphobic Nurse and what you get is an incredibly violent, occasionally funny, entirely atmospheric b movie treasure. Starring Jeff Goldblum and Zachary Quinto.

Suffering horribly as a result of a weekend of Giorgio Moroder live and the Craig Charles Funk and Soul night at Band on the Wall in Manchester. Was going to go watch the new Laika movie and take a trip to the rugby, but my aching bones won’t countenance the idea, so I’ve spent the morning checking out decent cinemas online, purchasing a copy of the Back to The Future soundtrack for my son and considering whether to head out to CEX on a bargain DVD hunt. Might just grit my teeth and suffer my way through the 1000th home screening of Frozen with the daughter, a Disney feature I wasn’t overly keen on the first time I watched it, and which I don’t feel has grown on me in the intervening years.

X-Men: Apocalypse
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