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Archive | May, 2014

Weekly Movie News Rundown

May 31, 2014

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Time for your weekly movie news update!  Below you’ll find a slew of sentences meant to provide a brief glimpse of what’s been going on over the past week in movieland.  If something leaves you desperate for more info, then my advice is to do a little extra research on one or all of the following fantastic sites:  Latino Review, Dark Horizons, Ain’t It Cool News, CHUD and/or JoBlo.  Read on!

Adam McKay is reportedly in talks to replace Edgar Wright as the director of Ant-Man.

Josh Brolin is set to voice Thanos in Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Will Smith has dropped out of the sci-fi/superhero flick Brilliance.  No word yet on why he left or who might replace him.

Roland Emmerich is set to direct a new Stargate trilogy.

James Mangold (The Wolverine) is reportedly in talks to direct a Joe Namath biopic.

Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) has been hired to write the sequel for World War Z.

Antoine Fuqua is set to direct Narco Sub.  The movie is about a submarine that’s used by drug cartels to ship cocaine into the US.

Johnny Depp may portray Harry Houdini in The Secret Life Of Houdini.  It’s said to be an action thriller in the vein of Indiana Jones.

Despite saying he would never make the movie, it looks as though Quentin Tarantino will direct The Hateful Eight later this year.

George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) is set to direct Birth Of The Dragon.  The biopic will reportedly document Bruce Lee’s legendary duel with Wong Jack Man.

Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Solider) will write and direct the adaptation of Mark Greaney’s novel The Gray Man.

Newcomer Carter Blanchard has been hired to write the second draft of the script for ID4EVER, the sequel to Independence Day.

John McTiernan may direct Nicolas Cage in a movie called Red Squad.  The film is said to be about a former DEA agent and his team of mercenaries trying to take down a drug lord.

The American remake of The Raid has been delayed due to casting issues.

A remake of Cliffhanger is currently underway over at StudioCanal.  There’s no director or cast currently attached to it.

Alfonso Cuaron recently noted that he will not be directing the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy may star in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s The Revenant.  The movie is said to center around a man who is seeking revenge on those who once left him for dead.

Anthony Mackie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) may star in a Jesse Owens biopic.  No word yet on a the exact title of the movie.

This Week’s Notable Trailers

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Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

May 30, 2014

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Hip-hop, as you likely know, is a new genre, with only 40ish years under its YSL belt.  The journey from outdoor block parties and gym-floor dances hasn’t always been smooth or unobstructed for the style, and it continues to face prejudice, being written off, and abuse by a dominant white culture in the U.S., even as it has become the most popular music of the youth (or maybe because of that fact.)

Twenty years ago, it felt like hip-hop was either going to settle into a groove of its own, or tear itself apart. After having a so-called Golden Age between ’88 and ’93 which primarily highlighted the output of Native Tongue-esque Afrocentrism and positivism, hip-hop was finally figuring out where the blurred edges were in its darkness – and making them sound radio-ready.  Gangsta/gangster rap (Tupac, B.I.G., Scarface) was to reach a pitched crescendo in 1994, but wasn’t the only segment of the genre to push forward, as conscious (Common, Arrested Development) and abstract (Digable Planets) rap also found audiences.  Common’s classic I Used to Love H.E.R. as a metaphor for the genre being assaulted by gangsters still stands as a testament to how artists and fans alike felt uneasy at the new direction, even as that direction boosted album sales and radio play.

On today’s playlist, I bring you tracks from one of the most important years in hip-hop: 1994, when hip-hop was finding the different voices it would ride into the new millennium.

SONG OF THE MONTH:

:The Treacherous Three – The Body Rock:  This track from the very last studio album Old School Flava feels like the last gasp of the ’80′s sound – clocking in at a radio-unplayable seven minutes, with long stretches without the modern style of dense rap verses, and using the old school’s signature electro-funk sounds, this may be the oldest-sounding release from 1994. Still a goddamn groove though.

EDIT:  So, it turns out this song sounds so much like a throwback because it was actually recorded in 1980. I researched and found a major label release of 1994, so I went with that date. Apologies for the error, and h/t to John Lowe for the correction.

MAY MIX:

:Fu-Schnickens – What’s Up Doc:
:Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmizik:
:Organized Konfusion – Stress:
:Gangstarr – DWYCK:
:Nas – It Ain’t Hard to Tell:
:Digable Planets – Dog It:
:Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy:
:Scarface – The White Sheet:
:Common – I Used to Love H.E.R.:
:Jeru The Damaja – Come Clean:
:TLC – Creep:
:Warren G – Regulate:
:Method Man – Release Yo’ Delf (Prodigy Mix):
:Redman – Tonight’s Da Nite:
:Arrested Development – Ease My Mind:
:Blackalicious – Swan Lake:
:Main Source – Fuck What You Think:
:Public Enemy – What Side You On?:

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Walker Lukens (Video Premiere)

May 30, 2014

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Austin’s own Walker Lukens is having a busy week.  He just put out the Devoted Remixed EP, and then tomorrow night he’s set to celebrate its release at Stubb’s with Hello Wheels and Ruby Jane.  Oh, and then there’s also today’s premiere of the video for Mike Z’s remix of The Night I Was Kissed By Patti Smith.  Way to work it, Walker!

As for the video, it is a humorous effort that’s loaded with a lot of fake beards, rad dance moves, and various shenanigans.  Watch it twice.  Once for fun, and then another time so you can scribble down a few ideas for future social engagements.

PS – Do yourself a favor and check out the Devoted Remixed EP in its entirety here.  It features six artists doing some pretty nifty remixes of songs from last year’s Devoted.

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Stream This

May 30, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums come out, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

Centro-Matic – Take Pride In Your Long Odds
The Orwells – Disgraceland
Gold-Bears – Dalliance
Bob Mould – Beauty & Ruin
Fucked Up – Glass Boys
Camper Van Beethoven – El Camino Real
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Only Run
Peter Murphy – Lion
Dinowalrus – Complexion
Tigers Jaw – Charmer
Priests – Bodies And Control And Money And Power
Sandy’s – Fourth Dementia
The Donkeys – Ride The Black Wave
Sage Francis – Copper Gone

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Celebration

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Movie Breakdown: A Million Ways To Die In The West

May 29, 2014

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

After scoring a hit with the rather enjoyable Ted, Seth MacFarlane and his hijinks head West.

The Reality:

I never noticed it before, but Seth MacFarlane has dead eyes.  His voice-only gigs over the years have managed to keep this particular feature of his hidden, but in A Million Ways To Die In The West there his dead eyes are right on the screen for an excruciatingly long two hours.  Maybe this wouldn’t have bothered me if his movie was even remotely funny or somewhat likeable, but it’s such a black hole of despair that his soulless eyes just exacerbate the already woeful cinematic experience that is his latest creation.  Do not see A Million Ways To Die In The West.  Not only is nothing about it worth your time, but I’m also pretty sure it will cause the comedy-loving side of you to enter into a deep depression.

The Lesson:

Never mind, maybe Seth McFarlane shouldn’t be allowed to make movies.

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Throwback Thursday: The Hold Steady

May 29, 2014

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Separation Sunday and Boys And Girls In America are the only two albums that people ever talk about if you bring up The Hold Steady, and I think that’s just silly.  So for this week’s Throwback Thursday we’re going all the way back to the band’s 2004 debut, Almost Killed Me.

Honestly, it’s my favorite Hold Steady release.  Positive Jam is still one of my top “side one, track ones” ever, Barfruit Blues, The Swish, Knuckles and Most People Are DJs feature some of Craig Finn’s best rambling rock moments, and when it comes to slow jam anthems, it just doesn’t get better than Certain Songs and Killer Parties.

If I’m lucky, one day The Hold Steady will tour and just play Almost Killed Me and then I’ll be able to die happy.

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Bishop Allen

May 29, 2014

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When I think back about the early years of SOTO (2006 through 2009), one of the bands that stands out is Bishop Allen.  During that period they had a slew of very good indie pop efforts, and I spent a lot of time wandering around with their songs lodged in my head.  So, naturally, it pleases me to see they’ve readied a new full length, their first since Grrr… way back in 2009.  The unsurprisingly catchy first single awaits you below.  Enjoy.

:Bishop Allen – Start Again:

Lights Out is due August 19 via Dead Oceans.

Bonus Video:

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Startographers, Gentlemen Rogues (Jennifer)

May 28, 2014

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Get your earplugs out for a show tomorrow night at Spider House Ballroom. Local indie rock quartet Startographers headline the four-band lineup.

I’ve been wanting to see them play again since I first saw them at an unofficial SXSW showcase. Their sound is lush, melodic and filled with layers of shoegaze guitars that pack a punch with plenty of reverb and delay. Hopefully the show will be the first of many new things to come from Startographers.

Another band on the lineup tomorrow that I can’t way to see is Gentlemen Rogues.  They just released a new single titled Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All via Shifting Sounds, and it highlights their signature sound of crunchy yet melodic guitar hooks and self deprecating lyrics.

:Gentlemen Rogues – Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All:

Startographers and Gentlemen Rogues will be joined on the bill by My Education and Scan Hopper.

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OBN IIIs (Dan)

May 28, 2014

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When people ask me my favorite band, the answer is easy – it’s OBN III’s. So I’m obviously pumped they have just released their appropriately titled third LP, Third Time to Harm on Tic Tac Totally. It follows up their brilliant self-titled effort (the best album of the past four years, IMHO), which was put out in 2012.

Led by imposing frontman and band namesake Orville Bateman Neeley III, OBN IIIs have distinguished themselves as one of the finest bands in America. They have a seething energy and an unparalleled live show. I’ve seen them perform countless times and have never once been disappointed. Capturing the feel of their live shows on record is no easy feat, but the band successfully pulls it off on Third Time to Harm.

The record kicks off with the scorcher No Time For The Blues and barely eases up on the second tune, The Rockin Spins. Other highlights include Uncle Powerbag and the apocalyptic track Worries. At just eight songs in length the album is over far too soon, just like all of their live shows. Of course, when you’re the greatest garage rock band alive, the fans will always crave more. Here’s hoping the band has plans for many more records to come.

:OBN IIIs – No Time For The Blues:
:OBN IIIs – Worries:

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Quickdraw: Jurassic 5, Sondre Lerche, Jonsi, Sylvan Esso, Big Deal

May 27, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Jurassic 5 – The Way We Do It:  I thought Jurassic 5 put on a really good set at Fun Fun Fun Fest last year, so I’m happy to see they’ve decided to extend their reunion run.  No word yet on if a new album is coming, but hopefully this upbeat number means there’s a chance.

:Sondre Lerche – Bad Law:  There’s a few mini-freak out sessions in this indie pop gem, and every time one shows up I can’t help but laugh.  They’re just so weird.  Still, I really like the song, and also I suppose there’s nothing wrong with Sondre Lerche throwing out a curveball every now and again.  Look for Please at some point this Fall via Mona Records.

:Jonsi – Where No One Goes:  Here’s a track that Jonsi did for the upcoming film How To Train Your Dragon 2.  I can imagine listening to it while riding a dragon, so that’s totally a job well done!  The soundtrack is due out June 10.

:Sylvan Esso – Coffee (MS MR Remix):  The original version of this Sylvan Esso song is cool, but I think I prefer this MS MR remix.  They’re turned it into an atmospheric beast, and I just dig it to no end.  Obviously, this track is just a one-off effort, so grab it while you can.

:Big Deal – Always Boys:  Last year Big Deal put out the very solid June Gloom, and now they’re following it up with an EP.  If this first single says anything, it’s that the band is still hard at work on expanding their sound.  I approve.  The Sakura EP is due out July 15 via Mute.

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Sad Bastard Music: Melancholy May (John Gross)

May 23, 2014

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Heyheyhey. Thanks for looking at the words NO DANCING on your computer screen right now. I wrote them so I could communicate to you some of the best tear-soaked songs out there. All of the below tracks are perfect to drink whiskey and/or dry your eyes to. So, WELCOME to the latest monthly installment of your monthly soundtrack for glum.  We must pray to the alter of Elliott Smith, The Gloria Record, George Jones and the rest with this monthly column of sad bastard music here at Side One Track One. Let’s explore some somebody done somebody wrong songs shall we?!

:Okkervil River – Happy Hearts:  The best Okkervil River songs are essentially photo albums of nostalgia and here is the only one that happens to have a Greek chorus of the volatile sounding outsider artist Daniel Johnston. I recall when this album came out in 2002 not fully appreciating Johnston the way I do now and in hindsight not realizing the thrill it must have been for the then young band to have a vote of confidence cast in their favor by the guy who famously painted Hi How Are You on a wall in Austin making it eternally “weird.” God, is that record really 12 years old? I digress, for those who don’t know this cut, you will forever love it because the song climaxes with one of the best spelling out of a phrase of all recorded music.

:Vashti Bunyun – I Won’t Say:  “You’ve got your life and I’ve got mine, I’ve got no right to call you mine, When I know you can’t give your life to me.” Vashti Bunyun is an official cult-hero of sad bastard music and is sometimes called the “Grandmother of Freak Folk.” Each song is stripped of anything that could be construed as not soul bearing, leaving the music with nothing but fragile human isolation and mad sorrow. Explore everything you can from Vashti!

:Memphis Minnie – Biting Bug Blues:  Being bitten by annoying little bugs is certainly a nuisance and in extreme situations – yes, I suppose that a sad song could be written about the extreme discomfort that they cause, but you see here … Memphis Minnie is using what’s called A METAPHOR. She didn’t really shoot an actual bed bug, she is shooting a PERSON in bed. Sadness, delusion, passion, gunplay and above all, blues WORDSMITHERY! Memphis Minnie wrote blues songs as a woman at a time when doing so was practically unheard of and the fact that they were about teaching men with certain infidelities a lesson with a firearm is all the more badass.

:Pedro the Lion – Eyes On The Finish Line:  Winners Never Quit is an album full of super sad bastard jams. Case in point here with Eyes On The Finish Line: a protagonist that’s essentially misunderstood by his fellow man including his lover … and to that end … he does something that is foreboding, but in that same misapprehending reality panache, perhaps all will be forgiven in heaven? Perhaps not.

:Beck – I Get Lonesome:  We know that Beck’s returned to the Sea Change era for the new record Morning Phase and a lot of people (myself included) are all jazzed up for that, BUT let’s look back even further to the ORIGINAL sad Beck jams, circa One Foot In The Graves times. Here, Beck doubles vocals with the mega-baritone Calvin Johnson on a simple riff that manages to equate man’s bummer thoughts “to dirty socks piled in the corner.” The 2009 release of the album has a version of the song that’s a bit shorter (less repetition of “I get lonesome”) and that doesn’t have Johnson singing on it. The version posted here is the real deal with that trademark odd couple harmony.

:B.J. Thomas – (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song:  This was a major hit for Thomas back in 1975, certified gold status even but the biggest accomplishment for this sad bastard banger is that the Muppets performed it on the Muppet Show.

:Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend:  This is one of the most upbeat and dancey songs about unfaithfulness out there. It’s a modern and straightforward view of dating told from an underrepresented point of view of the “somebody new.” It won’t make sense right now but you’re still her friend. Note for people who live in Austin: the karaoke dude at Ego’s does indeed have this song in his arsenal.

SAD SONG OF THE MONTH:

:Mac DeMarco – Blue Boy: There are a lot of little ditties that Mac’s trickled on his latest record Salad Days. This laid-back backyard BBQ jangler has some good sad complexity to it because the subject is insecure and conceited. The dreamy guitar and the meditative pop chorus all blends together in a big stew of sad bastard goodness. “Honey, that’s the way that life goes.”

AUSTIN RESIDENTS: Join me Tuesday June 17, 2014 from 10-2 for a FREE evening of songs detailing regrettable yesterdays, long gone lonesome blues, and waking up alone. The Volstead bartenders will be slinging the cheapest and BEST whiskey dranks on the Eastside and as always there is a fresh pack of Kleenex (real-deal name brand, mind you) in front of the turntables.

“LIKE” No Dancing on Facebook and post your favorite sad songs HERE.

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Stream This

May 23, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums come out, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

OBN IIIs – Third Time To Harm
Haunted Hearts – Initiation
Robyn & Royksopp – Do It Again
Hundred Waters – The Moon Rang Like A Bell
Lee Fields – Emma Jean
Owen Pallett – In Conflict
Neil Young – A Letter Home
Echo And The Bunnymen – Meteorites
Hercules And Love Affair – The Feast Of The Broken Heart
Watter – This World
Future Death – Special Victim
The Echo Friendly – Love Panic
Crowbar – Symmetry In Black
Yonatan – Iberian Passage EP
Napolian – Incursio
Black Anvil – Hail Death
1,2,3 – Big Weather
Chris Schlarb – Making The Saint
Malka Spigel – Gliding EP
RBTS WIN – Palm Sunday Deluxe Edition

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Jurassic 5

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Movie Breakdown: X-Men: Days Of Future Past (Noah)

May 22, 2014

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

After a stellar outing from the most underrated of superhero directors Matthew Vaughn, 20th Century Fox decides to play it safe with a return to the Bryan Singer sandbox. Though I’m worried about Singer infusing Vaughn’s crisp, cool take on the 1960s X-Men with his typical droll early 90s visual stylings, I’m more worried about the million different mutant cameos threatened.

The Reality:

X-Men: Days of Future Past is, to my great surprise, a great flick. Maybe it was the lingering stain of Brett Ratner’s X-Men: Last Stand or maybe it was just the generally lackluster quality of this summer’s blockbuster hits, but I was damn sure coming into this film that I would leave once again broken on the alter of crap-X-Men films. I was very, very wrong. Singer has made a film that not only bridges the gap between new X-Men and old X-Men, but manages to touch on the very history of these beloved mutants. Magneto, Sentinels, Junkie Professor X, Boliver Trask, a whole shit-ton of X-Men, Quicksilver (sans superhero moniker), a floating baseball stadium, Richard Nixon, assassination theories – the list goes on and on. Singer has taken a whole heaping cartload of disparate story lines and done an outright fantastic job of bringing them together with meaning and thematic resonance. Unlike another film that came out recently starring a bunch of cardboard cut-outs and a pretty lizard, Singer walks the fine line of emotional breakthrough and enormous set-pieces with an aplomb that I couldn’t have imagined from the man who made Jack The Giant Killer. The characters in this film, and it’s a long, dense film, are given the opportunity to breath, to have conversations, and to grow, amongst the metal bending and giant robot fighting. It can’t be easy, but Singer manages to make this movie both, as the great John Laird said, “the most comic book-y of Marvel films so far” while making it powerful and interesting. Sure, Singervision pops up a little bit in the future setting with it’s cheesy stained-glass, and misty Chinese mountaintop, but for the most part this film even looks great, with Singer using found footage and “primary sources” to help elevate the period film. I haven’t even got to the amazing performances – especially Evan Peters as Quicksilver (breakout performance) – but seriously, if you like big budget, well done, impressively nuanced comic book action, go see this movie.

The Lesson:

Bryan Singer you’ve proved me wrong. I cannot wait for the next entry in this series.

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Throwback Thursday: Mineral

May 22, 2014

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I’ve had Mineral on the brain since they first announced a handful of reunion shows a few weeks back, but since they’re now confirmed for Fun Fun Fun Fest it would appear to be the perfect time to make their two classic albums, The Power Of Falling and EndSerenading, a Throwback Thursday post.

Oddly enough, I didn’t actually catch either of the albums when they were released in the late 90s – it wasn’t until around 2004-5 that Mineral fell into my lap.  I have no idea what I had to be so emo about during those days, but I definitely remember spending a lot of time in college just feeling like I was greatly relating to both albums.

Got a Mineral memory?  Share it in the comments section.

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Movie Breakdown: X-Men: Days Of Future Past

May 22, 2014

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Bryan Singer jumps back into the world of mutants via X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which is technically the fifth entry (not counting Wolverine solos) in the franchise, but also part two of a prequel-lead reboot … and it also features the cast from the original trilogy.  And stuff.  What.

The Reality:

As convoluted as X-Men: Days Of Future Past appears to be, it’s actually the most focused, well crafted, and just all around best film that the mighty X-Men have ever had the pleasure of being a part of.  I loved it, and I think it’s the only entry in the series that legitimately looks and feels like an X-Men movie.  Now, First Class was a lot less like this, but I’ve always felt like X-Men 1-3 were action movies that featured X-Men characters and they weren’t necessarily the grandiose comic book adventures that I wanted them to be.  This is not the case with Days Of Future Past, it very much plays like the sort of thoroughly comic booky X-Men film that Bryan Singer probably wanted to originally make, and it’s fantastic.  See it immediately.

By the way, if you’re curious about the plot, it’s pretty simple.  Sentinels are gnarly and ruining things in the future, so Wolverine’s consciousness is sent back in time to try and alter the course of history so that mutant-hunting robots are never created.  And that’s just about all you need to know.  Have fun out there!

The Lesson:

Imagine the kind of movie Bryan Singer would make if it was called X-Boys.  Zing!  Too soon?  Anyways, that guy was made to work with mutants.

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