Filth

Hey everyone! Sorry about the long hiatus, but we’re back! This week, Sam and Nic will take a look at the Wolf of Wall Street-esque Filth, directed by Jon S. Baird. Rated R for  sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use, language and some violence, it stars James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, and Jim Broadbent.

Bruce Robertson (McAvoy) is a corrupt cop and a bigot. He is also in line for a promotion, and will stop at nothing to get that spot. Bruce starts to turn his fellow cops against each other by stealing their wives and revealing their secrets. As he slowly starts to lose himself in the uncontrollable mess he has created, his drug habit, missing wife, and suspicious colleagues start to cripple his sanity.

3 out of 10

This film was heavily branded as being “from the creator of Trainspotting” and the trailer did everything it could to play up the British-dirty-crime-movie vibe. However, in trying so hard to fit into the Trainspotting, Guy Ritchie film category, Filth ended up simply copying cliches, creating a relatively plotless work quite utterly devoid of originality and (despite all of the sensationalism) one which barely kept my interest.

Filth quite literally had it all: corruption, drugs, alcohol, hallucinations, an overwhelming amount of penis discussion, parties, abuse, cross dressing, affairs, suicide, betrayal, violence—you name it. Every little thing you could possibly think of to make a movie more exciting was stuffed into an hour and a half time frame, as if the author or screenwriter took the most provocative part of every other movie in this genre and shoved all the pieces together.

In some movies, Wolf of Wall Street for example, the overwhelming sex, drugs, and partying works. The impact is striking and you feel absolutely awful watching, while at the same time being unable to take your eyes off the screen. In Filth, however, I didn’t feel anything. Maybe I’ve been exposed to too many films with extreme violence and sex and drugs, but this apathy is more likely linked to the fact that I didn’t care about James McAvoy’s character, Bruce.

The film makers tried too hard to make Bruce a bad boy who is really good at heart, and I believe that is what caused my lack of connection. Yes, he sneaks drugs into his only friend’s drink, yes he is having an affair with his colleague’s wife, yes, he threatens and abuses suspects, but honestly he’s a great guy. When a woman’s husband collapses on the street he helps out, and whenever he sees her again all of a sudden he is this sweet, sensitive man who is all alone in the world. At the end of the film he is coaching his “friend” and says “The truth is, people are just as scared of the world as you are. I’m scared of the world.” Wow. Deep stuff. Now, yes, I’d like to believe that even the hardest, most awful people out there are lonely and just want to be loved underneath it all, but having such forced depth of character just felt fake.

On top of it all, the film’s plot was incredibly weak. Nothing really happens besides Bruce fighting to get a promotion and occasionally having a terrifying hallucination of someone in an animal mask. All of the major plot points (spoiler alert) such as when we find out it was really him in Carol’s clothing, when we hear the story about him killing his brother, and when he commits suicide, felt calculated to make the movie more intense.

However, it would be unfair to totally disregard the limited redeeming factors. The colors of the film were really lovely, somehow saturated and muted at the same time, and it had an overall misty quality that was particularly appealing. Imogen Poots’ character had fabulous makeup, and James McAvoy’s nose crunching laugh made my heart melt. However, not even McAvoy’s sheer fabulousness could salvage a movie so sunk in the depth of banality.
~Sam

2 out of 10

“Same rules apply”. James McAvoy repeats this line again and again in his role as Detective Bruce Robertson in this adaption of Irvine Welsh’s novel. Yet even at the very end of the movie, I had absolutely no clue exactly what he meant by it. In this way, it is the rule not the exception in this weird movie. The director Jon S Baird seems to be trying to say something profound, but it all gets hopelessly muddled and confused somewhere between the people turning into farm animals and a bald-headed Jim Broadbent screaming “aye, aye” at Bruce.

images1494 copySome people will be drawn to this movie because of the big name on the source material. But this is not Welsh on the form of his debut Trainspotting. Instead, it comes off as a lackadaisical attempt to transport the bacchanalian tragedy of his earlier success 17 years later to the present day. When Ewan McGregor’s Renton says, “Choose your future. Choose life…. But why would I want to do thing like that” at the start of Trainspotting it comes off as astute, in touch and just plain awesome. Filth seems to be trying for the entire movie to achieve a moment like that and yet it never comes.

James McAvoy has had some practice playing Scots involved in less than savory affairs, having starred in Danny Boyle’s Trance last year. But where McAvoy could rely on Boyle’s showmanship and directorial gift in Trance to carry his lackluster performance, here he has no such luxury and his sub-par performance is made painfully clear. None of the other performances are any better. All the actors play to their gift-wrapped stereotypes so much throughout the film that any deviation comes off as out of place.filthrev620372

The film is also needlessly and annoyingly scary at some points. If you want to scare me at least do it cleverly. Don’t just have some random freaky creature jump out at certain intervals. These moments completed the actors’ and plot’s job, making the film extremely difficult to watch near the end.

Honestly I think I’ve already put in more effort into developing this review than the director put into the movie so I shall leave it here.
~Nic

IMDB: 7.1
Metacritic: 56
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

This week, we’ll take a look at the newest installment in the X-Men series, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Directed by Bryan Singer, it stars Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and Jennifer Lawrence. It is rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, brief nudity and language.

In 2023, the world is in ruins, plagued by dangerous mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels. These robots, hunting down both mutants and the humans that aid them, have the ability to adapt and counter all mutant powers, leaving Charles Xavier (Stewart),  Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (McKellen), and the rest of the X-Men powerless. Logan/Wolverine (Jackman), is sent back into the past 50 years, to prevent Mystique (Lawrence) from triggering a series of events that lead to the creation of Sentinels. Logan must then find and convince young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and young Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) to aid him in his quest.

9 out of 10

As I’ve established, I love superhero movies. The X-Men series, however, has always disappointed me. X2 and X-Men were both solid, but nothing to write home about. The Last Stand and the two Wolverine movies were a mess. X-Men: First Class was the first time I thoroughly enjoyed an X-Men film. Regardless, tt seemed like X-Men: Days of Future Past was destined to fail. It was a sequel that featured time travel. That never seems to work out well. Yet somehow, Bryan Singer pulled a rabbit out of his hat and produced the best film this series has seen.

The best thing about the movie is unarguably the scene that features Quicksilver. American Horror Story star Evan Peters was a perfect fit, portraying Quicksilver with a cocky, lovable charisma. The scene where he is running around a room, changing the deflection of all the bullets and messing around with the slow moving scene around him sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Charismatic, action packed, and pure fun. The movie carries this tone, but does not lack in the serious, dramatic moments that make it so great. Singer manages to find the balance between the hilarity and tension that allows you to take the comic book movie seriously while also having fun doing it.

quicksilver

The inclusion of seemingly millions of different mutants was pretty cool as well. The beginning featured present day Kitty Pryde, Iceman and Storm, while flashing back to the classic Beast, Magneto, and Professor X, all regulated by the consistency of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. In the same way First Class introduced various mutants, Days of Future Past brought many new mutants into the picture, while also bringing back many from the old movies, including Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Storm, with cameos from Rogue, Cyclops, and Jean Gray. Its a lot of fun to see all these different mutants to some extent, and Days of Future Past did a really good job of preventing it from getting muddled and excessive. WIth so many mutants, you gotta be able to control how you use them, and Days of Future Past did so.

The movie did a great job of controlling its plot as well. Somehow, I was able to see past the confusion that time travel presents. The movie had a very distinct narration that allowed the audience to understand what was happening. There are some questionable questionable details (JFK’s a mutant??) and some unexplained plot points (what ever happened to Havok), but overall, I could very clearly understand what was happening (at least compared to other time travel movies). The intriguing plot, mixed with engaging, fun action sequences, a very clear and balanced tone, stellar overall performances from the entire cast, and a noticeable lack of Halle Berry (jokes), push Days of Future Past into the upper echelon of superhero movies.

In the end, there are a lot of questions. Some that were left unanswered, some that have set up the future series, and some that I’m still trying to rack my head around. Though the abundance of questions is slightly irritating, they lead to  many possibilities for future films. The X-Men series has essentially been granted the ability to start fresh without actually eliminating the events of the first few movies. Singer got rid of all the messy continuity issues with a simple flick of the wrist. The future, especially X-Men: Apocalypse, is looking really bright.
~Vig

9.5 out of 10

I love the X-Men. I love Wolverine. Love Professor X. And even (Despite my better judgement) Cyclops (Who happens to be my fave, yes).

What I don’t totally love is the X-Men movies.

Let me be clear, I love a good amount of them. A handful of them. Two of them. It breaks down as follows:

X-Men: Good. I like it. They got the characters spot on (Especially Wolverine, Magneto and Xavier). Its tough to say what I don’t enjoy about it but I think it comes down to this: it has less fuel than its tank can hold (In my eyes, you could say this about most of the films). X-Men is a pretty multifaceted series with a lot of ideas but this film kept it simple. Simple worked fine, though.

X2: Boom. Here’s the full tank. Ranks right up there with Spiderman 2 as one of the best pre-Dark Knight superhero endeavors. This one isn’t a step up from the first, its a goddang leap and then some. Cool and compact, this one was strong enough to carry all of the weighty ideas X-Men’s got.

X-Men 3: This one did not. Last Stand isn’t unwatchable, it’s just disappointing. It deflated the whole franchise. It siphoned 75% of the gas from that aforementioned metaphor-tank of our’s. And it’s mainly not disappointing because its bad at setting up all of the usual conflicts, it’s bad because it does but it just can’t deliver.

X-Men: First Class: This is the first X-Men movie I ever saw. Ho-lee God. I went because I saw historical figures and superheroes together in one film and I got all of that and so, so much more greatness. My brother and I (Two first X-Meners) were actually debating mutant politics at dinner after the showing. Need I say more?

So where does this one rank? Right up there with First Class.

Yeah, usually there’s a lot of buildup to a lukewarm or negative assessment in these things but, no joke, this was one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen in three years or so and is definitely among the top superhero movies of the decade. Let’s review.

Wolverine has to go to the past to save the future mutants from extermination (Inter-franchise crossover, ahoy!) so he rounds up Prof. X and Beast and springs Magneto (Why? It’s loosely explained but Fassbender’s performance lets me buy it) with the help of a beautifully played Quicksilver. Nevermind that that past sentence alone could carry a two hour movie, that’s just the premise.

magneto

What follows, I can assure you, is pure X-Men, unleaded. This movie doesn’t dilute any of the serious topics with cheesy throwaways but it doesn’t lose any of its fun. It moves pretty briskly but never stops building up. And seeing these characters from two different era interact is every bit as rewarding as the Disney Marvel characters crossover in The Avengers.

No single character carries the movie because, mainly, there is no one under focus. Sure, we follow Wolverine but you’d be surprised how much focus isn’t on him,as much as we love him. It’s on the X-Men, plain and simple. Moreover, it’s on the mutants.

By the end, the continuity’s messed up but the mutants are all together and (With Apocalypse coming) I really wouldn’t have it any other way.
~Zach

IMDB: 8.1
Metacritic: 74
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%