Five new movies release today. Four of those five, unusually, have female leads. The fifth, however, will be the hands-down box office winner of the weekend.
X-Men: Days of Future Past:
Back in 2000, Bryan Singer’s X-Men ushered in the new Golden Age of superhero films. Fourteen years later, Singer brings us arguably the most ambitious comic book adaptation ever made (perhaps even more so than Watchmen). Adapting the famous X-Men time travel story arc, Days of Future Past essentially bridges the original X-Men trilogy, the Wolverine spin-offs and, most importantly, 2011’s X-Men: First Class.
The gang’s all back in Days of Future Past. With mutants near extinction in an Apocalyptic future, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) must travel back in time to unite friends-turned-enemies, Xavier (young James McAvoy, old Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (young Michael Fassbender, old Ian McKellen) against their kind’s greatest ever threat. The many many returnees and franchise newcomers include Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage and Evan Peters.
Screening in 2D and shot for 3D, X-Men: Days of Future Past has achieved critical acclaim – including from Kervyn in his review. It’s evidently action-packed and satisfying, particularly (and surprisingly!) on an emotional level. This is thanks especially to McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence. The film effortlessly accomplishes the impossible AND manages to stick to a brisk 130 minute running time. At the time of writing, Days of Future Past was 94% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
Walk of Shame:
For your “outrageous comedy” kicks there’s this Elizabeth Banks starrer about a reporter who immediately regrets a one night stand when she wakes up the next morning with no car, money or phone, and has to get across town for a job interview that could change her life. Also with James Marsden.
Screwball style Walk of Shame has largely been slammed by critics as misogynistic, unfunny and illogical, despite the best efforts of Banks.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return:
Also screening in 3D (and 2D) this week is this animated musical adventure loosely based on the book by L Frank Baum’s great-grandson. Dorothy returns to Oz, and with the help of new and old friends she must confront a villainous Jester intent on enslaving the magical world. Voices include Lea Michele, Patrick Stewart, Kelsey Grammer, Bernadette Peters, Martin Short and more.
Coming from an unknown animation studio, Dorothy’s Return has been called “nice but leaden.” Evidently it charmless, and looks and feels cheap.
Under the Skin:
Scarlett Johansson stars in this sci-fi thriller about an alien who uses sex to prey on men in Scotland. Over time, she develops a greater awareness about her human body. Loosely based on the acclaimed novel of the same name.
Despite the geek-friendly premise, Under the Skin is pure, polarising arthouse fare. Most critics have raved about it, calling it visually striking, haunting and perplexing. Translation: it’s probably too weird and inaccessible for the casual cinemagoer.
Grace of Monaco:
Also likely to be of interest to a minority audience is this biopic centred on actress-turned-royal Grace Kelly. Nicole Kidman plays the iconic Hitchcock beauty, who comes to question her life as the wife of Monaco’s Prince Rainier (Tim Roth). Also with Frank Langella, Parker Posey and Milo Ventimiglia.
Following editing cuts controversy and disapproval of the Monaco Royal Family, Grace of Monaco released at Cannes just last week. It has not been well-received, with critics calling it wooden and dull; just a pretty exercise in showing off early 60s European glamour.
Last Updated: May 23, 2014