Tag Archives: Nicholas Hoult

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

X MEN APOCALPYSE

Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Simon Kinberg (screenplay by), Bryan Singer (story by)
Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne

Set in the 1980’s, the re-emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

2 years after the successful X-Men: Days of Future Past I was interested to see where the next instalment would take the younger Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr and Raven and more importantly would it equal the previous or perhaps supersede  it. Quite frankly although it didn’t disappoint, it wasn’t as good as DOFP. The later had the post credit scene setting this movie up and I was excited to see how this would fair.

Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg are terrific writers and we owe a lot to them for their take on this universe and how they manage to appease the movie going public and the devoted comic book fans. In Apocalypse, I felt they played it safe with the usual formula of one of the main three characters conflicted with the other two trying to bring them back. In this instalment, it’s Erik Lehnsherr who is lost….again, although through personal tragedy he is drawn to help the world-destroyer Apocalypse flatten and rebuild the Earth to his plan.

Playing Apocalypse is Oscar Isaac. A fine actor but under the heavy makeup of En Sabah Nur it could have been anyone in there. I’m just glad he wasn’t computer generated completely. Was he that menacing as the movie villain? Not exactly. His plan is to use certain mutants like in a game of chess and the key mutant that he requires to mind control the entire planet is Charles Xavier. Personally I felt the character was a little two dimensional and didn’t add that much weight to the film. I actually preferred Kevin Bacon’s villain Sebastian Shaw who was perfect in “First Class” and although powerful had character and a cunningness about him.

James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence again are solid in their portrayals and I’m glad to see all three of them are back for next years X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2018) We finally see McAvoy go all Patrick Stewart and lose his hair, Lawrence as Raven / Mystique is conflicted as usual but to be fair shows more authority in this movie than previous where normally she would be a bit of a lone wolf, here she is a team player. Fassbender is really coming into his own with his character and although I loved Ian McKellen’s Magneto, I must admit I am becoming a fan of Fassbender’s earlier version. Supported by Nicholas Hoult as Hank / Beast and the return of Rose Byrne’s Moira Mactaggert the cast was excellent and I was interested to see how the “new” mutants Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Scott Summers / Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) would slot into this timeline. Thankfully they all performed well and again I look forward to seeing them in the next movie Dark Phoenix.

Going back to Singer and Kinberg “playing it safe. I felt the cameo from Hugh Jackman was unnecessary and it worked okay in First Class as a one off funny scene. Here there is no humour but it kinda reeks of no confidence adding him to this film. He doesn’t serve any purpose and although only in the film for about a minute I felt they should have left Logan out of this and show a bit more faith and confidence in the existing portrayals by McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence who are now in their third movie.

Visually some of the effect shots looked a little poor and off putting. To compare I would say some of them reminded me of Attack of the Clones and that’s me putting it nicely. The storyline as mentioned is simple and straightforward and the finale is a little predictable. Overall I was a little disappointed with this instalment after the successful DOFP and I understand that it was always going to be tough to match that film. Apocalypse isn’t the worst film in the franchise by any means and it’s enjoyable to watch a few times. I hope X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2018) is a lot darker and it appears that the franchise may be going in that direction with the releases of Deadpool (2016), Logan (2017) and the upcoming The New Mutants (2018) all going down a darker route. I would recommend Apocalypse to anyone who enjoys the series but don’t go into it like I did with high expectations.

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Warm Bodies (2013) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier 

WARM BODIES

Director: Jonathan Levine
Writers: Jonathan Levine (screenplay), Isaac Marion (novel)
Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich

Plot:  After a highly unusual zombie saves a still-living girl from an attack, the two form a relationship that sets in motion events that might transform the entire lifeless world.

Running Time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 81%   Audience 73%

Why I watched it: It’s genre and I like the director but I’ll be honest I dragged my feet cause of the whole comedy/horror thing, when it goes wrong it’s painful.

Random Thoughts: I think Jonathan Levine is an interesting director even when his films don’t work there’s always something positive about them, he takes risks and every film he does is different from the last one.  I was worried this was going to be a YA movie where we deal with old teenager problems but I did have faith Levine would put a twist to it.

What I liked it: I’ll say it right off the bat this was a lot better than I thought it would be and the main reasons it was an enjoyable movie was the tone, the direction and the acting all were very good and made this much better than I think it had the right to.

A zombie romantic comedy, never thought I’d write that.  I should mention the script is good and it’s so smart to stay true to both genres, you’re dealing with zombies they can’t be treated as a joke,it’s a comedy it has to be funny and the third thing they nailed her is the love story works cause it’s well written and the two characters actually have chemistry.

Nicholas Hoult is good here and I have to say he’s under stated it would have been easy to go over the top but he plays with the fact that he’s a zombie he’s self aware so with that he not only makes the character likable but funny at the same time.  It helps he has Teresa Palmer to play off of cause I think she’s so underrated, she can do drama, comedy and genre and not miss a beat, she’s pretty but she’s likable and again she doesn’t scream or yell she gives a nice performance that could have been just the love interest role. The acting on the whole is solid and almost every character has an arc, even secondary characters are fleshed out.

One of the things that surprised me at the center of this film is heart, this is really a story of being human and how caring and loving makes us human, it was touching to see zombies be able to human themselves back to life, it was a nice little touch to everything and really that’s why I liked this film as much as I did cause they did a lot with what could have been a throw away story.

What I didn’t like: There’ only a couple of things nitpicks really.  I like short running times but I do think at times this movie went too fast, I would have liked more beats between big emotional set pieces, time for the two main characters to fall in love. Dave Franco didn’t work for me and his character could have been written out and he wouldn’t have been missed, I know why he was there but it’s the only misstep for me.  The other thing is the CGI for the “bonies” there the evil zombies and the CGI was not great and it kind of took you out of the movie.

Final Thoughts: Well written, acted and directed this was a very pleasant surprise.

Rating: 7/10

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Movie Retro Review by John Walsh

Mad Max Fury Road

Director: George Miller
Writers: George Miller,  Brendan McCarthy
Stars: Tom Hardy,  Charlize Theron,  Nicholas Hoult

Fury Road was my first foray into George Miller’s alluring, apocalyptic world of Mad Max. Oddly enough, my only experience with any of Miller’s other work prior to this came with Babe: Pig in the City when I was much younger. I think it’s fair to say both films are somewhat different  and I think it’s blatantly obvious that this franchise holds a place in his heart hence the prolonged nature of its reincarnation. Now, I’ve read many opinions stating that to really get the most out of this film then you should revisit or watch the original Gibson led trilogy. I ignored this advice in 2015 and it really didn’t lessen my enjoyment at all.

It’s been three decades since the last incarnation hit the silver screens and man the film is beautiful in just about every way. The story is pretty damn simple too, which is one of the big positives for me. It’s essentially a two hour long, prolonged chase scene filled with absolute madness throughout. Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) betrays her screwball boss Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), a rather vile looking, mask wearing villain of the film and Max (Tom Hardy) at this stage being used as a blood donor is left with an enviable decision and ends up embroiled within the chaos too. It’s a world suffering from the inhospitable after effects of a nuclear holocaust and there’s several different wacky, looking tribes vying for resources, be it ammunition, water or gasoline.

The aforementioned Immortan Joe is lording it up as a messiah figure at the Citadel, a vast, towering, rock formation that’s swarming with the weird powdered looking ‘War Boys’. It also has a large quantity of water, a precious commodity. The former are foot soldiers that possess devotion heavily inspired by the infamous Japanese, WWII, Kamikaze pilots. With pretty much all of them afflicted by cancerous lymphoma, a direct result of the radioactive nature of the environment, the ‘half-lives’ require frequent blood transfusions to extend their life, hence the need for someone like Max. There’s two other main factions which don’t get anywhere near the level of fleshing out that the Citadel and War Boys receive, but needless to say, our protagonists severely piss off Joe and all three come riding after them.

It’s not for precious commodities that they give chase however. No, it’s the five ‘stolen’ wives of Joe that they’re after. And Furiosa, spurred on with a cherished memory of the ‘green place’ from her childhood decides to save the quintet of beautiful women and take them there far from the clutches of their wretched husband. There’s one fascinating, if not grim, insight into what Joe does with his cast offs when Miller shows a line of overweight women being used for their breast milk. There’s definitely the usual undertones of feminism present in there, but that seems to be prevalent in just about everything nowadays and it fits well with the story in all honesty, never truly drawing attention away from the myriad of events taking place in rapid succession.

Speaking of which, I’ll quickly get into some performances in this film. Charlize Theron is utterly brilliant in Fury Road. She portrays a fiercely strong character that perfectly offsets the gruff Max. Furiosa has the most development in the film and you feel genuinely sorry for her when it becomes apparent that the memories of her childhood have been wiped out. Tom Hardy isn’t given much lines in the film, which is criminal given the distinct, demulcent tones he possesses, but Max is a man of few words and there is some development of the character at least with the flashbacks and his progression away from being a lone wolf. Nicholas Hoult was also very impressive as Nux, who I’ve failed to mention at all, a War Boy that goes through a rollercoaster of emotions and is just really cool character.

Visually, it just doesn’t get any better than this for me. This film is just unbelievably beautiful in every way. The incredible wide shots, the mesmerising CG, the blisteringly paced and choreographed action sequences and the amazing costume and prop designs. It’s supposed to be a world that’s feels lived in, much like the original Star Wars trilogy, and it absolutely excels in capturing that feel. I don’t think I can praise John Seale enough for what he accomplished with Fury Road. It’s criminal that this film didn’t win the Oscar for cinematography or visual effects. The weird and wacky vehicles looked like something out of a 80s action film, but in a positive way, whilst the sandstorm scene, complete with lightning and tornadoes tearing past the War Rig was perhaps my favourite of the film.

The one minor niggle I had with the film and I must stress it’s a MINOR niggle was the lack of justification or explanation for Furiosa agreeing to smuggle the wives away. I could understand her deciding to head back to her youthful shangri-la and stumbling across Max on the way, but the whole wife thing was a slight stretch. Max too never really explains his motivation for helping out apart from the urgent need to escape the blood thirsty War Boys and his high value status as a universal donor. Thankfully though, the action is so enjoyable to watch that it’s never really an issue, something more than likely helped by the lightning quick pacing of the story for the better part of two hours. I absolutely recommend this if you have t seen it already. Me personally, I’ve seen it about half a dozen times now and can never get tired of it.