8:00 PM, 21st July, 2006
When Jean Grey disappeared under a raging gush of self-sacrifice at the end of X-men 2 we knew that the mutant avengers we had grown to love (and perve at) in this awesome action series would be forever changed. In X-men 3 Jean Grey is back with a schizophrenic vengeance as the third movie traces her incarnation into the Phoenix. Flashbacks to the past friendship between Dr Charles Xavier and the then Erik Magnus Lehnsherr (aka Magneto) reveal the dubious role that Dr Xavier played in shaping the artificial persona of the category 5 mutant - the strongest mutant alive.When a pharmaceutical lab creates a supposed cure for the mutant gene, Magneto and a new posse of evil ones are enraged by what they view as a systematic attempt to eradicate the mutant race. Once again the gang from the Xavier Institute intervene with a pragmatic rather than resentful response to discrimination against mutants. This time however, the fight is plagued with uncertainty about whether Jean Grey or the Phoenix will play the ultimate role in the showdown.Given a premise based on mutant characters with special powers, the plot for X-men movies is guaranteed never to be dull. As part of the generation that grew up reading the graphic novels, watching the coming to life of childhood idols like Wolverine and Storm brings with it a certain sense of nostalgic giddiness. In true X-men style, the third movie is no exception in providing the characters we love from the comic books with an original interpretation thats enough to keep the comic reading generation guessing while also entertaining the audience who aren't so used to mutant heroes.
10:44 PM, 21st July, 2006
This very close re-make of Wes Cravens 1977 film The Hills Have Eyes is a typical horror flick. The clean-cut Carter family is on vacation travelling through the 1950s nuclear test zones. After being led astray down a 'shortcut', they are then prey to descendants of miners who refused to vacate the area when the government told them to. These miners have been drinking radioactive water, breeding with their mutant DNA and survive by eating tourists that get trapped in their mine hideaway. Set mainly in fake towns populated by mannequins and intended for destruction in nuclear tests, The Hills Have Eyes has a unique look and feel. The depiction of torture and violence is truly terrifying and each character is introduced with enough detail for their deaths to effect response in the audience. Typical themes abound, and the horror fan may find themselves shaking their heads at the characters' lack of horror-film-knowledge. The family makes all the usual mistakes: splits up, they go off alone at night, and they even follow their crazed dogs off into the hills. The direction of the plot is not hard to guess from the outset. It is described as a 'popcorn picture' that does exactly what it's supposed to do: scare the audience with graphic violence and copious amounts of blood. With a catch phrase of 'The Lucky Die First' and Wes Craven's name associated, what more could you expect?