Before heading to the cinema, check out our Cineast movie previews to help you decide which films will be worth the price of admission:
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Things seem to be pretty bleak for the X-Men, if we are to judge by the gothic mood lighting and the grave speechifying that pervades the trailers. Of course, if you have Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in your cast, you have to use their rich speaking voices for some long, serious-sounding monologues or you’re not really maximizing your resources. The dark mood does seem more justified, however, as the story has our heroes traveling back in time to a pretty terrifying historical moment: imagine a time when the interminable song “Nights in White Satin” from The Moody Blues’s album Days of Future Passed has reentered the U.S. charts after a welcome absence of five years, and when even members of Congress are trying to look like members of The Beatles. Yes, it’s the early ’70s! Nixon’s still in the Oval Office, and somehow the X-Men have to soldier on through a wasteland of wide neckties and loud suits to “stop this war before it begins,” whatever that means. X-Men: Days Of Future Past also stars Hamptons man-about-town Hugh Jackman and Anna Paquin.
The mystery of Adam Sandler’s continued success might be partially explained by his continued ability to sometimes surround himself with people more talented than himself. In the new comedy Blended, Sandler is paired with Drew Barrymore, an actress with talent and a comic appeal that Sandler can’t begin to touch. The story revolves around Sandler’s and Barrymore’s characters’ disastrous first date and a subsequent foul-up that has them traveling together on an African safari—each with children in tow. Naturally, it being a Sandler project, there are lots of gross-out jokes, including mishaps with food and bodily functions. Then the trip to Africa allows for a lot of parodies of African culture and safari clichés. Throughout, Barrymore’s presence on the screen is the only thing keeping Blended from descending to the moronic level of Sandler’s other recent work.
Words and Pictures
Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche star in the romantic comedy Words and Pictures. Owen
plays Jack Marcus, a language-obsessed English teacher at a prep school who is frustrated by his students’ apathy and preoccupation with social media and college admissions. Binoche is Dina Delsanto, a new art teacher at the same prep school who is equally serious about her own work and similarly disturbed by her students’ distractedness. While Jack and Dina understand the world very differently, they support each other in searching for a way back to the core of their passions—he by returning to writing, she by overcoming an injury to paint again—which will help them to reconnect to their work as teachers.