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Monthly Archives: May 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review #2


X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

GRADE: A-

Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence

LeBeau has just finished his review of Bryan Singer’s retconning X-Men: Days of Future Past. As everyone is seeking to follow Marvel’s Avengers formula, either by villain spinoff as Sony and Spiderman are doing, or DC by introducing the team first and doing the solo movies after, or now Fox by creating a movie that makes 3 separate X-Men movie tales and retcons them all into one mostly coherent story. In that, the movie is mostly successful, but as a film, it stands as probably the best film in the franchise’s history, and gives me hope my favorite comic book franchise will at some point become my favorite movie franchise.

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A Few Photos from My Disney Parks Past



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In honor of our gracious host and his Lebeau clan heading south for a fantastic visit to everyone’s favorite mouse, I thought I’d post a few pictures of my own times in the Disney parks. My collection is not as impressive as Lebeau’s own, but the photo at the top here is pretty fun. In fact, it’s the primary reason for this post.

As you can see along the side of this scanned photo, it was taken in 1972 when I was but a wee lad. The boy who appears to be featured in the photo is not me, however. I am the boy with the bright blonde locks, wearing the brown corduroy jumpsuit and reaching out to touch the little pig’s hoof. This photo was taken at Disneyland in California when my family lived nearby in San Diego. The park hosted “Navy Nights” which offered discounted prices for Navy men and their families (which we were).
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Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past


xmen days of future past 1

The X-Men franchise can be seen as the prototype for the modern super hero movie.  Prior to the first X-Men movie in 2000, super hero movies focused on a solo character like Batman or Superman.  Batman was sometimes allowed to have a sidekick or two, but Hollywood wasn’t ready to tackle a super hero team.  Additionally, characters like the X-Men and the Avengers were not seen as popular enough to sustain a movie franchise.  Bryan Singer’s X-Men was the first movie to break down those barriers.

Singer had a lot of heavy lifting to do in that first movie.  The first two-thirds are almost entirely exposition.  Not only did Singer need to introduce an entire cast of characters, he also had to introduce mainstream audiences to the world of mutants.  By the time all the background info was out of the way, Magneto barely had time to hatch his harebrained scheme in the movie’s third act.  Singer’s follow-up, X-Men United (dubbed X2 by the studio) was able to cut loose with a bigger budget and no need to lecture the audience about the nature of mutants.

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Godzilla Review


Godzilla

Grade: B

Directed by Gareth Edwards

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olson

Godzilla is an anomaly, there have been few (arguably less than two) actually good Godzilla movies ever. You can argue that the cheesefests of Godzilla playing volleyball with other monsters and the one where they danced are fun in their own right, but calling them masterpieces of cinema is a stretch. At the very least they are the paragon of Kaiju movies, which with Pacific Rim in mind, have never really caught on in the west. But the fan-love and expectations placed across this film are so seemingly incongruous with the actual quality of Godzilla films over the last 50+ years. Lets not even get started on Roland Emmerich’s take.

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Vegas Vegas Vegas!


Vegas Vegas Vegas…

Vegas Sign

What do the words “Las Vegas” mean to you? Does the image of a glitzy casino first pop into your mind, or an image from your favorite Vegas movie?  Movie stars and beautiful people on stage, or lounging by lush tropically landscaped pools?  Is there something about Vegas that really lets you be whoever you want to be? Is this true for everyone?  Is it true for you?   If you have never been to Las Vegas, by all means, go.  Start planning way ahead of time if possible, watch Vegas movies and do a lot of trip research.  Then let go of all your expectations once you are there, because what happens in Vegas doesn’t really stay in Vegas. It becomes part of your personal fabric.

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Disney World Dining Tips


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There is no escaping it.  When you go to Walt Disney World, you have got to eat.  The good news is that Disney provides a wide variety of dining options from snacks that eat like a meal to fancy five-star restaurants and everything in between.  There is literally something for everyone.  The downside is that all of these choices can prove overwhelming.  Not to mention the fact that Disney charges a premium whenever you spend money on their property.

If you are a Disney novice, it is especially hard to wrap your mind around Disney dining.  But I have found that even among Disney experts, there are a lot of misconceptions.  Do I need to make reservations 6 months in advance?  Where do I *need* to eat?  Is the meal plan worth the money?  What about character dining?  The purpose of this article is to address all of these questions and more.

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Lebeau’s Le Show: Episode 003 – Totally 80’s


 

Episode 3 Cover

In this installment, Daffy and I discus growing up in the 80s.  We cover the advent of video games with Pong and the Atari 2600 and the impact home video has had on movies and television.  We also name our favorite movies from the decade and our favorite period piece set in the 1980s.

We reminisce about Saturday morning cartoons and devote a surprising amount of time to the Smurfs.  Other topics include how sequels changed in nature during the 80s and our pic for the “most 80s” movie.

The show is embedded after the jump.  Hope you like it.

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X-Men Dream Cast for my X-Men Movie


With X-Men: Days of Future Past about to be released, the announcement of Channing Tatum playing Gambit (NOOOOOOOOO *vomits* he is terrible) in future films, Hugh Jackman’s continued waffling about coming back as Wolverine, and Bryan Singer facing disturbing accusations, and lots of spin-off rumored, the X-Men universe is growing and in constant flux. I’m going to go out on a limb and say there has never been a great X-Men movie. And X-Men are my favorite comic book heroes. X2 is pretty strong, and the latest Wolverine offering is fantastic until the final setpiece defies all logic and becomes a plothole laden hell from a different movie. I hated First Class and thought it only worsened all the issues the series has been plagued by since the get-go. Read the rest of this entry

Baby Watching Superman Fly Is Greatest Thing Ever


I have to hand it to this kid. He picked the best scene in the entire movie. Man of Steel is not a favorite of mine. But watching this 16-month old react to Superman flying melts my cold, cold heart. Note to his Dad: Show him the Richard Donner Superman. Bet he’ll love it.

Nope, Not a 1-Hit Wonder: 10,000 Maniacs


Pop culture memory is a funny thing. Songs and movies and TV shows leave an imprint on our brains that is unique. Our relationships to art are inescapably different from one another, but pop culture is also a shared experience, so there is a tendency for us to believe that our own experience matches that of those around us at least to a degree. Sometimes we are sorely mistaken.

If you had asked me to name the songs of 10,000 Maniacs that had hit the Top40 in the United States without referring to any official source, I would have most likely whiffed at the task big time. For example, I definitely would have guessed that the above song These Are Days was one of their bigger hits. It was featured in MTV commercials at the time of its release that played repeatedly, and my memory says that the actual video also got strong rotation on the video music channel. It’s a wonderful song about the realization that you are living the memories which will become some of the greatest in your life. It is one of the iconic songs of the band’s career.

but it never hit the Top40.
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Disney World Trip 2014 Pre-Trip Report


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We are less than a month from our next family trip to Walt Disney World.  At this point, the plans are mostly finalized.  As I write this, Disney has just opened up FastPass+ availability for their latest attraction, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  I was able to make a couple of FP+ reservations for the ride early this morning before the demand for FPs crashed Disney’s system.  So with those FPs taken care of, there isn’t much left to do but wait.

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride-Through Video


Disney has been very secretive about the cottage scene in their soon-to-open Fantasyland Attraction. This video includes everything. Enjoy.

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