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23rd
JUN

Nacho Libre

Posted by Player under Comedy

Nacho LibreAs a kid I remember fondly watching Mexican Wrestling on television and as a parent I watch Mucha Lucha with my kids, so when Nacho Libre came out, there was something irresistable about seeing Jack Black in stretchy pants. As expected Nacho Libre is an excellent kids film. The story revolves around Jack Black’s character, Nacho, a man who is conflicted between his service to the Church and his childhood dream of being a professional wrestler. Eventually Nacho’s life changes for the better when a new nun (Sister Encarnacion) moves into the monastery and he realizes that his childhood dream could become a reality. He soon convinces the homeless Esqueleto to join him in the ring as a way to become famous. Together the two lose many battles but eventually somehow Nacho lands the fight of a life time.

Unlike other kid oriented films, which try to push adult themes to reach a more adult audience, Nacho Libre sticks to physical comedy and the ever popular fart joke every now and then. Even Nacho’s romantic feelings for Encarnacion are conveyed with very effective humor. As an adult, I kept waiting for Nacho to kiss the girl, but it never happened, because the movie never tries to cater to adults. And perhaps this is why Jack Black is brilliant as Nacho, he makes the movie be entirely about the childhood dream of wrestling, which I must admit is still appealing to the kid inside me after all these years. Everyone wants to wear stretchy pants and be a luchador, it’s just that once you are an adult you tell yourself it is a bit silly.

4 out 5 stars

2nd
JUN

X-Men: The Last Stand

Posted by Player under Action

X-men III - The Last StandThis year’s early summer film was X-Men III, otherwise officially known as X-Men: The Last Stand. Unlike the last two X-Men films that were directed by Bryan Singer, this third film was directed by Brett Ratner and the differences between Singer and Ratner were pretty evident in The Last Stand. Ratner chose to deliver an action film that delivers on the comic book battles, but which falls short on character development and only loosely tries to reconcile the many sub-plots of the X-Men universe. While many long time fans criticized The Last Stand as being terrible and a huge disappointment, the truth is that The Last Stand is actually a good action film and for me personally a lot better film than Singer’s first X-Men film. For the drama, storyline, and action, the second X-Men film actually is the more complete film and the most watchable.

The best parts of The Last Stand are definitely the action sequences. The battles feel and look closer to the comics than anything that was shown in the prior films. Wolverine and Storm look especially well in the action scenes. The film continues to spend a lot of time on Wolverine, which is of course the main reason everyone loves X-Men to begin with. He is the most interesting of all the characters, so it is obvious that he be the main attraction. The main storyline concerns Jean’s return and Wolverine’s loyalties to the X-Men team and his apparant love for Jean.

Where The Last Stand really fails is in having too many sub-plots, some of which actually go nowhere and have very little depth, and in diminishing Rogue’s character to the point of non-relevance in this film. It would have been better if Ratner would have brought in less characters and focused on the main characters. Some fans complained that killing off main characters was wrong, but the comic books did the same, so I do not see the validity of this complaint.

I am sure that The Last Stand will never be a good film for some fans, but then again, I know for a fact that this film made a huge impression on tons more new fans. Specifically my five year old absolutely loved this film and it turned him into an avid Wolverine fan. So perhaps, Ratner does not need hardcore fans of the prior movies to make The Last Stand successful, because he managed to garner a whole new generation of X-Men fans regardless of the criticisms.

As a sidenote, I should mention that although everyone seems to think Singer made two great X-Men films, he too had his failings. The first film was too devoid of action and not a very good action film in general. His other great failing I believe is not being able to actually portray the Storm character correctly. Singer’s Storm was weak and boring and he tried to develop her more in the second film, but it was never done well and for this many fans blamed Halle Berry, believing it was her acting that ruined Storm in all three films. The truth is that Singer never got Storm right to begin with.

4 out 5 stars