Matthew Vaughn upgrades X-Men to First Class

In a summer that already featured comic-book tentpole movies Thor, Captain America and The Green Lantern, X-Men: First Class kind of flew under the radar. I think this speaks to just how much Brett Ratner’s stinkbomb of a third installment tarnished the image of this once-proud franchise.  The fact that Ratner managed to completely screw up the iconic Dark Phoenix saga still angers me to no end.  Yet, somehow, I had more faith in this film than all of the aforementioned superhero flicks. 

I liked what I heard of the road this movie took to getting made.  Bryan Singer was back on board as a producer, and he was exploring a back story he had in mind while making the first two X-Men movies which, at the time, were the standard of how to make comic book-based films.  Matthew Vaughn, fresh off another movie of the same genre and one of my favorite movies of 2010, Kick-Ass, was brought on to direct.  The casting choices, I felt, were inspired, particularly with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender playing younger versions of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, aka Professor X and Magneto.  The bottom line was, they were taking chances in trying to revive a franchise that had flatlined with X3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

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From a Sinking Ship: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl came out in 2003, it earned a lot of praise, both critical and commercial. Johnny Depp, he of the quintessential quirky movies, had finally made what was seen as a generally accessible and enjoyable movie, and for that he earned an Oscar nod.  The supporting cast all brought something to the table and Disney ended up making a crapload of money. People today may forget how everyone scoffed at adapting a Disney theme park ride into a movie.

The sequels left a lot to be desired, culminating in the mess that was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. I remember rolling my eyes at the giant whirlpool during the film’s climax and leaving with a headache that was approximately three hours in the making. With each new trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I was reminded of the physical pain I endured thanks to the last Pirates movie. So, naturally, you’d ask, why in the world would I watch this movie? Well, I liked the story Depp was spinning about how he knew the last one was a mess. He promised a better story and, well, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Continue reading

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Whatisawasteoftalent?: Paul

Fans of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz have come to expect a certain level of comedy from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright.  Those two films are parody of a level that is seldom found in the same multiplexes where hacks like Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Date Movie, Meet The Spartans) rake in millions.  In earlier films the jokes were witty, clever and informed by the material.  The plotting and pacing of Pegg and Frost’s collaborations with Wright were tight and nothing seemed strained.  Directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland) Paul hits theaters March 18th and is their first outing without Wright.  This new film seems to show that these actors need his direction to keep their comedy at a high level.

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That 80’s Show – Take Me Home Tonight

There has been a lot of talk about how Take Me Home Tonight was made as an ode to 80’s movies, rather than a spoof of the decade. In interviews, Topher Grace (who plays main character Matt Franklin) has mentioned the name of the late great John Hughes when discussing the film. While I understand what Grace was trying to do – make it clear that this wasn’t going to be a movie that focused on the many novelties of the 80’s – bringing up a name that is held in such high regard may have raised the expectations for a movie that would have probably been better off flying under the radar.

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Hate Crime: Hall Pass

Hall Pass is the newest entry from the Farrelly Brothers, the team that brought you Kingpin and There’s Something About Mary.   Here’s a summary from the studio:

Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are best friends who have a lot in common, including the fact that they have each been married for many years. But when the two men begin to show signs of restlessness at home, their wives (Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate) take a bold approach to revitalizing their marriages: granting them a “hall pass,” one week of freedom to do whatever they want…no questions asked. At first, it sounds like a dream come true for Rick and Fred. But it isn’t long before they discover that their expectations of the single life-and themselves-are completely, and hilariously, out of sync with reality.

Despite a 38% fresh rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes, it narrowly beat out Gnomeo and Juliet for Box Office winner this weekend.  Gino was not amused.

When I stated my intention to watch Hall Pass on opening night and possibly review it for The Most Beautiful Fraud, I was met with one question: why bother? It seems most people had little doubt that itwould not be funny. Some people seemed to hold out hope for the Farrelly Brothers pulling a rabbit out of the hat and surprising audiences with a return to form. And, if this was to be their redemption, they certainly surrounded themselves with some capable players. After all, weren’t they just asking Owen Wilson to play John Beckwith from Wedding Crashers again? Hasn’t Jason Sudeikis shown flashes of talent on SNL? Didn’t he steal some scenes in last year’s Going The Distance? Stephen Merchant is funny, isn’t he?

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Dogtooth: Greatest Movie Ever Made? Or Greaterist Movie Ever Made?

Allow me to preface this by saying that I am not a huge fan of foreign films. It causes me no shortage of grief from my girlfriend and various other high-minded individuals that don’t understand how I can fail to appreciate foreign cinema to the degree that all connoisseurs of the medium are expected. It’s not that I believe other countries are incapable of creating a good movie (U-S-A! U-S-A!) so much as I do not enjoy the constant reading. Films are a visual animal, and when I need to spend the whole time looking at the bottom of the screen instead of watching the action above it, I may as well just read the book on which the movie was based. I had to watch Pan’s Labyrinth three times before I felt satisfied that I hadn’t missed entire chunks of the fun. That being said: the Greek film Dogtooth, subtitles and all, is my new favorite movie. Why, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you after the jump.

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Hello

Welcome to The Most Beautiful Fraud! In the coming months, these pages will be filled with information about films written by film fans. 

Sure, we take our name from a quote by one of the most influential filmmakers in history, but don’t let that fool you.  The Most Beautiful Fraud will be a place to discuss films in an open and unstructured way.  We have several writers lined up right now, but we are open to hearing from new voices in the future.  If you are interested in writing about your favorite movies or actors email mostbeautifulfraud@gmail.com

So stay tuned, follow our Twitter @beautifulfraud and keep checking back for updates.

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