Friday Movie Round-Up & Interview with Writer/Director/Actor Marc Menchaca!

X-Men: Days of Future Past will be a major blockbuster this summer, but overall it's just mediocre and at best the 3rd best in the franchise.  However, this week there are some real gems coming out in theaters and one of them is This Is Where We Live.  Click through for reviews of this week's theatrical releases and an in-depth interview with TIWWL Writer/Director/Actor Marc Menchaca.

The only reason to truly see X-Men Days of Future Past is the wonderfully entertaining performance by Evan Peters as Quicksilver.  Now I do want to clarify I love the X-Men franchise, especially the incredible X-Men First Class.  It's director, Matthew Vaughn, was the best possible choice to revitalize a franchise needing a quick kick in the ass.  Vaughn brought in heavy weights like Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, but it was his sense of humor amongst wild action that shined so brightly in the film.  First Class was pure enjoyment and quirky enough so all the "historical changes" were allowable.  Sadly Matthew Vaughn turned the reigns back over to long-time X-Men originator Bryan Singer.  Singer decided upon a much beloved comic storyline, "Days of Future Past", as the key influence for this time jumping X-Men tale. It's the slight changes the glossing over of specific decades and the lack of an "evil" villan that really makes me dislike this film.  Wolverine is once again made into the "lead" even though the comic book did a wonderful job of introducing youthful X-Men to the lexicon.  Instead we have ripped Hugh Jackman doing what he always does.  It's not bad, it's just getting a bit tired as a the constant X-Men trick…Wolverine will jokingly make fun of ya and show his rippled body at least once.  Oh and he'll smoke a giant cigar (iconic image that it is), but overall Singer dives back into the same pit-falls that brought down the franchise originally.  STOP (Spoiler) giving us the same old Wolverine/Jean-Grey/Cyclops close, but of course that is the big key "cameo" in the film. Oh joy, Matthew Vaughn brings freaking Oscar nominees to the stage and you make the film still revolve around that tired threesome.  McVoy, Lawrence, and Fassbender are the real meat of the story (or should be).  On top of relying to heavily on old stalwarts like freaking STORM (kill her off for real this time – don't tease us) rather than highlighting kick ass Bishop (who's just a hulking mute who has a big red gun in the film).  Bishop and Kitty Pryde are the real stars of the comic, why not let them lead this film.  Nope we need to sell kids cups with Wolverine on them.  So by all means enjoy the journey back into boring repetative X-Men choices.  Visually speaking Singer goes out of his way to mirror The Matrix and Terminator franchises (not a bad choice) but awfully lackluster compared to Vaughn's hyper paced super-fun plot line in First Class.  Overall the film looks like a copy cat of so many films and it's acting is lacking heart because even the characters are just waiting till the third film to do anything anyways.  You do have the treat of Quicksilver (for 15 minutes) and the Peter Dinklage doing his best to give life to a "non-villian".  Fassbender does get a little more fun work this time and we do have the marvel of seeing giant RFK Stadium being "relocated" by the metal loving Magneto.  Though the whole JFK element really does make this whole film just uncomfortable to watch on so many elements (I do live in Dallas).  Honestly save your money and wait for Guardians of the Galaxy or Matthew Vaughn's next film, it looks freaking awesome

IFC's Cold In July is a riveting and a suspense-filled mystery till the final moments.  Author Joe R. Lansdale's dark tale is adapted nicely by writer/director Jim Mickle.  I had the privilage to chat with Jim late last year about his previous film, We Are What We Are.  In our chat we got to talk about Cold In July.  Go to the 15 minute mark to start the Cold In July part.

Jim is a director to keep an eye on and Cold in July is his best work to-date.  Also great performances from Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson and Sam Shepard really make this a winner.  Another Texas related story is This Is Where We Live.  Writer/Director/Actor Marc Menchaca and I had an in-depth chat about the film and also about the filmmaker's strong connections back to his acting on HBO's Generation Kill (we even talked about the  importance of Memorial Day!). 

Tonight is a real treat, following the Angelika Dallas Red Carpet Screening there will be a Q & A with Marc and more of his Cast & Crew!

All three films are out in theaters in DFW.

I haven't seen this film yet, but it has me most intrigued. 

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