X-Men 5: Days of Future Past (2014, Bryan Singer)

Wow, not only was this a return to the high quality of the second film, it also justifies the existence of the boring fourth film and goes back in time to erase the events of the stupid third film, single-handedly resurrecting the franchise from mediocrity. Actually I’m not positive about the order of events of the older movies and how this time travel affects them, but in the repaired future, Wolverine is happy to see Cyclops and Jean alive again and didn’t they die in part 3? Anyway this is the most excited I’ve felt about comic movies since 2004.

So in a future run by mutant-killing Sentinels, a small team survives by having Ellen Page send Bishop (Omar Sy of Intouchables) back in time a few days to warn when the sentinels are approaching. Wolverine (alongside Old X/Magneto) thinks he can be sent back further, so he heads for the 1970’s to reunite Young X/Magneto and keep Mystique from killing Sentinel architect Peter Dinklage, and maybe convince the scared humans that some mutants are alright and shouldn’t all be exterminated.

Prison guard vs. Quicksilver and a few rolls of duct tape:

Who Were All Those Mutants:
Beast returns from the prequel, but Azazel, Banshee, Angel and I think either Frost or Riptide have already been killed in backstory. Survivors in the sentinel-future include good ol’ Storm, portal-creating Blink, knifey Warpath, fiery Sunspot, icy Iceman, and metal-skinned Colossus. I barely remember Iceman and Colossus from part 3, thought for a minute that they and Sunspot might be from the Fantastic Four. Helping break Magneto out of another non-metal prison is the great Quicksilver. Rogue wasn’t even in the movie, though she’s in the credits – I was hoping to watch the extended “rogue cut” in theatrical re-release but it’s apparently not playing here and I got impatient. Stryker is introduced in the 70’s, and Toad gets a small role.

Also: apparently 1970’s tech allowed for DNA proximity readers, giant non-metal robot creation, and unexplained combinations of DNA with the robots.

Trick ‘r Treat (2007, Michael Dougherty)

What if horror movies were less like the bulk of Night of the Demons (teens trapped in a haunted house) and more like the short bookend segments of Night of the Demons (grumpy man who puts razorblades in apples gets his just desserts)? This movie plays like a better-interwoven Creepshow anthology (even with the comic-book animated intro), different stories in the same town on Halloween night, jumping back and forth in time where they intersect. It picks up the torch that was dropped (and doused and buried) by Halloween III: Season of the Witch. I’m trying to say it was very good. Written and directed by a collaborator of Bryan Singer, who produced.

Another reason to cheer: the victims are all carefully chosen – they’re caught disrespecting the spirit of halloween, and get what’s coming to ’em. For instance, at the beginning a square-jawed guy (Tahmoh Penikett of the fake-Kubrick segment in Trapped Ashes) believes in the magic of halloween, has his house all decked out and just enjoyed the annual parade, but his hot pouty wife (Leslie Bibb, Brad Cooper’s girl in Midnight Meat Train) thinks halloween is dumb, and is thus murdered by an apple-headed troll with a jagged lollipop.

Dylan Baker (the child-rapist dad in Happiness) clearly has the best role as a high school principal who murders a shitty, greedy little student, then goes through an Unfaithfully Yours-style comic ordeal to dispose of the little guy. Dylan’s crabby, drunken neighbor Dr. Guggenheim (Brian Cox) just wants to be left alone, then is visited by the murderous troll. Rogue (Anna Paquin) is timidly trying to find a party date. And some kids recruit a nerdy girl in a witch hat to explore the quarry where legend says a school bus full of mental kids once plummeted. Predictably, in that story the dead return to kill the kids, who had been trying to prank the witch girl all along. But I didn’t foresee the sly ending to Dr. Guggenheim’s story (he was the bus driver). Most deliciously, Rogue is set up as victim to a black-robed vampire prowling the halloween parade, but she turns out to be a werewolf (heh, in red riding hood costume) and the vampire is just Dylan with false fangs.

X-Men (2000, Bryan Singer)

Same ol’ good ol’ movie. Gets better every time. This time paid close attention to: Halle Berry’s acting (not great), Rogue’s hair (you can kinda see it turn white if you pause on the statue of liberty scene), overall pacing, Magneto’s costume. Waffling on seeing X-Men 3 in theaters or at all.