On DVD & Blu-Ray: October 14, 2014

Everything about the comic book movies we receive these days are dictated by what works in others and what has become outdated, but when it comes to the X-Men films they are the ones who set the trend of what has now been flourishing (for the most part) for nearly fifteen years. With their latest installment they continue to be able to change with the times while also sticking to their roots and using what has come in the past to influence the relationships between the characters and make the impact of the events that occur in the latest installments all the more powerful. I was a big fan of First Class three years ago as it was able to give the series a much needed fresh start after the perceived misstep of The Last Stand (which wasn't ALL that bad) and the definite blow that was X-Men Origins. Not only was the series getting a fresh start, but it was also a chance to see what has always been the core of the franchise, the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, blossom and become the iconic battle of ideologies that guided each of the original X-Men trilogy films. In saying that the X-Men films continue to adapt to the current climate of superhero films is to reference how this latest installment, which is technically the sequel to First Class, incorporates the idea of continuity and world building. The idea to bring in everyone from past films, essentially creating an all-star roster for an embodiment of everything the past films have been leading up to is the new niche studios are pushing after the success of not only The Avengers, but the Fast & Furious films. The X-Men have always been an ensemble though so their way of putting a spin on this approach is to connect the original franchise with that of the First Class world and in doing so have created a universe where every X-Men film that has been made can co-exist in the same space (except for maybe Origins, but that bears little matter here) and in that regard Days of Future Past doesn't quite feel as spectacular or as epic in scope as it probably should, but it is still highly entertaining and more satisfying on a level that leaves us with a film that will resonate with us the more we watch it rather than becoming less impressive over time because it's nothing more than empty spectacle. Full review here. B+ 

Let's just be up front about this whole Mr. Peabody and Sherman thing: it's a little weird. I mean, the whole concept and everything is a little out there when it comes to typical, safe family entertainment in that it's just straight-up odd to think about what is typically considered a pet adopting what typically takes care of said pet. That said, I'm not familiar with the original series that apparently ran as part of the Rocky & Bullwinkle universe and really had no idea about what type of story I was getting myself into or what adventure I was going to be taken on as I hadn't paid much attention to the marketing for the film. As Dreamworks originals tend to go I expected to at least have a nice, colorful and randomly funny time if not receiving the deeper, more introspective character moments and more honest themes that come along with what we have become accustomed to with Pixar. Many people will disagree and say that Pixar has been slipping lately and I won't argue with you when it comes to defending the Cars series, but I enjoyed both Brave and Monsters University to a point that Mr. Peabody & Sherman can't even touch. Of course, this is really like trying to compare a January release to an Oscar-bait film as it seems Dreamworks productions have both lower standards and naturally a lower set of expectations for their final product than that of the major summer tentpoles Pixar is akin to putting out. Still, it is hard to discern the difference in the two when they exist in the same genre and are targeted (mainly) at the same audiences, but it is only when the first offering does well and/or have the right people behind it to truly invest and push it to something more, something deeper that we get the eventual sequels with a more pristine release date a la How to Train Your Dragon and Kung-Fu Panda. With Mr. Peabody & Sherman the studio has concocted what is essentially an extended TV episode and it feels that way without me, again, never having seen the original show. It is fine that it is episodic though because it is so brief of an experience that instead of coming away feeling short-changed, we feel satisfied with the amount of adventure packed into these pint-sized characters. Full review here. C

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