X-cellent X-men returns 

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Summer blockbuster season keeps on rolling at the Whistler Village 8 this week with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Original X-Men director Bryan Singer is back at the helm and this one is definitely worth hitting up — and not just because Jennifer Lawrence stars as Mystique, the blue shapeshifter X-man who kinda looks naked a lot of the time. (The film is rated PG, but it's also showing in 3D so....)

Unsurprising for a time travel movie, Days of Future Past lifts a bit of its main premise from Back to the Future — Wolverine is sent back to a Vietnam-era 1970s in order to convince the younger X-Men to prevent an assassination and "change" the future into one without a mutant-killing Sentinel program.

It's a brave movie to make but Singer pulls off a pretty kick-ass merger of the original X-Men cast and the younger version from very successful prequel X-Men: First Class. Which means this one includes Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy playing Professor X. Same with Magneto — you get Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender. Of course there are some new faces, Evan Peters (Kickass) rocks it as Quicksilver, an X-Man with superfast speed and agility (and a cool time-warp visual) but most of the film hangs on the Magnetos and Professor Xs.

Comic fans will be delighted to hear the script is based loosely on a real Claremont-Byrne run of the Uncanny X-Men and Bryan Singer has real love and respect for the comic art form. Singer and his stellar cast deliver comic book heroes with character arcs and a film with plenty of subtext to appease. (A who couldn't use a nice message about the need for non-violent conflict resolution these days?) X-Men: Days of Future Past is good times, although a Marty McFly cameo certainly wouldn't have hurt.

The other time travel movie opening this week is Blended. There were no pre-screenings (bad sign) but from the trailer this one looks like two hours of 1990s jokes for people who are pushing 40, have kids, and are wondering if it's all downhill from here. (Hint: if you're rushing out to see Blended it probably is.)

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reteam with Wedding Singer and The Waterboy director Frank Coraci for what appears to be a safari of pain soundtracked by classic '90s songs and tired jokes about two single parents who end up vacationing (in Africa) together and all the kids come along for the ride. It looks borderline offensive to Africans and depressingly terrible to the rest of us. I worry when Shaquille O'Neal makes the trailer — Is that really a highlight of the film?

The thing is, Adam Sandler is laughing all the way the bank. Dude has averaged two films a year since 2001 (he peaked in 2000 and should have won an Oscar for Little Nicky) and his old fans keep coming out. Who cares if both Grown Ups films sucked greying ball hair when they made over a half billion dollars?

Drew Barrymore (Firestarter, ET, Teenage substance abuse) is a true Hollywood comeback story and for a while was one of the most refreshing women in the business (she co-founded Flower Films and they produced Donnie Darko, Whip It was underappreciated). This is their third film together but from here in the back row that is two too many.

The download of the week is: Nothing. It's summer, go to the theatre and watch Godzilla and eat two bags of peanut M&Ms. The peanut makes it a viable source of protein (and popcorn counts as a vegetable. It's corn.)


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