Thursday, April 24, 2003

My first advanced screening! X2--Greatest Hits

So thanks to the wonders of being in "the media" I got to catch a sneak-preview of X2 last night. First off, let me say that this e-mail will not be a spoiler... come on, I love you guys too much to do that to you. And for those of you who want an impression of the scene at an LA sneak preview (but not a premiere) this will try to provide.....

Short Version of this email: movie was AMAZING!! way better than the first, and i liked the first a lot. no complaints and a great ending.

Long Version:

Though the pass said the show started at 7:30 p.m., I figured it would be beneficial to get there early (sci-fi geeks can be pretty hardcore). So my roommate scott and I get there at like 5:45. We are super early, so instead I go get pizza. (and the place in Westwood actually made acceptable pizza -- a California first practically). By the time we get back to the line it's like 6:30 and it's starting to accumulate. There are probably a few dozen people ahead of us and quickly more start congregating behind.

This being LA, two people in the "biz" are behind us. He, probably early 30s, keeps affecting a faux British accent and dispensing witticims like "I invented standing line. before that people just milled around waiting for events." His female companion (appeared platonic) laughed and kept going on and on about her treatments and roles and other industry friends. Then she talked about how she was 26 and ready for the next act of her life. She wanted Act 1 to end dramatically... the dude suggested getting addicted to heroin and filming it. The only solace from that insufferable conversation was the fender bender we saw the aftermath of and Leonard Maltin (television film critic and co-host of hot ticket). Maltin is short and chubby.

Then finally at like 7 p.m. they start letting us file in. Even in a theater as cavernously huge as the Mann National we end up sitting on the right-hand section on the aisle though (so almost center). Next to us are industry types who unexpectedly run into other industry types, including someone whose film one dude was just in. They go on and on about how their short film just missed the Top 5 in some festival, but it was politics and not quality that determined their fate. They see another friend who they all know through overlapping social circles. They don't air kiss (which would have been as LA as it gets) but they do half-jokingly talk about doing a private screening in some dude's car b/c he's got his laptop with a DVD of the movie. Otherwise they're doing to get together next week or shoot each other e-mails.

Just after that convo concludes, another similar one blows up behind us... some girl goes on and on into the depths of melodrama about how she had to clean and lockup the set that day and how she interviewed film critic and columnist richard roeper (who replaced the late and much greated gene siskel). blahblahblahblahblahblah, i think that was the point of her conversation. despite the banality of it all, it was a truly LA moment.

Finally the movie (i love to bury the lead with purple prose). Great thing with sneak previews, no commercials, trailers for movies you have no interest in or any solicitations for the INSERTNAMEHERE fund.

While not a devoted X-Men comic book fan, I was definitely enough of a fan to get bored with the first movie's rather long, but necessary, exposition of the characters and basic premise. This movie doesn't offer any primers for the uninitiated, which is great. It starts strong and just gets better. By the same token, if you have not seen the first, see it.

Overall, I think this story is paced much better and bottom line, more compelling and "believeable" as a comic book story line. And this despite three writing credits on the story and three on the screenplay.

The effects throughout the movie are fantastic. From the macro battlescenes to the micro facial illustrations. The acting is super strong, especially Alan Cummings (or is it Cumming?). And each character seems very important to this movie... which I didn't necessarily feel in the first movie.

So that I don't spoil anything, I'm not going to say more unless someone asks... but it's a freaking great movie. 9.5 out of 10, only because I don't give 10s.

see it immediately!

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