Punch Drunk DVDs: 'X-Men: Apocalypse', 'The Purge: Election Year', 'Swiss Army Man'


This 80’s set prequel sees Professor Xavier’s young team face off against ancient Egyptian mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) and his plan to conquer the earth.

We Said: “As a life-long X-Men fan it's tough knocking X-Men: Apocalypse for what it gets wrong, but such a high bar has been set by the previous films that this one just can't measure up.” Rating: 3 out of 5

The Good: Obviously, it’s fun to see these characters back on screen, and a lot of the cast really gets a chance to shine once again. Michael Fasbender, for example, is just as awesome as ever as Magneto. Dude can’t give a bad performance. I loved the new additions to the team. They were all very well cast and convincing as the younger versions of the characters we’ve seen in earlier films. They managed to live up to the now iconic original actors’ portrayals of the characters, while still bringing their own unique spin to the roles. It’s great. Some of the action scenes were fun as well, and as a fan of the comics, there were several winks and nods to different storylines that got me pretty psyched.

The Bad: As a sequel, this movie makes no sense. It’s no secret that the X-Men series has an insane lack of continuity, but in a post Deadpool world, it’s pretty hard to accept this kind of thing again. We’ve now seen this franchise openly, brilliantly mock their own shortcomings, so to see their next installment continue these problems without changing a thing is very disappointing. The plot is absolutely insane and hard to follow.A  lot of the characters aren’t given very much screentime at all, basically wasting half the cast on anti-roles. The character design is genuinely hard to look at. Most of the exciting moments are retreads of scenes we’ve seen before in previous X-Men films. For the most part, this is a very messy movie.

Overall: Apocalypse is definitely not the worst the X-Men franchise has offered so far, but it is also far from their best.

                                                                                   The Purge: ElectionYear

The third (and final?) film in The Purge horror trilogy focuses on the political side of the controversial  “Purge Night” of legalized murder. Frank Grillo’s character from the previous film returns, now working as a body guard for Charlie Ronan, a senator who’s divisive anti-Purge campaign as made her a high-risk target for this year’s killing spree. The two find themselves fleeing through the violent streets of DC on the most dangerous night of the year.

We Said: “Call it a dystopian vision of Trump's America if you want, but The Purge: Election Year is terrifying because it's not as far-fetched as we may want to believe.” Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Good: Like the other two movies in The Purge series, Election Year is simultaneously a violent, bloody slasher film, and a dystopian political satire. I’m happy to say that The Purge: Election Year manages to balance these two tones the best the series has so far. The action is exciting, the suspenseful moments really work, and the political subtext is actually rather thought-provoking. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the latest Purge.

The Bad: Unfortunately, Election Year does still fall into a lot of the shortcomings of the other Purge movies, with characters being boring plot devices that just exist to be killed, and cheap jump scares thrown around to keep the younger horror audience satisfied. It seemed as if the movie was afraid of being too smart at times. As soon as an interesting concept was brought up, they’d cut to a violent action scene to make sure they didn’t lose their target audience. Election Year still does handle these problems better than the other two Purge movies, but it still falls back on them quite a bit.

Overall: The Purge: Election Year is both fun and smart without really compromising either tone too much. It has both scary kills and scary concepts and handles both better than any of the other films in the series. Whether you like your horror movies to be political, or your political thrillers bloody, you’ll probably enjoy the latest Purge.

A very lonely man stuck on a deserted island (Paul Dano) meets a magical farting corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) and together they navigate their way home, become best friends, and learn about love in what is undoubtedly the strangest movie to be released this year.

We Said: “[The Directors] deserve credit for making such a risky venture, and if the split reaction from Sundance is any indication this will definitely be divisive.” Rating: 2 out of 5

The Good: This is an incredible polarizing movie. Personally, I side more with the audience members who appreciated the strangeness of this film. I found the offbeat humor and surrealism to be incredibly fun and different than just about any other movie I’ve seen. I found Swiss Army Man to have a surprising amount of heart behind its weirdness, however, and appreciated the more somber things the film had to say. Reliant mostly on montages and visual gags, the dialogue scenes that are in the film are clever and occasionally touching, showing the unlikely friendship between these two characters in an unexpected way. Regardless of its bizarre content, however, it is undeniable that the shots in this movie look beautiful, and Daniel Radcliffe gives an excellent performance in role that reason says should have been a one-note joke.

The Bad: A great many people who have seen this movie have walked away hating it for the same reasons I said I enjoyed it. While some find the film to be quirky and unique, others find it pretentious and insane. Swiss Army Man is one of those movies that will likely leave audience members with very positive or very negative feelings about it, and directing team Daniels seem to have very little interest in which way you feel. It is an incredibly inaccessible movie.

Overall: Sometimes sweet, sometimes gross, and always polarizing, Swiss Army Man is a movie unlike any other.