Your Ol’ Eeeeevil Buddy here caught a two-fer at the Cinerama last night…A fine piece of Thrilla called IDENTITY…And a little thing called X-MEN 2…I have assembled my thoughts here for those of you looking for a sneak peek, or a quick opinion before you decide on your weekend viewing choices…Read On, Thrill-seeking madman! Read On FanBoy! and read on Ladies looking for Hugh Jackmans underoos… X-MEN 2 (X2)Starring: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Jannsen, Patrick Stewart, Brian Cox, Ian McKellenDirected by: Bryan SingerIn the wake of the phenomenal success of the first X-MEN, comic book movies have become de rigueur, with DAREDEVIL, SPIDER-MAN and countless as-yet unproduced projects barreling down the studio pipeline. X2 proves to be the best of the bunch thus far.Picking up where the original film left off, X2 starts off with Wolverine (once again played by the uber-cool Hugh Jackman) exploring the Canadian wilderness, searching for clues to his past. Wolvie returns to the X-fold, not having found anything in our fair northern climes, and is immediately enlisted to babysit the X-kids while the rest of the team hunt down a renegade mutant.Much craziness ensues, with a mysterious military man invading the school, and Wolvie and a few junior X-Men on the run. Soon all hell breaks loose and the team is scattered across the country, desperately trying to find each other, and the reasons behind recent events leading to their disbandment.Without giving away too much plot, Magneto and Mystique return to help and hinder our heroes. Many future X-Men are spotted throughout, including Colossus, Beast, Banshee and Kitty Pride. And most interestingly, the stage is set for X3 to feature the ultimate X-tale… “The Pheonix Saga”.Technically speaking, this is a natural progression from film one, with the effects stepped up a few notches and the mutant powers evolved just enough to advance the story and continue interest. Director Bryan Singer plays events out with his usual talent for advancing the narrative and exploring the characters while keeping the plot moving along at light speed. Free of the constraints of introducing characters and setting up backstory, Singer and Co. have continued to expand on the mutant mythology and deliver a fully-functional and extremely enjoyable rollercoaster ride of entertainment.The cast slides back into these roles as if nary a day had passed, and new featured players Iceman and Nightcrawler are deftly humanized by Shawn Ashmore and Alan Cumming. As always, McKellen steals the show at every opportunity, but Jackman and Berry are also standouts among the cast. The next film looks to belong to Famke Jannsen, which will be a welcome showcase for an often overlooked and underrated star.Bottom line – this is the most enjoyable of the recent Superhero flicks and a step up from the original X-MEN. Spidey 2 is on the way, along with rumored Superman, Batman, Iron Man and Ghost Rider adaptations (not to mention Hellboy and League of Extraordinary Gentleman), but look for the next installment of the Uncanny X-men to rule them all. This one is almost there already. Rating – 10Raging excitement from beginning to end, and a drool-inducing tease for part 3 of the saga. Get to it, Fanboy!! ‘Nuff said!Reviewed by Axel H (aka Uncanny X-Man #53)IDENTITYStarring: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, John C. McGinley, Alfred MolinaDirected by: James MangoldRated RThis is quite possibly the most mind-bending, intelligent and innovative thriller of the last ten years. MEMENTO has got nothing on this bad boy. THE CELL was pure B-movie drivel in comparison. Shyamalan is wishing that he thought of this one.The script is a complex web of twists and turns, culminating in the twist to end all twists. Nothing is what it seems, nothing makes sense – until the big secret is revealed. I would kill someone, if they blew the ending on this one, and as such, I’m not going to tell you here. Go see it, without spoilers, and prepare to be blown away.James Mangold, directs every curve in this maze with absolute surety. John Cusack gives his usual riveting performance as an intelligent and thoughtful every-guy, stuck in a strange situation with strange companions. Ray Liotta goes back to his roots as a cop with severely questionable intentions and a nasty dark streak. Amanda Peet plays confused-but-strong willed heroine, and John C. McGinley plays totally against type as a nebbish step-dad with a rapidly disintegrating family. Add the always amusing John Hawkes as a scuzzy Motel manager, Clea Duvall as a sensitive newlywed and Jake Busey as an escaped convict, and you have a full boat of disparate characters ripe for the picking. All of these characters, and a few more, converge on an empty Motel in the middle of the desolate Nevada desert during a freak rainstorm that wreaks havoc, cutting off phones and highways for the night. Following a couple of accidents, all of our players end up stranded at the Motel, and are soon falling prey to a mysterious killer whose playing a game of good old Ten Little Indians. That’s as far as I will delve into the plot, and that is all set up in the first ten minutes of the film. The ensuing hour and a half is an exercise in tension and surprise unmatched in recent cinema memory. Fans of FIGHT CLUB and the like will not be disappointed…Atmosphere and content come together in perfect harmony to create a rain-soaked epic of thrills and chills that will have you not only sitting on the edge of your seat, but shouting out in horror and excitement for two hours that you may never forget. Mangold could have held on to the surprise for just a skoch longer, but as is – the movie rocked my spleen like a hurricane!And John Cusack makes standing in the rain even cooler than it was when he lost his heart and his pen in SAY ANYTHING.A-F’n-plus!!!Rating – 10Reviewed by Axel H, evil master of all things twisty!