Tag: hugh jackman

Logan

by on Mar.12, 2017, under Movie Reviews

loganLogan is one of those rare films that comes along and re-defines a genre. In the case of Logan it’s moreso a drama and less so a movie about superheroes. This time, mutants just happen to be part of the character landscape but they’re kind of forgotten about or treated matter of factly as the timeline is set in 2029. Without the pressure of having to create spectacle, the story is allowed to breathe and becomes much deeper and richer in emotion and tone than previously seen in the genre.

Tied in with the old man Logan version of the Wolverine comic, this film is about the end of the road in a number of ways. I won’t reveal spoilers but one ending here is Hugh Jackman playing the role he played so well for 17 years. I recently saw a retrospective on all the films he’s been part of and it’s pretty awesome to watch and see how he naturally aged with the character and how it all ties together so well.

They’re really going for it on this one, that’s why it’s rated R. So if you’re a parent, think twice about taking your little one to see this one, it’s not for kids, it’s really not. The film is really violent and does not hold back on the language either. Even Prof. X drops in some F-bombs. Speaking of which, the way Xavier is written and delivered is unique, challenging and rewarding to behold…

In regard to the performances – Jackman and Patrick Stewart have never been better. They both portray their characters with more depth and range than in their younger days. Now, both of them are vulnerable, scared, and not so the confident, strong badasses we’ve seen before. Their deliveries in this film is one of the things that kept me glued to every frame of it. Jackman is passionate and seems like the world is just falling out beneath him while Stewart’s Prof. X deteriorates mentally in front of him as he suffers from a degenerative brain disease.

That was another cool thing about this film. The way they did portray the mutant’s powers seems more organic and natural while even more powerful and volatile somehow. You’ll see what I mean when Xavier has a mental episode as that doesn’t work out so well for people anywhere nearby.

If you’re one of these whiners that bitches and moans about they’re never being a “real” Wolverine film (sorry but The Wolverine was a definitive film for the character), Logan should make you shut the hell up about it already, bub.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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X-Men: Apocalypse

by on Jun.05, 2016, under Movie Reviews

x-men apocalypse Hollyweird is just cranking out the hero-on-hero violence with the latest superhero fight fest in the form of X-Men: Apocalypse. Incidentally this film ranks third on my list of favorite hero fight movies with Civil War #1, Apocalypse #2, and BvS #4 (I took it down to 4 because it didn’t deserve a number 3).

I’m not sure why this film is being bashed so harshly but I’ll give you my side of it. Ok, it’s not the best film in the series to be sure, but it’s also not nearly as bad as the worst in the series. The worst in the series is X-Men III, hands down, no doubt about it, X-Men III is the worst X-Men movie, ever. Definitely, the third film is the most terrible, awful, X-Men film ever made. Sorry, I had to get that out of my system as I just hate Brett Ratner’s work soooooo much.

Back to X-Men: Apocalypse… It is missing something that the other standout films have but it’s hard to put your finger on it. I think some of it is the passion and heart the other films have as one of the ingredients lacking. There’s also a number of new players in the lineup that are feeling their way into the characters as well as working with the veterans of the group so there’s a bit of an awkward chemistry between them.

I also felt when I was watching it that it was big for the sake of being big right away. There wasn’t much of a build up so the more pivotal moments lost some of their punch due to the epic nature of the film in general. Though, there are still stand out moments and nods to the comic at times too. The way Apocalypse grows in size during his confrontation with Xavier is a good example of something taken from the books as is the use of the sentinels in the Danger Room.

The premise isn’t bad and works as a reasonable vehicle although it did feel formulaic at times. The insertion of Wolverine seemed more as a necessity just to make sure he was included in the lineup rather than a need for his character as they redefine the Weapon X storyline again to shoehorn him into the movie. It felt the same with the inclusion of Mystique/Raven/Jennifer Lawrence. Her performance is especially lackluster and her actual presence doesn’t really add up to much with the exception of some emotional moments that she wasn’t great at delivering. Unfortunately I felt like Lawrence kind of phoned in this one and that she was written in to get her name on the poster.

There are some good performances in here to be sure. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are strong in their roles as usual as was Nicholas Hoult as Beast. Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert was enjoyable to watch and Evan Peters in the role of Quicksilver is a blast. However, Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark from GoT) was not so great as Jean Grey as her performance was very one-note and unemotional. There were a lot of missed opportunities with her character especially when she emerges as The Phoenix which could’ve been much more intense. Shame on her and director Bryan Singer for not pushing harder, that was disappointing. Oscar Issac as Apocalypse could’ve been much more impactful but the cartoony makeup of his character got in the way of his performance at times. The rest of the lineup is ok, but that’s really kind of it, no big standouts.

It’s hard to say for sure, but if I had the choice of seeing the film in the theater for the first time knowing what I know about it, I’d probably go see it but only if I was really bored. Oh, and don’t forget like the dumb asses I see leaving the theater, if you leave before the END of the credits, you’re going to miss the final scene!

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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CHAPPiE

by on Mar.15, 2015, under Movie Reviews

chappiePresented by District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, CHAPPiE both entertains and raises a lot of questions about the future of AI (artificial intelligence). Set in the not-to-distant future (2016-ish), CHAPPiE centers around robots that act as our future police force. The robots are set up to be self-sacrificing, fierce and efficient in terms of how they handle policing Capetown, South Africa (also where District 9 was set). One robot in particular is damaged and on his way to the scrap heap when his creator (played by Dev Patel) saves him from destruction so he can experiment with a new AI software program he’s developed. With the new upgrade installed, CHAPPiE becomes self-aware after falling into the hands of some bad people who want to use him for bad things…

The story explores this theme of self-awareness through CHAPPiE’s interaction with the people around him such as his creator and his new-found gangster family who eventually find themselves attached to the robot as his “personality” emerges. The film builds to some conflict as one of the competing engineers at the company that built CHAPPiE wants him out of the way so he can have his own human-piloted robot take over police duties from the robot force currently in place.

The writing is well crafted (Blomkamp is also one of the writers) and compelling. The 2-hour film flies by quickly as there are plenty of emotional moments as well as engaging action sequences. The dialog and interaction between the characters kept my interest throughout the film. The ending (as well as some other spots here and there) takes a cool left turn and had me somewhat surprised as to the direction things were going. Very satisfying by the way, I love films that include moments you don’t see coming which isn’t easy to do these days.

The acting is well done for the most part. The only weak links here are the gangster antagonists that act as CHAPPiE’s “parents” played by Die Antwoord’s Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not terrible but they’re not great either and at times come off a bit forced in their performances. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of Die Antwoord (they sound un-original and dated, Ninja’s rapping is sloppy and incoherent and Yo-Landi’s voice makes me want to punch something) so I’m not judging based on that, but I don’t know that I would’ve cast them either. Meh, they do anger and frustration fairly well emotionally but not much beyond that although both of them have some decent acting moments occasionally.

The standout acting-wise is Sharlto Copley who portrays CHAPPiE himself. Ironically, the way Copley portrayed CHAPPiE actually made him seem more human than his actual human counterparts at times and the robot was the only one I consistently rooted for. The rest of the human characters were all assholes basically (even the creator at times was kind of an ass) so I found myself feeling a lot of sympathy for CHAPPiE but very rarely for anyone else.

The effects (courtesy of WETA) were all top notch and blended in seemlessly. Copley’s motion capture performance is a testimonial to just how good of an actor he is in addition to his emotionally charged and variant dialog. Kudos to Blomkamp and his cast and crew for putting together such a tight and exciting film. The cast includes the talents of Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman.

If you liked District 9 and enjoy good sci-fi drama, I highly encourage you to see CHAPPiE!

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Movie 43

by on Feb.23, 2014, under Movie Reviews

This has got to be in the top 10 list of the worst movies ever made. Movie 43 is Peter Farrelly’s attempt at making an homage to movies such as The Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women From the Moon. The film is comprised of a collection of shorts that are suppose to be humorous or outrageous or both. Sadly, it just comes off as really, really poorly written and produced…

The plots are ridiculous, it’s shocking for the sake of being shocking (the word tasteless fits in here as well) while ultimately losing its shock appeal through the terrible writing and plot design. The quality of it is what is really shocking here. The Farrelly brothers have always delivered films that challenged taste but usually had a point in there somewhere. This is just shock and cheap for the sake of being shocking and cheap but with no real rewards.

The writing is well, bad. Here’s a prime example – one of the stories consists of a date between 2 people – Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman. Jackman’s character has balls on his chin. This is the big gag. That’s right, balls on his chin. That drives the whole concept of this segment – balls on his character’s chin. That seems to be the basis for most of these segments – some cheap gag that comes off as something created for the novelty of shock value with nothing else behind it. Another story premise centers around a woman wanting her boyfriend to poop on her which serves as the main plot point while everything else circles around that idea. Wow.

The directing comes off as lazy and just going through the motions as it’s very un-imaginative and doesn’t present the material in the same fun way that other films in this style were delivered in. It looks like it was shot on a low budget and just pieced together without much effort behind it. The acting is pretty bad too as most of the actors look like they’re phoning it in to repay a favor to Farrelly. Ugh.

There’s only one thing that’s impressive here, and that’s the lineup of talent. I read several articles online that mentioned that noone helped to promote this film and some even tried to squash the film from being released. The impressive credits of actors include (besides Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet): Richard Gere, Liev Schriber, Naomi Watts, Justin Long, Halle Barre, Jason Sudekis, Patrick Warburton, Anna Ferris, Chris Pratt, Greg Kinnear, Dennis Quaid, Johnny Knoxvile, Sean William Scott, Emma Stone, Common, Will Sasso, Seth McFarlane, and more…

If you liked The Kentucky Fried Movie or Amazon Women From the Moon – watch those movies instead.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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The Wolverine

by on Jan.26, 2014, under Movie Reviews

So this is the movie you kind of wish they made in first Wolverine installment. The first movie had some moments and it was great to see the mutant characters from the book but it’s just that the first one was, well, it was cheesy. The Wolverine makes up for the shortcomings of the first film and reinvigorates both the character and the storyline…

The writing is well crafted with a much more serious and mature tone to it. The story picks up where the third X-Men film left off (a film which we will no longer speak of) with Logan in Canada trying to live his life in peace. Of course his peace is interrupted by someone from his past searching for him. This person just so happens to be a former Japanese soldier who had an experience with him during World War I. Logan is taken to Japan to reunite with his old friend only to discover there are a number of other motivations for his trip by other characters lurking in the background. I know it doesn’t seem exciting the way I described it but rest assured that the story goes deeper with some great plot twists, the battles with the Yakuza and the Black Clan (a group of ninjas) and the Silver Samurai. If you’re a fan of the original comic you’ll appreciate the characters involved and if you’re not, you’ll probably enjoy the characters you’ll be discovering.

Hugh Jackman is playing the iconic role of Wolverine of course and plays it well. He’s definitely more intense this time and turns in a passionate performance and once again displays a diverse amount of skill in terms of acting. The cast includes Famke Janssen reprising her role as Jean Grey/Phoenix (it will make sense why she’s in here when you see her) alongside Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima who are strong in their supporting roles. All of the actors involved are of high caliber quality and live their roles fully in a realistic way.

The directing is tight with a great emphasis on story. Don’t worry, the cool effects are here too but they don’t overpower the film, the effects actually accent it in a way that adds to the experience rather than distracting from it or trying to makeup for shortcomings. The fight on the bullet train is a blast to watch as is the final conflict with the Silver Samurai.

I’d recommend seeing the extended cut if you can, there are some great scenes cut out of the the version that played in theaters. Oh, and don’t forget to watch all the way through the credits, remember that it’s tied in with the Marvel universe and there’s a nice surprise in there for things to come…

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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